Past Seasons Program Notes

PAST SEASON PROGRAM NOTES

“Water Music” Concert

May 17, 2014

 

Handel Water Music, Suite No 2 in D Major, HWV 349
Legend has it that Handel (1685-1759) composed his Water Music as a gesture of reconciliation with the Elector of Hanover, the new English Monarch, George I. Actually the king was quite fond of Handel and his music, and commissioned him to provide suitable music for a royal water pageant on the Thames River in 1717. In keeping with the outdoor venue, Handel made winds and trumpets predominant because of their greater carrying power. No original autograph exists for this splendid masterwork. Various editions led to a complete solo harpsichord version in 1743 on which later, posthumous editions were based. Water Music consists of three suites, of which we will play Suite No.2 tonight.

Mendelssohn – Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Op 27
Between 1828 and 1833 Mendelssohn (1809-1847) wrote three overtures, each with sea connotations, including the one in this program tonight.  It was inspired by two short poems by the German writer and poet Göethe (1749-1832). In 1821 the young Mendelssohn met Goethe in Weimar. Beethoven wrote a cantata based on the same poems in 1815. As a tribute to Beethoven, Mendelssohn set his overture in the same key of D Major. In the days when ships were wind powered a calm windless sea such as the doldrums was not a good thing. This caused anxiety because there was nothing the sailor could do but wait. The music follows the narrative of the poems. The stillness of the ocean is described by long sustained phrases in the strings in the Adagio opening. Actually the entire overture is generated from a single descending idea that we hear right at the beginning in the basses which is then followed by the clarinets. The “terrible deathly stillness” is interrupted by breezes awakening the sails which are signified by a short flute solo. The prosperous voyage then begins with a molto allegro e vivace passage. After the initial bustle of the sails being unfurled we hear two themes which are both based on the opening idea. Goethe ends the poems when land is first sighted. Mendelssohn adds a coda in which the ship safely arrives in port. The 3 trumpets play a triumphant fanfare.  The piece ends with three sustained chords signifying gratitude of the arriving passengers.

Saint-Saens – Carnival of the Animals, VII Aquarium
The Carnival of the Animals is a musical suite of fourteen movements by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921).  Tonight we will only perform “Aquarium”.  In this movement the melody is played by the flute, backed by the strings, on top of tumultuous, glissando-like runs in the piano. These figures, plus the occasional glissando from the glass harmonica—tonight played by the glockenspiel—are evocative of a peaceful, dimly-lit aquarium.

Blue Danube Waltz – Strauss Jr.
The Blue Danube is the common English title of “By the Beautiful Blue Danube”, a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899), composed in 1866. This has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. The specifically Viennese sentiments associated with the waltz have made it an unofficial Austrian national anthem. The waltz is traditionally broadcast by all public-law television and radio stations exactly at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and on New Year’s Day it is a customary encore piece at the annual Vienna New Year’s Concert.

Wagner – The Ride of the Valkyries
The Ride of the Valkyries is the popular term for the beginning of Act III of “The Valkyries”, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883) that constitute ”The Ring of the Niebelung.” The story of the opera is based on the Norse mythology, where a Valkyrie is one in a group of female figures who decide which soldiers die in battle and which live.  The backdrop of this opera is set by the sea. The Ride begins in the prelude to the Act III, building up successive layers of accompaniment until the curtain rises to reveal a mountain peak where four of the eight Valkyrie sisters of Brünnhilde have gathered in preparation for the transportation of fallen heroes to Valhalla.

Swan Lake, Op. 20, Overture
Swan Lake, Op. 20, is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893) in 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse.  Oddly enough, Tchaikovsky’s first major ballet, Swan Lake, was unfavorably received, partly at least because of a poor performance and heavy cuts. Indeed, Tchaikovsky died believing himself to be an utter failure as a composer for the ballet, since none of his major ballets—Swan Lake (1877), Sleeping Beauty (1889) and ­Nutcracker (1892) were regarded as a success by the public in their original productions. How surprised he would be to learn that Swan Lake is the cornerstone of the classical ballet repertory, and ­The Nutcracker is performed so often every Christmas that it is primarily responsible for keeping ballet companies solvent! Tchaikovsky’s score for this dramatic story is melodious, harmonically rich, and brilliantly scored, building to a powerful climax.

In a Gentle Rain – Robert W Smith
“In a Gentle Rain” is the second movement from Robert Smith’s ‘Willson Suite’. Serene by nature, the charismatic melody is accompanied by unique effects expressing the simple beauty of a spring shower.  Robert W. Smith was born in the small town of Daleville, Alabama in 1958. He attended high school in Daleville, after which he left for Troy State University, where he played lead trumpet in the Sound of the South Marching Band. While at Troy, he studied composition with Dr. Paul Yoder. Upon his graduation from Troy State with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, Smith pursued his musical career in South Florida, where he earned the Master’s degree in Media Writing and Production from the University of Miami, while studying with Dr. Alfred Reed. He was soon hired by Columbia Pictures Publications and later Warner Bros./Belwin Publications.

Under the Sea – Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Arranger: Will Rapp
“Under the Sea” is a song from Disney’s 1989 animated film “The Little Mermaid”, composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and based in the song “The Beautiful Briny” from the 1971 film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” It is influenced by the Calypso style and it is performed tonight by our Percussion Ensemble.  The track won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1989. The song is a plea by the crab Sebastian imploring Ariel to remain sea-bound, and resist her desire to become a human in order to spend her life with Prince Eric, with whom she has fallen in love. Sebastian warns of the struggles of human life while at the same time expounding the benefits of a care-free life underwater. However, his plea falls on deaf ears, for Ariel leaves in the middle of the song.

Cripple Creek
Although its origins are difficult to determine, the “Cripple Creek” tune is often played and it has been adapted to many different styles.  One thing for sure is that “Cripple Creek” is an old tune named after a stream located someplace between Georgia and Oregon!  Tonight we will present a “bluegrass” version performed by members of Murray Symphony.

 

‘From Russia With Love’ Concert

March 15, 2014

Russia is a large and culturally diverse country, with many ethnic groups, each with their own locally developed music. Russian music also includes significant contributions from ethnic minorities, who populated the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and modern-day Russia.  Russian music went through a long history, beginning from ritual folk song and the sacred music of the Russian Orthodox Church. The 19th century saw the rise of highly acclaimed Russian classical music, and in 20th century major contributions by various Soviet composers and emigrees, while the modern styles of Russian popular music developed, including Russian rock and Russian pop.  Because it would be very difficult to put together a concert with all styles and varieties of Russian music, we selected some of our favorites to perform for you this concert.

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891 – 1953) was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century.  Lieutenant Kijé is the score composed by Sergei Prokofiev for the 1934 Soviet film Lieutenant Kijé based on the novel of the same title by Yury Tynyanov. The Wedding of Lt. Kijé, which we will perform tonight, is the third of this five-part suite. The story is a satire of bureaucracy in Russia and in each episode the Emperor subjects his subordinates to follow his absurd orders. Since the Tsar prefers his heroic soldiers to be married, the administrators concoct a fake wedding. The vodka that the Tsar approves for this event, however, is very real.

Spartacus is a ballet by Aram Khachaturian (1903–1978). The work follows the exploits of Spartacus, the leader of the slave uprising against the Romans known as the Third Servile War, although the ballet’s storyline takes considerable liberties with the historical record. Khachaturian composed the ballet in 1954, and for this was awarded a Lenin Prize that year. The ballet received its first staging at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow in 1958.  Aram Khachaturian was a Soviet Armenian composer. Alongside Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, Khachaturian is sometimes called one of the three “titans” of Soviet music. He is also considered “one of the major musicians” of the 20th century.  Khachaturian compiled three suites from the ballet music and tonight we will perform two pieces from his Suite No.2.

Ruslan and Lyudmila is an opera in five acts composed by Mikhail Glinka (1804 – 1857) between 1837 and 1842. The opera is based on the 1820 poem of the same name by Alexander Pushkin. Today, the best-known music from the opera is its overture, which we will play for you tonight.  Glinka was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music. His compositions were an important influence on future Russian composers, notably the members of The Five (Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Borodin), who took Glinka’s lead and produced a distinctive Russian style of music.

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (1906 – 1975) was a Soviet Russian composer and pianist and a prominent figure of 20th-century music. Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government. Nevertheless, he received accolades and state awards and served in the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (1947–1962) and the USSR (from 1962 until his death).  After a period influenced by Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style. Shostakovich’s orchestral works include 15 symphonies and six concerti. His chamber output includes 15 string quartets, a piano quintet, two piano trios, and two pieces for string octet. His piano works include two solo sonatas, an early set of preludes, and a later set of 24 preludes and fugues. Other works include three operas, several song cycles, ballets, and a substantial quantity of film music, especially well known The Second Waltz, Op. 99: Music to the film The First Echelon.  The Festive Overture in A major, Op. 96, was written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1954 for a concert held at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the October Revolution (which took place in 1917). The Bolshoi’s conductor, Vassili Nebolsin, found himself without a suitable new work to open the concert, and contacted Shostakovich just days before. The composer set to work on the overture with great speed, completing it in three days. He apparently based it on Glinka’s Russlan and Ludmilla overture (1842), and it features the same lively tempo and style of melody. Since we are performing both works, you can compare them tonight and see if you agree.  The overture featured in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and the 2009 Nobel Prize concert.

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a personal style notable for its song-like melodicism, expressiveness and his use of rich orchestral colors.  The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff’s compositional output, and through his own skills as a performer he explored the expressive possibilities of the instrument.  The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, is a concerto for piano and orchestra composed between the autumn of 1900 and April 1901. This piece is one of Rachmaninoff’s most enduringly popular pieces, and established his fame as a concerto composer.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 –1893) was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, chamber music, and a choral setting of the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Some of these are among the most popular theatrical music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, which he bolstered with appearances as a guest conductor later in his career in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. Tchaikovsky was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension in the late 1880s.  Romeo and Juliet is styled as an Overture-Fantasy, and is based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Like other composers such as Berlioz and Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky was deeply inspired by Shakespeare and wrote works based on The Tempest and Hamlet as well. Unlike Tchaikovsky’s other major compositions, Romeo and Juliet does not have an opus number but it has been given the alternative catalogue designations TH 42[2] and ČW 39.

Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (1833 –1887) was a Russian Romantic composer, doctor and chemist. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five, who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music. He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, In the Steppes of Central Asia and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the US musical Kismet. He was a notable advocate of women’s rights and a proponent of education in Russia and was a founder of the School of Medicine for Women in St. Petersburg.  Borodin was also a Chemist and had a successful career as a scientist.  The Polovetsian Dances com an exotic scene in Alexander Borodin’s long opera Prince Igor. The work was left unfinished when the composer died in 1887, although he had worked on it for more than a decade. A performing version was prepared by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov.

 

 

December 7, 2013 – Holiday Concert                                                                             

Christmas Festival  
Leroy Anderson

The child of Swedish immigrants, Leroy Anderson grew up in Cambridge, MA and first studied piano with his mother, who was a church organist. He continued his music studies at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1925, Anderson entered Harvard University as a graduate student, studying Germanic languages and intending to be a language teacher. While a student, he directed the Harvard Band (and played trombone), writing arrangements of light pops music for the group. These clever and appealing works came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the venerable Boston Pops Orchestra. Soon, the Boston Pops was showcasing Anderson’s work on a regular basis. Although Anderson made some attempts at writing purely classical music, he is best known for imaginative, witty pieces, such as “The Typewriter,” “Fiddle Faddle,” “Blue Tango,” and “The Waltzing Cat,” that chart a course between classical and pops and stretch the resources of the orchestra to create sound effects and flights of fancy that Mozart and Bach never dreamed of. For his contribution to the recording industry, Leroy Anderson has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1995, the Harvard University Band’s new headquarters was named the Anderson Band Center in honor of Leroy Anderson.  Christmas Festival includes excerpts from “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Adeste Fidelis.” Listen for the clever ways that Anderson weaves these themes together and his unconventional treatments of one or two of the traditional carols: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” sounds almost like a military march.

Somerset Overture
Robert Parker
Many carols from the Somerset region of England have become a part of our holiday tradition. Robert Parker has crafted Somerset Carol, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and Good King Wenceslas into a dazzling medley. Exciting yet serene, this work gives every section an early Christmas gift!  Robert W. Parker (born August 13, 1960) is an American composer, organist, and percussionist based in Southern California. He is best known for his sacred music and compositions for concert band. He also writes incidental music for the theater.

Fantasia On We Three Kings
Brian Balmages
A significant amount of original material weaves around the familiar carol We Three Kings. From the impressionistic opening to the powerful, dramatic conclusion, this work covers the full gamut of textures and emotions.  Brian Balmages is an American producer, conductor, performer and composer. His music for winds, brass, and orchestra has been performed in countries throughout the world. His music was also performed as part of the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service in 2013, which was attended by both President Obama and Vice President Biden. Currently, he is Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Company Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

 

A Christmas Hymn (Till Morning Is Nigh)
J.E. Spillman and Martin Luther, Setting by Robert W. Smith
Based upon the traditional carol “Away in a Manger”, this setting for full orchestra explores contemporary harmonies and textures. The carol is structured in 4/4 time as opposed to the customary 3/4 time, which allows the listener to enjoy the melody from a totally new perspective.  Robert W. Smith was born in the small town of Daleville, Alabama on October 24 1958. He attended high school in Daleville, after which he left for Troy State University, where he played lead trumpet in the Sound of the South Marching Band. While at Troy, he studied composition with Dr. Paul Yoder. Upon his graduation from Troy State with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, Smith pursued his musical career in South Florida, where he earned the Master’s degree in Media Writing and Production from the University of Miami, while studying with Dr. Alfred Reed. He was soon hired by Columbia Pictures Publications and later Warner Bros./Belwin Publications.

Farandole (from “L’Arlesienne”)
G. Bizet
The incidental music to Alphonse Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne (usually translated as ‘The Girl from Arles’) was composed by Georges Bizet for the first performance of the play on 1 October 1872 at the Vaudeville Theatre (now known as the Paramount Theatre). It consists of 27 numbers (some only a few bars) for voice, chorus, and small orchestra, ranging from short solos to longer entr’actes. Bizet himself played the harmonium backstage at the premiere performance.  Bizet wrote several folk-like themes for the music but also incorporated three existing tunes from a folk-music collection.  The incidental music has survived and flourished, however. It is most often heard in the form of two suites for orchestra.  The Farandole incorporates the theme of the March of the Kings and is traditionally played at Christmas time.

The Polar Express
Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard
Arr. Jerry Brubaker
and
Believe (from “The Polar Express:”)
Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard
Arr. Mark Hayes
The Polar Express is a 2004 motion capture computer-animated fantasy film based on the children’s book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg. Written, produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film featured human characters animated using live action performance capture technique, with the exception of the waiters who dispense hot chocolate on the train, because their feats were impossible for live actors to achieve. The 21st century technology used incorporated the movements of live actors into three-dimensional animation.  On Christmas Eve in the late 1950s, a young boy who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is hoping for belief in the true spirit of Christmas. He wakes up when studying evidence of the existence of Santa Claus, the protagonist hears loud screeching sounds and runs outside. He sees newly blown steam reveal a magical train called the “Polar Express.” Tom Hanks tells him that the train is headed to the North Pole, and is told that it is the year to board it. Although he initially refuses, he boards the train at the last second as it departs from the neighborhood.  The soundtrackl was written by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri.  The song “Believe” was nominated for Best Original Song at the 77th Academy Awards. It was sung at the 77th Academy Awards show by original performer Josh Groban with Beyoncé Knowles. It received a Grammy Award in 2006.

In Dulci Jubilo
14th Century, Ar. Audrey Snyder

In Dulci Jubilo is among the oldest and most famous of the “macaronic” songs, one which combines Latin and a vernacular language such as English or German.  Five hundred years later, this carol became the inspiration for the 1853 English paraphrase by John Mason Neale, Good Christian Men, Rejoice.  The tune itself first appeared in a manuscript in Leipzig University Library (Codex 1305)  around 1400; some version of the song itself may have existed prior to 1328. It remained well-known and often used by Catholics and Protestants alike throughout the centuries.

Angels’ Carol
Words and Music by John Rutter
Born in London, John Rutter was educated at Highgate School. In 1981, Rutter founded his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, which he conducts and with which he has made many recordings of sacred choral repertoire (including his own works), particularly under his own label Collegium Records. He resides at Duxford in Cambridgeshire and frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.  John Rutter’s superb talents are evident in this sprightly, uplifting original Christmas carol. Voice ranges are exceptionally good and totally supported by the rhythmic piano accompaniment.

 

October 19, 2013 – Autumn Magic

This performance is part of Daniel Pearl World Music Days, an annual global concert network affirming the ideals of tolerance, friendship and our shared humanity.  World Music Days is inspired by the life and work of journalist and musician Daniel Pearl, who would have celebrated his birthday on October 10th. Tonight we join people around the world in a tribute to all the visionary men and women who use the power of music to lift peoples of different backgrounds and beliefs above the differences that set us apart. Through our music, we reaffirm our conviction that humanity will triumph and harmony will prevail.

Daniel Pearl was a newspaper reporter and a violin player who traveled the world and used music to make friends in many countries. In 2002, he was murdered by terrorists while investigating a story in Pakistan. His family decided to carry on Danny’s work and use music to help people learn to respect each other and honor diversity.

PROGRAM

In the Fading Light of Autumn
Ralph Ford

Ralph Ford (b.1963) is a composer, arranger, conductor, and clinician. In addition to his twenty nine years of university teaching experience, Ralph has enjoyed a wide variety of professional experiences in the music, media, and broadcast industries. He is an exclusive composer and arranger for the Belwin division of Alfred Publishing Company in Los Angeles, California, with over 250 titles available worldwide for orchestra, concert band, jazz ensemble, and marching band. A frequently commissioned composer, his music has been premiered and performed by university, military, professional, community, and school ensembles around the world. He has received international and regional advertising awards for his jingles and 3‐D animation. His work in media includes live radio broadcasts, host, voice‐over for television, commercials, and video productions, conducting live musical productions, recording sessions, produced recordings for release on traditional discs and other types of new media, compose and record news music packages for national network affiliates, and producing programs for television, radio, and the internet.

“In the Fading Light of Autumn” a tone poem depicting the beauty and serenity of an Autumn evening. Some of the beautiful orchestral colors come from winds and percussion, but it could be played by strings alone if desired.

 

October, The Autumn Song (from “The Season”)
P.I. Tchaikovsky

The Seasons, Op. 37a is a set of twelve short character pieces for solo piano by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Each piece is the characteristic of a different month of the year in the northern hemisphere. The work is also sometimes heard in orchestral and other arrangements by other hands. Individual excerpts have always been popular – Troika (November) was a favorite encore of Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Barcarolle (June) was enormously popular and appeared in numerous arrangements (for orchestra, violin, cello, clarinet, harmonium, guitar and even mandolin).  Tonight we will perform “October”.  The original publisher of the work chose poetic epigraphs for each piece, and October is based on Tolstoy’s poem “Chant d’automne” (Autumn Song):

Autumn, our poor garden is all falling down,
the yellowed leaves are flying in the wind.
(Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ( 7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893), was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, chamber music, and a choral setting of the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Some of these are among the most popular theatrical music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, which he bolstered with appearances as a guest conductor later in his career in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. Tchaikovsky was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension in the late 1880s.

 

The Night of the Yellow Moon (from the “Anazasi Suite”)
Albert O. Davis

Albert Oliver Davis (1920-2005) was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He held degrees from Arizona State University and did additional studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University. A former music educator, he arranged for the Arizona State Marching Band, the Air Force North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) Band, and the Ohio State University Marching Band. Davis wrote numerous musical comedies, band arrangements, and original band compositions during his career. He was one of the developers of the First Division Band Method, used widely in public schools since 1963. There are over 400 works in print under his own name and the pseudonym Eric Hanson.

He felt that the best work he ever composed was the “Anasazi” Suite. The original was composed for full orchestra. The first movement was released in 2008. The second installment of this four-movement work is “The Night of the Yellow Moon”, a harvest dance showing reverence of the tribe for its existence upon the sacred land of Mother Nature. The harvest’s bountiful return illustrates the bond between man and God.

 

From the Four Seasons, Autumn
A. Vivaldi

“The Four Seasons” is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1723, The Four Seasons is Vivaldi’s best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces of baroque music. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season. For example, “Winter” is peppered with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas “Summer” evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, which is why the movement is often called “Storm” (as noted in the list of derivative works).

The concertos were first published in 1725 as part of a set of twelve concerti, Vivaldi’s Op. 8, entitled Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention). Each concerto is in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones. At the time of writing The Four Seasons, the modern solo form of the concerto had not yet been defined (typically a solo instrument and accompanying orchestra). Vivaldi’s original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo helped to define the form of the concerto.

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741),  was an Italian Baroque composer, Catholic priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe. Vivaldi is known mainly for composing instrumental concertos, especially for the violin, as well as sacred choral works and over forty operas. Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi had been employed from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Though Vivaldi’s music was well received during his lifetime, it later declined in popularity until its vigorous revival in the first half of the 20th century. Today, Vivaldi ranks among the most popular and widely recorded of Baroque composers.

 

Autumn Leaves 
Joseph Kosma
Arr. Alfred Reed

Joseph Kosma (22 October 1905 – 7 August 1969) was a Hungarian-French composer of Jewish background. He started to play the piano at age 5, and later took piano lessons. At the age of 11, he wrote his first opera, Christmas in the Trenches. He attended the Academy of Music in Budapest, where he studied with Leo Weiner. He also studied with Béla Bartók at the Liszt Academy, receiving diplomas in composition and conducting. Kosma and his wife emigrated to Paris in 1933. Eventually, he met Jacques Prévert, who introduced him to Jean Renoir. During World War II and the Occupation of France, Kosma was placed under house arrest in the Alpes-Maritimes region, and was banned from composition. However, Prévert managed to arrange for Kosma to contribute music for films, with other composers fronting for him. Under this arrangement he wrote the “pantomime” of the music for Les Enfants du Paradis (1945), made under the occupation, but released after the liberation. He was also known for writing the standard classical-jazz piece “Les feuilles mortes” (“Autumn Leaves” or literally, The Dead Leaves), with French lyrics by Jacques Prévert, and later English lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

 

The Complete Harry Potter
Featuring themes and songs from all eight movies!

Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The series, named after the titular character, chronicle the adventures of a wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry’s quest to overcome the Dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who aims to become immortal, conquer the wizarding world, subjugate non-magical people, and destroy all those who stand in his way, especially Harry Potter.

Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, on 30 June 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide. As of June 2011, the book series has sold about 450 million copies, making it the best-selling book series in history, and has been translated into 67 languages. The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history.

The Harry Potter film series are based on the Harry Potter and consists of eight fantasy films beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and culminating with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011). It is the highest-grossing film series of all-time in inflation unadjusted dollars, with $7.7 billion in worldwide receipts. Each film is in the list of fifty highest-grossing films of all-time in inflation unadjusted dollars and is a critical success.

The series was produced by David Heyman and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as the three leading characters, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Four directors worked on the series: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates. Production took over ten years to complete, with the main story arc following Harry Potter’s quest to overcome his arch-enemy Lord Voldemort.

The Harry Potter series has had four composers. John Williams was the first composer to enter the series and is known for creating Hedwig’s Theme, which is heard at the start of each film. Williams scored the first three films: Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban.

After Williams left the series to pursue other projects, Patrick Doyle scored the fourth entry, Goblet of Fire, which was directed by Mike Newell with whom Doyle had worked with previously. In 2006, Nicholas Hooper started work on the soundtrack to Order of the Phoenix by reuniting with old friend director David Yates. Hooper also composed the soundtrack to Half-Blood Prince but decided not to return for the final films.

In January 2010, Alexandre Desplat was confirmed to compose the score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. The film’s orchestration started in the summer with Conrad Pope, the orchestrator on the first three Harry Potter films, collaborating with Desplat. Pope commented that the music “reminds one of the old days.” Desplat returned to score Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011.

Director David Yates stated that he wanted John Williams to return to the series for the final installment, but their schedules did not align due to the urgent demand of a rough cut of the film sooner than was possible. The final recording sessions of Harry Potter took place on 27 May 2011 at Abbey Road Studios with the London Symphony Orchestra, orchestrator Conrad Pope and composer Alexandre Desplat.

Doyle, Hooper and Desplat introduced their own personal themes to their respective soundtracks, while keeping a few of John Williams’ themes.

 

Wicked Highlights
Stephen Schwartz

Wicked (full title: Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz) is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a parallel novel of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy’s arrival in Oz from Kansas and includes several references to the 1939 film and Baum’s novel. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch of the North), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace.

The original Broadway production won three Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards whilst its cast album received a Grammy Award. It has since celebrated its ninth anniversary on October 30, 2012, and played for 4,123 performances, making Wicked the 11th longest-running Broadway show in history.

Stephen Lawrence Schwartz (born March 6, 1948) is an American musical theatre lyricist and composer. In a career spanning over four decades, Schwartz has written such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972) and Wicked (2003). He has also contributed lyrics for a number of successful films, including Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), The Prince of Egypt (1998) and Enchanted (2007). Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards.

 

Into the Storm 
Robert W. Smith

Robert W. Smith was born in the small town of Daleville, Alabama on October 24 1958. He attended high school in Daleville, after which he left for Troy State University, where he played lead trumpet in the Sound of the South Marching Band. While at Troy, he studied composition with Dr. Paul Yoder. Upon his graduation from Troy State with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, Smith pursued his musical career in South Florida, where he earned the Master’s degree in Media Writing and Production from the University of Miami, while studying with Dr. Alfred Reed. He was soon hired by Columbia Pictures Publications and later Warner Bros./Belwin Publications.

Smith’s piece “Into The Storm” was written to commemorate the powerful 1993 winter storm that brutalized the eastern United States.  All mankind is at the mercy of Mother Nature. Robert W. Smith musically explores the power, the drama and the fury of weather at its wildest. Close your eyes and you will be surrounded by this dramatic force. Your audience will be completely swept up at each and every performance. The highest of high energy!

Movies in Concert, June 29, 2013
Murray Park Amphitheater

Salute to the Cinema
Arr. Carl Strommen
Hooray for Hollywood is a song first featured in the 1937 movie Hollywood Hotel, and which has since become (together with That’s Entertainment and Another Op’nin’, Another Show) the staple soundtrack element of any Academy Awards ceremony. The popularity of the song is notably due to the lyrics by Johnny Mercer, which reference the American movie industry and satirize the illusory desire of many people to become famous as actors.
Singin’ in the Rain is a 1952 American musical comedy film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, and choreographed by Gene Kelly. It offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to “talkies.” The film was only a modest hit when first released, with O’Connor’s Best Actor win at the Golden Globes. However, it was accorded its legendary status by contemporary critics. It is now frequently described as one of the best musicals ever made, topping the AFI’s 100 Years of Musicals list, and ranking fifth in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007.
Over the Rainbow (often referred to as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by actress Judy Garland in her starring role as Dorothy Gale. Over time, it would become Garland’s signature song.
As Time Goes By is a song written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931. It became most famous in 1942 when it was sung by the character Sam (Dooley Wilson) in the movie Casablanca. The song was voted No. 2 on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs special, commemorating the best songs in film.
Manhã de Carnaval (“A Day in the Life of a Fool”), is the title of one the most popular songs by Brazilian composer Luiz Bonfá.  It appeared as a principal theme in the 1959 Portuguese-language film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus) by French director Marcel Camus, with a soundtrack that also included a number of memorable songs by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, as well as another composition by Bonfá.

 

The Sea Hawk (Suite for Orchestra)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Arr. Jerry Brubaker
The Sea Hawk
 is a 1940 American film starring Errol Flynn as an English privateer who defends his nation’s interests on the eve of the Spanish Armada. The film was the tenth collaboration between Flynn and director Michael Curtiz. The sparkling and rousing musical score is recognized as a high point in Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s career.

 

Cowboys Overture
John Williams
The Cowboys
 is a 1972 Western motion picture starring John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, A Martinez and Bruce Dern. Robert Carradine makes his film debut with fellow child actor Stephen R. Hudis. It was filmed at various locations in New Mexico, Colorado and at Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, California. The soundtrack was written by John Williams.  Williams has won 5 Academy Awards, 4 Golden Globe Awards, 7 British Academy Film Awards and 21 Grammy Awards. With 48 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the second most-nominated person, after Walt Disney.

 

The Pink Panther
Henry Mancini
Arr. John Cacavas
The Pink Panther
 is a series of comedy films featuring a bumbling French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The series began in 1964 with the release of the film of the same name. The role was originated by, and is most closely associated with, Peter Sellers. Most of the films were directed and co-written by Blake Edwards, with theme music composed by Henry Mancini.

 

Les Miserables Selections
Claude-Michel Schönberg 
Arr. Bob Lowden
Les Misérables
 is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century.   Les Misérables was made into one of the most famous musicals or all times and was filmed 2012 winning many awards. The film is based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.

 

Forrest Gump Suite
Alan Silverestri 
Arr. Calvin Custer
Forrest Gump
 is a 1994 American epic romantic comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and starred Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a naïve and slow-witted yet athletically prodigious native of Alabama who witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century in the United States; more specifically, the period between Forrest’s birth in 1944 and 1982.

 

Salute to Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
Richard Charles Rodgers (June 28, 1902 – December 30, 1979) was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music down to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal. Rodgers was the first person to win what are considered the top show business awards in television, recording, movies and Broadway—an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony—now known collectively as an EGOT. He has also won a Pulitzer Prize, making him one of two people (Marvin Hamlisch is the other) to receive each award.
Song of the High Seas is part of Victory at Sea, a documentary television series about naval warfare during World War II that was originally broadcast by NBC in the USA in 1952–1953 and was condensed into a film in 1954. Excerpts from the music soundtrack, by Richard Rodgers and Robert Russell Bennett, were re-recorded and sold as record albums.
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs’ 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in Oklahoma Territory outside the town of Claremore in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams.
The Sound of Music is a 1965 musical film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is based on the Broadway musical with songs written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Based on the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, the film is about a young woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the seven children of a naval officer widower. The Sound of Music contains several popular songs, including “Edelweiss”, “My Favorite Things”, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain“, “Do-Re-Mi”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, “The Lonely Goatherd”, and the title song, “The Sound of Music”.
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” is a show tune and popular song from the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey. The song was introduced by Vivienne Segal on December 25, 1940 in the Broadway production. Segal also sang the song on both the 1950 hit record and in the 1952 Broadway revival.
Carousel is a 1956 film adaptation of the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical of the same name which, in turn, was based on Ferenc Molnár’s non-musical play Liliom. The 1956 Carousel film stars Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, and was directed by Henry King. Like the original stage production, the film contains what many critics consider some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beautiful songs.

 

Mission: Impossible Theme
Lalo Schifrin
Mission: Impossible (also known in the Blu-ray release as M:I) is a 1996 American spy film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Tom Cruise. Based on the television series of the same name, the plot follows a new agent, Ethan Hunt and his mission to uncover the mole who has framed him for the murders of his entire IMF team. Work on the script had begun early with filmmaker Sydney Pollack on board, before De Palma, Steven Zaillian, David Koepp, and Robert Towne were brought in. U2 band members Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton produced an electronic dance version of the original theme song. The song went into top ten of music charts around the world and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The film was the third-highest-grossing of the year and received positive reviews from film critics. The film marked the beginning of a film series, with sequels Mission: Impossible II, III and Ghost Protocol released in 2000, 2006 and 2011, respectively. A fifth film is in development with Cruise reprising his role.

 

Chariots of Fire
Vangelis
Arr. Jim Riley
Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, a Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture. The film’s title was inspired by the line, “Bring me my chariot of fire,” from the William Blake poem adapted into the popular British hymn “Jerusalem”; the hymn is heard at the end of the film. The film is also notable for its memorable theme by Greek composer Vangelis, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

 

The Prince of Egypt
Stephen Schwartz
Arr. Charles Sayre
The Prince of Egypt
 is a 1998 American animated musical drama film and the first traditionally animated film produced and released by DreamWorks Animation. The film is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus and follows Moses’ life from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. The film was directed by Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells and Steve Hickner. The film featured songs written by Stephen Schwartz and a score composed by Hans Zimmer. The voice cast featured a number of major Hollywood actors in the speaking roles, while professional singers replaced them for the songs. The exceptions were Michelle Pfeiffer, Ralph Fiennes, Ofra Haza (who sang her song in over seventeen languages for the film’s dubbing), Steve Martin, and Martin Short, who sang their own parts. The film was nominated for best Original Musical or Comedy Score and won for Best Original Song at the 1999 Academy Awards for “When You Believe”.

 

Theme from “Superman”
John Williams
Arr. Carson Rothrock
The fictional character Superman, a comic book superhero featured in DC Comics publications, has appeared in various films since his inception. The earliest Superman film was in 1951, Superman and the Mole Men. Ilya and Alexander Salkind and Pierre Spengler purchased the Superman film rights in 1974. After numerous scripts, Richard Donner was hired to direct the film, filming Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980) simultaneously. Donner had already shot 80% of Superman II before it was decided to finish shooting the first film. The Salkinds fired Donner after Superman’s release, and commissioned Richard Lester as the director to finish Superman II. Lester also returned for Superman III (1983), and the Salkinds further produced the 1984 spin-off Supergirl before selling the rights to Cannon Films, resulting in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). With over 15 years of development for a fifth Superman film, Superman Returns, an alternate sequel to Superman and Superman II directed by Bryan Singer, was released in 2006, along with Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. The newest Superman film series was released last June. Zack Snyder directed the reboot, titled Man of Steel, with David S. Goyer writing and Christopher Nolan producing.

 

Armed Forces Salute
Arr. Joyce Eilers & Bob Lowden 
In honor of our men and women of the Armed Forces, featuring:  The Caisson Song, Semper Paratus, The Marines’ Hymn, The U.S. Air Force and Anchors Aweigh

 

 

Latin American Music Festival Concert, May 11, 2013

Blue Tango, Leroy Anderson
Leroy Anderson (June 29, 1908 – May 18, 1975) was an American composer of short, light concert pieces, many of which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. John Williams described him as “one of the great American masters of light orchestral music.  “Blue Tango” is an instrumental composition that was later turned into a popular song with lyrics by Mitchell Parish. The music was composed in 1951 and an instrumental version was recorded by Anderson and reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 1952.

Overture to the Opera “Il Guarany”, Antonio Carlos Gomes
Antônio Carlos Gomes (July 11, 1836 — September 16, 1896) was born in Campinas, Brazil in 1836 and studied at the Musical Conservatory of Rio de Janeiro.  He was the first New World composer whose work was accepted by Europe. He was the only non-European who was successful as an opera composer in Italy, during the “golden age of opera,” contemporary to Verdi and Puccini. Younger than Verdi, yet older than Puccini, Carlos Gomes achieved his first major success in a time when the Italian audiences were eager for a new name to celebrate and Puccini had not yet officially started his career. After the successful premiere of Il Guarany, Gomes was considered the most promising new composer. Verdi said his work was an expression of “true musical genius.” Liszt said that “it displays dense technical maturity, full of harmonic and orchestral maturity.”  Interested in composing an opera which dealt with a truly Brazilian subject, Carlos Gomes choose the romance novel O Guarani, by Brazilian writer José de Alencar. O Guarany is set back in 1604 during the colonial times.  It tells the story of Peri, an Indian of the Guarani tribe and the Portuguese young blue-eyes Ceci and their impossible love.  The opera was given an Indian subject and setting and it premiered in May 1870 at the La Scala Theater in Milan as Il Guarany. The success was enormous. Even the most strict musical critics compared the Brazilian musician to the great European maestros, such as Rossini and Verdi. The King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, decorated the creator of the opera, which was presented in all major European capitals.

Rumba Mexicana, Charles Miller
Charles Miller (July 2, 1939 – 14 June, 1980) was an American musician best known as the saxophonist and flutist for multicultural Californian funk band War and the single person most responsible for the creating of the classic and still-iconic #1 hit “Low Rider”, on which he also sang the lead part.  In 1980 Charles Miller was murdered in Los Angeles. To this day, no one has been arrested or prosecuted for his murder.

Corcovado, Antonio Carlos Jobim/Arr. Ken Andersen
Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (January 25, 1927 – December 8, 1994), also known as Tom Jobim, was a Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist. He was a primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, and his songs have been performed by many singers and instrumentalists within Brazil and internationally. Widely known as the composer of “Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema), one of the most recorded songs of all time, Jobim has left a large number of songs that are today included in the standard Jazz and Pop repertoires.  “Corcovado” (known in English as “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”) is a bossa nova song written by Jobim in 1960. The Portuguese title refers to the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro. The arrangement we will listen tonight was prepared especially for this concert by Ken Andersen, member of the Murray Symohony.

La Suerte de los Tontos
Johnny Richards/Arr. John Whitney

Johnny Richards (November 2, 1911 – October 7, 1968) was a jazz arranger and composer in the mid-20th century United States. He was a pivotal arranger for some of the more adventurous, boisterous Stan Kenton big band performances on recordings in the 1950s: the Cuban Fire! suite is probably the best known of those compositions.  “La Suerte de los Tontos” (Fortune of Fools or Fools Luck) is Movement VI (of 7) of the Cuban Fire Suite written in 1956. Fire is probably the best way to describe this piece. A fantastic, dramatic opening (used for years by marching band and drum corps) leads to a rollicking, latin feel. Solos are on the alto sax and trumpet parts.

Danzón No. 2
Arturo Marquez

Arturo Márquez (born 20 December 1950) is a Mexican composer of orchestra music who uses musical forms and styles of his native Mexico and incorporates them into his compositions.  Danzón No. 2 for orchestra is one of the most popular and significant frequently performed Mexican contemporary classical music compositions.  Composed for full orchestras, the piece features solos including a piano, violin, trumpet, and clarinet solo.  Danzón no. 2 was commissioned by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and was debuted in 1994 in Mexico City. This contemporary Mexican music literature expresses and reflects on a dance style called Danzón, which has its origins in Cuba but is a very important part of the folklore of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Márquez got his inspiration while visiting a ballroom in Veracruz.

March 9, 2013 – March Madness

Ippolitov-Ivanov and the “Caucasian Sketches”

Caucasian Sketches is a pair of orchestral suites written in 1894 and 1896 by the Russian composer Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935).  The orchestral songs of the Caucasian Sketches were influenced by the Georgian folk songs that Ippolitov-Ivanov heard during his years as director of the music conservatory and conductor of the orchestra in Tbilisi, the principal city of Georgia and during his visits to the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. Ippolitov-Ivanov had studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under the composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a master of orchestration, whose style of beats and chimes is reflected in the songs of the Caucasian Sketches.

Caucasian Sketches, Suite No. 1, Op. 10 (1894) consists of four “songs” or parts. The suite begins with a vibrant song, In a Mountain Pass, which is characterized by a steady ambitious beat suggesting the steep Caucasus Mountains and makes one feel like a bird flying over them. The second song, In a Village, has a steady beat and becomes more vibrant near the end. The title of a third, In a Mosque, reflects the abundance of mosques in the once Turkish Caucausus and Circassian regions such as Adygea in Russia, and one can hear the Muezzin’s call to prayer in the music. The most famous and admired portion is the final piece, Procession of the Sardar.

[What does Sardar means? Sardar, a word of Indo-Iranian origin also spelled as Sirdar or Serdar, is a title of nobility that was originally used to denote princes, noblemen, and other aristocrats. It has also been used to denote a chief or leader of a tribe or group. It is used synonymously with the title Amir.]

Ippolitov-Ivanov was born in 1859 at Gatchina, near St. Petersburg, where his father was a mechanic employed at the palace. His birth name was Mikhail Mikhailovich Ivanov; later he added Ippolitov, his mother’s maiden name, to distinguish himself from a music critic with a similar surname. He studied music at home and was a choirboy at the cathedral of St. Isaac, where he also had musical instruction, before entering the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1875. In 1882 he completed his studies as a composition pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov, whose influence was to remain strong.  In 1886, in Tbilisi, he conducted the premiere of the third and final version of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasia.  In 1893 Ippolitov-Ivanov became a professor at the Conservatory in Moscow, of which he was director from 1905 until 1924. He served as conductor for the Russian Choral Society, the Mamontov and Zimin Opera companies and, after 1925, the Bolshoi Theatre, and was known as a contributor to broadcasting and to musical journalism.

Politically Ippolitov-Ivanov retained a measure of independence. He was president of the Society of Writers and Composers in 1922, but took no part in the quarrels between musicians concerned either to encourage new developments in music or to foster a form of proletarian art. His own style had been formed in the 1880s under Rimsky-Korsakov, and to this he added a similar interest in folk-music, particularly the music of Georgia, where he returned in 1924 to spend a year reorganizing the Conservatory in Tbilisi. He died in Moscow in 1935.  His pupils included Reinhold Glière and Sergei Vasilenko.

Ippolitov-Ivanov’s works include operas, orchestral music, chamber music and a large number of songs. His style is similar to that of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov. With the exception of his orchestral suite Caucasian Sketches, which includes the much-excerpted “Procession of the Sardar”, his music is very rarely heard today.  As well as his entirely original works, Ippolitov-Ivanov completed Modest Mussorgsky’s opera The Marriage.

 

Prokofiev and “The Love For Three Oranges”

The Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33 is a satirical opera by Sergei Prokofiev. Its French libretto was based on an Italian play by Carlo Gozzi. The opera premiered at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, on 30 December 1921 with the composer himself conducting.  The opera was the result of a commission during Prokofiev’s successful first visit to the USA in 1918. After successful concerts in Chicago (including his First Symphony), he was approached by the director of the Chicago Opera Association to write an opera. Conveniently, Prokofiev had already drafted a libretto on the journey over based on Gozzi’s play. Due to Prokofiev’s own scanty knowledge of English, and as Russian would have been unacceptable to American audiences, the initial version was set in French, with the possible assistance of the soprano Vera Janacopoulos.

Probably the best-known piece in the opera is the “March”, which was used by CBS in the series The FBI in Peace and War that was broadcast 1944-58.  Prokofiev also quotes the march in act 2 of his ballet Cinderella (Op. 87).

The opera synopsis goes as follows:  Following a debate on theatre, the Eccentrics win and present ‘The Love for Three Oranges’. In the royal palace, the prince is ill with hypochondria, and the only cure is to make him laugh. Down in hell, the wicked witch Fata Morgana beats the magician Chelio at a game of cards. Leander, the prime minister, is under Fata Morgana’s protection and plots with Princess Clarissa and the evil Smeraldina to stop the prince from laughing. The jester Truffaldino’s ploys to amuse the prince fail, but when he catches sight of Fata Morgana’s knickers, he bursts out laughing. She curses him to fall in love with three oranges and he sets off with Truffaldino to find them. In the desert Chelio tells them that the sorcerer Kreonta’s oranges are in his kitchen guarded by a terrifying cook, and gives them a magic ribbon. Truffaldino charms Kreonta’s cook with the ribbon and he and the prince escape with the oranges. Thirsty, Truffaldino opens two of them and discovers two princesses but, as there is no water, both die. Truffaldino flees in remorse. The prince opens the third orange and finds Princess Ninetta, who is provided with water by the Eccentrics. While the prince is away, Fata Morgana captures Ninetta, turns her into a rat and puts Smeraldina in her place. The prince, returning with the King, is horrified at the change in his bride, but is forced to take Smeraldina to the palace. The Eccentrics capture Fata Morgana and send Chelio to save the situation. When the wedding procession arrives, a rat is found sitting on the throne. Chelio turns her back into Ninetta. Fata Morgana and her accomplices flee and the court celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

 

John Williams and “The March from ‘1941’”

“1941” is a 1979 period comedy film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and featuring an ensemble cast including Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Lee, and Toshiro Mifune. The film is about a panic in the Los Angeles area after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  Although not as financially or critically successful as many of Spielberg’s other films, it received belated widespread popularity after an expanded version aired on ABC, and its subsequent successful home video reissues, raising it to cult status.  Co-writer Gale stated the plot is loosely based on what has come to be known as the Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942 as well as the shelling of the Ellwood oil refinery, near Santa Barbara by a Japanese submarine. Many other events in the film were based on real incidents, including the Zoot Suit Riots and an incident in which the U.S. Army placed an anti-aircraft gun in a homeowner’s yard on the Maine coast.

The musical score for “1941” was composed and conducted by John Williams. The titular march is used throughout the film and is perhaps the most memorable piece written for it. (Spielberg has said it is his favorite Williams march.)

 

Wagner and the March from “Tannhäuser”

“Tannhäuser” (full title Tannhäuser and the Singers’ Contest at Wartburg Castle) is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner (1813-1883), based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg. The story centers on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love, a theme running through most of Wagner’s mature work.

The inspiration for Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser is that of an actual medieval singing contest held at Wartburg Castle in thirteenth-century Germany.  Wagner weaves a story of lust, love, and redemption around the character of Tannhäuser.  The opera begins on the mythical mountain of Venusberg, said to be home to Venus, the goddess of love.  The knight Tannhäuser has spent a year enjoying the lustful pleasures of Venusberg, but has decided to return to his former life and love.  Venus is reluctant to release him, so to escape he invokes the name of the Virgin Mary and is immediately returned to civilization, to a valley below Wartburg Castle.

Tannhäuser premiered in Dresden, Germany in 1845 and was not the success Wagner had hoped for.  He began revisions to the opera immediately, which resulted in four versions, after further revisions, reduced to two versions:  the Dresden version and the Paris version.  The main difference between the two is the insertion of a ballet to fulfill the conventions of Parisian opera.   Tannhäuser was not successful in Paris either and Wagner continued to be tormented by its failure for the rest of his life.  Weeks before Wagner’s death, his wife Cosima, wrote in her diary that Wagner felt he “still owed Tannhäuser to the world.”

 

Johann Straus and the “Radetsky March”

Radetzky March, Op. 228, is a march composed by Johann Strauss Sr. in 1848. It was dedicated to the Austrian Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, and became quite a popular march among soldiers. It has been remarked that its tone is more celebratory than martial– Strauss was commissioned to write the piece for a celebration of Radetsky’s victory at the Battle of Custoza.

For the Trio Strauss used an older folk in 3/4 time signature. When Radetzky came back to Vienna after winning the battle of Custoza (1848), his soldiers were singing the then popular song. Allegedly Strauss heard this singing and included the melody, this time in 2/4 time signature, into the Radetzky march.  When it was first played in front of Austrian officers they spontaneously clapped and stamped their feet when they heard the chorus. This tradition is kept alive today when the march is played in classical music venues in Vienna, among members of the audience who are familiar with the tradition. It is almost always played as the last piece at the Vienna New Year Concert.

 

 

December 8, 2012 Holiday Celebration
with special guests MAPLETON CHORALE

Sleigh Ride
Leroy Anderson

A Christmas Portrait  
Arr. Mark Hayes
Featuring Deck the Halls, The 12 Days of Christmas, Sing We Now of Christmas, O Christmas Tree, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,
O Come All Ye Faithful

I Saw Three Ships 
English Carol
Arr. Mack Wilberg

Need a Little Christmas 
Jerry Herman
Arr. Ronald Staheli

Three Holiday Songs from “Home Alone”
Music by John Williams
Words by Leslie Bricusse
Somewhere in My Memory
Star of Bethlehem
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas

INTERMISSION

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Traditional English Carol
Arr. Lloyd Larson, Orchestrated by Brant Adams

Fantasia on “Greensleeves”
R. Vaughan-Williams (Adapted from the opera ‘Sir John in Love’)

O Magnum Mysterium
Morten Lauridsen

Once In David’s City
Traditional
Arr. Jack Bullock

What Sweeter Music 
John Rutter
Mapleton Chorale Chamber Ensemble

For Unto Us a Child is Born
G.F. Handel (from “Messiah”)

Angels We Have Heard On High  
French Carol
Arr. Mack Wilberg

Mapleton Chorale is an auditioned community choir, founded in 1994 by a small group of Mapleton residents with a love for choral music and a desire to perform a broader repertoire than generally found in a traditional church setting. The Chorale is dedicated to musical excellence and enjoys singing from the classical canon, as well as a variety of spirituals, folk songs and hymns, sacred music and popular tunes. The group cultivated its unique style and reputation for audience-pleasing musical selections under the skilled direction of Ryan Murphy, now Associate Conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Now in its ninth year with conductor Cory Mendenhall, the Chorale has grown to a group of 130 singers from throughout Utah Valley.  Under Mr. Mendenhall’s dynamic leadership, the Chorale has further refined its sound and expanded its repertoire. In addition to the full chorale, the group also encompasses a smaller chamber ensemble of select voices that rehearses separately and regularly performs at concerts.  Mapleton Chorale has been enthusiastically received at Temple Square Christmas performances, as part of the Temple Square Performances Concert Series, in performances at the St. George and Logan Tabernacles, and in multiple Christmas and spring concerts throughout Utah County.  In 2011 the Chorale toured to New York City, where it performed at the Statue of Liberty, St. Paul’s Chapel, Trinity Church, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, concluding with a solo performance in Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center.  In September of 2011 the Chorale, along with an orchestra comprised of talented local musicians, presented two sold out performances of Renee Clausen’s “Memorial,” on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Visit them online at: www.mapletonchorale.org

 

 

October 13, 2012 Galactic Encounters
A Concert From Out of This World!

 

From “The Planets”
Gustav Holst
Mars, the Bringer of War
Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
Howard Shore
Arr. Bob Cerulli

INTERMISSION

Music from “Apollo 13
James Horner
Arr. John Moss

Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Harry Gregson-Williams
Arr. Stephen Bulla

Star Trek Through the Years
Arr. Calvin Custer
Featuring: Star Trek the Motion Picture, Deep Space Nine, Generations, Voyager, The Inner Light, Theme from Star Trek

Battlestar Galactica
Stu Phillips
(Battlestar Galactica Theme by Stu Phillips & Glen Larson Pub. by Songs of Universal)

PROGRAM NOTES

The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst. With the exception of Earth (the center of all yet influentially inert astrologically, all the astrological planets known during the work’s composition are represented.

From its premiere to the present day, the suite has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded. The work was not heard in a complete public performance, however, until some years after it was completed. Although there were four performances between September 1918 and October 1920, they were all either private (the first performance, in London) or incomplete (two others in London and one in Birmingham). The premiere was at the Queen’s Hall on 29 September 1918, conducted by Holst’s friend Adrian Boult before an invited audience of about 250 people. The first complete public performance was finally given in London by Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 November 1920.

Mars, the Bringer of War: Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions. His festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.

Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity: In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until the Empire came under Christian rule. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as sacrifice.

 

Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command Module depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.  Apollo 13 is a 1995 American docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Kathleen Quinlan and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, Jr. and Al Reinert, that dramatizes the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission, is an adaptation of the book Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by astronaut Jim Lovell (the story’s protagonist) and Jeffrey Kluger.  The score to Apollo 13 was composed and conducted by James Horner. The music also features solos by vocalist Annie Lennox and Tim Morrison on the trumpet. The score was a critical success and garnered Horner an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score.

Stu Phillips (born September 9, 1929) is an American composer of film scores and television-series theme music, conductor and record producer. He is perhaps best known for composing the themes to the 1980s television series Knight Rider and Battlestar Galactica.  Mr. Phillips prepared a special selection of the television series Battlestar Gallactica for the Hollywood Bowl presentation by the LA Philarmonic and this is the version Murray Symphony performs.

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