Clinton Symphony to present concert for the young….and young at heart

2:00 p.m. — Sunday, February 18, 2024

Morrison High School Auditorium, Morrison, Illinois

The whole family will enjoy this mix of new and old mystics and fantasy. Top of the list is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the music by Paul Dukas used for the Disney animated film Fantasia. It will be joined by two pieces by contemporary composers: The Three Virtues of Zarathustra, and Nimue and Her Fairies related to the legends of King Arthur. The overture to Beethoven’s ballet The Creatures of Prometheus will close the concert.

Students always attend free, Adult tickets are $20. An adult ‘brought’ by a student may enjoy a half-price ticket, please ask about this offer at the ticket table.

Program Notes

Paul Dukas
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
If not for Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney’s 1940 film Fantasia, modern audiences might
know nothing of French composer Paul Dukas. Possibly the original “one- hit wonder”,
Dukas burned most of his life’s work near the end of his life, his fame resting on a single
orchestral work, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1897).
Born in 1866, Dukas studied at the Paris Conservatory and established his position
among younger French composers with his overture to Polyeucte and with the
Symphony in C Major. The rest of his output was never large, due to his strict
censorship of his own works, and consisted mainly of dramatic and program music as
well as compositions for piano. A master of orchestration, Dukas served as professor of
orchestra at the Paris Conservatory, and later, professor of composition. Despite his
slender output, he was an influential figure on the French music scene in the early 20th
century. Although his own music was firmly rooted in French Romanticism, his influence
extended far into Modernism in his teaching. His extensive work as a music critic and
his close friendships with important composers of his time such as Saint-Saens, D’Indy,
Faure and Debussy (who famously had little regard for each other) likely prevented him
from composing more of his own music.
Dukas’ L’Apprenti sorcier based on Von Goethe’s Zauberlehrling is a piece of
descriptive music written in a style similar to Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel. The poem tells
of a sorcerer who can turn his broomstick into a real servant. Overhearing the magic
formula, the old man’s apprentice decides to try it for himself when his master is out.
Thrillingly, the broom comes to life and follows orders to bring water from a nearby river
to fill the bath. Excitement turns to horror as the apprentice realizes he doesn’t know
how to turn the magic off and the house fills up with water. Desperately, the boy chops
the broom into pieces, only to have each piece continue bringing in more water. At the
height of the chaos when all appears lost, the sorcerer returns home and order is
restored, lesson learned.
Dukas’ masterful music follows the narrative of the poem. In the introduction, soft strings
hint at a magical and watery atmosphere while the clarinet, oboe and flute begin the
theme of the unstoppable broom. A sudden quickening of the tempo portrays the
disobedient apprentice, while the snarling muted brass intone the magic spell. After a
sudden and eerie silence, the story begins again in earnest with bassoons taking over
the broom theme. Soon enough, the music becomes chaotic as the beleaguered
apprentice pleads with the rising waters. After the brass repeats the spell theme and a
brief lull while the broom is hacked into pieces, the contrabassoon begins the tempest
again. This time the orchestra gets even more frantic until the master returns to restore
order. All is quiet until a final orchestral outburst signals the end of the story.

Daniel Perttu
Nimuë and Her Fairies, a tone poem

Dr. Daniel Perttu is Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Westminster
College, where he has also served as Chair of the School of Music. His music has been
performed by many orchestras and chamber groups on four continents and in over 40 of
the United States. Many other performances have occurred in arts festivals, new music
festivals and concerts, solo recitals and conferences. He has also received various
commissions and awards throughout the country. He completed his doctorate at Ohio
State, masters degrees at Kent State and bachelors at Williams College.
Perttu describes his music as romantically-inspired. “Music with wonderfully lush
melodies and harmonies with clear points of tension and release — that moves me”, he
explains. Composers and writers whose works have influenced his music include
Mahler, Shelley, Rautavaara, Barber and Keats.
Critic Lee Passarella notes “the modal strains recall the works of… Ralph Vaughn
Williams and Ernest Bloch.”
Commissioned and performed by our own Brian Dollinger and the Muscatine Symphony
Orchestra in 2021, “Nimue and her Fairies” is one of his tone poems based on an
ambiguous figure from Arthurian legends. Nimue, or the Lady of the Lake is an
enchantress with more power than typical fairies. Her motivations are often unclear— is
she good or is she evil? In some accounts, she is the guardian of Sir Lancelot or the
love interest of Merlin the magician. In one story she gives the sword Excalibur to King
Arthur, yet in another legend she traps Merlin in a tree or tomb either because she
hates him or wants to escape his advances. Perttu’s tone poem captures the
mysterious qualities of Nimue and of the fairies associated with her. The music is meant
to capture her multifaceted character as a sorceress and to convey an atmosphere of
mystery and intrigue.

The Three Virtues of Zarathustra

Irminsul is a Celtic harpist, keyboardist and award-winning composer with a background
spanning classical to dark wave music. He has traveled with all sorts of acts from heavy
metal to neon Celtic to World ensembles, and has written for piano, strings, woodwinds,
mixed ensemble, orchestra and electronic studio arrays.
He describes being raised in classical music and jumping to rock and prog rock, where
he picked up his love and mastery of the synthesizer. Later he fell in with a group of
Irish musicians which led him to his “bread and butter” instrument, the Celtic harp. He
began with solo works on the brass wire strung harp, but then moved up to the bands
Idlewild, Dal Riyadh’s and the electro-Celtic band Stonehenge.

The Three Virtues of Zarathustra was also premiered by conductor Brian Dollinger in
January 2023 by the Kampala Philharmonic Orchestra in Hawaii.
The composer describes the three-part suite for orchestra as a relatively new genre of
music called neo-sacred. Applying a modernist-minimal approach to orchestral music, it
melds the spiritual and the sacred, celebrating the often archaic and ancient principles
of The Divine. The Three Virtues of Zarathustra presents to the listener the three pillars
of Zoroastrian faith: the thinking of good thoughts (HUMATA), the speaking of good
words (HUUKHTA), and the doing of good deeds (HUVARSHTA)

Ludwig van Beethoven
Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus
Beethoven put aside work on his Second Symphony in 1800 when he received an
important commission for a ballet designed by famous ballet master Salvador’s Vigano,
to be debuted in Vienna. He was thrilled to be composing for the court stage and
embraced the scenario of the Greek Prometheus myth representing the spirit of the
Enlightenment. Both composer and choreographer had lofty intentions for the
collaboration combining allegorical pantomime and heroic ballet.
The Prometheus of myth is horribly punished for stealing fire from the gods and gifting it
to humans, but in the ballet, he brings two statues to life and enlightens them with
knowledge and art, emphasizing Prometheus’ heroism celebrated by his creatures.
Although the ballet was a modest success, the importance of the young composer’s
music would later show up in the Eroica Symphony which shared the theme of the
ballet’s final section as well as other borrowed movements which reflected the
composer’s self-proclaimed “new artistic path”. Beethoven’s brilliance cannot be
measured by his music alone. He brought to music the revolutionary spirit that created
democracy in America and brought down the monarchy in France. Moreover, as
someone who persevered despite isolation, illness and the catastrophic loss of his
hearing, Beethoven embodied the sense of epic struggle and triumph, a heroic ideal
which became a central theme of 19th century Romanticism.
Prometheus begins in a slow tempo followed by a fast movement resembling the
opening movement of a symphony. It opens with a series of stark chords propelling the
music to more melodic sounds. What follows is a solemn theme led by oboes and horns
which moves directly to the Allegro forming the main body of the piece. A running figure
played by the violins is countered with a more relaxed idea introduced by woodwinds. A
short development fantasy leads to a reprise of both subjects, then a coda passage of
swelling volume and accelerating tempo.

Notes compiled by a Karin Anderson-Sweet

Clinton Symphony Musicians to Present Chamber Music

Due to the heavy snow and blizzard conditions this weekend, and the bitter cold expected on Sunday, we have decided to postpone this concert until January 21st. The concert will now be hosted by St. Paul Lutheran Church, which is at the foot of the Highway 30 bridge at 715 S 3rd St in Clinton. Thanks for your patience, and stay cozy warm and safe this blustery weekend!

2:00 p.m. — Sunday, January 21, 2024

St. Paul Lutheran Church
715 S 3rd St in Clinton

Warm a Sunday afternoon in January with this performance of chamber music. Composers, musicians, and listeners alike consider chamber music to be the music of friendships. Composers write it with specific friends in mind, often writing a part for themselves in the ensemble. The group of friends gather to play it, and invite their closest friends to hear it. Join our musicians as we continue this great tradition of musical friendships!

Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 26
by Antonin Dvořák

Allegro moderato
Scherzo. Presto
Finale. Allegro non tanto

 Nadia Wirchnianski, piano
Asa Church, violin  • Ann Balderson, violoncello

– • –

El Grillo
by Josquin Des Prez

Since First I Saw Your Face
by Thomas Ford

Hard By a Fountain
by Hubert Waelrant

April Is In My Mistress’ Face
by Thomas Morley

Il et bel et bon
by Pierre Passereau

Brooke Logan, soprano  •  Sara Dunne, alto
Noah Strausser, tenor  •  Karl Wolf, bass

– • –

Miniatures for Woodwind Quintet
by William Grant Still

  I Ride an Old Paint (U.S.A)
Adolorido (Mexico)
Jesus is a Rock in the Weary Land (U.S.A)
Yaravi (Peru)
A Frog Went A-Courtin’ (U.S.A.)

Crystal Duffee, flute  • Tamara Byram Mahl, oboe  • Elizabeth Matera, clarinet
Thomas Wood, bassoon  • Bianca Sierra, horn

Program Notes:

Dvorak Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 26

The first Bohemian composer to achieve worldwide recognition, Antonin Dvorak turned his
native folk music into 19th century romantic music. Born in 1841 in a village on the Vltava River
north of Prague, Dvorak showed an unmistakable talent for music by age 12, and began formal
study of harmony, piano and organ. His music teacher realized young Antonin had easily
surpassed his lessons and had him enrolled at the Institute for Church Music in Prague where
he took on private students and played viola in various inns to eke out a living. Although these
were trying years for Dvorak, he composed two symphonies, an opera, chamber music and
numerous songs .
In 1873 he married Anna, a pianist and singer, but the couple tragically lost all 3 of their first
children. However, they were eventually able to raise six more healthy children, spending
summers in a small village where he was to compose some of his best-known works.
He became close friends with Johannes Brahms who helped him technically and found him an
influential publisher, attracting worldwide attention for his Slavonic Dances as well as his
country’s music. His fame spread abroad as he made 10 visits to England where he was made
an honorary doctor of music of Cambridge, as well as triumphant concerts in Moscow arranged
by his friend Tchaikovsky. He became director of the National Conservatory of Music in New
York in 1892, and traveled as far west as Iowa, finding much to stimulate him in the New World.
Eventually he became homesick and returned to Bohemia where he died in 1904.

Piano Trio No. 2, Op.26
Dvorak composed four piano trios, each more celebrated than its predecessor. His Trio No. 2 in
G Minor is imbued with his vivid musical personality: color, warmth, lyricism, melancholy, lively
dance and Slavic folk tunes abound. Its composition came on the heels of his infant daughter’s
death, and is thought to convey dark sorrow, flashes of rage, and deeply felt compassion,
although the final movement breaks into bright play and sunny dance dispelling any lingering
The trio is comprised of a full-scale, four-movement program reflecting the influences of
Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn. The opening, a sprawling sonata with Slavic melodies
and colorful, folk- inspired textures swirls between dark and light punctuated by a recurring
motto of two fierce chords.
By contrast, the second movement is slow, spacious and singing, a tender lullaby with wistfully
wandering modulations concluding quietly in a major mode.
The third movement scherzo gallops along urgently with rhythmic drive and
transforms into a brighter, milder trio.
With the finale, Dvorak leaves despair behind once and for all with humor, a touch of manic
Figaro and lively dance. Beginning with a rondo, it hushes into a suspenseful theme until
bursting into a polka and ending in jovial triumph.

RiverChor Quartet

Established in 2004 by Dr. Rob Engelson and a dedicated group of Messiah singers, RiverChor
is currently under the direction of Karl Wolf with Christine Holmer as accompanist. The
community choir consists of singers from many communities and ranges in age from teens to
80s, performing a wide variety of choral music as well as continuing Clinton’s Messiah tradition.
Today’s quartet includes: Brooke Logan, soprano; Sara Dunne, alto; Noah Strausser, tenor; and Karl Wolf, bass.

El Grillo – Josquin Des Prez
Josquin Lebloitte dit des Pres (1440?-1521) is considered one of the greatest composers of
the High Renaissance, greatly influencing the music of 16th century Europe. He is credited with
developing the polyphonic style that utilized short, repeated motifs between voices. El Grillo,or
the cricket, is a frottola likely written in the early 16th century, describing a cricket who sings for
the sheer love of singing.

The cricket is a good singer
Who can hold long notes
After drinking the cricket sings
But he doesn’t do like the other birds
Once they’ve sung a little bit
They go somewhere else
The cricket instead stands firm
When it’s very hot out
He sings only for the love of it.

Since First I Saw Your Face – Thomas Ford (1580-1648)
Although this piece is usually attributed to Thomas Ford, he didn’t compose it. A composer,
singer and viola player in the service of the Prince of Wales, Ford is better known for publishing
works by obscure songwriters and rearranging into his own interpretations. Since First appears
in his 1607 collection, a miscellany of Elizabethan songs.

Hard By a Fountain – Hubert Waelrant (1517-1595)
Hubert Waelrant was a Flemish composer, teacher, and music editor of the Renaissance. He
was a contemporary of Palestrina. In this madrigal, the poor suitor sits by a fountain and pouts
over the fact that the woman he was wooing has shown no interest in him.

April Is My Mistress’ Face – Thomas Morley(1557-1602)
Thomas Morley was an English composer, theorist, singer, and organist. A significant
member of the English Madrigal School, he was known for incorporating Italian influences into
his compositions. This is one of his best-known (and shortest) madrigals.

Il Et Bel Et Bon – Pierre Passereau (1509-1547)
A Renaissance composer from France, Passereau wrote light-hearted chansons and was
fond of using nonsense language to represent animals. In this piece, two gossiping women are
extolling the virtues of their husbands and the way they help with chores such as doing the
dishes and feeding chickens. Note the clucking at the end of the piece.

“I tell you, girl, my husband is handsome and fine.”
Once two women from the same village were gossiping.
Saying one to the other, “Do you have a good husband?”
“He doesn’t scold me, or beat me either.
He does the chores,
He feeds the chickens
And I take my pleasure.
Girl, you have to laugh
To hear the cries of the chickens.
‘Little flirt (co, co, co, co, da) what is that?”

William Grant Still Miniatures
For woodwind quintet

Known as the Dean of Afro- American composers, William Grant Still (1895-1978) was born in
Mississippi and grew up in Arkansas. Early in his career he played for and arranged for W. C.
Handy and attended the Oberlin Conservatory. Following World War I he studied composition
with Edgar Varese and attended the New England Conservatory. He held a Guggenheim
fellowship and was awarded honorary doctorates from Howard University, Oberlin, and Bates
College. Still broke many barriers in his career, including being the first Afro- American
composer to write orchestral works and have them performed by major symphony orchestras,
as well as being the first to lead a major American symphony. His musical style incorporates a
variety of Afro- American styles, from spirituals to blues and jazz, in addition to European, Latin
American and other folk music genres.

I Ride an Old Paint (USA)
This cowboy tune from Santa Fe, New Mexico was sung by a rider who so loved his horse
that he begged that on his death his bones should be tied to the horse and the two of them set
wandering with faces turned westward.

Adolorido (Mexico)
Lacking newspaper, Mexican rural natives invented the ‘corridor’ – similar to the European
ballad – to convey news of heroic deeds, accidents, love affairs, etc. Aldolorido is such a song,
coming from the Bajio, or low, hot country around Guanajuato. It tells of sadness over betrayal
by an ungrateful woman.

Jesus is a Rock in the Weary Land (USA)
This Negro spiritual differs from those generally arranged for singers. Here it is given a
rhythmic treatment corresponding to the way it would be heard in some of the more primitive
churches today.

Yaravi (Peru)
In the Quechua tongue – language of the ancient Incas- yaravi means lament. Known in Peru
as a song of long ago, this poignant melody speaks to the absence of a dear one.

A Frog Went A-Courtin’(USA)
There are many versions of this lilting tune, each one varying with the particular singer. The
composer first heard it in a little village close to the mountainous section of Kentucky, and was
told that it came from Virginia. Other regions claim it as well. The basic song is said to have
been in continuous use for more than four hundred years.

Program notes compiled by Karin Anderson-Sweet

Join us on December 9 for Holidays with the Symphony!

7:30 p.m. — Saturday, December 9, 2023

Vernon Cook Theater at Clinton High School

The Holidays are a time for family, friends and music. On this special evening we gather many of our friends to perform for you, and we hope you will bring your family and friends to celebrate with us. Expect selections from the great music we associate with the season, including collaborations with other arts groups and a carol sing-along.

It’s a special time of year!

Program Notes:

There’s Christmas in the Air – arr. Carl Strommen
The classics of the holidays come to life in this orchestral version of some of the most familiar
and enduring popular songs of the season. Opening with I’ll Be Home for Christmas, continuing
with the poignant Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas, then livening with Santa Claus is
Coming to Town and Frosty the Snowman.

Christmas Song – Mel Torme/Robert Wells
One of the most famous and favorite Christmas songs of all time, this classic was a signature
song for Nat King Cole. The “Velvet Fog”, Mel Torme composed the lush orchestration in 1945
and co-wrote the lyrics with Bob Wells. Torme, an American musician, singer, composer,
arranger, drummer, actor and author, also won 2 Grammys for his work. According to Torme,
the song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to “stay cool by thinking cool”,
the most-performed song was written in 45 minutes. Lyricist Bob Wells said he didn’ think he
was writing a song lyric; he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off.

Song of the Bells – Leroy Anderson
Carol of the Bells has its roots in old Ukrainian folk songs,, a way of blessing one’s neighbors or
worshiping the ancient gods before the advent of Christianity. Mykolaiv Leontovych was
supposed to become a priest, but was put in charge of the choir in his seminary, and eventually
became a music teacher, composer and arranger of his country’s ancient songs. One of these
was a simple, four-note melody called Shchedryk. The driving, dancing energy of the
arrangement made its way to the United States.
Peter J. Wilhousky, a popular American composer of the time, wrote English lyrics for it in 1936.
Renamed as Carol of the Bells, it quickly became associated with Christmas in widespread
performances all through the 1940s. Last year Carnegie Hall hosted a holiday celebration to
benefit Ukraine as choral groups from North American and Europe honored the 100th
anniversary of the beloved song.
Anderson’s arrangement swirls like a Viennese waltz, the bells represented on chimes and the

Festive Sounds of Hanukah – arr. Bill Holcombe
This lively medley of favorite selections includes joyous arrangements of Rock of
Ages, Who Can Retell? Hanukah, Hanukah, My Dreidel, S’vivon, and Where Are You

Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson
Famously beloved as the “Voice of the Boston Pops”, Leroy Anderson is a favorite composer of
light concert music. Displaying unusual early musical talent, Anderson wrote his first
composition by age 12, which led to studies at the New England Conservatory of Music and
Harvard. Equally adept at languages, he made the practical decision to become a language
teacher, composing and conducting on the side, especially for the Boston Pops.
Many of his clever, inventive compositions have been used as themes for radio and television
shows. Deemed an American original, he even earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He has been widely lauded as the “Norman Rockwell of American music” for his ability to
capture the familiar and turn it into art.
Sleigh Ride remains the most popular of Christmas music. With its cheerful melody and the
sounds of sleigh bells, horse whinnies and a whip, it has been recorded over 8000 times.
Orchestra members insist correctly that they can play it without a conductor, and every fledgling
trumpet player must master the horse whinny.

Christmas at the Movies – arr. Bob Kronstadt
Music from five classic holiday films are included in this medley, recalling some of the most
memorable songs and themes from Home Alone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on
34th Street, The Polar Express and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Overture to “Messiah” – George Frideric Handel
The German-born composer of the late Baroque period is known for his operas, instrumental
compositions and his most famous oratorio, Messiah, written in 1741 and now a Yuletide staple.
More than anyone else,, Handel democratized music, his best-known works achieving a social
as well as musical significance. Born in Germany in 1685, he became a great master of choral
music as well as one of the great instrumental composers of his age, his music becoming an
indispensable part of England’s national culture. A lifelong lover of theatre, his oratorios were
often performed on stage, not in a church.
Handel first conceived of the Messiah as an Easter offering, first performed during Lent. The
Victorians moved it to Christmas in an effort to revive interest in what had become a neglected
holiday, and by the late 19th century, the Messiah had become regularly performed in
December, especially in the United States.
Handel had been going through some hard times just before he composed his landmark
oratorio. Many of his musical works were not doing well, he was losing weight and suffering
from depression. When a friend sent him some texts from the Bible, he was inspired and
embarked on a fast and furious burst of creativity, writing the three-hour work in just 18 days.
His servants said he hardly came down from his study except to get food which he ate while
The Messiah’s first third deals with the birth of Jesus. The second part covers the death of
Jesus, and the third his resurrection. Audience members usually stand when the famous
“Hallelujah” chorus begins. Supposedly, King George II was so moved during the London
premiere of the Messiah that he rose to his feet, and then everyone else in the theater followed
as a matter of royal protocol.
Handel had a striking ability to depict human character musically in a single scene or aria, a gift
used with great dramatic power in his oratorios. Beethoven himself, citing the Messiah, called
Handel “the greatest composer who ever lived.” And Mozart declared, “Handel knows better
than any of us what will make an effect. When he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt.”

A Most Wonderful Christmas -arr. Robert Sheldon
A fun medley of some of the most popular Christmas selections of all time. Includes Winter
Wonderland, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Have Yourself a
Merry Little Christmas, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Midwinter Rose – Dana Calhoun
Double bass player Dana Calhoun cut his symphonic teeth in the 1980s with Clinton Symphony.
Now an organist with Faith Lutheran Church in Moline for almost 20 years, Dana enjoys trying
out his compositions on his “unsuspecting” congregation, including works for piano, organ,
various string instruments as well as school and church choirs. Early in his bass playing career,
he remembers discovering the “ubiquitous, (in)famous Pachelbel Canon in D which contains a
grand total of 8 notes for the lower strings.” With the piece firmly stuck in his brain, he
composed a piano solo combining Pachelbel and the Holst tune “In the Bleak Midwinter”, which
he later expanded into an orchestral work while adding the German Carol “Lo, How a Rose is
Growing”, thus resulting in Midwinter Rose.

O Holy Night – Chip Davis
Based on a French poem by Placide Coppeau written in 1843, O Holy Night was later set to
music by composer Adolph Adam. Fast forward to 1974, a visionary musician, Chip Davis
founded Mannheim Steamroller creating the best-selling Christmas music in history with over 35
albums. His landmark album, Fresh Aire melded elements of classical, rock and pop into
something altogether unique, dubbed “New Age”.The Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour is
the longest running consecutive tour in the music industry.

Christmas Festival – Leroy Anderson
For A Christmas Festival, Anderson chose 8 popular Christmas carols and Jingle Bells to
represent the spirit of the holidays. Composed for the Boston Pops, it has become a staple of
holiday concerts, inviting the audience to sing along to familiar songs.

Program notes compiled by Karin Anderson-Sweet

Orchestrally Speaking

7:30 p.m. — Saturday, November 4, 2023

Centennial Auditorium – Sterling High School

Three solid compositions for orchestra from three of the solid orchestra composers are featured on this November concert. First is Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Serenade for Strings, which he composed as a respect to Mozart, then Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, the two marvelous movements which stand majestically alone. And finally the overture of Mozart’s final opera The Magic Flute.

Tickets are available online, or at the door. Students are always admitted free, and the Symphony would also like to extend a half price ticket to one adult the student brings with them. Ask at the ticket table for this offer.

In partnership with Community State Bank, we offer a bus from Clinton, through Fulton and Morrison to the concert in Sterling. Reservations: 563-219-8084

Program Notes:

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 1840-1893
The first Russian romantic composer to enjoy widespread international acclaim, Piotr
Tchaikovsky was celebrated for his highly individual style, his own unhappy life reflected in his
brooding music. He wrote many symphonies, operas and concerti, but only 3 ballets composed
in the last years of his life; Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake. He remains the
19th century’s master of dance music with “ballet” synonymous with his name.
Born in a small town in the Russian interior, he displayed musical genius early, composing
his first song at age 4. High-strung and sensitive, his parents tried to prepare him for a career in
civil service, but he eventually became one of the first students in the St. Petersburg
Conservatory. After graduating, he moved to Moscow to teach at the Moscow Conservatory
where he produced his first symphony and his first opera.Between 1871 and 1876 he produced
a series of great works, including Swan Lake and the First Piano Concerto, establishing him as
Russia’s leading composer. By 1887 he was conducting his own music to great acclaim and
producing such works as the Sixth Symphony, Pathetique, and Sleeping Beauty. He toured the
United States at the inauguration of Carnegie Hall and conducted before enthusiastic
audiences. His private life, however, was beset with deep depression and a tragic, short-lived
marriage. His music conveys the joys and sorrows of the human experience with poignant

Serenade for Strings
The word “serenade” has meant many things over time: music sung to a lover on a moonlit
night, and later, it came to refer to a tuneful concert work. Tschaikovsky’s Serenade fits into both
categories, a work with easy, joyful moments as well as a passionate love letter to a distant
beloved. Tschaikovsky poured all of himself into his Serenade for Strings. “I am passionately in
love with this work,” he wrote. “This is a piece from the heart.” It was performed for the first time
in November 1880 at a private concert at the Moscow Conservatory as a surprise for the
composer after a long absence.
The first of the four movements, Pezzo in forma de sonatina, is a conscious reflection of his
homage to Mozart. The powerful introduction begins with a big, lush string sound, the simple
motif then repeated several times with his trademark heart-rending harmonies. A charming
Viennese waltz characterizes the second movement, making use of the dance’s frequent little
hesitations and stops, followed by a prayerful Elegie as the third movement. The final
movement’s hushed mood and subsequent rollicking allegro are based on traditional Russian
folk tunes, capped off in a scintillating rush to the conclusion.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791
Likely the best-known of all composers, Mozart created music in nearly every major genre,
leaving behind compositions that serve as archetypes of the Classical period. A true child
prodigy, he wrote his first piece of music at the age of five, published his first composition by the
age of seven, and had written his first opera by his twelfth birthday. One of the most prolific and
influential composers of all time, he composed over 600 works in his short lifetime and almost
single-handedly developed the piano concerto.
Born in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang was the youngest of seven and one of only two siblings
to survive to adulthood. His father Leopold, one of Europe’s leading music teachers, conductors
and composers, gave up his own career to become his son’s only teacher when Wolfgang’s
musical genius was discovered by his third birthday. An older sister, Maria Anna, was also
musically talented and their father traveled the two all over Europe to show off their precocious
ability, allowing them to meet many musicians.
When the touring ended, Wolfgang was hired as a court musician, performing and composing
for Salzburg’s Prince. Popular and beloved in Salzburg, he composed in many genres;
symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, serenades and operas. Eventually growing discontented
with his low salary and few opportunities to work on his favorite form, the opera, he searched for
jobs, settling in Paris only to fail to find success. He grudgingly returned to Salzburg where he
continued to feel unappreciated and was finally fired by the Prince.
Finally it was in Vienna where his career took off, and he established himself as the finest
pianist in the city while continuing to compose, including a hugely successful opera, Abduction
from the Seraglio. His reputation established, he married, fathered 6 children and began
studying the works of Bach, Handel and Haydn, all of whom influenced his work. Mozart put on
a very popular concert series as a piano soloist, writing three of four concertos each season.
Finally attaining some wealth, the Mozart’s lived lavishly, leading to financial problems later.
Shifting back to opera, he premiered The Marriage of Figaro to acclaim followed by Don
Giovanni. By 1787 he had obtained steady work under the patronage of Emperor Joseph II who
appointed him court composer. Unfortunately, Austria was at war a year later leading to a career
decline. Moving to cheaper lodgings, he still was forced to send notes to friends begging for
money. 1791 was his last year of great productivity, resulting in The Magic Flute, his final piano
concertos, a clarinet concerto, his last great string quintets, the revision of his Symphony No. 40
and his unfinished Requiem. His finances began to improve, but he fell ill in September and died
in December 1791.

The Magic Flute
Die Zauberflote was premiered in 1791 in Vienna, the last year of Mozart’s life. It was
immediately popular, with an entertaining cast of characters, including a comic, feathery pair of
bird/human lovers, an evil Moor, a high priest, an evil queen, wraith-like woman, various
enchanted animals as well as “magic” flutes and bells. What’s not to love! Despite the fun and
games, the opera is an allegory, exploring life’s deep and essential issues; courage,
transfiguration, wisdom, romantic love, illusion, freedom and brotherhood.
Three majestic chords open the overture, underscoring the symbolic importance of the
number three based on popular Masonic beliefs. These three chords will return three times each
at the beginning of the development section. Following the grave introduction, the orchestra
skips off in a vivacious Allegro, only to be interrupted by a repeat of the three solemn chords.
The remainder of the Overture is notable for Mozart’s brilliant use of counterpoint and dynamic
contrasts, building into a surprisingly complex piece.

Franz Peter Schubert
The Austrian composer Franz Schubert was born in 1797 near Vienna and died tragically
young in 1828. Schubert bridged the worlds of Classical and Romantic music, noted for the
melody and harmony in his songs and chamber music, as well as symphonies, masses and
piano works.
Born into a musical family, Franz played viola in string quartets performed in his family home,
eventually earning a scholarship for further music education under composer Antonio Salieri
and the opportunity to sing in the imperial court chamber choir. Although reluctant to share his
early compositions, the numerous works he wrote by 1815 are remarkable for their style,
originality and imagination. Songs were his obsession, composing as astonishing 600 in his
short lifetime, single-handedly creating the German lied, or art song. When popular baritone
Johann Michael Vogl took up his songs, they became the rage of Viennese drawing rooms.
During these musical soirées known as Schubertiads, Schubert would often sing his own songs
while accompanying himself on the piano.
Living quietly within a circle of close friends with few means beyond teaching, he began to
produce a seemingly endless stream of masterpieces, most discovered after his short lifetime.
During this period he not only composed 145 lieder, the second and third symphonies, two
sonatas, a series of miniatures for piano, two mass settings, four stage works, and a string
quartet among projects. This period of intense creativity remains one of the most amazing feats
of productivity in musical history.
Schubert’s health declined rapidly, although he was able to serve as a torchbearer in 1827 at
Beethoven’s funeral. Just a year later, he was also laid to rest in the same cemetery. “The art of
music here entombed a rich possession, but even fairer hopes,” reads the prophetic inscription
on his tombstone.

Symphony No. 5, “Unfinished”
Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 has a complex history. Written in 1822, the work lay
undiscovered until the 1860s, containing fully scored movements plus sketches for a third. The
two complete movements were premiered in 1865, adding a final movement from another one
of Schubert’s works. In the ensuing decades, the practice of adding another movement stopped;
it became clear that the two movements stand very well alone. Although he lived another 6
years after the work was begun, no one knows why he never returned to it.
The opening of the first movement is dark, with a theme played by the oboe and clarinet. A
secondary, well-known melody by the cellos reflects Schubert’s talent for melody. Dramatic turns
throughout illustrate light and dark, gravity and playfulness. Schubert provides contrast in the
second movement with a slightly slower tempo and bright major tonality. A clarinet solo again
highlights his ability to write beautiful melodic lines, before the movement whips into emotional
turmoil. A quiet conclusion brings serenity, etched with resignation.

Clinton Symphony Kicks Off 70th Season on September 23

7:30 p.m. — Saturday, September 23, 2023

Vernon Cook Theater – Clinton High School

Violinist Marcia Henry Liebenow returns to the stage with us to perform the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor. Marcia is Concertmaster of the Peoria Symphony and teaches at Bradley University in Peoria. Two Beethoven compositions complete the program: first the overture to his incidental music The Ruins of Athens, and then his Eighth Symphony. Altogether an exhilarating evening of live music.

Season Tickets and individual concert tickets are available at the door, or avoid the wait at the concert and order them for Will Call here on our website.

Not sure where to park amid Clinton High School’s renovations? A map showing parking and entrances is available here.

To celebrate our 70th Season, join us for an Overture to the Season buffet featuring pasta, chicken, and meatballs as well as salad, bread, dessert and beverages. This will take place in the Clinton High Commons at 5:30pm prior to the concert. Maestro Brian Dollinger will share an overview of the musical works he has chosen for the Clinton Symphony to perform this season. Tickets are $15 per person and available by calling Karl Wolf at 563-212-6075 by September 19.

Please enjoy the following program notes:

Ludwig van Beethoven
Long recognized as one of the greatest composers of Western classical music, Ludwig
van Beethoven fought the onset of deafness by the age of 28 to produce an output that
encompasses 722 works, including 9 symphonies, 35 piano sonatas and 16 string
quartets. Popularly, Beethoven personifies the idea of the creative genius struggling
against convention and his own physical limitations to push the boundaries of form and

Born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, his musical talent was recognized at an early age. By
the age of 9 his teacher proclaimed that Beethoven “would surely become a second
Wolfgang Mozart”. As he eventually took on the positions of assistant organist and
violist, his first publications, 3 keyboard sonatas, appeared in 1783. His early reputation
came from his virtuosity as a pianist, performing in public and private concerts and he
continued to publish piano solos and concertos which he often premiered. Famous for
his improvisations, he also performed works by other composers, including Mozart. By
1814 his increasing deafness forced him to stop playing in public, but he continued
composing for piano, stretching the instrument’s accepted limits in dynamics,
expression, rhythm and technique.

Hints of his interest in the symphonic form date back to his earliest years. His nine
completed symphonies span the years 1800 to 1824, each distinctive in character and
innovative in different ways. Chamber music formed another enduring element of his
output, notably the 16 string quartets composed between 1800 and 1826, the last four
exploring new sound worlds from a final burst of creativity.

Beethoven’s music encompasses many other genres as well, including songs,
canons, variations, bagatelles, overtures, dances, opera, incidental music and marches,
reflecting the diversity of his interests. More than any other composer, Beethoven’s
music has come to be identified with transcendental notions of struggle, revolution and
the sublime. Ideals of freedom and emancipation from tyranny permeate works such as
his only opera Fidelio and the Ninth Symphony, the French Revolution and Napoleonic
Wars forming the backdrop of his life between 1789 and 1815. He was celebrated
throughout Europe during his lifetime, and his funeral procession in Vienna attracted
thousands of onlookers in 1827.

Beethoven’s Die Ruinen Von Athens Overture
In 1811 Beethoven was commissioned to compose incidental music for two Hungarian-
themed plays by August Von Kotzebue, written to commemorate the opening of a
magnificent new theater in the city of Pest, funded by Emperor Franz I to unify Hungary
with the interests of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy. A masterful piece of political and
cultural propaganda, The Ruins of Athens was transformed by Beethoven into a virtual
operetta with a mix of dialog and music. Uncharacteristically, Beethoven quickly
composed the music while taking a cure at the spa of Teplitz and received an
enthusiastic reception by incorporating Hungarian themes and folk music, all
nationalistic themes designed to flatter the emperor.

The opening of the overture reveals a desolate and foreboding landscape in G minor.
With the entrance of the oboe, celebration erupts in a jubilant G major.
The most famous music is the spirited Turkish March. With cymbals blazing, it seems to
begin in the distance, pass by, and then fade into the distance.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Beethoven’s odd numbered symphonies were big, heroic game changers, stunning
audiences with their bold innovations and often ferocious energy. By contrast, his often
neglected even numbered symphonies are sometimes described as more “classical”,
strikingly different, but equally thrilling. In fact, at the Eighth’s Vienna premiere in 1814,
it was overshadowed by the Seventh, performed at the same program to more
enthusiastic applause.

Beethoven himself possessed a great fondness for his “ little symphony in F”, imbuing it
with a spirited sense of daring pushing forward into inventive, new territory. The
buoyancy of this music gives no hint to his darkly complicated personal life at the time:
the anguished “immortal, beloved” letter ending a relationship with a mysterious woman,
and concern over his brother Johann’s love life.

The first movement has no introduction, no chord, just a jump from the starting gate into
a manic race. A boisterous and jovial ending closes the movement, marked fortissimo,
the loudest possible dynamic which Beethoven rarely uses. Only at the end do we hear
the opening melody charging forward in the low strings, almost drowned out by the rest
of the orchestra in a jubilant wave.

Instead of the slow, expected adagio, the second Allegretto movement is much more
perky and mischievous with a chirping tick-took rhythm, perhaps a parody of the
metronome which had just been invented.

The third movement, Beethoven’s only symphonic minuet, provides a bit of nostalgia
broken up by jabs on unexpected beats by the tympani, and unending conversation
traded between instruments.

The finale is another mad dash, though begun softly with silent hesitations. It quickly
becomes an exhilarating musical romp, filled with erratic key changes, sudden silences
and the intrusion of an out-of-place C sharp. The loud, dissonant interruption plays an
important role in one of the most over-the-top codas from the master of outsized codas.
Tchaikovsky, not noted for his sense of humor, thought this movement one of
Beethoven’s greatest masterpieces.

Max Bruch: Concerto No. 1 in G Minor for Violin, Op.26

Born in 1838 in Cologne, Germany, Max Bruch became a Romantic composer, violinist,
teacher and conductor who wrote more than 200 works, including three violin concertos.
In his day, Bruch was a substantial figure in the musical landscape, but the promise of
his early years failed to blossom and he comes perilously close to being a one-hit
wonder with his richly seductive Concerto No. 1. Indeed, the very popularity of this
composition irked Bruch no end. “The G Minor again! I could not bear to hear it even
once more. My friends, play the second concerto or the Scottish Fantasy for once,” he is
said to have exclaimed after receiving yet another request to conduct it.

By the age of nine, Bruch had written his first composition, a song for his mother’s
birthday, and from then on, music became his passion. With his parents’ enthusiastic
support, he wrote many minor early works, few of which have survived.

After briefly studying philosophy and art, Bruch has a long career as a teacher,
conductor and composer throughout Germany. At the height of his career, he spent
three seasons as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society. He also taught
composition until his retirement, his most notable student being Ottorino Respighi.
His complex and well-structured works placed him in the German Romantic tradition
exemplified by Johannes Brahms. In his time, he was known primarily as a choral
composer, often overshadowed by his friend Brahms who was more popular and widely

Today, as during his life, Bruce’s Violin concerto No. 1 is one of the staples of standard
violin repertoire. The first version was completed in 1866; its premiere with Otto Von
Konigslow as soloist was followed by extensive revision. Performed throughout Europe
and America in Bruch’s own lifetime, it offered audiences exactly what they wanted in a
violin concerto: singing lines, passionate phrasing, extreme dynamics, high drama,
double and triple stops. The concerto is marked by Bruch’s characteristic alternation of
moods: simmering, soulful melodies build to explosive outbursts of passion. The
prelude opens in an air of quiet, brooding melancholy before breaking a full- blown,
impassioned allegro. It builds up to two major climaxes before dying away in emotional
exhaustion. Without pause, Bruch segues into the central and heartfelt adagio. This
begins in a prayer-like atmosphere, gradually gaining in activity and expressiveness,
some of the most beautiful writing in the entire literature for violin. Bruch concludes with
the drama and energy of the allegro energetico in a crackling, gypsy-tinged finale.

Compiled by Karin Anderson-Sweet