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Concert Program Cover

Third Concert of the 72nd Season

Movie Magic

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
Honeywell Center, Wabash
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  The March from 1941 John Williams  
       
  Selections from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Danny Elfman
arr. Victor Lopez
 
       
  Symphonic Suite from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Howard Shore
arr. Jerry Brubaker
 
  Sponsored by Drs. Robert and Debra Lynn
In memory of Gary Driskell
 
       
  Lonesome Dove Basil Poledouris  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra Nino Rota  
 

I. Toccata, Allegro vivace
II. Recitativo, Lento
III. Variazione 1-6

   
  Dr. Arnold Irchai, bassoon  
       
  Star Trek (2009) End Credits Michael Giacchino  
       
 

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
 

INTRODUCTION

Today's music is, with the exception of the Bassoon Concerto, music from the films. Even the concerto is by a composer best known for his film scores. I've had people ask why we commonly distinguish between film music and music for the concert hall. After all, isn't music just music? Actually, no. There is a difference, just as there is a difference between ballet music and opera.

Film music is part of a duo: the music, and the film, just as ballet is a duo: the music, and the dance. Is it possible to enjoy the music in both cases without the accompanying film or dance? Of course, but the experience is not complete, and it is difficult to judge its quality without having its counterpart for comparison.

Also, film music and concert music have very different origins and purposes. Concert music grew out of a need for self-expression, and was an art form from the start. Film music was originally totally unrelated to the content of a film; it was there to mask the noise of the projector and the audience.  Random pieces of well-known popular tunes and, later, European symphonic pieces were used throughout the length of the film, with no effort to relate them to either the mood or the action.

That, of course, changed, and film producers eventually saw the need to relate the music to the action. In fact, it was largely the result of individual pianists or organists who improvised while following the action on screen that led the producers to start hiring people to compose music for specific films. The first time that was done was in 1908 for the French film L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise by the well-regarded Camille Saint-Saëns.

I mentiont that Camille Saint-Saëns wrote "film music" because many critics look down upon composers of film music, and Saint-Saëns' reputation as a serious composer was well enough established that he is pretty much immune to such criticism.

Critical attitudes vary with time, of course. It was a truism for years that film music should not be "memorable" because it would upstage the drama. Sort of the way Bizet's music ruined Carmen!

Perhaps the first composer to become famous for his film music, and who helped his colleagues to gain a measure of credit for their work, was Max Steiner. He is "credited" with developing what is known as "Mickeymousing," that is, making the music punctuate every single action in the film. It can be heard in the first King Kong. When the ape is climbing the Empire State building, you can "hear" each step as Kong climbs. Steiner is known the world over as the consummate film composer, but critics such as Irwin Bazelon rant about his schmaltz, despite his many awards, including an Oscar. Other composers of that period, Erich Korngold, Dmitri Tiomkin, and Miklos Rozsam, for example, were equally vilified. In fact, the popularity of music from such films as High Noon and Doctor Zhivago Bazelon attributes to the ignorance and poor taste of the public. He means Us.

After the Golden Age of film music in the thirties and forties, written mostly by European concert composers fleeing the Nazis, the film composers fell on hard times. Films ceased to be an art, and became a commodity. Producers took control over the music, who new little about film-making, and less about music. One director insisted that for a movie set in France, French horns should be used. He refused to accept the composer's assurance that French horns were not French. The composer gave in, but in a different film, set in England, featured the English horn during the credits. The director missed the irony.


 
       
  March from 1941 John Williams
(b. 1932)
 
 

John WilliamsJohn Williams is a film score composer of the Old School. That is, his approach reminds us of music of European origin like that of Erich Korngold. In fact, that style pretty much began for Williams with the first Star Wars film, made with George Lucas. He and Lucas psyched themselves up for that film by watching a series of Errol Flynn swashbucklers with music by Korngold. That's what appealed to Lucas, who had thrived on that sort of film and the accompanying music. The first time I heard the Star Wars music was on the radio, prior to seeing the film. I thought it was by Korngold. Much later, I played a piece by Korngold for my son, and asked him what it reminded him of. Immediately, he said Star Wars!

I don't mention this similarity to disparage Williams. He is one of my favorite film-score composers. I don't disparage Mozart when I say that his music reminds my of Haydn. A film score must fit the mood of the film. Williams has managed that. In an earlier film, with Marlon Brando, The Missouri Breaks, he wrote music that can best be described as a "blues-western" piece. As "Johnny Williams," he wrote a number of jazz scores. Just when you are beginning to think Williams has settled into a comfortable Korngold mode, he writes a score for Far and Away, which is just as inventive as any of his other films, but you would never guess who wrote it.

Williams, like other successful film-score composers, has been criticized for "Mickeymousing," that is, fitting the music too closely to the action. This practice stemmed from the silent era, when pianists and organists improvised music to fit the scenes they were watching from the orchestra pit. Williams doesn't quite do that, but many of us can remember with a thrill, the upward sweep of the orchestra in The Empire Strikes Back when the Millennium Falcom swoops up in a loop and dives into a crater. Now that's film music of MY generation.

The "silent era" was way before my time, but not before my father's. He put himself through college by playing the piano in a local cinema (they were called "theaters" then). He used to entertain me by improvising bits of film music. "Daddy, play me some scary music, for when the monster comes!" He delighted my sister and me, so I am more accepting of Mickeymousing than others.

The music for 1941 was written in 1979, just two years after Star Wars. You will certainly hear the similarity.

Williams has won more Academy Award nominations than any living composer, and ties Alfred Newman for the all-time record.


 
       
  Selections from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Danny Elfman
(b. 1953)
arr. Victor Lopez
 
 

Danny ElfmanDanny Elfman is, like John Williams, a very prolific composer, and, like Williams, started out composing in a very different genre from his current film music. Williams began as a jazz composer, Elfman as a rock composer. Now, both of them write for large symphonic orchestras, characterized by driving rhythms and, in the case of Elfman, much percussion. His admiration for the music of Bernard Herrmann is apparent. He seems to have stayed away from the trend to imitate Williams, and his music is identifiable for its pulsating rhythms, rather than sweeping melodies.

Elfman was still writing and performing in a rock group known as Oingo Boingo when he attracted the attention of director Tim Burton, and ended up scoring almost all of Burton's films, most notably the Batman series.

Among his other film scores are Dick Tracy, Darkman, Men in Black, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Planet of the Apes, and the theme for The Simpsons.

He has been nominated four times for an Oscar, has won a Grammy for Batman, and an Emmy for Desperate Housewives.

With Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he is back with director Tim Burton. Among the selections we hear are Wonka's Welcome Song and Augustus Gloop.


 
       
  Symphonic Suite from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Howard Shore
(b. 1946)
arr. Jerry Brubaker
 
 

Howard ShoreHoward Shore is a Canadian composer with a long list of successes. He has earned three Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, and four Grammys. He has worked for a variety of directors, from Penny Marshall (Big), Martin Scorsese (The Departed), and Robert Benton (Nobody's Fool), to his fellow Canadian, David Cronenberg, for whom he has scored over fifteen films, including Dead Ringers, Eastern Promises, and The Fly. He is most recently known for his scores for the teen-vampire series, The Twilight Saga, but his crowning achievement, according to some critics, are his scores for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for New Zealand director Peter Jackson.

The Symphonic Suite, derived from the film score, is in keeping with the dour mood of the movie, with a lot of mournful themes in a minor key. There is also a reference to the ancient chant, Dies Irae, "Day of Wrath," which many other composers have used to signal death.

Shore has been very prolific, producing the music for many highly successful films not yet mentioned, such as Crash, The Aviator, Gangs of New York, and Silence of the Lambs. The character of his music varies with the mood of the films, from the lively score of Big, to the more dramatic films, mentioned above. Most of those films called for a rich symphonic treatment that recalls the music of John Williams. This is less a criticism of Shore than it is a compliment to Williams, and Korngold before him, and their continued influence on film composers. Those hints of Williams are not pervasive. Shore has a voice of his own, and his scores would not likely be mistaken for those of Williams.

Selections in the Symphonic Suite include:

I. Forth Eorlingas
II. Evenstar
III. Rohan
IV. The March of the Ents
V. Isengard Unleashed
VI. Breath of Life
VII. Gollum's Song (lyrics sung by Dr. Debra Lynn)


 
       
  Lonesome Dove Basil Poledouris
(1945-2006)
 
 

Basil PoledourisI doubt that "Poledouris" is a very familiar name to many of you, unless, like me, you are one of those who sits through the end credits to see who wrote the music, and whether that film was shot in Morocco rather than Yemen (it was; whataver its name. Trust me!). But you have certainly heard the music of Basil Poledouris, if only from having watched the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. He wrote music for the opening ceremony.

But he has many more film scores to his credit, and if you don't remember the name, you will remember the films: Crocodile Dundee in L.A., Free Willy, Robocop 3, The Hunt for Red October, Conan the Barbarian, to name but a few.

Poledouris studied at the University of Southern California, and graduated in the same class as George Lucas, Randal Kleiser, and John Milius. It was Milius who gave him his first commission: the music for the surfer movie, Big Wednesday. That was the first time that Poledouris was able to write for a large orchestra. One of his unusual characteristics was his ability to write for large and small forces, which ranged from the 96-piece orchestra for Starship Troopers to a single piano for his It's My Party, where he played the piano, himself.

Poledouris began his career intending to be a concert pianist. He lasted only one semester as a music major, when he found that the only compositional styles being taught were those of Schönberg, Berg, and Webern ... in other words, music with no discernable melody. The most "modern" composer with whom he was familiar was Prokofiev, whom he didn't consider "modern." He wandered into the Cinema Department, met the legendary Miklos Rozsa, that that determined his fate.

His collaboration with the Dutch director Paul Verhoeven led to his score for Conan the Barbarian and Starship Troopers. One problem film composers have is the short time allowed for composition. Legend has it that Igor Stravinsky was invited by Louis B. Mayer to composer a film score. Stravinsky asked for an enormous fee, which didn't faze Mayer. "I've been told that you are the world's greatest composer. You are worth the money. How long would it take you to composer an hour of music?" After a moment, Stravinsky replied, "One year." "Goodby, Mr. Stravinsky," was the response. Three to six weeks is the usual amount of time offered. That's why so many film composers use orchestrators, something they don't like doing. In the case of Poledouris and Starship Troopers, the amount of post-production work required by the complicated CGI (computer-generated images) provided him nine months of time to tweak his score. The result was one of his best works.

For Lonesome Dove, Poledouris produced a work reminding us of Aaron Copland, whose film scores and ballets often dealt with the West. But there are also grand moments recalling the work of Dmitri Tiomkin. These reminders are not unusual in film music. Certain scenes call for certain sounds. Borrowing is common. Tiomkin, himself, when accepting one of his four Oscars, thanked not his mother, or his cat, but Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and other composers of note.


 
       
  Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra Nino Rota
(1911-1979)
 
 

Nino RotaA "concerto" is a piece of "absolute music," that is, music that has no extra-musical references. It is not meant to tell a story (program music). It is meant to be heard for its own sake, the way a painting by Kandinsky or Pollock is meant to be experienced without regard to the external visual world. The question "what is it supposed to depict?" is as meaningless with regard to painting, as "what is it supposed to mean?" is with regard to absolute music. So what does this piece have to do with film music? Musically, nothing, but Rota has a lot to do with film music.

A concerto is (typically) a three-movement symphonic work that features a solo instrument (or a few) against an orchestral force, in a sort of struggle. In fact, the word concerto means struggle, as the solo instrument vies with the orchestra for supremacey throughout the work. A concerto is usually in three movements, as is this one. The first movement is generally in sonata form, which is made up of three parts, where a theme is introduced, then developed, and then brought back for a feeling of completion. The second movement is slower, and may take the form of a minuet or a rondo. The final movement might end in a rondo, or another sonata, or even a "theme and variations." This is a modern concerto, where the classically-trained Rota keeps to the three-movement form, but takes some liberties.

the first movement is in a vague sonate form, which Rota calls a toccata. The toccata was most common during the Baroque period, but has been used occasionally since. It suggests a short work showing the dexterity of the performer (in the past, a keyboard performer). This movement certainly displays the virtuosity of the bassoonist. It is lively, melodic and lyrical. In spirit, it reminds me of the first movement of Shostakovich's first piano concerto, with roles reversed. While Shostakovich adds a trumpet to the piano section, Rota adds a piano to the bassoon section. In both cases, the compination is very effective.

The middle movement is slow, pensive even. The final movement is, like many traditional concerti, a series of variation. Here, they are in the form of dances:

I. Waltz
II. Polka
III. Siciliana
IV. Scherzo
V. Sarabanda
VI. Galop

Some of these dances harken back to the Baroque era.

Roti was born into a very musical family. His father was a noted pianist, and his grandfather was a famous composer, Rinaldi. He was very prolific, and his "serious" music has not been sufficiently appreciated, in my view. He wrote ten operas and five ballets.

So what does this have to do with film music? Roti wrote an incredible number of scores, over one hundred and fifty, and he is best known for his film music. He won an Oscar for Coppola's Godfather. His collaboration with Visconti, Fellini, and Zeffirelli is well-known.

A few of his works for film are Amarcord, Death on the Nile, , La Dolce Vita, La Strada, I Vitelloni, Nights of Cabiria, Rocco and his Brothers, Juliet of the Spirits, nd just too many others to mention.


 
       
  Star Trek (2009) End Credits Michael Giacchino
(b. 1967)
 
 

Michael GiacchinoStar Trek has had an amazing run, first as a television series, and finally as a film series. There were eleven Star Trek films released, the last one called simply Star Trek (the first one was called Star Trek: The Movie). A number of composers were used for those films, Jerry Goldsmith for as many as five of them. Giacchino wrote the score for the final film, and rumor has it that he will be heard again in an upcoming Star Trek film.

For the end credits of the film Star Trek, Giacchino wrote a medly of tunes from the movie, starting and ending with the theme from the original Star Trek television series.

Giacchino developed an interest in both music and cinema at the age of ten in his native New Jersey. In his basement, he created short stop-action films, but found that the thing he enjoyed most was creating the music to accompany them. Later, he went to the School of Visual Arts in New York, and then to Juilliard School at the Lincoln Center.

His first job with the Disney organization was writing copy for publicity. Eventually, he became involved with their video game productions. He studied music at night. His first major work was for a video game, The Lost World for the Sony PlayStation. In fact, that was the first video game to have an orchestral score written specially for it. Giacchino (pronounced "ja-KEEN-oh," by the way) might be considered the Father of Video Game Music.

The director J.J. Abrams liked the music that Giacchino had written for the series of Medal of Honor games, and hired him to write for a new TV series just beginning: Alias. It lasted for five seasons. His next success was for the long-running, and very popular, series, Lost. In the six years that he worked on Lost, he continued to write music for video games, and got his first chance to write for a film with Pixar's The Incredibles.

By this time, J.J. Abrams was making feature films, and his experience with Giacchino's music for the television series led him to hire Giacchino for Mission: Impossible III. He won an Oscar nomination for his work on Ratatouille. His latest scores are for the upcoming Cars 2, Super 8, and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. He has been working for J.J. Abrams ever since, and Abrams has nothing but praise for Giacchino.

 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

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

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Martha Barker
Emily Grant ^^
Jennifer Iannuzzelli +^
Linda Kummernuss
Alyssa Loos +^
Tom Naragon ^^

Viola
Naida MacDermid *
Kelsey Airgood +^
Benjamin Crim +
Julie Sadler
Margaret Sklenar

Cello
Robert Lynn *
Joseph Kalisman

Bass
Darrel Fiene *

Piccolo
Barbi Pyrah *

Flute
Kathy Urbani *
Kathy Davis
Barbi Pyrah

Oboe
George Donner *
Nyssa Gore
Clarinet
Lila D. Hammer *
Mark W. Huntington
Sarah Leininger +^

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Elena Bohlander +

Horn
John Morse *
Carol Campos +^
Kristen Hoffman +^
Kelli Weeks +

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Nicholas Kenny +^

Trombone
Jon Hartman *
Andrew Suhre

Tuba
Laban Wenger *+

Timpani
Dave Robbins *

Percussion
Dave Robbins *
Josh Faudree
Stephanie Green +
Katie Lowther +
Christopher Teeters +

Piano/Celeste
Debra Lynn

Harp
Tim Reed

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes Keister Scholarship recipient
^^ Denotes Manchester High School student
       
 
Arnold IrchaiArnold Irchai was born into a musical family. His father worked at the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater as a violinist for more than forty years. His mother was a prominent piano teacher. Dr. Irchai began studying bassoon at the Leningrad Music School for Gifted Children and continued his studies at the State Leningrad Conservatory, USSR. At the Conservatory he received his masters and doctoral degrees.

Throughout his career, he has gained extensive performance and teaching experience. From 1974 to 1990, he was principal bassoonist of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under such world-renowned conductors as Kirrill Kondrashin and Dmitry Kitaenko. Dr. Irchai taught bassoon at the Gnessins Music pedagogical Institute in Moscow, Russia. Among his awards are the first prizes in the All-Russia Music Competition for Woodwind Quintets and the Distinguished Artist of the Russian Federation Award. He has toured Europe, Asia and the Americas with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and other world-class orchestras.

As a soloist and chamber musician, Dr. Irchai has performed recitals throughout the United States and the world for many years. Recent solo performances include appearances at Lincoln Center, NY; Kennedy Center, DC; the Lyceum, Alexandria, VA; the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater, Rockville, MD; Strathmore Hall, MD; Lyceum of Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia; Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Italy; and other venues. Dr. Irchai's performances have been widely reviewed and featured in local, national, and international mass media.

His performances elicited admiring comments that "Irchai . . . was impressive not only for flexibility of his performance which audiences have come to expect, but also for his tone quality -- sweet but not cloying, with an even focused vibrato in the lyrical passages and deep tones that resonated with warmth" and "bassoon at its best" in the Washington Post. Mount Vernon Gazeete rightly praised Irchai as "a master of his instrument" having "singing tone and superb technique."

Until recently, Dr.Irchai was a member of the faculty at both the Washington Conservatory of Music in Washington, DC, and Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, MD. He was also the Principal Bassoon of the National Philharmonic, Washington, DC, the Principal Bassoon of Arlington Symphony, Arlington, VA, and Prince William Symphony, Manassas, VA.

Currently, Dr. Irchai is Associate Professor of Bassoon at the University of Florida, School of Music, and the Principal Bassoon of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, and the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra. he is also a faculty member of the Summit Music Festival, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY, International Academy of Music, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Italy, and St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as of the Burgos International Music Festival, Spain, and member of DT Duo. Dr. Irchai's arrangements are published by TrevCo Music. Dr. Irchai is a Fox Corporation Performing Artist.