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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 64th Season

Holiday Extravaganza VIII

Sunday, December 8th, 2002
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Selections from Messiah G. F. Handel  

And the glory of the Lord - chorus
But who may abide the day of His coming - alto aria
Behold, a virgin shall conceive - alto recitative
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion - alto aria, chorus
For unto us a child is born - chorus
There were shepherds abiding in the field - soprano recitative
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them - soprano recitative
And the angel said unto them - soprano recitative
And suggendly there was with the angel - soprano recitative
Glory to God - chorus
Hallelujah - chorus

  Janice Fulbright, alto
Debra Lynn, soprano
Manchester College A Cappella Choir
Debra Lynn, conductor
  A Christmas Festival Leroy Anderson  
  Masters in this Hall arr. Alice Parker  
  Christmas Day Gustav Holst  
  Janice Fulbright, alto  
  Polonaise from Christmas Eve Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov  
  A Dozen Daze of Christmas David Ott  

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Messiah George Frideric Handel

George (or Georg) Frideric Handel (or Händel), that German-born British subject who wrote Italian music, was a bundle of contradictions. The varied spelling of his name reflects the mobility of artists and composers common to that period. Names were often spelled according to the practice of the country of residence. He spelled his name "Handel" on his petition for citizenship.

Handel had a complex personality. On the one hand, he was pious and sentimental to the point of crying over his own music when it dealt with the sufferings of the Lord. On the other hand, he had an uncontrollable temper that prompted associates to play practical jokes on him, sometimes resulting in violence. (A prankster once untuned all the instruments just before a concert for the Prince of Wales and Handel was so enraged that he picked up a kettledrum and threw it at the concertmaster. He was persuaded to continue the concert only after the Prince made a personal plea.)

Perhaps his personality was shaped by his difficulty in pursuing his musical interest. His father insisted that he become a lawyer, and banned all musical instruments from the house. He further forbade young George to visit any other house containing a musical instrument. George managed to smuggle a clavichord (a very quiet keyboard instrument) into an upstairs room without his father's knowledge.

Handel was an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach, born in the same year and dying nine years later. They had similar backgrounds, came from the same part of Germany, were both devout Protestants, but were temperamentally quite different. While Bach remained steadfastly middle class and spent his meager earnings on raising a large family, Handel was a cosmopolitan who traveled widely, made and lost fortunes, and mingled with the aristocracy and the intellectual elite.

He was overwhelmed by Italy, where he spent much time. His Italianate operas were very successful, and brought him great fame in England soon after he arrived there. In the span of less than forty years, he wrote forty-six operas, all in Italian style. When the public's interest in Italian opera began to wane, Handel began to work more in the oratorio form. His "second career" made him even more famous, and today he is known mostly for his oratorios, of which his Messiah is the most performed.

He wrote the Messiah in 1741 while in a fit of despair over the failure of two of his operas. He confined himself to his room where he wrote, almost in a frenzy, for little over three weeks to produce his most enduring work, which was an instant success. Musicologist Dr. Hugo Leichentritt says:

"Messiah is one of those mysterious marvels of great art that appear but once in a century, one of those outstanding products of genius which appeals to all lovers of music, to modest amateurs, and even to illiterate persons, as well as to severe critics of art, musicians of all styles, all epochs, and to all nations alike, irrespective of all the differences of artistic creed which in other respects may separate them."

The oratorio runs a very long time; we hear only some selections.

  A Christmas Festival Leroy Anderson

Leroy Anderson was born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1908, and died in Woodbury, Conn., in 1975. He is best known for his attractive melodies and jaunty rhythms in such pieces as The Syncopated Clock, and Sleighride. Anderson studied composition at Harvard with Georges Enesco and Walter Piston. He was a linguist, specializing in German and Scandinavian languages, and served with U.S. Intelligence in Iceland and 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 and sandpaper.

  Masters in this Hall arr. Alice Parker  

Alice Parker has written arrangements of a number of Christmas carols that have been heard in this hall before. This is the first time the orchestra has performed Masters in this Hall.

  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.

  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.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

Linda Kanzawa Ard, Concertmaster
Joyce Dubach *
Benita Barber
Martha Barker
David Blakely
Sarah Cole
Linda Kummernuss
Emily Mondock
Margaret Piety

Naida MacDermid *
Peter Collins
Julie Sadler

Tim Spahr *
Sarah Reed +^
Tony Spahr
Sara Thomas

Darrel Fiene *
George Scheerer

Barbi Pyrah

Kathy Urbani *
Crystal Waggy +

Rita K. Merrick *
George Donner
Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff
Mark W. Huntington

Erich Zummack *
Michael Trentacosti

Nancy A. Bremer *
John Morse
Kim Reuter +^
Charlie Wysong

Steven Hammer *
Nathan Reynolds +^ (Asst.)
Ray Hart +
Rich Pepple

Jon Hartman *
Larry Dockter
Scott Hippensteel

William DeWitt

David Robbins

Jeff Cleveland
Josh Rouse

Robin Gratz

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

Manchester Choral Society and A Cappella Choir

  Debra Lynn, conductor  
Kari Brinkmeier
Ashleigh Casazza
Nicole Cataldo
Lois Davis
Jessica Hamlyn
Jennifer Hann
Racheal heath
Amy Hoffman
Debra Hollopeter
Larissa James
Carey Konkle
Rachel McFadden
Wanda Miller
Kellie Mullin
Amanda Myers-Walls
Carlotta Olinger
Sarah Oren
Sharon Osborne
Sherita Septiani
Kelsey Swanson
Christina Wade
Julie Wieseke

Chris Bowers
Robbie Bucher
Keigh Crider
Steve Harshman
Mitchell Herniak
Noah Kinsey
Dennae Lytle
Nick Reynolds
Mark Schwartz
Ethan Terry
Beth Allen
Megan Allen
Jaymie Baker
Sara Baker
Trish Bowers
Leslie Cantrell
Tess Carpenter
Jennifer Cornett
Emily Daives
Susan Frey
Sandy Funk
Meagan Harlow
Penny Heddings
Carrie Hook
Sara Kerkhoff
Mindy Martynowicz
Samantha Peko
Leslie Pettit
Kim Reuter
Robyn Skelton
Laura Stone
Megan Wenger

Brad Bohnstedt
Dennis Gates
Seth Hendricks
Stuart Jones
Krzysztof Kardaszewicz
Andrew Kauffman
Andy Liszewski
Grant Merrell
Sayo Oshogwemoh
Evan Overman
Hamilton Sadler
Tyler Secor
Daniel Smalley
Charles Warner
Mike Waters
John Wright
Janice FulbrightJanice Fulbright has sung extensively throughout Europe, including the Opera Houses of Dortmund, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Aachen, Detmold, Bielefeldt, Linz, Mainz, Bern, Zurich, Lucca, Venice, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Marseilles, Lyon, and London. She is best known for her operatic character roles, 50 in her repertory, and for her work in musical theatre and oratorio, with over 100 roles to her credit. She has been a regular contralto soloist with such orchestras as Philadelphia, Manhattan, Richmond, Nashville, Toledo, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Dallas, and St. Louis. Dr. Fulbright especially enjoys Gilbert and Sullivan and has appeared in all ten of the G & S alto character roles with the Southeastern Savoyards, the New D'Oily Carte Company, the English National Opera, and the American Savoyards. Her film debut was as "Baba" in The Medium by Menotti for National Public Television. She was named the National First Place Winner of the 1989 American Opera Auditions, appeared with the Columbia Artists Texas Opera Theatre National Tour in 1990, and was presented in a New York recital by the International Wagner Society in June of 1990, being named the "Rising Young Wagnerian Artist of the Year." Dr. Fulbright sang in the Wagner Summer Festival in Bayreuth and is listed on the International Artist Compendium of the Wagner Society. Her American orchestral debut was under the baton of Maestro Eric Leinsdorf with the Philadelphia Orchestra in a 1983 performance of Brahms' Alto Rhapsody. Her New York Lincoln Center debut was in the Beethoven Ninth symphony in May of 1988. She holds Doctoral degrees in both Opera Performance and in Conducting and Musicology from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Her dissertation on the choral/orchestral works of Puccini was published in 1990 and the year before she was named a Goethe International Fellow. She has been teaching in the fields of Voice Performance, Opera/Music Theatre, Languages, Choral Music, Conducting, and Musicology for 25 years, and has directed and conducted Opera and Musical Theatre Productions throughout the United States. She currently serves as Chariman of the Music Department at Huntington College.
Debra LynnDebra Lynn is in her fifth year as Assistand Professor of Music at Manchester College, where she serves as Director of Choral Organizations and instructor of applied voice and conducting. Choral ensembles under her direction include Manchester Choral Society, A Cappella Choir, and Chamber Singers. Her ensembles have performed at various locations throughout the U.S. including Carnegie Hall in New York. Debra holds a Doctor of Arts in Music degree with an emphasis in choral conducting and voice performance from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Prior degrees from Truman State University and William Jewell College include emphases in choral conducting, voice performance, and music education. Debra has studied conducting with Douglas Amman, Paul Vermel, Paul Crabb, and Arnold Epley. She has studied voice with Jeffrey Ballard, Mary Hagopian, Nicholas DiVirgilio, Paul Crabb, and Dean Wilder. Dr. Lynn has held teaching and conducting positions at Northeast Missouri State University, William Jewell College, and Mid-America Nazarene College. She has served as opera chorus director for Illinois Opera Theatre and as guest conductor for various composer forums and honor choir festivals. Debra is married to Robert Lynn, a tubist. They reside in North Manchester with their four daughters: Bethany, Abby, and twins Emily and Erin.