OUT WITH A BANG!
May 17-18, 2014 Masterworks 7
Welcome to the Concert begins 45 minutes before each Masterworks concert outside section 208 of the Forum Lobby.
If you’ve been with us throughout the 2013/14 Masterworks season, you will recall that our season theme, Hear the Color, has inspired us to think of a color to match each concert. What color do you think we chose for Out With a Bang? You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. (see Page 2)
It’s WHITE. Why WHITE? Well, for one thing, we’ve already used Green, Black, Orange, Red, Blue, and Yellow. WHITE, in the spectrum of light, signifies the presence of ALL COLORS. And so, since this is the last concert of the Masterworks season, and since we are thinking about the culminating concert of the season, WHITE seems to fit the bill. You will be able to add the seventh and final wedge to your color wheel at Welcome to the Concert. Chris Rose’s picture will be on the wedge. I think he’s wearing black for the concert. He did not get our memo about wearing white.
MASTERWORKS 7 PROGRAM: Quiet City, Aaron Copland (1900-1990) Percussion Concerto, Jennifer Higdon (b. 1962) Chris Rose, percussion soloist Symphony No. 5, Peter Illych Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)
In this concert, you will have the privilege of hearing the work of three composers making classical music in three different centuries. Tchaikovsky was a Romantic (period) Russian composer of the 19th century; Copland, a Modern (period) American composer of the 20th century; and Higdon, is a contemporary composer, also an American. The word, “contemporary” means she is still composing today. She will, in fact, be in attendance at the Saturday night HSO performance of her Percussion Concerto.
COMPOSER’S CORNER Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
was one of the great composers of the Romantic era. Born in Russia in 1840, he died 53 years later. He wrote six symphonies, a handful of operas and three ballets, the latter of which, “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker” and “Sleeping Beauty” are his most famous works. He also wrote “Peter and the Wolf,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The 1812 Overture.”
He Was Not a Child Prodigy Tchaikovsky started taking piano lessons as a young child, but nobody noted any special talent or proficiency with his music at that time. Instead, he studied to become a civil servant. Denied a promotion, he entered the music conservatory in St. Petersburg at age 22 and began his serious musical studies. He graduated and accepted a post teaching at the music conservatory in Moscow, where his career as a professional composer truly began.
He Was Married -- For Six Weeks In 1877, he married Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova despite professing to her during his proposal that he did not love her. They had met at the music conservatory in Moscow, where Milyukova had studied for a time and Tchaikovsky taught. They lived together for only six weeks before the composer’s friends, fearing for his mental health, arranged a permanent separation. The pair never formally divorced, however.
He Never Met His Biggest Fan For many years, Tchaikovsky was supported monetarily with a monthly stipend by a patron named Nadezhda von Meck. Von Meck was a wealthy widow who supported other artists as well, but none more fervently than Tchaikovsky. They carried on an intense correspondence for 14 years but von Meck insisted that they never meet in person. Instead, he dedicated his “Fourth Symphony” to her.
He Died Nine Days After Conducting His Last Symphony At the end of October, 1893, Tchaikovsky debuted his “Sixth Symphony,” the “Pathetique,” in St. Petersburg, personally conducting the orchestra himself. It was his last public appearance -- nine days later he would be dead, most likely of cholera, an infection usually contracted from drinking tainted water. His mother also died of cholera. However, rumors still fly that he committed suicide, although there appears to be little hard evidence to support -- or refute -- this theory.
is one of the most famous American composers of all time. Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, and went to France as a teenager to study music with Nadia Boulanger, who helped Copland create his own style. One of Copland’s best known compositions is Fanfare for the Common Man. Copland wrote it after the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra asked several composers to write fanfares during World War II. Copland’s music has become a great part of American history. Copland wrote music with a very “American” sound. Some of his most famous pieces are his ballets -- Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring. Billy the Kid and Rodeo are about the Wild West. Copland also wrote music for movies -- Of Mice and Men and Our Town are two famous ones. Quiet City, the piece from the movie of the same name, the piece that will be played on this HSO concert, was not a famous movie, but Copland’s music from the movie is very special indeed.
, unlike most composers, did not begin studying or listening to classical music until she was a teenager! Jennifer taught herself flute when she was fifteen and played in her high school’s concert band in Tennessee. She heard very little classical music before she went to Bowling Green State University to major in flute performance. She did not begin to study composition until she was 21 years old! Higdon claims that her late exposure to classical music had an important effect on her style: “Because I came to classical music very differently than most people, the newer stuff had more appeal for me than the older.” Higdon’s music is clearly written in a modern style, featuring interesting combinations of instruments. Although written in a modern style, Higdon’s music relies heavily on traditional sounds and structures. Higdon’s unique combination of old and new is very popular. Her music is traditional enough for the audience to understand and enjoy, but original enough that the audience and orchestra are exposed to something new and challenging. With music that is both imaginative and accessible, it is no wonder that Higdon is one of America’s mostperformed composers. blue cathedral, a piece she wrote about her brother’s death from cancer, is the most performed modern orchestral piece by a living American composer. Her Percussion Concerto won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and her Violin Concerto won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. She is often asked to write music for orchestras all over the country. Higdon currently teaches composition at the Curtis Institute, and continues to compose 5-10 pieces a year.
About the Music: Percussion Concerto by Jennifer Higdon At this Masterworks Concert, you will hear Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto. Like a symphony, a concerto is divided into sections. A concerto is usually divided into three movements and the form of concertos is fast-slow-fast. A concerto showcases a particular instrument. In this concert the HSO’s principal percussionist, Chris Rose, will be featured as the soloist on a GREAT number of percussion instruments. Chris will be playing an elaborate part in all three movements as he is accompanied by the rest of the orchestra. Higdon wrote Percussion Concerto in 2005, and in 2010, the piece won a Grammy for the Best Contemporary Classical Composition. One of the challenges of having a relatively new work on the program is not having a choice of recordings to listen to/watch. We include this youtube video for you to view as you wish. It’s the entire Percussion Concerto by Jennifer Higdon. You may enjoy watching how the percussion soloist moves from instrument to instrument. Playing percussion takes on an entirely new meaning and you will never view the percussion section of the orchestra in quite the same way after experiencing this piece live!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_2vfRC8lE0 When the Harrisburg Symphony performs Higdon’s Percussion Concerto, our own principal percussionist, Chris Rose will be the soloist. You will get to meet Chris if you attend Welcome to the Concert prior to Saturday night’s or Sunday afternoon’s Masterworks concert! Check out our cool percussion activities at the end of these materials!
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 The major work of the second half of the concert is one of the orchestra musicians’ favorite pieces to play. It’s Symphony No. 5 by Tchaikovsky. There are four movements linked together with a beautiful theme. Listen for the woodwinds playing the theme at the very beginning. Several other themes are introduced for other instrument groups and the work follows what is called the sonata form of theme, variation/expansion, with recapitulation (pulling it all together). The second movement is often thought of as opera-like and the third movement, like a ballet. We often think of Tchaikovsky as a composer of grand works for the musical stage (remember Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Peter and the Wolf are his as well!). If the final movement does not energize you for the coming summer months, I don’t know what will. We hope you’ll leave the concert hall bouncing with delight after the exciting climax of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and then, we look forward to welcoming you back again for the 2014-15 Masterworks season beginning in October, 2014! 5
Percussion Families There are so many types of percussion instruments that they are grouped into families to make it easier to describe them.
Drums Drums include a wide variety of percussion instruments that are played with drum sticks or with your hands. All of the drums on a drum kit or in a marching band are played with drum sticks.
Cymbals The cymbals that hover over drum kits are played with drum sticks. Other cymbals include the suspended cymbal which are played with threaded beaters to sustain the sound, orchestral crash cymbals that are played by banging them together, the gong, a big loud cymbal played with a big threaded mallet.
Timpani Timpani drums are tuned and accompany an orchestra. They are played with threaded mallets to ring out a definite pitch.
Mallet Percussion The mallet percussion family includes the xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel and tubular bells.
Hand Percussion This includes all shakers and instruments that are struck with a beater, or with your bare hands like the triangle, tambourine or cowbells. African drums are also usually considered hand percussion.
Shakers Shaker percussion instruments includes maracas, egg shakers, rain sticks, and many various types of studio shakers. Take a look (below) at the cool maracas weâ€™re going to make at Welcome to the Concert. Weâ€™re actually going to combine two types of shaker percussion instruments to make our own new combined shaker: and egg shaker/maracas! We are so cool!
Yourself!! Clapping your hands and stomping your feet are actions considered as body percussion. Sometimes whistling and blowing in whistles are actions that percussion sections perform.
http://www.kiwicrate.com/projects/Easter-Egg-Maracas/781 ANOTHER COOL PERCUSSION ACTIVITY. DO YOU KNOW “THE CUP GAME”? It became popular in a movie called Pitch Perfect. I think the game, The Cup Game, is actually one of the best things to come out of the movie. But that’s enough for movie criticism. Try the cup game yourself. It’s fun… and kind of addictive! Can you do it? We’ll have cups at WttC for you to try it, but you might want to practice ahead of time at home!
The Harrisburg Symphonyâ€™s Welcome to the Concert program features a color wheel to go with a full season of seven Masterworks concerts. We welcome you to make your own color wheel and store it with us in the Welcome to the Concert folder OR, if you will only be attending one concert this season, you might wish to add your wheel wedge in the space provided below. (Actual size pie wedge 1/8th of the pie.)
HSO Pe Har rcussi r Sym isburg on p h ony
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