arrowThis Seasonarrow

Past Seasons

Concert Program Cover

Fourth Concert of the 79th Season

Spring String Fling

Monday, April 30th, 2018
Cordier Auditorium
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  Concerto for Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major, RV547 Antonio Vivaldi  
 

I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro Molto

 
  Elizabeth Smith, violin
Robert Lynn, cello
 
       
  Divertimento for Strings in B-Flat Major, K. 137 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  
 

I. Andante
II. Allegro di molto
III. Allegro assai

 
       
  String Quintet Op. 30, No. 6 in C Major ("Procession of the Military Night Watch in Madrid") Luigi Boccherini  
 

I. Le campane de l'Ave Maria
II. Allegro Il tamburo dei Soldati
III. Minuetto dei Ciechi
IV. Il Rosario
V. Passa Calle
VI. Il tamburo
VII. Ritirata

 
  Elizabeth Smith and Joyce Dubach, violins
Julie Sadler, viola
Robert Lynn and Wallace Dubach, cellos
 
       
  Intermission  
       
  A Moorside Suite for String Orchestra Gustav Holst  
 

I. Scherzo
II. Nocturne
III. March

 
       
  Meditation from Serenade for Strings Jack Jarrett  
       
  West Side Story Medley Leonard Bernstein
(arr. John Moss)
 
       
  Mock Morris Percy Grainger
(arr. Sandra Dackow)
 
       
 

The Adams Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
  Concerto for Violin and Cello in B-Flat Major, RV. 547 Antonio Vivaldi
(c.1675-1743)
 
 

Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian violinist and composer. He was born in Venice around 1675, the son of a locally esteemed violinist in the service of St. Mark's Cathedral. The known circumstances surrounding Vivaldi's youth and early manhood are meager, but it has been established that he was ordained to the priesthood in 1703. He was known as "The Red Priest," not for any political leanings, but for his red hair.

Folklore tells us that he was defrocked within a short time for interrupting a mass to dash into the sacristy in order to jot down a theme that had come to him at the altar. Apparently he had slipped out during a lull, expecting to return, but leaving the congregation waiting in puzzlement! His superiors thought he would make a better composer than he would a priest.

As to Vivaldi's contribution to music, it needs only to be recalled that J.S. Bach was so entranced by his instrumental forms that he made them his own. Vivaldi composed operas, cantatas, motets, and works in various other forms. He is known to have written more than 500 violin concertos. He wrote only three double concertos, of which the one we hear today is the only one without a descriptive title.

This work is of the genre known as "absolute" music, as opposed to "program" music. That is, it tells no story; it is just music. I mention that because Vivaldi was an early composer to write "program" music, the most notable example of which was his series of four concertos known as Le Quattro Stagione (The Four Seasons), in which one can hear a rainstorm, a barking dog, a babbling brook, a bagpipe, and many different birds. Program music is usually associated with the Romantic period. Vivaldi was ahead of his time in many ways.


 
       
  Divertimento for Strings in B-Flat Major, K. 137 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)
 
 

Divertimenti is the Italian plural for divertimento, and we will hear only one of the three Divertimenti, K. 137. The word divertimento is rather loosely defined as "a light entertainment." Many authorities think that Mozart himself did not name these works divertimenti because they are anything but light entertainments. In fact, authorities such as Alfred Frankenstein think they should be listed among the emerging form of the quartet, and are frequently included in recordings of Mozart quartets. Some critics consider them to be short symphonies! Mozart was sixteen years old when he wrote this!

The "symphony" evolved over a long period of time. The word, for most people, brings to mind the works of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and, later, the Romantics Mahler, Bruckner, and even later, Shostakovich. Of course, they all had much in common regarding structure, but these early works by Mozart have structural similarities even though they are shorter than those of the composers just mentioned.

There are three movements: andante, allegro di molto, and allegro assai. These are all various forms of "brisk," the speed pretty much left up to the conductor. Just not "slow."


 
       
  String Quintet, Op. 30, No. 6 in C Major ("La Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid") Luigi Boccherini
(1743-1805)
 
 

Boccherini was born in Lucca, Italy, but spent much of his adult life in Madrid, so his music often has a Spanish character. He was extremely prolific, having written some thirty symphonies, well over a hundred string quintets, and almost a hundred string quartets. He was particularly fond of the cello, revised the typical quintet to include two cellos, and wrote twelve cello concertos. His residence in Spain resulted in his producing a dozen guitar quintets, as well.

His first patron was the Infante Luis Antonio of Spain, younger brother of King Charles III of Spain. He did well in that position until he was told by the King to make a change in one of his works, which he refused to do, and was summarily dismissed. He was still in the good graces of the king's younger brother, Luis Antonio, and accompanied him to Arenas de San Pedro, a little town in the province of Ávila, where he wrote many of his most famous works.

The work we hear today translates as "Night music from the Streets of Madrid," and refers to a parade of Spanish soldiers at the end of the day. You might hear references to Madrid's church bells ringing for evening prayer, street-dancing, and even the sound of a hurdy-gurdy until the soldiers from the local garrison sound the midnight curfew with their Retreat.

After his death, Boccherini's music was rarely heard until the middle of the 20th century when an Italian cellist discovered a complete set of Boccherini's 141 string quintets and formed the Boccherini Quintet with the aim of restoring that composer to prominence. Since then, his music has been heard in a number of films, including The Ladykillers and Master and Commander.


 
       
  A Moorside Suite Gustav Holst
(1874-1934)
 
 

Gustav Holst was an English composer, descended from a Swedish family. His birth name was Gustavus Theodore von Holst, but in 1914 that German-sounding name was judiciously changed to the simpler Gustav Holst.

Holst was unusual in many ways. His first large orchestral work, The Planets, was his most successful, and the one he liked the least. The subject of the work is not astronomical but astrological, if you are wondering. Holst was very interested in alternate ways of thinking. In the early 1900s, he became very interested in Hindu writings and decided to set some of them to music. Dissatisfied with the translations, he studied Sanskrit so that he could do his own, and produced some works based on the Ramayana (Sita) and the Mahabharata (Savitri).

His early works were criticized for being too beholden to Wagner, but he outgrew that tendency and became very interested in English folk song, very likely through his long-lasting friendship with Ralph Vaughan-Williams.

Holst had trained as a pianist and organist, but neuritis in his right hand prompted him to take up the trombone, with which he became very proficient. That very likely propelled him into the area of band music. In fact, it was his band music that became most popular, and which, together with The Planets, made him something of a celebrity. Holst was a very retiring person, and felt that popularity was not a good thing for an artist. He believed that it was likely to rob one of the sense of invention. There would be a tendency to repeat oneself and fall back on the tried and true.

Before Holst, most music for band was in the form of marches. His work with the brass band prompted him to provide what he considered better, concert-music for bands, and he wrote several concert pieces for brass, including two suites, and the Moorside Suite we are to hear today. The two famous Suites, I and II, were written for the military band. This Moorside Suite was written for the brass band, which he distinguished from the military band as leaving more room for individual expression. It was written in response to a championship contest and it has strong English folk song characteristics, as does much of his music from this period.


 
       
  Meditation from Serenade for Strings Jack Marius Jarrett
(b. 1938)
 
 

Jack Jarrett is an American composer and educator. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. I have a warm feeling about Mr. Jarrett because he seems so honest, unpretentious, and genuine. He writes music because he enjoys it and makes no effort to "find a style." He reminds me of an English artist named André Bicat, who was criticized for "painting like a syndicate." Critics admired his skill, but thought he lacked individuality. As an art student I was aware of the effort put forth by my fellow students to "develop a style." That irritated me. I just wanted to paint. I think that Jack Jarrett and I could get along very well.

Jarrett points out that an American composer has the problem of being influenced "not only by the great European composers of the past, but also by jazz, musical theater, film, and world musics of our time." He sees the typical thinking of the mid-20th century as an "experiment in rebellion against tradition, with the goal of identifying one's self with a distinct 'personal style.'"

I think that if you listen to enough of Jarrett's music, you will begin to notice elements which might be said to represent a style, but he is not obsessed by that need. He likes melody. He likes harmony. This will be evident in today's performance of his Meditation.

Meditation is the third movement of a four-movement composition called Serenade for String Orchestra. It reminds me of Samuel Barber's very popular Adagio for Strings which, like Jarrett's Meditation, is part of a longer work, his String Quartet, Op. 11. I doubt if Mr. Jarrett would be offended by my sensing a connection between the two works. I mean it as a compliment.


 
       
  West Side Story Medley Leonard Bernstein
(1918-1990)
(arr. John Moss)
 
 

By this time, everyone knows that West Side Story is an updated version of Romeo and Juliet. (You DID know that, right?) The idea came from the choreographer Jerome Robbins in 1949, and originally was to have involved feuding between the Catholics and the Jews of New York around the time of Easter-Passover. The plan "marinated" for several years while Bernstein worked on other projects like Candide. By 1955, the Jewish-Catholic conflict has given way to the Puerto Rican-American rivalry for a more contemporary theme.

This work is so well established that we tend to overlook its innovations. The movie version was a real landmark, containing almost twice as much music as the standard Hollywood musical. Also, unlike typical Hollywood musicals, it was filmed on location on West 68th Street in New York City. The street no longer exists, and the buildings have been razed to provide space for Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera.

This medley contains four of the most memorable songs from the work by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim: Maria; One Hand, One Heart; Cool; and Somewhere.


 
       
  Mock Morris Percy Grainger
(1882-1961)
(arr. Sandra Dackow)
 
 

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes Grainger as an "American composer, pianist, editor, folk-song collector, writer, and teacher of Australian origin." He was also a very good artist, and some of his acquaintances expected him to follow that profession. Grainger became an American citizen in 1918. He is perhaps best known as a folk-song collector, though he was most successful as a concert pianist. His compositions were written intermittently over long stretches of time, making them hard to tabulate. He was very active, and had a mind which seemed to flip from one thing to another. He regularly re-scored his own works, many of them far more than once. He was the despair of publishers. He also re-scored the works of other composers, among them Ravel, Grieg, and Debussy.

Grainger was a globe-trotter. Raised in Melbourne, Australia, he moved to London in 1901 as a concert pianist. He toured Britain, central Europe, and Scandinavia, where he fell in love both with Scandinavia and with Ella Viola Ström, whom he married in 1928. He was obsessed with folk-song, admiring its freedom of expression, and he sought in his music to express the personalities of its singers. It is unclear how he expected to do that.

Mock Morris was composed in 1910. While Grainger was an avid collector of folk-songs and performed them frequently in his piano concerts, Mock Morris is an original composition. It sounds so much like a typical English Morris dance that many found it hard to believe that Mock Morris was an original composition. Grainger insisted that it was, and no evidence has emerged which would refute that.

Surely there is a term that describes someone who is more than eccentric but less than mad. Whatever that word is, it would describe Percy Grainger. Three anecdotes suffice to illustrate the point.

Grainger was very athletic and very fond of running, often from one performance to another. In South Africa, he misjudged the distance and was almost late for a performance. Through binoculars, he could be seen in the distance, in a cloud of dust, and accompanied by a group of Zulu warriors. He asked that they be seated in the audience, but had to abandon that idea when it was explained to him that he would be immediately deported!

North Manchester had a taste of his eccentricity when the police discovered a "tramp" sleeping in the grass at the corner of routes 114 and 13, where McDonald's is now. It was Grainger, who had gone to sleep after a run from Wabash. Luckily, he made it to his performance at Manchester College in time.

While in Manchester, Grainger was hosted by Manchester College music instructor, Genita Speicher, at whose house Grainger could practice. On one occasion, when he became sleepy he simply spent the night on the floor, under the piano.

Vernon Steinbaugh was the conductor of that concert on May 1, 1953. Grainger performed several of his own works and Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor. Grainger frequently played that concerto by his good friend, Edvard Grieg.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin I
Elizabeth Smith, Concertmaster
Kayla Michaels, Student concertmaster +^
Alexandria Roskos +^
Linda Kummernuss
Kristin Westover
Pablo Vasquez

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Hailey Schneider +
Paula Merriman
Wendy Kleintank
Pryce Whisenhunt +^
Lachlan Sharp +^
Linda Kummernuss

Viola
Julie Sadler *
Margaret Sklenar
Josie Burton
Colleen Phillips
Cello
Robert Lynn *
Wallace Dubach
Daniel Kubischta +^
Anna Wright +^
Monique Hochstetler +^

Bass
Darrel Fiene *
Katie Huddleston

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


MU Student String Ensemble
Wendy Kleintank
Alexandria Roskos
Hailey Schneider
Pryce Whisenhunt
       
 
Elizabeth SmithElizabeth Smith was born in Northampton, England. She gained her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music from the University of York. She also gained a PGCE in music education from the University of Cambridge. She played the violin in both university orchestras, serving as concertmaster whilst at York. She also played in Baroque and Contemporary music ensembles.

Elizabeth studied violin with members of the Sorrel and Fitzwilliam quartets and attended chamber music masterclasses with the celebrated violinist and teacher Emanuel Hurwitz. After moving to Norwich, England, she taught for ten years and performed regularly as a violinist in the Academy of St. Thomas orchestra. She also directed a children's string orchestra for seven years.

Elizabeth and husband Tim moved to Huntington, Indiana, in 2007. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at both Manchester and Huntington universities. In Manchester, she is concertmaster of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and teaches applied violin and viola. Elizabeth is an active solo and duo performer (on violin and piano), and has performed regularly with cellist Robert Lynn since 2010. Other chamber music highlights of recent years include performances of Brahms, Franck, and Richard Strauss sonatas with pianist Jiyoung Jeoung. Elizabeth also maintains a small private studio, and, since the fall of 2015, has been assistant tutor to the Manchester Youth Strings.
 
 
Robert LynnDr. Robert Lynn holds degrees in music performance from William Jewell College, Truman State University, and Ball State University. Dr. Lynn is a student of Jean Hassel and Karen Becker, and studied continuo with Les Mengel. Robert has played cello with numerous orchestras throughout the midwest, including Kansas City, Missouri; Kirskville, Missouri; St. Joseph, Missouri; Ottumwa, Iowa; and Champagne, Illinois. He currently serves as principal cellist with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, and performs with the Marion Philharmonic and the Muncie Symphony. Robert especially enjoys playing chamber music, and often performs with duo partner violinist and pianist Elizabeth Smith, as well as the Manchester University Faculty Trio. Dr. Lynn also serves as adjunct faculty at Manchester University, teaching a variety of classes as needed, including Music Theory, Music History, Form and Analysis, and applied cello studies. Since 2014, Dr. Lynn has served as Director of the Ecclesia Choir at the Manchester Church of the Brethren. Robert is married to Debra Lynn, director of choral and vocal studies at Manchester University.