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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 49th Season

 

Sunday, March 13th, 1988
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Mont Blanc Overture, Op. 72 John Bavicchi  
       
  Concertino for Tuba and String Orchestra Arthur Frackenpohl  
 

I. Moderato
II. Lento
III. Allegro

   
  John Beery, tuba  
       
  L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2 Georges Bizet  
 

I. Pastorale
II. Intermezzo
III. Menuetto
IV. Farandole

   
       
  Intermission  
       
  Symphony No. 59 in A Major ("Fire") Franz Joseph Haydn  
 

I. Presto
II. Andante o piu tosto Allegretto
III. Menuetto
IV. Allegro assai

   
       
  Serenade, Op. 18 William Mathias  
 

I. Allegretto
II. Lento, ma con moto
III. Allegro con slancio

   
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Mont Blanc Overture, Op. 72 John Bavicchi
(b. 1922)
 
 

John Bavicchi was born in Boston on April 25, 1922. His initial training was as a civil engineer. After four years study of engineering and four of service in the U.S. Navy he entered the New England Conservatory in 1948, and subsequently joined Walter Piston's composition class at Harvard.

Student days over, Mr. Bavicchi has divided his time between composing, teaching, and conducting. After varied freelance teaching posts he joined the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in 1964, lecturing in composition, music history, and conducting.

Mr. Bavicchi is conductor of the Arlington Philharmonic Society Chorus and orchestra. Besides conducting a wide repertoire of orchestral and choral music he has also written for the orchestra with great success. It is his experience with community orchestras and bands on a highly practical level over several years that has made his works so valuable to community orchestras. Bavicchi knows exactly how far one can challenge both orchestra and audience.

Over the last twenty-five years or so he has built up a diverse and impressive list of over eighty-five works. He is a composer who refutes the ivory-tower approach utterly. His music is written with a clear sense of purpose, which never loses sight of his aesthetic and expressive intentions. Thus he has written for symphony orchestra, ensembles of mallets and percussion, string quartet, band, piano, chorus, organ, and solo voice to mention but a few.

Bavicchi the composer has been honored with awards from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, the American Symphony Orchestra league Recording Grant and with commissions from the Harvard Musical Association, Cecilia Choral Society, Welsh Arts Council, MIT Concert Band, and Boston Civic Symphony among others. His works have been performed in countries as far away as Australia, Canada, England, France, Wales, Germany, Peru, Turkey, and Sweden.

The word "overture" has two meanings. It can refer to a short piece intended to precede an opera, frequently containing references to themes to appear later in the main work, or it can refer to an orchestral piece, to be played independently of any other work. What differentiates such an overture from other concert pieces is its structure, which is derived from that of the so-called French, or Lullian, overture. This has come to be almost synonymous with "suite." It generally consists of a series of short, contrasting dances.

Another modern meaning of the word is a piece, very like a prelude to an opera, but without the opera... a sort of tone poem like Mendelssohn's "Hebrides" Overture, or Brahms' "Academic Fesitval" Overture. Bavicchi's "Mont Blanc" Overture is more like a suite of short dances of contrasting character. About half way through, there is a fugue introduced by the clarinets before being taken up by the other wind instruments and finally the violins. The work ends with a march.

John Bavicchi wrote the piece while he was on a summer vacation near Chamonix, France. The title refers to the highest mountain in the French Alps.


 
       
  Concertino for Tuba and String Orchestra Arthur Frackenpohl
(b. 1924)
 
 

Arthur Frackenpohl is a contemporary American composer, born in New Jersey in 1924. He has studied with American and European teachers (Bernard Rogers of the Eastman School of Music, Darius Milhaud and Nadia Boulanger, of France), and produces an easily appreciated music of an international character.

He is both a composer and a teacher. He has produced more than 200 works, mostly vocal and keyboard pieces. He has taught at every level, and spent a year as composer-in-residence in the Hemptstead, N.Y., public school system. He has written a number of works to be played by non-professional musicians, and his band music is popular in high schools.

Liek the word "overture," "concertino" has two meanings, which though different, are related. The twentieth century meaning is "small concerto." That is what we have here. The word "concerto," itself, suggests combat, or at least, competition. One small group of instruments (the "concertino" in the 18th century sense) or a single instrument, later, "vies" with the larger part of the orchestra.

In this work, the tuba "contends" with the orchestra in the manner of a concerto, but only for a short time, and in a light-hearted way. Hence: Concertino.

The work is scored for solo tuba, violins, viola, cello, and double-bass. It is in three parts, plus a coda, or summation.

Part I is marked Moderato, and begins in 4/4 time, changing to 5/4 toward the end of the section. Part II is marked Lento, and is in 4/4 time. Part III is Allegro, begins in 6/8 time and changes to 9/8 time about a quarter of the way through.

Frackenpohl's Concertino for Tuba and String Orchestra was written in 1967.


 
       
  L'Arlesienne Suite No. 2 Georges Bizet
(1838-1875)
 
 

This is the second of two suites derived from the incidental music to the play L'Arlesienne (The Girl from Arles), by Alphonse Daudet. The play itself was unsuccessful, having a run of fewer than three weeks. Bizet rescored the music into a suite of five pieces, and after his death, his friend Ernest Guirand arranged four more pieces to form a second suite, three movements of which we are to hear today. As in so many cases, the "incidental" music has outlived the play to which it had been considered secondary.

The first movement of the second suite is titled Pastorale. It is slow and rhythmic in the manner of a barcarolle. This "rowing" pace is broken by a faster section, decidedly Spanish in flavor, after which the music returns to its previous mood.

The second movement, Intermezzo, opens with a short and powerfully dramatic melodic statement in the strings, low woodwinds, and horns. The middle section has a more animated tempo and is highlighted by a gorgeous melody played by horn and alto saxophone. The emotional high point of this section is reached with a return to the material heard at the beginning of the movement.

The third movement is a stately and dignified Menuetto. The first and last sections of the movement are given to harp and solo flute, with a saxophone counterpoint near the end. The middle section consists of short, punctuated chords for full orchestra.

The last movement, Farandole, returns to the opening theme of the Prelude to the first suite, a stately theme, now treated in canonic fashion. Then the flute leads us into a lively dance, after which, the two themes are played simultaneously to the end.


 
       
  Symphony No. 59 in A Major ("Fire") Joseph Haydn
(1732-1809)
 
 

This symphony dates from the so-called "early middle period." The numbering of Haydn's symphonies is in dissaray, so that the "59th" is earlier than one is led to expect, coming as it does between numbers 35 and 38. There are two manuscripts dated 1769, but Haydn scholar H.C. Robbins Landon believes it was written even earlier, about 1766 or 1767. It acquired its name, "Fire Symphony," as the result of its being played in 1774 as entr'acte music for a play by Gustav Grossmann, called Die Feuersbrunst (The Conflagration). In fact, one manuscript states that it was written as entr'acte music for the play. The music has so many theatrical qualities that one could easily believe that assertion, were it not for the two previous manuscripts.

The 59th is really a neglected Haydn symphony. As recently as 1968 there were no recordings of it listed in Schwann. Even today there are only two listed, compared with eight for the 101st and eleven for the 94th! Critical commentary, also, is hard to find. Haydn, himself, made no reference to it in his published correspondence. Liner notes for both recordings have to resort to the same source (the above-mentioned Mr. Landon) for short comments.

This neglect can perhaps be explained by the fact that the 59th was written during the so-called Sturm und Drang period of Haydn's career. Space permits no fuller description of Sturm und Drang (usually translated "Storm and Stress") than that it was a German Romantic literary movement growing out of the writing of Rousseau, and exemplified by Goethe's Die Leiden des junger Werthers ("The Sorrows of Young Werther"). At about this time, Haydn and other Austrian composers began to write symphonies in a minor key which are said to be deeper, more emotional, more symbolic... in short, Romantic.

Although Haydn has long been considered the Grand Master of Classical Form because of his development of the sonata form, and the elegant architecture of his symphonies, it is true that there are strong elements of Romantic drama in his work as well. Late 19th and early 20th century critics admired this "modern" quality in Haydn's music, pointing out that it foreshadowed Beethoven, and tended to ignore the sunny, light works like the 59th, also written during this period, because they were "atypical," that is, they didn't fit the theory of Haydn as a proto-Romantic.

As it turns out, the nineteenth century critics were jumping to conclusions about the relationship of Viennese music to the German Sturm und Drang movement, since recent scholarship reveals that many of the symphonies so designated were written before the literary movement of that name developed.

Unhappily for critical theorists, Haydn did not pass through neatly defined periods like some 19th century Picasso. While his concept of Symphonic structure can be seen developing throughout his career, the character of his music fluctuated as the mood struck him. His symphonies are simply not all alike in any particular "period." with the "Fire Symphony" we find him in a witty mood.

The symphony is in four movements. The first opens tutti, and is rhythmically driving and light-hearted ... even jaunty, with violins accelerating from eighth to sixteenth notes while drumming out the tonic A. The movement (presto) begins forte, and ends pianissimo, with many rapid and unexpected shifts between forte and piano throughout.

The second movement is slow (Andante o piu tosto allegretto), and opens with strings only. The principal theme has a lovely, flowing quality like a lullaby. Twice in this movement the horns make a military intrusion which the strings ignore, placidly restating the lullaby. This distinctly martial horn call (marked fortissimo) comes about nineteen bars after the entrance of the winds, and reminds us of the fact that the music was played at the presentation of Grossmann's Die Feuersbrunst. Landon cautions us not to be swayed by this, reminding us of the earlier manuscripts, but the horn call clearly suits the military atmosphere of the play, even though it appears to have been written four years before the play was produced. In any case, the horn call, as you will see, foreshadows things to come.

The third movement (Menuetto), like the first, begins tutti, but like the second, emphasizes the strings... especially in the singing Trio section. Both the second and the third movements stress legato playing in contrast to the staccato playing of the sprightly first, and the rousing, even military fourth.

In the Finale, the winds have it. Reversing the procedure of the second movement, the fourth opens for the winds alone, with fanfares reminding us of Handel's Water Music. The winds dominate this movement as the strings did the previous two. After all, we were "warned" by the unexpected horn-calls in the second movement. What seemed disruptive at the time seems unifying in retrospect.


 
       
  Serenade, Op. 18 William Mathias
(b. 1934)
 
 

William Mathias was born in 1934 in Wales. He took a first class honors degree in music from the University College of Wales in 1956. He later studied composition with Lennox Berkeley, and piano with Peter katin. He is now Head of the Music Department of the University College of North Wales.

His principal instrument is the piano, and by the time he was twenty-six, he had written two piano concerti as well as several smaller works for the piano and other instruments. His Welse background inevitably drew him to vocal music, which makes up fully one third of his output,and has recently dominated his production.

Mathias writes not only for all instrumental and vocal combinations, but also for all degrees of expertise, from small school groups, church choirs, and advanced amateur ensembles, to large, professional groups. His works range from intimate sonatas to full symphonies, large choral pieces, and (up to now) one opera. His most noted recent composition is "Let the people praise thee, O God," an anthem composed for the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

The Serenade for Small Orchestra was written in 1961, toward the end of a period in which Mathias was principally interested in instrumental composition. No key signature is given for this work, nor for any other by Mathias, but while in the work of other composers this is an indication of modern disregard for tonality, and prepares the listener for some hard-going, in mathias' music it is not a warning that there are no tonal center -- only that there are shifting tonal centers, a device which adds spice without placing a heavy demand upon the listener.

Mathias favors open textures generally, and that preference is apparent in the Serenade. The work opens with a few short notes, tutti, after which paired oboes come in against a harp and cello ostinato. This establishes the character of the whole piece in that the various instruments jump in after one-another in sprightly fashion, and are rarely heard all together, though the texture becomes noticeably denser toward the end.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Ervin Orban, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Carolyn Caldwell
Joyce Dubach
He Hueng
Pei-Yi Hu
Janel McKinley
Carol Ann Petty
Angela Rogers
Vernon Stinebaugh
John Thomas
Roxanne Thomas
Lynn Truman
Michael Wurzburger +^

Viola
Annette Martin *
Peter Collins
Kristina M. Lange +
Naida Walker

Cello
Christina Palmer *+^
Betty Bueker
Valerie Goetz Boud
Wallace Dubach
Rebecca Waas

Bass
Randy Gratz *
Alan Niezabitowski
George W. Scheerer

Flute
Maryanne C. Beery *+ (co-)
Kathy Urbani * (co-)

Oboe
Susan Turnquist *
Stephanie Jones

English Horn
Susan Turnquist
Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano *
Marty Spake

Saxophone
Dean Smekens

Horn
G. Kent Teeters *
Nancy A. Bremer
Jennifer E. Payne
Lois Geible

Trumpet
Mike Clark * (co-)
Steven Hammer * (co-)
Ben Smith +

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter * (co-)
James A. Perez * (co-)
Thomas R. Airgood

Tuba
Michael Harkness +

Timpani
Tana Tinkey +

Percussion
Larry Ford *
Suzanne Beard +
Michael Harkness +

Harp
Michelle Kyrou

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
John BeeryJohn Beery received the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. He studied tuba there with Norman C. Dietz and William H. Rivard. During further graduate studies at Michigan State University, Mr. Beery studied with Curtis Olson and Leonard Falcone.

Mr. Beery has been principal tuba with the Saginaw Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, West Shore Symphony, and the West Michigan Wind Ensemble. He has performed with the Festival Band, the Sousa Band, the Brass Choir, and Faculty-Staff Tuba Ensemble at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

As an adjudicator, Mr. Beery is active in Indiana and Michigan where he judges solo, ensemble, and band festivals. He also performs as a recital soloist for a variety of audiences.

Before assuming his present position with Manchester College, Mr. Beery was a director of instrumental music in the public schools of Michigan for 22 years. He was active in establishing and promoting adult bands and twice served as state chairman of the Adult Band Committee for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association. In 1979, he founded the Marshall Rotary Band in Marshall, Michigan, and was its musical director until he came to Manchester College in 1984. He was also on the Board of Directors for the West Michigan Wind Ensemble and the Kalamazoo Concert Band.

Professor Beery serves the Manchester College Department of Music as Director of Bands. He also teaches various methods courses and private brass lessons.