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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 71st Season

Mostly Mozart

Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Honeywell Center, Wabash
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  Light Cavalry Overture Franz von Suppé
arr. Merle J. Isaac
 
       
  A Salute to the Big Bands arr. Calvin Custer  
 

April in Paris
I'm Gettin' Sentimental over You
Pennsylvania 6-5000
Serenade in Blue
Sing, Sing, Sing

 
       
  A Little Nightmare Music, S. 35
(An opera in one irrevocable act)
based on Eine Kleine Nachtmusic, K. 525
P.D.Q. Bach
(W.A. Mozart)
 
  Robert Bucher, tenor
David Moan, baritone
 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
 

I. Molto allegro
II. Andante
III. Menuetto
IV. Allegro assai

   
       
 

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  Light Cavalry Overture Franz von Suppé
(1819-1895)
(arr. Merle J. Isaac)
 
 

Franz von Suppé is an example of one of those composers who was very successful in his own time, but known today for only a few pieces. In his case, they are mostly overtures. The Light Cavalry is one of them. An even better known work is his Poet and Peasant. (I was in a record shop in Washington, D.C., when a clerk answered the phone, turned to the manager, and asked, "Do we have the overture to The Potent Peasant?")

Suppé was born in Spalato, Dalmatia (now, Split, Croatia), to a father of Belgian origin, and a mother from Vienna. At the age of thirteen, he wrote a mass which was good enough to be revised and published some forty years later.

He spent much of his youth in Italy, where he studied law, as decreed by his father, while mingling with Italian composers, and writing his own music. Suppé was born Francesco Suppé Demelli, and is still known by that name in Italian circles. When he returned from his studies in Italy, he helped support himself by teaching Italian in Vienna. The success of his music is sometimes ascribed to his Italian gift for melody. He spoke German with an Italian accent throughout his life, and he is supposed to have admitted to having a poor understanding of some of the German libretti with which he worked. Suppé wrote some thirty light operas, and incidental music for over one hundred and eighty works.

The overture to Light Cavalry was for a two-act operetta. It opens with a bugle call and fanfare which serve as the basis for variations and lyrical writing in the style of Donizetti, whom he greatly admired, and to whom he was distantly related. At about the two-and-a-half minute mark, we hear the famous imitation of horses cantering, and then we come upon an interlude of decidedly Magyar flavor. (The operetta has a section where the cavalry marches across Hungarian fields.)

Often Suppé's works have been used for comic effect, and you might recognize parts of this work from having heard it in cartoons.


 
       
  A Salute to the Big Bands Arr. Calvin Custer
 
 

The "Big Band Era" began in the 1930s and continued until the late '40s, with performers such as Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, Les Brown and His Band of Renown, and others. I'm guessing that works likely to be remembered well by members of this audience are those they heard in their late teens.

This medley includes the following pieces:

  • April in Paris is best known in the recording by Count Basie, though it has been reissued by others.

  • I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You was made popular by Tommy Dorsey.

  • Pennsylvania 6-5000 is associated primarily with Glenn Miller. The title refers to the phone number of the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City.

  • Serenade in Blue was written by Harry Warden in 1936, and first performed in a film, Orchestra Wives, but it, too, is most closely associated with the Glenn Miller Band.

  • Sing, Sing, Sing was written by Louis Prima, but is best known in the Benny Goodman rendition.


 
       
  A Little Nightmare Music, S. 35
(An opera in one irrevocable act)
P.D.Q. Bach  
 

"P.D.Q. Bach" is the pseudonym of Dr. Peter Schickele (born 1935), a serious composer of symphonic, chamber, and choral works. He was educated at Swathmore and the Juilliard School of Music. He has composed music for the stage as well as for films (Siilent Running). However, his work as Dr. Schickele has been overshadowed by that of his alter ego, P.D.Q. Bach, "the youngest and the oddest of the twenty-odd children of Johann Sebastian Bach." P.D.Q. Bach is the "Weird Al" Yankovic of classical music.

Schickele claims to have discovered this unknown son and many of his "lost" works. While most of them are in the Baroque vein, there are a number of them that are clearly before their time, such as the dramatic oratorio Oedipus Tex featuring the O.K. Chorale.

Today's work, if you haven't already guessed, is a parody of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music). Mozart's charming piece is a serenade in symphonic or sonata form. That is, although it is short, it is structured just as a symphony would be. In fact, the first movement is frequently used in music classes to illustrate the sonata form, as I have described in the notes about Mozart's Symphony No. 40.

The music here is Mozart's, but the arias are by "P.D.Q. Bach." In the opera, Bach remains silent, while Antonio Salieri and Peter Schläfer have singing roles. Salieri was a rival of Mozart, and rumored to have caused his death (unlikely). Although there was a Georg Peter Schläfer of about the correct period, this Peter Schläfer is doubtless an invention of Dr. Schickele's.

This "opera" is described as being based on a dream that P.D.Q. Bach had on the very night that Mozart died (and Salieri didn't). Bach wanders around the stage pouring wine for Mozart and Salieri, and ends by spilling it on Schläfer.

1. Aria: "What sweet music" (Antonio Salieri)
2. Aria: "Nature gave us eyes" (Peter Schläfer)
3. Duet: "Uh oh"
4. Finale: "What hutzpah!"


 
       
  Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

Mozart's 40th symphony is the middle one of a "trilogy" representing the summit of Mozart's symphonic production. All three symphonies (the 39th, the 40th, and the 41st, The Jupiter) were written in the span of six weeks. Few of Mozart's works were written in the minor key, although he used that key for contrast in parts of many of his compositions. The 40th is in the minor key with the major used for contrast; the opposite from his usual practice. At the time these were written, Mozart was not in a happy mood; he was extremely debt-ridden. There is no evidence that these were played in Mozart's time, and perhaps he wrote them as "stock" for the next season. To argue that the pathos expressed in this symphony owed solely to his unfortunate person condition would be to ignore the fact that the 39th is in an exuberant mood, and the 41st is positively triumphant.

This symphony (and the Jupiter to follow) is thought of as the culmination of the classical symphony. Let me briefly describe a classical symphony as it was developed by Haydn and Mozart. There are four movements, the first of which is derived from the sonata form. That form, itself, is made up of three parts: the "exposition," the "development," and the "recapitulation." The whole idea is the contrast of elements. The exposition is where the main theme, or "subject," is introduced, or "exposed." Two keys are used, five steps apart on the scale. This provides contrast. Mozart used not only two keys, but two themes. The first subject is usually bold, while the second subject is usually lighter, and more melodic. The middle part of the first movement is the development, where the composer gets to play around with the two subjects, and migrate to various keys. Think of it as a dialogue, or even a struggle between opposing forces. Finally, the two subjects return in the recapitulation, but this time in the same key, suggesting a resolution of the conflict. That whole movement is like a drama. The opening key (known thereafter as the tonic) is so well established in our minds, that whatever the composer doese in the meantime, we subconsciously expect to return to that key, and in the recapitulation, that is just what happens.

The other three movements are less prescribed. The second can also be in sonata form, but doesn't need to be. The third almost always in Mozart's day was in minuet and trio form, and the final is either in sonata form again, or in rondo. It could even be in theme-and-variations form, though not likely in Mozart's day. The final movement here is in sonata form, as described above. There is a great deal of contrapuntal (polyphonic) writing in this movement, a testimony to Mozart's respect for Bach.

One of the reasons for the high regard afforded this symphony in the minor key is that it reflects the so-called Sturm und Drang theory. Sturm und Drang is usually translated as "Storm and Stress," and refers to a literary movement based on works of Rousseau. Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werthers ("The Sorrows of the Young Werther") was an influential example. A number of Austrian composers began to write symphonies in the minor key which are said to be deeper, more emotional, more symbolic...in short, Romantic. So Mozart, in his 40th symphony, shows signs of the coming age of Romanticism, and specifically of Beethoven, who is the transitional figure between the two eras of Classicism and Romanticism.

We can hear a similarity between this symphony and Beethoven's 5th. The opening strains of Mozart's 40th have a rhythm of "one, two, three, one, two, three," which is repeated in a number of ways and in different keys. This is economical, but provides marvelous possibilities for development...just as the "dit, dit, dit, dah" of the Beethoven 5th does.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Dessie Arnold, Concertmaster
Lois Clond
Paula Merriman
Rachel Nowak +^
Ilona Orban
Liisa Wiljer

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Martha Barker
Erin Cole +^
Emily Grant
Jennifer Iannuzzelli +^
Linda Kummernuss

Viola
Naida MacDermid *
Kelsey Airgood +
Julie Sadler
Margaret Sklenar

Cello
Margery Latchaw *
Cori Miner +^
Najah Monroe +^

Bass
Darrel Fiene *

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Sarah Curry +^

Oboe
George Donner *
Nyssa Gore +^
Deana Strantz +^

Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Jennifer Hann
Mark W. Huntington
Bass Clarinet
Mark W. Huntington

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Karen Labuda

Horn
John Morse *
Nicole Anderson +^
Brittany Cook
Christen Humphries
Tammy Sprunger

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Susan Harvey
Nicholas Kenny +^

Trombone
Jon Hartman *
Larry Dockter

Tuba
Robert Lynn

Timpani
Dave Robbins *

Percussion
Nicholas Camacho +
Joshua Faudree +^
Stephanie Green +
Robin Jo Steinman +

Piano
Tim Reed

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes Keister Scholarship recipient
     
 
David MoanDavid Moan, baritone, graduated cum laude from Manchester College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Voice Performance and a minor in history. He resides in Minnesota and has been active in opera, theater, and musical theater for several years. He has performed many principal roles including Leporello in Don Giovanni, Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief, Henry in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, Bobby Strong in Urinetown, Dr. Shrinck in The Boy Who Grew Too Fast, The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, Chad in All Shook Up, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and title roles such as Gianni Schicci, Die Fledermaus and Cyrano de Bergerac. He was recently seen in Ft. Wayne Civic Theater's performances of The Producers and as King Melchior in a concert performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Manchester Symphony Orhcestra. In addition to singing and acting, Moan has directed several community and college productions and founded a summer youth theater program in Middlebury, Indiana, called "Kids Take the Stage." He has studied voice with Jeffrey Ballard and Dr. Debra Lynn.

Robert BucherRobert Bucher, tenor, graduated from Manchester College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. He grew up in North Manchester, but resides in Huntington, Indiana, and currently works for the Perry Corporation. Robert has performed in many productions, including Die Fledermaus, Pirates of Penzance, Joseph and the Amazing Technocolor Dreamcoat, Children of Eden, The Secret Garden, School House Rock, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and Anything Goes. He currently enjoys singing in a barbershop quartet out of Fort Wayne. In 2007, Robert performed a solo at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He has studied voice under Greg Otis and Dr. Debra Lynn.