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Fourth Concert of the 80th Season

1812

Sunday, May 5th, 2019
Cordier Auditorium
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  English Folksong Suite Ralph Vaughan Williams
(arr. Gordon Jacob)
 
 

I. March: "Seventeen Come Sunday"
II. Intermezzo: "My Bonny Boy"
III. March: "Folk Songs from Somerset"

   
       
  Concerto in F for Two Bassoons Jan Křtitel Vaňhal  
 

I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante grazioso
III. Finale

   
  Erich Zummack and Freddie Lapierre, bassoons  
       
  Intermission  
       
  Overture from Così fan tutte, K. 588 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
       
  Una voce poco fa from The Barber of Seville Gioacchino Rossini  
  Kelly Iler, mezzo-soprano
Debra Lynn, conductor
 
       
  1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49 Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky  
       
 

The Adams Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
       
  English Folksong Suite Ralph Vaughan Williams
(1872-1958)
 
 

Yes, his last name is Vaughan Williams, not Williams. And yes, his first name is pronounced "Rafe," which is the most common way of pronouncing Ralph in Britain. Vaughan Williams was one of the first "nationalist" composers of Britain. He was educated in the classical manner, which at the time meant the Teutonic manner. He studied with Max Bruch and was initially attracted to the music of Wagner. Near the turn of the century he began to collect folk music, and he and his friend Gustav Holst prompted a return to English roots. Besides his interest in folk music, he was fascinated by Tudor church music. He is considered England's greatest symphonist (he wrote nine), but was also prolific in other genres.

He was eclectic at a time when eclecticism was unfasionable. He believed in what one might call "natural originality." He was willing to break the rules, but he strongly believed in knowling those rules first. He expressed great confidence in the ability of America to produce great music from its own roots. Here, a quotation from a lecture given at Yale University in 1954 is appropriate (although it reminds me of the New Yorker's "Block-that-metaphor" items).

"All young composers long to be individual and are inclined to defy the tradition in which they were brought up. This is right and proper. But when they plunge into unknown waters, let them hold fast to the life-line of their own national tradition; otherwise the siren voices from foreign shores will lure them to destruction. Musical invention has been described as an individual flowering on a common stem. Now, young composers, do not try to be original; originality will come of itself if it is there. However individual your flowering may be, unless it is firmly grafted on the common stem it will wither and die. I have all honour for those adventurous spirits who explore unknown regions; I cannot always follow them, but I admire their courage. Sometimes, however, I ask myself whether those composers have not even more courage who find new and unheard-of-beauties along the beaten track. Try the beaten track first; if an irresistible impulse leads you into the jungle, be sure that you know the way back."

In addition to their interest in folk music, both Vaughan Williams and Holst were interested in aiding young performers and they both wrote music for amateur players. Such is the case with the English Folksong Suite, which was commissioned by the Royal Military School of Music. Originally for military band, it was re-orchestrated for the version we hear today by the English composer and conductor Gordon Jacob.

The suite is in three movements -- fast, slow, fast -- and each movement contains several folk songs, sometimes played contrapuntally. The first movement includes Dives and Lazarus, Pretty Caroline, and Seventeen Come Sunday, in a rondo form. The second movement, intermezzo, includes My Bonnie Boy and Green Rushes. The third movement is a collection of songs from the county of Somerset, including Blow away the Morning Dew, High Germany, The Trees so High, and John Barleycorn.


 
       
  Concerto in F for Two Bassoon Jan Křtitel Vaňhal
(1739-1813)
 
 

Vaňhal was born in Bohemia, but spent most of his life in Vienna. He was extremely prolific, having written between 75 and 100 symphonies, depending upon one's source, and there are at least 700 of his works in print. His music was respected enough that Mozart performed his violin concerto in B-flat at Augsburg, and Haydn performed one of his symphonies at Eszterhàza a year later.

This work is in three movements, the first of which is almost as long as the other two combined. All three are in sonata form, that is, in three sections: exposition, development, and recapitulation. The theme or themes are presented in the exposition, then they are developed, and finally any key changes used are reconciled in the recapitulation. That is a loose description of "sonata form" and well-describes this work.

Sonata form was customarily used during the Classical period for sonatas, symphonies, and concertos. In a concerto, it is usual for the orchestra to rest for a bit to allow the soloist to improvise. Often this "improvisation" is actually the work of the composer, but, in such cases, the music has the character of improvisation. There is such a moment at about eleven minutes into the first movement.

The three movements are designated as Allegro moderato, Andante grazioso, and Finale. If this music appeals to you, it should be pointed out that the composer's name appears in several different ways, so you must be careful in purchasing a recording. He is known as "van Hal," "Vanhall," "Wanhal," and his given names are similarly varied.


 
       
  Overture from Così fan tutte, K. 588 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

Così fan tutte is a "modern" opera as far as plot is concerned. It deals with the question of infidelity. Rumor has it that the plot was suggested by Mozart's patron, the Emperor Joseph II. Viennese society considered the plot "indelicate," to say the least, and it was not a very popular opera in its time. It had a champion, however, in Richard Strauss, and, since his revival of it, it has gained a solid place in the modern Mozart repertoire.

The title is often translated as "Everyone does it." However, "tutte" is feminine, meaning "Thus do all women." Or, as I would translate it, "Women are like that."

The sisters, Fiodiligi and Dorabella are madly in love with two young men. Ferrando and Guglielmo, who are about to go off to do their military service. The men are satisfied with the devotion of their fiancées, but are challenged by the old cynic, Don Alfonso, who believes that while the cat's away, the mice will play. Don Alfonso bets that the women will not be able to remain faithful.

Alfonso enlists the aid of the maid, Despina, and hatches the following plot: the two men will return, disguised as Albanians, and try to seduce the two women. Initially this fails, to the delight of the two men. But Alfonso insists that the bet is not yet finished. At his suggestion, the two men pretend to be poisoned, and only through the efforts of the maid do they recover and ask for a kiss of welcome from the two women. Again they refuse.

Space does not permit the unfolding of the complete story. Suffice it to say that the women finally succumb to the charms of the "strangers." Of course, they are the same charms to which the women had succumbed in the first place, so the test proves nothing, as the young men finally decide, and the quartet is married. Most productions leave the audience to decide who marries whom, but it is pretty obvious that Mozart, da Ponte (the librettist), and th Emperor all intended the original couples to remain together.


 
       
  "Una voce poco fa" from The Barber of Seville Gioacchino Rossini
(1792-1868)
 
 

Beaumarchais' play, Le Barbier de Seville, spawned several operas, including this one and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, to name only two.

The aria "Una voce poco fa..." was written for mezzo-soprano, as we hear it now. Many recordings have it a step higher to accommodate higher voices. This is the original version. In the past, soloists have often embellished the music, adding frills of their own. On one occasion, Rossini was in the audience as the featured soprano offered her own frills. Rossini mused dryly, "A very pretty air. Whose is it?" Certain liberties are expected to be taken in such cases, but sometimes a singer goes too far.

This area begins Act II. Rossina is reading a note from her love, Lindoro. There are a number of ways the text has been translated to English, but the one that seems closest to the original Italian, but still rymes, is as follows in part:

"Once a song at break of day in my heart did light a flame. He that sang was young and gay, and Lindoro was his name. And Lindoro shall be mind; yes, I swear it, I'll win the game."

She goes on to sing:

"I know my proper place. I know what's expected. I know my guardian must be respected. I'm quite affectionate as long as I can have my way; But if I may not do just what I want to do, then I'll have something else to say."


 
       
  1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49 Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky
(1840-1893)
 
 

The 1812 Overture is not an overture in the true meaning of the word, "introduction." It is not followed by the main course. It stands alone. It is a very popular work by Tchaikovsky, although it is not much loved by critics, among whom Tchaikovsky, himself, was the most critical. It was described as "very loud and noisy and completely without artistic merit, obviously written without warmth or love." That assessment was written by Tchaikovsky, himself. He hated it.

However, it remains a very popular concert piece, and a showcase for orchestral effects. It describes, of course, Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Russia. The full title is The Year 1812 Solemn Overture, festival overture in Eb Major, Op. 49.

We hear the Czarist National Anthem, and the opposing Marseillaise of the French. We also hear snatches of folk tunes, suggesting the support of the Cossacks. As the French take Moscow, the Marseillaise is heard in triumph. But as Moscow burns, the cathedral bell rings, the Russians begin to push Napoleon's army back, and Mother Russia reigns supreme.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Elizabeth Smith, Concertmaster
Kayla Michaels, Student concertmaster +^
Pryce Whisenhunt +^
Will Stanley
Kristin Westover
Pablo Vasquez

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Hailey Schneider +
Paula Merriman
Lachlan Sharp +^
Nailea Ponce +^
Linda Kummernuss

Viola
Julie Sadler
Margaret Sklenar
Colleen Phillips
Ashley Ray

Cello
Robert Lynn *
Monique Hochstetler +^
Daniel Kubischta +^
Anna Wright +^
Wallace Dubach
Chris Minning

Bass
Darrel Fiene *
Katie Huddleston

Piccolo/Flute
Kathy Davis *
Jennifer Wagner +^

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

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Freddie Lapierre +^

Horn
Matt Weidner *
Jamie Weidner
Tammy Sprunger
Barb Burdge

Trumpet
Steven Hammer *
Mykayla Neilson
Manuel Hernandez +^
Harley Ramsey +^

Trombone
Jon Hartman *
Katrina Murray +^
Alvaro Castillo +

Tuba
Larry Dockter

Percussion
David Robbins *
Joel Alexander +^
Lydia Kelly +
Mason McBride +^
Jonah Lechlitner +^
Noah Dillon +

Cannons
Austin Gowen +
Nathan Smith +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MU student
^ Denotes Keister Scholarship recipient
** Denotes assistant principal
       
 
Kelly IlerKelly Iler received her masters in music from the University of Northern Colorado. Originally from Indiana, she earned her bachelors degree in vocal performance from Manchester University. During her time there, she performed the roles Zita in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Katashia in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. While pursuing her masters, Kelly performed the role of Dorabella in scenes from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, and participated in the productions of Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, and Bizet's Carmen. Kelly also performed the roles of Meg Page in Verdi's Falstaff, Anita in scenes from Bernstein's West Side Story, and Romeo in scenes from Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi. She also had the opportunity to work with La Musica Lirica in Italy as Zulma in Rossimi's L'Italiana in Algeri.
 
 
Erich ZummackErich Zummack has been performing as a bassoonist for over four decades. Born in Germany, he emigrated to California with his family in his youth. He started playing music at a young age, beginning with the trombone. He continued playing trombone until he graduated from high school, receiving the Sousa Award. While in high school, he stumbled upon a bassoon in the band room, and the band director informed him that no one was able to play such a difficult instrument. He took it home over Christmas vacation, bought a fingering chart, and taught himself enough to be able to join the orchestra when school started again. Shortly after that he was fortunate enough to receive lessons from the master bassoonist and legend, Don Christlieb. Erich has performed with orchestras in several different states, before coming to Indiana to work for Fox Products, a leading manufacturer of bassoons.
 
 
Frederick LapierreFrederick Lapierre was born and raised in Elkhart, Indiana. He has played the bassoon for the last eleven years. He has performed with the MSO and Symphonic Band for the last five years and the A Cappella Choir for the last three. He has studied music at Manchester for four years and plans to continue to further his education in music.