PROGRAM NOTES: D - E
Copyright 2006-2020 by Edward Lein;
please notify & credit if reprinting.
Christopher Deane is assistant professor in percussion at the University of North Texas. Previously he was the principal timpanist of the Greensboro Symphony and a regular performer as both percussionist and timpanist with the North Carolina Symphony. He has performed with numerous orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra. Deane's chamber music experience includes performances with the Aeolian Chamber Players, the Percussion Group Cincinnati, the Mallarme Chamber Players, and the New Century Saxophone Quartet. He is a founding member of the Philidor Percussion Group.
Prof. Deane has won both first and second prize in composition from the Percussive Arts Society. A number of his compositions are considered standard percussion repertoire and are played internationally. He has appeared as a performer, composer, or clinician at seven Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, and he is an Artist/Educator clinician for Innovative Percussion Company and Sabian Cymbals.
--Intermezzo Weekend Concert, June 24, 2006 (UNF Percussion Quintet)
Prelude to the Afternoon of a
Faun (JaxSymphony notes) Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was a quintessentially French composer, pianist and music critic whose own revolutionary music ushered in many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy is universally identified as the chief proponent of musical “Impressionism,” but he did not approve of that label and the associations he felt it harbored. But since his death the term, as applied to music, has been redefined almost exclusively around the characteristics of some of Debussy's most famous pieces, such as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and La mer ("The Sea"), so whatever negative connotations "Impressionism" once may have had have since evaporated.
Clair de lune (arranged for flute and piano)
Just as Chopin's writing for the piano has influenced almost every piano piece written since, Debussy's body of piano music has had a similar effect on the works of his successors. But in 1890, when Clair de lune (Moonlight) and the other pieces in Debussy's Suite bergamasque were originally composed, Debussy was only beginning to develop a style that later would alter the fabric of Western music. The Suite was not actually published until 1905, and it is very likely that Debussy revised the music to reflect some of the stylistic changes that had developed in the meantime, but Clair de lune was conceived in the Late Romantic language Debussy inherited. Regardless, it remains one of the best-known and loved piano solos in the world. And, like Bach's Sheep may Safely Graze, and Schubert's Serenade, Clair de lune is equally effective in any of a vast array of arrangements as it is in its original form.
Debussy's Petite suite ("Little Suite") for piano 4-hands, was composed in 1889, and most likely was intended originally for performances in private salons rather than the concert hall. The first of the four movements, En Bateau ("Onboard Boat"), was inspired by a poem of the same title by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), whereas the final movement, Ballet, is a jaunty dance.
Petite Suite: Ballet (arr. for clarinet choir is by Russell Howland)
The Ballet is the fourth and final movement of Debussy's Petite Suite (1889), originally for piano, 4-hands. This arrangement for clarinet choir is by Russell Howland (1908-1995), who was a professor of woodwinds at the University of Michigan before moving to the state college in Fresno, California, in 1948, where he earned inclusion in the California Music Educators Association's Hall of Fame in 1975.
--Music @ Main, April 8, 2009 (UNF Clarinet Choir)
Debussy was a great fan of Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) and he even edited a French edition of the Polish composer’s piano music for publication. Debussy proved himself to be a true successor of Chopin in writing for the piano, and his 24 Préludes, composed between 1909 and 1913 and grouped into two books of 12 each, may be regarded as a tribute to the Pole. Like Chopin, Debussy continued a Baroque tradition with his Préludes while expanding the harmonic language and piano technique of his contemporaries in ways previously unimagined.
Pour le Piano (published 1901) likewise hearkens back to the formal traditions of the Baroque, with a Sarabande dance movement sandwiched between a toccata-like Prélude and the actual Toccata of the the final movement, a virtuoso tour de force. But the suite’s harmonic language, using whole-tone scales and parallel 7th and 9th chords, as well as its effervescent piano figurations, clearly identified it as something entirely new.
--Intermezzo Sunday Concerts, March 18, 2007 (Gary Smart, piano) Music @ Main 3/24/2010: Nocchiero & Biernacki
Debussy’s hauntingly beautiful Romance was the second of two songs for voice and piano published in 1891 as Deux romances. The transcription is by legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976), called “the greatest string player of all time,” who became principal cellist first of the Bolshoi Theater at age 15 and then of the Berlin Philharmonic at age 18.
--Music @ Main 12/14/2009: Linda Minke & Edith Moore-Hubert
Sonata in G Major for Violin and Piano (1917)
Allegro vivo — Intermède, fantasque et léger — Finale: Très animé
In 1915 he began composing what he announced would be a series of six sonatas for various instrumental combinations, but he was only able to complete three of them before his death from cancer. The Violin Sonata, composed in 1917 after the disease had begun to take it’s toll, was Debussy’s last completed work. While the lush harmonies echo his previous compositions, the sparser textures and simpler formal structure anticipate aspects of the “neoclassical” style that became popular in the years following Debussy’s death.
--Intermezzo Sunday Concerts,June 1, 2008 (Huls Clark Duo)
Viens, Mallika, les lianes en fleurs (the "Flower Duet" from Lakmé )
French composer Léo Delibes (1836-1891) began his professional life in 1853, having completed studies at the Paris Conservatory. Working as a rehearsal pianist and chorus master for operetta and opera productions, he spent a decade at the Théâtre Lyrique before moving up to the more prestigious Paris Opéra; in 1881 he would return to the Conservatory as a composition professor. In the meantime theater life obviously agreed with him, and he enjoyed a long string of successes at first composing light-hearted operettas similar to those by Offenbach. Delibes wrote over two dozen works for the stage, the best-known of which are the ballet Coppelia (1870), and the opera Lakmé (1883), from which Viens, Mallika, les lianes en fleurs (the Flower Duet) is universally known, thanks to British Airways using it in commercials since 1989.
March from Sylvia
(JSYO program notes) March and Procession of Bacchus from Sylvia
French composer Léo Delibes (1836-1891) wrote over two dozen works for the stage, including the opera Lakmé (1883), from which the Flower Duet is universally known, thanks to British Airways using it in commercials since 1989. Delibes began his professional life in 1853, having completed studies at the Paris Conservatory. Working as a rehearsal pianist and chorus master for operetta and opera productions, Delibes spent a decade at the Théâtre Lyrique before moving up to the more prestigious Paris Opéra; in 1881 he would return to the Conservatory as a composition professor. In the meantime theater life obviously agreed with him, and he enjoyed a long string of successes composing light-hearted operettas similar to those by Offenbach.
The year 1868 brought a turning point (so to speak) when Delibes was asked to collaborate with Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus to produce a full-length ballet. Their La Source was a triumph, and its success led directly to a commission for Delibes' first masterpiece, Coppelia (1870), generally regarded as the first ballet music substantial enough to offer serious competition to opera since the days of Lully and Rameau.
Six years later Sylvia, ou La nymphe de Diane (1876) hit the stage. Due to its lackluster scenario Sylvia never got a lasting foothold in the repertoire--it took until 2004 before the complete ballet was produced in the United States. The music, however, has always been greatly admired. Tchaikovsky himself confessed that had he seen Delibes' score beforehand he would have been too intimidated to write Swan Lake, also completed in 1876.
Set in ancient Greece with Classical mythology as a backstory, the title character of Sylvia is an acolyte of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt and Chastity. Aminta, a naive shepherd, has fallen in love with Sylvia, but being sworn to chastity Sylvia becomes incensed with his advances. She blames Eros, the God of Love, and lets fly an arrow toward the god. Aminta grand jetés in front of Eros, collapsing as Sylvia's arrow strikes the selfless shepherd instead of its intended target. Eros retaliates with an arrow of his own, and Sylvia exits to tend her flesh wound. The huntsman Orion revels in Aminta's misfortune, which he has witnessed while stalking Sylvia from the shadows. Sylvia returns, now smitten with Aminta thanks to Eros' marksmanship, but Orion seizes her and drags her off to his cave. Eros resuscitates Aminta, and eventually helps Sylvia escape from Orion.
The March and Procession of Bacchus (Grand cortège de Bacchus) opens the last act, with Aminta awaiting the return of Sylvia while a crowd gathers at the Temple of Diana. The "March" is replete with fanfares, while the "Procession" offers a more lyrical approach. Orion disrupts the reunion by brawling with Aminta, and it takes some convincing for Diana to release Sylvia from her chastity vow. But in the end Love wins out, happily ever after.
(c)2014 by Edward Lein, all rights reserved
French composer François Devienne (1759-1803) joined the Paris Opéra orchestra in the fall of 1779 as its last-chair bassoonist, but over the course of just a few years he had become something of a fixture at the famous Lenten Concert Spirituel series, as composer and as featured soloist on both flute and bassoon. By 1792 he was well established as a flute teacher, and was appointed as flute professor and an administrator at what became the Paris Conservatoire. He penned an influential method for flute performance (1794), and he became famous as an opera composer, especially for Les visitandines (1792) which enjoyed over 200 performances during its first 5 years. Many of Devienne’s 500-plus compositions were published during his lifetime, and as might be expected these include an impressive body of works featuring flute and bassoon. According to New Grove, Devienne’s 12 Sonatas for Clarinet and Continuo were originally for flute, and they exhibit the graceful elegance that has earned him the nickname, “The French Mozart.”
David Diamond (1915-2005): Preeminent composer who assumed the mantle of “Dean of American Music” after Aaron Copland died in 1990. When Diamond died, the Boston Globe observed that Diamond “always went his own way, composing in a highly personal, lyrical, intense, and driven style that had nothing to do with the winds of fashion.” Rounds was commissioned by conductor Dmitri Mitropoulis and premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 1944; it remains one of Diamond's most popular works.
--UNF String Ensemble/Shiao-Romanenko-Smart, April 22, 2007
Lawrence Dillon (b. 1959) has produced an extensive body of work characterized by a keen sensitivity to color and a mastery of form. In 1985, he became the youngest composer to earn a doctorate at The Juilliard School, and shortly thereafter he joined the Juilliard faculty. Since 1990, Dr. Dillon has served at the North Carolina School of the Arts variously as Music Director of the Contemporary Ensemble, Assistant Dean of Performance and Dean of the School of Music, and he is now their Composer in Residence. More at http://www.lawrencedillon.com.
Although The Fantasticks maintains the number one spot, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, is the second-longest running Off Broadway musical, amassing 5003 performances between 1996 and 2008. Described as "Seinfeld set to music," it is structured as a series of mostly independent vignettes with a multitude of different characters, but taken together the scenes depict a progression of romantic life from the first date through married life with children. In Shouldn’t I be less in Love an unnamed "Man" reflects on expectations one has after 30 years of married life.
Don't feel too badly if you don't recognize the name of Stefano Donaudy (1879-1925)--although the Sicilian-born composer rates a place in Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (2001), there is no entry for him in the 2nd edition of New Grove Dictionary (also 2001). As a precocious "tween" Donaudy wrote Folchetto (1892), the first of his six operas. He enjoyed early successes with both his songs and operas, and he also composed a few purely instrumental pieces. But his luck ran out with his poorly-received final opera, La Fiamminga (Naples, 1922), and the disappointment at its failure (apparently coupled with declining health) caused him to abandon composing for his few remaining years.
Despite the composer's relative obscurity, several of Donaudy's three dozen 36 Arie di Stile Antico ("36 Arias in Antique Style," 1918, revised 1922) have been championed from the early recorded era to the present day by many the world's foremost singers. Amorosi miei giorni ("My Amorous Days"), the 27th song in the collection, is a setting of a poem by the composer's brother, Alberto Donaudy (1880-1941), who likewise provided the texts for the majority of Stefano's songs and operas.
Stefano Donaudy's Quando ti rivedrò? ("When might I see thee once again?"), is the 22nd song in 36 Arie di Stile Antico, and like the aforementioned Amorosi miei giorni is a setting of a poem by the composer's brother, Alberto.
Franz & Karl Doppler
Virtuoso flutist and composer (Albert) Franz Doppler (1821-1883) was celebrated as a composer for his popular ballets, but today he is most remembered for his works that feature the flute. He composed and arranged numerous pieces for two flutes specifically to play with his younger brother, Karl Doppler (1825-1900). Born in Lemberg, Poland (the present-day Lvov, Ukraine), the brothers gained fame touring Europe with their flute duo recitals early in their careers. The brothers apparently were quite the picture when they performed: the left-handed Karl held his flute "backwards" as it were, creating a mirror image of his right-handed brother as he stood opposite him. Both became prominent members of Hungarian orchestras, and Karl eventually settled down as the Kapellmeister in Stuttgart (Germany), while Franz moved to Austria as conductor of the Vienna Court Opera.
Although the flute duets they played were usually written or adapted by the elder Franz, both brothers collaborated in preparing the Rigoletto-Fantaisie, Op. 38, drawing on tunes from the ever-popular Rigoletto (1851), by Italy's foremost opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901). Based on Victor Hugo’s tragic play, Le roi s’amuse (1832), Verdi's title character is the spiteful court jester to the Duke of Mantua. The Duke routinely seduces the wives and daughters of his courtiers, and Rigoletto takes great pleasure in mocking and humiliating the wronged noblemen. But when one of them hurls a father’s curse at Rigoletto, the superstitious jester is horrified--and, as it turns out, with good cause.
In 1829, when Verdi was but a teenaged lad, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) retired as the most popular composer in the history of music for the stage. So there's no mystery as to why Franz arranged tunes from Rossini's The Barber of Seville as a Potpourri for 2 flutes to perform with his younger brother.
Franz's often-recorded Andante and Rondo for Two Flutes and Piano, Op. 25 remains a favorite not only of flutists, but also in arrangements for other combinations of soloists, including some with orchestral accompaniment. The lyrical Andante (in A major) has a lively middle section (in A Minor). The concluding Rondo (so-called, but not your typical rondo), alternates an sprightly, elfin tune (in A minor and reminiscent of Mendelssohn) with a more lyrical one, but finishes with a variation (in C major) without the usual return to the opening key center.
Reflections on the Nature of Water (1986)
1. Crystalline -- 2. Fleet -- 3. Tranquil -- 5. Profound -- 6. Relentless
Jacob Druckman (1928-1996) was a leading American composer who won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Windows, his first of many works for large orchestra. He was composer-in-residence for the New York Philharmonic for four years, and composed commissioned works for other major symphony orchestras as well, including those of Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Philadelphia, his home town. Among his numerous teaching positions was an appointment at the Juilliard School (his alma mater), and he headed the composition and electronic music programs at Yale for the twenty years prior to his death from lung cancer.
Reflections on the Nature of Water for solo marimba fulfilled a 1986 commission from William Moersch, who premiered the work in Washington, D.C., at the Kennedy Center that same year. The suite has been described as a series of etudes, with shimmering effects that seem to conjure images of the Far East. Druckmam himself observed:
"Reflections on the Nature of Water is a small payment towards a very large debt. There were primarily two composers, Debussy and Stravinsky, whose music affected me so profoundly during my tender formative years that I had no choice but to become a composer. It is to Debussy that I doff my hat with these reflections of his magical preludes."
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
... is an immensely popular Czech composer who fused melodic and rhythmic elements of Bohemian folk music with classical symphonic forms.
Serenade, Op. 22
The five movements of Dvořák's Serenade, Op. 22, were written in just a couple of weeks during May of 1875, and for its sunny disposition Brahms, as yet little more than a stranger to Dvořák, may perhaps be due a little credit: in January of the same year Dvořák had been awarded a stipend for composing from the Austrian government, and Brahms was one of the three jurors who unanimously recommended the Czech for the award. But if one were to discover any actual autobiographical impetus in the Serenade, Anna, Dvořák's bride of less than two years, would likely prove the happy inspiration. The couple had known each other for years (in fact, in 1865 Antonín had tried unsuccessfully to court Anna's sister, Josefina), only Anna's father, Jan Čermák, would not relinquish his daughter's hand to a nearly starving musician. But in March 1873, a month after the would-be father-in-law died, Dvořák enjoyed his first big successes as a composer, so Anna's mother, Klotilda, finally consented to the union and the adorable couple, penniless but hopeful, were married on November 17, 1873. Of course, Klotilda's in vivo grandson, Otakar Dvořák (who was born five months later) might also have helped convince his granny.
Slavonic Dances, Op. 46
As an early mentor to Dvořák, Brahms was instrumental in getting the younger composer his first publishing deal in 1878, for the Moravian Duets for voices with piano. With the success of the of Duets, the publisher (Franz Simrock) requested a lively dance piece to follow-up, which resulted in the 4-handed piano Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. Although Dvořák took the Brahms Hungarian Dances as a model, Dvořák, unlike Brahms, composed original tunes for all eight dances of his Opus 46. The work so impressed Simrock that he immediately asked for orchestral arrangements, and both versions rather suddenly brought the virtually unknown composer to international prominence.
String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op.96
Among the many successes that followed, Dvořák was invited to New York City to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music from 1892 to 1895, during which time he wrote the famous New World Symphony. It was also during this time that he composed his String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op.96 (1893), nicknamed the "American," and Dvořák said that it most definitely reflects his American sojourn: the second movement was influenced by the melancholy longing of African American Spirituals, the third by American birdsong, and the fourth, perhaps, by American railway travel.
Terzetto in C Major, Op.74
/ Romantic Pieces, Op. 75
A few years prior to the American sojourn, the Dvořáks were living with Antonín's mother-in-law in Prague. It was there, in January 1887, that Dvořák composed four Miniatures for two violins and viola, after he overheard Jan Pelikán, a violinist from the orchestra of the National Theatre in Prague, giving lessons to Josef Kruis, a chemistry student renting a room in Dvořák's building. Dvořák was an accomplished violist, and, intending that the three of them should play it together, he wrote the lovely Terzetto in C Major, Op.74. The Terzetto certainly demonstrates that Dvořák's mastery of writing for strings extended to intimate settings as well as to the concert hall, but it proved to be too challenging for the student fiddler, so Dvořák scaled things back a little with the set of Miniatures. The original movements were entitled Cavatina (Moderato), Capriccio (Poco allegro), Romance (Allegro), and Elegy or Ballad (Larghetto), and Dvořák wrote to his publisher that he enjoyed working on them as much as working on a full-scale symphony. Despite his delight with the trio format, he immediately adapted the pieces for solo violin and piano, dropping the more descriptive movement titles in the process. The violin-piano version was published that same year as Romantic Pieces, Op. 75 (or, Romantické kusy, in Czech), and Dvořák himself played the piano for the work's public premiere.
Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90 ("Dumky")
For his Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90 ("Dumky"), Dvořák created a suite of six "dumky" (singular dumka), which alternate slow, often florid laments with lively dances. With its music thus patterned after Ukrainian folk ballads, the "Dumky" Trio is one of the best-known works of chamber music from the 19th Century.
Marimba Dances (1983)
Australian composer Ross Edwards (b. 1943) says he "seeks to reconnect music with elemental forces and restore such qualities as ritual, spontaneity and the impulse to dance." With his work the award winning composer strives to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity, and he says that it draws many of its shapes and patterns from the natural environment of his homeland, including birdsong and the "mysterious drones of summer insects." Edwards' early teachers included Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Meale, Sandor Veress, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
The composer writes that his Marimba Dances (1983) "is a light-hearted (though highly virtuosic) piece that consists of two radiant dances framing an introspective, recitative-like interlude. ... The marimba writing is influenced by a transcription I made of music for African harp in my reconstruction of a Madegascan folksong." More at: www.rossedwards.com.
--June 24, 2006 (UNF Percussion Quintet)
German composer and pianist Moritz Eggert (b.1965) has composed in all genres, including opera and other works for the stage. A feature-length film about his music was produced in 1997 for German television, and in 2003 he became a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schoenen Kuenste. Eggert, who collaborated on the opening ceremony for the FIFA World Cup 2006, recently completed a new opera for Beethovenfest Bonn and the Bonn Opera House. More at www.moritzeggert.de
Fish Gotta Swim
Aaron Einbond (b.1978) is a Ph.D. candidate in Composition at The University of California, Berkeley, who is currently studying in Paris. His works have been performed by numerous ensembles throughout the USA, and awards for his compositions include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two each of BMI and ASCAP awards, as well as grants and scholarships from the Wellesley Composers Conference, Aspen Music Festival, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Voix Nouvelles, Domaine Forget, and the French American Cultural Exchange.
JSYO Major Minor Program Notes
Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A major, Op. 11, No. 1 (1901)
If you ask musicians to name a Romanian composer, unless they draw a complete blank they almost certainly will answer "George Enescu" (1881-1955), or, as the French say, "Georges Enesco." As fate would have it, Enescu was born the same year as the Kingdom of Roumania (the "u" was dropped later), and he became a national hero in his fledgling homeland. Enescu's compatriots have named an international airport after him, and changed the name of the village where he was born to "George Enescu."
Young George's extraordinary musical gifts were recognized early. He earned the silver medal for his prodigious virtuosity when he graduated from the Vienna Conservatory at age 12, and entered the Paris Conservatory at 14. Among the greatest masters and teachers of the violin, Enescu also was so highly regarded as a conductor that he was considered as Toscanini's replacement for the New York Philharmonic, and he just as easily could have become a leading piano virtuoso.
At age 19 Enescu produced the brilliantly-orchestrated Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1, his most famous composition. In the span of about 13 minutes the piece dances through a dozen or so folk and folk-like tunes, beginning gently, but growing more feverish as it progresses. Although Enescu would complain that this early effort was just a trifle that detracted from the appreciation of his later compositions, he continued to conduct the delightful showpiece through the five decades of his illustrious career.
The Vice President of the Argentine Association for Choral Music and a music professor at the Conservatory of La Plata, Oscar Escalada is in constant demand as a choral conductor and clinician, and his compositions enjoy frequent international performances. In Milonguera he uses nonsense words to heighten the effect of the piece’s tango-like rhythms.
--Intermezzo Sunday Concerts, February 10, 2008 (UNF Chorale & UNF Chamber Singers)