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

2012-13 Season

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
~ 3:00 p.m. ~
Memorial Auditorium

Concert program (PDF)
Concert poster
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Concert Graphic

"Immortal Beethoven"
September 23rd, 2012
Program Notes

Egmont Overture, Op. 84

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Sostenuto, ma non troppo - Allegro

Last SEKSO Performance: April 4th, 2007
First Performed: June 15th, 1810

Beethoven was a great admirer of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany's - indeed, the world's - greatest men of letters. He was also a fiery advocate of personal and creative freedom, equality, and liberty. Therefore, when he was offered a commission to write incidental music for a production of Goethe's historical drama Egmont, he leapt eagerly at the chance. The play's subject could not have been better designed to appeal to Beethoven. Set in the Netherlands during the Spanish invasion of the 16th-century, Count Egmont, despite his fervent Catholicism, leads the rebellion against the horrors and oppression of the Spanish Inquisition and is martyred for his cause.

Knowing of the admiration Beethoven and Goethe each had for the other's art, a mutual friend, Bettina Brentano-Arnim, arranged a meeting between the two giants in the Czech resort of Teplitz in 1812, but the association was doomed to failure. At first, all was well - Goethe characterized Beethoven as an "astonishing talent," if a somewhat "untamed personality," and the composer enjoyed performing for Goethe. However, Beethoven, already dealing with the anguish of encroaching deafness and never a particularly congenial man at the best of times, horrified the urbane court poet with his boorish disregard for the social niceties when they happened to meet the Empress and a group of nobles out for a stroll in the park. Goethe immediately stepped aside, bowing deferentially, but Beethoven, grump that he was, locked his hands behind his back, glared imperiously ahead, and forged his way along the path, forcing the royal party to scatter out of his way. Goethe was appalled, and it didn't help that Beethoven reprimanded him for being unbecomingly servile, pointing out that nobles came a dime a dozen, whereas artists such as themselves were rare and therefore far more valuable. The rift was never healed, and Goethe ignored the letter Beethoven wrote him later in life. The two men never met again.

All this was still in the future, however, when in 1809 Beethoven undertook the commission to provide music for Goethe's tragedy. The Egmont music is comprised of nine pieces: the ever-popular Overture; two songs for Klärchen, Egmont's (fictional) sweetheart who kills herself in despair after she is unable to rescue him; and a number of entr'actes. Beethoven actually did not have the score ready by the date of the first performance in May of 1810; the play was not presented with his incidental music until the fourth performance, on June 15th. The Egmont Overture opens forebodingly, with stern, ominous chords, and soon swirls into an energetic allegro depicting the turmoil of battle and Egmont's heroic defiance. A sudden, brief silence follows the stroke of the executioner's axe, but the symbolic death of one cannot subdue the righteousness of the cause, and ultimately the usurpers will be driven back in triumph. As the quiet commentary from the woodwinds swells rapidly into a Victory Symphony (labeled Siegessyphonic by Beethoven), the swirling lines are crowned by gestures from the piccolo, an instrument which Beethoven was the first to liberate from military bands and invite into symphonic repertoire.

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 0 trumpets, timpani, and strings [2[1.2/pic] 222-4200-tmp-str]

Kol Nidrei, Op. 47

Max Bruch (1838-1920)

Adagio ma non troppo

Published In: 1881
Dedicated to/Premiered by: Robert Hausmann

Program notes posted as available.

Scored for: cello solo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumptets, 3 trombones, timpani, harp, and strings. [2222-4230-tmp-hp-str]


Matthew Herren, cello

Matthew Herren, cello

Cellist Matthew Herren has appeared as chamber musician, recitalist and concerto soloist throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Now dividing his time between New York City and Lawrence, Kansas, Mr. Herren is active in the musical life of both regions, performing regularly at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and locally with The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Music Society, and The Lawrence Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Herren is a much sought-after chamber musician. As a member of Trio Fedele and The New York Chamber Soloists, he has toured extensively throughout the United States, with performances at major venues including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, The National Gallery in Washington, Coleman Concerts in Pasadena, Feldman Chamber Music Concerts in Norfolk, VA, Chamber Music Tulsa, and Philadelphia's Mozart on the Square, Free Library, and Ethical Culture Society series. In 2004, Trio Fedele premiered and recorded Lowell Liebermann's Trio, Op. 87 to critical praise. The group has recently appeared in an invited performance at The National Flute Association Convention in New York City and gave the world premiere performance of Charles Hoag's A Celebration for Three at the dedication of The Hall Center for the Humanities, at The University of Kansas. In addition, Mr. Herren has performed chamber music with Jennifer Frautschi, Colin Jacobsen, Menahem Pressler, Arnold Steinhardt, Dawn Upshaw, Albert Fuller, Robert White, Makoto Nakura, The American String Quartet, The Ying Quartet, and Concertante Chamber Players. As recipient of the First Prize in the Vienna Modern Masters International Performers Competition, Mr. Herren's live performance of Schoenberg's String Trio, Op. 45, from The Ravinia Festival, was released on disc worldwide. He has also recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Atlantic, Artek, Helicon, and London Decca Labels, and frequently is heard on NPR's Performance Today.

Mr. Herren spent five seasons as Principal Cellist of the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, and has played, often as principal cello, under many of today's most distinguished conductors, including James DePriest, James Levine, Roger Norrington, Andre Previn, Simon Rattle, Donald Runnicles, Gerard Schwarz, and Michael Stern. In New York City, he is a regular performer with The Orchestra of St. Luke's, with whom he has been featured as continuo cellist. His numerous festival appearances include Caramoor, Norfolk, Ravinia, Red Lodge, Sarasota, and Summerfest at Rutgers University. He has been heard with prominent chamber orchestras of his generation, including Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble, and The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the New York New Music Ensemble, and NewEar Contemporary Ensemble.

Special projects of recent seasons include national and international tours as Principal Cellist of Star Wars: In Concert, collaborations with Regina Resnik at The 92nd Street Y, period-instrument chamber music with The Helicon Ensemble in New York City, and the premiere of Bright Sheng's chamber opera The Silver River in Singapore. In the world of popular music, Mr. Herren has appeared with Metallica at Madison Square Garden, with Sting, Billy Joel, and James Taylor, at Carnegie Hall, with Vanessa Williams and Luciano Pavarotti on Saturday Night Live, with Peter Gabriel at Radio City Music Hall, with Antony and The Johnsons at Lincoln Center, and with Iranian singing legend, Shahram Nazeri throughout Los Angeles.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, Mr. Herren is Lecturer in Cello at Pittsburg State University, and has served on the faculty of The Chamber Music Conference at Bennington College, Vermont. He maintains a flourishing studio of private students at The Kansas City Strings Conservatory, and has taught at The International Institute for Young Musicians at The University of Kansas, and The Vivace! International Festival, at The Pennsylvania Academy of Music.

Mr. Herren is a member of The Advisory Board of The Helicon Foundation.

Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

I. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
II. Allegretto
III. Presto - Assai meno presto (trio)
IV. Allegro con brio

Last SEKSO Performance: April 14, 2002
Completed In: 1812
Premiered in: Vienna, December 8, 1813
Dedicated to: Count Moritz von Fries.

Completed in the spring of 1812, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony (later declared by Beethoven to be one of his best) was first performed in conjunction with the premiere of Wellington's Victory on December 8, 1813 in the hall of Vienna's Old University to benefit Austrians and Bavarians wounded in the battle against Napoleon at Hanau. The concert, with the composer conducting and several famous musicians participating, was such a great success that it had to be repeated four days later. Although Wellington's Victory was the hit of the evening, the symphony was well received, and the second movement, Allegretto, was encored on the spot.

The piece begins with a slow and proud introduction, almost a movement in itself, bearing no thematic relationship to the Allegro to follow. The ever-present "long, short, short" rhythm infuses the entire symphony and takes on a role as important as the musical themes.

The second movement is a set of variations on one of Beethoven's noted hymn-like themes, originally considered for a movement of his String Quartet in C, Op. 59 until he realized the possibilities of an orchestral treatment. This theme, in A minor, suggests a noble tragedy. Later, there are brighter sections in the major mode, and the movement reaches a highpoint in a fugato on the main theme.

The bright and sprightly Scherzo movement (perhaps Beethoven's version of a breathless "Modern Major General") fits well into the symphony, expecting the listener to keep up with it's hurried pace. The Trio appears twice, giving the whole movement the form of A-B-A-B-A. In contrast with the bouncy quality and humor of the main section, the sustained violin notes behind the Trio's theme give it a binding, protected quality.

Although the finale is in a sonata form, the main theme, an Irish folk-song Nora Creina, invokes a dance quality once again. Melodies and rhythms both spin and whirl around in an energetic and exhaustive dance, sometimes playful, sometimes intense and determined.

Scored for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings. [2222-2200-tmp-str]

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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Max Christian Friedrich Bruch (1838-1920)

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