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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 50th Season

 

Sunday, March 12th, 1989
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture to Egmont, Op. 84 Ludwig van Beethoven  
       
  Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 Sergei Prokofiev  
  Karen Klimpert, narrator  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 Ludwig van Beethoven  
 

I. Allegro con brio
II. Largo
III. Rondo-Allegro

   
  Nelson Padgett, piano  
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
Incidental Music to Goethe's Tragedy
Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770-1827)
 
 

The popular view of Beethoven as a fiery, fiercely independent individual is quite correct. He frequently chose as heroes (or heroines, in the case of Leonore) those highly principled people who were willing to risk death in the defiance of authority. Goethe, who had a similar attitude, provided Beethoven with considerable inspiration.

European writers and composers were always eager to use the Spanish as the villains of the piece (Tosca, Leonore, Don Giovanni, Il Trovatore, La Forza del Destino, Carmen). If passion and treachery are required, the Spanish will supply them. No doubt this is the result of two facts: (1) Spain was the most powerful country in the world for a long time, with the English and the French its chief rivals, and (2) Spain was the standard-bearer of Catholicism, and the Protestants missed no opportunity to portray the Catholics in a bad light. In the case of Egmont, however, Goethe and Beethoven had found a genuine hero.

Count Egmont (or Egmond) lived during the 16th century in the Netherlands. For some time he served the Spanish monarchs Charles V and Philip II. He fought with the Spanish against the French; he acted as intermediary for Philip in his suit for the hand of Mary of England, and attended the subsequent wedding. He was a very successful general against the French, and became a popular hero. Since the powerful Spanish Duke of Alva had advised against the battle, Egmont's success did not endear him to the Duke.

Eventually, Spanish control of the Netherlands became so oppressive that Egmont began to argue with King Philip, and together with the Prince of Orange and Count Horn became the focal point of resistance to Spanish rule. Although Egmont remained loyal to the King, while opposing his policies, his days were numbered, and he was arrested and beheaded on the orders of the Duke of Alva.

Beethoven idolized Goethe, though when they finally met, Beethoven found him more deferential to aristocracy than befitted a poet. On at least one occasion, he embarrassed Goethe by being rude to their social betters in order to demonstrate his "equality." Nonetheless, Goethe's works provided the impetus for many of Beethoven's compositions.

For Egmont, Beethoven wrote an overture, two songs, a melodrama, (that is, a part for speaking voice with musical background,) several Entr'actes, and a finale. The principal characteristics of the incidental music appear in the overture. The opening is grave, portentious, and appropriate for a tragedy. When the allegro begins, we are in familiar territory... the angry Beethoven. This short piece is charged with drama, expressing succinctly the determined resistance of Egmont, and turning optimistic toward the end as he marches away to his death, implying the survival of his spirit and the continued struggle for independence on the part of his people.

Egmont was composed in 1810, and premiered at the Hofburg Theater, Vienna, May 24, 1810.


 
       
  Peter and the Wolf: A Musical Tale, Op. 67 Sergei Prokofiev
(1891-1953)
 
 

Prokofiev wrote music in the late Romantic mold, spicing it with enough dissonances and unexpected key-changes to give it a twentieth-century flavor. He was a prolific composer who produced works in all categories, including operas, ballets, film-scores, symphonies (seven), chamber music and concertos. He was a brilliant pianist and often performed his own works (he wrote five piano concertos). He drew frequently on folklore for his inspiration, and sometimes resorted to writing his own "folk-tales." Such is the case today.

Peter and the Wolf is a children's story wherein the roles of the various protagonists are assigned to particular instruments. Peter is played by the strings, the Bird by the flute, the Duck by the oboe, the Cat by the clarinet, the Grandfather by the bassoon, the Wolf by the French horns, and the shots of the hunters by the kettledrums and bass drum.

Nothing more needs to be said, since the whole story will be narrated for you today, as it was when it was first presented in 1936 at the Children's Theatre in Moscow.


 
       
  Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 Ludwig van Beethoven
 
 

Beethoven wrote seven concertos: five for piano and orchestra, one for piano, violin and violoncello, and one for violin. There was a five-year gap between the third piano concerto and the Triple Concerto, and many critics, and perhaps Beethoven himself, thought the first three represented him in a developmental stage. Beethoven certainly preferred the Third to the first two.

Those who argue that in the Third, Beethoven was still struggling with form, cite as an example, the first movement (Allegro con brio) where he gets himself into trouble, and then gets himself out. Others consider this an innovative dramatic device, in no way a "mistake," and a sign of Beethoven's genius.

The orchestra plays for over three and a half minutes before the piano enters. During this time, it introduces both first and second themes, and starts developing them before thinking better of it. After such a forceful orchestra presentation of the principal theme, what is left for the piano to do? Other composers have had the piano come in with a different theme under these circumstances, but in this case, the orchestra has already done that. Beethoven avoids the obvious and has the piano enter with the main theme, in the minor tonic and in a more fully developed form than in the orchestral opening in the major. There follows a dialogue between the dramatic first theme on the piano and the flowing second theme in the orchestra. Before the recapitulation begins, the piano moves dramatically to the dominant.

After the recapitulation, there is a pause before the cadenza. Some soloists perform their own cadenze; others use a cadenza popularized by an earlier performer. Our soloist plays one written by Beethoven. The movement ends with a strong restatement of the C minor chord.

The second movement, Largo, begins with the piano solo. After the orchestra repeats the theme, there is a section of piano arabesques, over which the flute and bassoon play echo effects derived from the last part of the opening theme. The piano returns with a restatement of the melodic opening, but soon leaves it to the orchestra while it indulges in elaborate ornamentations. After a short cadenza, the orchestra makes a simple reference to the first bar of the theme, the piano echoes it, and the movement ends.

The third movement is a rondo, and, like the second movement, is only half as long as the first. The first part is allegro and the second, presto. About half way through there is some fugal writing followed by witty development of fragments of the two themes interwoven. It is a rapid, energetic movement, with shifts of mood.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Terri Worman, acting Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Stephanie Beery
Carolyn Caldwell
Anita Daniel
Jodi Goble
Amy Grush
Byron Plexico
Angela Rogers
Dan Seibert
Vernon Stinebaugh
Jon Thomas
Roxanne Thomas
Lynne Truman
Michael Wurzburger +^

Viola
Annette Martin *
Peter Collins
Naida Walker

Cello
Waverly Berry Conlan *
Betty Bueker
Valerie Goetz Boud
Tim Spahr
Rebecca G. Waas

Bass
Ken Gotschall *
Randy Gratz
George W. Scheerer

Piccolo
Amy Hodson +^

Flute
Maryanne C. Beery *+
Suzy Oaks +
Oboe
Susan Turnquist *
Lisa Kinsey *+^ (co-)

Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Robyn Jones

Bassoon
Takashi Yamano *
Donna Russell

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer *
John Morse
Lois Geible
Nicole Hine

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

Trombone
Larry Dockter *

Timpani
David Mendenhall

Percussion
Mike Harkness +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Nelson PadgettNelson Padgett, of Lincolnton, North Carolina, is no stranger to competition winning. As well as becoming the Mayflower group 1987 Beethoven Fellow, Padgett has taken top prizes in the Houston Symphony Auditions, the Stravinsky Awards, and North Carolina Piano Auditions, plus Second Prize and the Maurice Hinson Prize in the University of Maryland William Kapell Competition.

Padgett has a degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and also trained at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts. He has studied with and taken master classes under Leon Fleisher, Lee Luvisi, Claude Frank, Menahem Pressler, and David Burge.

Active as a concerto soloist, Padgett has appeared with the Houston, Augusta, Greensboro, and national Symphony Orchestras. Earlier this year he appeared as soloist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He is much in demand as a chamber musician and has coached with Charles Treger, David McInnes, and Steve Reich. Padgett with Philip Bush, a 1983 Beethoven Fellow, perform extensively as a two-piano team throughout the Southeastern United States.

Padgett currently resides in Winston-Salem and is associated with the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Karen Klimpert, Professor James Adams, and the Manchester Symphony Orchestra collaborated to produce the Prokofiev suite Peter and the Wolf. Karen Klimpert did the paintings; James Adams produced the slides and coordinated their projection with the orchestra performance. Ms. Klimpert and Mr. Adams previously worked together on the presentation of Moussorgsky's A Night on Bald Mountain, also with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Klimpert is a 1985 graduate of Manchester College with a major in art education. She appeared on Manchester's stage in You Can't Take it With You, and she has been active in set production for M.C. Her work has appeared in Spectrum and The Peace Studies Bulletin. She also illustrated a song-book published by Ingrid Rogers. She is currently teaching art in the Warsaw, Indiana, school system.

James Adams is Professor of Art at Manchester College, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1957. He has taught Spanish and Music Appreciation as well as working on stage-set design for a number of Manchester's theatrical productions. For the last ten years, Mr. Adams has written program notes for the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.