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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 82nd Season

Strings Set Apart

Sunday, October 24th, 2020
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Lynn, Guest Conductor

  Holberg Suite, Op. 40 Edvard Grieg  

I. Praeludium
II. Sarabande
III. Gavotte
IV. Air
V. Rigaudon

  Simple Symphony, Op. 4 Benjamin Britten  

I. Boistrous Bourrée
II. Playful Pizzacato
III. Sentimental Sarabande
IV. Frolicsome Finale

  St. Paul's Suite in C Major, Op. 29, No. 2 Gustav Holst  

I. Jig
II. Ostinato
III. Intermezzo
IV. Finale (The Dargason)


The Adams Program Notes

  The program notes for this concert were written by Dr. Robert Lynn.  
  Holberg Suite, Op. 40 Edvard Grieg

Grieg was a Norwegian composer, and much of his music was connected to other aspects of Norwegian culture. The "Holberg Suite" was a tribute to Ludvig Holberg, a Norwegian philosopher and playwright who lived during the eighteenth century. Holbert lived from 1684 to 1754 -- thus, he was a close contemporary of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) who wrote many instrumental dance suites.

Although the "Holberg Suite" demonstrates various features of nineteenth century romantic style, it is based on the eighteenth century dance suite, reflecting the time in which Holberg lived.

II. A sarabande is a Spanish dance in slow triple meter, with some emphasis on the second beat.

III. A gavotte is a French dance in a moderately quick duple meter. It begins on the second beat, although it usually feels like it's the first beat, which makes for some rhythmic fun -- it's always exciting to find out if the orchestra will be outfoxed by the phrasing!

IV. Grieg's air is possibly the most romantic of the "Holberg" movements. It seethes with passionate intensity, musical lines twisting around one another in some unknown desperation, with pulsing heartbeats punctuating the accompaniment. The curling ornaments are the main reminder of the eighteenth-century connection.

V. A rigaudon is a French dance in quick duple meter. Grieg's rigaudon is organized in an ABA format. The lively "A" sections feature solo violin and viola, giving it an intimate feel until the full group enters. The "B" section is quieter, slower and more contemplative, creating a marked contrast with the sprightly outer sections.

  Simple Symphony, Op. 4 Benjamin Britten

"Simply Symphony" premiered in 1934. In each movement, Britten used two themes that he wrote when he was a teenager, during the 1920s.

I. The "Boisterous Bourrée" is based on "Suite No. 1 in E" for piano (1925) and "A Country Dance" (1923).

II. In "Playful Pizzicato" the strings are plucked throughout the movement, with no use of the bow. The tempo is quick, which makes the pizzicato challenging. "Playful Pizzicato" is based on "Scherzo" for piano (1924) and "The Road Song of the 'Bandar-Log'" (1924).

III. The "Sentimental Sarabande" is quite mournful -- almost desolate; however, there is a secondary theme that is very sweet and wistful. The sarabande is based on "Suite No. 3" for piano (1925) and "Waltz" for piano (1923).

IV. The last movement sizzles with energy; however, the intense forward momentum is broken several times with a complete stop in time. The finale is based on "Piano Sonata No. 9" (1926) and "Song" (1925).

  St. Paul's Suite in C Major, Op. 29, No. 2 Gustav Holst

Holst served as music master at the St. Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, London, from 1905 to 1934.

I. The jig originated in England; it's a lively dance in quick duple meter. Holst's jig alternates duple and triple meter, creating some metric confusion. He also includes a second, non-dance theme which he combines with the jig tune.

II. An ostinato is not a dance, but a compositional device -- a short musical idea that is usually repeated quite a bit. Holst wrote a very simple ostinato for this movement, presenting it mainly in the second violins. The ostinato is the first thing to be heard and continues for the duration of the movement.

III. Instrumental intermezzos developed during the nineteenth century, either as character pieces or, as in this case, a piece designed to fit between other movements in a larger work. Holst's intermezzo alternates a mournful tune with a vigorous dance-like section.

IV. "Dargason" is an English folk tune that has been used for country dances and folk songs. It's a lively dance-like tune, reminiscent of a jig. Holst combines "Dargason" with another very familiar English folk tune, "Greensleeves."


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Elizabeth Smith, Concertmaster
Kaitlin Graber +^
Kristin Westover
Pablo Vasquez
Ilona Orban
Linda Kummernuss

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Nailea Ponce +^
Paula Merriman
David Blakely
Adele Maxfield

Margaret Sklenar *
Gabrielle Hochstetler +^
Colleen Phillips
Julie Arney +
Kati Harrison +
Benjamin Bolduc *
Monique Hochstetler +^
Daniel Kubischta +^
Wallace Dubach

Darrel Fiene *
Katie Allison

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