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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 74th Season

3rd Annual Family Fun Concert

Sunday, November 4th, 2012
Cordier Auditorium
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  Suite from The Mask of Zorro James Horner  
  Jack and the Beanstalk J. Scott McKenzie  
  Karen Eberly, narrator  
  Marche Slave, Op. 31 Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky  
  Symphony No. 1 ("The Lord of the Rings") Johan de Meij  

I. Gandalf (The Wizard / Shadowfax)
II. Lothlórien (The Elvenwood)
III. Gollum (Smeagol)
IV. Journey in the Dark (The Mines of Moria / The Bridge of Khazad-Dum)
V. Hobbits

  Jack Gochenaur, narrator  

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Suite from The Mask of Zorro James Horner
(b. 1953)

James Horner is a prolific film composer, having scored or partly scored well over one hundred films. He was born in Los Angeles into a film family. His parents were immigrants from Austria, and his father worked in Hollywood as a set designer and director. He began playing the piano at the age of five. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London, and then at the University of Southern California, where he earned a B.A. degree in Music.

Horner's music is heard almost daily on CBS news programs. He has been an Oscar® nominee ten times. His music for the film Titanic won two Oscars®, one for Best Original Dramatic Score, and the other for the song, My Heart Will Go On. The recording of the score for Titanic holds the record for the most sales in history.

He has written the scores for far too many memorable movies to list them all, but a few might jog your memories. Star Trek II and III, Cocoon, Braveheart, Deep Impact, Apollo 13, Apocalypto, Avatar, The Amazing Spider-Man, and, of course, The Mask of Zorro.

The music for The Mask of Zorro sounds, of course, very Spanish. If you recall the story, it is of the Spanish of early California, when it was a colony of Spain. Don Diego de la Vega first appeared in pulp fiction in 1911 in a story by Johnston McCulley. The character, a combination of Robin Hood and the Scarlet Pimpernel, lives on in many manifestations as book sequels, television serials, and many movies. In fact, the character of Zorro ("the fox," in Spanish) was chosen by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford as the subject of the first film released by their newly-formed United Artists production company. While the character has undergone some changes throughout the years, his purpose continued to be "to avenge the helpless, to punish cruel politicians, and to aid the oppressed."

Horner is certainly an accomplished composer of film scores, but he has at times provoked criticism within the musical ranks through his uncredited use of other people's themes. A case in point was his use of themes of Raymond Scott without attribution in Horner's score for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Walt Disney Pictures was sued for "failure to credit the work's original composer." The suit was settled out of court.

Wikipedia reports that Horner was strongly influenced by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. If one listens to the soundtrack of the first film that Horner scored, Humanoids from the Deep, that influence is apparent, with themes taken from Shostakovich's symphonies.

I allude to this tendency of Horner's, and the resulting criticism, because in the original soundtrack of The Mask of Zorro he made repeated use of a theme by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona without attribution, but that theme does not appear in the suite you hear today. Perhaps between the composition of the soundtrack and the writing of this suite, Horner had second thoughts about including a theme by an unnamed composer.

For the Mask of Zorro Suite, Hroner chose to rescore three episodes: The Plaza of Execution, Zorro's Theme, and the Love Theme. The music has a distinctly Spanish flavor, with castanets, hand-clapping, and trumpet flourishes, especially in the first segment. In the film version, there were also guitar and Flamenco foot-stamping. This is the most dramatic part of the score, reminding one of Alfred Newman's score for Captain from Castille.

  Jack and the Beanstalk for narrator and orchestra J. Scott McKenzie
(b. 1971)

Scott McKenzie refers to his music for Jack and the Beanstalk as his "movie score." It has that episodic quality required of a movie score ... to fit the events unfolding. It was written at the request of the Northern Virginia Manassas Symphony Orchestra as part of its ongoing policy of commissioning the composition of narrated works based on children's books, or fairy-tales, and it was first performed in 2010 at its annual children's concert.

McKenzie's procedure was to select a fairy-tale, and then to acquire a script. He asked his mother, Suzan McKenzie, to write the narration, after which he composed the music to fit "the action."

The music and story are designed to appeal to children in grades five to ten. Consequently, it is melodic, tonal, and easy to grasp. It beings with a waltz, as the narrator introduces the story. As the story is recounted by the narrator, you will hear the music rise and fall, and speed up and slow down to match the action.

Today's performance will be recorded to be used as the representative recording for Mr. McKenzie's publishing web site. McKenzie is actually Major J. Scott McKenzie who is the Associate Conductor for the U.S. Army Field Band.

-- Text by Suzan McKenzie

  Marche Slave, Op. 31 Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

When reading about extremely successful and venerated composers, we are used to being told that this one of those began to play the organ at the age of two, or that another one composed his first opera at the age of four. We have become used to the infant prodigies. So what do we know about Tchaikovsky?

He was a jurist, and an amateur musician until he was in his twenties! Only at the age of twenty-three did he resign from the Ministry of Justice to become a full-time student. Tchaikovsky always had an interest in Russian folk music, and such themes can be heard throughout his career. For that reason, many associate him with the famous Russian Five (César Cui, Aleksandr Borodin, Mily Balakirev, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov). However, although he admired the group, and was a great frine of Balakirev, he was considered too academic and too closely associated with the ruling class to be welcomed into that group of anti-academicians. The ruling class spoke French and they expected their composers to emulate the European composers of the day.

March Slav well-illustrates Tchaikovsky's desire to be thought of as a "Russian" composer, the title alone stating the case. The piece was written for a benefit concert on behalf of Serbian soldiers wounded in the war against Turkey. The opening theme is based on a Serbian folk-song, Sunce varko ne fijas jednako (come my dearext, why so sad this morning?). The dramatic middle section is the Russian National Hymn, God Save the Czar.

  Symphony No. 1 ("The Lord of the Rings") Johan de Meij
(b. 1953)

Johan de Meij, also known as Johannes Abraham de Meij, is a Dutch composer and arranger, born in Voorburg, Holland. His principal instrument is the trombone. His most famous composition is this work, Symphony No. 1. He has made a career out of finding inspiration in literary and film works, prompting him to compose music to match.

His Symphony No. 1 is the result of his interest in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It was first conceived as a piece for wind ensemble, but was later orchestrated for full orchestra, and has been performed by a number of internationally known orchestras.

This work was composed in 1989, eleven years before the first Lord of the Rings film was released. It bears no resemblance to the film scores by Howard Shore for those three films. On the contrary, it is quite original.

The Symphony consists of five movements, as follows:

1. Gandalf (The Wizard)
2. Lothlórien (The Elvenwood)
3. Gollum (Smeagol)
4. Journey in the Dark (The Mines of Moria and The Bridge of Khazad-Dum)
5. Hobbits

Gandalf begins with a brass flourish, then quickly drops into a more pensive mood, before moving into a more driving mode representing the great horse, Shadowfax.

Lothlórien begins with what almost sounds like a bird-call, before the strings enter. The bucolic nature of this section is emphasized by frequent bird-song effects. Then there is imposed a church-like theme as the music becomes more expansive and dramatic.

Gollum begins quite dramatically, and is quickly followed by a plaintive theme of downward direction. These two characteristics alternate throughout the first part of this ten-minute movement. Then a sort of march tempo begins, reminding one of Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice. There follows a rapid section suggesting running creatures, before slowing, and returning us to the downward theme heard during the opening. Then we are offered a "lumbering" rhythm, which suits the character of Gollum very well.

Journey in the Dark is divided into two parts. The first begins very darkly (as expected!), with a slow march -- a plodding gait. It eventually speeds up into a canter, before subsiding. The second part begins, too, with a slow plodding gait. The movement evokes the trek through the Mines of Moria, and the final battle between the Balrog and Gandalf, where Gandalf falls at the bridge of Khazad-Dum.

The Hobbits offers a more optimistic outlook. After a short introduction, there is a lively bit, suggesting a hoe-down. The work has a triumphant note, and ends with a musical depiction of the Elven ship sailing into the West from the Grey Havens.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Dessie Arnold, Concertmaster
Rachel Nowak +^
Ervin Orban
Ilona Orban
Pablo Vasquez
Kristin Westover

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Tyler Krempasky +
Linda Kummernuss
Alyssa Loos +^
Paula Merriman
Elizabeth Smith
Amy Ann Tylenda +^

Julie Sadler *
Benjamin Crim +^
Renée Neher +
Carrie Shank +^
Margaret Sklenar

Robert Lynn *
Joe Kalisman
Michael Rueff +^
Timothy Spahr

Darrel Fiene *
Jess Gaze
Katie Huddleston +^

Kathy Urbani

Kathy Urbani *
Kathy Davis

George Donner *
Nyssa Tierney
Diane Whitacre

Lila D. Hammer *
Mark W. Huntington
Sarah Leininger +^
Bass Clarinet
Sarah Leininger +^

Erich Zummack *
Elena Bohlander +^

Alto and Soprano Saxophone
Terry McKee

John Morse *
Christen Adler **
Haleigh Mann +^
Michael Paynter +^
Kelly Weeks +^

Steven Hammer *
Alan Murphy **
Michael Farmer
Nathan Timms
Dennis Ulrey

Jon Hartman *
Chris Hartman +^
Larry Dockter

Jeff Huber *
Caleb Dehning

Dave Robbins *

Dave Robbins *
Timothy Johnson +
Mackenzi Lowry +
Katie Lowther +

Kathryn Kroeker

Alan Chambers

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MU student
^ Denotes Keister Scholarship recipient
** Denotes assistant principal