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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 47th Season

A Tribute to American Music

Sunday, November 10th, 1985
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Manchester Variations R. Gary Deavel  
 

Introduction
Variation 1 - March
Variation 2 - Elegy
Variation 3 - Dance
Variation 4 - Ballad
Variation 5 - Finale

   
  Commissioned by the Manchester Symphony Orchestra
for the celebration of American Music Week
 
       
  Selections by Rodgers and Hammerstein    
 

Oklahoma: "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning"
The Sound of Music: "Climb Every Mountain"

 
  John Planer, tenor  
 

The Sound of Music: "My Favorite Things"
The Sound of Music: "The Sound of Music"

 
  Carol Streator, soprano  
 

Carousel: "Soliloquy"

 
  Floyd Slotterback, baritone  
       
  Intermission  
       
  An Outdoor Overture Aaron Copland  
  (In honor of the composer's 85th birthday)  
       
  New York Profiles Norman Dello Joio  
 

Prelude - "The Cloisters"
Caprise - "The Park"
Chorale Fantasy - "The Tomb"
Festal Dance - "Little Itlay"

   
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Manchester Variations R. Gary Deavel
(b. 1930)
 
 

In 1977, Patricia Helman wrote the words and I the music for the college song, "Manchester Fair." In these variations I have used six motives from that song. They appear in various melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic disguises -- some more transparent than others. Their order is frequently rearranged. Only in the finale do they unmask and conform to their original shape and order.

The work is comprised of an introduction and five variations. The "Introduction" is in a moderately slow temp and presents the three principal motives and their mirror images. The first variation is a quick "March." The woodwinds are features, backed by drum and triangle. The second variation is an "Elegy." The oboe solo at the outset is derived from the principal motive, but cast in a medieval mode (Phrygian). The third variation features frequently changing meters and is called "Dance." The string motive heard at the beginning and end of the variation is taken from the bass line of the first phrase of the song. The fourth variation is called "Ballad." The bassoon plays a mirror version of the principal motive decorated by an obligato line in the violins. The resulting duet features open fourths and fifths -- intervals frequently prominent in country music. The fifth variation of "Finale" begins in a gigue rhythm. The woodwinds, brass and strings each have the gigue figure in turn. The full orchestra concludes with a complete statement of "Manchester Fair." There is a brief coda with references to the "Fight Song" (oboe), "Alma Mater" (flute) and "Manchester Fair" (clarinet).

"Manchester Variations" was commissioned by the Manchester Symphony Society and is dedicated to Robert Jones and the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.

-- R. Gary Deavel


 
       
  Selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein Richard Rodgers
(1902-1979)
Oscar Hammerstein II
(1895-1960)
 
 

"Rodgers and Hart!" Would there ever be another pair like that? The names went together like Gilbert and Sullivan, like Rimsky and Korsakov (well, not quite). The partnership of Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart went back as far as 1919, when they published their first song. Rodgers was only sixteen! Think of those hits: There's a Small Hotel, The Lady Is a Tramp, Funny Valentine, With a Song in My Heart, Blue Moon, and the waltzes The Most Beautiful Girl in the World and Falling in Love with Love. One might ask after Lorenz Hart died, what would happen to "Rodgers and Hart?" After Hardy died, was there a "Laurel and Hammerstein?"

Rodgers found a new partner in Oscar Hammerstein II. The fruit of their first collaboration came in 1943: Oklahoma! and the American musical was never the same. Oklahoma! was the first musical to integrate dance, drama and music, as opposed to the earlier style of having "set pieces" which were sung while the action waited. Oklahoma! was practically an American opera. Many successes were to follow: Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific, and, of course, The Sound of Music. Now the names "Rodgers and Hammerstein" roll easily off the tongue, and poor Lorenz Hart is forgotten by many, even as they sing his songs.

Today's selections are as follows:

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning (from Oklahoma)
Climb Every Mountain (from The Sound of Music)
My Favorite Things (from The Sound of Music)
The Sound of Music (you guessed it!)
Soliloquy (from Carousel)


 
       
  An Outdoor Overture Aaron Copland
(b. 1900)
 
 

Aaron Copland, the son of an immigrant family, grew to be considered the most "American" of American composers. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and spent the first twenty years of his life there in a street which, in his words, "can only be described as drab." At the age of twenty-one, he was able to go to Paris, where he studied under Paul Vidal, and the legendary Nadia Boulanger. He was her first American student, and she was sufficiently impressed to commission him to write an organ concerto for her to perform during her American tour. With this work, he established himself as an important addition to American musical life.

He wrote memorable film music, such as The Red Pony, Quiet City, Our Town, and Of Mice and Men, but he is perhaps best known for his ballet music, Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, and Billy the Kid. His book What to Listen for in Music has sold in the millions. He was also a much admired conductor, and completed a successful conducting tour of Europe in the mid-70s.

The present work, An Outdoor Overture, was commissioned in 1938 for the school orchestra of the New York High School of Music and Art. It is based on a six-note theme, falling and then rising. This is repeated in various guises and immediately there appear the familiar hints of American folk music, with the violin discords associated with square-dance fiddlers. Shortly, there follows a sweet, contemplative section featuring the solo trumpet against an ostinato of three notes played pizzicato. After this, there are references to the theme in a kind of hoe-down treatment. The ending of this section is punctuated by a fanfare version of the theme, after which there is a quiet passage for the flute. There is much in this section to remind us of Stravinsky's theater music.

After a short interlude of a rapid-fire version of the six-note theme, a determined march develops, reminiscent of Copland's film music. Then the theme is repeated as fanfares, complete with drums and cymbals, only to be followed by another quiet interlude, with a return to the three-note ostinato. This is replaced by a faster, driving march, almost swaggering in its ebullience, and the work comes to a close with a grand ending, suggesting great triumph.


 
       
  New York Profiles Normal Dello Joio
(b. 1913)
 
 

Norman Dello Joio can be counted among the most respected, if not the most fashionable of contemporary American composers. This lack of fashionableness may be a strong recommendation to the general audience who is likely to listen to avant garde music more out of a sense of duty than anything else. Dello Joio's music does show an awareness, and even an appreciation of the serial experiments of the twentieth-century Viennese school, but it does not fall into an anonymous imitation of the system heard in much contemporary music.

As a cautionary point, one is reminded of the fate of Aaron Copland, whose early music was highly praised for its "American" quality, but who later was excoriated by the critics for not being "modern" enough. Responding to this criticism, he produced a few fashionably atonal pieces which were so far from his natural bent that he stopped composing almost altogether.

Dello Joio, on the other hand, has adopted what is useful to him from the avant garde catalog, but has never opted for trendy obfuscation over straightforward musical statements.

Dello Joio has said, "Too much of the music being written today is improvisatory and tends to hide behind the sheen of a large orchestral machinery. The current decline in musical craft is to a great extent attributable to many composers' preoccupation with effect and not substance."

Dello Joio was born in New York into a musical family. His father was a church organist who played duets with his son at the age of twelve. He became strongly influenced by his godfather, Pietro Yon, organist at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. He studied with Bernard Wagenaar at Juilliard, and with Paul Hindemith at the Berkshire Music Center and Yale University.

New York Profiles (written in 1949) consists of four movements. The first, Prelude - The Cloisters, is slow, almost mournful, or plaintive. It has strong reminders of organ chords, which is hardly surprising, given Dello Joio's background.

The second movement, Caprice - The Park, is considerable more lively than the first. It is full of syncopated, jaunty rhythms that evoke images of Gene Kelly dancing his way through Central Park.

The third movement, Choral Fantasy - The Tomb, begins, like the first, with a slow melody, played by the trumpet, followed by a tympany roll, the whole sounding like a lament. The strings play long chords reminding us of organ music, or Gregorian chant... even more-so than in the first movement. Percussion, trumpets, strings, horns, and woodwinds are heard in quick succession. Before the end, we hear variations on the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

The final movement, Festal Dance - Little Italy, begins with a determined, march-like rhythm. The music is meant to suggest the spirit of the section of New York City known as "Little Italy," because of the concentration of Italians living there. We hear strong hints of the tarantella, conjuring up visions of the gay street-life of this closely-knit ethnic community with its street-vendors, organ-grinders, and games of "bocce."


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Ervin Orban, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Anne Boebel
Carolyn Caldwell
Maryann Erwin
Eloise Guy
Linda Hare
Jonathan Hess +^
Vera Jones +^
David Neal
Angela Rogers
Vernon Stinebaugh

Viola
Annette Martin *
Dessie Arnold
Gordon Collins
Naida Walker

Cello
Waverly Conlan *
Valerie Goetz Boud
Joellen Placeway
Rebecca B. Waas

Bass
Christopher Bowser *
Calvin Bisha
Kevin Piekarski

Piccolo
Nancy Bloom +^

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Isabelle Beauchard
Nancy Bloom +^

Oboe
Stephanie Jones *
Dawn Zumbrun

English Horn
Stephanie Jones
Clarinet
Loa Traxler *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano *
Vickie Ball

Horn
Eric Jones *+
Kent Teeters
Brenda J. Willoughby +^
Lois Geible

Trumpet
Ray Goelz *+ (co-)
Steve Hammer * (co-)
Jeff West +

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

Tuba
John Beery

Timpani
Dale Largent +

Percussion
Tom Littlefield *+
Terry McKee
Tana Tinkey +

Harp
Bridgett Stuckey

Piano
Robin Gratz

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
R. Gary Deavel began the study of music at the Miami Valley Conservatory in Dayton, Ohio, when he was 6 years old. He holds the Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Manchester College, the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Sherwood School of Music in Chicago, and the Ph.D. in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. At Sherwood he was a composition student of Florence Galajikian and at Eastman he studied composition with Louis Menini. While in Rochester he received an honorable mention for a choral composition entered in the Presbyterian Fine Arts Festival. He has written for organ, choir and chamber ensemble.
John Planer is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Manchester College, where he has taught since 1969. His Bachelor of Arts degree is from Knox College and his masters and doctorate degrees are in musicology from the University of Michigan. He has performed as a soloist in performances of the Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, and Elijah as well as given occasional recitals. One of Dr. Planer's primary interests is Jewish liturgical music, and he serves as cantor at Temple Shalom in Galesburg, Illinois, and The Temple in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has also composed numerous liturgical compositions. He is currently at work on a book exploring the manner in which people criticize and judge art, literature, and music.
Floyd Slotterback earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa in 1982. He has been on the Manchester College faculty as Assistant Professor of Music since 1979. His teaching responsibilities include direction of the choirs, voice, and conducting. Prior to 1979 he taught in the public schools in Arizona, where he received the master of Music from Arizona State University. His undergraduate degree was conferred "with distinction" from Grinnel College in 1972. He has appeared as a baritone soloist in area churches and with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, in recital, and as a choral clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor. He is currently serving his second term as Secretary of the Indiana Choral Directors Association.
Carol Murphy Streator holds a master's degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Metropoplitan opera star, Anna Kaskas. Her concert experience has included opera, oratorio, chamber music and recitals in both New York state and Indiana. Most recently she appeared with the Fort Wayne symphony and chorus as soprano soloist for the Schubert Mass in G. Mrs. Streator has taught at the college and public school level and is currently teaching in a private studio for voice and piano. She also may be found most Sundays directing the local United Methodist Church choir.