This Season

arrowPast Seasonsarrow

Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 60th Season

Holiday Extravaganza IV

Sunday, December 6th, 1998
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  A Christmas Festival Leroy Anderson  
       
  Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8 Arcangelo Corelli  
 

I. Vivace-Grave
II. Allegro
III. Adagio
IV. Allegro

   
       
  Polonaise from Christmas Eve Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov  
       
  Christmas Cantata Daniel Pinkham  
 

I. Quem vidistis, pastores?
II. O magnum mystérium
III. Gloria in excélsis Déo

 
  Manchester College Choral Society
Debra Lynn, conductor
 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Hanukkah Festival Overture Lucas Richman  
 

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah
S'vivon
Hanukkah
Dreidle Song
Mi yimalel
Candle Blessings

 
       
  The Many Moods of Christmas Robert Shaw / R.R. Bennett  
  Manchester College Choral Society
Debra Lynn, conductor
 
       
  Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson  
       
  Christmas Singalong John Finnegan  
       
 

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8
(The Christmas  Concerto)
Arcangelo Corelli
(1653-1713)
 
 

Corelli was an older contemporary of Bach, and was much admired by Bach. In fact, the impressive series of Concerti Grossi known as the Brandenburg Concerti was largely inspired by the earlier work of Corelli. Our modern concerto has evolved from this earlier form.

The definition of a "Concerto" depends on the state of evolution in which we find the particular concerto in question. We think of a concerto as a symphonic work, usually in three movements, featuring a solo instrument contrasted with the full orchestra. The work concerto in Italian (and other romance languages) has come to mean simply "concert," and that word in English suggests cooperation, as in "We must work in concert to get the job done." However, concerto really suggests competition. The solo instrument is vying for prominence with the orchestra. The Concerto Grosso was an earlier form of the modern concerto, which, instead of pitting a solo instrument against the orchestra, pitted a small group of instruments against a larger group. Grosso means "big." Concerto Grosso, then, might be translated "Big Struggle," or perhaps better, "Big Contrast."

Corelli literally wrote the book on the Concerto Grosso. The form grew out of the earlier overture and suite, the suite's being made up of a series of short pieces in dance rhythms. The last four concerti of Corelli's Op. 6 reflect this origin, with movements titled Allemanda, Gavotta, Sarabanda, Giga, and Minuetto, all dances (the last of which was preserved as the third movement of the typical Classical symphony.) The last four concerti of this opus are categorized as concerti da camara, that is, "chamber concerts," while the first eight are referred to as concerti da chiesa, or "church concerts." That may account for the fact that the movements of the first eight are designated only by the conventional tempo markings: Largo, Allegro, Vivace, etc., while the dance rhythms are confined to the less formal "chamber concerts." The distinction is more in word than in deed, since even the first eight concerti contain pretty obvious dance rhythms.

A concerto grosso, then, is a work wherein the orchestra is divided between a small group of instruments (in this case, two violins and a cello), and the rest of the orchestra. The small group is in the concertino (which grew into a solo instrument in later times), and the large group is the ripieno, Italian for "full." The contrast between these groups is considerably less marked in Corelli's work than it would be in the Bach Brandenburgs which were to come.

The work we hear today is number 8 of Opus 6, and is a "church" concerto. The selections to be played are the first movement, in two parts: Vivace-Grave; the second movement, Allegro; the last of the three-part third movement, Adagio; and the fifth movement, Allegro.


 
       
  Polonaise from Christmas Eve Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
(1844-1897)
 
 

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.


 
       
  Christmas Cantata Daniel Pinkham
(b. 1923)
 
 

Daniel Pinkham has had a long and varied career. At last report, he was living in Cambridge, Maxxachusetts. He received his Master of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1944. His principal instrument was the keyboard. He studied harpsichord with Wanda Landowska and organ with E. Power Biggs. His composition teachers were Arthur Honegger, Samuel Barber, and Nadia Boulanger. He is the winner of numerous awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Fellowship. He has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music, and was Music Director of King's Chapel in Boston. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In his long career, Pinkham has passed through several compositional phases. Until the early 50s his music could be considered neoclassical. After that, he ventured into serial music, and in the 70s experimented with electronic music. In the 80s and 90s he returned to an interest in standard classical form (the rondo, the sonata form), combining polyphony with chromatic harmonies in a distinctly modern fashion.

the Christmas Cantata was written in 1958 for Chorus, Brass Quartet and Organ. It is in three parts. The first, "Quem vidistis, pastores?" is adapted from the second chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke:

Whom did you see? Shepherds, tell us!
Proclaim to us: who has appeared on the earth?

We saw the new-born child
and choirs of angels praising the Lord.

It begins on slow, rising tones, repeated. Then resound the three notes accompanying the three-syllable Latin word "dicite" (Speak to us!) At the phrase "Natum vidimus..." (New-born we saw...) the voices become lively with the trumpets imitating them in rapid succession, after which the voices and trumpets alternate over a background of low brass. Then follows a drawn-out series of "alleluias."

The second part, "O Magnum Mysterium," can be translated as follows:

O great mystery,
and wondrous sacrament,

that animals should see the new-born Lord
lying in their manger!

Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy
to bear the Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!

This part is adagio, and begins with an arching melody followed by voices on a descending theme, consistent with the idea of mystery. There is an interesting interplay of voice and trumpet, the former chanting in closely spaced tones; the latter skipping about in a more disjunctive way.

The third part, "Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the second part of the Ordinary of the Mass, that is, the Mass sung on all festive occasions.

Glory to God in the highest.

And on earth peace
to all those of good will.

The "Gloria" alternates with other verses, such as "Jubilate Deo," "Introit...," and "scitote...," translated as follows:

Sing joyfully to God, all the earth;

serve the Lord with gladness.
Enter into His presence with great joy.

Know that the Lord alone is God;
He has made us, and not we ourselves;
we are His people,
and the sheep of His pasture.

In keeping with its exhortation to joy, it is scored allegro, and consequently sounds lively and optimistic. Pinkham manages to be modern, and at the same time imbues his music with a timeless quality through hints of Gregorian chant, and Gabrieli-like cadences. The work slows toward the end with repeated "alleluias," ending on a suitable triumphant note.


 
       
  Hanukkah Festival Overture
(notes by the composer)
Lucas Richman
(b. 1964)
 
 

In the summer of 1994, Geraldine Mayer, a patron of the arts in Orange County, CA, approached the Pacific Symphony Orchestra with the idea that she would like to commission a work to be used during the orchestra's holiday concerts that would feature the music celebrating Hanukkah. During my term as assistant conductor for the Pacific symphony I had always bemoaned the lack of robust arrangements of Hanukkah music when planning my holiday programs, so I was delighted to be approached as the one to fulfill the commission. After surveying the many songs and melodies that have been written to commemorate the story of Hanukkah, I decided upon six specific tunes that either spoke of the miracle of the oil that burned seven days longer than it should have, or that illustrated the manner in which the holiday is celebrated today. Hanukkah, O Hanukkah, S'vion (Hebrew for dreidle), Hanukkah,, and The Dreidle Song are treated in alternately classical or klezmer (traditional Jewish Eastern European) settings, leading us to the prosaic Mi Yimalel? (Who can retell the things that befall us?) And the final candle blessings, before the orchestra gallops to a rousing finish. Chag Sameach! (Happy Holidays!)


 
       
  Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson
(1908-1975)
 
 

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.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Linda Kanzawa Ard, Concertmaster
Joyce Dubach *
Martha Barker
Christina Beyer +^
Amy Bixler +
Beth Chiarenza
Jaime Eller +^
Sherry Gajewski
Matt Hendryx +
Rosemary Manifold
Margaret Piety
Rebekah Yoder +

Viola
Naida MacDermid *
Peter Collins
Eric Stalter +^
Liisa Wiljer

Cello
Tim Spahr *
Joy Struble
Preston Thomas +^

Bass
Darrel Fiene * (co-)
Randy Gratz * (co-)
George Scheerer

Piccolo
Madalyn Metzger +^

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Barbi Pyrah
Julie Tilsy +

Oboe
Derek Devine *
Ben Wiseman
English Horn
George Donner *

Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Donna Russell

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer *
John Higgins
Bill Klickman
John Morse

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Richard Pepple * (asst.)
Shawn Sollenberger +^

Trombone
Jon Hartman * (co-)
Jeremy Dawkins *+^ (co-)
Larry Dockter

Timpani
Mark Sternberg

Percussion
David Mendenhall
David Robbins

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

Manchester Choral Society

 
  Debra Lynn, conductor  
  Carrie Albright
Megan Baker
Christine Beery
Chris Beyer
Matt Boersma
Nicholas Bond
Andrew Bosk
Jim Brumbaugh-Smith
Dawn Budd
Brett Calland
Kristen Calvert *
Jill Carlton
Debbie Chinworth
Rone Davis
Abby Falkiner
Dwight Farringer
Sandy Funk
Liz Geisewite
Teri Getts
Sally Liszewski
Johanna Long
Ryan McIlrath
Howard McKee
Christina Middleton *
Wanda Miller *
Anne Myers
Wendy Noffsinger Erbaugh
Carlotta Olinger *
Amanda Petry
Melinda Potts
Chris Royer
Kacey Schroeder
Mark Schwartz
Pat Seymour
Shelley Smith *
heather Snyder
Josh Spall
Eric Stalter
Richard Stiver
Jason Sykes
Mindy Turner
Andy Ulrich
Brandy Waldridge
Michael Warner
Tessie Welty
Marilyn Yoder *

* semi-choir in second movement of
Pinkham's Christmas Cantata
       
 
The Manchester Choral Society is an inter-generational ensemble that combines the talents of Manchester College faculty, staff, and students with other members of the North Manchester community and its neighboring towns. In the spring, the ensemble will present one concert in cooperation with area church choirs and also a concert of favorite opera choruses.
Debra Lynn is in her first year as Assistant Professor of Music at Manchester College where she serves as Director of Choral Organizations and instructor of applied voice. In addition to the Manchester Choral Society, Debra conducts the A Cappella Choir and The Entertainers. She is in the process of completing her doctoral studies at Ball State University, where she served for three years as assistant conductor for all vocal ensembles.  Ms. Lynn has studied conducting with Douglas Amman, Paul Vermel, Paul Crabb, and Arnold Epley. Debra has held conducting and teaching positions at Northeast Missouri State University, William Jewell College, Mid-America Nazarene College, and New Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. Debra is married to tubist Robert Lynn. They reside in North Manchester with their four daughters: Bethany, Abby, and twins Emily and Erin.