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Concert Program Cover

Fourth Concert of the 46th Season

 

Sunday, May 12th, 1985
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture to Semiramide Gioacchino Rossini  
       
  Concerto for Harp, Op. 182 Carl Reinecke  
 

Allegro moderato
Adagio
Scherzo

   
  Bridgett Stuckey, harp  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Symphony No. 101 in D Major ("Clock") Franz Joseph Haydn  
 

Adagio-Presto
Andante
Menuetto
Vivace

   
       
  Short Overture to an Unwritten Opera Don Gillis  
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to Semiramide Gioacchino Rossini
(1792-1868)
 
 

Rossini was urbane and witty, a sociable man, but with few close human relationships. He lived to reach seventy-six, and during the first half of his life, the creative flame burned brightly, only to flicker thereafter. By the time he was thirty-seven, in a span of nineteen years, he had written thirty-six operas, after which he wrote scarcely anything of importance. Laziness is usually cited as the reason for his retirement, but Alberto Moravia has unearthed evidence that a painful ailment destroyed Rossini's concentration.

As to his opera Semiramide, there are many contradictory reports. His admirer and biographer, Stendhal, wrote that the opera, which opened in Venice, "...escaped ignominy only by grace of the composer's sacred and untouchable reputation..." He went on to say, "I have never seen it in performance, but I am not irretrievable broken-hearted over this loss, since the extracts which I have heard in concert-arrangement have left me singularly unenthusiastic."

On the other hand, the biographer Francis Toye tells us that the Venetian public was ill-disposed to Rossini because of the failure of his opera Maometto, "..., and his enemies in the press openly hiinted that he could not possibly find the time to write an important new opera before the end of the season. Rossini, thoroughly on his mettle, confounded all prognostications by composing in thirty-three days an extremely long and complicated opera which the whole of Europe during the next six years agreed in regarding as his masterpiece..."

Most operatic overtures introduce themes to be found throughout the opera itself, but Rossini rarely did that. He frequently used material in an overture already used in a previous work, and usually the themes of his overtures are unrelated to the music of the opera. This overture is an exception.

The libretto, by Gaetano Rossi, was based on the tragedy by Voltaire. The story is a complicated version of "Orestes." Again quoting Toye: "...the andantino is the tune to which an oath of loyalty is taken to Queen Semiramis, and the first theme of the allegro is associated with the awe that invests King Ninus' mausoleum -- which, in view of the charming naivete of the music, might, with greater appropriateness on this occasion, be designated 'Ninny's tomb'."


 
       
  Harp Concerto in E Minor, Op. 182 Carl Reinecke
(1824-1910)
 
 

Carl Reinecke is one of a host of Late Romantic composers who have almost been eclipsed by the twentieth-century passion for novelty. He was a younger contemporary of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schumann, and like them, had a healthy respect for Classical principles. He was not a particularly innovative composer, striving instead to uphold the standards of the past. As teacher and long-time conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, he stressed excellence of performance, and careful formal construction. He did not resent, but on the contrary, was proud of being "accused" of following in the footsteps of the masters.

He was a prolific composer, publishing some 288 works in all the musical forms of the time. He was an admirer of Brahms, and a close friend of both Mendelssohn and Schumann. He became the teacher of Liszt's daughter, and also taught such people as Grieg, Sinding, and Sullivan.

His concerti, this one included, remind one of Mendelssohn. The Hap Concerto is in the traditional (that is, "classical") three movements, and requires an orchestra of only Classical proportions. The first movement is (loosely) in the form of a sonata.

The second movement, Adagio, opens with a long passage for harp and horn, and has the same rhythm, and almost the same theme as the slow movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

The third movement, Scherzo-Finale, begins in E minor, but switches to E major for an up-beat ending.


 
       
  Symphony No. 101 ("Clock") Franz Josef Haydn
(1732-1809)
 
 

The "Clock" Symphony was begun in Vienna, but complete in London. The first performance was in March of 1794, or May of 1795 (depending on one's source). In any case, it opened at the Haymarket Theatre to rave reviews. This was Haydn's second visit to England, and he already had a great reputation. To quote The Morning Chronicle, "...the most delicious part of the entertainment was a new grand Overture by Haydn (the word "symphony" was not yet in common use); the inexhaustible, the wonderful, the sublime Haydn!... ... Every new Overture he writes, we fear, till it is heard, he can only repeat himself; and we are everytime mistaken."

The first movement begins with a slow introduction as do most of Haydn's symphonies. What is unusual here is that the introduction presents a motif strongly related to the main theme of the Presto section. Usually, Haydn's introductions are thematically unrelated to the principle theme of the first movement. After some time, the second subject appears in the strings. The development section takes us by surprise, beginning as it does with the second subject instead of the first. In fact, the second subject dominates this section, until the very end, when the principal subject takes over.

The second movement, Andante, is in ternary form (A-B-A), with the second subject in the minor. It is this movement, with its metronomic "ticking" of the basses, which provides the subtitle "The Clock."

The third movement begins with a Menuet, which, though derived from a court dance, is intended only for listening. In the Trio section, the strings play a tonic harmony, against which a solo flute plays a simple tune, which is unexpectedly interrupted by a full-orchestral outburst. The rest of the movement features a dialogue between flute and bassoon.

The fourth movement, Finale: Vivace, starts out as a Rondo, but has many characteristics of the Sonata. After a developmental section, the principal subject reappears as a double fugue, and dominates the rest of the movement.


 
       
  Short Overture to an Unwritten Opera Don Gillis
(1912-1978)
 
 

Don Gillis was born in Cameron, Missouri. He graduated from Texas Christian University with a BM, and an MA with an MM from North Texas State College. In 1944 he became the Program Arranger for NBC. In 1967, he became chairman of the Music Department of Southern Methodist University, and later became chairman of the Music Department of Dallas Baptist College. A larger portion of his career was spent as Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, at the University of South Carolina.

Gillis brought a bizarre sense of humor to a profession (music educator) which is sometimes a bit too earnest. His witty compositions often carry fanciful names. Although he has written much serious music, his best-known works are Symphony No. 8½, The January February March, and The Tulsa Symphony, a Portrait in Oil (in reference to the oil capital of Oklahoma).

The title of the piece we are to hear is not as funny as one might think, since there are many "overtures" for unwritten operas. In fact, there are many sorts of overtures. In the 18th century, the word was sometimes used to indicate a symphony, as we have seen in the case of Haydn. In the 19th century, there developed a so-called "Concert Overture." Examples are Mendelssohn's "Hebrides" Overture, Dvorak's "Carnival" Overture, Brahms' "Academic Festival" Overture, Tchaikovsky's "Overture: 1812," and the "Theatre Overture, Romeo and Juliet."

There just might be a difference here, inasmuch as these composers had no opera in mind when they wrote the aforementioned overtures. Perhaps Gillis had one in mind, but never wrote it. (Though I think, on the basis of his record, that he was just being cute.)

This short, jaunty piece has elements of jazz syncopation combined with a Latin beat.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Ervin Orban, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Mary Berkebile
Ruth Berkebile
Anne H. Boebel
Carolyn Caldwell
Diane Carr
Beth Guntermann
Eloise Guy
Vera Jones +^
Susan Newsom
Vernon Stinebaugh

Viola
Annette Martin *
Dessie Arnold
Delpha Laycock
Naida Walker

Cello
Waverly Conlan *
Valerie Goetz Doud
Laurie Kieffaber
David W. Pinkham +^
Rebecca B. Waas

Bass
Calvin Bisha *
Matt Greven

Piccolo
Kathy Urbani

Flute
Jodi Stouffer * (co-)
Kathy Urbani * (co-)
Denise Van Petten +

Oboe
Stephanie Jones
Dawn Zumbrun
Clarinet
Loa Traxler *+
Lila Hammer

Bass Clarinet
Margaret Beery

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano *
Vickie Ball

Horn
Eric Jones *+ (co-)
Eric Joseph *+ (co-)
Kent Teeters
John Morse

Trumpet
Andrew Norman *
Steve Hammer
Ray Goelz +

Trombone
David Schultz *+#
D. Larry Dockter
Matt Bohrer

Tuba
John Beery

Timpani
Chris Caldwell +

Percussion
Keith Crider +
Kirk Pyle

Harp
Bridgett Stuckey

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
# Denotes M. Little Scholarship recipient
       
 
Bridgett StuckeyBridgett Stuckey, harp, is a native of Ft. Wayne. She attended Ball State University, Baldwin Wallace College, Cleveland Institute of Music, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Performance and Music Education from Ball State University in 1980.

Miss Stuckey studied with Alice Chalifoux of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Lillian Phillips at Ball State University, and coached with Lucy Lewis from Oberlin College and Edward Druzinsky of the Chicago Symphony.

In 1973 she was a finalist in the American Harp Society International Competition. From 1976 to the present, Miss Stuckey has participated in such summer festivals as Salzedo School in Camden, Maine, the Northern Indiana Opera Association, the Colorado Philharmonic, the Michigan State Opera Festival, and was harp and piano instructor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in 1984. In 1982 she was a recipient of the Philharmonic Women's committee's summer study scholarship.

Miss Stuckey has played with the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Midwest Pops Orchestra and South Bend Symphony, and is in her tenth season as Principal Harp with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. She also plays weekly at the Marriott and teaches privately.