We have a wonderful double header weekend planned for you!
Join us Friday June 1 for A Symphonic Affair, the Symphony’s annual benefit and delightful social event. It signals the end of one season and the beginning of the next – our 65th! This event is famous for a fabulous array of food, spirited auctions, unique entertainment, cash bar and information about the upcoming season.
Invite your friends to receive a special price on a table of eight. This is a popular event so be sure and make reservations early.
Clinton’s panoramic riverfront is the place to be Sunday, June 3 at 6:30 PM. The Clinton Symphony Orchestra will bring to life its gift to the community with a performance in the band shell. Enjoy the food vendors in the park area, invite your friends or bring a youngster for an introduction to light classical music in a casual setting. Children’s Discovery Center will be there with fun activities for the younger crowd starting at 5:30 PM.
You will be tapping your toes and may be moved enough to march to a big Stars & Stripes finale. Think it can’t get better than this? It can! The event is free!
The Clinton Symphony Orchestra will be in concert at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 27. Our featured guest will be pianist Lorraine Min. The concert will open with Franz Shebert’s Overture to Rosamunde. Please enjoy the following program notes written by William Driver.
Schubert – Rosamunde
Franz Peter Schubert
(1797-1828) wrote the incidental music to the
play Rosamunde, Princess of Cypress,
for a friend Helmina von Chézy. Already ridiculed for her
libretto to Carl Maria Weber’s Euryanthe, the Viennese
critics likewise derided Chézy for the ineptness of her writing. The
romantic drama made it through two performances with the only saving
graces being the incidental music that Schubert composed for the
venture. Despite the success of the music, Schubert saw little merit
in arranging a suite from the music, but instead used some of the
score in other works such as a string quartet.
Bits and pieces of the original score
were published as independent works over the years, but a unified
version of the complete incidental music (Gesammtausgabe) was not
made available until after the discovery of the original manuscript
by Arthur Sullivan and George Grove in a closet in Vienna in 1867.
Breitkopf & Härtel issued the completed score in 1891.
Schubert wrote no specific overture for
Rosamunde. Instead he dusted off an overture to his
unperformed 1820 opera Alfonso und Estrella for the opening
night of the play, but when the Rosamunde manuscript was published in
1891 as Op. 26, it was not with the Alfonso und Estrella Overture,
which had actually introduced the play in the theater, but with a
still earlier one which Schubert had composed in 1820 for a different
play by a different writer, called The Magic Harp.
Thus, the Overture to Rosamunde
may be said to have served a double duty for two independent works.
In addition to the performance of Lorraine Minn, the Clinton Symphony will present Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 in D minor. The concert is at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 27, and will take place at the Clinton High School’s Vernon Cook Theater.
Please enjoy the program notes for this piece, written for us by William Driver.
one keeps in mind the few face-to-face meetings that Antonin Dvořák
(1841-1904) and Johannes Brahms actually had in the nearly two
decades of their friendship, then it is difficult to understand the
degree of affection the two had for each other. They were in every
way the opposite in temperament. Brahms was the intellectual, often
brusque composer of complex, penetrating music that stimulated the
brain; Dvořák, on the other hand, was the more outgoing, more
approachable composer of easily comprehended music that moved the
heart. Brahms was disinclined to offer music advice or review the
work of the younger composers he associated with in Vienna, such as
Karl Goldmark, Hans Rott, and Hugo Wolf, but he appeared eager to
assist Dvořák in the preparation and publication of his works.
one early correspondence, the older composer was quite blunt in his
assessment of Dvořák’s hasty treatment of his music notations:
would give a good deal to be able to discuss individual points with
you personally. You write somewhat hurriedly. When you are filling in
the numerous missing sharps, flats and naturals, then it would be
good to look a little more closely at the notes themselves and at the
voice parts etc.
was not a father-figure to Dvořák, but he did act as the younger
composer’s bigger brother. Dvořák would often send his manuscripts
to Brahms to proofread and amend, and Brahms would then forward the
works to the publisher Simrock. This was true even when Dvořák was
in the United States as director of the New York Conservatory of
Music of America from 1893 through 1895. Brahms reviewed and polished
Dvořák’s major works from the New World: String Quartet,String
Quintet and the Cello Concerto, for instance. The Cello Concerto so
enchanted Brahms that he uttered the comment that if he had known a
cello concerto could have been written like Dvořák’s, “I would
have written it myself.”
an enthusiastic performance of the Slavonic
Rhapsody No 3
by the Vienna Philharmonic in November 1879, conductor Hans Richter
commissioned Dvořák to write a symphony for the following concert
season. Bear in mind that Dvořák had already composed five
symphonies, yet none had stirred any interest outside his native
Prague. He sought out his mentor for advice on composing a symphony
that would grab the attention of audience and critics alike in a
sophisticated cosmopolitan capital such as a Vienna or a London.
Brahms gave advice, advice which the Czech composer followed almost
to the letter: Write the symphony in clearly recognizable symphonic
form (i.e., follow the Beethoven or German model), avoid overuse of
provincial rhythms and melodies, and keep a ‘serious’ tone about the
made sure this new symphony would meet the standards laid down by
Brahms. In fact, he took the extraordinary step and modeled his Sixth
on a work of the master himself – more specifically to the latest
The framework Dvořák devised proved so successful that he used it
as the basic guide for his last three symphonies.
1884, the London Philharmonic commissioned a new symphony from
Dvořák began work on his Symphony No 7 in D minor immediately on receiving the commission. On the first page of the manuscript, he cryptically wrote that “This main theme occurred to me upon the arrival at the station of the … train from Pest in 1884.” The London premiere in April 1885 was one of the great triumphs of Dvořák’s career, and critics since have often regarded his Seventh as his greatest symphony. The symphony would not be performed by the Vienna Philharmonic until 1887, when it was greeted with a cool reception. Writing to Dvořák, the conductor Hans Richter phrased things euphemistically: “Your Scherzo capriccioso [a lighter, less serious work] went down well in Vienna; unfortunately, the symphony [No. 7] was not appreciated as much as I had hoped, or anticipated, given the flawless performance from the Philharmonic: our Philharmonic audiences are often, well, peculiar, to say the least!” Indeed, it would take several more years for Dvořák to finally win acceptance from the Viennese public.
the London success of the symphony, the publication of the Symphony
No 7 in D minor
was a hardship for Dvořák. Fritz Simrock, Dvořák’s German
publisher, seemed to relish frustrating the composer and brought up
several conditions that Dvořák had to meet to insure publication.
First, Simrock demanded a piano duet arrangement be published at the
same time as the symphony. The publisher insisted that the score be
published in German only and Dvořák’s name ‘Antonin’ be in
the German variation of ‘Anton’. Finally, Dvořák was told that
the dedication to the London Philharmonic Society would have to be
omitted. To add to the troubling negotiations, Dvořák asked Simrock
for an advance:
have a lot of expense with my garden, and my potato crop isn’t very
that he be paid commiserate with other composers – he wanted double
the three thousand Marks that Simrock offered. Only when Dvořák
threatened to sell the rights to another publisher did Simrock bow to
the composer’s wishes of six thousand Marks.
Canadian pianist Lorraine Min has caught the attention of a Clinton Symphony patron, who has encouraged us to bring her here for performance. She has performed at the Ravinia and Tanglewood Festivals, in Europe, Asia, and Australia. She will perform the Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor by Camille Saint-Saëns with our orchestra on April 27th.
Min earned her Bachelor degree from the Peabody Institute, and Masters and Doctoral degrees from the Julliard School.
The following are program notes for this piece written by William Driver:
(1835-1921) composed five piano concertos in his long career. Numbers
two, four, and five have proved to be the most popular with concert
audiences over the years, as well as with recording companies. Some
noted pianists have traversed the complete set, while others have put
to record the second and fourth. Regardless, Saint-Saëns’ piano
concertos have stood the test of time and are established works in
the keyboard literature of any reputable pianist.
instruments were central to Saint-Saëns life as a composer and
performer. He was a master of the organ, so much so that Franz Liszt,
a formidable organist in his own right, declared Saint-Saëns the
‘greatest organist in the world.’ In 1854, he became chief organist
at the Church of St. Merry’s in Paris, and three years later, he
assumed the same position at L’église de la Madeleine, a post he
retained for twenty years. The organ is a key element in his third,
last and most dazzling symphony, and is so designated in the
No 3 in C minor, ‘Organ.’
piano, not the organ, however, was Saint-Saëns instrument of choice
for his tours and his compositions. It was his instrument at his
debut at age five, and it was the instrument on which he gave his
last public performance in 1921. He composed his first piano concerto
in 1858. During his tours at home and abroad in the 1860s, this
concerto garnered him a fair amount of success. He revised it in 1868
at about the time he was spurred to write a new piano concerto for a
the spring of 1868, the great Russian pianist, composer, and
came to Paris for a series of concerto performances with Saint-Saëns
as conductor for the occasion, Saint-Saëns set out to compose a new
work within three weeks. He had the work ready for performance in
seventeen days. The premiere performance took place on May 13, 1868,
in Paris, with Rubinstein conducting and Saint-Saëns playing the
Concerto No 2 in G minor, Op 22.
The performance was quite successful, and the concerto has been in
the active repertoire since.
the Piano Concerto No 2, the Piano
Concerto No 4 in C minor
was composed in relative short order and premièred on October 31,
1875, at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, with the composer as
soloist. It is one of Saint-Saëns’ most popular piano concertos,
second only to the Piano Concerto No. 2.
Concerto No. 4 is based on fragments of an unfinished symphony which
the composer wrote and then abandoned in his late teens. Why did he
abandon the symphony idea, yet use the material for a piano concerto?
A noted scholar, Daniel M. Fallon, offers several reasons. One, the
material lacked the dramatic quality usually associated with a
symphony; two, the lyrical theme of the second movement is
“beautifully poetic, a quality that is best captured by the
intimacy of the solo instrument”; and, three, the composer may have
felt that by “transforming themes, he would be able to spin out a
from the germinal ideas in the draft.”
formal layout of the Concerto is one that Saint-Saëns used again a
decade later with his Symphony
No 3 in C minor, “Organ”.
The two movements of the Concerto, as in the Symphony, are in fact
four movements, joined at notable junctions. Additionally, both
compositions begin in C minor and end in C major and rely on thematic
transformation to progress the music along. Regardless of its
original source, the Piano
Concerto No 4 in C minor, Op 44,
“is a unique example of the piano concerto in the late nineteenth
Support the Clinton Symphony Orchestra while updating your style! Enjoy two vendors, LuLaRoe clothing and Indigo Turtle jewelry, all in the beautiful Curtis Mansion. The event will take place on Saturday, April 20th from 11:00-2:00 PM. Show off your selections at our April 27th concert, “Sublime Inspirations” with pianist Lorraine Min!!
The Clinton Symphony Orchestra will present their “Youthful Visions” winter concert on Saturday, February 9, 7:30 pm, Morrison IL High School Auditorium. Please enjoy the following program notes about Jean Sibelius and his work Symphony No. 3 in C Major, Op. 52 .
Flodin wrote in 1907 after hearing the Symphony
No 3 in C major, Op 52 of
The symphony meets all the requirements
of a symphonic work of art in the modern sense, but at the same time
it is internally new and revolutionary – thoroughly Sibelian.
spring 1906, Sibelius informed his friend Axel Carpelan that his
Third Symphony in C major was near completion. It was Carpelan who
had suggested to Sibelius some years prior that he and his family
vacation in Italy as inspiration for his monumental Second Symphony;
consequently, Sibelius kept in close contact with Carpelan about his
musical affairs. He proposed to conduct the first performance at the
Philharmonic Society in London in the next spring. However, Sibelius
failed to meet his proposed deadline, and, after some concentrated
effort he penned the finale notes in time for its premiere at the
Great Hall of Helsinki University with himself conducting. The London
concert had to be postponed, however, and he eventually put the
finishing touches to the work in time to conduct it at the Great Hall
of Helsinki University on September 25, 1907. Interestingly, the
orchestral parts for the finale did not arrive until the last
for the Symphony No 3
had been with Sibelius for some time. Parts of the score show the
influences carried over from the First and Second Symphonies,
particularly in the finale. He also drew motifs from works he never
completed, such as a piano suite, a tone poem, and an oratorio.
The Symphony No 3 may well be Sibelius’s farewell to the opulent romanticism of his earlier works. While the symphony echoes elements of the magisterial eloquence and galactic monumentalism of the first two symphonies, it is much more cheerful and free-wheeling- and shorter – in its presentation. He seems to purposefully avoid the “excesses” of the symphonists of the time – Richard Strauss, Alexander Scriabin, and Gustav Mahler. One might even call this work Sibelius’s “Classical” symphony in that he focuses on the development of his material in terms of “absolute music” in the mode of Bach, Mozart, and Haydn. There is nothing “programmatic” in this symphony. To Sibelius, in fact, Mozart was the most genuine of composers:
To my mind a Mozart allegro is the most
perfect model for a symphonic movement. Think of its wonderful unity
and homogeneity! It is like an uninterrupted flowing, where nothing
stands out and nothing encroaches upon the rest.
No 3 in C major, Op 52, is
in three movements with the finale combining a scherzo and finale
into a single movement. Sibelius said this movement is “the
crystallization of thought from chaos”. The scherzo
“plays with several short
motifs, blending and juxtaposing them in a seemingly endless variety
of combinations”. As the finale approaches, the cellos introduce a
march motif that begins hesitantly, then grows in intensity until it
becomes the dominant theme to the end of the symphony.
suppose that the symphony lacks the typical Sibelian fire and
nobility of its predecessors. One would be mistaken. A conductor who
had witnessed Sibelius himself conducting the Third Symphony had this
[It] was played in a vigorous manner, with markedly emphatic accentuation, so that it gave an impression of the heroic rather than pastoral.