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Third Concert of the 80th Season

80

Sunday, March 10th, 2019
Honeywell Center, Wabash
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 Johannes Brahms  
       
  Finlandia, Op. 26 Jean Sibelius  
       
  Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 Robert Schumann  
 

I. Allegro affettuoso
II. Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso
III. Allegro vivace

   
  Dr. Pamela Haynes, piano
       
 

The Adams Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

 
       
  Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)
 
 

Classical music is serious business, think many concert-goers, and they are surprised to find that Long-Hairs have a sense of humor. The title Academic Festival Overture seems serious enough, until you realize that several of the themes are derived from student drinking songs. "Overture" means several things depending on the period and the purpose. We commonly think of an overture as a prelude to an opera, oratorio, or play. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were two types of overture known as Italian and French, and they differed in structure. They set the mood fro an opera. The French Overture developed into a sort of suite, independence of an opera. Both Handel and Bach used the term in this way. Some overtures are simply medleys of the tunes to be found in the work to follow. This overture is not a preface to an opera or a play. It is strictly a concert piece, after the fashion established by Mendelssohn with his Hebrides Overture.

Brahms, in a Romantic age, was something of a Classicist, treating the nineteenth century theater overture symphonically. He wrote two theater overtures one after the other, the Academic Festival and the Tragic. They have opposite characters, but similar structures.

Some listeners will think the Academic Festival sounds dignified all the way through. Others think the tone is mocking almost until the very end, with a pompous quality given to tunes of ribald humor. There is the suggestion of students clowning around in cap and gown until that moment when they march onto the stage to receive their degrees, and decide that this may be the first occasion in their lives worthy of dignity. The Academic Festival Overture was written in 1880 at the request of Bernhard Stolz, conductor of the orchestra at Breslau University where the degree of Doctor had been conferred on Brahms the years before. The work ends with a dramatic statement of that noble tune known to academics the world over, Gaudeamus igitur.


 
       
  Finlandia, Op. 26 Jean Sibelius
(1865-1957)
 
 

In 1899, when Sibelius wrote Finlandia, Finland was under the yoke of the Russians. Prior to that, it had been dominated by the Swedes. The Finns have had a long struggle for their independence. Although culturally Finland is closely linked to Scandinavia ethnically and linguistically, Finland is not at all Scandinavian. Finnish is one of a very small number of languages such as Estonian and Hungarian, that are spoken in Europe but are not really European. It has more in common structurally with Turkish than it does with Swedish or Russian. Yet, Finland has been claimed by both its neighbors.

This long period of lack of national identity produced a number of fierce nationalists, and Jean Sibelius was paramount among them. Finlandia became virtually an anthem of Finnish nationalism to such an extent that it was banned for a long time in that country. On those occasions when it was performed, it went by a different name: Impromptu.

In 1939, the Finnish poet V.A. Koskenniemi wrote words to go with part of the music... the best-known part, and in 1948 Sibelius re-scored the music for mixed choir. It is now known as The Finlandia Hymn.

The work opens with an ominous brass flourish. The strings then produce a hymn-like melody that surely suggested such a use to the poet later on. This slow introduction is punctuated by staccato bursts from the brass. Later, this builds into a triumphant rising theme, where the strings imitate the brass in that rapid-fire way that Sibelius repeated in his second symphony. When this dramatic part wanes, the familiar strains which later became The Finlandia Hymn are heard. This is the most familiar part of the work, and many people are surprised to discover that it is just part of the longer piece.


 
       
  Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 Robert Schumann
(1810-1856)
 
 

According to critic David W. Eagle, "Robert Schumann's Concerto in A minor, Op. 54, occupies a unique position in the literature for piano and orchestra. Coming into existence at a time when most piano concertos were merely tasteless bravura displays of finger technique, the A minor Concerto was like a symphony with an important piano obbligato. It was the first concerto since Beethoven in which music triumphed over showmanship."

From the very opening of the work, the piano is in full command. In other piano concertos, the solo instrument isn't heard until several minutes have passed, with the orchestra setting the stage. Here, the piano is woven into the fabric of the orchestra as an equal partner. It is a pity that Schumann wrote only one concerto for piano.

The character of the "concerto" has evolved over the years, but it has always had an element of competitiveness, where the soloist competes with the orchestra, typically coming to an accommodation by the end of the work. This concerto is rather different in that it seems that the solo part wants to cooperate with the orchestra throughout.

This concerto was not written as a whole work in the usual sense. Schumann first wrote a "Fantasie" for piano and orchestra in 1841. It was intended for his young wife, Clara Wieck, a superb pianist and composer who strongly encouraged Robert. Her performance was appreciated by the audience, but the Fantasie had a rather cool reception. Four years later, at the urging of Clara, Robert wrote two more movements, converting the Fantasie into a true concerto.

Clara had begun composing and performing at the age of nine. Her career surged with the support and acclaim of Brahms, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Paganini, and Schumann, himself. Clara was a tireless supporter of Robert and, although she continued performing throughout their marriage, she ceased to consider herself as a composer. In her diary in 1839, on the eve of her marriage, she wrote, I once thought that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to composer -- Not one has been able to do it, and why should I expect to? It would be arrogance, although, indeed, my father led me into it in earlier days."

It should be noted that her father was a tyrant who lived off the fame and talent of his daughter, and who strongly opposed her marriage to Robert. She had to break with her father through court-order in order to marry Robert. Who knows what more she might have contributed to the piano literature if she had not been impeded by her father?

Clara and Robert remained devoted to each other all their lives.


 
       
 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

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

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

Viola
Liisa Wiljer *
Julie Sadler
Colleen Phillips

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

Bass
Darrel Fiene *
Katie Huddleston

Piccolo/Flute
Kathy Davis *
Jennifer Wagner +^

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

Bassoon
Erich Zummack *
Freddie Lapierre +^

Horn
Matt Weidner *
Jamie Weidner
Tammy Sprunger
Barb Burdge

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

Trombone
Jon Hartman *
Katrina Murray +^
Alvaro Castillo +

Tuba
Larry Dockter

Percussion
Joel Alexander +^*
Jonah Lechlitner +^
Lydia Kelly +


* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MU student
^ Denotes Keister Scholarship recipient
** Denotes assistant principal
       
 
Pamela HaynesPamela Haynes is a multi-faceted musician, performer and educator. She received her first music degree from DePauw University (B.M. Choral Music Education) during which time she studied at the Austro-American Institute in Vienna under the tutelage of pianist Hans Graf (Universität für Musik and darstellende Kunst Wien). She then completed graduate studies at Ohio University (M.M. Piano Performance/Pedagogy) and the University of Kansas (D.M.A. Piano Performance/Pedagogy/Literature). She is grateful to have studied with Jack Winerock, Gail Berenson, and Lorna Griffitt-Bedelian. She is also thankful for her time studying with Karen Taylor, the Indiana University Summer Piano Academy Faculty, Mary Berkebile and Connie Doud.

Dr. Haynes has performed as a soloist with the DePauw University Symphony Orchestra, University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra and Manchester Symphony Orchestra. Her area of expertise is in collaborative performance. She has appeared with Grammy award-winning baritone Daniel Belcher, with saxophonist Farrell Vernon at the Manchester New Music Mini-Festival, as guest keyboardist with the Wagon Wheel Theatre, and in numerous performances in Indiana, California, Kansas, Ohio, and New Zealand.

Haynes has adjudicated at various competitions over the past 20 years. Most recently this has included IMTA Hoosier Auditions, ISSMA Solo and Ensemble District and State competitions, and Huntington University's Longaker Honor Recital auditions. Other activities have included founding the Manchester University Faculty Trio as well as making her debut as guest musical director and pit orchestra conductor for Huntington University Theatre Company's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Dr. Haynes is currently an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Piano Studies at Manchester University. Her previous positions have included teaching piano and music theory at Los Angeles City Community College, curriculum consultant for the M.I.N.D. Institute (University of Irvine), music specialist for P.S. Arts through the Crossroads School of Arts and Sciences (Santa Monica), adjunct professor at Huntington University and music instructor at O.J. Neighbours Elementary School. She resides in Wabash with her husband Matt, 4 of their 7 children, 3 cats and 2 dogs.