• PMEA Performance-2014, Hershey, PA


    Thursday, March 27 – 10:30am



     Introductory Remarks………………..…Albert Funk, Principal, Council Rock High School South


     Procession of the Nobles, from “Mlada Suite” …………………….....….Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov


                            Mike Feinman, trumpet

                            Laura McIntyre, trumpet

                            Murphy Agger, trumpet


    Peer Gynt Suite No. 1………………………………….….………...…………..……...Edvard Grieg


    1. Morning Mood

                         Jaime Swank, flute

                         Jacque Goldfarb, oboe

                         Sam Sadow, French horn

                         Elizabeth Ward, bassoon

    1. Ase’s Death
    2. Anitra’s Dance
    3. In the Hall of the Mountain King

                         Elizabeth Ward, bassoon



    Night On Bald Mountain ……………..………… Modest Moussorsky / Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

                          Amanda Ritter, clarinet

                          Jaime Swank, flute

                          Ben Ziff, harp


    Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah ………………………………………….Camille Saint-Saens

                          Jennifer Park, oboe

                          Jacque Goldfarb, oboe

                          Jennifer Park, English Horn

                          Ben Ziff, harp



    Program Notes


    Procession of the Nobles, (from Mlada) by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

    Rimsky-Korsakov is today probably best remembered for his opulent orchestral works, such as Schéhérezade, but his fifteen operas, including Mlada, are if anything richer and more complex, They “open up a delightful new world, the world of the Russian East, of supernaturalism and the grandly exotic. The best-known excerpt from Mlada is the imposing “Procession of the Nobles,” which takes place towards the end of Act III.  It is a march of unparalleled vigor and lyrical melody, so blazingly impetuous that the listener may easily be reminded of colorful banners flapping madly in the brilliant sunlight, as swaggering princes ride their matchless Arab steeds.  Indeed, the opera’s action takes place in the ninth or tenth century in a region on the Baltic Sea which was known for the daring of its swarthy warriors and their elegant white Arab steeds, the latter possibly precursors perhaps of the Lipizzaner Viennese horses in more recent times, famous for their immaculate dressage.

    Fanfares sprout up everywhere in the music, lending the brilliancy of trumpets and the burnished mellowness of horns to the already supersaturated richness of the tonal atmosphere.  The timpanist, who has been busy throughout, has a thrilling climax of his own in the final measures.

    Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

    The great Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) accomplished the near impossible in his verse drama Peer Gynt (1867): he chose for his protagonist a man who was completely devoid of any positive qualities and made us care for that man deeply by the end of the play. Peer, a Norwegian peasant lad, is conceited beyond imagination, a notorious liar, swindler, and womanizer, who betrays the love of his life and all his friends, and doesn’t hesitate to send others to their deaths so that he may live. But Ibsen showed how earnestly this unsavory character had struggled all his life to make sense of human destiny, and made this quest the focus of his play. Like Goethe’s Faust, Peer goes from one plane of experience to the next: his path leads him, in turn, to the kingdom of the Trolls, to America, and the North African desert, before he finds his way back to the saintly Solveig, who has spent her entire life waiting for him patiently in the Norwegian mountains.

    Grieg was asked by Ibsen to compose incidental music for the play. In the winter of 1887, Grieg arranged four numbers from his incidental music as a concert suite for orchestra, and five years later, he fashioned a second suite.

    There are four movements in the first suite, beginning with Morning, quite simply one of the most effective depictions of dawn in all music. Åse’s Death, scored for strings alone, is a mournful adagio on the death of Peer’s mother. In Morocco, Peer is bewitched by Anitra’s Dance, performed by his Bedouin host’s beautiful daughter. Returning to Norway, Peer finds himself In the Hall of the Mountain King, where he refuses to marry the hideous daughter of the King of the Trolls.



    Night On Bald Mountain by Modest Moussorsky (18391881) / Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)


    The piece as we’ll hear it this morning had something of a difficult birth, beginning with an idea when Mussorgsky was still a teen in the late 1850s, and ending in 1886 with Rimsky‐Korsakov serving as the final musical midwife. Mussorgsky first became interested in composing a work based on St. John’s Eve, a story by Nikolai Gogol, in his late teens. St. John’s Eve is the night before the Feast of St. John, and in Eastern European traditions, celebrations included a potpourri of pagan trick‐or‐treat traditions and religious observances and bonfires. His original aspiration was to write a three‐act opera but the idea eventually settled into being an orchestral tone poem. The composition continued to evolve, but it was only after Mussorgsky’s death in 1881 and through the orchestration genius of his friend Rimsky‐Korsakov that the various versions of the piece were synthesized and completed into the work we know and love today.


    The work is by turns eerily beautiful, terrifying and hopeful. The story is not difficult to follow; the music easily conjures up the atmosphere of devilish fun at a Witches' Sabbath on a Ukrainian mountain‐top. Rimsky‐Korsakov provided this description: "Subterranean sounds of unearthly voices. Appearance of the Spirits of Darkness, followed by that of the Chernobog [‘Black God’]. Glorification of Chernobog and celebration of the Black Mass.Witches' Sabbath. At the height of the orgy, the bell of the little village church is heard from afar. The Spirits of

    Darkness are dispersed. Daybreak."


    Bacchanale from "Samson et Dalila"  by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

    The Parisian-born Camille Saint-Saëns was quite literally a musician for his entire life. Before he was three years old, Saint- Saëns began studying the piano. He began composition lessons at age seven, and presented a full concert at the tender age of ten. In his early twenties, Saint-Saens first two symphonies earned him recognition from contemporaries Liszt, Rossini, and Berlioz.

    Camille composed many works in early in his career, including a dozen operas. His most famous opera, Samson et Dalila, took nearly eight years to compose. The opera finally premiered in Germany in December 1877. The opera has been described as exotic, sensual, and as "one of the brightest jewels of French opera." The opera is about the Biblical story of Samson, mighty champion of Israel, who fell under the love-spell of Delilah. Her discovery that his strength was embodied in his flowing locks, and her subsequent seduction (in which she cuts off his hair at his own unthinking request) makes for a dramatic plot around which to build an opera. When Samson discovers what she has done to him he realizes that her love was false, but he is powerless. In the final scene, many months later when his hair has regrown and his strength has returned, he brings down the temple upon his captors by pushing apart the pillars to which he is chained.

    One of its orchestral interludes, the Bacchanale from Act III, contains the most recognizable melody from the piece. Though it is often associated with belly dancing, the Bacchanale is actually a portrayal of the Philistine's celebration after Delilah's apparent defeat of their enemy, Samson. Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila was performed more that 500 times before his death, and it is still frequently performed throughout the world.