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Concert Program Cover

Fourth Concert of the 54th Season

 

Sunday, May 16th, 1993
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Buckaroo Holiday from Rodeo Aaron Copland  
       
  Ballade Frank Martin  
  Lauren Anne Davis, flute  
       
  Piano Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 23 Edward MacDowell  
 

I. Larghetto Calmato

   
       
  Intermission  
       
  Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 Edvard Grieg  
 

I. Allegro molto moderato

   
  Jonathan Mann, piano  
       
  Concerto for Clarinet in B-flat Johann Stamitz  
 

I. Allegro moderato

   
  Steven Hahn, clarinet  
       
  Overture to The Jolly Robbers Franz von Suppé  
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Buckaroo Holiday from Rodeo Aaron Copland
(1900-1990)
 
 

Few composers have been able to sounds as "American" as Aaron Copland. What Gershwin did for the sophisticated urban side of American life, Copland did for "the wide open spaces." His early life was spent in Brooklyn, where he was born. At the age of twenty-one, he was able to go to Paris, where he studied with 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.

In spite of his urban background, he is most famous for his ability to evoke images of rural America, especially in his film-scores such as The Red Pony, and ballets such as Billy the Kid, and Rodeo.

Rodeo was written in 1942, for dancer Agnes De Mille. It was premiered by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and was a great success on a continent in love with Le Wild West. The music is typically Copland, with its use of folk songs (Sis Joe), and syncopated hoedown rhythms. It is interesting to speculate as to what its reception would be in those days of the feminist movement. The plot concerns a "cowgirl" who can rope a steer as well as any man, but goes unnoticed, despite her expertise, until she dons a frilly dress and puts on makeup, whereupon the cow-pokes fall all over themselves in admiration.

The piece we hear today is the first of a suite of four dances taken from the ballet. A familiar Copland device is the descending major scale, heard repeatedly in this movement.


 
       
  Ballade for Flute and String Orcheestra Frank Martin
(1890-1974)
 
 

Many music lovers have what might be called "favorite second-rate composers," a phrase this music-lover uses with affection, and not a little sarcasm. History is full of writers, painters, and composers who have been insufficiently recognized, while others less deserving have prospered. In my view, the Swiss composer Frank Martin is one of these underrated artists. He wasn't traditional enough to be loved by the masses and hated by the critics. He wasn't avant garde enough to be hated by the masses and loved by the critics. He fell through the crack.

Although he had begun to develop a love of music at the age of ten, he studied mathematics and the natural sciences before deciding on a career in music. Like other Swiss artists, he shows the influence of both the French, and the Germans. There are hints of Impressionism in many of his works, and flirtings with Austrian Serialism in others. His works are hard to analyze in terms of tonality ... they have a distinctly "modern" wound, and yet there are melodic phrases and rhythmic tatoos which seem vaguely familiar.

His Ballade for Flute and String Orchestra (later reworked for Flute and Piano) is an episodic piece: a series of short bits, like a miniature suite. The work opens with a rising motive reminding us of Debussy. This is followed by a Vivace section, then a slow Dolce cantabile, then a very difficult cadenza (it should be noted that this piece was written for an international competition, and is consequently "showy"), then the strings return in a Con moto section, after which comes another Vivace followed by a dazzling coda.


 
       
  Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor
(First Movement)
Edward MacDowell
(1861-1908)
 
 

It is interesting to find the American MacDowell on the same program as Edvard Grieg. They were contemporaries, they looked more backwards than forwards, and their most successful works were written under similar circumstances. Grieg's A minor concerto and MacDowell's were both written during idyllic summer retreats shortly after their marriages. They even sound rather alike.

Edward MacDowell was probably the first celebrated American composer. He was born in new York, and studied the piano there with family friends until he was fifteen years old, whereupon he sailed for Europe and took up residence in Germany. He soon decided that he was more interested in becoming a composer than in being a concert pianist. He seemed content to stay in Germany, and did so until he was twenty-seven, returning only briefly to marry one of his ex-students who had already gone back. His music was admired by Liszt, among others, and he felt quite at home in Germany, but he was finally persuaded by American visitors to return to the United States and take part in the Making of American Music.

There is an irony here. Most critics think of MacDowell as a minor composer whose best works are miniatures. He wrote very successful songs and piano pieces. His few larger works seem to many to be pastiches of episodes very imitative of Grieg, Wagner and (in his earlier works) Debussy. yet, he was enormously popular in his own time... and as a particularly "American" composer!

If you listen carefully, at about eight minutes into the work you will hear a six-note motif very like one in Dvořák's "New World Symphony." One might suppose that it was picked up from that Bohemian composer, but the MacDowell concerto preceded the Dvořák by two or three years! This is especially interesting in that MacDowell attacked Dvořák (and Smetana) in a lecture at Columbia University for his "nationalist" approach to music. MacDowell contended that anybody could write "Bohemian" music simply by learning a few folkloric tricks. Real art was above that!

Dvořák, in his symphony From the New World, quite consciously incorporated tunes from American sources in order to make that symphony have an American flavor. It seems he was paying homage to America's first "serious" composer, by using a theme from his most popular work.

MacDowell's Second Piano Concerto had its world premiere in New York on March 5, 1889. On the same program was the American premiere of a work by another famous composer of the time. At least one critic wrote that he had enjoyed the work of the young American composer more than he had the other work, the Fifth Symphony of Tchaikovsky!


 
       
  Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
(First Movement)
Edvard Grieg
(1843-1907)
 
 

Grieg was a composer of the romantic era, during which nationalism was much in vogue. There was never a more Nordic composer than Grieg. He was not content to write simply "Scandinavian" music, he wrote "Norwegian" music. He was most emphatic about that. His great-grandfather, however, had come from Scotland, where the family name was spelled "Greig." For you trivia fans, Grieg was the cousin of the great-grandfather of the Canadian pianist, Glenn Gould.

Grieg wrote only one piano concerto, but it is one of the most popular piano concerti ever written. Certainly, the solo opening is the most dramatic and recognizable opening of any piano concerto. The work was written in 1868 for Edmund Neupart, who gave the work its world premiere in Copenhagen. It scored an immediate success, and has maintained its popularity ever since. Both Franz Liszt and Anton Rubinstein, the two most renowned pianists of the day, were mightily impressed. (The young Debussy, however, was quite critical: dramatic brass flourishes led to nothing important!)

The work begins after a timpani-roll and an orchestral chord with a series of descending chords for piano solo, maddening in that the series is memorable enough to run through one's mind, but spans a range too great for whistling or humming (unless you have the tessatura of an Yma Sumac!). As we listen to the unfolding of the first movement, it is difficult to believe that it is the first orchestral work by the twenty-five-year-old composer.


 
       
  Concerto for Clarinet in B-Flat
(First Movement)
Johann Stamitz
(1717-1757)
 
 

The Stamitz family was very influential in eighteenth century musical circles. They not only played an important role in the development of the Symphony, but as performers, they raised the standard of orchestral playing.

Stamitz reorganized the court orchestra at Mannheim, introduced new instruments, such as the clarinet, broadened the use of the crescendo and diminuendo (a departure from the Baroque style of "terraced dynamics"), and helped develop the sonata form. He wrote some fifty symphonies, one hundred orchestral trios, and many other works.

There is some doubt as to the composer of this work (it could have been the son, Carl), but most authorities believe it was by Johann. This work is thought to be the first concerto for the B-flat clarinet.


 
       
  Overture to Banditenstreiche (Jolly Robbers) Franz von Suppé
(1819-1895)
 
 

Suppé, one of the most Viennese of composers, was born in Dalmatia with the marvelously Italo-Gothic name of Francesco Ezecchiele Ermenegildo Cabaliere Suppé-Demelli; but he was taken to Vienna at an early age, and was certainly Viennese by upbringing.

He is one of those composers who is very well known, but for only a very small proportion of his output. Although he has over 150 works to his credit, over sixty of them operas, he is known almost entirely for two or three overtures. Best known are the Poet and Peasant, and the Light Cavalry.

This work begins with a fanfare, then some very soft, almost funereal music, with a repeat of the fanfare, in a higher register. This is followed by a march, with bugle-like sounds. Soon, the music becomes dramatic, only to be followed by a lyrical midsection. There then appears a "trotting" rhythm, turning sprightly, and reminding us of a horse parade. The work ends with the usual rousing finale characteristic of Suppé.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Linda U. Kanzawa, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Martha Barker
Stephanie Beery +^
Nelson Dougherty
Joyce Dubach
Jeff Hartleroad
Matthew N. Hendryx
Ilona Orban
Heidi Prussing
Moo Il Rhee
Angela Rogers
Vernon Stinebaugh
Patrick Weybright +

Viola
Annete Hopkins *
Naida MacDermid
Dinah Smith
Deb Steiner +

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

Bass
Randy Gratz *
Darrel Fiene
George Scheerer

Piccolo
Andrea L. Rediger

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Andrea L. Rediger
Oboe
Page Curry * (co-)
Ned Merrick * (co-)

Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bass Clarinet
Kris Bachman

Bassoon
Donna Russell *
Takashi Yamano

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer * (co-)
Bryan L. Gibson * (co-)
Josh Eikenberry
Chris Sprunger

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Mark Angelos
Doug Hofherr

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter *
Rick Granlund
Scott Hippensteel

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

Tuba
William DeWitt

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Leonard Dale Brown is a sophomore at Northrop High School. His honors in music this year include winning the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Young Artist competition, the Grace Community Orchestra Solo Competition, and Outstanding Keyboardist at Bishop Luers Show Choir Festival. At Northrop, Dale is involved in the Concert Choir, Show Choir, Marching Band and Jazz Band as keyboardist. Dale is organist/pianist for the Bethany presbyterian Church and a member of the handbell choirs at the First Wayne Street United Methodist Church. He studies with Ms. Jane Glover. Dale is the son of Leonard and Connie Brown of Fort Wayne.
Lauren Anne Davis is a senior at Northrop High School. She is a member of the Fort Wayne Youth Symphony and Tri-State Honors Band. Lauren studies with Sharon Sparrow of Fort Wayne. At Northrop she participates in Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band and Pep Band. Lauren has received the Outstanding Solo Award for Jazz and first division ratings at the ISSMA State Solo and Ensemble Contest for four years. Lauren is the daughter of Gene and Susan Davis of Fort Wayne.
Steven Hahn is a senior at the Erie School of Arts and Humanities. In 1992, Steve received first place in the IMTA Upper B District and State Auditions and the MTNA Yamaha Woodwind Competition and attended the Indiana University Summer Instrumental Music Clinic. This year, he was a winner of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Young Artist Competition and the Carl Bartlett Memorial Scholarship Award. Steve is a member of the Fort Wayne Youth Symphony, Tri-State Honor Band, IPFW Community Orchestra and Canterbury Chamber Music Society. He studies with Cynthia S. Greider. Steve is the son of James and Carol Hahn of Antwerp, Ohio.
Jonathan Mann is a sophomore at Canterbury High School. He was a finalist in the 1992 Three Rivers Piano Competition and has received Music Lesson Scholarships from the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Jonathan studies with Jodie DeSalvo. At Canterbury, Jonathan has a four-year Music Department Scholarship and is a member of the band and orchestra. He has played with the Canterbury Chamber Music Society for five seasons. He is the 1993 recipient of the Cleo Fox full scholarship to Interlochen Arts Camp. Jonathan is the son of Adrian and Angela Mann of Fort Wayne.