Program Notes

Steppin’ Out

Sunday, November 5, 2006, 3:00 PM

McAfee Center, Saratoga

Dr. Edward C. Harris, conductor
Victoria DiMaggio Lington, piano
Saratoga HS Wind Ensemble, Michael Boitz, conductor

Savannah River Holiday

Ron Nelson (b. 1929)

Ron Nelson began piano lessons at the age of six. At that tender age, he wrote his first composition, The Sailboat, finding it more fun to improvise than to practice. He became a church organist at the age of thirteen. His early efforts rewarded him with the discipline to write down his improvisations and the basic principles of orchestration. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and later joined the music faculty of Brown University, where he served as chairman of the Music Department. He has composed two operas, a mass, music for films and television, 90 choral works and over 40 instrumental works.

Originally composed as an orchestral overture, Savannah River Holiday received its premiere over NBC Radio in 1953. Two contrasting moods alternate throughout the work. One, gay and reckless, opens and closes the overture. The other, quiet and reflective, provides a lovely lyrical balance. Together, these moods reflect the power and serenity of a mighty river.

Allerseelen (All Souls’ Day), Op. 10, No. 8

Richard Strauss (1864-1949), arranged by Albert Oliver Davis

Richard Strauss enjoyed early success as a conductor and composer and was influenced by the work of Wagner. He developed the tone poem to an unrivalled level of expressiveness and achieved great success with his operas. He served as musical director in the courts of Munich, Weimar and Berlin. His relationship with the government in Germany was ambiguous, a fact that protected him but led to post-war difficulties and self-imposed exile in Switzerland.

Allerseelen (“All Souls’ Day”) is set to text by Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg (1812-1864). This song’s melody and rich accompaniment make it one of the best known lieder of Strauss.

Place on the table the fragrant mignonettes,
Bring the last red asters inside,
and let us speak again of love,
As once in May.

Give me your hand, so that I may secretly press it;
And if someone sees, it’s all the same to me.
Just give me one of your sweet glances,
As once in May.

Every grave blooms and is fragrant tonight,
One day in the year are the dead free,
Come to my heart, so that I may have you again,
As once in May.

Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), transcribed by D. F. Bain

Edvard Grieg was a passionate supporter of Norwegian music and became the best known Scandinavian composer of the 19th century. He studied piano and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. His music features elements borrowed from Norwegian folk tunes, and Grieg’s use of folk melodies and rhythms influenced many later composers.

Completed in 1868 when Grieg was just 25 years old, the Piano Concerto in A Minor may be his most famous work. The concerto was an immediate success. The soloist, Edmund Neupert, wrote that “the three dangerous critics... applauded with all their might,” and a friend informed Grieg that there had been “thunderous chorus(es) of applause” at numerous instances throughout the work. It has since become a favorite with audiences worldwide. From the dramatic opening cadenza to the sweepingly grand final chords, the concerto is filled with invention, originality, and sparkle that cannot help but please the ear.

Symphonic Fanfare

Mark Camphouse (b. 1954)

Born in Illinois in 1954, Mark Camphouse graduated from high school a year early and went on to receive his formal musical training at Northwestern University. He has taught at universities in Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Virginia. His musical composition started at an early age, with his First Symphony being premiered when he was just seventeen. Several of his compositions have won band association awards. Camphouse has served as guest conductor, lecturer and clinician in North America and Europe.

Symphony No. 3

Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966)

Vittorio Giannini was born in Philadelphia into a family with a strong musical background. He learned to play the violin from his mother. At the age of nine, he received a scholarship to the Royal Conservatory in Milan, Italy. In 1917, he returned to New York to complete his graduate studies in composition at the Juilliard School of Music.

From 1939 to 1965, he served concurrently at the Juilliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute. He became one of the country’s most active composition teachers. He helped to found the North Carolina School of the Arts. He also wrote eleven operas, several large choral works, songs, madrigals, chamber music, works for piano and numerous band and orchestral works.

Symphony No. 3 was written in 1961. The first movement is romantic in nature, with a main theme built from ascending fourths. The second movement opens with an oboe solo accompanied by trombones, and develops a gentle lyric mood featuring the woodwinds and horns. The third movement is based on the interplay of 6/8 and 3/4 meters and features the alto saxophone and bassoon in frequent opposition to the rhythmic background. The fourth movement juxtaposes two broad themes, with rhythmic punctuations in the brass and sweeping passages in the woodwinds providing contrast. The conclusion of the movement achieves a thrilling climax, using all of the winds and percussion.

Honey Boys on Parade

Edward Victor Cupero (1878-1939), edited By John R. Bourgeois

BEdward Victor Cupero was known for his excellence as a cornettist, as well as a music director, arranger and composer. He conducted city and school bands, theater orchestras, minstrel shows and symphony orchestras. He was the music director for the George “Honey Boy” Evans Minstrels from 1912 to 1915.

Honey Boys on Parade is a circus march of the type called a “screamer,” dedicated to George “Honey Boy” Evans, so named because of the popularity of his song, I’ll Be True To My Honey Boy. The march was meant to feature the dazzling technique of the circus bands of that era.

Program notes for SJWS concerts are edited by Karen Berry and are excerpted from the composers, Band Notes by Norm Smith, The Pepper Music Catalog and the following sources:

Foothill College Symphonic Band
MusicWeb International
University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Austin Symphonic Band
Lotte Lehmann Archive
Geoff Kuenning's Program Notes
Edvard Grieg Museum