PROGRAM NOTES - H Composers


PROGRAM NOTES: H

| HANDEL | HARRINGTON | HART | HAYDN | HEAD | HEGGIE | HETFIELD | HINDEMITH |
| HODKINSON | HOFFMAN | HOGAN | HOLST | HORMON | HOVHANESS | HUNDLEY | HUTCHESON |


[A] | [BA-BI] | [BL-BU] | [C] | [D-E] | [F-G] | [ ⇑ ] | [I-J-K-L] | [M] | [N-O-P] | [Q-R] | [S] | [T] | [V-W-Y]

Copyright 2006-2020 by Edward Lein;
please notify & credit if reprinting.


George Frideric Handel: Passacaglia (from Suite in G minor, HWV 432, arranged for Violin & Viola)
Along with J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) is widely regarded as among the most significant composers of the Baroque era, and certainly his Messiah is one of the most-performed works of all time. Handel was born in Germany but became a British subject in 1727, and it was from his naturalized home in London that he gained fame as a composer, primarily for his operas and oratorios.

Among his instrumental works, both Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks remain great favorites. The 18 concerti grossi that comprise his Opus 3 and Opus 6 are not as well-known, but they nonetheless provide some of the finest examples of the genre. All of Handel's 12 Concerti Grossi, Op. 6 were composed in less than a month in the fall of 1739, and primarily were written to serve as interludes during performances of his oratorios and other choral works.

The Passacaglia is drawn from the 7th of Handel’s 12 harpsichord suites, and it was arranged for violin and viola in 1894 by Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935), a Norwegian composer and conductor.


Jeff Harrington: Puce
Mississippi-born composer and computer programmer Jeff Harrington (b.1955) began composing at age 17 and almost immediately won a serial music composition contest. His music has alternated between diatonic tonality and more chromatic, sometimes microtonal styles, and has been performed around the world “from Siberia to St. Louis.” He studied at Louisiana State University and the Juilliard School, and his teachers have included Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, and Morton Subotnick. More at http://www.jeffharrington.org/

--Music @ Main, February 5, 2008 (Piotr Szewczyk: Violin Futura)


Jim Hart: Psalm 98
Jim Hart has been the Director of Music and Arts Ministries at Grace Anglican Church in Orange Park, Florida, since 1993, and is the founding director of the Grace Academy of Fine Arts and the Voices of Grace children's choral ensembles. Additionally, he serves as the Provost of the Institute for Worship Studies, a graduate program that focuses on the study of theological, biblical and historical foundations of worship. He has performed locally with the St. Johns River City Band, the Les De Merle Orchestra, The Orange Park Chorale, and the Masterworks Chorale. Dr. Hart's degrees include a Bachelor of Music from Oral Roberts University in Sacred Music, a Master of Music from the University of Tulsa in Trumpet Performance, and the Doctor of Worship Studies from the Institute for Worship Studies. He is a published composer/arranger, songwriter and author.

--Intermezzo Sunday Concerts, November 19, 2006 (The Orange Park Chorale: Music of Local Composers)


JSO Notes JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphony No. 90 in C Major, H.I: 90 (1788)

Genial Austrian composer (Franz) Joseph Haydn is the musician most credited with establishing the “Classical” style built upon by his younger contemporaries Mozart (his friend) and Beethoven (his pupil). By 1788, when Haydn wrote his Symphony No. 90, he already had become the most widely celebrated composer in Europe.

Young Joseph began his career at age 8 as a choirboy at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. He received instruction in violin and piano in addition to vocal training—until puberty stole his dulcet singing tones. Haydn then was booted from the Cathedral and recast as a struggling freelance musician. He began making a name for himself as a self-taught composer, and was hired as chief musician for the aristocratic Morzin family in 1757. But by 1761, Count Morzin's finances had tanked and a newly married Haydn found himself once again unemployed.

This, however, was a blessing in disguise. As the manor-door slammed shut behind him, Haydn climbed through a palace-window of opportunity and entered into the employment of the fabulously wealthy Esterházy family. Haydn thrived under their patronage and was appointed Kapellmeister five years later. In 1779, Prince Nikolaus even decided Haydn could compose works apart from those written for the estate, freeing Haydn to accept foreign commissions. Haydn's Symphony No. 90 is one of nine such offerings he provided for the court of France's soon-to-be-ousted Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Listen Up: By all accounts Haydn was a very happy fellow, and the joyful exuberance of Symphony No. 90 in C Major mirrors his sunny disposition. It opens with the "usual' slow introduction, but unusually Haydn takes its tune and speeds it up as the main theme of the Allegro assai as well. The pace slows to a leisurely stroll for the second movement's double variations, alternating a thematic group in F major with one in F minor. Considering his audience, Haydn uses the French Menuet rather than the Italian Minuetto for the third movement's title; its Trio section features solo oboe accompanied only by strings.

Haydn's exhilarating sonata-form Finale shows what a prankster He was. As expected, the tonal excursions of the development section lead back to the home key for the recap, and there's a rousing "final cadence" in C major. Only it's not the end. After a 4-measure rest the orchestra quietly resumes in the "wrong key" of D-flat major.

A Word to the Wise: Don't get miffed when folks clap before the "real" ending—just enjoy a good chuckle, courtesy of Papa Haydn.


Haydn's Keyboard Sonatas
Known as both “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet,” Haydn never developed into a keyboard virtuoso, thanks to his upbringing as a choirboy. Thus, most of his 52-62 keyboard sonatas (depending on who's counting) are relatively early works composed for the instruction and amusement of his noble patrons.

* Haydn's Sonata, H. XVI:34 (aka, No. 54, in the Robbins-Landon listing), was written in the early 1770s, and is one of only seven he wrote in a minor key. Haydn's first and third movements are both in the home key of E minor, and the middle movement is in the relative G major. But, unusually, the key of the second movement changes to E minor before it concludes, and then stops on an open-ended dominant chord in the new key. This leads immediately into the finale, thus providing a direct link between the movements that is really very unusual for Haydn. The sonata is from his "Sturm und Drang" ("Storm and Yearning") period, and it demonstrates an energetic rhythmic drive and economy of thematic development that cleared the path from which Beethoven journeyed to ever greater heights.

* Composed in 1784, Haydn's Sonata in G Major, H.XVI:40, is dedicated to Princess Marie Esterházy (1768-1845), and the Allegretto e innocente is first of the sonata's two movements.


Gloria from Missa in Angustiis, H.XXII:11

Nicknamed the “Nelson Mass” in honor of Britain’s Admiral Horatio Nelson, Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis ("Mass for troubled times," Hob. XXII:11) premiered in 1798, shortly after Lord Nelson had dealt the first hard blow to Napoleon’s intended world domination. The Mass has been singled out as Haydn’s finest work, and its second movement Gloria has rightly been called an unqualified “song of exultant praise.”


Haydn/Piatigorsky: Divertimento in D Major
In addition to being Haydn's boss for nearly three decades, Prince Nikolaus played the baryton, an archaic bowed instrument with frets akin to the bass viol, that was pretty rare even back then. So one of Haydn's chief tasks was to write music for Nikolaus to play, which resulted in 123 trios for baryton, viola and cello. The music of the present Divertimento in D Major was adapted and arranged from the baryton trios by legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976). Published in 1944, The majority of the music derives from Haydn's Baryton Trio in D Major, H. XI:113, but rather than providing a straight-forward arrangement, Piatigorsky used Haydn's music essentially to create a new work. As violist Myron Rosenblum observes, "What Piatigorsky seems to have done is to take the baryton and viola lines, merge them, with much recomposing to come up with his own work." Piatigorsky created the Divertimento to play himself, and in addition to the versions for either viola or cello and piano, there is also a version for cello and orchestra.


POSTLUDE
Unlike his grandfather and father, Prince Nikolaus's son and heir, Prince Anton (1738-1794), was no musician. After Nikolaus died in 1790, Haydn was then free to travel, most notably to London, and his international reputation as the greatest living composer was sealed. When the financially independent Haydn returned to Vienna in 1795, he was himself an important public figure. He continued his association with the Esterházy family, but he was no longer their servant, and he neither needed nor wanted full-time employment. Instead, he could compose for himself and for posterity.

Michael Head: Songs of Venice
      The Gondolier - St. Mark’s Square - Rain Storm

British composer Michael Head (1900-1976) became famous as a classical singer who accompanied himself at the piano, so it is not surprising that the great majority of his works are for voice and piano. His three Songs of Venice (1976), on texts by his sister Nancy Bush (1907-1991), were composed for the great British mezzo-soprano Janet Baker. The songs were among Head’s very last works—sadly, the composer died before Dame Janet premiered them in 1977. Head is considered especially gifted in his ability to conjure images using music, demonstrated here as he assumes in turn the roles of biographer, travel guide, and naturalist philosopher.

--Music @ Main, May 26, 2009 (Anne Elise Richie)


Jake Heggie: Animal Passion
Although he was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, composer and pianist Jake Heggie (b. 1961) was raised in Ohio and California, spent some time studying in Paris, and now lives in San Francisco. As Composer in Residence with the San Francisco Opera, he wrote and premiered his most famous composition, Dead Man Walking (1998-2000), which this year [2007] alone has had 50 performances scheduled around the globe. Other operas include The End of the Affair (2003-05), and To Hell and Back (2006), with more opera commissions from Houston, Dallas, San Francisco and The Metropolitan in the works.

Heggie’s output also includes over 200 songs, and as an accompanist he performs with some of the leading singers around, including Frederica Von Stade, Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, and Thomas Hampson. Animal Passion is the second song from his 1997 cycle, Natural Selection, with lyrics by the contemporary California poet Gini Savage.

--Intermezzo Sunday Concerts, November 18, 2007 (Bella Voce Cabaret)


James Hetfield: Nothing Else Matters (Arranged for 4 cellos by Eicca Toppinen)
James Hetfield (b. 1963) is the main song writer, vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Metallica, the American heavy metal band he co-founded in 1981 with Danish drummer Lars Ulrich (b. 1963), and the ballad Nothing Else Matters was originally released in 1991 on their self-titled album, Metallica (aka, the Black Album). When Hetfield wrote the song he at first considered it too personal to release, but Ulrich convinced him otherwise, and, as an audience favorite, it's still featured regularly in the band’s live performances.

Finnish cellist, arranger and award-winning composer Eicca Toppinen (b.1975) is a founding member of Apocalyptica, a heavy metal (but classically trained) cello quartet which began its career covering Metallica songs in Helsinki’s Teatro Heavy Metal club in 1993. Their first CD, released in 1996, features covers of Metallica songs, and their 1998 CD, Inquisition Symphony, includes this version of Nothing Else Matters.

--Music @ Main, April 15, 2009 (UNF String Ensemble)


Paul Hindemith: Sonata for Cello Solo, Op. 25, no. 3 (1923)
Along with Stravinsky, Bartók and Schoenberg, German composer, violist, teacher, and music theorist Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) is often cited by musicologists as a central figure in music of the first half of the 20th Century, so it is perhaps surprising that performances of his works have become relatively rare. Although some of his first works approached the expressionistic atonality of early Schoenberg, Hindemith’s mature style, while still highly chromatic, is decidedly tonal. And although Hindemith frequently used formal procedures of the Baroque and Classical periods, his music is nonetheless removed from the "Neoclassical" movement centered around Stravinsky — whereas Stravinsky parodied earlier styles in an often ironic reaction against the perceived excesses of 19th-Century composers, Hindemith built on tradition as a continuation of the Teutonic musical heritage that runs from the Bach family through Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Reger.

--Music @ Main, September 9, 2008 (Alexei Romanenko, cello)


Sydney Hodkinson: Remnant for Violin Solo (World Premiere)
Sydney Hodkinson (b.1934), who holds the Almand Chair of Composition at Stetson University in Deland, studied composition at the Eastman School of Music, Princeton University and the University of Michigan, and previously has taught at Universities in Ohio, Virginia and Michigan, as well as at Eastman. He has written over 250 works in a wide variety of genres, and has been awarded numerous grants and prizes from the Guggenheim and Ford foundations, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Canadian Council, and other prestigious organizations. His music is widely performed, and recordings have been issued on several labels. More at http://www.sydhodkinson.com/

--Music @ Main, April 10, 2008 (Violin Futura: Trio Duo Solo)


Joel Hoffman: Square One, for solo violin

Vancouver native Joel Hoffman (b.1953) is Professor of Composition at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music and also remains an active pianist, appearing with the Chicago Symphony, the Belgian Radio and T.V. Orchestra, the Costa Rica National Symphony, and the Florida Orchestra, among others. A selection of his honors include grants and awards from the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Columbia University, and the American Music Center. His works, which draw inspiration from such diverse sources as Eastern European folk musics and bebop, receive frequent international performances. More at http://www.joelhoffman.net.

--April 10, 2008 (Violin Futura: Trio Duo Solo)


Moses Hogan: Elijah Rock (Spiritual)
Before succumbing to cancer, composer and choral director Moses Hogan (1957-2003) was much sought after as one of the world's leading interpreters of Spirituals. He arranged and conducted selections for the 1995 PBS television documentary, The American Promise, and his arrangements remain a staple of school, community and professional choirs.

--Intermezzo Sunday Concerts, February 10, 2008 (UNF Chorale & UNF Chamber Singers)


JSO Program Notes JSYO Program Notes Gustav HOLST

The Planets, Op. 32. (1914-1916)
   1. Mars, the Bringer of War
   2. Venus, the Bringer of Peace
   3. Mercury, the Winged Messenger
   4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
   5. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
   6. Uranus, the Magician
   7. Neptune, the Mystic 

Given that his father, grandfather and great grandfather were all professional musicians, it's neither surprising that English composer Gustav Holst likewise entered "the family business," nor that he passed it on to his only child and chief biographer, Imogen. But it might be surprising to realize that Holst wrote over 200 other works because The Planets is pretty much his only orchestral composition that gets serious exposure.

Thanks to the generosity of composer and impresario Balfour Gardiner, the first performance of The Planets was during a private concert on September 29, 1918. Holst's original title for his suite was Seven Pieces for Large Orchestra, but he renamed it The Planets just before the premiere, making it clear that the music refers to the zodiac, not to Roman mythology.

World War I had then been raging for four painful years, so when Mars, the Bringer of War came barreling over the listeners they must have felt that the composer was responding to the horror consuming them. But the Mars movement actually had been finished by Easter 1914, before war was declared in August, and its genesis can be traced back even a year earlier. As the story goes, in the spring of 1913 Balfour took Gustav on a trip to Majorca along with the Bax brothers: composer Arnold and writer Clifford. Clifford introduced Gustav to astrology, which became Holst's "pet vice," as well as the inspiration for the work that brought him international recognition.

Listen Up: Dominated by a relentless rhythmic pattern in 5/4 time, Mars, the Bringer of War illustrates what Holst called the brutal "stupidity" of war. In complete contrast, Venus, the Bringer of Peace paints a picture of serenity, forgoing blaring brass and beating drums for delicate woodwinds and solo strings interlaced with harp and celesta. An appropriately fleet-footed scherzo in 6/8, Mercury, the Winged Messenger makes effective use of hemiola, the momentary rhythmic shifts that replace the meter's two groups of three notes with three groups of two. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity enters like a generous Santa bearing gifts of folk-like tunes, with a big English hymn in the middle. Like solemn clockwork, Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age marks the inevitable passage of time, moving beyond anxious confusion into resignation and finally acceptance; this was Holst's favorite movement. Uranus, the Magician is a another scherzo, boisterous and reminiscent of the sometimes menacing magic of Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Even though humankind had yet to experience the weightlessness of space travel when Holst wrote Neptune, the Mystic, the music conjures images of floating awestruck among the stars. It returns to the 5/4 meter of Mars, but its serenity out-does Venus. And picking up where Saturn left off, we're transported from the worldly realm into the spiritual, complete with a welcoming choir of angelic voices.

When The Planets became a worldwide sensation, Holst became an international celebrity, something the shy composer was ill-equipped to handle. He came to resent the work that eclipsed the rest of his output—but, boohoo. Most composers would give their tutti for a work still wildly popular a hundred years after it's written. Rather than complaining, Holst really should have thanked his Lucky Stars.

Notes ©2015 by Edward Lein, who produces Jacksonville Public      
Library’s Music @ Main concerts, and was a finalist in the            
Jacksonville Symphony’s 2006 Fresh Ink composition competition.


Second Suite for Military Band, Op. 28, no. 2
British composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) composed over 200 works, but in America his fame with the general public rests squarely on his brilliant orchestral suite, The Planets (1920). That being said, Holst's two Suites for Military Band (1909 and 1911, respectively) remain cornerstones of the band repertoire. The Second Suite, Op. 28, no. 2, makes use of British folk tunes, with the 1st movement March including Glorishears (Morris Dance), Swansea Town, and Claudy Banks.


John Hormon: Follow the Drinking Gourd
The titular "gourd" in the powerful Underground Railroad song Follow the Drinking Gourd refers to the Big Dipper constellation that helped point the way North to freedom for 19th-Century slaves escaping from Southern plantations. Composer and arranger John D. Horman (b. 1946), a music educator for 26 years before his retirement in 2008, is the Director of Music at Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, and has published over 150 pieces for choruses of all ages.

--Music @ Main October 5, 2009 (Jacksonville Masterworks Chorale)


Alan Hovhaness
American composer Alan Hovhaness (born Alan Vaness Chakmakjian, 1911-2000) is perhaps best known for his early works that reflect his Armenian heritage, but his evolving, highly original style eventually incorporated influences from a wide variety of ethnic music from around the world, especially from India and the Far East. With over 500 works to his credit, he was among the first composers to include aleatoric or “chance” passages in some of his works, and he has been credited with anticipating both the minimalist techniques of composers such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich, and the mysticism of John Taverner, Arvo Pärt, and Henryk Gorécki. Hovhaness believed that melody was the most important musical element, and he maintained that good music should communicate directly with all listeners and not only with academically trained music theorists. Consequently, during the early days of his career many "establishment" musicians dismissed him, but his supporters included composers as diverse as John Cage and Howard Hanson, and he maintained a lasting relationship with his daughter’s godfather, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

* His Alleluia and Fugue, for string orchestra (1941) demonstrates an aura of rhapsodic mysticism that infuses many of his 400+ compositions
* Hovhaness's three-movement Suite for Cello and Piano, op. 193, was first published in 1962, and lasts about five minutes.


Richard Hundley
Richard Hundley (b. 1931) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and even as a child he would make up songs. While in high school he began taking piano lessons at the Cincinnati Conservatory, and at age 16 he performed as a piano soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony. He moved to New York City in 1950 to continue his studies at the Manhattan School of Music, but these were cut short due to financial hardships. But in 1960, Hundley joined the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, and it was during his four-year tenure there that he began to gain recognition as a composer, especially when several of the Met's star singers, including Anna Moffo and Rosalind Elias, performed some of his songs in recitals. Today he is considered one of America's leading composers of art songs, touted by the journal Musical America (May, 1991) as "... a sort of American Poulenc, expert at creating characterful melodies and illuminating their corners with flashes of harmonic surprise," and he remains a favored composer of such international luminaries as Renee Fleming and Frederica Von Stade.


Thom Hutcheson
(Lynn) Thomas Hutcheson (1947-2000) was a hometown graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, received his Master's degree from Northwestern University, and his Ph.D. in composition from The Florida State University. He was Professor of Music at Middle Tennessee State University from 1972 until his death from cancer in 2000, and received MTSU's Distinguished Creative Activity Award for 1993-1994.

--Intermezzo Weekend Concerts, Sunday, October 8, 2006 (UNF Percussion Ensemble, featuring Matt Wardell)

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