This Season

arrowPast Seasonsarrow

Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 70th Season

Our Homegrown Legacy: Water

March 15th, 2009
Honeywell Center, Wabash
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  Russian Sailor's Dance from The Red Poppy ballet Reinhold Gliere
arr. Merle J. Isaac
  Suite from the Water Music G. F. Handel
arr. Hamilton Harty
  South Pacific, Symphonic Scenerio for Orchestra Richard Rodgers,
Oscar Hammerstein II
arr. Robert Russell Bennett
  Symphony No. 101 in D Major "The Clock" Franz Joseph Haydn  

I. Adagio-Presto
II. Andante
III. Menuetto: Allegretto
IV. Finale: Vivace

  Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra from La Donna del Lago Gioachino Rossini
arr. Jost Michaels
  David Widder, Soloist  
  Pirates of the Caribbean Suite Klaus Badelt
arr. Ted Ricketts

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Russian Sailor's Dance from The Red Poppy ballet Reinhold Glière
arr. Merle J. Isaac

Glière was a Soviet composer of Belgian descent. His teachers were Taneyev, Arensky, and Ippolitov-Ivanov, and he became the teacher of a young Sergei Prokofiev. He was only twenty-eight when he took on the eleven-year-old Prokofiev. It was his misfortune that Prokofiev was to out-shine his former teacher.

His ballet, The Red Poppy, is one of his most memorable works, and from it, the Russian Sailor's Dance is almost the only part of it ever played separately. The ballet is quite long...over one hundred and eight minutes. The selected dance is less than four minutes long.

I introduced Glière as "a Soviet composer" rather than "a Russian composer" because of his conservative musical taste, which appealed to the Soviet officials, and his willingness to work with literary themes consistent with the Soviet notion of "Social Realism." This attitude led to his employment as head of the music section of the Moscow Department of Popular Education, and Chairman of the organizing committee of the Union of Soviet Composers. He was awarded the title of People's Artist. The younger Prokofiev and Shostakovich were often criticized publicly for not adopting Glière's attitude. However, throughout his life, Prokofiev had nothing but praise for Glière, and greatly valued his teaching.

The story of The Red Poppy concerns the awakening of revolutionary awareness in China. The opening of the ballet is decidedly oriental, with much use of the pentatonic scale. There is no such flavor in the dance of the Soviet sailors, as the influence of the Soviet Union on the development of Communism in China is being stressed. In a Chinese port city, a young Chinese girl falls in love with a Soviet captain. The coolies' revolt coincides with the declaration of love, and there is a celebration dance by the sailors of the captain's ship.

This short piece is very dramatic, opening with a short introduction of rapid music, after which follows a slow, declarative theme in minor. This leads to a series of variations and a dramatic coda.

  Suite from the Water Music George Frideric Handel
arr. Sir Hamilton Harty

One of the great Baroque composers, handel was born in Hallé, Germany, where his father forbade him to study music, and insisted that he go into law, which paid better. Ironically, Handel became extremely successful as a composer, and died a rich man.

Unlike his contemporary, Johann Sebastian Bach, Handel was a well-traveled man-of-the-world. His stay in Italy stamped his music with an Italianate quality most notable in his oratorios. Apart from his Messiah, the most popular of his works is probably the Water Music.

Handel wrote the Water Music on a commission from King George for a royal river party on the Thames. Five years before, Handel had been the Kapellmeister to the Elector Georg of Hanover. He had been granted permission to leave Hanover for a stay "of reasonable length" in England, but he had liked it so well there that he showed no inclination to return. The Elector Georg soon became King George of England, a fact which put Handel in an awkward situation. Legend has it that the Water Music was written as a peace offering to Handel's erstwhile patron. Although attractive, the legend is only that. The work was commissioned by the king.

The performance took place on the Thames, with some fifty musicians at work. The only Baroque instrument no included was the harpsichord, since it was too big and heavy to fit on the musicians' barge. This barge accompanied the Royal Barge on the trip along the Thames, and the music was so well received that the king required it to be played three times...twice before dinner, and once after.

The work originally consisted of some 25 pieces, and the order of those pieces changed on different occasions. Various arrangements have been made over the years, but the most popular (and perhaps least authentically Baroque) is the arrangement by Sir Hamilton Harty which we will hear today. By the early 1900s, Handel had fallen long out of favor, and both the Water Music and Fireworks became known largely in arrangements by Sir Hamilton Harty. According to critic Peter Gutmann, Harty imparted a Romantic flavor to the music, producing a version "heavily abridged and densely orchestrated, with simplified rhythms, smoothed dynamics and underlined cadences." This critical opinion is a purist's put-down, but Harty's is now the "standard" version that we almost always hear.

The Harty arrangement consists of six movements, as follows:

No. 1 Allegro
No. 2 Air
No. 3 Bourée
No. 4 Hornpipe
No. 5 andante
No. 6 Allegro Deciso

A "suite" is a series of short pieces mostly in dance form. In this suite, the most obvious dance rhythms are the Bourée and the two hornpipes (No. 6 Allegro Deciso, is actually a hornpipe).

  South Pacific, Symphonic Scenario for Orchestra Richard Rodgers
Oscar Hammerstein II
arr. Robert Russell Bennett

Based on the Pulizer Prize-winning book by James Michener, Tales of the South Pacific, the musical adaptation by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein was an instant success, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, itself. "Rogers and Hammerstein" are arguably the American equivalent of Gilbert and Sullivan, producing an enormous succession of Broadway hits, including Oklahoma, Carousel, The King and I, Flower Drum Song, The Sound of Music, and State Fair, to name just some.

Robert Russell Bennett had a long career as the orchestrator for almost every major composer of Broadway musicals, including Rudolph Friml, Vincent Youmans, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and, of course, Richard Rodgers. Perhaps his best-known work was done for Fritz Loewe in My Fair Lady.

The Symphonic Scenario for Orchestra is a medley of tunes from South Pacific. After a rather bellicose opening series of chords (it is a war story, after all), there is a short introduction with brief references to Bali Hai, Some Enchanted Evening, and Dites-moi, there is a more extended rendering of the following songs:

Some Enchanted Evening
Bali Hai
Younger than Springtime
(with a violin solo)
Happy Talk
I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair
There is a brief coda, reprising Some Enchanted Evening and Dites-moi.

  Symphony No. 101 in D Major, "The Clock" Franz Joseph Haydn

Most concert-goers know that a "symphony" is a large work for full orchestra, but might have trouble distinguishing it from a "tone poem" or a "rhapsody" upon hearing an unfamiliar one. Although the size of "a full orchestra" has changed over the years, from Haydn's time (some thirty players) to ours (over a hundred), the structure of a symphony has been fairly constant, with just a bit of tinkering with the third movement by Beethoven. Of course, more recent composers have taken many liberties with it, but at least the first movement tends to follow a pattern.

The structure of a "symphony" is usually acknowledged to be the product of Mozart and Haydn. It typically consists of four movements, the first of which is in "sonata form." That movement is in three sections, the first being the "exposition," where the "characters" are introduced. These characters are different keys, the tonic and the dominant (five steps up the scale from the tonic). The middle section of the movement is the "development," during with the theme or themes introduced in the exposition are altered in various interesting ways. Finally, in the "recapitulation," everything returns to the introductory key, the tonic.

That first movement, in "sonata form," might be compared to a novel, where the first theme can be thought of as the man, and the second one as the woman. We meet them in the exposition. We see complications arise during the development, and we see them reunited in the recapitulation. This dramatic invention was so effective that it is still being employed by composers of our own time.

Although it is not necessary for us to understand this structure to enjoy the music, it might make listening more interesting. Bear in mind that this music was written for a sophisticated audience: dukes, princes, and kings. They were expected to be aware of this structure. But great composers enjoy doing the unexpected, so if you start to follow the structure, you should expect to find delicious changes in direction from time to time.

This symphony was one of twelve written for Haydn's London performances. They are known, of course, as "the London symphonies." Often Haydn started a first movement with a slow introduction, and then a fast part, unrelated thematically with that introduction. In this case, he does relate the themes. After a slow, rising scale in a minor key, he provides the leading theme. Eighteenth-century music is generally written in groups of four bars...Mozart generally did that. Haydn surprises us with two groups of five bars, then one of three, followed by one of eight, and finally, one of four bars. Listeners used to Mozart might find this hard to follow.

The development section emphasizes the second subject (often thought of as the feminine one, before the advent of Policital Correctness) over the first subject (Mozart usually gave them equal time).

The second movement is in ternary form (A-B-A), with the first subject in the major, and the second (B) in the minor key. The "tick-tock" element gives us the (silly) subtitle, "The Clock."

The third movement is in the very classical "minuet-trio-minuet" form. (Beethoven changed this to a "scherzo" in his symphonies, at least after his first.) Notice how Haydn moves the theme from key to key, always rising before dropping suddenly back to the tonic.

The fourth movement of a typical "classical" symphony can be in one of many forms. It could be a Rondo, or a Theme and Variations, or even another Sonata. Haydn starts his final movement as a Rondo, but alters it considerably, until it is more like a Theme and Variations, but ends with a double fugure. Great composers are unpredictable, even when working within a form they have developed themselves.

  Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra from La Donna del Lago Gioachino Rossini
arr. Jost Michaels

La Donna del Lago was based on a poem by Sir Walter Scott (The Lady of the Lake). It was one of many operas based on the works of Scott. In fact, he was so popular with the Italians that no fewer than twenty-five operas were based on his work, Lucia di Lammermoor, by Donizetti, being the best-known.

La Donna del Lago languished for a century before it was performed again in Florence, and it wasn't performed again at La Scala for one hundred and fifty years. Perhaps it didn't seem Romantic enough, since it ended happily!

This short excerpt was orchestrated by the German clarinetist and pianist, Jost Michaels, who died in 2004. From 1949 on he was teacher at the Musikhochschule Detmold.

The first thirty seconds are given over to a theme of rising chords, after which the clarinet takes over, and completely dominates the work. The impression is of a soprano being accompanied by sparse chords from the orchestra.

  Pirates of the Caribbean Klaus Badelt
(b. 1968)
arr. Ted Ricketts

Klaus Badelt had a career as film composer in Germany before coming to the United States in 1997. He worked for some time as an arranger for successful film-score composers such as Hans Zimmer. In fact, his move to the U.S. was at the urging of Zimmer, with whom he collaborated for a number of film scores. He has also written original scores on his own, the most striking of which is his score for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

It is perhaps ironic that this work required the collaboration of yet another arranger, Ted Ricketts, Music Director and Producer for Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The scenes from the film that were chosen by Ricketts for reorchestration are as follows:

Fog Bound
The Medallion Calls
To the Pirates' Cave
The Black Pearl
One Last Shot
He's a Pirate

The work is in the form of a suite, with scenes chosen for variety of tempo and character, rather than preservation of the sequences of events from the film. Actually, it might be better to describe the whole work as Theme and Variations, since almost every movement includes a version of one or two themes.

Fog Bound begins with a sailor's jig, has a quiet section suggesting the sounds of buoy's bobbing in the sea, and then a menacing bit, introducint the main theme, followed by a quiet ending.

The Medallion Calls begins softly, and then presents the heroic theme which pervades the whole suite.

To the Pirate's Cave has a choppy, dramatic, driving rhythm suitable for a chase scene.

The Black Pearl makes the most of the main theme, menacing, and fast.

One Last Shot opens slowly, and returns to the "jig theme" of the opening.

He's a Pirate ends with a grand restating of the main theme.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Dessie Arnold, Concertmaster
Janice Eplett
Casey Lambert +
Ervin Orban
Ilona Orban
Moo Il Rhee
Liisa Wiljer

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Martha Barker
Erin Cole +^
Heather Hufgard +^
Jennifer Iannuzzelli +^
Linda Kummernuss
Paula Merriman
Emma Naragon +

Naida MacDermid *
Julie Sadler
Margaret Sklenar

Margery Latchaw *
Rosemary Bond +^
Erica Hedges +^
Cori Miner +^
Tim Spahr

Darrel Fiene *
Brenton Carter
Brad Kuhns

Barbi Pyrah

Kathy Urbani *
Sarah Curry +^
Barbi Pyrah

George Donner *
Nyssa Gore +^
Deana Strantz +^
Lila D. Hammer *
Mark W. Huntington
Amy Reidhaar +^

Bass Clarinet
Mark W. Huntington

Erich Zummack *
Karen Labuda

Alto Saxophone
Barb Burdge

John Morse *
Nicole Anderson +^
Brittany Cook
Josh Murray

Steven Hammer *
Nicholas Kenny +^

Jon Hartman *
Scott Hippensteel

Robert Lynn

Dave Robbins *

Joshua Faudree +^
Olyesa Savenkova +
Robin Jo Steinman +

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

David WidderDavid Widder is Professor of Music at Virginia Tech, where he teaches clarinet and served as conductor of the University Symphonic Wind Ensemble for thirty years. A graduate of the University of Arkansas (Bachelor of Music) and the University of North Texas (Doctor of Musical Arts), he works actively as a soloist, clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator. His first teacher was his father, Roger Widder, and subsequent teachers included David Pittman and Lee Gibson. He has appeared more than thirty-five times as a concerto soloist as well as a chamber and orchestral clarinetist in venues around the world, and at conferences of the International Clarinet Society, Horn Society, Double Reed Society, and the Midwest Clinic. In addition to modern clarinet, Widder performs on historical clarinets which he studied with Hans Rudolf Stalder. In 2004, many of his former Virginia Tech clarinet students honored him by returning to campus for a surprise performance on his final Wind Ensemble Concert.

As a conductor, he has appeared in many performances with the Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble and over fifty clinic and honor bands in the United States. In addition, he has performed as a guest conductor in Europe and Asia. Dr. Widder is also the director of the Virginia Tech Music Camp for Middle School Students and the Virginia Tech Honor Band that brings 500 students from across five states to the campus each year.

Prior to his appointment at Virginia Tech, eh taught in the Fair Grove, Missouri, public schools where his band consistently earned superior ratins and he served as a teacher of clarinet and woodwinds at the University of North Texas.