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The Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra
Raul Munguia - Artistic Director & Conductor

2006-07 Season

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007
~ 7:30 p.m. ~
Memorial Auditorium

Concert program (PDF)
Concert poster
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Concert Graphic

March 14th, 2007
Program Notes

Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


Last SEKSO Performance: October 7th, 2001
Written In: 1880
First Performed: January 4, 1881,
Brahms conducting the University of Breslau orchestra
German Title: Akademische Festouvertüre

In 1879, Johannes Brahms, having never attended a university, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau. In order to smooth over any ill feelings from his declining to appear at the ceremony, he composed two concert overtures, the Tragic Overture, and the Academic Festival Overture, to be performed in Breslau in 1891. Brahms called the Academic Festival Overture, "a rollicking potpourri of student songs," and it is just that. Using the largest orchestra for which he would ever write, Brahms incorporated several tunes from the vast catalog of songs commonly sung by students in celebration of brotherhood, merriment, and drinking. Although the majority of these songs are unknown today, Brahms closes the piece with the ever-loved "Gaudeamus igitur," which has often been perceived as a universal alma mater which celebrates academic life.

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoon, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, strings [3[1.2.pic] 2 2 3[] - 4331 - tmp+3 - str ]

Scott Allison ~ Guest Conductor

Scott Allison, Guest Conductor

Scott Allison is currently working on his master's degree in choral conducting from Pittsburg State University, which he will complete in May. Mr. Allison received his bachelor of music education degree from Baker University with an emphasis in both vocal and orchestral music in May 2005. He has been the recipient of numerous musical awards and competitions, including Music Major of the Year (2002), first place winner of the KMTA vocal competition junior and senior division (2003), fifth place recipient NATS vocal competition (2000 & 2004). His conducting professors include Dr. John Buehler (Baker University), Mr. Larry Williams (Baker University), Mrs. Stella Hastings (Pittsburg State University), and Dr. Susan Marchant (Pittsburg State University).

Currently, Mr. Allison is the choral graduate teaching assistant at Pittsburg State University and the adjunct string professor at Cottey College.

Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major (BVW 1068)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

I. Ouverture
II. Air
III. Gavotte I/II
IV. Bourrée
V. Gigue

Written: circa 1720-30

Bach's third Orchestral Suite (Overture) was one of four suites written around the 1720's. The first two Suites were probably written in Cöthen, the latter two in Leipzig, based on the use of trumpets and timpani - instruments not available to him in his previous position.

At that time the "French overture" typically opened with a slow and stately introduction, giving way to a faster middle section and returning to the somber theme at the end. This style of overture was adapted from the opera house to the court, and though the overture wasn't really a dance, the name began to identify the entire work.

You've probably heard the Air before, yes the "Air for the G String". The common name is so titled after a 19th century arrangement for the lowest string on the violin. This is where it's originally from. One of the most recognizable pieces in orchestral literature, the Air has been used in many symphonic compilation recordings, movies, television, weddings. Actually the piece itself allows for such immortality. Was it written one hundred years, or five years ago? It is timeless and not baroque at all.

The gavotte is a medium to fast dance form identified by its strong "upbeat". The style was so popular, it was common for composers to write for it up to the beginning of the 20th century, more than100 years after dance itself had faded from style. The Gavotte I & II is a fine example of the "continuous binary" form. In two sections, the transition between the two leaves you a bit wanting, with the establishment of a new key that needs to be "continued on" in the B section.

The Baroque Suite was usually a compilation of styles from around Europe, and the final two movements, the Bourrée and Gigue finish the piece using styles of both French and English flavor. In cut time and 6/8 respectively, both movements are a challenge, not only for the performer, but the dancer alike.

Scored for: 2 oboes, 3 trumpets, timpani, continuo, strings [0200-0300-tmp-cnt-str]

Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Un poco Allegretto e grazioso
IV. Adagio

Last SEKSO Performance: March 3rd, 1991
Written In: 1862 through 1876
First Performed: November 4th, 1876, Karlsruhe
conducted by Felix Otto Dessoff
Another Fact: Also referred to as "Beethoven's Tenth"

Brahms once remarked to a friend, "I shall never write a symphony. You have no idea how the likes of us feel when we hear the tramp of a giant like him behind us." By "him" Brahms meant Beethoven. To a composer as reverent as Brahms, the works of Beethoven could be a crushing heritage. Brahms was twenty-one when he first heard Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. It moved him so deeply that he decided to attempt a symphony himself. He struggled long with the sketches but eventually gave up and used the ideas in other works. It was not until he was forty-three that he fmished this, his first symphony. Rumor has it that he worked on it for fourteen years.

Brahms opens the first movement with a slow introduction of discordant foreboding. Over a deep insistent pounding of the kettledrum, the strings surge upward while the winds process in the opposite direction. The main part of the movement, "Allegro" begins stormily with a typical Brahmsian theme that bounds upward and then plunges down again. The placid, melancholy opening of the second movement has a long melodic line that rises to an impassioned climax with the violins soaring to the top of the orchestra. The middle section features plaintive interludes in the woodwinds and several dmmatic surprises, then returns to the opening material and ends with a violin solo. Instead of the traditional scherzo, Brahms wrote a gracefully flowing, song-like third movement With its emphasis on the soft woodwind colors, especially clarinet and flute, this movement often recalls the Classical serenades and divertimentos which Brahms knew and loved so well. The Finale opens in an ominous and deeply melancholy mood crowned by a beautiful and peaceful melody in the solo horn over shimmering strings, the echo of a shepherd's horn that Brahms had heard in the alpine country. Then comes still another contrast: a soft, majestic chorale for the brass instruments alone. All this has been introduction. Then comes the great finale itself, led off by a hymnlike melody in the violins that reminds almost everyone of the famous "Ode to Joy" in the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth. "Any fool can see that," said Brahms when someone mentioned the resemblance.

Scored for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani and strings [2223[]-4230-tmp-str]

Related Links

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

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