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Concert Program Cover

Fourth Concert of the 55th Season

 

Sunday, May 15th, 1994
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture to Rosamunde, D. 797 Franz Schubert  
       
  Andante e Rondo Ungarese, Op. 35 Carl Maria von Weber  
  Scott Hostetler, bassoon  
       
  Water Music Suite George Frideric Handel
(arr. Harty)
 
 

Allegro
Andante
Allegro deciso

   
       
  Intermission  
       
  Pavane pour une infante defunte Maurice Ravel  
       
  Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Johann Nepomuk Hummel  
 

I. Allegro con spirito

   
  Scott Steenburg, trumpet  
       
  Dance Diversions Michael Hurd  
 

Allegro commodo
Andante con moto
Andante con moto, molto vigoroso
Andante sostenuto
Allegro molto

 
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to Rosamunde, Op. 26, D. 797 Franz Schubert
(1797-1828)
 
 

Schubert's incidental music to the play Rosamunde was a failure in his lifetime. It was played only three times: once in rehearsal, and twice for the play, which lasted for a "run" of two nights. In fact, the score was promptly lost, to be found many years later by Sir George Grove and Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan) on the floor of a closet in Vienna. It was through their efforts that the music finally found its large audience.

The Overture is the most popular of the suite known as "Incidental Music to Rosamunde," though, ironically, it does not figure among the eleven pieces Schubert wrote for that play. It was, in fact, written for another obscure play called Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp). Be that as it may, it is delightful music with many changes of mood, thoroughly theatrical, and easily enjoyed.

It begins with fierce, brassy chords, and suddenly turns plaintive, as the woodwinds enter. This is quickly followed by a waltz-like episode, then a sweet melody in the strings, and finally a return to the fierce sounds of the opening. This section ends with four pianissimo phrases followed by a fortissimo chord.

The mood again changes to a light, rapid melody dominated by the strings, before being taken up by the full orchestra. After a modulation, the woodwinds take it up and lead into a galloping theme with the violins echoed in the lower strings, backed by triple-tongued trumpets. The light melody in the strings returns, and climax, reminding one of a Saturday morning movie serial ("Will the Lone Eagle escape the clutches of the Night-Riders?". I mean no disrespect: The Finale of Rossini's William Tell did as much for the "Lone Ranger."

The music returns to a pastoral mood before galloping off again into the sunset.


 
       
  Andante e Rondo Ungarese, Op. 35 Carl Maria von Weber
(1786-1826)
 
 

Weber was born in Germany, near Lübeck, and died in London of tuberculosis. He is considered the founder of the German national opera, using libretti in German, drawing from German folklore for his plots, and hinting (as he does in this work) at popular German music of his time.

He was a close contemporary of Beethoven, and like him, is considered to be a post-Classical or early-Romantic composer. His concerto for bassoon is second only to Mozart's in popularity, a fact which may provoke us to think of him more as a post-Classical than as an early-Romantic composer.

I am tempted to compare Weber's music to the painting of Ingres, who, as a transitional figure, used the technique of the Classical painters, but the exotic "themes" of the Romantics. In his concerto for bassoon, for example, Weber uses the Classical sonata form, but introduces an exotic Neapolitan rhythm. In the music we hear today, he writes in another form common to Classical composers, the rondo, but he alludes to Hungarian music ("Ungarese" is Italian for "Hungarian"). since romantic composers continued to use form developed by their Classical predecessors, this alone does not mark him as a classicist, but his dynamic treatment of the music has more in common with Classicism than it does with Romanticism. Crescendos and diminuendos are kept to a minimum, and the work reminds us of the terraced dynamics of an earlier period.

A rondo is an extension of the ternary form, where instead of a simple a-b-a, we have an a-b-a-c-a, or even a-b-a-c-a-d-a. In short, it is a matter of a theme played several times, with intervening "episodes" providing contrast.

The Andante e Rondo Ungarese was written in 1809 as a viola piece, and rewritten in 1813 for the bassoon. It begins with a series of variations on a simple, almost languorous theme, set to a loping rhythm: Andante. The solo bassoon is accompanied by the strings, pizzicato. The variations invert the roles of soloist and tutti, with the orchestra taking the theme, while the bassoon plays a varied counterpoint. The variations are punctuated by the dit-dit-dit-day of Beethoven's opening to his fifth symphony. Is it a coincidence that Beethoven's work was performed in Vienna only a few months before Weber wrote this work?

The rondo is sprightly, contrastic with the loping rhythm of the andante, and suggests the prancing of a circus horse, though it is meant to suggest a Hungarian folk dance. The theme is devised simply; the second half of the motif is an inversion of the first half. It is in the rondo, particularly, that the "step dynamics" are most noticeable.

The work ends in a rapid series of triplets.


 
       
  The Water Music (Excerpts) George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)
 
 

Handel was an exact contemporary of Bach, born in the same year, and dying only nine years later than Bach. Both came from north German middle-class families; both were Protestants, and both took their religion seriously. However, while Bach remained a provincial, family man, Handel became a well-traveled man-of-the-world. His stay in Italy stamped his music with an Italianate quality most notable in his oratorios.

Handel had a short temper and a ready wit. Once, when an English singer objected to the way Handel was accompanying him on the harpsichord, and threatened to stamp it to pieces if Handel didn't do things HIS way, Handel is said to have replied: "Let me know when you will do that, and I will advertise it; for I am sure more people will come to see you jump than to hear you sing."

Handel wrote the Water Music on a commission from King George for a royal party on the Thames. The music was performed in 1717 by an orchestra of fifty, unusually large for the period, and it was a tremendous success, having to be repeated three times. The music consisted of a suite of between 20and 26 pieces (depending on the source), of which we hear three today. There have been a number of different arrangements, most omitting several sections. The organization of the pieces varies from version to version. For instance, the final movement in the well-known arrangement by Sir Hamilton Harty appears today as "the sixth movement. It is described simply as allegro deciso by Harty, but is called Hornpipe on this edition.

The first movement, Allegro begins with a fanfare of trumpets overlapped by descending violins. This is followed by a repeat of the ascending motif in the horns with descending low strings. There begins a series of echo effects (a device much admired by Handel), and strings and brass alternate playing in echo and in counterpoint to one another.

The fifth movement is marked Andante Espressivo, and is a melancholy section, opening with the flute being backed by a string counterpoint. Then the strings take over the melody while the lower strings, playing pizzicato, provide a counterpoint interesting enough to draw ones attention from the main theme. After this comes a passage that would appeal to Brahms, after which the music moves to the major key. Then the theme returns to the minor key of the beginning, and finishes softly as a canon. (I know what you're thinking, but a canon is a contrapuntal technique of overlapping repetition like Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Listen for the quiet canon!)

The sixth movement is the very popular Hornpipe. It begins with a strongly stated upward theme soon repeated by the trumpets followed by the horns, then by the whole orchestra. This repetition contunes: trumpets, horns, tutti throughout the first section. Then, the key turns minor, and features the woodwinds, with lower strings playing a ground bass (that is, in modern terms, a vamp). The orchestra returns to the opening theme, and continues the idea of fanfares played alternately by the trumpets, horns, strings, and, finally, the whole orchestra to punctuate the ending. This section is so dramatic that is frequently used as the closing movement, as it is here.


 
       
  Pavane pour une infante défunte Maurice Ravel
(1875-1937)
 
 

Ravel's Pavane is an early work, written in 1899 for piano, and later orchestrated. It is one of his most popular works, but not one in which he took much pride. He said about the work, "I no longer see its virtues from this distance, but, alas, its faults I can perceive only too well: the influence of Chabrier is much too glaring, and the structure rather poor."

The title is usually translated, "Pavane for a Dead Princess," and the pathetic aspect of that notion captured the hearts of many, despite the fact that Ravel denied that it had any significance. He claimed to have chosen the title for its alliteration. However, he was impressed with the paintings of Velâzquez, which featured infantas, or princesses, and the Pavane is a Spanish dance. Richard Freed thinks the work is meant to be nostalgic rather than elegiac, and prefers the translation "Pavane for a Princess from a Faraway Time."

The idea of the dead little princess will not, however, die. The music inspired a story by Raymond Schwab that perpetuated the notion that it was about a doomed young girl, and probably accounts for the number of stupefyingly slow performances of the work, designed to wring out the last tear. Ravel, after suffering through a laborious rendering by a young pianist, remarked, "Listen, my child -- what I wrote is a Pavane for a Dead Princess, not a Dead Pavane for a Princess!"


 
       
  Trumpet Concerto in E-Flat (Mvt. 1) Johann Nepomuk Hummel
(1778-1837)
 
 

Hummel is a name scarcely known today, yet, in his own time, he was quite renowned. He was a child prodigy, who toured the Continent at the age of nine. He had beena student of Mozart's and for two years lived at the Mozart home in Vienna. Later he studied with Salieri. He was a friend of Beethoven, and was proud to have been tipped by Haydn after a London performance of a Haydn sonata. In fact, after Haydn's retirement, Hummel took his place as director of the orchestra of Prince Esterhazy. One of his better-known students was Czerny.

From the clues so far dropped, astute readers will have placed Hummerl correctly among the transitional figures, bridging Classicism and Romanticism. The Trumpet concerto is a perfect example of this transition. The first movement is in the classic sonata-allegro form. The last two movements (which we are not to hear today) are more Romantic in character.


 
       
  Dance Diversions Michael Hurd
(b. 1928)
 
 

Michael Hurd is an English composer, born in Gloucester (pronounced "Gloster") in 1928, an excellent year. He graduated from Pembroke College, Oxford University, in 1950. From 1953 until 1954, he studied with Lennox Berkeley (pronounced "Barkly"), while at the same time teaching at the Royal marines School of Music. He is eclectic and conservative in form, but somewhat whimsical in the naming of his works. He has a Swingin' Samson, and a Hip-hip Horatio.

His Dance Diversions is divided into five movements.

The first movement, marked Allegro commodo, is in 4/4 time, and begins with a rat-a-tat drumming, accompanied by basses in matching rhythm on a single tone for seven measures as a background to the winds, which enter at the second measure.

the second movement, Andante con moto, in 3/4 time, opens with an ostinato in the bass, followed five measures later by the flute, with no sign of the brass until fifteen measures into the movement, when the horns make their appearance. In the midsection, the orchestra plays tutti, but for the most part there is a competition among the various orchestral choirs, the movement ending with all silent except the low strings which began the section.

The third movement, marked Andante con moto, molto vigoroso, (Italian for "moving right along") is in 12/8 time. It begins, for a change, with almost everyone but the upper strings playing. This movement is more densely textured than the previous ones.

The fourth movement, Andante sostenuto, is in 3/4 time, and again pits one choir against the other.

The final movement is Allegro molto, in 6/8 time, very dynamic, with a midsection that features the woodwinds.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Linda U. Kanzawa, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Martha Barker
Nelson Dougherty
Joyce Dubach
Jeff Hartleroad
Matthew N. Hendryx
Rodney Morrison
Moo Il Rhee
Melanie Rondeau
Dinah A. Smith

Viola
Annete Hopkins *
Joyce Gouwens
Naida MacDermid

Cello
Jim Eaton *
Betty Bueker
Polly Hoover +^
Cortland D. Stevens +^

Bass
Randy Gratz *
Darrel Fiene
George W. Scheerer

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Sue Hibma

Oboe
Rita Kimberley *
George Donner
Clarinet
Lila Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Donna Russell *
Jennifer Davis

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer * (co-)
Bryan Gibson * (co-)
Josh Eikenberry
Jenni Double +^

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Mike Clark

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter *
Matthew Gratton +^
Joseph Neff

Timpani
Terry Vaughn

Percussion
Mark Sternberg

Piano
Debora DeWitt

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Scott HostetlerScott Hostetler, bassoonist, is a junior at Kokomo High School. His musical versatility is evidenced by his many honors and awards as an oboist, in addition to his achievement as a bassoonist. He is a two-time winner of the Kokomo Symphony Concerto Competition and the 1992 winner of the New World Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition.

Scott is principal oboe in the Kokomo Symphony and the New World Chamber Orchestra of Indianapolis. In 1992 and 1993 he was selected for the Indiana All-State Orchestra. Since 1991, he has beena  participant at the John Mack Oboe Camp, one of the most highly regarded summer camps for oboists.

The son of Robert and Darlene Hostetler, Scott is a student of Kokomo bassoon teacher Jennifer Kirkman.
Scott SteenburgScott Steenburg, trumpet performer, is a senior at South Adams High School. His many high school musical activities include Concert, Marching, Jazz, and Pep Bands, and Brass Quintet. He was selected for the Indiana All-State Band, Indiana All-State Orchestra, Tri-State Honor Band, and the Fort Wayne Youth Symphony. He has also performed with Star of Indiana.

Scott's summer musical activities include Bands of America Summer Symposium, SWBS Days Musicals and Community Orchestra. He has studied privately with Tim Placeway, Jim Smith, Todd Lehman, Doug Hofherr, and Curt Amstutz.

Scott is the son of Paul and Lynn Steenburg, plans to attend Manchester College next year, and is the recipient of a Manchester Symphony Society Orchestra Scholarship.