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Pyotr Tchaikovski (1840-1893)
Program notes: February 20, 2016
Program notes for tonight’s concert are abstracted from the following sources: https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Franz_Schubert; https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Symphony_No._8_(Schubert); http://www. scranton.edu/ academics/performance-music/nelhybel /bio.shtml; https://earth.callutheran.edu/schools/cas /programs/music/ media/documents/03-07 SymphonyConcertwithPhelps.pdf; https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Marche_slave; https://en.wikipedia. org /wiki/Paul_Strand; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Manhatta; http://silent-film-music.com/about/; http://www.silentfilm music.com/scores.html; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_the_Inkwell; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koko_the_Clown
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Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Donald Sosin (1951-)
Vaclav Nelhybel (1919-1996)
Ben Model (1962-)
Butte Symphony Association | PO Box 725 | 321 W. Broadway, Clark Chateau | Butte, Montana | 59703-0725
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Unfinished Symphony (Franz Schubert 1797-1828): During his lifetime, awareness of Schubert’s work was limited, but after his death composers Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, and others discovered and championed his works. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Schubert died when just 31 years old, but his body of work consists of more than six hundred secular vocal pieces (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, much sacred music, several operas, some incidental music, and chamber and piano music.
Schubert’s eighth Symphony in B minor Unfinished (D. 759) consists of two complete movements and a few sketches of a third. He began work on it in 1822, six years before his death. Schubert's “unfinished” symphony is sometimes called the first Romantic symphony because of its expressive melodies, vivid harmonies, and creative combinations of orchestral color. The Butte Symphony Orchestra will perform the symphony’s first movement.
Music for Orchestra (Vaclav Nelhybel 1919-1996): Czechoslovakian/American composer Vaclav Nelhybel published “Music for Orchestra” in 1967, ten years after he immigrated to the United States.
Nelhybel was a superb craftsman who amalgamated the musical impulses of his time using his own concepts and methods. His music has a striking linear-modal orientation that along with the autonomy of melodic line, leads to an equally important characteristic-rhythm and meter. Linear modality and time interplay to cause the vigorous drive typical of Nelhybel’s compositions. Nelhybel often added to this interplay accumulating dissonance, textural density, exploding dynamics, and massed multi-hued colors.
“Music for Orchestra” is a complex work built on the notes D, E, and F. After a somber dirge-like opening, the music drives aggressively onward adding increasing frenzy and brilliance. It is a whirlwind of orchestral color that unrelentingly pushes straight through to its final unison chord.
Marche Slave (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 1840-1893): Tchaikovsky was a late-Romantic Russian composer and one of the first Russians whose music made a lasting international impression. Tchaikovsky published “Slavic March” in October 1876 and it became known by western audiences as "Marche Slave".
The march’s first section uses two Serbian folk songs, "Bright sun, you do not shine equally”, and "Gladly does the Serb become a soldier” to describe the oppression of the Serbs by the Turks. In its second section, which describes the Russians rallying to help the Serbs, Tchaikovsky uses a simple melody which is passed around the orchestra and that eventually gives way to a solemn statement of the "God Save the Tsar". The third section is a furious orchestral climax that repeats the Serbian cry for help. The final section uses a Russian melody that again includes "God Save the Tsar" to depict Russian volunteers marching to assist the Serbs and predict the triumph of the Slavonic people over tyranny. The march finishes with a virtuoso coda in the full orchestra.
Manhatta (Donald Sosin 1951- ): A silent film completed by Paul Strand in 1921, “Manhatta” provides a day-to-day view of life in New York City. The film is a sequence of 65 shots in a loose non-narrative structure that begins as a ferry approaches Manhattan and ends with a sunset view from a skyscraper. The film explores the relationship between still photography and film; camera movement is kept to a minimum. Each frame provides a view that has been carefully arranged into an abstract composition.
Donald Sosin is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University and studied composition with William Albright and Jack Beeson. In the late 1970s Sosin was the resident silent film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to which he frequently returns as a guest pianist. In 2008 he was commissioned by MoMA and Anthology Film Archives to write an orchestral score for “Manhatta”.
Koko the Clown in Fade Away  (Ben Model, Arr. by Luis Millán): Koko the Clown was a character in a series of 62 silent films known as “Out of the Inkwell” produced by Max Fleischer between 1918 and 1929. The series was propelled by the interaction between “live action” that starred Max as the artist and creator, and his pen and ink creations. Typically, an episode starts with the cartoonist beginning his day by either drawing the characters on paper, or opening the inkwell to allow Koko and others to come out and interact with reality. The cartoonist was “lord” over the clown, but Koko would often slip from Max's control, go on an adventure, or pull pranks on his creator.
Ben Model has been creating and performing musical scores for silent film for more than 30 years and has been a resident silent film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for nearly a quarter of a century. He composes all of his own scores and his music evokes the character of the silent era, as well as acknowledges the expectations of modern audiences. Tonight’s music for “Fade Away” was composed for organ/piano and arranged for orchestra by BSA conductor Luis Millán. It is the world-premiere performance of the orchestral music.
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