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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 67th Season

Celebrate the Season

Sunday, December 4th, 2005
Cordier Auditorium
Suzanne Gindin, Conductor

  The Four Seasons -- Winter Antonio Vivaldi  
  Jessica Bennett, solo violin  
  "Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion" (from Messiah G.F. Handel  
  Gesù Bambino Pietro A. Yon  
  "Alleluia" from Exultate Jubilate Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
  Tammie Huntington, soprano  
  Nutcracter, Suite No. 1, Op. 71a Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky  
  Nutcracker Suite Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn  
  featuring the Tannenbaum Jazz Band  

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  L'Inverno (Winter, from The Four Seasons) Antonio Vivaldi

The Manchester Symphony Orchestra continues its series of seasonal performances of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with a rendering of Winter. Each of the "Seasons" is a Baroque concerto, and each is an early example of "program music." That is, music that is intended to suggest extra-musical events, or even tell a story without the use of words. Although program music is more popular with the public than the critics, The Four Seasons has remained appealing to critics and public alike for 300 years.

Concertos, from the Baroque period until today, usually consist of three movements, broken by pauses. The movements of this early concerto are played without pauses, but their contrasting character from fast, slow, to fast marks the change from one to the other. Vivaldi gave specific details concerning the "meaning" of each section. Each concerto was accompanied by an explanatory sonnet, written by Vivaldi, himself.

  "Rejoice Greatly" from The Messiah George Frederic Handel

George Frederic 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. 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 kettle-drum and threw it at the concertmaster. He was persuaded to continue the concert only after the Prince made a personal plea. Handel had no patience with incompetence, but he did have a sense of humor. When a singer complaining about Handel's style of accompaniment threatened to jump on the harpsichord and smash it to pieces, Handel calmly replied that if the singer gave ample warning, he would publicize the event, because he was sure that more people would come to watch the singer jump on a harpsichord than to hear him sing.

Handel was an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach, born in the same year and dying nine years later than Bach. They had similar backgrounds, came from the same part of Germany, and were both devout Protestants, but they 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 aristacracy and the intellectual elite. After writing nearly forty operas in the Italianate style, Handel turned to oratorio for which he is most famous today. The Messiah, and selections from it, fills concert halls and curches during the Christmas and Easter seasons.

  Gesù Bambino (The Child Jesus) Pietro A. Yon

Pietro Yon was born in Italy and died in New York. Best known as an organist, he also was a composer, having studied with de Sanctis at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. While in Italy, he served as organist at the Vatican. Later he became choirmaster at the church of St. Francis Xavier, New York. He became well-known in the United States as a concert organist and choir director. In 1921 he was declared honorary organist at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. He used to be listed in the authoritative Grove's Dictinoary of Music and Musicians, but is listed no longer. Sic transit gloria mundi.

When blossoms flowered amid the snows
Upon a winter night
Was born the Child, the Christmas Rose,
The King of Love and Light.
The angels sang, the shepherds sang,
The grateful earth rejoiced,
And at His blessed birth the stars
Their exultation voiced.
O come let us adore him
Christ the Lord.

Again the heart with rapture glows
To greet the holy night
That gave the world its Christmas Rose,
Its King of Love and Light.
Let every voice acclaim His name,
The grateful chorus swell,
From paradise to earth he came
That we with Him might dwell.
Venite adoremus,
Ah! Adoremus Dominium

  "Alleluia" from Exultate Jubilate Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

One of the earliest anecdotes about Mozart is found in a letter from Johann Andre Schachtner, court trumpeter at Salzburg, to Mozart's sister, Maria Anna. Schachtner had gone to the Mozart home with Leopold, Wolfgang's father, where they found little four-year-old Wolfgangerl (as he was known familiarily) busy with pen and paper. He was writing notes which were little more than blobs, sine he was dipping the pen all the way to the bottom of the well, so that every time he put point to paper, a drop of ink fell down and blotted the paper. Leopold picked up the paper to decipher it, and his amusement at the presumption of the little tyke turned to admiration as he began to hum the tune. The annotation beneath the smear was accurate, but much too difficult to play. But little Mozart disagreed, saying that it was a concerto, and of course would require much practice. He then proceeded to play enough of it to convince the adults of its worth.

The motet Exultate Jubilate was written while Mozart was in Milan, early in 1773. He wrote it to be sung by a castrati, a man, Venanzio Rauzzine, according to the biographer W.J. Turner, but it is known as being for soprano, orchestra, and organ. The "Alleluia" is the best-known portion of the motet.

"The Friendly day is shining now that clouds and storms have fled,
Sudden calm has risen on the just.
Dark night reigned all around, but arise in gladness ye who until now were afraid,
as the happy daybreak gives pleasing fronds and lillies with a full right hand.

  The Nutcracker Suite No. 1, Op. 71a Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky

Although considered a Romantic composer, Tchaikovsky had a great respect for Classical form as can be heard in his many symphonies. He wrote in many genres, including opera, concerto, chamber music, theatre overture, and, of course, ballet. Of all him music, probably the most famous works are the 1812 Overture and The Nutcracker Suite. One of his greatest strengths is his rich orchestration, and he is credited with the introduction of many unusual instruments to serious music.

The Nutcracker was the first successful work to use the celesta, and thus introduced it to the public. (The celesta is a keyboard instrument in which mallets strike metal bars placed over wooden resonators. It has a pleasant tinkling sound.)

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. The Suite is a selection of pieces from the ballet, and includes the following:

Overture Minature sets the mood: delicate and light-hearted, appropriate to the fancies of a child. The celesta can be heard near the end of this movement.

March shows the full power of the orchestra, with brass and percussion resounding, underpinned by the pizzicato strings, a typical Tchaikovsky touch. It is in the Dance of the Sugar-plum Fairy that the celesta makes its most impressive 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 was combined with a full orchestra.

Of all the selections of the ballet, the Trepak is the most Russian. Even in a concert performance, one can imagine the spectacular leaping of the leather-booted Cossacks. The full orchestra is heard here in all its richness.

The Arabian Dance is scored mainly for the woodwinds and muted strings, though the tambourine is occasionally heard. The plaintive cry of the oboe recalls the sound of the Middle-Eastern shawm, reflecting the Romantic obsession with the exotic. The exoticism of the Arabian Dance is echoed in the Chinese Danse with the use of the glockenspiel and the triangle. Mirlitons are musical instruments rather like kazoos, played by children. In the full ballet version, the score calls for these "toy flute," but in the Suite, real flutes are used.

The Waltz of the Flowers may well be the most popular part of the Nutcracker Suite. It needs little comment.

  The Nutcracker Suite arr. by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn
(D.E. 1899-1974)

Edward Kennedy Ellington was born in Washington, D.C., to a family that was fairly well-off, so unlike other jazz players of the period, such as Louis Armstrong, he never suffered the poverty that sparked others to develop the blues to such an extent. In a sense, he was a cross-over musician, blending jazz with more "serious" music. Also, since improvisation is such a part of jazz, it may surprise people to know that he wrote so much music down.

Ellington is credited with changing the sound of the jazz band ... of making it richer, not only through the introduction of instruments not commonly associated with jazz (the tuba, for instance), but by innovative uses of ordinary devices such as the mute. Not all of his innovations came directly from him, but he was the one who recognized their value and adopted. them.

His contributions to the music were good tunes and a sense of structure. The harmonies came from his interaction with his players. During a session, his players would improvise different effects. Many would be discarded, but the more effective ones, Ellington kept and used.

The Nutcracker Suite is one of Ellington's fully orchestrated and written pieces that highlights how he heard music. Enjoy the contrast between the two versions, as it illuminates the genius of Ellington.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Linda Kanzawa, Concertmaster
Jessica Bennett
Linda Kummernuss
Ilona Orban
Moo Il Rhee

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Dessie Arnold
Martha Barker
Janice Eplett
Heather Hufgard +

Naida MacDermid *
Jessica Jacoby +
Julie Sadler

Brook Bennett *
Martha Craig
Jason Ney
Sarah Reed +
Tim Spahr
Tony Spahr
Sara Thomas

Darrel Fiene *
George Scheerer

Kathy Urbani *
Allie Hoover +
Jena Eichenlaub +
Sara Kauffman +
George Donner *
Nyssa Gore +
Deana Strantz +

Lila D. Hammer *
Mark W. Huntington
Jennifer Hann +

Erich Zummack *
Amy Cox

Cameron Hollenberg +
Brittany Cook +
Scott Strode

Steven Hammer *
Jason Lucker

Jon Hartman *
Larry Dockter
Scott Hippensteel

Dave Robbins *
Michael Holler +

Megan Stout

Marilyn Secton-Maxon *

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
Jessica Bennett began playing the violin at the age of seven. In 1999 she won the Goshen College music Department's annual Concerto-Aria Competition with the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and as a result toured and performed with the Goshen  College Orchestra throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. Then, in 2002, Jessica won the Fort Wayne Young Artist Competition's collegiate division performing the first movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in 2003.

Her teachers have included Dr. Lon Sherer, professor emeritus of music at Goshen College; Aaron Berofsky, professor of violin at Michigan State University; Carolyn Plummer, professor of violin at the University of Notre Dame; and Renata Artmann Knific, professor of violin at Western Michigan University. Jessica currently teaches in the Community School of the Arts at Goshen College as a private violin instructor. She is also the violinist of the Sherer Trio who made its debut in December, 2004. The Sherer Trio performed in the Goshen College Piano Workshop Performance series this past summer and was also a featured ensemble in the Ludington Music Festival along with Dr. Matthew Hill, piano professor at Goshen College.
Tammie Huntington, soprano, is currently pursuing the Doctor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Opera Direction at Ball State University, where she also serves as a Graduate Assistant in Voice and Opera. She holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from BSU, and a Bachelor's degree from Grace College in Vocal Performance and Music Education.

Mrs. Huntington's opera/operetta performances have included the roles of Despina in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Josephine in Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, Mother/Fairy in Caraher's Jack and the Beanstalk, Suor Genovieffa in Puccini's Suor Angelica, Laetitia in Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief, Adele in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, and Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone. She has also appeared as guest soprano soloist in orchestral productions of Bach's Magnificat, Mozart's Requiem, Vivaldi's Gloria, Handel's Messiah, and Schubert's Mass in G Major, No. 2. She has participated in master classes with Shirley Emmens, Dr. Fiora Contino, Jaque Trussel, and Stephen Schnurman, and has sung under the batons of conductors Patrick Kavanaugh, Tomasz golka, Leonard Atherton, Wishart Bell, Keith Brion, and Ardis Faber. Mrs. Huntington has performed in recitals and opera scenes in Warsaw and Muncie and with the Masterworks Festival Opera company; as guest soprano soloist with the BSU Concert Band, and sang the premiere of an original serial composition, Drei Lieder, by Doug Harbin at the 2005 College Music Society Great Lakes Conference.

She has held faculty positions at Warsaw Christian School, Lakeland Christian Academy, and Grace College where she serves as Director of Vocal Studies. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Music Educators National Convention, and Christian Performing Artists Fellowship. Mrs. Huntington resides in Marion, Indiana, with her husband, Ben, and their three active, fun-loving sons.