WWUH Classical Programming – May 2022
Sunday Afternoon at the Opera… Sundays 1:00 – 4:30 pm
Evening Classics… Weekdays 4:00 to 7:00/ 8:00 pm
Drake’s Village Brass Band… Mondays 7:00-8:00 pm
(Opera Highlights Below)
Rimsky-Korsakov: May Night
Farwell: String Quartet – The Hako, Impressions of the Wan, Wan Ceremony; Silvestrov: Moments of Memory II; Glass: Symphony #9
Drake’s Village Brass Band - Harkan Hardenberger, Trumpet – Endless Parade
Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in C “Per Anna Maria”; VanHal: String Quartet No. 1; York Bowen: Piano Concerto No. 3; Rachmaninoff: Piano Sonata No. 2; Schubert: Symphony No. 2; Ibert: :es Ampours de Jupiter
Baron: Concerto No. 2 in D Minor (Arr. for Lute & Mandolin) ; Carl Maria von Weber: Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 73, J. 114; Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata for Misericordias Domini [2nd Sunday after Easter] "Du Hirte Israel, höre" BWV 104; Antonio Vivaldi: Cantata "Aure, voi più non siete", RV 652; Johannes Ockeghem: Chansons; Johann Helmich Roman: Assaggi in F major; Rebecca Clarke: Lullabies; Madeleine Dring: Cabaret Songs; George Walker: Lyric for Strings
Philidor: Marches; Chueca: Preludes; Noble: Triumphal March; Pfitzner: Symphony in C Major Op. 46, Das Kathchen von Heilbronn Op. 17 – Overture; Scheibe: Recorder Concerto in B-Flat Major; Moniuszko: Halka Overture, The Haunted Manor Overture, Verbum Nobile - Come, let invigorating sun.
We’ll keep it short this trip.
Erkel: Bank Ban
Shostakovich: String Quartet #14; Prokofiev: Piano Concertos 1 & 2; Vaughan Williams: Flos Campi
Drake’s Village Brass Band - Sousa: Music For Wind Band Volume 21 – Showing Off Before Company
Sinding: Piano Concerto; Villa-Lobos: Symphony No. 1; Prokofiev: Sinfonietta; Sauguet: Les Forains; VanHal: Concerto for Two Bassoons
Special Selections from the Cedille label
Elgar and more to honor the graduates
Rosner: The Chronicle of Nine
Stravinsky: Les Noces (The Wedding), Renard (The Fox)-in Burlesque and Dance; Mussorgsky/Wood: Pictures at an Exhibition; Marsalis: Swing Symphony
Drake’s Village Brass Band - USAF Band of Mid-America: Blue Horizons and Beyond
Ricci: String Quartet No. 1; Rachmaninoff: Piano Sonata No. 1; Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand; Holmboe: Chamber Symphony No. 2; Weiner: Serenade for Small Orchestra
Special Selections from the ECM label
Composer new (to me): Luigi Nono
Mahler: Symphony #6
Kabakefsky: Piano Concerto No. 3; Ross Edwards: Symphony No. 1; Anton Rubenstein: Caprice Russe; Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach: Duet for 4 Hands; Braga-Santos: Variations for Orchestra; Paul Paray conducts
Antonio Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in C major, RV 194; Bernhard Joachim Hagen: Duetto in C Minor (Arr. for Lute & Mandolin); Georg Philipp Telemann: Ouverture (Suite) in B-flat major "La Bourse", TWV 55:B11; Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata for Ascension Day [Ascension of Jesus] (May 26) "Wer da gläubet und getauft wird" BWV 37; Antonio Vivaldi: Cantata "Tra l'erbe i zeffiri", RV 669; Johannes Ockeghem: Chansons; Anton Reicha: Quatuor scientifique; Lee Hoiby: Piano Concerto No. 2; Paul Hindemith: Symphony, "Mathis der Maler".
Last show of month = #5
Hindemith: When Lilacs Last... Copland, A Lincoln Portrait; Welwood: Threads of Blue and Gold
Memorial Day Program – Price Ethiopia’s Shadow in America; Gottschalk: Union; Copland: Symphony #3
Drake’s Village Brass Band - Gould West Point Symphony
Music for Memorial Day
SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT THE OPERA
your "lyric theater" program
with Keith Brown
Programming for the month of May, 2022
SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT THE OPERA
your "lyric theater" program
with Keith Brown
programming for the month of May, 2022
SUNDAY MAY 1ST
Rimsky-Korsakov, May Night
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was primarily an opera composer, although his music is popularly known through his symphonic poem Scheherazade. May Night
(1880) was the second of his fifteen operas. The libretto is based on a story by Nikolai Gogol (1809-52), a native of the Ukraine, who wrote with enthusiasm about the rustic life and folklore of the region. May Night is another name for the ancient Celtic fire festival of Beltane, also known in German as Walpurgisnmacht,
the night of the witches' sabbath. The arrival of Summer on May Day is celebrated all over Northern Europe. May Night
the opera draws upon age-old customs connected with the festivities. The opera is part romance, part peasant comedy and part ghost story. The village wise woman is mistaken for the Devil himself. She conjures up the dancing spirits of the Rusalki,
the lovely water nymphs of Slavic legend. These are the ghosts of girls who drowned and who, on occasion, make appearances among the living. Rimsky-Korsakov's score is strongly influenced by Ukrainian folk music. Every note of it is brilliantly orchestrated by one of the all-time great orchestrators. Recorded in1971 in the USSR, it was picked up for distribution in the West in 1976 by Deutsche Grammophon. Vladimir Fedoseyev conducts the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio and the Grand Choir of the USSR Radio and TV, with a singing cast that includes the internationally famed basso Gennady Troitsky. I first broadcast this recording on DGG vinyl LP's on Sunday, May 5,1985. I broadcast it again on two CD's in a Musical Heritage Society reissue on May Day Sunday, May 1, 2005. I employ the MHS reissue this May Day Sunday. The annual WWUH Marathon fundraising effort is now under way. Please show your appreciation for lyric theater programming with your pledged financial support. Do so securely online at wwuh.org/pledge
. You faithful listeners have never failed to help us meet or even exceed our fundraising goals in Marathons past, so I thank you in advance for your generosity.
SUNDAY MAY 8TH Erkel, Bank Ban If there is any one lyric theater work that captures the spirit of Hungarian nationalism, that work would have to be Bank Ban (1861) by Ferenc Erkel (1810-93). He composed the Hungarian national anthem. Erkel was primarily a composer of operas, and he drew upon the idiom of Hungarian folk music in his compositional style. Erkel composed Bank Ban ("Lord Bank") in 1852. An earlier nationalist opera of his, Hunyadi Laszlo (1844) I broadcast on Sunday, May 31,1990. Bank Ban, however, is regarded as Erkel's masterpiece. At the time of its writing the Hungarian nation was struggling to achieve independence within the Hapsburg empire. Erkel looked back to the thirteenth century when the German-speaking Counts of Tirol made their bid to rule Hungary outright. This imported minority of exploiters became intolerable to the native Hungarian aristocracy. The noble Lord Bank joined a revolt against the Tiroleans. But the revolt failed and Lord Bank was executed for the leadership role he took in the uprising. When Erkel finished the score for Bank Ban it was suppressed by the imperial Austrian censors. The opera had to wait nine years for its first staged production. By then a more tolerant regime had come to power in Vienna. A few years later Hungarian nationalists worked out a compromise or Ausgleich that granted partial autonomy. The language barrier has kept this gorgeous lyric tragedy from being performed internationally. Who could sing it correctly outside of Hungary? In 1973 Hungaroton, the former state record label, issued Bank Ban as performed by the cast and chorus of the Hungarian State Opera. Janos Ferenczik conducted the Budapest Philharmonic. I broadcast the old three-LP Hungaroton set twice before, first on Sunday, June 19, 1983 and again on May 31,1987. The boxed set of vinyl discs is still in our WWUH classical music record library. The modern commercial Hungaroton label reissued Bank Ban on two compact discs in 1994. I obtained it for my own collection and presented it on Sunday, September 15, 2018. Listen to the CD reissue again today.
SUNDAY MAY 15TH Rosner, The Chronicle of Nine Like Erkel's Bank Ban, Arnold Rosner's The Chronicle of Nine (composed, 1984) is a historical tragedy. It tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, the young English noblewoman who actually reigned for nine days as Queen of England, then was beheaded in 1554. The music of American composer Arnold Rosner (1945-2013) ought to be better known. It's a pity this American operatic masterwork, never performed in his lifetime, had to wait so long into the 21st century just to get its world premiere recording. Boston's Odyssey Opera gave it a concert performance in period costume, in cooperation with BMOP, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. The Chronicle of Nine:The Tragedy of Queen Jane was recorded in Worcester's Mechanics Hall in 2020. Gil Rose conducted the combined performing forces. Three reviewers for Fanfare praised the BMOP Sound CD release of Chronicle in the magazine's March/April, 2022 issue. "No composer could ask for a better representation of one of his major works...", says Henry Fogel. Myron Silberstein insists, "This recording is a must-have." David DeBoer Canfield has the final word: ..."I accord this set my highest possible recommendation."
SUNDAY MAY 22ND Mayr, Saffo This will be the fourth time I have presented an opera by Johann (or Giovanni) Simon Mayr since the year 2017. It was a German who brought Italian opera from the eighteenth into the nineteenth century. Born in Bavaria in 1763, Mayr was a little younger than the Austrian Mozart and a little older than the Rhinelander Beethoven. He long outlived both of them, passing away in 1845. Mayr's career was spent largely in Italy. He Italianized his name. His operas continued to be performed in Italy and elsewhere in Europe up to around 1850. For a while his works rivalled those of Rossini in popularity. It is therefore hard to believe how Mayr's operas in later times could be so completely forgotten. Now in the twenty first century a conductor from Bavaria, Franz Hauk, has championed the cause of Mayr's music. Mayr had mastered the styles of both buffa or comic opera and seria or serious dramatic music. Saffo (1794) is his first opera. It premiered at the famous La Fenice theater in Venice to great acclaim. Saffo falls into the genre of the opera seria. The story is set in ancient Greece. It combines turbulent love with a lot of theatrical pageantry. In the world premiere recording of Saffo, as in the others in this series, Franz Hauk conducts and plays harpsichord continuo. He leads the period instrument orchestra Concerto de Bassus, the Simon Mayr Chorus and Members of the Bavarian State Opera Chorus, with a cast of six vocal soloists. This is another in the ongoing Naxos series of Mayr's vocal works. Recorded in studio in Bavaria in 2014, Naxos released it on two CD's in 2016.
SUNDAY MAY 29TH Hindemith, When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd, Copland, A Lincoln Portrait, Welwood, Threads of Blue and Gold To understand the programming for this Sunday of the Memorial Day holiday weekend you need to know that the holiday, originally called Decoration Day, began as a memorial to those who died in the American Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in our nation's history, with neverafter equalled mortality. The final casualty in that war was President Lincoln. Mourners piled the blooming boughs of lilacs on his coffin. Poet Walt Whitman seized upon the image, incorporating it into his elegy for the fallen leader, whose name he never specifically gives. German composer Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) set Whitman's verse as a cantata for orchestra, chorus and two vocal soloists. In 1946 Hindemith became a US citizen, having fled Nazi Germany after his misic was banned there. Hindemith also wanted to memorialize another fallen leader in World War Two, President Franklin Roosevelt. Lilacs was commissioned by choral leader Robert Shaw for his Collegiate Chorale. Much later in his distinguished career Shaw recorded Hindemith's "Requiem for Those We Love" with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Baritone William Stone and mezzo Jan DeGaetani are heard in solo capacity. Listen for the offstage bugle intoning "Taps." a 1987 Telarc CD release.
Abraham Lincoln has been the inspiration for a quantity of musical literature. By way of example, I have broadcast on two occasions the BMOP Sound recording of Eric Sawyer's opera about the Lincoln assassination Our American Cousin (2008), most recently on the Memorial Day weekend Sunday of last year, and before that on Sunday, May 23, 2009. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, the Nashville Symphony and the folks at Naxos Records got together and selected the best of these compositions for a 2008 CD compilation Abraham Lincoln Portraits. Chief among them is Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait (1942), one of his most popular works. Copland's Portrait concludes with a brief recitation of the Gettysburg Address. Vincent Persichetti set the Second Inaugural Address to music in 1973. Then there's Roy Harris' Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight (1953), a setting of a poem by Vachel Lindsay for mezzo-soprano and piano trio. (Harris composed two "Lincoln" symphonies as well.)
Walt Whitman is our foremost male poet of the Civil War, but the greatest female poet of the same period is undoubtably Emily Dickinson. Copland rendered some of her poems into song. Local composer Arthur Welwood (1934-2020) is another of many to bring her concise lyrics to life in music. Welwood selected four poems reflecting on the progression of the months and seasons for a song cycle Threads of Blue and Gold , which he scored for chamber ensemble and soprano voice. Clearly the "Belle of Amherst," Massachusetts loved Nature. Welwood's music captures every nuance of her bucolic verse. Threads of Blue and Gold was first performed October 5,2009 at Berklee College of Music, where Welwood taught composition. The composer kindly gave me a CD copy of his own recording of the premiere performance. All the programming I've outlined here was part of my presentation on Sunday, May 30, 2010.