Program Notes

Saturday, April 23, 2016, 7:00 p.m.

Minnewaska High School, Glenwood, MN

Florentiner March - Julius Fučík (1872-1916) 6 mins
Florentiner, Op. 214, subtitled ‘Great Italian March,’ was composed in
September 1907 (originally with the title ‘La Rosa di Toscana’). Fučík
was contemplating an operetta with an Italian setting, taking this witty
and ingenious piece as its starting point. In the opening section, the
chattering figure is intended to represent a Florentine girl, while its
two-note answer is her boyfriend’s reply: “Ja-wohl.”

Gandalf, Movement I from Symphony No. 1, “The Lord of the Rings” - Johan
de Meij (b. 1953) 13 mins
Johan de Meij, also known as Johannes Abraham de Meij, is a Dutch composer
and trombonist, born in Voorburg, Holland. He has made a career out of
finding inspiration in literary and film works, prompting him to compose
music to match.

His Symphony No. 1 is the result of his interest in Tolkien's book, The
Lord of the Rings. It was composed in 1989, eleven years before the
first Lord of the Rings film was released. It bears no resemblance to the film scores
by Howard Shore for those three films. On the contrary, it is quite
original. Movement I, Gandalf, begins with a brass flourish, then quickly
drops into a more pensive mood, before moving into a more driving mode
representing the great horse, Shadowfax.

Natalis, Symphony for Winds and Percussion – Martin Ellerby (b. 1956) 12
mins
Natalis was commissioned for the 30th anniversary celebrations of the
Hampshire County Youth Band, England. It is dedicated to the composer’s
nephew James Nathan Daniells, whose personal struggle inspired the piece.

Natalis (meaning “of this birth”) is described as a symphony due to the
composer’s symphonic treatment of the four-note motif that forms the basis
for the entire work. Although in one continuous span there are three
distinct sections, the thematic ingredients being presented in the slowly
evolving opening section. The quotation of the 13th century Latin hymn,
"Dies Irae" emphasizes that all may not be well; a lull before the storm.
The initial motif is then subjected to harmonic and rhythmic development
before a bridge passage leads to the final section, where the music flowers
into a lyrical chorale-type melody. The whole ensemble then takes up the
hymn in an exultant conclusion

Suite No. 2 in F Major for Military Band, Op. 28, No. 2 - Gustav Holst
(1874-1934) (12 mins)

I. March (Morris Dance): Allegro
II. Song Without Words, “I’ll Love My Love”: Andante
III. Song of the Blacksmith: moderato e maestoso
IV. Fantasia on the Dargason: Allegro moderato

Little can Gustav Holst have known that some 100 years after he wrote his
two suites for military band they would become the most frequently
performed pieces throughout the world, admired and studies by students and
professionals alike; the cornerstone of the wind ensemble repertoire.
This Second Suite was composed in 1911, but not premiered until just over a
decade after it was written. It uses English folk songs and dance
tunes throughout. The opening March has three tunes, the first of which is
a lively morris dance. The folk song "Swansea Town" is next, played broadly
and lyrically by the euphonium. "Cloudy Banks" is the third melody, full of
vitality. The second movement is a setting of the "I'll love my Love," the
sad story of a young maiden driven to the asylum, Bedlam, by the grief she
has over her lover being sent to sea by his parents so as to prevent their
marriage. The Hampshire folk song, "The Song of the Blacksmith," is the
basis of the third movement, evoking a picture of sparks from the the
blacksmith's hammer striking the anvil. The sixteenth century round dance
"Fantasia on the Dargason" completes the suite. The tune returns some
twenty-six times while Holst briefly superimposes the Elizabethan love tune
"Greensleeves" as a counter-melody. The final piccolo and tuba duet, four
octaves apart, brings the music to a humorous conclusion.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2015, 7:30 p.m. SOUND HISTORIES CONCERT

HALVORSEN: ENTRY MARCH OF THE BOYARS

JOHAN HALVORSEN 
Born: March 15, 1864, in Drammen, Norway.
Died: December 4, 1935, in Oslo, Norway.
Composed: 1893
First Performance: 1895 in the Den Nationale Scene (Theatre) Bergen, Norway. 
Last Symphonic Winds Performances: February 7, 2015.
Duration: 4 minutes.

Primarily known as a virtuoso on the violin, Johan Halvorsen had hardly held a conductor’s baton when in the summer of 1893 he was appointed Director of Music at the theatre and Conductor for the Orchestra Harmonien in Bergen. Judging from local newspapers of the time he was an energetic and inspiring leader of the city’s musicians. Shortly after his arrival he introduced a new composition, Bojarernes Indtogsmarsch (The Entry March of the Boyars), which was soon to become a success worldwide. The work had a peculiar history. Halvorsen had just turned down an offer to be ‘Professeur supérieur’ at the Conservatory in Bucharest; but curious to learn more about the city, he borrowed an encyclopedia and read about the Romanian boyars (the landowning elite) and their entry into Bucharest in the eighteenth century. This scenario acted so strongly on his imagination that he felt ‘forced’ to make music out of it. He had just sketched the march when his friend and colleague, and native of Bergen, Edvard Grieg dropped by for a short visit. Spotting the manuscript on the piano, he looked through it with some care, then burst out: ‘That was damn good!’ Halvorsen prepared the piece to be played as incidental music in the theatre the next day, and two years later published the version for full symphony orchestra. Frederick Fennell transcribed the work for wind band in 1990.

Program note: Øyvin Dybsand

WOOLFENDEN: GALLIMAUFRY

GUY WOOLFENDEN
Born: July 12, 1937, in Ipswich, England.
Composed: 1982.
First Performance: 1983 at the RNCM, Manchester, England. 
Last Symphonic Winds Performances: September 8, 2014.
Duration: 14 minutes

Gallimaufry is based upon the incidental music that Woolfenden wrote for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1982 production of King Henry IV Parts 1 and 2. Forming part of a tetralogy of Shakespearean history dramas these plays depict a turbulent period in the life of the English nation that spans the rebellion of Hotspur at the battle of Homildon Hill to the death of the King in 1413. In keeping with the tradition of writing incidental music for Shakespeare productions the music evokes a sixteenth century atmosphere while maintaining a distinctive contemporary style. Interestingly, the music is constructed along the lines of Wagnerian leitmotifs, where each character, or groups of characters, are depicted by certain themes which are then transformed to fit the changing narrative of the play. Gallimaufry (an old English word meaning, a medley or confused jumble of things) is a continuous work in six sections that neatly summarizes the main characters and scenes in the play. The ‘establishment,’ leadership, temporal and ecclesiastical, are depicted by the opening stately march. The low-life revelry of the Boar’s Head Tavern is represented by an energetic hemiola dance rhythm, while the ambivalent relationship between the King, Falstaff and Prince Hal is portrayed by a serene English horn solo. The following recruiting march, derived from the tavern music, leads to the last movement that deals with the rejection of Falstaff and the crowning of Prince Hal. Following its first performance in 1983 Gallimaufry quickly became popular with wind ensembles and latterly was seen as one of the first works that lead the revival of the wind band in Great Britain.

QIAN: AMBUSH! RETURN WITH HONOR

CHEN QIAN
Born: 1962, in Guiyang, China.
Composed: 2009.
First Performance: 2010, St Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Minnesota. 
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 14 minutes.

Ambush! Return With Honor is based on an historical picture called Ambush! From All Sides, that records an ancient war in China. The painting, using traditional style black ink brush strokes on paper, depicts the decisive battle of Gaixia in 202 B.C. between the armies of Chu and Han. In a series of tableaux the composer elaborates on the narrative in the picture in the following way: worship of primitive simplicity; world of fancy and wonder; the reflection from one's inner reality; harmony with nature; knowledge of no-knowledge. The painting technique, using a range of colors from different shades of gray to white (blank space) is reflected in the compositional style of the music - the white, for example, being depicted as silence. This tone-poem ranges in mood and style from the dramatic intensity at the beginning and end of the piece to the sinister sounds of the central slow sections. The colorful use of traditional Chinese instruments and pentatonic scales adds to the distinctive indigenous quality of the music.

ELGAR: QUEEN ALEXANDRA'S MEMORIAL ODE

SIR EDWARD ELGAR
Born: June 2, 1857, in Broadheath, England.
Died: February 23, 1934, in Worcester, England.
Composed: 1932. Transcribed, John Morrison, 2010.
First Performance: 1932 in London, England.
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance (US first performance)
Duration: 5 minutes.

On the 8th June 1932, a ceremony took place outside Marlborough House in London to unveil Sir Alfred Gilbert’s monument to the Queen Mother, Queen Alexandra, who had died in 1925. Princess Alexandra of Denmark had been the consort of King Edward VII in the first decade of the century, when Elgar had been at the height of his fame and on friendly terms with the royal couple. For the ceremony, the Poet Laureate John Masefield wrote a new poem, and Elgar, as Master of the King’s Music, set it to music for chorus and military band. This Memorial Ode, So Many True Princesses Who Have Gone, remained in manuscript for many years, housed in the library of Windsor Castle. The vocal score and keyboard reduction were all that remained, the band parts having apparently been lost. However, the work has now been published with an orchestration of the accompaniment made by John Morrison. This new edition, first performed in Nottingham, England in 2011, receives its first US performance at tonight’s concert. In his description of the work, Elgar’s biographer, Basil Maine, writes, "Before the voices enter, there is a an introduction of 28 bars. The feature of this is a tune which calls up a host of Edwardian memories; and between the simple choral utterances, snatches of this are interpolated. It is interesting to see how Elgar thrills to the words: "This lovely princess came from far away" where a climax is sustained first by the sopranos and tenors, then by the answering altos and basses. Immediately after this the music falls to a quiet end."

MILHAUD: SUITE FRANCAISE

DARIUS MILHAUD
Born: September 4, 1892, in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Died: June 22, 1974, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Composed: 1944
First Performance: June 13, 1945 in New York City with the Goldman Band.
Symphonic Winds Performances: November 5, 2010.
Duration: 18 minutes

Suite française was premiered by the Goldman Band in 1945; later it was re-scored for symphony orchestra and premiered by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Milhaud had for a time wanted to write a work for high-school bands with parts which would not be difficult to play either melodically or rhythmically. Dedicated to the American people, in the preface to the score Milhaud writes, "The five parts of this suite are named after French provinces: the very ones in which the American and Allied armies fought together with the French underground for the liberation of my country - Normandy, Brittany, Ile-de-France, Alsace-Lorraine, and Provence. I used some folk tunes of the provinces. I wanted the young Americans to hear the popular melodies of these parts of France where their fathers and brothers fought." The music portrays the essence and quality of each province, not only through folk music, but by the images and emotions their names evoked in the composer’s mind. In Normandy, the mood is playful, suggesting peasant merry-making. In Brittany, the music is reflective, reminiscent of its beautiful shoreline. Ile-de France is brisk and high-spirited, hinting at the busy streets of Paris, while in Provence, the composer’s area of birth, the music is nostalgic. Finally, Alsace-Lorraine features interludes of rustic dances to the accompaniment of pipes and tambour, the traditional drum of the region.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014, 7:30 P.M. — JASON CAINS MEMORIAL CONCERT

APPLEBAUM: OVERTURE – HIGH SPIRITS

LOUIS APPLEBAUM Born: April 3, 1918, in Toronto, Canada.
Died: April 19, 2000, in Toronto, Canada.
Composed: May 1986.
First Performance: July 1, 1986 at Vancouver Expo ’86.
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 4 minutes

The short overture High Spirits by Canadian composer, Louis Applebaum, was written for the 1986 Vancouver Expo. Its lively character is enhanced by rhythmic manipulation and colorful percussion writing. The strong, articulate nature of the music in the central section has a particular Stravinsky-like feel contrasting the lighter, exuberant opening.

BECKEL: HORN CONCERTO – THE GLASS BEAD GAME

JAMES A. BECKEL Jr. Born: 1948, in Marion, Ohio.
Composed: 1997.
First Performance: November 10, 1997.
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 20 minutes

The Glass Bead Game is a concerto for horn and orchestra written in 1997 by James A. Beckel Jr. which is based on the novel of the same name by Hermann Hesse. The concerto was nominated for a Pulitzer prize and was premiered by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on November 10, 1997 with Kent Leslie as the horn soloist. The three-movement piece was originally orchestrated for solo horn and orchestra but has since been published with several other orchestrations: horn solo with wind ensemble, piano, and chamber ensemble featuring piano, harp, and percussion.

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was a German-Swiss author whose best known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and the Glass Bead Game. He received a Nobel prize in literature in 1946. Hesse was an adherent to Existentialist philosophy, which stresses the individual’s responsibility to define meaning within their own life in the face of a meaningless or absurd world, and many of Hesse’s works are interwoven with this theme of the individual’s quest for meaning and authenticity.

The Glass Bead Game was Hesse’s final full-length novel which he wrote between 1931 and 1943. It was initially rejected for publication in Germany, but later published in Switzerland, and was eventually translated and published in English in 1969. In the Hesse biography Pilgrim of Crisis by Ralph Freedman it is stated that the tensions created by the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany directly contributed to the creation of the Glass Bead Game as a response to the oppressive times.

The novel takes place in an unspecified time in the future, which Hesse imagined to be the 25th century, and follows the life and development of its central character, Joseph Knecht, from childhood to his appointment as Magister Ludi (master of the game) until his death. The Glass Bead Game itself is “a kind of synthesis of human learning” in which the players make deep connections between seemingly unrelated topics and requires great amounts of knowledge and study of mathematics, sciences, and art.

The concerto is a programmatic work that follows a basic three-movement concerto form. The first movement opens with a bitonal motif based in E-flat major and A major which is meant to represent the conflict between man and his environment within existential thought. The horn soloist enters with a leitmotif, representing the main character, Joseph Knecht. There is a dialogue between the horn and the flutes and piccolo which is inspired by Knecht’s encounter with the Music Master who brings Knecht into the intellectual society at Castalia.

The second movement, Father Jacobus, details Joseph Knecht’s meeting and friendship with the monk for whom this movement is named. The introduction of history and religion by Jacobus gives Knecht a sense of peace, which is represented by the sustained sounds that one might hear in a cathedral or monastery.

In the novel, Joseph Knecht begins to question his loyalty to the order and asks to resign from his position as Magister Ludi (master of the game), seeking to the leave what he begins to see as an ‘ivory tower.’ The final movement, Magister Ludi Coronation and Death, begins with the celebration theme of Knecht’s appointment as Magister Ludi. The horn solo never plays the celebration theme, but instead fights against it eventually disintegrating into a frenzied and violent protest. Knecht’s request to leave is denied, but he leaves anyways and becomes the personal tutor to his friend’s son, Tito. The novel ends suddenly with Knecht drowning in a lake, leaving Tito in shock over his mentor’s death and remembering him a wonderful teacher and mentor. The concerto ends with the soloist playing the opening call from the first movement again, but muted and distant, representing the Knecht’s existence is only a memory.

Program note: Allan Mathieu Perkins

CHOPIN: PRELUDE IN D-FLAT MAJOR, OP. 28, NO. 15, “RAINDROP”

FRYDERYK CHOPIN Born: 1937 in Zelazowa Wola, Poland
Died: October 17, 1849 in Paris, France 
Composed: 1835-1839.
Duration: 5:30 minutes

WOOLFENDEN: SUITE FRANCAISE

GUY WOOLFENDEN Born: 1937 in Ipswich, England.
Composed: 1991.
Duration: 4 minutes

HAZELL: THREE BRASS CATS

CHRIS HAZELL Born: February 18, 1948 in Smethwick, England.
Composed: 1980.
Duration: 4 minutes

REED: SYMPHONIC PASTORALE - THE GARDENS OF PROSERPINE

ALFRED REED Born: January 25, 1921 in New York.
Died: September 17, 2005 in Miami, Florida. 
Composed: 1982
First Performance: March 14, 1982 at Cornell University. 
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance.
Duration: 7:30 minutes

Here, where the world is quiet;
     Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds' and spent waves' riot
     In doubtful dreams of dreams;

I am tired of tears and laughter,
     And men that laugh and weep;
Of what may come hereafter
     For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
     And everything but sleep.

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

Proserpine was the Roman counterpart of the Greek, Persephone, and in Roman mythology, the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the fertility of the earth, and wife of Pluto, ruler of the infernal regions. Later, she became associated with the unconscious world of sleep, becoming, in fact, its goddess, and it is in this connection that Swinburne describes her domain as one of peacefulness, quiet slumber and rest for the weary spirits of men, in his famous poem The Garden of Proserpine, from which this work takes its title and inspiration.

Program note by the composer

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2014, 7:30 P.M. — SAX 200 Celebration Concert

SCOTT: DON'T SHOOT THE DUCK; LIP SERVICE; LORD STACKHOUSE; TIME PLEASE; SAX OF GOLD

ANDY SCOTT Born: August 1966, in Bournemouth, England.
Composed: 2006 onwards
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 30 minutes

Featuring the UMM Saxophone Ensemble, these works are taken from Andy Scott’s SaxAssult series of compositions. Formed in 1994, SaxAssault is a professional large jazz ensemble consisting of multiple saxophones and a rhythm section.

Don't Shoot the Duck was written in 2006 for the SaxAssault CD 'Sax of Gold.’ The first play through of the tune is stated in unison by the soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, underpinned by several different pedal tones from the baritone and bass saxophones. The tune is then restated with the full rhythm section kicking in. Solo sections follow, with backing figures and bridge sections before a brief coda. Lip Service, also composed in 2006,was originally commissioned by the Bluejuice Big Band and features several solo instrumentalists, while Lord Stackhouse is a ballad with a gentle, wistful melody. Time Please features the tenor saxophone section in a bluesy shuffle with big band-like backing figures and stabs, and the set concludes with Sax of Gold, a solo tenor saxophone feature that sees different layers of riffs passed around the ensemble while the bass guitar and solo saxophone state the melody.

SCOTT: BIG!

Composed: 2013
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 3 minutes

Big! is a short colorful overture for wind ensemble fusing jazz and latin styles. The extended use of percussion and mixed meters give a Spanish if not Moorish character to the music.

SCOTT: FUJIKO

Composed: 2005
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 5 minutes

Fujiko is cinematic soundscape that reflects its Japanese roots, where the original clarinet version was premiered in 2005. This version features the solo tenor saxophone. It commences with a simple folk-like melody and builds to a powerful and emotive climax, before giving way to an atmospheric and calm ending.

ITURRALDE: PEQUEÑA CZARDA

Pedro Iturralde
Born: July 13, 1929, in Falces, Spain.
Composed: 1949
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 8 minutes

The Spanish saxophonist and composer, Pedro Iturralde, made his first public appearance as a saxophonist at the age of eleven and went on to study at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid. After touring the Middle East and Germany he returned to Spain as the leader of a group of German jazz musicians. His experiments with fusions of flamenco and jazz led him to record several albums, including Flamenco–Jazz. He studied briefly at Berklee College of Music in the United States, and taught the saxophone at the Madrid Conservatory until 1994, while enjoying a career as a performer both in jazz and as a soloist with symphony orchestras. When he was 20 years old he composed the flamboyant Pequeña Czarda for alto saxophone. Originally orchestrated by his brother Javier, it is dedicated to his friend, the saxophonist, Theodore Kerkezos.

AMRAM: EN MEMORIA DE CHANO POZO

David Amram
Born: November 17, 1930, in Philadelphia.
World premiere: March 1977, in Cuba, with Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and Earl Hines as part of a US State Department good-will tour.
Composed: 1977
Symphonic Winds Performances: First performance
Duration: 10 minutes

En Memoria de Chano Pozo celebrates the Cuban percussionist, composer and dancer who is often credited as the creator of latin jazz. As such, he greatly influenced Dizzy Gillespie’s band. Pozo’s death in 1948, aged 33, during a Harlem bar fight—allegedly over some poor quality marijuana he had just bought from his killer—robbed jazz of a great pioneer. Twenty-eight years later, Amram recounted, “I joined Dizzy, Stan Getz and Earle "Fatha" Hines in March of 1977 where each of our respective bands gave the first-ever concert in Cuba since the revolution, with the sanction of the US State Department. The entire concert was dedicated to the memory of Chano Pozo. The Carter administration indicated that they thought it might be a good will trip.” In the moment, good will prevailed, “At the concert, with only a minute of a backstage outline to all the musicians, I was joined by trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, saxophonist Paquito d'Rivera and the great family drum ensemble Los Papines.”

Subsequently, Gillespie urged Amram to create an orchestral version of En Memoria and it was this version that, in 1980, the composer transcribed for Max Culpepper and the Northern Illinois Wind Ensemble.

The piano introduction, serving as a hymn or “oration” for the late master drummer, is followed by a lively melody on the piano accompanied by the percussion playing in what is called a 2/4 clave, which is then repeated by the whole ensemble. The clave pattern then changes to a guaguanco and is developed as the soloists perform in the tradition of combining with the fiery polyrhythms of AfroCuban dance music—all leading up to the division of the orchestra clapping in four distinct sections.” The percussion players then solo and, after the percussionists are through, the solemn opening hymn returns, played by the full ensemble, and then the main theme is restated, leading to a fiery conclusion.” 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2014, 2:00 P.M. – Homecoming Concert

BERNSTEIN: OVERTURE TO “CANDIDE” ARR. WALTER BEELER

LEONARD BERNSTEIN
Born: August 25, 1918, in Lawrence Massachusetts.
Died: October 14, 1990 in New York
Composed: 1956
World premiere: January 26, 1957, in New York. New York Philharmonic with the composer conducting. Other works in the program included the “Short Symphony” by Aaron Copland and Symphony No. 3 by Roy Harris.
Symphonic Winds Performances: November 9, 2007 at the “Festival of the Winds,” and February 10, 2007 (Mike Odello, guest conductor)
Duration: 4.30 minutes
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Overture to “Candide.”

Laughter was Voltaire’s weapon – a flashing, deadly weapon. It was the rapier point to puncture and deflate Establishment thought, fatuous philosophers, pompous asses, the complacent ones of his time – and ours. Laughter was Bernstein’s weapon too, in the glittering musical he based on Voltaire’s satire, Candide. The misadventures of Voltaire’s bewildered non-hero Candide and his non-heroine Cunegonde seems made for music, especially the Offenbachish irreverence of Bernstein’s score, which is as full of irony as belly laughs, of double entendre as guffaws.

The Lillian Hellman-Richard Wilbur-Leonard Bernstein version of Voltaire’s Candide opened on Broadway in December 1956. On January 26, 1957, Bernstein conducted the [New York] Philharmonic in the first concert performance of the Overture, Candide. The Overture opens with a brassy fanfare, a sort of musical motto, which recurs throughout the musical comedy. The principal themes of the Overture are drawn from a battle scene and the lyrical duet “Oh Happy We.” The end of the Overture incorporates the end of the aria “Glitter and Be Gay.”

Program Note: Edward Downes