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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 68th Season

Dance to the Music

Sunday, March 4th, 2007
Honeywell Center, Wabash
Suzanne Gindin, Conductor

  Light Armor Choreography by Adrienne Clancy  
  Performed and Interpreted with Movement Contributions from
The ClancyWorks Dance Company.
Performed to the music from La Création du monde by Darius Milhaud
 
       
  Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun Claude Debussy
arr. Arnold Schönberg
 
  Members of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Passage Rites Choreography by Adrienne Clancy  
  Performed and Interpreted with Movement Contributions from
The ClancyWorks Dance Company
Performed to the music from Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
 
       
 

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  "Light Armor"
Danced to the music of La Création du monde
Darius Milhaud
(1892-1974)
 
 

Darius Milhaud (pronounced "mee LOH") was a very prolific French composer of well over four hundred works, before he died at the age of eighty-two. He was a member of the group known as Les Six (The Six), which included Arthur Honegger, Louis Durey, George Auric, Francis Poulenc, and Germaine Tailleferre. Their work was inspired by Eric Satie, a consummate prankster, and was characterized by playfulness.

Milhaud left France when the Nazis moved in, and spent the war years teaching at Mills College, in California. He had traveled before then, and continued to travel widely after the war was over. The influence of his travels can be heard in his works. On the one hand, he is described as a great purveyor of Mediterranean lyricism, as heard in such works as his Suite provençale, but on the other hand, he shows a great affection for American music ... of both hemispheres. He spent a lot of time in Brazil as secretary to the French Minister (and poet) Paul Claudel. Those years were reflected in more pieces of music than I have space to mention, but I will mention the best known: La boeuf sur le toit. In that work the rhythms of Brazil are evident, especially the samba.

On an early trip to London, he heard a jazz band, and never got over it. Later, in Harlem, he got to hear genuine black jazz, and that experience is reflected in La Création du monde, which we hear today. This was a period when many European composers were impressed by American jazz. In part, it represented a rejection of things German (Wagner had once been a big influence, even on Debussy), and it also represented a genuine intereste in non-European culture generally. Picasso, Modigliani, Henry Moore, and others were soaking up inspiration from Africa, Polynesia, and other new (to them) sources. Perhaps Milhaud had a more compelling reason to be interested in American jazz. He was proud to call himself a Frenchman and a Jew, and he might have felt an affinity with anothe repressed group of human beings. In any case, it will not be difficult for you to identify the Gershwin-like elements about four and a half minutes into the work.

While the original ballet had to do with the creation of the world (as the title suggests), this version amplifies the concept to represent creativity in general.


 
       
  Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun Claude Debussy
(1862-1918)
arr. Arnold Schönberg
 
 

The idea for Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun was prompted by a poem by Mallarmé. Like Mallarmé's poetry,  Debussy's music is sometimes criticized as "vague." The idea is to suggest rather than to spell things out. A ballet commonly (though not always) has a plot. Debussy described this music as not really programmatic in the strict sense. But it is suggestive. Yes, that's the word. When first produced, this ballet caused a scandal because of its sensuous nature as choreographed by the great Nijinsky. The storyline, such as it is, opens with a faun, or boy-goat, basking in the sun, when a group of nymphs appears. When they notice his interest in them, they scatter in fear, except one. They dance together, but she, too, takes flight. The crestfallen faun picks up the scarf she had dropped, and carries it lovingly back to his refuge, and, at the end, seems to make love to it. Mallarmé like the production, and complemented Debussy on the music. Debussy did not like the choreography, but less because of the sexual implications than because of the jerky motions of the faun. Apparently, Nijinsky wanted to emphasize the not-quite humanness of the faun, and some believed his stiff poses were inspired by Greek vase-paintings. Saint-Saëns didn't like any of it, saying it was no more like music than an artist's palette was like a painting.

The scoring did not call for a very large orchestra, though the woodwinds were strongly represented. To make a further reduction in forcees, as Schönberg did would seem a difficult task, and an unnecessary one. Schönberg was used to such tasks, and often required his students to train by doing piano reductions of orchestral pieces. He thought a work could be better judged when it was unadorned.

In some respects, Debussy had made things easy for reduction. He had followed the Baroque fashion of increasing or decreasing volume, not by having the instruments playing louder, but by increasing the number of instruments playing at any one time. This "doubling" was eliminated by Schönberg. Unfortunately, this reduced the color of the music, because Debussy frequently doubled an octave higher, which is similar to the Baroque keyboard fashion of coupling two sets of strings on the harpsichord to create a richer timbre.

However, another of Debussy's characteristics was carefully preserved in Schönberg's version: smoothing out transitions between sections by overlapping the entrances and exits of the instruments.

Schönberg was a brilliant and talented person, in painting as well as in music. He was more acutely aware of that than anyone else. Once, in Venice, when he would not end a rehearsal that had gone on too long, he was reprimanded: "Mr. Schönberg! You are not the only pcomposer here!" "I think so," he replied. On another occasion, having fallen on hard times, he found himself in a classroom of kindergarten teachers. "You are teachers? You mean there are people who know less than you do about music?"


 
       
  "Passage Rites"
Danced to the music of Appalachian Spring
Aaron Copland
(1900-1990)
 
 

The original Appalachian Spring was the result of a collaboration between the queen of Modern Dance, Martha Graham, the composer, Aaron Copland, and the artist Isamu Noguchi. It became perhaps the best-known "American ballet." Graham claimed to have devised the choreography before the music was written, and that Copland had taken his cues from her choreography. Severl people have questioned the plausibility of this. For most of Graham's dances, she worked with music already written, and not by Copland. Apparently, they did work very closely together, and doubtless Copland adapted his ideas to hers, but this was their only collaboration. On the other hand, she worked for a long time with the artist Isamu Noguchi, and on many other ballets. One might conclude that artists found it easier to work with her than composers did.

Copland became famous as a composer of demonstrably American music. Usually, he was associated with rural scenes, as in Rodeo, Billy the Kid, The Red Pony, and Appalachian Spring, but he was actually a city person, and much of his music has a world-weary urban quality.

His most popular composition is Appalachian Spring. A note on the score lays out the "program." A soon-to-be-married couple experiences the ups and downs of emotion expected in such a situation. Their neighbors advise them; a revivalist preacher provides them with a jaundiced view of human relationships, but at the end, they are strong in their devotion to each other. Martha Graham's choreography was almost a polar opposite of traditional classic ballet. While the latter is "air-borne," and stylized, Graham's was earth-bound, and more natural. People stayed pretty much on the floor, rolling and crawling. The set, by Isamu Noguchi, was in the "constructivist" style: extremely sparse, requiring the audience to exercise their imaginations.

In this production, the "plot" of the original is abandoned, and a new conception is imposed upon the music ... one of more current concern. The choreography is more dramatic than in the original, or at least it is airier. The set is further simplified, though Noguchi's was very simple to start with. "Whether it is negotiating power in a relationship, within a career, or the journey to understand the self, Passage Rites elicits the internal struggles we face each day." One can interpret this to mean that the original plot has not been completely abandoned, but is simply a newer, more generalized version of the original intent of the Graham-Copland collaboration. The ladders symbolize the obstacles to progress, and the steps that must be negotiated can be interpreted in several ways.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Dessie Arnold, Concertmaster
Casey Lambert +

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Janice Eplett
Heather Hufgard +

Viola
Naida MacDermid *
Margaret Sklenar

Cello
Brook Bennett *
Cori Miner +
Sara Thomas

Bass
Darrel Fiene *

Flute
Sarah Curry +
Jena Eichenlaub +
Sara Kauffman +
Allison Hoover +

Oboe
George Donner *
Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Mark W. Huntington

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *

Saxophone
Farrell Vernon

Horn
Brittany Cook ++

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Jason Lucker

Trombone
Jon Hartman *

Piano
Elena Abuladze

Percussion
Dave Robbins *
Michael Holler +
Robin Jo Steinman +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
++ Denotes student librarian
       
 

ClancyWorks Dance Company Personnel

 
  Annie Ferebee
Mathew Heggem
Frank McDonough
Caitlin Quinn
Alessandro Ricchiari
Jessica Stephenson
 
 
ClancyWorks Dance Company is a contemporary dance company that shifts perceptions through performance! The Washington Post has described Adrienne Clancy, Founder, as a "wizard of invention" and her choreography as "a tour de force of unpredictable partnering." Specific to Clancy's creative process is an exploration of architecturally informed partnering work that is simultaneously dynamic and sensitive; highly physical yet at the same time extremely human. Adrienne Clancy, the founder and principal choreographer of ClancyWorks, builds on 18 years of professional dance and choreographic experience. Prior to founding ClancyWorks, Adrienne was a member of the Bella Lewitzky Dance company (appearing in over 50 performances) and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, where she held leadership roles as Rehearsal Director, Community Arts Project Director, and a lead performer. Current projects for the Company and its members include: presenting national and local performances, conducting numerous workshops and residencies to participants of all ages and levels of ability at national conferences, universities, public and private schools K-12, and coaching youth artists as performers, choreographers, and educators. Visit www.clancyworks.org for more details on the company and other upcoming events.