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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 66th Season

Holiday with the Americans

Sunday, December 5th, 2004
Cordier Auditorium
Suzanne Gindin, Conductor

  Overture to Der Freischütz Carl Maria von Weber  
  Concerto for Clarinet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 26 Ludwig Spohr  

I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Rondo - Vivace

  Jennifer Woodrum, clarinet  
  Christmas Oratorio, Op. 12 Camille Saint-Saëns  

Recitative and Chorus -- "There were shepherds"
Chorus -- "Glory be unto God"
Solo -- "Patiently, patiently have I waited for the Lord"
Solo and Chorus -- "In my heart I believe"
Duet -- "Blessed, blessed is He who cometh"
Chorus -- "Wherefore do the heathen clamor?"
Trio -- "My soul doth magnify"
Solo and Chorus -- "Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia"
Quintet and Chorus -- "Arise now, daughter of Zion!"
Chorus -- "Praise ye the Lord of hosts"

  Debra Lynn, soprano
Elizabeth Geisewite '01, mezzo-soprano
Allison Hoover '06, mezzo-soprano
Jeffrey Ballard, tenor
John Thompson, baritone

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to Der Freischütz (The Freeshooter) Carl Maria von Weber

Weber was born near Lübeck, in north Germany. His family was artistic (his father was a traveling actor and manager, and his mother was an accomplished singer). Weber wrote a number of piano works, including two concertos, two symphonies, two clarinet concertos, and many songs. His fame, however, lies in his contributions to the opera; more specifically, to the German opera. Opera had always been the Italian art. Even Mozart's "Italian" operas were more popular than his German ones. German composers struggled with the development of a truly German operatic style. Ludwig Spohr urged composers to use German subjects, and to make the opera a more integrated complete artwork, what Wagner later referred to as a Gesamtkunstwerk. Wagner's adoption of that point of view, and his extreme use of the Leitmotiv can be traced back to Spohr with Carl Maria von Weber as the link.

Until the time of Mozart, opera overtures were intended to put the audience into the right mood for the opera, but they made no direct references to the themes of the opera. One of the great operatic overtures by Mozart was to Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). It was a work in sonata form with no themes from the opera it was introducing. Mozart did experiment with overtures featuring themes from the opera (Die Zauberflöte for example). Perhaps that inspired Spohr to urge that approach. In any case, Weber's overtures are introductions to the themes of the opera, and more than that, they serve to tell the story of the opera.

A number of composers had been able to include themes from the opera in their overtures while still holding to the sonata form. Weber abandoned that idea. His overtures are a series of themes arranged in a dramatic fashion in such a way as to provide variety from one part to the next, rather in the manner of a suite. The overture to Der Freischütz is a case in point.

The story is from German folklore. The great hunter, Caspar, signed an agreement with Samiel, who is in league with the Devil, is exchange for which he was given magic bullets, providing him with deadly aim. He knew that Samiel would one day come to him for his soul. The only way of escaping the agreement was for Caspar to find someone to take his place. Max is another hunter planning to enter a shooting contest which he must win in order to marry the beautiful Agathe. Caspar tricks him into accepting the magic bullets, passing the curse onto him, and reserving the last one which he expects will kill Agathe. Through the intervention of Heaven, the ruse does not work, and Caspar goes to Hell when he is accidentally killed by a shot from Max.

As a concert piece, the overture to Der Freischütz is a piece of "program music," faithfully outlining the events of the drama. The themes are easily recognized as representing Good (major key), or Evil (minor key), and tend to alternate. The work opens slowly and softly with a great rising crescendo. For several minutes, the orchestra contrasts the peaceful and menacing aspects of the forest. At about one minute, the horns enter, tremulous strings and timpani remind us of the connection between Caspar and the Devil. The tunes of arias sung by the principals are woven into the fabric of the overture, and there is a recognizable storm and wild hunt. The work ends triumphantly with the death of Caspar, and the redemption of Max.

  Concerto for Clarinet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 26 Ludwig Spohr

Ludwig (or Louis, as he is sometimes known) Spohr was best known as a conductor, violinist, and composer of violin concertos (he wrote at least fifteen of them). In his own time, he was considered greater than Beethoven, and he was very likely a better performer. He was quite prolific, having written ten symphonies, thirty-four string quartets, eight overtures, and eleven operas. He was perhaps most influential in his composition of operas. He accepted Gluck's notion that an opera should emphasize the drama, rather than be merely a vehicle for entertaining tunes. His overtures were among the first to incorporate themes from the opera to follow, strongly influencing Carl Maria von Weber, and Wagner. He is said to have been the first conductor to use a baton instead of a violin bow, and it was he who introduced the letters that identify certain sections of a score. "Let's go back to B," is a phrase known to all musicians, and they owe that convenience to Spohr.

Even though he is best known as a violinst and composer of violin concertos, his love of opera as a form unbroken by dialogue, and uninterrupted by show-piece arias, can be heard in his most famous concerto, the eighth. Concertos are traditionally in three movements; this one is in one movement. However, since Spohr was a conservative and a lover of Mozart's musical structure, it is easy to hear the three parts, even though they run together. The operatic character of the piece is shown in Spohr's description of it as a concerto "in modo d'una scena cantante" or a concerto that imitates the three-part operatic aria.

Spohr was so highly honored in his time, it is surprising that he is almost forgotten today. An explanation lies largely in the changing political and social situation of the times. Space does not permit a full description of the situation, but suffice to say that his popularity was largely the result of his formal conservatism. He stressed classical structure in his works, favoring the sonata form as developed by Mozart, at a time when the public was trying to hold on to traditional values. Toward the end of his life, musical tastes were changing, and the public was becoming excited by the chromaticism of Wagner and dramatic harmonies of Tchaikovsky.

Today, Spohr is known mostly for two works, the Violin Concerto No. 8 and the Clarinet Concerto No. 1, which we hear today. As might be expected from a 19th century romantic composer with a great respect for the classical structure of an earlier period, it is in three movements, the first of which is in sonata form. In the tradition of Mozart, the solo instrument makes a late entry. The second movement, adagio, is rather short, and reveals the song-like elegiac character for which Spohr was famous. The third movement is in the form of a rondo, a very common form for a final movement of a classical concerto or symphony.

  Christmas Oratorio, Op. 12 Camille Saint-Saëns

Saint-Saëns was something of a neoclassical composer living in a romantic age. He was a great admirer of Bach and Mozart, and a detractor of Debussy and Stravinsky. He was a child prodigy, but not born of a musical family, although his mother was an accomplished artist. He composed his first piano piece just after his third birthday. At ten, he made his debut at a public concert, where he played works by Beethoven and Mozart, and, as an encore, offered to play any of Beethoven's thirty-two piano sonatats, from memory. He was a prolific writer and wrote on many diverse subjects, including science. Berlioz remarked that "He knows everythin, but lacks inexperience." His music is still quite popular, especially his witty parody, The Carnival of the Animals, but he has never been treated very well by the critics. He was a master of counterpoint, a booster of Bach, and an excellent craftsman. He had his champions, who referred to him as a "second Mozart," or "the French Beethoven" (Gounod), but although no one could deny his formal elegance, his music was described as "la mauvaise musique bien écrit" (bad music, well-written). Reversing Mark Twain's description of Wagner's music, one might say that Saint-Saëns' music sounds better than it is. Perhaps it was because he wrote pretty music with so much ease that irritated some of his contemporaries. Or because he had such a grasp of classical structure to go with it, that it made complaints less easily justified, or that he wrote music for that "popular art," the cinema. The main criticism seems to be that his music was not very innovative. Not everyone cares.

Saint-Saëns wrote in almost every genre, and while his technique was classical, his content was romantic. He traveled a great deal, very often to Egypt, and Algeria where he died. Much of his music was the exotic hints of eastern music through his use of the pentatonic scale. His subjects ranged from Spain to Iran, with rhythms from the former and melodic elements in the minor mode from the latter. His opera, Samson and Delilah, has an unmistakable oriental sound.

Saint-Saëns' principal instruments were the organ, piano, and harp. For his Christmas Oratorio he chose a small string group, a harp, five soloists, a choir, and an organ. It is the organ that dominates the ensemble. There are ten sections to the oratorio. The Prelude lasts almost four minutes, and is introduced by the organ. Saint-Saëns described it as being "in the style of Bach," presumably a reference to Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

The succeeding sections are:

Recitative and Chorus -- "There were shepherds"
Chorus -- "Glory be unto God"
Solo -- "Patiently, patiently have I waited for the Lord"
Solo and Chorus -- "In my heart I believe"
Duet -- "Blessed, blessed is He who cometh"
Chorus -- "Wherefore do the heathen clamor?"
Trio -- "My soul doth magnify"
Quartet -- "Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia"
Quintet and Chorus -- "Arise now, daughter of Zion!"
Chorus -- "Praise ye the Lord of hosts"

You may note a touch of Berlioz in the Chorus "Wherefore do the heathen clamor?"


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Linda Kanzawa, Concertmaster
Benita Barber

Violin II
Martha Barker
Jessie Sark
Katherine Schreck +

Naida MacDermid *
Peter Collins
Julie Sadler

Brook Bennett *
Tyler Houlihan +
Sarah Reed +
Tim Spahr
Tony Spahr
Sara Thomas

Darrel Fiene *
Mark Huxhold
George Scheerer

Kathy Urbani *
Allison Hoover +
Sara Kauffman +
Barb Pyrah
George Donner *

Lila D. Hammer *
Mark W. Huntington

Erich Zummack *
Amy Eager +

Nancy A. Bremer *
Brittany Cook +
Cameron Hollenberg +

Steven Hammer *
Ray Hart +

Dave Robbins *

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

Manchester College A Cappella Choir

  Debra Lynn, conductor  
  Soprano I
Rachael Heath
Amy Hoffman
Larissa James
Amanda Myers-Walls
Sharon Osborne
Nicole Pickett
Riyanka Subrahmanyam

Soprano II
Wendy Matheny
Katie McCann
Danielle Moeller
Kellie Mullin
Samantha Peko
Sherita Septiani
Kelsey Swanson
Audrey Wiedman

Tenor I
Robbie Bucher
Joseph Gibble-Keenan
Andrew Leavens

Tenor II
Torrance Dean
Aaron Hostetler
James Hutchings
Joel Waggy
Alto I
Brittany Cook
Katie Crosby
Allison Hoover
Becca Kane
Rachel McFadden
Elyssa Vanderbilt
Megan Wenger

Alto II
Ali Bever
Amanda Dewaard
Meagan Harlow
Caitlin Haynes
Sarah Nolan
Laura Stone
Julie Thompson

Bass I
Ben Martin
Matthew Overman
Tyler Secor
Andrew Suhre

Bass II
Andrew Haff
Kris Kardaszewicz
Sayo Oshogwemoh
Michael Spaulding

Warsaw Community Choir

  Scott Avery and Alan Chambers, co-directors
Marilyn Sexton Mason, accompanist
Sheila Bowers
Marily Campbell
Babs Coppes
Toni Morehead
Frances Ottersberg
Mary Parr
Velma Pfleiderer
Karen Ridderman
Geneva Veasey

Bob Barkes
Brad Green
Robert Himes
Jeff Servies
Bernie Wilson
Barbara Beck
Loraine Engelberth
Hildegard Fehlmann
Rose Marie Henning
Trina Hoy
Rose Ann McCammon
Shavawn Parduhn
Shirely Rife
Jean Sandy
Corlynn Shortz
Linda Sims

Dennis Allison
Phil Eherenman
Pinky Eherenman
Rogert Gaff
Bill Henning
Grand Magner
Walter Ottersberg

Manchester Symphony Choral Society

  Alan Chambers, director  
  Elizabeth Allen
Katherine Allen
Rosemary Bolinger
Jan Brainard
Lois Davis
Sandy Funk
Onita Johnson
Wanda Miller
Meganmarie Pinkerton
Matthew Wagner
Jennifer WoodrumJennifer Woodrum holds a Bachelors in Music and a Masters in Music and Performance from Northwestern University. She presently teaches thirty private students weekly, plays second clarinet with the Rockford Symphony, and performs recitals and educational concerts with the Elan Ensemble.

Debra Lynn, is in her seventh 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. In March of 2004, her A Cappella Choir traveled to Italy for a tour emphasizing world peace. 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. Before moving to North Manchester, 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 tubist, Robert Lynn. They reside in North Manchester with their four daughters, Bethany, Abby, and twins Emily and Erin.

Jeffrey D. Ballard is a versatile musician with over 20 years of experience as a performing artist and professor of music. His operatic credits have included appearances with opera companies on the east and west coasts, southeast, midwest, and in Italy. He has performed solo recitals at Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and appeared in concert with orchestras in Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon, Florida, Georga, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Rome, Italy. Ballard has been the recipient of two artist fellowships as a soloist at the New York Bach Aria Festival, and was selected in 1997 as a promising young college voice teacher through the National Intern Program of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. He also is a past winner of the NATS Artist Awards competition in the state of Mississippi. Since 1986, he has served on the voice faculties of six universities, holding full-time positions at Ball State University, Western Oregon University, and Susquehanna University. He has also taught at West Georgia University, and The University of Southern Mississippi. He currently teaches at Manchester College of Indiana, in addition to maintaining private studios in Muncie and Indianapolis.

John Thompson holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Memphis. He also received a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from New Mexico State University. Dr. Thompson is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at Huntington College, teaching applied voice and opera workshop, while also serving as the director for the Treble Choir of the Children's Choir of Huntington County. He has performed numerous opera roles, including John Sorel in The Consul, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Mr. Ford in Falstaff, the title role in Tartuffe, and Escamillo in Carmen. Dr. Thompson has also appeared as a soloist for such works as the Lord Nelson Mass, Messiah, and Mozart's Requiem. He and his Romanian bride, Anca, live in Fort Wayne.
Elizabeth Geisewite (no bio available)