PMEA All-State Performance 2009
PMEA Performance-2009, Valley Forge, PA
COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH ORCHESTRA
Thursday, April 23, 2009 – 3:00PM
Introductory Remarks………Mark J. Klein Esq., Superintendent, Council Rock School District
Light Cavalry Overture………………………...……………………………….…Franz von Suppe
Nimrod, from Enigma Variations ………...……………………………………....….Edward Elgar
The Children of Sanchez …………..…Chuck Mangione / arr. by Bob Phillips and Jerry Dennison
Miles Roldan, Piano
Russian Easter Festival Overture ………………………………...……..Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Light Cavalry Overture by Franz von Suppe (1819-1895)
One of the all-time audience favorites of the light orchestral repertoire, the Light Cavalry Overture is the work of Franz von Suppé — the man who stands at the beginning of the glorious history of Viennese operetta. Although Suppé’s mother was from Vienna, his father was Italian, and he spoke Italian as his first language. After his father’s death, Franz came to Vienna as a teenager with his mother and, as a talented music student, soon began work as the unpaid third Kapellmeister at the Theater-in-der-Josefstadt. It was there that his first light operas were produced in the early 1840s. Over the years, Suppé became one of the most prolific and successful composers of light stage works, for which there was a virtually endless demand. A few of his operettas are still heard today, including Poet and Peasant .and Light Cavalry!
The protagonist in Light Cavalry, a dashing hussar, is of Hungarian descent, which can be easily deduced from several sections in the overture. Interestingly, there is no cavalry in the story, but there is a group of overweight dancers who are often referred to jokingly as the "light cavalry." The overture, apart from its catchy rhythms, is striking for its frequent changes of style. The opening fanfare is nothing less than majestic (Maestoso), but soon gives way to a fast transition (Allegro) to the first "cavalry" music (Allegetto brillante). A short cadenza for clarinet leads to a darkly expressive "Hungarian" passage, and, finally, the rousing return of the lively cavalry music (Tempo primo). In the brilliant final portion of the overture, one can literally hear the trot of their horses.
Nimrod from Enigma Variations, Op. 36 by Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934)
One of the pre-eminent musical figures of his time, Edward Elgar bridged the 19th and 20th centuries as the finest English composer since the days of Handel and Purcell. Born into a musical family, Elgar learned to play violin, organ and bassoon as a child. His father owned a music shop, tuned pianos and played in the local orchestra. By the 1870s, young Edward knew he wanted to be a composer, but practical considerations steered him toward his father’s various businesses. Not until the Enigma Variations did he gain recognition from his contemporaries as a composer.
In 1899, Elgar composed one of his best-known works, the Enigma Variations, op. 36, which catapulted him to fame. The work is a cryptic tribute to his wife, Alice and to the many friends who stood behind the composer in the shaky, early days of his career. Friends would later tell of the conception of the piece: At the end of an overlong day laden with teaching and other duties, Edward Elgar would sit at his piano, and begin idling over the keys. To amuse his wife, the composer would improvise a tune and play it several times, turning each reprise into a caricature of the way one of their friends might have played it or of their personal characteristics. "I believe that you are doing something which has never been done before," exclaimed Mrs. Elgar. Thus was born one of music's great works of original conception, and Elgar's greatest large-scale hit: the Enigma Variations.
The enigma is twofold: each of the 14 variations refers to a friend of Elgar's depicted by the nature of the music, or by sonic imitation of laughs, vocal inflections, or quirks, or by more abstract allusions. The other enigma is the presence of a larger "unheard" theme, never stated but which is – according to the composer –very well known. The identity of the phantom tune left the world with the composer, and guesses have ranged from God Save the King to a simple major scale.
The variation heard today, Nimrod, is attributed to Augustus Jaeger, Elgar's close friend. The most beautiful and famous of the variations, this music describes a nighttime walk when Jaeger gave verbal encouragement to the composer, recalling Beethoven's determination in adversity. Jaeger means hunter in German, and Nimrod was a biblical hunter.
The Children of Sanchez by Chuck Mangione (born 1940) / arr. by Bob Phillips and Jerry Dennison
Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Chuck Mangione stayed in his hometown to attend the Eastman School of Music from 1958 to 1963, and later served as director of the Eastman jazz ensemble from 1968 to 1972. Mangione then went on to record many albums, some of which have won Grammy Awards. Chuck Mangione’s name has become synonymous with jazz flugelhorn, especially with his piece Feels So Good, but perhaps his biggest legacy will be his composing talent and his ability to pen memorable, lyrical melodies. Besides writing for his own jazz combo, Mangione has become known for orchestrating his pieces for large ensembles, especially for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
In 1978 Mangione composed the soundtrack for the film The Children of Sanchez, starring Anthony Quinn. This album won him his second Grammy, in the category Best Pop Instrumental performance in 1979 and the title song, almost 15 minutes long in full version and featuring one of the most recognizable wind section themes, has not lost its popularity to this day. Hall Bartlett directed the rural drama based on the novel The Children of Sanchez: Autobiography of a Mexican Family written by Oscar Lewis in the '60s. Anthony Quinn stared as the widowed Jesus Sanchez, a poor farmer struggling to provide for his family in Mexico City.
This arrangement of Children of Sanchez is based on the famous recording by Mangione, An Evening of Magic - Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which was recorded on July 16, 1978 with 70 members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and with 18,000 people in attendance. This performance will be with a slightly larger orchestra and with a slightly smaller audience!
Two members of the band were among those killed when Continental Airlines Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo this past February. The members were identified as Gerry Niewood and Coleman Mellett. In a statement Mangione, said: "I'm in shock over the horrible, heartbreaking tragedy."
Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36 by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1901)
Like many Russian composers in the late 19th century, Rimsky-Korsakov began as an amateur. From a musical family, his first job was as a naval officer, and no-one was more surprised than he was when, at the age of 27, he was offered the post of professor of composition at the St.Petersburg conservatoire.
The overture was written in 1888, at the same time as his well-known suite for orchestra Scheherezade. A feature the work shares with Scheherezade is its use of short violin cadenzas to separate some of its sections. The piece, whose actual Russian title is Svetliy prazdnik (“Bright Holiday”), the traditional Russian name for Easter, reflects his fascination with the legends and rituals of pagan and early Christian Russia. It is a different world than the Western celebration of Easter, ablaze with colors and lights, set off by passages of brooding darkness. It is awesome, majestic, imposing in its austerity in one moment, and in the next bursting with a spirit of primitive energy and revelry. The work is based on actual liturgical themes which Rimsky-Korsakov found in a collection of old Russian Orthodox canticles collectively called the Obikhod.
The opening alternates two themes: the first is very solemn and based on plainsong, while the second is rather more relaxed, and is first heard on solo cello accompanied by a shimmer of harp, solo violin and flutes. The main allegro which follows has a very lively and syncopated theme, and the mood builds up to one of exultation. A calmer melody also appears - this is a famous Russian Easter chant also known as the Obikhod - All these themes appear as the overture works up to its climax, and the Obikhod appears "amid the trumpet blasts and bell-tolling, constituting a triumphant coda". As the composer says in his autobiography "The legendary and heathen side of the holiday, this transition from the gloomy and mysterious evening of Passion Saturday to the unbridled pagan-religious merry-making of the morn of Easter Sunday, is what I was eager to reproduce in my overture."
Council Rock Music Program
The Council Rock School District, located in historic Bucks County north of Philadelphia, has a reputation as one of the finest academic and co-curricular districts in the state of Pennsylvania. The district has an enrollment of 12,000 students who are served by 10 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 2 high schools.
The Council Rock Music Program has a staff of 34 music instructors. The district has a long history of musical excellence. Council Rock performing groups have received top ratings at local, national, and international festivals. Many Council Rock ensembles have performed at PMEA conferences, including the Council Rock High School North Mastersingers, the Men’s Choir from Newtown Middle School, the Newtown Middle School Jazz Band, and the Council Rock High School South Symphony Orchestra. Music staff have also presented sessions at PMEA conferences and at the MENC conference in Minneapolis. Council Rock has commissioned compositions for band, chorus, and orchestra, and has presented the premieres of these pieces with the composers in attendance. The program strives to offer a balanced, standards based curriculum. There is an active choral, band, strings, jazz, and general music program. Classes in guitar, theory, music technology, jazz improvisation, musical theatre, and music appreciation are also offered.
Members of the Choral and Classroom Staff: Corey Axler, Debbie Bacak, Claudia Calloway, Linda Deis, Mark Dolan, Susan Johnson, Lauren Cerra, Nanette Lutz, Ed McCall, Kitty O’Connor, Gary Papazian, Lori Arner, Starr Shiffer, Lauren Snyder, Ann Warf.
Members of the Instrumental Staff: Rick Bogle, Michelle Bovasso, Mitch Frank, Debbie Grant, Lee Hauslein (Music Curriculum Coordinator), Betty Hintenlang, Ben Keller, Andrea Levin, Michelle Lillie, Joan Bennet, Christy Milliken, Stephanie Newman, Keith Rudat, Lauren Rudat, Sally Scheible, Katie Coyle, Chris Simon, Scott Slutter
Mr. Mark Klein, Superintendent of Schools for Council Rock School District
Board of School Directors, Dr. Paul Anagnostakos, President
Albert R. Funk, Principal Council Rock High School South
Charles Cassady, Assistant Principal and Music Liaison, Council Rock High School South
Leland Hauslein, Music Coordinator for Council Rock School District
Corey Axler, Choir Director and Assistant Orchestra Director Council Rock High School South
Christy Milliken, Band Director Council Rock High School South