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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 62nd Season

Meet the Orchestra

Sunday, March 4th, 2001
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  An Orchestra Primer Theron Kirk  
  Scott Strode, narrator  
       
  Eight Russian Folksongs Anatol Liadov  
 

Religious Chant
Christmas Carol
Plaintive Song
Humorous Song
Legend of the Birds
Cradle Song
Round Dance
Village Dance

 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra Gordon Jacob  
 

I. Andante maestoso - Allegro molto

 
  Joel Roman, trombone  
       
  "Quae moerebat et dolebat" from Stabat Mater Giovanni Pergolesi  
  "Must the winter come so soon" from Vanessa Samuel Barber  
  "Un moto de gioia" from The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
  Hillary Blake, mezzo-soprano  
       
  The January February March Don Gillis  
       
 

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  An Orchestra Primer Theron Kirk
(1919-1999)
 
 

Theron Kirk is an American composer, currently Chairman of the Department of Music at San Antonio College in Texas. He has published works in a wide variety of forms, including choral and chamber music, operas and symphonies.

A number of composers have been attracted to the idea of a musical work designed to introduce the instruments of the orchestra to children. One of the most famous of such works is Benjamin Britten's A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Another popular example is An Orchestra Primer, by Theron Kirk. In both works, the instruments are shown off one by one, and finally, together, in an example of a basic musical form. Benjamin Britten ended his work with a fugue, a form developed in the Baroque era. Kirk ends his with a sonata allegro, hallmark of the Classical period. The sonata allegro is the essential form of the classical symphony, the concerto, chamber music such as quartets and trios, and, of course, the sonata, itself. The first movement of all these is traditionally in the sonata allegro form, hency its choice by Kirk as an ideal way of showing off the orchestra.

Put very simply, the "sonata form," also known as "first movement form," is an elaborate sort of ternary arrangement, where a theme (or two) is first offered to us in two different keys (the "exposition"). The different keys provide us with a dialogue or conflict, which is further explored in the middle section, the "development." Finally, the theme (or themes) is brought back to us, this time in the same key, so that the "conflict" is resolved. This last part is called the "recapitulation." Thus, in addition to introducing the orchestra, this work introduces a musical structure which has served composers ever since it reached full development in the works of Mozart and Haydn.


 
       
  Eight Russian Folk Songs, Op. 58 Anatol Liadov
(1855-1914)
 
 

Anatol Liadov was born in St. Petersburg in 1855 and died there in 1914. He came from a long line of professional musicians, and was honored in his day, achieveing a professorship at the conservatory in St. Petersburg, where he had previously studied under Rimsky-Korsakov. He had the misfortune to follow in the wake of such giants as Tschaikovsky, Glinka, and Rimsky-Korsakov, and his work seems too imitative of others' for him to have received much acclaim.

Liadov was active in the collection of Russian folk music, and thus had some influence in the development of Soviet music with its emphasis on the common man. The Eight Russian Folk Songs will remind listeners of the works of a number of later Russian composers, particularly Stravinsky, because he prompted the use of folk themes in serious music.

The eight pieces are divided so as to form three groups, each one beginning with a slow movement. There are two pieces in the first group, and three in the next two groups.

The first piece is called "Religious Song" and consists of a simple melody (in C major) repeated four times, with the themes overlapping in such a way as to remind one of "rounds." Each time the theme is repeated, a new instrument is featured. Gradually, the whole orchestra is involved, and the effect is of chiming church-bells, reminding one of Mussorgsky's Boris Godounov or Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture.

The second piece of the first group is a "Christmas Song" or "Koledo," in E minor. It is a quicker piece with a richly orchestrated mid-section.

The opening piece of the second section is called "Plaintive Song." In this piece, the celli have the major role. This is in A minor.

The next piece in the second section, "Humorous Song," is given over to the woodwinds. It is in A major.

The third piece of the middle group is the "Legend of the Birds," in D minor. It opens with an imitation of a chicken, reminding one of Rameau (a Baroque composer), and less surprisingly, of Mussorgsky in Pictures at an Exhibition. This piece offers the richest orchestration so far.

The third group opens with a "Cradle Song," reminding some of the later Firebird by Stravinsky.

This is followed by a very short, but lively "Round Dance," for piccolo, in G Major.

The final piece is "Village Dance Song," in C major, showing off the entire orchestra.

The work begins and ends in the key of C major, with a midsection in keys related to the subdominant. This, together with the alternating rhythms, contributes to the unity of the work.


 
       
  Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra Gordon Jacob
(1895-1984)
 
 

Gordon Jacob was born near London, and studied at the Royal College of Music, where he earned his Doctorate. He later became a professor of composition there.

Jacob has written for a wide variety of instruments, from saxophone to harmonica. He has also written a number of concerti for conventional instruments, such as piano, oboe, horn, trombone, and violin (though the violin concerto has been withdrawn).

Jacob was such an expert orchestrator that his original compositions are overshadowed by his arrangements of the works of other composers. The great symphonist Ralph Vaughan Williams lists Godon Jacob as one of the two people who most influenced his compositions, saying of Jacob, "He was at one time nominally my pupil, though there was nothing I could teach him which he did not know better than I, at all events in the matter of technique. Since then I have often asked his advice on points of orchestration, as indeed I would gladly do in any branch of the composer's art."

As a deft orchestrator, he enjoyed the genre of "theme and variations," and perhaps his most popular work is one of these: Passacaglia on a Well-Known Theme. The well'known theme is Oranges and Lemons, which short-wave radio listeners will recognize as the signature tune of the BBC Overseas Service.

The first movement of the Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra has three tempo markings: Andante maestoso, Allegro molto, Andanta maestoso. That is, "majestically slow," "very fast," and "Majestically slow." That seems like simple ternary form, but the middle section, labeled "very fast" is interrupted by a slow section, with the trombone playing a plaintive version of the theme over a string accompaniment. The effect is rather like a rondo, where several themes recur in an often symmetrical fashion. So here, we have an opening featuring a crescendo on the timpani with the trombone making an immediate entry with a dramatic (and disjunctive) statement spanning quite a range. We can call this "theme A." It is followed by a quickly rising scale on the trombone, recalling Holst's writing for that instrument. This fast section (B) requires great virtuosity on the part of the solist, with rapid use of the tongue for a staccato effect. Then there is the slow interlude, which at first seems very different from what we have been hearing, but which is, in fact, a development of thtme B, featuring strings and triangle, after which we return to the fast section. It is a measure of Jacob's inventiveness that makes that slow interlude seem almost to be a new theme (C), suggesting a rondo form. Finally, we return to the drum roll and dramatic statement by the trombone, bringing the movement to a close by repeating the opening, for a traditional ternary structure.


 
       
  "Quae moerebat et dolebat" from Stabat Mater Giovanni Battista Pergolese
(1710-1736)
 
 

Pergolese (sometimes spelled Pergolesi) was born near Ancona, Italy, and died near Naples at the age of twenty-six. His early death proved to be a good career move, as his popularity soared. Music publishers of the period exploited this popularity by publishing the works of lesser known composers under the name of Pergolese. In the short time he lived, he produced at least fifteen operas, the most famous of which is La Serva Padrona.

Pergolese, in his short life, had a great effect on French music. His La Serva Padrona, when performed in Paris, contributed to a great controversy between those who preferred Italian opera and those who preferred French opera. A group of Italian bouffons, or comedians, was invited to Paris, and they performed many Italian operas, reviving Pergolese's La Serva Padroma which had caused some stir six years before. This was toward the end of the Baroque era, when countrpoint was falling into disfavor, and simpler, more direct and more singable music was coming into vogue. The trend became known as the "gallant style," or Rococo. One camp, known as the King's Corner party, represented the nationalist viewpoint, and the other, the Queen's Corner party, represented the anti-nationalist viewpoint (so-called because the respective groups sat under the King's or the Queen's box in the theatre). Rousseau, in the minority group favoring the Italian opera, argued that "there is neither measure nor melody in French music, because the language itself is not susceptible of either ....  ... I conclude that the French have no music, and never can have an, or, if they ever have, so much the worse for them." The controversy was known as "The war of the comedians." Pergolese's music is best known today through an orchestration by Stravinsky in a suite called Pulcinella.

"Stabat Mater" is short for "Stabat Mater dolorosa." It is a "sequence" of the Roman Catholic liturgy, like the "Dies Irae," but was introduced a good deal later. It relates to the grief of Mary at the foot of the cross. There are many "Stabat Mater" settings, by such as Josquin des Prés, Palestrina, Astorga, Haydn, Schubert (two), Rossini, Verdi, Dvořák, Stanford, and others.

We hear the fourth element of this work, Quae morebat et dolebat.... The text translates as: How the loving mother mourned and grieved, watching the suffering of her glorious son.


 
       
  "Must the winter come so soon" from Vanessa Samuel Barber
(1910-1981)
 
 

Samuel Barber is one of America's most celebrated composers. He is best known for his orchestral works. His Adagio for Strings, adapted for string orchestra from the second movement of his Quartet, Op. 11, was made very popular through its use in the Oliver Stone film, Platoon. Also well-known is his overture to The School for Scandal. When he was twenty-five, he won the American Rome Prize (Prix de Rome), and for two years in a row, won the Pulitzer Prize. One of the prizes was for his opera, Vanessa, from which we hear an aria from the first act.

The libretto of Vanessa was written by Barber's long-time friend, Gian-Carlo Menotti, well-known in his own right for his operas Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Telephone, The Saint of Bleeker Street, The Medium, and Amelia Goes to the Ball. Although Menotti and Barber had been friends since they were students together at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute, this was the first (and only) time they collaborated in the writing of an opera.

Vanessa takes place in an unnamed northern country. It is winter. Vanessa, her mother the Baroness, and her niece, Erika, are awaiting the arrival of Anatol, who many years before, was Vanessa's lover. While Erika gives the servants instructions for the sumptuous dinner. Vanessa worries about the safety of Anatol, who is making his way through the blizzard. Although we are not told why, the Baroness has not spoken to her daughter during the twenty years since Anatol had left. Vanessa can hardly contain herself when her old lover finally appears at the door. She pours out her love and reminds him of how hard it was to retain her beauty all those years, but she had managed it for him. When he steps into the light, it is revealed that it is not the Anatol she was expecting, but the sone, who has come to tell of the deah of his father.

To make a long story short, after the initial shock and anger passes, Vanessa falls in love with the young Anatol. The following morning, Erika reveals to the Baroness that she had been seduced by Anatol (who was apparently a fast worker). She is loyal to Vanessa, and even after a failed suicide attempt assures Vanessa that Anatol had nothing to do with that. Vanessa and Anatol marry, and go off to Paris, with Vanessa leaving the estate to Erika. Once the pair leave, Erika drapes all the pictures and mirrors, and settles down to await the arrival of her ideal lover. The Baroness has now become silent before Erika.

The aria we hear today appears early in the opera, while Vanessa awaits the arrival of Anatol as she sings of the dreary winter with neither "dawn nor sunset" to mark the passing of the days.


 
       
  "Un moto di gioia" from The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) is one of Mozart's most popular operas. It is based on infidelity, where the women remain steadfast, and it is only the men who are lecherous, so it didn't raise th indignation occasioned by his other opera on that topic, Così fan Tutte, where the women are unfaithful ... sort of. But that's another story.

Figaro is the barber of Seville (subject of a later opera by Rossini and still other operas by lesser composers), who is about to marry Susanna. They are both in the service of Count Almaviva, who demands his droit du seigneur, the old custom that allows the lord the right to spend the first night with the bride of any of his retainers. Neither Figaro, nor Susanna is happy with this plan, nor is the Countess, who loves her husband in spite of his Zeus complex. In an effort to thwart the Count's plans, the women disguise themselves as each other and, through a series of plot twists, suceed in making fools out of all the men. They manage to trick the count into renouncing the droit du seigneur, whereupon there is a sigh of relief from the entire town.

The first performance of the opera was in May of 1786. The aira we hear today, Un moto di gioia, was not heard at that first performance, and is usually not heard in performances of the opera these days. There was a revival of the opera in 1789, at which time several arias were substituted for the original ones. Venite inginocchiatevi (Come kneel before me) was replaced by Un moto di gioia (A Flash of Joy). The original, and most commonly heard aria occurs in a scene where Cherubino, a young man smitten with the Countess, is being dressed as a girl in an effort to trap the Count. Un moto di gioia, in content, bears no resemblance to the original one, but retains the same light-heartedness. It is sung by Susanna who is worried about the Count's designs on her:

 
 

Un moto di gioia
Mi sento nel petto
Che annunzia diletto
In mezzo il timor.

Speriam che in contento
Finisca l'affanno
Non semprè tiranno
Il fato ed amor.

Di pianti, di pene
Ognor non si pasce,
Talvolta poi nasce
Il ben dal dolor.

E quando si crede
Più grave il periglio,
Brillare si vede
La calma maggior.

A flash of joy
I feel in my breast
which announces delight
in the midst of fear.

Let us hope that suffering
will end in happiness.
Not always are fate
and love tyrannical.

We do not always feed
on tears and troubles,
sometimes happiness
is born of grief.

And when you believe
danger to be gravest,
you can see
supreme calm shine through.

 
 
 
       
  The January February March Don Gillis
(1912-1978)
 
 

Don Gillis was born in Cameron, Missouri. He was trained mostly in Texas, at Texas Christian University, and at North Texas State University. He worked in Chicago for NBC radio, and then for a number of years at NBC in New York. When Toscanini retired, Gillis headed efforts to save the orchestra, forming the Symphony of the Air, which continued to broadcast for several more years from Toscanini's favorite studio, 8-A.

Gillis was greatly involved in music education. From 1958 to 1961 he was vice-president of the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. During his tenure as chairman of the music department at Southern Methodist, and later at Dallas Baptist Colleges, he worked hard to promote student composition, partucarly operas.

Gillis' music is eclectic and conservative. It sounds very American, bearing a strong resemblance to that of Aaron Copland, and incorporating elements of popular and American folk music. Unlike Copland, who wrote serious music with a touch of humor, Gillis wrote humorous music with a touch of seriousness. A light touch!

"Whimsical" is the word for Gillis. He wrote such pieces as The Woolyworm, and Thoughts Provoked on Becoming a Prospective Papa. His sense of whimsy is perhaps most clearly expressed in the Symphony No. 5 1/2, subtitled "A Symphony for Fun," which has movements with such designations as "Scherzophrenia," and "Perpetual Emotion." He was a great punster, and might be amused to know that some of his listeners consider his January February March engaging, but rather dated.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Linda Kanzawa Ard, Concertmaster
Joyce Dubach *
Martha Barker
Christina Berger
Christina Beyer +^
Amy Bixler +
Emma Doud
Jaime Eller +^
Sherry Gajewski
Matt Hendryx
Rodney Morrison
Margaret Piety
Moo Il Rhee
Rebekah Yoder +^

Viola
Naida MacDermid *
Dessie Arnold
Peter Collins
Emily Mondock
Eric Stalter +^

Cello
Tim Spahr *
Valeria Goetz Doud
James Eaton
Laura Koczan +
Amanda Schwersky

Bass
Darrel Fiene *
George Scheerer

Piccolo
Barbi Pyrah

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Rebecca Menzie

Oboe
George Donner *
Benjamin Wiseman
English Horn
Diane Dickson

Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Bass Clarinet
Mark W. Huntington

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Michael Trentacosti

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer *
John Morse
Michael Galbraith
Kim Reuter +

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Richard Pepple
Nathan Reynolds +^

Trombone
Jon Hartman *
Larry Dockter
Joel Roman +

Tuba
William DeWitt

Timpani
Karl Gilbert

Percussion
David Robbins
Greg Wolff

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
       
 
Hillary Blake and Joel RomanHillary Blake, mezzo-soprano and first prize winner, is a senior applied music major at Manchester College. She is from Elwood, Indiana, and attended Elwood Community High School. She has studied private voice for eight years and is currently a student of Dr. Debra Lynn. At Manchester College, her activities have included A Cappella Choir, Entertainers, Concert Band, and Fine Arts ETU. She serves as soprano section leader in A Cappella Choir. Hillary is also the handbell choir director at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Culver, Indiana. She is a recipient of the Fine Arts Scholarship and last year performed a successful junior recital. Hillary is the daughter of Ben and Tammy Hobbs and lives in Culver with her husband Martin. Hillary plans to graduate in May, 2001, and attend graduate school, where she will major in vocal performance.

Joel Roman, tenor trombone and runner-up, is a sophomore music education major at Manchester College. He was born in Traverse City, Michigan, and raised in South Whitley, Indiana, where he attended Whitko High School. Joel was awarded "Outstanding Soloist" at the Rolling Meadows High School Jazz Band Competition on "Blue Bones" in Chicago. He has studied trombone privately for six years with Larry Dockter, Theodore Faur, and currently with Scott Tomlison. At Manchester College, he participates in the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, and the recently reestablished Manchester Spartan Pep Band, which he organizes, coordinates, and directs. He is the recipient of a Fine Arts Scholarship and a Symphony Society Scholarship. Joel is the son of Gerard and Sue Roman, twin brother of Justin, and brother of 13-year-old Jenna. He enjoys traveling, singing, and performing trombone in various styles. He intends to graduate in May, 2003, and attend graduate school.