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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 54th Season

 

Sunday, November 8th, 1992
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9 Hector Berlioz  
       
  Danses sacrée et profane Claude Debussy  
  Anne Preucil Lewellen, harp  
       
  Airs de Danse from Le roi s'amuse Leo Delibes  
 

Gaillarde
Pavane
Scene du Bouquet
Lesquercarde
Madrigal
Passepied
Final

   
       
  Intermission  
       
  Aria in the Classic Style Marcel Grandjany  
  Anne Preucil Lewellen, harp  
       
  Dolly Suite, Op. 56 Gabriel Fauré  
 

Berceuse
Mi-a-ou
Le Jardin de Dolly
Kitty-Valse
Tendresse
Le Pas Espagnol

   
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Roman Carnival Overture Hector Berlioz
(1803-1869)
 
 

Berlioz was the quintessential Romantic. Together with his friends, the painter Eugène Delacroix and the writer Victor Hugo, he defines the genre. He put emotion above all, in music as well as life. He was intended by his father to become a doctor, and was sent to Paris from southern France to study medicine. He was appalled by the dissection rooms, and refused to have anything to do with medicine. He studied at the Paris Conservatory, amid much turmoil, railing at the conservative attitude of the teachers (he failed to analyze the term "conservatory").

Berlioz was a passionate individual, throwing himself into love affairs one after the other, and thinking up bizzare schemes to dramatize his love. (After being refused by the Anglo-Irish actress Harriet Smithson, he contemplated suicide, but wrote the Symphonie Fantastique instead!)

Those with a bent toward literary analysis will have remarked the distinctly disjunctive character of these notes. This was a deliberate attempt to represent the character, the "form," (such as it is) of Berlioz' music. In the case of "Classical" music, like that of Mozart, we know more or less what will happen, but we are surprised by how it happens. Theme A will be in the tonic, then B in the dominant. The themes will experience many adventures and fallings out, but eventually they will marry one another (in the tonic).

With Berlioz, and the other Romantics, we don't know what to expect. Keys are changed, two-minute modulations occur, moods change abruptly ... and not just between movements, as in Mozart, but at any time Berlioz feels the urge. Is there a lack of structure? (Is Perot well-off?) But there is no lack of excitement, or melody, or rich orchestration.

Berlioz greatly expanded the orchestra. He wrote music for huge orchestras requiring 240 stringed instruments, 30 pianos, 30 harps, and more. Even though his preferences for large forces were never realized, the works which remain in the repertoire still require very large orchestras. He was a great promoter of "program music," that is music which tells a story without words. Like other Romantic composers, his works were often inspired by literary works, particularly those of Shakespeare.

The Roman Carnival Overture was intended to be the introduction to the second act of his opera Benvenuto Cellini, which was a great failure. Only this, and the overture to the opera have survived. In typical Romantic style, it begins with a flourish, and after about twenty seconds, abruptly subsides into a delicate love-song featuring the English horn, with pizzicato strings reminding one of a ground bass. The term "ground bass" is apt, in view of the fact that Berlioz had a penchant for counterpoint in an age not used to it. In this overture, you will hear the theme repeated in a canonic fashion... a trade-mark of Berlioz. His music is rollicking, and distinctive. The only person he ever imitated was himself. In this work, there are strong hints of the Symphonie Fantastique, and Faust.


 
       
  Danses sacrée et profane
for Harp & Orchestra
Claude Debussy
(1862-1918)
 
 

Debussy, like Fauré, was n Impresionist. Labels are dangerous, because all great artists are individualists, but it is more instructive to say that he was an Impressionist than to say simply that he was a composer! Debussy was an admirer of Monet, Manet, and the other painters whose works inspired the sobriquet "Impressionism," and paralleling those painters whose subject was light itself, his was sound. If that sounds vague, it matches, in a sense, their art, because, painter and musician alike, they were willing to sacrifice structure for atmosphere.

They differ to the extent that content mattered little to the Impressionist painters ... it was the way they painted, not what they painted that mattered. For Debussy, content was also important, and in this respect, he is related to the Symbolist poets like Verlaine, Mallarmé, and Baudelaire. They stressed "implication" rather than direct statement. Debussy hinted at events and appearances in his music.

This close affinity between composer, painter, and poet, and the mutual inspiration is really typical of the Romantic Age against which Debussy thought he was rebelling. As one critic has suggested, Debussy's music was not so much a repudiation of Romanticism as it was a refinement of it, and the same could be said of the painting of the Impressionist period.

the "Sacred and Profane Dances" are characteristic Debussy. It's impossible to determine what key the music is in. In an ironic parody, members of the Conservatoire established among the rules of Debussy, that no dissonance should be resolved! Parts sound like the movie score for a psychological thriller, parts sound oriental (reflecting Debussy's experimentation with the whole note scale, and "natural harmonics"). Space does not permit a further discussion of Debussy's musical theory.

Neither does space permit an extended history of the harp. Briefly, it is among the oldest of instruments. Like all other instruments, it has undergone a long evolution. In the latter part of the 19th century, there was a rivalry between two companies in France, the Érard, and the Pleyel. Érard was promoting the pedalharp (which is essentially what we have today), while Pleyel was pushing the "chromatic" harp. Pleyel produced a harp with no pedals, and managed a full chromatic range from two rows of strings which slanted across one another, and could be reached by either hand. To promote their chromatic harp, they commissioned Debussy to write the work we are hearing today. Érard countered by commissioning Ravel to write a show piece for the pedal harp!

The irony is that this piece is being played not on the type of harp for which it was commissioned, but on the modern pedal harp.


 
       
  Airs de Danse from Le Roi s'Amuse Leo Delibes
(1836-1891)
 
 

Delibes wrote this music for the ball-room scene of Victor Hugo's play, Le Roi s' amuse (The King Amusese Himself). Like much of the music of this concert, it harks back to an earlier time, and is a more modern version of the 18th century Suite. Such a suite consists of several dances, of alternating tempi. This one includes the following dances: Gaillarde, Pavane, Scene de Bouquet, Lesquercarde, Madrigal, Passepied, Finale. Most of these terms refer to popular dances of the period. Some of them refer to events or characters in the play.

With not enough space to discuss all of the movements, I'll refer to the Pavane, because it plays such a role in this concert. The pavan frequently is the second of the series (which is what suite means). The pavan in this work may be familiar to you because several composers have appropriated it for their own use. Some of them have even acknowledged the fact (Peter Warlock, in his Capriole Suite). The theme can be traced back to 1589, when a French monk, calling himself Thoinot Arbeau (an anagram of his real name*) published a book on dancing. You will no doubt notice the hymn-like character of the theme, and relate it to Arbeau's calling.

Alghough Arbeau may have been principally concerned with the spirit, he was a very practical man, who had this to say about dancing:

"... dancing is practiced to make manifest whether lovers are in good health and sound in all their limbs, after which it is permitted to them to kiss their mistresses, whereby they may perceive if either has an unpleasant breath or exhales a disagreeable odour as that of bad meat: so that, in addition to divers other merits attendant on dancing, it has become essential for the well-being of society." (as quoted by Percy Scholes)

Of the seven movements, the two most memorable are probably the Pavane and the Passepied. The Finale reprises the theme of the opening Gaillarde to round out the work.

*Arbeau's real name was Jehan Tabourot.


 
       
  Aria in Classic Style for Harp and Strings Marcel Grandjany
(1891-1975)
 
 

Grandjany is sadly neglected these days. As of the Fall of 1991, there were no recordings of his music listed in Schwann (the record-collector's Bible). There was a recording of the Aria released in the '70s, but it is no longer in print.

Grandjany was a member of that group of French composers including Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré who turned against Wagnerian chromaticism and thick romantic textures, and displayed a nostalgia for olden times. One recalls Ravel's homage to the age of Louis XIV, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Debussy's Sarabande (from Pour le Piano), and most of all, Fauré's Pavan, Op. 50.

The word aria commonly refers to a solo sung as part of an opera. Here, it reflects an earlier usage suggesting a short, lyrical instrumental piece frequently found in a Suite (i.e., Bach's Air on a G String). This "air" could easily be a Pavane movement from an 18th century suite. In fact, in the very early Italian padovana, from which the pavan derived, the dancers sang as they danced, so aria is linked to the pavan.

It is "in Classic Style" partly by virtue of its terminology and its resemblance to a stately pavane, and partly for its form. Like Haydn's opening movements, it uses one theme, presented first in one key, and then, after a brief modulation, in a contrasting key. The melody, really quite unpretentious and attractive, is introduced by the solo harp. It is repeated by the orchestra, with the harp harmonizing with arpeggios (whet else, with a harp?). After a brief development, the theme returns, to be followed by a coda of improvisational character, in the manner of a cadenza.


 
       
  Dolly Suite, Op. 56 Gabriel Fauré
(1845-1924)
 
 

Fauré was one of thos composers much admired by musicians, but relatively unappreciated by the public. He studied under Camille Saint-Saëns, and became the teacher of Ravel, Boulanger, Schmitt, and Enesco. He was not a flashy composer, and not a self-promoter which may account for his relative lack of financial success.

He had a great respect for the music of the past, and when he was appointed Director of the Paris Conservatoire following the uproar caused by the disqualification of Ravel for the Prix de Rome, he was reminded by the outgoing director that the purpose of the conservatory was to protect the values of the Tradition. On the other hand, his heart was basically Romantic. Perhaps his career lacked eclat because he was neither adamantly conservative, nor aggressively "modern."

The suite to be heard today, accurately represents his style: languid, melodic, and chromatic. Fauré wrote the pieces for piano duet, and they were orchestrated by Henri Rabaud some twenty years later. They are really children's pieces, "Dolly" being the nick-name of a young friend.

The first pieces is B erceuse, a lullaby (bercer means "to rock to sleep"). It is slow and dreamy as a lullaby usually is.

the second movement, Mi-a-o has nothing to do with a cat, representing Dolly's difficulty in pronouncing the name of her brother Raoul. This movement (and others) is a good example of the keyshifting common to Fauré, and of his students, particularly Ravel. The whole movement is an exercise in modulation.

The third movement, like the previous one, modulates constantly from key to key, and reminds us that Fauré was very much an Impressionist, like his contemporary Debussy, and his pupil, Ravel.

The fourth movement, the Kitty-Waltz, isn't about a cat, but rather a dog; Kitty ws the name of Raoul's puppy.

The final movement, Le pas espagnol, is as its name implies, a Spanish dance. The French, from Bizet, through Debussy to Chabrier, Lalo, Ibert, Ravel ... (the list goes on) were fascinated by Spain. Some say the best Spanish music was written by Frenchmen (the French say that). There seems to be more passion in this piece than in the previous ones, and it makes a grand finale.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Linda U. Kanzawa, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Martha Barker
Stephanie Beery +^
Joyce Dubach
Matthew Hendryx
Sandra Neel
Ilona Orban
Heidi Prussing
Moo Il Rhee
Angela Rogers
Dinah A. Smith
Vernon Stinebaugh
Patrick Weybright +

Viola
Annete Hopkins *
Joyce Gouwens
Naida MacDermid
Deb Steiner +

Cello
Jim Eaton *
Betty Bueker
Polly Hoover +^
Elizabeth Sluder
Cort Stevens +^
Joshua Stevenson
Lisa White +

Bass
Randy Gratz *
Darrel Fiene
George Scheerer

Piccolo
Christine Russell

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Christine Russell
Oboe
Page Curry * (co-)
Ned Merrick * (co-)

English Horn
Ned Merrick

Clarinet
Lila Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Donna Russell *
Takashi Yamano

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer * (co-)
Bryan L. Gibson * (co-)
Josh Eikenberry
John Higgins

Trumpet
Mike Clark *
Doug Hofherr
Bob Myers

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter *
Rick Granlund
Scott Hippensteel

Timpani/Percussion
Tana Tinkey
Keith Roberts +
David Mendenhall
Terry Vaughan

Harp
Anne Lewellen

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Anne Preucil LewellenAnne Preucil Lewellen is the Principal Harpist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. She will be featured as a soloist in March, performing the Ginastera Harp Concerto.

Born into a musical family in Iowa City, Iowa, she began her training on the violin at age four, switching to harp at age eight. From 1972-80, she concertized throughout the Midwest with the Preucil Family Players, an ensemble comprised of the six members of her family. They gave their Carnegie Recital Hall debut in 1980.

Ms. Lewellen completed her undergraduate studies at the Oberlin College Conservatory where her harp teacher was Alice Chalifoux of the Cleveland Orchestra. Shen then received an Artist's Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, there studying with Marilyn Costello of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Prior to taking her current position with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, she was the Principal Harpist of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic under the direction of Hugh Wolff. In 1988 she performed the Durufle and Fauré Requiems under the direction of Robert Shaw at the Festival de Saint-Cere in France. In addition to her busy performance schedule, Ms. Lewellen is an active Suzuki harp teacher. In the summer season, Anne is the Principal Harpist for the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Bear Lake Music Festival, and the Northwood Orchestra.