Kevin Lemus, 17-year-old senior flutist at Sterling High School, is the winner of Clinton Symphony Orchestra’s annual Young Artist Auditions, and will perform the Sonata for Flute by Francis Poulenc accompanied by the orchestra in concert at 7:30 p.m. on February 15 in the Morrison High School Auditorium. Kevin is the son of Maria and Efrain Lemus, and a flute student of Nicole Oberg. He enjoys running, and is a member of the school swim team, with a special interest in diving. Future plans include a college major in biology as a path to pre-medicine studies.
The Young Artist Auditions are open to all area high school musicians, and this year’s runner-up is Jenna Spencer, a senior trombonist at Clinton High School. Both students will receive monetary scholarship awards from the Clinton Symphony Orchestra Association.
Adult tickets for the concert are $20, and all students are admitted free of charge. In addition, any student may sponsor an accompanying adult for half-price admission. Tickets are available at the door.
Enjoy the following program notes about Francis Poulenc and his Sonata for Flute.
Jean Marcel Poulenc (1899-1963),
largely self-taught, contributed much to French music during his
career, especially in the years following the First World War. He
composed in all the major media – chamber, orchestra, and opera.
His songs are considered some of the finest of the twentieth century.
our young artist will perform tonight began life as a Flute
It was written in 1957 to honor the memory of an American music
patron, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. The composer and renowned
flautist Jean Pierre Rampal premiered the work at the Strasbourg
Music Festival that same year. Since its introduction, the piece has
become one of Poulenc’s most recognized works and a standard in the
flute chamber music repertoire.
Its believed that Poulenc began composing the Sonata as early as 1952 and worked on the piece off and on, with encouragement from his publisher and from French flautists who were looking for new music. He received a commission from the Coolidge Foundation for a chamber piece in 1956, but he put the commission off to 1957 with the stipulation that he could premiere the work at Strasbourg. Rampal remarked in his autobiography the following telephone exchange:Jean-Pierre, said Poulenc: you know you’ve always wanted me to write a sonata for flute and piano? Well, I’m going to,’ he said. ‘And the best thing is that the Americans will pay for it! I’ve been commissioned by the Coolidge Foundation to write a chamber piece in memory of Elizabeth Coolidge. I never knew her, so I think the piece is yours. Poulenc never wrote any woodwind concertos despite having an affinity for the instruments. Noted flautist James Galway is responsible for giving the world a flute concerto derived from Poulenc’s Flute Sonata. Galway felt the Sonata was a chamber piece just begging to be orchestrated. Thus entered British composer Sir Lennox Berkeley who had been a close friend of Poulenc and “had a strong sympathy for the French style.” Berkeley scored the Concerto to include double woodwinds except for one flute. He preserved the French flair and flavor of the original Sonata while providing a delightful new Concerto to the flute repertoire.
Join us on Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 in Clinton High’s Vernon Cook Theater for our Holiday concert. Our special guest this year is RiverChor. This concert is always a favorite as we explore new and familiar musical themes of the Holidays. Bring family and friends for a festive evening!
Our program is:
A Most Wonderful Christmas; arr. Robert Sheldon
Skater’s Waltz; Émile Waldteufel
Festive Sounds of Hanukkah; arr. Bill Holcombe
Messiah And the Glory * For Unto Us * Hallelujah!; George Frideric Handel
Fanfare to La Péri; Paul Dukas
The Nutcracker – Marche * Arabe * Waltz of the Flowers * Trepak; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
How Great Our Joy; arr. John Rutter
Lua, Lua, Lua; Esther Scliar
Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2.; Georges Bizet
Pizzicato Polka; Johann Strauss, Jr. and Josef Strauss
Christmas Memories; Rosephanye Powell
A Christmas Festival; LeRoy Anderson
Please enjoy the following program notes:
Music to Dispel the Bleak Mid-winter Doldrums
It is interesting to note that several of the songs and carols that we use to celebrate the Christmas season were originally composed for other occasions, but have been, over time, appropriated for that purpose – to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child or to cast a holiday spirit over the doldrums of a “bleak mid-winter” landscape.
To offset the solemn, dignified, and reverential tone of “Silent Night, Holy Night” and “Away in a Manger”, we have the more celebratory and extroverted sounds of “Joy to the World” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Few people know, however, that “Joy to the World” (1719) was not written by Isaac Watts to glorify the birth of Jesus Christ, but in anticipation of His Second Coming. The tune of the song is attributed to George Frederic Handel (Antioch). Even fewer know that Charles Wesley’s piece, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (1739) achieves its wonderful sonorities from the music of Felix Mendelssohn, adapted from his cantata Festgesang (1840) to commemorate Gutenberg’s invention of movable type printing. It was arranged to Wesley’s poem by English composer William H. Cummings (1855). Wesley himself had preferred a more solemn and stately music.
composer Serge Prokofiev, returning from abroad and eager to placate
his critics, agreed to score the film Lieutenant Kijé (1934).
The film was a success and Prokofiev’s five-movement suite adapted
from the score quickly entered the international repertoire. The
fourth movement of the suite Troika
is often used in Christmas concerts as “sleigh bells, rapid
pizzicato strings, and piano combine to give the impression of a fast
winter’s journey [in
troika, a traditional Russian three-horse sled.” American composer
Leroy Anderson, in contrast, was prompted by a heat wave in 1946
to compose his Sleigh Ride.
Working in his yard repairing water pipes, Anderson envisioned
himself in a sleigh drawn by horses galloping through
a snow-covered New England landscape with the crisp winter wind
his sweaty brow. Sleigh Ride was premiered by the Boston Pops in May
1948. It makes no mention of any holiday.
waves also played major roles in the creation of two other specific
Christmas songs. Mel Tormé and Robert Wells collaborated to compose
one of the most recorded Christmas tunes, “The Christmas Song”
According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot
summer. In an effort to “stay cool by thinking cool…I saw a
spiral pad on his [Wells’] piano with four lines written in pencil”,
Tormé recalled. “They started, ‘Chestnuts
Frost nipping…, Yuletide
carols…, Folks dressed up like Eskimos.’
Bob didn’t think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if
he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes
later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the
popular music composer Irving Berlin gave differing accounts about
where and when he wrote the most popular Christmas song of all time –
“White Christmas” – more than 50 million sales in the United
States, more than 100 million world-wide. Berlin, in the more popular
version, claimed that he was staying at a hotel in La Quinta,
California, during a particularly hot, sultry spell in 1940, when he
began to reminisce about earlier times in New England with his family
and friends – especially around Christmas time. Berlin, who liked
to compose at night, took down the words and music that came rushing
to him and called his secretary in New York:
Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song
I’ve ever written—heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s
serious – or classical – music also has examples of music
adopted, adapted, and/or arranged for the holiday season despite the
music’s original intent.
Farandole on tonight’s
program comes from themes Georges Bizet used in his incidental music
to Alphonse Daudet’;s play L’;Arlésienne
(The Girl from Arles),
first performed in 1872. Bizet originally wrote twenty-seven
numbers of varying lengths to augment the drama, but both the play
and the music were considered failures at the time. Bizet, to salvage
something from his efforts, extracted four pieces from score which he
re-orchestrated and published as his
Suite. It was not until four years after Bizet’s
death that the second suite was created.
Suite No 2was
crafted by Ernest Guiraud,
a life-long friend of Bizet. For his suite, he took three selections
from the original source material, although he did take liberties
with the arranging and scoring of the pieces. In Guiraud’s version of
the Farandole, he augments the dance with a traditional French
Christmas carol, March of the Kings. Thus, it is through
Guiraud’s manipulation of Bizet’s original material that the
Farandole is often scheduled on Christmas programs.
premiered the evening of April 13, 1742, as one of a series of
charity concerts in Dublin, Ireland. George
Frederic Handel, 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
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.
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 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.
(1840-1893) considered his music for The
Nutcrackerballet to be
‘infinitely poorer’ than that of hisSleeping
Following the success of his opera Pique
Queen of Spades),
Tchaikovsky had accepted two commissions from the director of the
Imperial Theatres – 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.
Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
He began work on the score in early 1892 and
finished the piece by late summer of the same year. The composer made
a suite of eight of the numbers he had already completed and
Suite, Op. 72a to the St. Petersburg’s public
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 in the United States
until the 1950s when it was featured on national television during
the Christmas season. Since then, the ballet and the suite have
become standard seasonal fare.
The great variety of music – both spiritual and secular – that boosts our holiday mood does much to, indeed, dispel the “bleak mid-winter” atmosphere and brings good cheer to all.
Closing our Musical Friendships chamber music concert will be a collection of music written by brass quintet. Join us this Sunday, November 10, at 3:00 pm, Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton, Iowa.
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba G. F. Handel/arr. Hauser
Exaltabo Te Giovanni de Palestrina/trans. Cooper
Tempting Davy’s Cup from Galleons and Cutlasses Kevin McKee
Moto Perpetuo from “Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge” Benjamin Britten/arr. Al Guss
Dave Hamburg and Lee Weimer, trumpets
Alan Gus, horn • Todd Slothower, trombone
Ron Morton, tuba
Enjoy the following program notes about the history of brass quintets and the composers of the pieces to be performed:
The Brass Quintet as an independent ensemble arrived relatively late in the chamber music realm and relied to some degree on the development of brass instrument design and manufacture in the last decades of the nineteenth century. While Russian composer and engineer Victor Ewald (1860-1935) is considered the innovator of the modern brass quintet, a French violinist and composer Jean-François Bellon (1795-1869) wrote several brass quintets in the 1840s primarily to display the virtuosity possible with the improved designs in brass instruments. Bellon, however, used a variety of instrumental configurations for his quintets, and it was Ewald who arrived at the modern equivalent of the brass quintet.
evidence from about 1912 shows that Ewald himself played in a brass
quintet. It is seen to consist of two piston-valved cornets, rather
than the modern choice of trumpets; a rotary-valved alto horn, rather
than the French horn; a rotary-valved tenor horn, rather than the
trombone; and a rotary-valved tuba (played by Ewald himself). Of
these instruments, it is the alto and tenor horns that are most
strikingly different from their modern quintet counterparts.
wrote four quintets specifically for brass quintet and transposed a
string quartet into a fifth quintet. Wikipedia offers the following
summary since Ewald:
contemporary brass quintet appeared in the late 1940s created by the
Chicago Brass Quintet, followed in the 1950s by the American Brass
Quintet and the 1960s by the Eastman Brass Quintet. However, it was
1970 with the founding of Canadian Brass that the brass quintet
finally became a major hall (i.e. Carnegie Hall main stage)
attraction and accepted as a legitimate member of the chamber music
world…Canadian Brass established both the style and popularity of
the quintet medium throughout the world…Notable contributions to
the [brass quintet] literature include many commissions by modern
ensembles such as the American Brass Quintet and transcriptions by
other ensembles such as the Canadian Brass.
of The Queen of Sheba
is the Sinfonia
from George Frederick Handel’s oratorio Solomon,
composed in 1748. Solomon is based on the biblical texts concering
King Solomon of Israel. The music announces the beginning of the
Queen of Sheba’s state visit in Jerusalem. It is often used today
as a processional piece for weddings, state visits, etc.
is based on a motet by Palestrina. The composer wrote primarily for
vocal forces and very little for instrumental ensembles.
Tempting Davy’s Grip from
Galleons and Cutlasses for Brass Quintet is best
described by the composer himself: I
have always been a huge fan of pirates… For a while now I have
been waiting for a good opportunity to channel some of this pirate
love into a composition and…I have finally been able to do so.
With 2 contrasting movements, Phantom
Ship and Tempting
Davy’s Grip, this
is my ode to pirates.
Moto Perpetuo from Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge is derived from incomplete work of Benjamin Britten, a set of variations. Britten took the sketches from 1932 and completed it in 1937 as a commission for the Salzburg Festival of that year. The Moto Perpetuo is the seventh variation of ten.
Join us for an afternoon of chamber music presented by members of the Clinton Symphony Orchestra. The concert is at 3:00 pm on Sunday, November 10 at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton, Iowa.
The third group on the program is:
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 115 Johannes Brahms
Rob Miller, clarinet
James Fudge and Theresa Johnson, violins
Hyun-Kyung Ryn, viola • Ann Balderson, violoncello
Enjoy the following program notes about Brahms and the Clarinet Quintet:
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) came late to the clarinet as a chamber music instrument. It was not that he did not relish the clarinet for its sound and weight within a combination of other instruments; his orchestral compositions, particularly the symphonies and serenades, clearly demonstrate otherwise. Rather Brahms had a low opinion of clarinetists as chamber players; based on his experiences, the art of clarinet playing had deteriorated since Mozart and Weber. In an exchange of letters between himself and his confidante Clara Schumann, the composer expressed, on the one hand, his admiration for the clarinetists in the Vienna orchestras who performed well in large ensembles; on the other hand, Brahms dismissed these same instrumentalists for their lack of ability to excel in solo work.
Brahms’ friends were surprised when the composer took a sudden
interest in the clarinet after he had unofficially retired from
composing. But the transformation came not through any particular
initiative of Brahms. Nor did it come about in association with his
Vienna contacts. Rather it came about as a result of his friendship
with the celebrated conductor Hans von Bülow who headed
the orchestra in Meiningen. Bülow was the first important
conductor who was not himself a composer by trade. He had assumed
leadership of the Meiningen orchestra in 1880 following somewhat
tempestuous conductorships at Berlin and Hanover. Eclectic in his
musical tastes, he did not favor one school of music over another and
served equally well as a champion both for Brahms the classicist and
for Wagner the progressive.
1880 to 1885, Bülow built the Meiningen orchestra, never
exceeding fifty members, into the finest in Europe. Members were
expected to play scores from memory, and, at times, to play standing
to show their commitment. The annual Meiningen music festivals
founded by him attracted music lovers from all across Europe and the
United States. Incidentally, it was Bülow who linked Brahms
with Bach and Beethoven to form the ‘three Bs’ of music.
invited Brahms, ‘the great lion,’ to come to Meiningen to
premiere the composer’s newly finished Piano
Concerto No 2 in B-flat major, Op 83. There, Brahms
came under the good graces of Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, the
chief patron of the orchestra. The two got along famously, and,
thereafter, Brahms’ scores were featured regularly on the
orchestra’s programs, and, with an open invitation from the Duke,
Brahms became a regular guest at the festivals. Strangely, it was not
until a decade after he began his Meiningen visits that Brahms
became fully aware of the orchestra’s chief clarinetist, Richard
joined the Meiningen orchestra as a violinist in 1873. He was
seventeen at the time. By 1876 he was appointed first clarinet in
the orchestra after having taught himself the instrument, and as the
orchestra’s reputation under Bülow’s leadership rose, so did
Mühlfeld’s. Mühlfeld specialized in playing the clarinet
concerti of Mozart and Weber, and it was the Mozart concerto that
Brahms heard in a private concert for the composer arranged in March
1891 by Fritz Steinbach, the successor to Bülow as conductor
at Meiningen. The spirit to compose arose again in the aging
was so enthused by Mühlfeld’s artistry that he
immediately wrote to Clara Schumann, ‘It is impossible to play
the clarinet better than Herr Mühlfeld does here.’ So moved was he
that Brahms set at once to composing for the clarinetist as much as
for the clarinet. In the course of the following summer, he composed
two chamber works specifically for Mühlfeld: Trio
in A Minor, Opus 114, for piano, cello, and clarinet, and
Quintet in B minor, Op 115.
Both works were premiered at Meiningen in November 1891. The Trio was
performed by Brahms, piano, Robert Hausmann, cello, and Mühlfeld,
clarinet. For the Quintet, Brahms called on his old friend Joseph
Joachim for whom he had written his Violin
lead his quartet with Mühlfeld as soloist again. It was the
first time the Joachim Quartet had used an assisting artist other
than a string player, prompting a contemporary of Brahms to joke: ‘it
was on this occasion that the Joachim Quartet lost its virginity.’
Mühlfeld’s playing of the Clarinet
occasional substitute player with the Joachim Quartet reported that
three qualities stood out.
used two clarinets, A and B-flat, for the slow movement, to simplify
the gypsy section; he had a fiery technique with a warm tone—and a
asked if he meant ‘rubato’ rather than ‘vibrato, the old man
more than Joachim, and as much as the cellist.
In 1894, Brahms added two additional compositions to the clarinet repertoire with the Clarinet Sonatas, Op 120, both for Mühlfeld, ‘the best wind player I know.’ On the occasions that they were together, Brahms would introduce Mühlfeld as ‘Fraulein Klarinette’ and ‘prima donna’, placing the clarinetist in the class of ‘an operatic soprano.’
Enjoy chamber music presented by members of the Clinton Symphony Orchestra on our Musical Friendships concert on Sunday, November 10, at 3:00 pm at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton, Iowa. The second piece on the concert will be:
Piano Trio in C Major, Hob.XV;27
Nadia Wirchnianski, piano
Asa Church, violin • David Spaulding, violoncello
Please enjoy the following program notes about the composer and piece:
Seventeen ninety was a watershed year for Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). In that one year Haydn’s life and fortune were turned upside down. Emperor Joseph II died on February 20, 1790, an event that threw Austria and its empire into a period of prolonged mourning. Less than a week later, the wife of his patron and employer Nicolaus Esterházy died; Haydn spent a good deal of his time trying to console the desolate Nicolaus, but Nicolaus himself succumbed by the end of September, to be succeeded by his brother, Anton. Anton, seeking to save on expenses at an uncertain time, released nearly all of the court musicians, and relegated Haydn to a part-time position with commiserate pay. Anton, to Haydn’s delight, had little use for his services and permitted Haydn to travel as he saw fit. Haydn wasted little time in using his new-found semi-independence and rented an apartment in Vienna. At long last he was away from his isolated existence at Esterházy and free to mingle in an appreciative society and to engage in commerce with his Viennese counterparts.
was the most famous and most sought after composer in Europe in his
time; thus when London impresario Johann Peter Salomon, in Germany
searching for music talent to import to England, heard that Haydn
might be available, he pounced, only to find a surprisingly
responsive Haydn. The composer had entertained an English tour for
more than a decade, but his duties as kapellmeister at Esterházy had
prevented him from such an undertaking. Now, he could undertake a
tour without fear of antagonizing his new patron. And Salomon assured
him that the English public revered his music above all others, and,
more important, that he would be richly rewarded.
contract with Haydn covered one year, but the demand for Haydn’s
presence in London and the desire for more of his compositions
brought about a one-year extension and eventually to another
residence during the 1894-95 music seasons. Haydn made enough money
during these two tours to finally give him the peace of mind in his
final years that only financial security can bring.
was a short man, unhandsome, with a large aquiline nose disfigured by
polypus, a condition he suffered much of his adult life. A survivor
of smallpox, his face was pitted with the marks of that disease.
Consequently, Haydn himself was amazed that so many pretty women seem
to find him attractive. “They couldn’t have been led to it by my
beauty,” he confessed to one early biographer.
long after arriving in London in 1791, Haydn received a letter from
Mrs. Schroeter; she invited him to give her a music lesson “whenever
it is convenient.” Haydn accepted the offer, and, thus, began a
relationship that lasted beyond his second visit in 1794-95. At least
twenty-two letters passed between the two during Haydn’s sojourns
in the English capital. Letters from Mrs. Schroeter to Haydn clearly
indicate that their relationship passed beyond the platonic to the
intimate. The copies of the letters are in Haydn’s handwriting and
were discovered by his biographer Albert Christoph Dies in Haydn’s
“second London notebook.” Dies further reported in his 1810
biography of the musical giant, that Haydn had admitted his affection
for a widow in London “who loved me…a beautiful and charming
woman and I would have married her very easily if I had been free at
most evenings that he was not otherwise engaged in concerts or
meetings, Haydn dined with Mrs. Schroeter at her residence.
Surprisingly, the two carried on their romance beyond the prying eyes
and ears of London gossips; friends may have been aware, but no broad
reports ever surfaced about the “old man and the young widow.”
After Haydn’s departure in 1895, Mrs. Schroeter looked after some
of his business affairs and was an initial subscriber to his
self-published oratorio The
Although they never met again, some scholars conjecture that they
kept in touch with each other, possibly up to the time of Haydn’s
death in 1809.
The Piano Trio in C major, Hob XV:27 is from a set of three such trios, written not for Lady Schroeter, but for another lady of Haydn’s acquaintance, Therese Jansen. Haydn had met the accomplished amateur pianist during his London visits. She was a favorite student of composer Muzio Clementi and was considered a piano teacher of note in her own right. She did not perform publicly, but did participate in private music-making among friends. Haydn dedicated two of his piano sonatas to her, as well. This trio signals that she must have been quite a fine performer.
Opening our Musical Friendships chamber music concert on Sunday, November 10, 3:00 pm at Zion Lutheran Church will be:
Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola, Op. 25
Ludwig van Beethoven
Madeline Oglesby, flute
Hana Velde, violin • Ann Duchow, viola
Please enjoy the following program notes about this piece:
(1770-1827) arrived in Vienna in 1792, the year after Mozart’s
death. He began his studies with the notable composer Joseph Haydn,
but finding his temperament at odds with the venerated Master,
Beethoven sought out instruction with Antonio Salieri and Johann
Albrechtsberger; but these teachers lasted a short time, as well. He
then set out on his own. Increasingly, he discovered that his
compositions had an audience. He composed piano sonatas and large
ensemble works that were quickly accepted for publication, but sales
were modest at first, and like any aspiring young composer, he wrote
pieces for occasions for small groups of players and for various
combinations of instruments to earn living expenses.
bulk of his compositions during his early Viennese period focused on
works for piano and the usual instrument groupings, but he did
compose for non-traditional combinations. The
Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola, Op 25
is one such work, unusual in that the piece has no bass line. The
piece was offered for publication in 1801 and was an immediate
success. It is not known whether the piece was written for a specific
group or whether it was composed for general consumption. Whatever
the case may be, the Serenade
proved so popular that Beethoven authorized another composer, Franz
X. Kleinheinz, to arrange the score for piano and flute/violin, and
it was offered in 1803 as Opus 41.
Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Viola in D major, Op 25,
was written according to the standards established by Mozart in his
great serenades with the full compliment of movements, but with pared
down instrumentation. Serenades in Beethoven’s time were not
necessary works for lovers, but rather pieces for particular
occasions, designed to entertain, and often performed outdoors. Such
“Gebrauchsmusik” (music for a purpose or “use-music”) does
not seek to find deeper meaning in life or explore the soul of a
nation, but does offer to entertain and audience for an evening in
the park or at an afternoon social gathering. As one observer of this
six movements find the young Beethoven at his most carefree and
effervescent: even the Andante and variations (which would become a
conduit for profound thoughts later in his career) is as light as air
and bubbling with melody and witty repartee. Anyone who only knows
Beethoven from the symphonies, sonatas and concertos has a very
pleasant surprise in store
The Serenade is a most delightful breath of fresh air from the mighty composer of later years. ~Program notes by William Driver