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

2007-08 Season

Sunday, November 18, 2007
~ 3:00 p.m. ~
Memorial Auditorium

Concert program (PDF)
Concert poster
Related Links

illus. by Maxfield Parrish, 1909

"Music From Near & Far"
Sunday, November 18th, 2007
Program Notes

Overture to "Candide"

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Allegro molto con brio

Last SEKSO Performance: September 28th, 2003
Completed In: 1956
First Performed: Jan. 26, 1957, NYPhil, Bernstein conducting

For anyone asking "how did I get myself into this?", consider yourself in good company. In the early 50's, Leonard Bernstein, on the urging of playwright Lillian Hellman, began collaborating on an adaption of Voltaire's short novel "Candide" for the musical theatre. Over the next several years, sketches were made, lyricists came and went, and finally in the fall of 1956 the operetta was ready for performances in Boston. The work was premiered in New York on December 1st, 1956 at the Martin Beck Theater, and the Overture was given it's concert premiere the following January.

Voltaire's 1759 novella was a satire on the social and religious philosophies of the day - quite harsh in some circles. Hellman recognized a number of similarities in the "Washington Witch Trials" and the resulting paranoia and blacklisting that affected her and many of Bernstein's friends. Between conception and its 1956 premiere, Hellman was called upon to testify in the McCarthy hearings and later witnessed the humiliation of Senator McCarthy. Bernstein turned his sharpest eye to the political characters in the operetta.

Although there were good reviews, the premiere itself was not received well by critics and closed in February of the next year. Bernstein continued to work on the piece with at least 5 revisions over the next 2 decades.

The Overture itself is a wild ride. Presenting melodies of the operetta in traditional fashion, it's perhaps more of a "good old days" reverie of Candide, before his calamities begin. Using a variety of musical twists, turns, and jokes somewhat similar to the musical humor displayed by Prokofiev in his "Classical Symphony", Bernstein hot-foots his way quickly through the overture so he can throw in one last musical joke before dealing with Voltaire.

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp and strings. [ 3[1.2.pic] 2 3[1.2.bcl] 3[]-4231-tmp+5-hp-str]

Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, op. 26

Max Bruch (1838-1920)

I. Vorspiel (Prelude). Allegro moderato
II. Adagio
III. Finale. Allegro energico

Completed In: Oct. 1867
First Performance: January 7, 1868, Bremen, Germany, Joseph Joachim, vln.

Max Bruch began composing at an early age. Writing chamber music at age eleven and finishing his first symphony at fourteen, his music became very popular for its use of folk tunes and romantic feeling. History doesn't give Bruch the same stature of other musical giants, like his contemporary Brahms, because his music, by being so accessible to the audiences of his day, lost some of the respect of following generations. He was, however, one of the most sought-after teachers of composition with pupils such as Ralph Vaughan Williams and Ottorino Respighi.

Violinists embrace the legacy of Bruch which includes the passionate Concerto No. 1 in G minor. Ranking with the other great romantic violin concertos, Bruch's No. 1 was began in 1862 and performed in its final version in 1868 by Joachim, one of the greatest virtuosos of the romantic period.

Bruch's early attempts at calling the work a fantasy helps to explain the nature of its construction. The first movement, despite technical difficulties and emotional depth that rival other romantic concerto's opening movements, is a prelude in title and function. The Prelude continues without conclusion into the Adagio. One of the most beautiful slow movements of violin repertoire, this is truly the heart and soul of the concerto. The Finale, brilliant and fantastic, is full of passages that exploit many of the amazing technical abilities unique to the violin.

Scored for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings. [2222-4200-tmp-str]

Jonathan Gayman, violin

Jonathan Gayman, violin

Beginning piano at age seven, Jonathan studied a variety of instruments including saxophone, trumpet, accordion and banjo. At age sixteen, Jon finally found "his" instrument-the violin. His first teacher, Kirt Duffy, helped him win a scholarship at MSSU in Joplin, Missouri where he studied under Dr. Kexi Liu.

Performance experiences of all kinds awaited Jon at MSSU. He played alto saxophone in a saxophone quartet that was featured on tour with the MSSU Concert Band. He also played first trumpet in the Concert Band and second trumpet in the Jazz Orchestra. Majoring in piano, as well as violin, Jon devoted himself to practicing and achieved many successful performances on both instruments including a solo appearance with the Joplin Community Orchestra playing Mozart's third Violin Concerto under the direction of William Elliott.

Jon has had the privilege to study under Dr. Selim Giray while working on his master's degree at Pittsburg State University. He is extremely grateful for the many professors who have given so much of themselves towards his musical and professional development.

Sheherazade, Symphonic Suite, Op. 35

Nicolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship
II. The Tale of Prince Kalendar
III. The Young Prince and the Princess
IV. "The Festival at Baghdad - The Sea - Shipwreck - Conclusion"

Last SEKSO Performance: November 21st, 1999
Completed In: August, 1888
First Performed: December 15th, 1888, St. Petersburg, conducted by the composer

Scheherazade is based on the tales of Arabian Nights' or "The Thousand and One Nights". These stories are ancient. They have existed for centuries in many countries; Persia, Arabia, India. No one knows where they began. The composer put the following statement in the score:

"The Sultan Schahriar, convinced of the perfidy and faithlessness of women, vowed to execute each of his wives alter the first night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her own life by interesting him in the tales she told him through 1001 nights. Impelled by curiosity, the Sultan continually put off her execution, and at last entirely abandoned his sanguinary resolve. Many marvels did Scheherazade relate to him, citing the verses of poets and the words of songs, waving tale into tale and story into story."

I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship. The first movement opens with the principal theme of the entire work: a heavy, forbidding motto proclaimed in thunderous octaves. This might be the ferocious Sultan, except that, as Rimsky himself pointed out, it returns in later movements at points where there is no thought at all of the Sultan. This stem announcement is answered by pacifying woodwind chords and then by the voice of Scheherazade: a graceful, sinuous violin solo. The Sultana's first narrative has three principal themes: 'the stem motto of the start, the theme of Scheherazade herself (which is not always confined to the solo violin), and a rocking, wave-like theme, suggesting the billows of Sinbad's sea.

II. The Story of the Kalendar Prince. The wheedling, cajoling voice of the Sultana introduces the adventure of the Kalendar Prince. One wonders which one of the several Kalendar princes Rimsky had in mind. There were at least three princes who disguised themselves as Kalendars, members of a mendicant order of wandering dervishes. The story begins with a jaunty bassoon solo, later taken by the oboe and others. Scheherazade's theme suddenly erupts in the bottom of the orchestra. Over a shuddering tremolo of the violins, a brassy fanfare is played by the trombone, echoed by trumpet and by various alternations and combinations of brasses, woodwinds, and strings.

III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess. The opening theme in the violins suggests that, whichever story is being told here, it is a romantic one. The narrative is embellished by rippling scales of flutes and clarinets, and then interrupted by a softly rasping sound of a military drum. The subtle rhythms of plucked and muted strings are accentuated with a touch of tambourine and triangle tone. For a moment we catch the voice of Scheherazade herself, but soon it is submerged in the fascination of the tale she tells.

IV. Festival in Baghdad; The sea; The Ship Breaks Up Against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman; Conclusion. A nervous transformation of the main motto theme alternates with the voice of Scheherazade as an introduction to the Finale, which is like a confused dream of Oriental splendor and terror. Te Festival begins with a lightly fluttering dance of the solo flute. Other instruments join as the excitement swells. The dance seems more and more frenzied until it takes on an undertone of fear. Rhythms clash and the tempo grows. All at once the Festival seems to be on shipboard. The waves of Sinbad's sea swell in overwhelming mountains, and woodwinds scream as the ship crashes on the magic rock, lie storm and the sea subside, and the story is done. The voice of Scheherazade's violin fades away upward through a final, serene chord of the orchestra, like the passing of a dream.

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, and strings. [3[1.2.pic]2[1.2/Eh]22-4231-tmp+5-hp-str]

Related Links

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)


Max Christian Friedrich Bruch (1838-1920)

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)


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