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Concert Program Cover

Fourth Concert of the 57th Season

Young Artist Competition Winners

Sunday, May 12th, 1996
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Manchester Variations R. Gary Deavel  
       
  Concerto for Trumpet Aleksander Arutunian  
  Andy Bridge, trumpet  
       
  Concertino for Marimba, Op. 21 Paul Creston  
 

I. Vigorous

 
  Jack Patton, marimba  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Fantaisie Georges Hüe  
  Michelle Bruick, flute  
       
  Cello Concerto, Op. 33 Camille Saint-Saëns  
 

II. Allegretto con moto
III. Allegro non troppo

   
  Ben Yoder, cello  
       
  New England Holiday Robert Washburn  
       
 

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  Manchester Variations R. Gary Deavel
(b. 1930)
 
 

Gary Deavel graduated from Manchester College in 1952, got his Master's degree from the Sherwood Music School in 1956, and his Doctorate from the Eastman School of Music in 1970. He taught piano and organ at Manchester College for many years, and was Chair of the Music Department for much of that time. Gary is fondly remembered not only as a serious scholar (he is a specialist in the music of Benjamin Britten), but as one who gave great service to the community, was active in promoting inter-departmental teaching, and who had a great sense of humor, often displayed in his collaboration with Pat Helman in their annual comic musical productions. Gary continues to compose in his retirement in Michigan.

Dr. Deavel has provided the following notes on the Manchester Variations.

In 1977, Patricia Helman wrote the words and I the music for the college song, "Manchester Fair." In these variations I have used six motives from that song. They appear in various melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic disguises -- some more transparent than others. Their order is frequently rearranged. Only in the finale do they unmask and conform to their original shape and order.

The work is comprised of an introduction and five variations. The "Introduction" is in a moderately slow temp and presents the three principal motives and their mirror images. The first variation is a quick "March." The woodwinds are features, backed by drum and triangle. The second variation is an "Elegy." The oboe solo at the outset is derived from the principal motive, but cast in a medieval mode (Phrygian). The third variation features frequently changing meters and is called "Dance." The string motive heard at the beginning and end of the variation is taken from the bass line of the first phrase of the song. The fourth variation is called "Ballad." The bassoon plays a mirror version of the principal motive decorated by an obligato line in the violins. The resulting duet features open fourths and fifths -- intervals frequently prominent in country music. The fifth variation of "Finale" begins in a gigue rhythm. The woodwinds, brass and strings each have the gigue figure in turn. The full orchestra concludes with a complete statement of "Manchester Fair." There is a brief coda with references to the "Fight Song" (oboe), "Alma Mater" (flute) and "Manchester Fair" (clarinet).

"Manchester Variations" was commissioned by the Manchester Symphony Society in 1985 and is dedicated to Robert Jones and the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.


 
       
  Concerto for Trumpet Aleksander Arutunian
(b. 1920)
 
 

Arutunian was born in Yerevan, Armenia. He studied at the Yerevan State Conservatory from 1936 until 1941. He studied privately in Moscow with Nikolai Peiko, Victor Zuckerman, and others, from 1946 to 1948. While there, he became acquainted with Miaskovski, Kabalevsky, Shostakovich, and Khatchaturian, and was influenced by them all, most obviously by the latter two.

Arutunian has written music in all the popular forms: concerto, symphony, overture, cantata, and dance suite, among others, but is not known for any particular genre (as Miaskovski and Shostakovich are known as symphonists). He seems to be quite a provincial, having returned to his home town of Yerevan, where he has remained ever since, as Director of the Armenian Philharmonic Society. His writings consist principally of articles for the local papers on the visits of Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten to Yerevan.

During the Soviet period his music was very nationalistic, and calculated to satisfy Marxist demands: Ours Is the Right Cause (1942), Triumphal March (1947), Symphonic Poem in Memory of Colonel Zakiyan (1948), Cantata about the Motherland (1949), Cantata about Lenin (1950), Tale about the Armenian People (1961).

From the beginning of the Concerto for Trumpet there is an unmistakable oriental flavor. Those familiar with the American composer Alan Hovhannes will notice the similarity, the linking factor being Armenian folk music. Themes are also very reminiscent of the Armenian composer Aram Khatchaturian, particularly of his Spartacus ballet, and the violin concerto. While this similarity might have resulted from a shared love of Armenian folk music rather than any direct influence of either of these composers on Arutunian, the striking flavor of Shostakovich smacks of imitation.

The traditional concerto usually has three distinct movements, and the orchestra often played for several minutes before the soloist entered. Nineteenth century composers of concerti continued to favor the three-movement form, with many exceptions, and often with no break between movements even when they were keeping to three. The soloist often entered immediately, with no orchestral introduction. Twentieth century composers expanded the form to allow more movements, or three movements with no breaks, with several instruments featured, including the human voice and xylophine (Bliss), or even for the whole orchestra -- in FIVE movements (Bartók).

Arutunian allows for an immediate trumpet entry. His work is all in one movement divided into three parts in terms of tempo. The quick, driving parts sound like Shostakovich of the Fifth Symphony. The slow, melodic parts sound like Khatchaturian, especially in the middle section of stretto overlapping of the theme. The work is hard to analyze in the conventional way. Sonata form seems to have been abandoned in favor of a looser rhapsodic form, perhaps a modified rondo. The piece is melodic, exotic, fun to listen to, and not particularly demanding of the listener.


 
       
  Concertino for Marimba -- Mvt. 1 Paul Creston
(1906-1985)
 
 

Paul Creston (né giuseppe Guttoveggio) was a remarkable man. Unlike many contemporary composers, Creston had no degrees. He did not even finish high school. Born to a poor immigrant family in New York, he had to work at an early age, and is a self-taught composer. Creston's career was helped by two people in particular -- his wife, who was a dancer with the Martha Graham troupe, and who intensified his interest in rhythm, for which he is best known, and composer Henry Cowell, who knew another self-educated genius when he saw one. It was Cowell who introduced Creston to the public with a performance of one of his works at New York's New School for Social Research in 1934.

Creston received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1938, and the New York Music Critics' Circle Award for his Symphony No. 1 in 1941. For a proper appreciation of this achievement, one should know who the competitors were: Roy Harris, William Schuman, Morton Gould and Aaron Copland!

Creston's works are most notable for their rhythmic pulse, the occasional blue note (he once worked as a pianist for silent movies, and like popular music), and his modal writing, a reflection of his many years as a church organist and his love of Gregorian chant. Creston was unpretentious. His music is likeable, and easily accessible, as was Creston himself. In a letter to me, dated 1955, he wrote, "...I do not try to appeal only to musicians, thereby writing what I call laboratory pieces: interesting enough to dissect and analyze on paper, but of no true value in actual sound." (Although he would not attack other composers by name, he was speaking of Elliott Carter.)

Creston worked in traditional forms (his string quartet is a model of classical structure), and produced five symphonies, he promoted the use of instruments no usually thought of as belonging to the traditional symphoy orchestra. He wrote a Sonata for Saxophone and Piano, and this Concertino for Marimba, both featuring instruments more commonly associated with popular music.

Creston's typically dramatic (read "loud") orchestral writing presents dynamic problems with the relatively soft marimba. The work opens loud, fast, and dissonant, with the brass supported by a rhythm in the strings. There are hints of Gershwin early on, before the music settles into a march beat. The marimba enters with a jaunty tune in dotted rhythm, and the orchestra quiets down. The movement consists of alternating orchestral outbursts with quiet marimba interludes. As in the work by Arutunian, not much development can be heard here, and the movement is held together more by the rhythmic motif than by a thematic one.


 
       
  Fantaisie Georges Hüe
(1858-1948)
 
 

Fantaisie was written as a test piece by Hüe when he was a student at the Paris Conservatoire. The great flutist Marcel Moyse liked it well enough to record it in 1928, after which it fell into obscurity. A copy was later discovered in the Paris "Flea Market" and it was again recorded, this time by William Bennett.

Its French origin should be immediately apparent. Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun springs to mind. Although Afternoon of a Faun was written in 1875, it was almost unknown to both public and musicians. It wasn't until ballet impresario Diaghilev staged it with Nijinksy dancing in a "shamefully bestial" manner that it became famous. This was in 1912. Hüe wrote his Fantaisie in 1913.

It's possible that Hüe was merely "paying homage" to Debussy with his work, since after a few obvious references to him, the music becomes a bit more original.


 
       
  Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor -- Mvts. 2 & 3 Camille Saint-Saëns
(1835-1921)
 
 

We are to hear only the second and third movements of this concerto, which presents something of a problem when it comes to understanding the logic of the architecture of the piece. Traditional (or "classical") concerti have three movements, the first of which is in "sonata form." It is of-a-piece, with an exposition, or setting out of the principal subjects, followed by a development, when the "plot" unfolds, and finally a recapitulation with a restatement of the themes, and resolution of the "argument." The next two movements are similarly self-contained and individually structured.

Saint-Saëns wrote a rather more "modern" concerto, wherein all three movements are played without a pause, and the principal subject, displayed in the first movement, recurs throughout the whole work, in a manner promoted by Franz Liszt. Also, in modern manner, Saint-Saëns brings the soloist in at once, without an orchestral introduction. Structurally, it is as though the first movement provides the exposition and development of a sonata movement, and the finale provides the recapitulation. The second movement, with an attractive cadenza, acts as an interlude, then, between the "development" and the "recapitulation." The work is essentially a concerto in one movement.

In the performance today, the orchestra leaves out the exposition and development, and begins with the second movement in the shape of a sprightly minuet. The cello comes in after a short introduction on muted strings. Most of this part is played in the upper register. After the cello moves to the lower register, the orchestra re-introduces (for us, the first time) the first subject from the exposition of the first movement, and there is a spirited finale.

The third movement introduces a new theme... a plaintive melody in the upper register, followed by a richly melodic one in the lower register. The work ends with a dramatic coda.

It could be argued that the first movement can be safely omitted precisely because its thematic material reappears in the next two movements, where it very likely would not in a more traditional concerto.


 
       
  New England Holiday Robert Washburn
(b. 1928)
 
 

Robert Washburn was born at Bouckville, New York, in 1928. He studied composition with Bernard Rogers, Darius Milhaud, and Nadia Boulanger, and earned his Doctorate at the Eastman School of Music. He made several trips to Africa and Asia, and has produced some works with a distinctly non-Western flavor, such as Impressions of Cairo and Kilimanjaro. His music is quite accessible, being moderately dissonant at times, but generally rhythmic, and with clearly defined themes.

This work was written for the 50th anniversary of the New England Music Camp. It has a rhythmic opening, and is light-hearted, providing easy listening. It has recurring themes in the manner of a rondo.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Linda Kanzawa, Concertmaster
Rosemary Manifold *
Dessie Arnold
Matt Baker +^
Martha Barker
Stephanie Beery
Beth Chiarenza
Joyce Dubach
Sherry Gajewski
Matthew N. Hendryx +
Rod Morrison
Sandra Neel
Margaret A. Piety
Moo Il Rhee

Viola
Naida MacDermid *
Gordon Collins
Peter Collins
Bruce Graham

Cello
Caroline Eddy *
Anne Gratz * (co-)
Polly Hoover +^
Cort Stevens +^
Preston Thomas +^

Bass
Randy Gratz *
Darrel Fiene

Piccolo
Madalyn Metzger +^

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Sue Hibma

Oboe
Rita Kimberley *
George Donner
English Horn
George Donner

Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Donna Russell

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer *
Bryan Gibson
Jennifer J. Double +^
Michael Galbraith

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Scott D. Steenburg +^
Richard Pepple

Trombone
Larry Dockter *
Jonathan Hartman
Stephen Berkebile +

Tuba
William DeWitt

Timpani
Mark Sternberg +

Percussion
Terry Vaughan
David Robbins

Harp
Allison Perkins

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Jack PattonJack Patton, first place winner on marimba, is a sophomore at Northrop High School. His activities there include Concert Band, Jazz Band I, Showchoir "Charisma," Orchestra, Marching Band, and pit crew for the musical "West Side Story." He has won many awards for his musical abilities including festivals at Northrop High School, the Carl Nicholas Invitational, Western Michigan University, Ball State, and ISU Jazz Festival.

Jack was selected for the All-State Jazz Ensemble, the Tri-State Honor Band, and the Fort Wayne Youth Symphony, and has performed with noted artists Louis Bellson, Dominique Spera, and James Walker.

Jack is the son of David and Susan Patton, and is a student of Kent Klee.
Michelle BruickMichelle Bruick, second place winner on flute, is a junior at Snider High School. At Snider she has been first chair in Orchestra, Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble. She was selected for the Tri-State Honor Band and is principal flute in the Fort Wayne Youth Symphony. She accompanies the Fort Wayne Children's Choir and twice received first place honors at the ISSMA state contest.

Michelle's summer musical activities include Sharon Sparrow's summer Flute Master Classes.

Michelle is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth L. Bruick, and studies flute with Sharon Sparrow.
Andy BridgeAndy Bridge, trumpet performer and performance award winner, is a sophomore at Huntington North High School. His high school musical activities include Wind Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Jazz Band I, and Varsity Brass. He was selected for the Fort Wayne Youth Orchestra, IMEA All-State Choir, and IBA All-State Band.

Andy's summer musical activities include the Purdue Jazz Festival, where he received the outstanding musician award, the Chicago Showstoppers and FAME.

Andy's parents are Tom and Brenda Bridge and he is taught by Alan Severs.
Ben YoderBen Yoder, performance award winner on cello, is a senior at Wawasee High School. He was the 1995 winner of Elkhart County Symphony Concerto Competition, Fischoff "artist of the month" by Fischoff Chamber Music Association, 4-time winner of the David S. Blackwell scholarship competition, and U93 student of the week. He was participated in Orchestra throughout his high school career and this year was a National Merit Finalist.

Ben's summer musical activities include Musicorda, located in South Hadley, Mass., and Madeline Island Music Camp, located on Madeline Island, Wisconsin.

Ben's parents are Ken and Fern Yoder and he is a student of Tom Rosenberg.