Date: November 28th, 2014
Windsor Symphony Orchestra
String Quintet, Mary Webb Centre
Friday, November 28th, 7:00 P.M.
Trois Pièces Brèves, 1930
1890 – 1962
III. Assez lent – Allegro scherzando
Ibert’s eclectic output includes operas, ballets, choral, and chamber music as well as works for plays and films. Noted for lyrical festive compositions with a hint of gentle humour, he lead the Académie de France in Rome, the Paris Opéra, and the Opéra-Comique. Ibert also served as Director of the Académie de France, and, upon his retirement was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
Trois Pièces Brèves is playful, humorous, showy and challenging. Each piece is a faultless, scrumptious miniature. The Allegro is rife with the composer’s colorful and charming style. The finale, Assez lent, is only slightly weightier. These two lively romps bookend a duet for clarinet and bassoon.
SIR EDWARD ELGAR
Salut d’Amour, 1888
1857 – 1934
A self-taught composer who created his first works before he was 10 years old, Elgar is regarded as the quintessentially English composer. His Enigma Variations, The Dream of Gerontius and Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 are international concert staples. “Land of Hope and Glory,” is traditionally sung to the music of Pomp and Circumstance on the last night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Enthusiastically sung by audience and performers, it is considered by many to be an unofficial British National Anthem.
Salut d’Amour (Love’s Greeting), written in 1888 as an engagement present to his wife, Alice, was Elgar’s first published work. The first public performance took place in 1889, and the first recording of the full version was made in 1915 with Elgar conducting. This lovely piece remains one of his most beloved melodies.
Five Easy Dances 1956
1912 – 2007
Denes Agay is best known for his teaching collections, anthologies, and texts for piano study. Agay composed and orchestrated music for the Hungarian film industry, but with the rise of Nazism he moved to New York in 1939, eventually becoming an American citizen. He wrote music for movies, the popular “Joy of” book series, and was author of the anthology Best Loved Songs of the American People. He was conductor and arranger of the NBC radio show “Guest Star” which featuring artists like Bing Crosby, Perry Como and the Andrews Sisters.
Five Easy Dances is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon.
Ancient Airs & Dances, 1917
1879 – 1936
I. Balletto detto “Il Conte Orlando”
II Gagliarda – Vincenzo Galilei
Respighi was a composer, musicologist, and conductor inspired by 16th, 17th and 18th century Italian music. He is best known for his three Roman tone poems, Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome, and Roman Festivals.
Ancient Airs & Dances, Suite 1, is based on Renaissance lute pieces by fellow Italian Simone Molinaro, Vincenzo Galilei, the father of Galileo Galilei, and other anonymous composers. Italian musicologist Guido Gatti said of this suite, “Here is an elegant way of writing…a beautiful harmonizing, a splendid method of orchestration; and with this is a desire to be agreeable, well mannered, and respectable at all costs.”
Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, 1896
1843 – 1907
Grieg, born in the town of Bergen on a Norwegian fjord, is considered to be one of the leading Romantic era composers whose incorporation of Norwegian folk music into his compositions helped to promote the music of Norway internationally. Rather than grand orchestral works, Grieg concentrated on beautiful miniatures that evoked the people and landscape of his country.
Over time Grieg assembled a series of 6 to 8 short movements into several collections which he titled “Lyric Pieces.” The best known of these compositions is Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, written to commemorate the 25th wedding anniversary of Grieg and his wife Nina in June 1892. (Troldhaugen was the name of Grieg’s villa in Bergen.) The work’s festive first section evokes congratulations from guests, while the second section is more reflective.
Yes, I’m in the Barrel, 1925
1901 – 1971
Armstrong (also known as Satchmo) was one of the jazz greats with his gravelly voice, virtuoso improvisational trumpet playing, and scat singing.
Yes, I’m in the Barrel was recorded in Armstrong’s Hot Five Sessions. (“I’m in the barrel” refers to being poverty stricken which Armstrong was in his early life). These recordings reshaped the face of jazz by introducing solo improvisations and resulted in some of the most important masterpieces of early jazz.
Wind Quintet, 1922
1865 – 1931
I. Allegro ben moderato
Considered to be Denmark’s greatest composer, Nielsen’s blending of neo-classical and modern styles with strong rhythms and advanced harmony foreshadowed composers of the late 20th century. He wrote six symphonies as well as concertos for clarinet, flute, and violin, which have become a part of standard orchestral repertoire.
The Wind Quintet, based on one of Nielsen’s spiritual songs, was composed for five friends who played flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon, with each part written to suit the skills of the individual player.
1940 – 1980
Renowned singers, songwriters, musicians, and composers, Lennon and McCartney had one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships in the 20th century.
“Yesterday” premiered in the album Help! and has become one of the most recorded songs in the history of recorded music. Named best song in numerous polls, “Yesterday” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1997. The original recording features McCartney alone, without the other Beatles, accompanied by a string quartet.
L’Arlésienne Suite no. 1, 1872
1838 – 1875
An accomplished pianist who rarely performed in public, Bizet was a Romantic-era composer best known for his operas, particularly his final work, Carmen.
Bizet’s incidental music for Alphonse Daudet’s unsuccessful play L’Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles) was far more successful than the play. As a result, Bizet arranged it into two suites of four movements each. In Suite no. 1, the Prélude, based on “March of the Kings,” opens with a vigorous theme. The fourth movement, as the title suggests, mimics the sound of church bells, a repetition of three notes, to accompany a sprightly little dance theme.
Maple Leaf Rag, 1899
1867? – 1917
The Cascades, 1904
A composer, pianist, and music teacher born in Texas, Joplin is often considered the King of Ragtime. Born out of African-American folk rhythms of the 19th century, ragtime is considered to be a synthesis of African syncopation and European classical music. It epitomizes the energy of modern urban America and laid the foundation for the emergence of the jazz and big band era.
One of Joplin’s first pieces, “Maple Leaf Rag” is the archetypical ragtime song. With rhythmic patterns, melody lines and harmony, this piece has remaind popular and was voted by CBC as one of the greatest songs of all time.
“The Cascades” was written for the St. Louis World Fair and refers to Cascade Gardens, the Fair’s major water feature of fountains and lagoons.