Saturday, March 6, 2010

2010 Winter Concert

The French Connection

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Concord Band 

James O'Dell, Music Director
Dennis Shafer, Alto Saxophone Soloist
The Back Bay Saxophone Quartet


Overture in CCharles Simon Catel; ed. Goldman & Smith
Suite FrançaiseDarius Milhaud
  1. Normandie
  2. Bretagne
  3. Ile de France
  4. Alsace-Lorraine
  5. Provence
The Girl with the Flaxen HairClaude Debussy; arr. Moss
Dennis Shafer, Alto Saxophone
"March to the Scaffold"
   from Symphonie Fantastique
Hector Berlioz; trans. Rogers


Fanfare from La PeriPaul Dukas
Prelude from Suite BergamasqueClaude Debussy; trans. Holcombe
Stephen Foster RevisitedBill Holcombe
The Back Bay Saxophone Quartet
Old Home DaysCharles E. Ives; arr. Elkus
  1. Waltz
  2. The Opera House, Old Home Day
  3. The Collection
  4. Slow March
  5. London Bridge is Fallen Down!
Le Régiment de Sambre et MeuseJoseph F. Rauski; arr. Seredy; ed. Fennell

Read all notes for this program...

Overture in C

Charles Simon Catel was one of the most important musicians in France during the eighteenth century. His treatise on harmony for many years was the accepted text at the Paris Conservatory. The Overture in C was composed in 1792 for the Band of the National Guard, with whom Catel maintained a long association. The piece shows the composer at his best, and the influence of Mozart is clearly recognizable. In its elegance and clarity, it is a characteristic of the perfection of the late eighteenth-century style, and is one of the most delightful of all the works composed for wind band during this period. (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire)

Suite Française

Suite Française was commissioned by the publishing firm Leeds Music in 1945, and all five movements are named after French provinces where American and allied armies joined forces with the French underground to liberate France. Darius Milhaud used French folksongs in the movements and writes, “I wanted the young Americans to hear the popular melodies of those parts of France where their fathers and brothers fought.” Milhaud was associated with a group of young French composers known as “Les Six,” determined to break the impressionistic chains surrounding French music. In 1940, when the Germans overran his native country, Milhaud moved to the United States and served as composer-in-residence at Mills College in Oakland, California. (Source: Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire)

The Girl with the Flaxen Hair

Claude Debussy wrote two sets of preludes, twelve in each, between 1910 and 1923. The best of them are among the finest miniatures in the piano literature. Each prelude is relatively short in duration, free in form and has the character of an improvisation. A gem in the collection, The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, was likely inspired by a work of the same title by French poet Leconte de Lisle. Evocative and enchanting, the melody of this piece is one of Debussy’s most exquisite. Although this prelude is most definitely a musical “impression”, its clarity of texture and harmonic vocabulary are far removed from the vagueness generally associated with “impressionism,” the prevailing French musical style of the period. (Source: published score)

March to the Scaffold

March to the Scaffold is the fourth movement from Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. Berlioz wrote this work during an emotionally charged period of his life, a time when he was deeply in love with Irish Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson (whom he married in 1833). This programmatic symphony was first performed in 1830 and is considered one of the most significant pieces of the early Romantic period. (Source: JRO)

Fanfare from La Peri

The Fanfare from La Peri was written in 1912 by French composer Paul Dukas, who championed modern music of the time, joining noted composers revolting against artistic formalism. Dukas wrote this fanfare for his ballet La Peri, and scored it for 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones and tuba. The Fanfare holds a unique place in the brass ensemble repertoire and is likely one of the most notable brass fanfares of the past century. (Source: JRO)

Prelude from Suite Bergamasque

Prelude from Suite Bergamasque, written by Claude Debussy in 1890, but not published until 1905, is in A-B-A form. The later publishing followed stylistic updating, reflecting Debussy’s desire to revise the original composition with more current musical ideas and stylistic considerations. Bill Holcombe’s transcription highlights the unique color of the Woodwind ensemble, and captures the gleam and transparency, with full impressionistic sonorities. (Source: JRO)

Stephen Foster Revisited

The Back Bay Saxophone Quartet is our guest ensemble, performing Stephen Foster Revisited, a setting by Bill Holcombe of several familiar Stephen Foster tunes: Camptown Races, I Dream of Jeannie, O Susannah, Beautiful Dreamer, and Swannee River. Foster was considered the father of American Music and his songs have been widely incorporated, from official state songs to operatic melodies. (Source: JRO)

Old Home Days

Old Home Days is a collection of songs in a five-movement suite that clearly presents the composer Charles Ives' love of familiar tunes and grass-roots music making. Ives was born in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1874, and his father, an accomplished cornet player and Civil War bandmaster, was Charles’ first and most influential music teacher. While he insisted on the mastery of traditional music practice, his imaginative teaching also inspired Charles’ remarkable experiments with new kinds of musical sounds. (Source: published score)

Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse

Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse (March Militaire Française) by Joseph F. Rauski enjoys an unusual past and distinctive present. Rauski's 1919 march is based on both a song by Jean Robert Planquette, who lived at the end of the 19th century, and lines from his contemporary French poet Paul Cezano about peasant-citizen-soldiers whose patriotism recounted heroic deeds by invading European monarchists attempting to overthrow the Revolution in 1793. Some audiences will recognize this unique march as that played by the Ohio State University Marching Band performing the signature “Script Ohio” formation that is concluded with the dotting of the “i’” by the sousaphone. (Source: published score and JRO)