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Concert Program Cover

Fourth Concert of the 49th Season

 

Sunday, May 15th, 1988
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  American Salute Morton Gould  
       
  Concertino, Op. 107 Cecile Chaminade  
  Maryanne Beery, flute  
       
  "Alleluja" from Exultate Jubilate, K. 165 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
  Suzanne Beard, soprano  
       
  Two Songs Without Words, Op. 22 Gustav Holst  
 

1. Country Song
2. Marching Song

   
       
  Intermission  
       
  Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 Felix Mendelssohn  
 

I. Molto Allegro con fuoco

   
  Qin Shu-Dong, piano  
       
  Highlights from Evita Andrew Lloyd Webber  
       
  "Polka and Fugue" from Schwanda the Bagpiper Jaromir Weinberger  
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  American Salute Morton Gould
(b. 1913)
 
 

Morton Gould is one of those American composers, like Aaron Copland, who have tried to establish an "American idiom" by means of the incorporation of both jazz and folk elements in their music. His music with a jazzy flavor reminds one of Gershwin, but the two are very different sorts of composers. While Gershwin had achieved popular success before he bagen to write "serious" music, like the Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue (he wrote only the piano part, leaving the orchestration to Ferde Grofé), Gould came at jazz "from the top," as they say, starting with serious music and moving to jazz. He began to compose at the age of four and graduated from New York University when he was fifteen. He was classically trained, but began playing on Broadway to earn a living. He played at Radio City Music Hall for a while, and then moved to NBC. His radio show brought his name to the public.

Gould's music not only sounds American, it even looks American (the titles, that is). Among his works are :Chorale and Fugue in Jazz, Americana Suite, A Cowboy Rhapsody, Spirituals for Orchestra, A Lincoln Legend, Swing Symphonietta, Boogi-Woogie Etude, Big City Blues, Concerto for Tap Dancer and Orchestra, A Foster GalleryMinstrel show, Fall River Legend, and more, on distinctly American subjects.

American Salute is a short set of variations on the theme of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." The theme is so familiar, it needs no further comment. Gould was a master orchestrator, and this piece is an orchestral showcase. The jazz element is apparent.


 
       
  Concertino for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 107 Cecile Chaminade
(1857-1944)
 
 

Cecile Chaminade was born in Paris. She was a prodigy. Ambroise Thomas heard her music when she was eighteen and pronounced that she was not a "woman composer, but a composer-woman," and no less a composer than Bizet thought she had a brilliant career ahead of her when he heard some of her compositions when she was eight years old.

However, although she had a successful career as a concert pianist, she did not fulfill her promise as a composer. Critics describe her music as slight, but charming; shallow, but listenable. Percy Scholes writes that her piano pieces are tuneful and graceful, but show "no intricacy of texture, no elaboration of form, and no depth of feeling... ...so tasteful in conception and execution as to disarm the highbrow critic." (But not Scholes, apparently!) Her best-known work is the Konzertstick für Piano, but one of her most delightful short works is the Concertino for Flute


 
       
  "Alleluja" from Exultate Jubilate Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

After the success of the film Amadeus, there is little to be said about Mozart that is not widely known. One of the earliest anecdotes about him is found in a letter from Johann Andre Schachtner, court trumpeter at Salzburg, to Mozart's sister, Maria Anna. Schachtner had gone to the Mozart home with Leopold, Wolfgang's father, where they found little four-year-old Wolfgangerl (as he was known familiarly) busy with pen and paper. He was writing notes which were little more than blobs, since he was dipping the pen all the way to bottom of the well, so that every time he put point to paper, a drop of ink fell down and blotted the paper. Leopold picked up the paper to decypher it, and his amusement at the presumption of the little tyke turned to admiration as he began to hum the tune. The annotation beneath the smear was accurate, but much too difficult to play. But little Mozart disagreed, saying that it was a concerto, and of course would require much practice. He then proceeded to play enough of it to convince the adults of its worth.

The motet Exultate Jubilate was written while Mozart was in Milan, early in 1773. He wrote it to be sung by a man, Venanzio Rauzzine, according to the biographer W.J. Turner, but it is known as being for soprano, orchestra, and orga. The "Alleluja" is the best-known portion of the motet.


 
       
  Two Songs Without Words, Op. 22 Gustav Holst
(1847-1934)
 
 

Holst was born in Cheltenham, England, and showed musical aptitude at a very early age. He was already composing as a child, and played many different instruements. He was the village organist and conductor of choral societies before he was nineteen, at which time he went to the Royal College of Music, where he spent five years.

His best-known work, by far, is The Planets, showing his interest in astrology. This is a fully orchestrated tour de force, betraying the strong influence of Wagner. He was soon to throw off this influence as he became very interested in folk music to which he was introduced by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. Of the series of folk-music-inspired compositions, these two songs are the first. His daughter, and biographer, Imogen Holst, points out that these songs are written in the style of folksongs, but are original, and that the echo of Wagner's Siegried Idyll can be heard in Country Song. The two songs are dedicated to Ralph Vaughan-Williams.


 
       
  Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op., 25
(First Movement)
Felix Mendelssohn
(1809-1847)
 
 

Mendelssohn was charming and refined. So was his music. Perhaps the word most commonly used to describe it is "elegant." Of the "Big Three" composers of the early nineteenth century (Chopin, Schumann, and Mendelssohn), he was the least innovative. He was very popular in his time, but even his supporters would have hesitated to describe his music as "great." As performer and conductor, his talent was formidable. He was largely responsible for the belated recognition of Bach, and when he conducted the first performance in over a century of the St. Matthew Passion, and found that the wrong score had been delivered, he conducted from memory, turning the pages at the right moment to avoid unsettling the orchestra.

As a youth, Mendelssohn was compared to Mozart. They were both prodigies. It was just that Mozart continued to grow musically, while Mendelssohn was content to refine his youthful powers. That his youthful powers were considerable can be attested to by the words of that irrascible Canadian genius, Glenn Gould, who, notwithstanding a diatribe against Romantic piano composition, singles the young Mendelssohn out for praise:

"...I don't think any of the early romantic composers knew how to write for the piano. Oh, they knew how to use the pedal, and how to make dramatic effects, splashing notes in every direction, but there's very little real composing going on. The music of that era is full of empty theatrical gestures, full of exhibitionism, and it has a worldly, hedonistic quality that simply turns me off." (Wow!)

A moment later, Gould is praising early works by Richard Strauss, and describes them as "...minor miracles: as refined, as polished, as anything Mendelssohn did in his teen-age years. And with the exception of Mendelssohn, no sisteen-year-old has ever written with such craft and assurance - I am not forgetting Mozart." These comments are from an interview published in the "Piano Quarterly," Fall 1981.

The Romantics used the piano as a homophonic instrument instead of a contrapuntal one, and that is what Gould dislikes about early Romantic piano music. Music of this era reflects the development of the piano-forte. Mozart had only five octaves to work with. Beethoven had six. Mendelssohn had seven. Together with the expansion of the keyboard range, came the greater dynamic range, and the change from the delicate fingering of Mozart to the powerful wrist and forearm playing of Liszt and Chopin. Mendelssohn is conservative in this latter respect, perhaps because he was less robust.

Like a good romantic, Mendelssohn died at the age of 38, but in other respects he did not follow the romantic pattern. He did not suffer like Mozart. He came from a wealthy, cultivated, loving, and understanding family. He moved in the highest social circles, and was respected by all but his most bitter rivals. Franz Liszt made a disparaging remark about him while dining at the home of Robert and Clara Schumann, and was forced to apologize and leave the table.

The present concerto is conservative in some ways, and "modern" in others. Earlier concertos allowed for a long orchestral introduction, a la Mozart. For the romantics, Beethoven may have set a bad example with his first three concertos, by leaving as long as three-and-a-half minutes before the entry of the piano. This had been done skillfully by Mozart (and even by Beethoven - in his 3rd), but the practice degenerated in the first two decades of the 19th Century, to orchestral introductions that seemed to be hastily written to fill the space, pro forma, before the solo entry. Other times, the orchestra said too much, making the piano entry anticlimactic.

Mendelssohn has the piano jump right in so that the orchestra and piano share the whole operation. There is not even a gap between first and second movements, and only a brief pause to announce the third. The concerto is reformed as a whole. This musical integrity is driven home by references in the final movement of themes heard in the first. On this occasion, we hear only the first movement, molto allegro con fuoco.


 
       
  Highlights from Evita Andrew Lloyd Webber
(b. 1948)
 
 

Andrew Lloyd Webber comes from a musical family. His father, William, is a serious composer, and his brother Julian is a cello virtuoso. Andrew first came to prominence with his sensational Jesus Christ Superstar. The musical took an unorthodox look at the life of Christ, and was accused of being blasphemous. Cats was another success in both London and New York, as was Evita. All these are musicals, but Andrew also has written music in a more tradtionally classical vein, such as Requiem, and Variations (on a theme of Paganini).

Evita is based on the live of Evita Peron, the wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron. The best-known song from this musical is "Don't Cry for Me Argentina."


 
       
  "Polka and Fugue" from Schwanda the Bagpiper Jaromir Weinberger
(1896-1967)
 
 

Weinberger was a composer of operas, of which the most famous is Schwanda the Bagpiper (Prague 1927). It was enormously popular for a time, being translated into nearly twenty languages. Wallenstein (1937) was another successful opera. From 1939 to 1967, he lived in the United States.

The music by this Czech composer is sure to remind you of the music of Dvorak and Smetana (The Bartered Bride). Weinberger was particularly fond of Smetana

Music is replete with rascally heroes from Peer Gynt and Till Eulenspiegel, to Hary Janos and Lt. Kije. In this work, we have Schwanda the Bagpiper, who gets himself out of trouble through the playing of his marvelous bagpipier.

His most popular work is this excerpt from the opera Schwanda. The polka is, of course, lively ... lively enough to charm away a curse. The fugue is especially wonderful. It starts delicately, and grows in force, using the rich resources of the entire orchestra. This fugue afforded Schwanda safe-conduct through the portals of Hell. (How he could have played any fugue on a bagpipe is a wonder in itself!)


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Ervin Orban, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Carolyn Caldwell
Anita Daniel
Linda Hare
Edwin Papiez
Angela Rogers
Karen Schaefer
Vernon Stinebaugh
Roxanne Thomas
Lynn Truman
Michael Wurzburger +^

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

Cello
Waverly Conlan *
Betty Bueker
Valerie Goetz Boud
Christina Palmer +^
Rebecca Waas

Bass
Adrian Mann *
Randy Gratz
George W. Scheerer

Piccolo
Mary Beth Gnagy

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

Oboe
Susan Turnquist *
Stephanie Jones

English Horn
Stephanie Jones
Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bass Clarinet
Margaret Beery

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano *
Marty Spake

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

Trumpet
Mike Clark * (co-)
Steven Hammer * (co-)
Keith Whitford

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter * (co-)
James A. Perez * (co-)
Bill Anders

Tuba
Michael Harkness +

Timpani
Tana Tinkey +

Percussion
David Mendenhall
Robin Gratz

Harp
Melissa Gallant

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 

Our Soloists

The three Manchester College students appearing as soloists today are winners of an audition held in February, 1988. Jodges for the competition were Irene Ator, organist at the First Wayne Street United Methodist in Fort Wayne, and John Morse, french hornist and member of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

Suzanne Beard is from Columbia City, Indiana, and is a 1986 graduate of Columbia City Joint High School. She is a sophomore music education major at Manchester College, and is a member of teh A Cappella Choir, Entertainers, and Concert Band. She is also piano accompanist for the Manchester Singers. During her high school years, Suzanne studied voice with Toni Smith; at Manchester College she studies privately with Dr. Patricia Cahalan. Her parents are Sally and Steve Beard of Columbia City.
Maryanne Beery is from North Manchester, Indiana, and graduated in 1986 from the Interlochen Arts Academy. Her music activities at Manchester College include Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, A Cappella Choir, Entertainers, and Jazz Ensemble. Her flute teachers include Jacqueline Hofto of the Interlochen Arts Academy, and Alexander Murray, flute instructor at the University of Illinois. At Manchester College, where she is a sophomore music major, Maryanne studies flute with Robert Jones. her parents are John and Margaret Beery of North Manchester.
Qin Shu-Dong is from the People's Republic of China and is a student at Manchester College under the Brethren Colleges Abroad program. He graduated from the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in 1986 with a Bachelor of Music degree. From 1985 to 1987 he was a teaching assistant at Shenyang Conservatory. His piano teacher at the Conservatory was Han Man-Yun. Qin's mother is Yue Ping-Ghieu and his father is Qin-Yong Cheng, President of Shenyang Conservatory and a noted composer.