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

2012-13 Season

Thursday, March 14, 2013
~ 7:30 p.m. ~
Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall, McCray.

Concert program (PDF)
Concert poster
Related Links


Program notes by
Denissa Rivas de MunguÍa

Concert Graphic

"Sublime, Passion, and Rhythm"
Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Program Notes

Mambo, from West Side Story

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Meno Presto

First Performed: New York, Broadway, 1957. Dir. & choreographed by Jerome Robbins

In 1947 the theatre producer and choreographer Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) had the idea of creating a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet set in contemporary times. He proposed this idea to playwright and stage director Arthur Laurents (1917-2011), and to composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). Later the composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930) joined the project. This collaboration resulted in the musical West Side Story.

West Side Story is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood of New York City in the decade of the 50s. The story depicts the feud between the teenage street gangs The Jets, of Polish-American background, and the Sharks, of Puerto Rican descent. Marúa, sister of The Sharks' leader, falls in love with Tony member of the Jets. The rivalry between the gangs is accentuated in the choice of songs and dances used in the musical numbers, such as "Blues", "America", "Mambo", and "Cha-Cha".

One of the most memorable numbers from West Side Story is the Mambo. This spirited Latin dance with driving rhythms and effervescent dance steps originated in Cuba. This musical genre was created by Arsenio Rodrúguez in the 1930s and became extremely popular in the Cuba ballrooms. The mambo quickly gained popularity outside Cuba, especially in Mexico from where it expanded to North America and the rest of the world. In West Side Story both gangs The Jets and The Sharks arrange to meet at the school dance at the local gym with the purpose of deciding who control the streets. Dancing the energetic mambo is a display of power and dominance to the rival gang.

Nimrod, (var. IX, from Enigma Variations)

Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

Adagio

Last SEKSO Performance: May 1, 2011
Completed In: 1899

Sir Edward William Elgar wrote Variations on an Original Theme for Orchestra ("Enigma"), Op. 36 between 1898 and 1899. The work was conceived when in 1898, after a long day of teaching violin, Elgar came back home and sat at the piano improvising melodies. His wife Alice liked one of the tunes so much that she asked her husband to play it again. Elgar did so and then proceeded to improvise variations on the tune molding each variation to portray the personality or musical style of friends of their friends. Eventually the composer orchestrated and expanded these variations resulting in a theme with 14 variations, each named after a friend. The enigma name stems, according to the composer, from a hidden theme than "is not played." Although there have been several attempts to decipher the enigma, none has been completely convincing and thus the enigma is still unsolved.

Variation IX "Nimrod" is named after Elgar's publisher and close friend Augustus J. Jaeger. In German the word 'jaeger' means hunter, and Nimrod is the name of a biblical patriarch in the Old Testament whose name means 'Mighty hunter before the Lord.' According to Dora Penny, a friend of the composer, Elgar confided to Jaeger his frustration and intention of giving up composing, but Jaeger told him to follow Beethoven's example: He had many worries but never stopped creating. Variation IX is a sublime adagio considered the heart of the Enigma Variations.

This performance of Nimrod is dedicated to the Music Department of the University of Southern Mississippi, which was devastated by an EF-3 tornado on Sunday, February 10th, 2013. Their infinite love for music has redefined resilience and inspired everyone around them. For more information, please visit the Southern Mississippi Emergency Relief Fund.

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, and strings.
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Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33

Camile Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

I. Allegro non troppo

Last SEKSO Performance: Oct. 2, 1994
Written In: 1872
First Performed: January 19, 1873
Written for: cellist Auguste Tolbecque

CCamille Saint-Saëns wrote his cello concerto in 1872 for the French cellist and constructor of historical instruments Auguste Tolbecque (1830-1919) Tolbecque premiered the concerto in January of 1873 at Paris Conservatoire. This performance had great significance for two main reasons: It firmly settled Saint-Saëns as a pillar in the French music establishment, and it elevated the status of the cello as a virtuoso instrument in a time when the spotlight of virtuosity was on the violin and the piano.

Saint-Saëns lived between the end of the Romantic period and the beginning of the modern era. He inherited the musical traditions of the Romanticism and with his inventive reinterpreted them into the emerging aesthetic of modernism. We can identify these characteristic in his cello concerto. A Romantic feature in this work is the exploiting of the singing and declamatory characteristic of the cello, exploring the entire range of the instrument, much like the operatic traditions of the late 19th Century. On the other hand, Saint-Saëns takes the conventional three movements of the concerto and structures them into one compact continuous movement in three sections: Allegro non tropo, Allegretto con moto, and Tempo primo. The concerto begins with the soloist entering immediately after the first chord played by the orchestra. The opening triplet motif presented by the cello is used throughout the work unifying the three sections. The second section is a lyrical minuet in which the strings are muted and the cello plays a cadenza. The finale section is an energetic restatement of the triplet motif demanding increasingly virtuosic pyrotechnics from the soloist.

" Saint-Saëns concerto is dramatic without being dark. It's technically difficult, but easy to listen to. I'm having fun playing this concerto!"

- Matthew Herren

Scored for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings
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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.

Danzón No. 2 for orchestra

Arturo Márquez (1950- )

Written In: 1994
First Performed: Mexico City, Francisco Savin, dir.

Mexican composer Arturo Márquez wrote his Danzón No. 2 for Orchestra in 1994. The work was commissioned by the Department of Musical Activities at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and was premiered the same year by the Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico City.

The Danzón is a rhythm and dance genre originated in Cuba. It is a transculturation of the European contradanza, arriving to Cuba in the 18th hundreds through the French and English invasions. The contradanzas absorbed African rhythms and dance styles from the Habana thus giving way to the danza criolla (creole dance) or 'Habanera.' The structural form, basic rhythm, tempo, and dance steps of the Habanera evolved into the Danzón. This new genre became immensely popular and was quickly adopted throughout Cuba, becoming the baile nacional de Cuba (Cuba's national dance).

Marquez's Danzón opens with a slow, sensuous theme by the clarinet over a heartbeat by the claves, pizzicato strings, and piano. This theme is answered by the oboe supported by a brass accompaniment and then the Danzón burst into a fiery rhythmic section. The work continues to elaborate the musical ideas, featuring solo or groups of instruments, becoming increasingly wild and moving in frenzy to a rhythmic and exhilarating stomp ending.

With the wide array of moods ranging from nostalgic melodies to sultry, exuberant rhythms Márquez has captured in his Danzón No. 2 the soul of Latin America.

Scored for: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, percussion, piano, and strings.
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Related Links

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

and...

Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

Arturo Márquez (1950- )

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

Cello Links: