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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 58th Season

Holiday Extravaganza II

Sunday, December 8th, 1996
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Gloria in D, R. 589 Antonio Vivaldi  

Gloria in excelsis - chorus
Et in terra pax - chorus
Laudamus te
- duet
Gratias agimus tibi
- chorus
Propter magnam gloriam
- chorus
Domine Deus
- soprano aria
Domine Fili unigenite
- chorus
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei
- alto aria and chorus
Qui Tollis
- chorus
Qui sedes ad dexteram
- alto aria
Quoniam tu solus sanctus
- chorus
Cum sancto Spiritu
- chorus

  Manchester College Choral Society
Bradley Creswell, conductor
Carol Streator, soprano
Mary Creswell, mezzo-soprano
  Polonaise from Christmas Eve Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov  
  The Feast of Lights Samuel Adler  
  Christmas Day Gustav Holst  
  Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson  
  White Christmas Irving Berlin  

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Gloria in D, R. 589 Antonio Vivaldi
(c. 1675-1743)

Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian violinist and composer. He was born in Venice around 1675, the sone of a locally esteemed violinist in the service of St. Mark's Cathedral. The known circumstances surrounding Vivaldi's youth and early manhood are meager, but it has been established that he was ordained to the priesthood in 1703. Folklore tells us that he was defrocked within a short time for interrupting a mass to dash into the sacristy and jot down a theme that had come to him at the altar. Apparently, he slipped out during a lull, expecting to return before he was "on," but got so involved in his composition that he forgot to return, leaving the congregation waiting in puzzlement!

As to Vivaldi's contribution to music, it needs only to be recalled that J.S. Bach was so entranced by his instrumental forms that he made them his own. Although he composed operas, cantatas, motets, and works in various other forms, it is by his violin concerti that Vivaldi is best known today. In the category of music for church use, the present Gloria, rediscovered in the 1930s, is already recognized as an authentic masterwork.

The Gloria in Excelsis is a canticle (song or hymn) taken from the Gospel of St. Luke. It is sometimes called the "Angelic Hymn" because its opening lines are from the anthem sung by the heavenly choir above the fields of Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born.

The earliest manuscript of the Gloria dates from the fourth century, written in Greek for the Eastern Church. In its original form, it was a "private psalm" for the bishop's services. It was most likely introduced into the service of Communion in the Western Church in connection with the Christmas Vigil, because of its reference to the Song of Angels. However, since the eleventh century, it has been included in the festive services of the Church as a hymn of praise and joy. It is the joy of believers in God's merciful goodness in sending his Son into the world. For a brief moment it stoops to invoke mercy and help for mankind, but then lifts the worshipper to a Trinitarian ascription of worship and praise to Christ and the Holy Ghost as "most high in the glory of God the Father."

  Polonaise from Christmas Eve Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Rimsky-Korsakov belonged to that group of Russian nationalist composers known as "The Five," consisting of Balakirev, Cui, Borodin, and Mussorgsky. The Nationalist position was set forth by Rimsky's older contemporary, Glinka, who divided his attention between subjects of Russian history on the one hand, and legend on the other. Rimsky-Korsakov appeared to satisfy what interest he had in history by working with other composers on such projects. When it came to his own music, he was inspired almost exclusively by legend and fantasy.

One of the peculiarities of "The Five" is that they were all amateurs, earning their living (at least initially) through other means. Rimsky was a naval officer, who wrote much of Russia's first symphony while on duty with the Tsar's navy in England. Perhaps it was because they had to earn a living first, and compose second, that so many of their works had to be finished by someone else; they collaborated often with each other. Of the lot, Rimsky-Korsakov developed the most as a theorist, and his writings on orchestration are still revered.

The opera Christmas Eve was written mid-point in his career, and he often spoke of it as one of a group of three operas (the others being Mlada and Sadko), which formed a turning point in his development as an operatic composer. Sadko, for the first time (in Rimsky's opinion), combined faultlessly the textual content with the musical expression. The other two operas, he thought, were almost overpoweringly mythical.

He had based Christmas Eve on a text by Gogol ... a text with light-hearted wit. Those elements that appealed most to Rimsky-Korsakov were the mystical or fantastic ones, which he then exaggerated. In retrospect, he thought he had made a mistake in doing that, but at the time he was so enamored of the fantastic that he got carried away.

Gogol's story concerns a village lad, Vakula, whose girlfriend agrees to marry him only if he performs what she considers to be an impossible task: To bring her the slippers of the Tsaritsa. The Devil sets up all sorts of obstacles for Vakula, but is outwitted, and the latter persuades the Tsar to give him the slippers, after which he wins his bride. The Polonaise heard today comes near the end of the opera, when Vakula is welcomed into the Tsar's palace.

Rimsky-Korsakov routinely made suites from the music of his operas. The Polonaise is from the 2nd Suite, and was actually performed in 1894, one year before the opera itself. Almost all members of "The Five" grew up as gentlemen in the country, and had ample opportunity to become familiar with folk music. The polonaise, a dance of Polish origin, became a popular form with virtually all Russian composers. It was a stately dance, commonly played at formal events, and this one has a distinctly imperial air about it.

The work begins, tutti, in grand manner, with the brass soon emphasized. Rimsky-Korsakov earlier had too great a fondness for the brass, and remarks that he and Borodin much improved Borodin's Third Symphony when the reduced the brass in that composition. Here there is justification for it, and the trumpets peal out in fanfares. The opening theme is followed by a motif already made familiar to hearers of the complete suite in the ride on the Devil's back to the palace of the Tsar. Hereafter, the two themes alternate, interrupted by a soft middle section emphasizing the woodwinds. The work ends with a dramatic accelerando of the principal theme.

  Feast of Lights Samuel Adler
(b. 1928

Samuel (Hans) Adler was born in Germany in 1928. His father was a cantor and composer of Jewish liturgical music. The family came to the United States in 1939. Samuel received his B.M. in 1948 from Boston University, and his M.A. in 1950 from Harvard. He studied with (among others) Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, Walter Piston, and Randall Thompson. He conducted with Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center.

After graduating from Harvard, Adler joined the U.S. Army and organized the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra. He conducted this orchestra in over 75 concerts in Germany and Austria, and was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. After several years as professor of composition at North Texas State University, he joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in 1966, and since 1974 has served as chairman of the composition department.

He is a prolific composer of operas, ballets, symphonies, concerti, songs, chamber works, and much liturgical music. His early works (before 1969) were mostly diatonic, but he has experimented since with serialism, aleatoric (chance) techniques, and tone clusters, à la Henry Cowell.

The Feast of Lights refers to the celebration of Hanukka, an eight-day event commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the defeat of Antiochus IV by Judas Maccabaeus in 164 B.C. It is called "Feast of Lights" because it is celebrated by the lighting of candles, one each night, for eight nights.

  Christmas Day Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst was born in England in 1874 and died there in 1934. He was proficient in the playing of many instruments, but specialized in the organ (he was village organist while still in his teens). Later he played trombone in various theater orchestras, and finally in the Scottish Orchestra. He was very successful as a teacher, and did service abroad during the First World War, where he worked with the troops in Greece and Turkey.

His most popular compositions are The Planets, an orchestral suite of astrological content (or which there are over forty recordings available), and two suites for band, still popular for demonstrations of the quality of audio systems. His music is mostly late Romantic, but some of it has clearly Neo-Classical characteristics (A Fugal Concerto and A Fugal Overture).

Christmas Day is a fantasy making use of several familiar carols . . . and some not so familiar.

  Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson

Leroy Anderson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1908, and died in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1975. He is best known for his attractive melodies and jaunty rhythms in such pieces as The Golden Years and The Syncopated Clock.

Anderson studied composition at Harvard with Georges Enesco and Walter Piston. He was a linguist, specializing in German and Scandinavian languages, and served with the U.S. Intelligence in Iceland and in the U.S. during the Second World War. In addition to the well-known pieces mentioned, he wrote a number of short works for unusual "instruments" such as the typewriter, sandpaper, and sleigh bells. Without a doubt, his most famous composition is Sleigh Ride.

  White Christmas Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin was born in Russia as Izzy (Israel Baline). His family brought him to New York when he was a baby. He had no musical training, but had a natural gift for melody. He grew up on the mean streets of the lower East Side, earning money as a singing waiter in the Bowery saloons. In the words of British musicologist and composer Wilfrid Mellers, "Irving Berlin is a twentieth century equivalent to Stephen Foster; and it says something for the 'common heart of humanity' that such a figure should survive two World Wars and a Depression."

Irving Berlin and Cole Porter were the only well-known song writers to write both words and music. Here, the similarity ends. Berlin was the polar opposite of the sophisticated Cole Porter. Porter was a member of the "propeller set" (forerunner of the "jet set!"), a man with money, who travelled freely, picking up musical training wherever he could, or would. His music was clever, sometimes cynical ... a talking-the-mickey out of pretension. Contasting with Porter's chromatic complexity is Berlin's diatonic simplcity and sincerity. His tunes are catchy ... easy to remember. His music has an appeal to everyone, while Porter's is more likely to be appreciated by the big city sophisticate. To the assertian that his songs were "corny," Berlin replied, "There's an element of truth in every idea that lasts long enough to be called corny."

Unlike Porter, who was very subtle in his use of harmony and sly about key-change, Berlin was direct, tapping out his tunes with one finger, and having other people write them down and harmonize them. None of his helpers ever claimed the music for himself. Berlin always knew what he wanted when he heard it. He also knew when he had a hit and was not reluctant to say so. He announced to his friends that White Christmas was the greates song ever written!

Berlin's lyrics were romantic and appealed to the average person, providing the illusion that romance seldom has a bumpy path. Porter's always seemed tongue-in-cheek, Devil-may-care. His attitude can be summed up as "anything goes." Berlin's music, often sweet and optimistic, could also be self-pitying or nostalgic. White Christmas can appeal on its nostalgia alone, but it is even more telling when one realizes the context: the Second World War. Is the singer a soldier in the trenches, longing for life to return to normal, or is the singer a woman wondering if her loved-one will return at all?


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

Linda U. Kanzawa, Concertmaster
Matt Hendryx *
Matt Baker +^
Martha Barker
Beth Chiarenza
Joyce Dubach
Sherry Gajewski
Amy Grush
Bill Klickman
Jamie Weaver +

Naida MacDermid *
Bethany Bruss
Peter Collins
Tim O'Neil

Jonathan Mann *
Dave Follas +^
Preston Thomas +^
Kelly Marquis
Samuel Carnes

Randy Gratz *
George Scheerer
Darrel Fiene

Madalyn Metzger +^

Kathy Urbani *
Barbi Pyrah

Rita Kimberley *
George Donner
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Erich Zummack *
Donna Russell

Nancy A. Bremer *
Bryan Gibson
Jennifer J. Double +^
Scott Stevens

Steven Hammer *
Richard Pepple * (asst.)
Scott D. Steenburg +^
Shawn Sollenberger +^

Larry Dockter *
Jonathan Hartman
Jeremy Dawkins +^

John Beery

Mark Sternberg +

Kirk Gay
David Robbins
Jenni Moore +

Robin Gratz

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient

Manchester Choral Society

  Debra Lynn, conductor  
Christine Beery
Alexa Bucher
Alicia Hagan
Wanda E. Miller
Carlotta Jean Olinger
Alicia Roberts

Howard C. McKee
Mark Schwartz
Elizabeth Allen
Chris Beyer
Abigail Falkiner
Sandy Funk
Penny Heddings
Jean Nelson
Kacey Schroeder

Dwight Farringer
Charles Nelson
Eric Sitek
Spencer X.M. Song
Carol Murphy StreatorCarol Murphy Streator, soprano, holds a masters degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Metropolitan opera star, Anna Kaskas. Her concert experience has included opera, oratorio and chamber music, and recitals in both New York state and Indiana.

Mrs. Streator teaches part time at Grace College, Winona Lake, and maintains a private studio for voice. Sundays find her directing Ecclesia Choir and Youth Choir at the Manchester Church of the Brethren, and she recently founded a small madrigal group.

She has served many years as a district and state contest judge and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and American Choral Directors Association.

Carol is the wife of Dr. James T. Streator of Manchester College and they have two sons, Eric and Randy.
Mary CreswellMary Creswell, mezzo-soprano, is an active performer in opera, oratorio, and as a song recitalist. She is an enthusiastic teacher of voice who has served on the voice factulties of Western Michigan University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Grand Valley State University, and Albion College. Most recently Mrs. Creswell joined the music faculty of Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, and has spent the past eight summers teaching voice and performing at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan.

Mrs. Creswell received a masters degree from the University of Michigan where she was a recipient of the Elisabeth Schwartzkopf-Walter Legge scholarship in voice performance.