This Season

arrowPast Seasonsarrow

Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 65th Season

Holiday Extravaganza IX

Sunday, December 7th, 2003
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Polonaise in C, Op. 49 Anatol Liadov  
       
  Christmas Music Edvard Grieg  
       
  A Canadian Brass Christmas arr. Luther Henderson  
 

Ding Dong! Merrily on High
I Saw three Ships
The Huron Carol
Here We Come A-Wassailing

   
       
  Nutcracker Suite No. 1, Op. 71a Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky  
 

Trepak
Dance of the Reed Pipes
Waltz of the Flowers

   
       
  Intermission  
       
  Christmas Music for Orchestra John Cacavas  
       
  Skater's Waltz Emile Waldteufel  
       
  Dona Nobis Pacem Debra Lynn  
       
  Myn Lyking Sir Richard Runciman Terry  
       
  Shepherd's Pipe Carol John Rutter  
       
  Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson  
       
 

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  Polonaise in C major, Op. 49 Anatol Liadov
(1855-1914)
 
 

By almost any standards, including his own, Liadov (also spelled Lyadov) would be considered a minor composer. He was notoriously lazy, and rarely tackled any project as demanding as an opera or a symphony. He never finished even the few such projects he had contemplated. For a while, he played the violin, then gave it up. He played the piano, but gave that up as well.

He was so aware of his chronic procrastination that on one occasion when he had been given an assignment to write a fugue, he told his sister, with whom he was living, not to give him dinner until the fugue was written. According to Shostakovich, who reports the story, dinner-time rolled around, and the fugue was not written. "I won't feed you because you haven't completed the assignment. you asked me to do that yourself," said the sister. "Very well," said Liadov, "I'll dine with Auntie."

At the St. Petersburg Conservatory, his tardiness in completing assignments and his failure even to attend classes resulted in his expulsion by the director, Azanchevsky. When he asked the teacher whose class he had been skipping to intercede on his behalf, his plea was brusquely rejected. The teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, later regretted the dismissal of a student he considered "talented past telling," and blamed himself for his bureaucratic inflexibility. He suspected that his "inhuman regard for forms" was the result of his study of counterpoint!

Liadov was a dreamer, enchanted by the world of fantasy, and eager to escape the world around him, which he found to be "tedious, trying, purposeless, terrible." His best-known works, Kikimora, Baba-Yaga, The Enchanted Lake, and Eight Russian Folk Songs exemplify this love of fantasy, as well as his love of Russian folk music.

After his reinstatement at the Conservatory, his skill at orchestration became apparent, and his first orchestral work, The Bride of Messina, so impressed his professors that he was appointed professor of harmony and theory. One of Liadov's famous students, Sergei Prokofiev, reports that he was less interested in teaching than he was in pursuing his own interests. However, he was very active as conductor of the Musical Society, and championed the works of young Russian composers.

A Polonaise is a "dance" with three beats to the measure. It is of Polish origin, and is French for "Polish." It is doubtful that anyone actually danced to the typical polonaise. Severl authorities suggest that it should be considered more of a processional. Niecks, in his book Chopin, says that "Strictly speaking, the Polonaise, which has been called a marche dansante, is not so much a dance as a figured walk, or procession, full of gravity and a certain courtly etiquette."

The choice by Liadov of the polonaise form (he wrote several) is typical of his interest in Slavic folk music. He was an important collector of folk music which he incorporated into his attractive (and short) compositions.


 
       
  Christmas Music Edvard Grieg
(1843-1907)
 
 

Edvard Grieg, born in Bergen, Norway, was an avowed nationalist. He was very specific about it. He did not write Scandinavian music; he wrote Norwegian music! Those pieces which do not attest to their Norwegianness by their names, Norwegian Peasant March, Norwegian Bridal Procession, do so by their tunes.

Here we have an arrangement of Christmas music from themes by Grieg. I have been unable to determine the exact sources of the elements that make up this work, since I can find no piece by Grieg named Christmas Music. Grieg was a prolific composer of lyrical pieces for small instrumental groups and for the piano. It is possible that one or more of those pieces was the origin of this arrangement. However, Grieg also wrote many songs, several of which relate to Christmas. Under Juletraet (Under the Christmas Tree) was one such work for voice. Another was Jule-Sne (Christmas Snow), and a third was Sang til Juletraet, (Song to a Christmas Tree). Any or all of these works could have supplied the themes for this performance.


 
       
  A Canadian Brass Christmas arr. Luther Henderson
adapted for orchestra by Calvin Custer
 
 

The Canadian Brass are a highly respected and very popular group of musicians. They have played at Manchester College on occasion, and have always elicited one or two encores. One of the group always talks a bit about each piece before it is played, and it is clear that this is a very witty group of light-hearted people who play serious music. Today, we hear a medley of mostly well-known Christmas carols. The first, Ding Dong!, is of French origin as far as I can tell, though there may be more than one carol with that name. The second, I Saw Three Ships, will be familiar to you. The third, The Huron Carol, is not likely to be well-known here. It is an original Canadian carol. The last, Here We Come A-Wassailing, is, like the second, a well-known English carol.

"Wassail" is a very old word that, like most words, has a slightly different meaning when used in different contexts. Here, it means "We come drinking to your health." In this context, it is a toast.


 
       
  Selections from The Nutcracker, Op. 71 Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
(1840-1893)
 
 

Tchaikovsky is the despair of writers of program notes, since he is perhaps the best known of "classical" composers (though technically, he is a Romantic). Even the casual concert-goer is familiar with his life through often lurid film treatments or romantic biographies. There is little to add that the public does not already know.

One of Tchaikovsky's greatest strengths is his rich orchestration and the introduction of unusual instruments. Of all his works, probably the most famous are the 1812 Overture and The Nutcracker. He used gun-shots in the former, and the celesta in the latter. Even though Beethoven was first to use gun-shots, and Widor was first to use the celesta, Tchaikovsky was the first composer to use both gun-fire and the celesta successfully in serious music. The celesta, by the way, is a set of metal bars with resonating chambers, played from a keyboard.

The ballet tells the story of a little girl who receives a nutcracker for Christmas. It is in the form of a soldier. She falls asleep and dreams that all the Christmas presents come alive and fight against the Mouse King and his minions. Her nutcracker turns into a prince who takes her off to his enchanted kingdom, providing opportunities for his subjects to entertain her with dances of many exotic places.

Today we hear three selections from that rather long ballet: Danse Russe Trépak (the trépak is a trypical Russian dance), Danse des Mirlitons (Dance of the Reed Pipes), and Valse des Fleurs (Waltz of the Flowers). There are too many lovely sections of this ballet to be able to do them all justice in a program of this length. Unfortunately, The Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy had to be omitted.

Tchaikovsky would be disappointed, because it is in The Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy that the celesta makes its first appearance with an orchestra. Tchaikovsky had heard the instrument, played by its inventor, Mustel, shortly before he wrote The Nutcracker. Widor had written for the instrument before, but this was the first time it had been combined with a full orchestra. Tchaikovsky was very excited about it, and told his publisher not to let anyone know about his plans to use it, especially Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazounov. "I expect it to make a tremendous impression," he said. (But not here!)


 
       
  Christmas Music for Orchestra John Cacavas  
 

John Cacavas is one of those composers whose music you have almost certainly heard many times without knowing it. He is an American composer, born in Aberdeen, South Dakota. At the age of thirteen, he started a dance band at his school. You probably don't remember that. Later he composed an oratorio, The Conversion of Paul, for NBC radio. You probably don't remember that, either. But I suspect you do remember the television series Kojak, starring Telly Savalass, and the films Airport 1975, and Airport '77, the TV programs The Executioner's Song and Margaret Bourke White. Perhaps you remember the film Horror Express (starring Telly Savalas, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing). All right, you don't remember that one, either.

John Cacavas is a successful journeyman composer of incidental music. He is the kind of composer we need even if we don't notice him. In fact some people do notice him, and those who don't would miss him if they had to watch those films and TV programs without his music. To my knowledge, he has not written a large scale work in which his concept of musical form would be put to the test. Background music rarely lends itself to such notions as "grand design," serving, as it must, the demands of plot. His orchestration is clever, and the orchestral color inventive. He uses electronic devices imaginatively, but not overpoweringly. He has arranged a great deal of other people's music, including a suite called Star Spangled Spectacular with music by George M. Cohan. He has conducted orchestras world-wide and has lectured on writing music for films. He won a Grammy Award for the background score for Senator Everr Dirksen's spoken word, Gallant Men.


 
       
  The Skaters' Waltz (Les Patineurs) Emile Waldteufel
(1837-1915)
 
 

Waldteufel is one of those composers who is known primarily for one successful piece: The Skaters' Waltz. Waldteufel was a French composer, born into a very musical family. When he was seven, the family moved from his birthplace, Strasbourg, to Paris so that his older brother could study the violin at the Paris Conservatoire. Later, Emile also studied at the Conservatoire where one of his classmates was Jules Massenet, composer of the operas Manon, Thaïs, and Werther. His instrument was the piano, and throughout his career, he continued to compose at the keyboard, orchestrating his works later. His family had a dance band which became very popular in Paris. His compositions soon rivaled those of the older Johann Strauss in popularity. He was appointed pianist to Empress Eugénie of France, and regularly played for Napoleon III's grand court balls.

In 1874, the Prince of Wales attended an affair in Paris where he was impressed by Waldteufel's waltz Manolo, and helped launch his career in London, which spread his fame and guaranteed financial security until his death in 1915. In addition to his well-known original works such as Les Patineurs (Skaters), and Très jolie (Very Pretty), only slightly less known than The Skaters' Waltz, there were many works Waldteufel orchestrated from the music of other composers, most notable Chabrier's España.

The Skaters' Waltz is "picturesque." That is, it brings forth images of the events of a very cold day on the frozen Seine two years before it was written. Ice skating had been a popular winter activity for many years, but in 1879 Europe had the coldest winter on record. The Seine froze from bank to bank, and sleighs were used through the streets of Paris.

There is a slow introduction with a horn motif which is almost the main theme in inversion, followed by rapid flute trills and violin glissandi, suggesting the falling snow. When the main theme appears, it seems tentative, like people timidly trying the ice. The ice is firm, and the skaters gain confidence. One can almost picture the enthusiastic skaters with rosy cheeks doing double Axels and triple toe-loops. At the end, there is a hint of sleighbells before the timpani bring the work to a dramatic close.


 
       
  Dona Nobis Pacem for Chorus with Orchestra Debra Lynn
(b. 1963)
 
 

Notes for this piece by the composer. Dedicated to the Manchester College Choirs and Symphony. Commissioned with a Plowshares Grant from the Lilly Foundation, October, 2003.

This work was composed to honor Manchester College's commitment to peace and justice. Melodic and rhythmic fragments of the familiar canon Dona nobis pacem (Grant Us Peace) create the framework for the composition. This tune is considered a "standard" that is taught to elementary children in schools throughout the U.S. and other countries. These simple familiar tune fragments are introduced in unexpected ways that are a bit "unsettling" to the listener. A minor mode instead of major is used, and dissonant clustered harmonies are formed, implying a lack of peace. Lydian mode (which has a raised 4th scale degree) is used to depict the hope of peace in the future. At the halfway point, a new text is introducted (this time it is in English) from the Old Testament book of Isaiah (chapter 2, verses 3 & 4). This section, stating, "He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples," makes use of an interesting technique in which the singers are given specific pitches that are to be sung, while the rhythm of the text is determined by each individual performer. this creates a chaotic textual mass that I call the "Tower of Babel Effect." This section is highlighted with several soprano solos that are derived from the theme of the earlier Latin section. Finally, the chorus sings, "They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." This unison melody is accompanied by lush harmonies in the orchestra. During the second statement of this new theme, the complete traditional Dona nobis pacem (in its familiar major mode) provides a countermelody, emphasizing the similar objective of the English and Latin texts. The end of the work recaps the Dona nobis pacem fragments from the beginning of the piece, again in Lydian mode. Its hopeful and open-ended sound represents the "question" of peace and justice -- Is true peace really possible on earth?


 
       
  Myn Lyking Sir Richard Runciman Terry
(1865-1938)
 
 

R.R. Terry, as he is usually known, was an English musicologist whose life-mission was to bring to light the best of early English liturgical music. He became organist and director of music at Westminster Cathedral, where he revived the works of Byrd, Tallis, Morley, and others, and developed a tradition for the performance of the Latin liturgy that became a model for Roman Catholics throughout the world. Although he is best known for his editions of early English motets and oratorios, he also wrote music himself, and this carol. As nearly as I can determine, Myn Lyking means "My Good Fortune," as I assume it is Middle English.


 
       
  Shepherd's Pipe Carol John Rutter
(b. 1945)
 
 

John Rutter is an English choral director and composer who has become extremely popular in the last few years. Although he certainly has written some solemn music, he is best known for his lilting themes and syncopated rhythms, marking him as a composer well-acquainted with modern theater music. The Shepherd's Pipe Carol is a case in point ... sprightly and melodious. Among his popular compositions are For the Beauty of the Earth, and All Things Bright and Beautiful. It may be of interest to our audience that Debra Lynn's own choir was directed by John Rutter on the occasion of their performance at Carnegie Hall not long ago (she also directed there!)


 
       
  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, Concertmaster
Joyce Dubach *
Benita Barber
Martha Barker
Kristin King +^
William Klickman
Linda Kummernuss
Emily Mondock
Margaret A. Piety

Viola
Naida MacDermid *
Peter Collins
Julie Sadler
Michael Spaulding +

Cello
Tim Spahr *
Tony Spahr
Sara Thomas

Bass
Darrel Fiene *
George Scheerer

Piccolo
Allison Hoover +

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Allison Hoover +
Sara Kauffman +

Oboe
George Donner *
Rita K. Merrick

English Horn
Rita K. Merrick
Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jennifer Hann +
Mark W. Huntington

Bass Clarinet
Mark W. Huntington

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Michael Trentacosti

Horn
Nancy A. Bremer *
Brittany Cook +
John Morse
Kim Reuter +^

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Ray Hart +
Scott Tomlison

Trombone
Jon Hartman *
Larry Dockter
Kacie Starkey +

Tuba
William DeWitt

Timpani
Dave Robbins *

Percussion
Michelle McEver
Josh Rouse

Harp
Maryanne Meyer

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

Manchester College A Cappella Choir

 
  Debra Lynn, conductor  
  Soprano
Megan Allen
Jan Brainard
Ashleigh Casazza
Nicole Cataldo
Cassie Davis
Lois Davis
Jessica Hamlyn
Jennifer Hann
Rachael Heath
Amy Hoffman *
Courtney Hollopeter
Debra Hollopeter
Larissa James
Carey Konkle
Wendy Matheny
Rachel McFadden
Christina McPherson
Wanda Miller
Jennifer Moran
Amanda Myers-Walls
Sarah Oren
Sharon Osborne
Sherita Septiani
Riyanka Subrahmanyam
Kelsey Swanson
Try An Williams

Bass
Scott Avery
Torrance Deam
Grant Eberly
Chris Effertz
Krzysztof Kardaszewicz
Sayo Oshogwemoh
Matthew Overman
Hamilton Sadler
Tyler Secor
Andrew Suhre
Alto
Lauren Bailey
Jaymie Baker
Ali Bever
Tricia Bowers
Jennifer Cornett
Katie Crosby
Karen Eberly
Sandy Funk
Lana Groombridge
Meagan Harlow
Carrie Hook
Allie Hoover
Renee McFadden
Kellie Mullin
Sarah Nolan
Kim Reuter
Ingrid Rogers
Katie Schreck
Courtney Schroeder
Laaura Stone
Julie Thompson
Megan Wenger
Kara Wolheter
Carmen Zaharia

Tenor
Mark Bryant
Robbie Bucher *
Keith Crider
Chris DeWitt
Mitchell Herniak
James Hutchings
Onita Johnson
Dennae Lytle
Mark Schwartz
Michael Spaulding
Jonathan Stauffer
Ethan Terry
James Vincent

* soloist for Dona Nobis Pacem
       
 
Debra Lynn, is in her fifth year as Associate Professor of Music at Manchester College where she serves as Director of Choral Organizations and instructor of applied voice, conducting, vocal pedagogy, and choral arranging. Choral ensembles under her direction include the A Cappela 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, 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. She is married to Robert Lynn, a tubist. They reside in North Manchester with their four daughters, Bethany, Abby, and twins Emily and Erin.

Manchester Choral Society combines the talents of those in the Manchester and surrounding communities with college students, faculty, and staff. This gives the group its unique inter-generational identity. The ensemble rehearses on monday evenings during the fall semester each year. Choral Society performs twice during its three-month season, which includes an appearance with the Manchester Symphony for their annual Holiday Extravaganza concert.
A Cappella Choir is an auditioned ensemble consisting of 50 MC students. A variety of academic majors are represented by our membership including music, peace studies, education, the sciences, accounting, athletic training, history, religion, and communication. Although members come from various disciplines, they are truly drawn together by their common love of choral music. The ensemble has toured extensively throughout the United States, including a performance with alumni of the ensemble at Carnegie Hall in New York. The choir meets up with alumni members again in March of 2004 for a tour to Italy emphasizing world peace.