December 10, 2016 7:30PM
Vernon Cook Theater
Clinton High School
Silvestri – The Polar Express
Davis – O Holy Night
Anderson - Sleigh Ride
Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker Suite
Overture, Marche Arabe, Chinoise, Miritons, Trepak
Krogstad – Frozen
Rutter – Star Carol (w/choir)
Higgins – Christmas on Broadway (w/choir)
Handel – Choruses from Messiah – For Unto Us, And The Glory, Glory to God, Hallelujah
Anderson - Christmas Festival
Alan Anthony Silvestri: The Polar Express
Alan Anthony Silvestri (born 1950) is an American composer and conductor noted for his scores for movies and television shows. Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, he attended the local schools and then studied for two years at Berklee College of Music. At age 21, he scored his first movie, The Doberman Gang, and was on his way to a thriving career as a composer for movies and television.
During the 1970s Silvestri nurtured his career by composing for television shows such as T. J. Hooker, CHiPS, Starsky and Hutch, and Tales from the Cryst. among others. He composed four scores for movies during the decade, and in so doing took advantage of these opportunities to foster relationships with big screen producers and directors.
Silvestri, in the three and a half decades since 1980, has composed music for more than a hundred films, reaching a decade high of forty four in the 1990s. He was fortunate to team with producer Robert Zemeckis in 1984, writing the score for the highly entertaining film Romancing the Stone. From that production, the two have collaborated on all of Zemeckis's films, including the blockbuster Back to the Future triology, Forrest Gump, and The Polar Express. In addition to working with Zemeckis, Silvestri has found regular work with director Stephen Sommers and has scored several of that director's action movies - The Mummy Returns, Beowulf, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers.
Silvestri and Zemeckis have joined forces once again to produce a stage musical of Back to the Future (2015), the thirty year anniversary of the film. Along with Glen Ballard, the composer plans an entirely new score for this stage show.
Among his many awards, Silvestri has had two nominations each for Academy Awards and for Golden Globes, both for Forrest Gump and for the song 'Believe' from The Polar Express. In addition, he has won two Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards.
Louis F. "Chip" Davis: O Holy Night, arranger
Louis F. "Chip" Davis was born in Hamler, Ohio in 1947. As a young boy, his family moved to Portland, Ohio, and, when Davis was eleven, to Sylvania, Ohio. He began piano lessons at age four and had composed his first piece of music at age six. He graduated from Sylvania High School and went on to graduate from the University of Michigan school of music, specializing in bassoon and percussion.
After touring with the Norman Luboff Choir, he took a job with an Omaha, Nebraska, advertising agency writing jingles. These included spots for a local bakery featuring the fictional trucker C. W. McCall. The spots were co-written with advertising writer William Fries, who became the voice of McCall. The spots were so popular that Chip and Bill were persuaded to begin writing non-advertising songs featuring McCall. The duo released five albums between 1974 and 1979. Davis was named SESAC Country Music Writer of the Year in 1976.
Davis founded Mannheim Steamroller in 1974 to showcase his interest in fusing modern popular and classical techniques. The first album, Fresh Aire, was completed shortly after. It was turned down by major record labels so Davis founded American Gramaphone to release it. American Gramaphone has been the label for all subsequent Mannheim Steamroller releases. Eight Fresh Aire albums were released, concluding with Fresh Aire 8 in 2000.
Mannheim Steamroller released Mannheim Steamroller Christmas in 1984 in which Davis is credited with revolutionizing the "traditional" sounds of Christmas. The group's subsequent Christmas music albums have sold tens of millions of copies and become among the most popular recordings in that genre. His annual Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert tour, utilizing two cover bands which tour simultaneously, has continued for over 25 years across the United States. Davis was awarded his 19th Gold Record in 2010. The Recording Industry Association of America has also awarded Davis four Multi-Platinum and eight Platinum records.
Chip Davis notes adapted from Wikipedia article.
Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride and Christmas Festival
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975), grouped with George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Charles Ives as an American music original, got the idea for the theme of Sleigh Ride as he dug in his Woodbury, Connecticut, yard for water pipes during a heat wave in 1946. As he dug and the perspiration soaked his clothes, he thought of a tall glass of ice water to quench his thirst, a thought that turned to winter and snow and then to racing over the countryside in a horse-drawn sleigh with a sharp, wintry breeze whipping across his cheeks. That was all the composer needed to conjure up a melody. For more than a year he worked to refine this theme, adding two additional parts to enclose the tune before he felt it worthy to premiere.
As with several works on tonight's program, Anderson's new 'holiday' miniature took place not during the holiday season or even during winter, but at a May, 1948, concert of the Boston Pops, a group for whom Anderson had served as a sort of composer in residence for many years. It was such an immediate hit with the public that several recorded versions appeared within a year, including one with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops and one with the composer conducting.
A concert overture, Christmas Festival was arranged in 1950 by Anderson as a showpiece for his own orchestra. The compilation of melodies, whether by intent or by accident, illustrates both the secular and religious aspects of the season. It includes Joy to the World; Deck the Halls; God Rest ye Merry, Gentlemen; Good King Wenceslas; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; The First Noel; Silent Night; Jingle Bells; O Come All Ye Faithful.
Peter Ily'ich Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite
Peter Ily'ich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) considered his music for The Nutcracker ballet to be 'infinitely poorer' than that of The Sleeping Beauty. Following the success of his opera Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), Tchaikovsky had accepted two commissions from the director of the Imperial Theaters - one for a ballet and another for a one-act opera. The director gave Tchaikovsky no options on the subject for the ballet; it was to be based on Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Tchaikovsky liked neither Dumas' adaptation nor Hoffman's original story but felt compelled, for financial reasons, to fulfill his obligation.
He began work on the score in early 1892 prior to leaving for a successful tour of the United States. He finished the piece by late summer of the same year. To generate public enthusiasm for the ballet, the composer made a suite of eight of the numbers he had already completed and presented The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 72a to the St. Petersburg branch of the Musical Society on March 19, 1892. The complete ballet debuted in December 1892 to generally poor reviews. While the suite was an immediate success, the complete ballet did not achieve great popularity until the 1950s. It has since become standard Christmas fare.
Of special interest is Tchaikovsky's use of the then newly-invented instrument, the celesta. The composer was particularly intrigued by the heavenly sound the celesta produced and used it in several places throughout the score, but in no place more effective than in the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy where it is a featured solo instrument.
Bob Krogstad: Frozen
Composer, arranger and conductor Bob Krogstad has established himself as a well-known figure in the music business. A recipient of the Dove award and numerous Standard awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Mr. Krogstad is known for his colorful orchestral and choral compositions, featured in the Closing Ceremonies of the 1996 Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, the Radio City Music Hall "Christmas Spectacular," EPCOT Center's "Illuminations," Robert Schuller's "Glory of Christmas," Sam's Town's "Sunset Stampede" (Las Vegas), Precious Moments' "Fountain of Angels," and productions for the Disney-MGM Studios, Universal Studio Tour (Hollywood) and the Chrysler Corporation. His arrangements for the London Symphony were featured on the Hallmark Cards annual Christmas albums (1996-2000). His music can also be heard on the albums of singers Mel Torme, Maureen McGovern, Michael Crawford, Natalie Cole, James Darren, Sandi Patty and Kathy Troccoli, among others.
Mr. Krogstad also tours as symphony conductor/arranger for inspirational vocalist, Sandi Patty. In recent years he has served as musical director for both Natalie Cole and Mel Torme, for whom he has conducted over thirty symphony orchestras across North America and Europe, including those of Dallas, St. Louis, Atlanta, San Francisco, Winnipeg, Detroit and Houston, as well as the National Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Orchestre Suisse Romande (Geneva). When he's not touring, he enjoys writing his latest compositions in the warm, sunny climate of Scottsdale, Arizona. (http://www.fredbock.com/Promo.asp?page=256)
John Milford Rutter: Star Carol
Composer John Milford Rutter (1945- ) is a British composer, arranger, and conductor who has been compared with English author Charles Dickens for the impact he has made on the Christmas season. Dickens produced the now classic A Christmas Carol and Rutter has composed and/or arranged more than thirty carols since he graduated Claire College, Cambridge. His Shepherd's Pipe Carol which he wrote while still in school has sold in sheet music alone nearly one and a half million copies.
Rutter, who specializes in choral music, considers himself in line with those British composers of the immediate past who had themselves written carols, composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten, and others.
I think I’ve...been drawn to writing carols because there’s such a strong native [English] tradition. Christmas carols were the earliest form of vernacular choral literature permitted by the Church, back in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. So even before the Reformation you could hear carols that combined English and Latin texts. The Christmas carol is, after all, one of very few musical forms which allows classically trained musicians to feel it’s permissible to write tunes without worrying about a kind of composers’ ‘political correctness’!
Star Carol was written for The Bach Choir and its then conductor, Sir David Willcocks, for performance at the choir’s hugely popular Christmas concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall.
John Higgins: Christmas on Broadway
John Higgins is Managing Producer/Editor for Hal Leonard Corporation, the nation's largest publisher of printed music. He began in the music field as the student arranger for the University of Michigan Band under Dr. William D. Revelli, and gained invaluable experience as a public school music teacher in suburban Chicago. John served as Illinois president of the American String Teachers Association, and his school concerts featured renowned soloists and conductors such as Skitch Henderson, Charlie Byrd, and Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops.
A co-author of the Essential Elements series of methods, John is best known for his many compositions and arrangements for choirs, bands and orchestras. As a composer of children's songs, he has collaborated with notables like John Jacobson, Roger Emerson and Emily Crocker on musicals such as How Does Your Garden Grow? and A Storybook Christmas. John has also arranged and produced a large catalog of children's music, including The Runaway Snowman, Peace Child, and Leslie Bricusse's Scrooge. His recording production for McGraw-Hill's Share The Music textbook series included music from Sesame Street, Disney films and a special project with the late Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
In two recent series of Broadway shows for young performers, John arranged and produced new versions of Annie, Guys & Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, and The Music Man. His two Grammy award-winning projects include arranging on Sandi Patti's Another Time, Another Place (Best Pop Gospel Album) and co-producing on Rob McConnell's Live in Digital (Best Big Band Jazz Album). He recently orchestrated and conducted the music for the stage premiere of Willy Wonka at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. John served as president of Jenson Publications before it became a part of the Hal Leonard Corporation.
In addition to his writing and producing activities, he maintains a role in music education as a guest conductor, clinician and author. Higgins arrangement of Christmas music Christmas on Broadway includes the following tunes: It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas, Pine Cones and Holly Berries, Toyland, and March of the Toys.
George Frederic Handel: Choruses from Messiah
Messiah premiered the evening of April 13, 1742 as one of a series of charity concerts in Dublin, Ireland. George Frederic Handel (1685-1759), the German-born, Italian-educated, English citizen, composed this masterpiece over a three-week period during the summer of 1741 set to a libretto by Charles Jennens. Handel, depressed and in debt, followed his usual manner in composing, incorporating material from his earlier works and the works of other composers along with his original ideas. At the premiere, Handel led the singers from the harpsichord while Matthew Dubourg, an Irish violinist, composer, and conductor, led the orchestra. The original composition took approximately three and a half hours to perform, and little is known of the reception the work received at its premiere, but it was a success when Handel led a performance in London the following year. Not until 1818 did an American premiere take place in Boston.
Handel altered and revised Messiah depending on the occasion and the musical forces he had at his command, and it was only in 1754 that an 'authentic' version was presented at a benefit performance for London's Foundling Hospital. Yet, other notables have sought to improve on the original modest orchestration. Mozart expanded Handel's scoring by adding woodwinds and organ. Later, in the twentieth century, Eugene Goossens augmented Mozart's arrangement with the addition of more woodwinds and brass. Goossens' version was popular for a period of time, but it is seldom heard in a live performance today. The trend in performance today is to opt for the more modest requirements of the original.
The choruses from Messiah offer some of the most inspiring and stirring music that Handel ever wrote. Of particular note is the most famous of them, the Hallelujah chorus. The text is taken from three verses in the New Testament book of Revelation in the King James version of the Bible. The chorus comes at the end of part two and tradition dictates that the audience stands at this point, as King George II did in Handel's time, to show deference to the King of Kings
Program Notes by William H Driver and Clinton Symphony Orchestra Association unless otherwise credited.