Nov 14, 2021 Masterworks II
Program Notes by Lee Dise
The modern orchestra is more or less the same as it was in the late 19th century, but it had already taken more than a century to settle into that form. Composers are always experimenting with different instruments and sounds, and so there is often a bit of straying from the standard orchestra. However, the orchestra's wind contingent has remained fairly stable and generally includes flutes (and piccolo), oboes (and English horn), clarinet (and sometimes Eb clarinet and bass clarinet), bassoon (and contrabassoon), French horns, trumpets, trombones, and tuba. Slide whistle doesn't count unless Leroy Anderson is on the program.
The theme of today's concert is "In the Wind" and features the winds sections of the orchestra (woodwinds and brass) as well as individual soloists from these sections.
Cedric Adderley (b. 1965) is the President of the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC, and an accomplished composer, trumpet player, and vocalist. Though he wrote his composition Flight! for full orchestra, it prominently features the orchestra's winds. The piece was commissioned for the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. The music itself is very much in the style of modern symphonic wind ensembles, and is drivingly rhythmic. According to Adderley, the composition was inspired by the artwork of Tyrone Geter and "derives much of its melodic and rhythmic interest from the opening trumpet motive."
Weber: Concertino Bassoon Concerto in F Major, Op. 7
Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) was a pivotal figure in the dawning of Western music's Romantic era and a pioneer in German Romantic opera, serving as a model and an inspiration for later Romantic composers such as Giacomo Meyerbeer, Richard Wagner and Engelbert Humperdinck. He is mainly known for his operas, the most famous of which are Der Freischütz and Oberon. However, he also composed symphonies and solo instrumental concert pieces. Weber's waltz-like tour de force, "Invitation to the Dance", has proven very popular in at least three different versions: in its original solo piano version, in the version arranged for full orchestra by Hector Berlioz, and as a jazz tune, "Let's Dance!" during the Big Band era (it became the theme song for the Benny Goodman Orchestra). Today, we will perform Weber's Bassoon Concerto in F Major, Op. 7. Weber had written a solo piece for a clarinetist in the Munich court, prompting court bassoonist Georg Friedrich Brandt to beg King Maximilian I to commission Weber to write a bassoon concerto. Weber completed the concerto in 1811 (and revised it in 1822). Though a Romantic composer through and through, Weber wrote the concerto in the older classical style because he believed that was a safer approach for commissioned works. The first movement is in standard classical sonata form, which chafed Weber; he felt the older style inhibited his creativity. The second movement is lyrical and resembles an operatic aria. The last movement is a spirited rondo (repeated melodies). This composition is firmly entrenched as a staple of the bassoonist's repertoire.
NERUDA: Concerto in Eb for Trumpet and Strings
Not much is known today about Johann Baptist Georg Neruda (c. 1708 – c. 1780), aside from a few basic facts. He was a Bohemian (in terms of nationality, not lifestyle), became the concertmaster of the Dresden Court Orchestra, and achieved success not only as a violinist and composer, but also as a conductor. Neruda's Concerto in Eb for Trumpet and Strings was originally intended for the corno da caccia (hunting horn) or posthorn (a bugel-like contraption used for signaling the arrival or departure of the mail coach) -- these were instruments whose gainful employment today, if not utterly obsolete, is at least moribund. But trumpets are not obsolete. The trumpet's tessitura makes the solo part a natural fit, and trumpet players are more than willing to address the scarcity of trumpet solo literature via careful editing of fortuitous discoveries. In the mid-20th century, this long-forgotten concerto was unearthed, so to speak, from a manuscript tucked deep in a London library -- or a Czech library, accounts differ. Several contemporary trumpet players have published adaptations of the Neruda concerto -- among them, Timofei Dokschitzer and John Wallace. The cadenza being performed today was edited by David Hickman, Arizona State's trumpet professor. It's hard to get a clear bead on Neruda's style -- not surprising, since he lived during a transitional period. On the one hand, the piece retains elements of the Baroque basso continuo tradition; on the other hand, it features the clear melodic lines of the Classical style and innovations from the Mannheim School (such as emphasis on dynamics). One constant with concertos, though, is that they give instrumentalists a chance to show off what many thousands of hours cloistered in the practice room have earned for them.
STRAUSS II: The Blue Danube
One of the wives of Johann Strauss II (1825-1899) asked Johannes Brahms to autograph her fan. Though customary for a composer to pen a quote from his own music to accompany his signature, Brahms scribbled a few measures of The Blue Danube waltz and wrote, "Unfortunately, not by Johannes Brahms." Johann Strauss II was born in Austria, near Vienna, into a very musical family -- his father (Johann Strauss I) and two brothers (Josef and Eduard) were also composers and musicians. However, musical though the family was, functional it was not. The senior Johann wanted the junior Johann to become a banker and beat his son severely when he was caught practicing violin. The prospects for the younger Johann's music career burned brighter when the senior Johann ran off with his mistress. Later, the two Johanns became musical rivals in Vienna and each jealously guarded his own respective turf. Finally, the elder Johann did another good turn for the younger Johann's career -- this time, by dying and thus allowing the surviving Johann to incorporate his late father's orchestra into his own and take over his gigs.
The main melody of The Blue Danube is one of the most famous, familiar, and iconic melodies in music history, and has been memorialized in popular culture as dance music, cartoon music, and cinematic music; in 2001 A Space Odyssey it accompanies a waltzing space station. This waltz became a hit at the 1867 Paris World's Fair and was premiered in London and New York later in the same year.
Ms. Sanders, Assistant Professor of Music (Woodwinds), is the Associate Director of Bands (Spartan “Legion” Marching Band and Symphonic Band) and Director of the NSU Jazz Ensembles. Ms. Sanders is a concert bassoonist and jazz saxophonist. Her education is as follows: Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.), Jackson State University – Jackson MS; and Masters of Music Performance – Bassoon (M.M.), University of Houston – Houston, TX.
Her performing history includes: Symphonicity (formerly known as the Virginia Beach Symphony), Tidewater Winds, Virginia Wind Symphony, Northern Neck Orchestra, Rajazz, Rajazz Unplugged, Hampton Roads Woodwind Quintet, Symphonicity Wind Quintet, Woodlands Symphony, Brazos Valley Symphony, Texas Music Festival, Musical Arts League of Natchez, Ms, P.S.D. Jazz Trio and the Scott Joplin Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the following artists: The O’Jays, Peabo Bryson, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Teddy Riley, Kem, Jill Scott, Will Downing, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Jennifer Holiday, Calvin Owens, Victor Wooten, “Slide” Hampton, Andrew White, Billy Harper, Donald Byrd, Bobby Lyle, Ben Tankard and David Sanborn.
She premiered with the Virginia Symphony in 2002, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. She also premiered with Symphonicity in 2007. Her honors include: Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award; Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Incorporated Phenomenal Woman Award; President for College Division, Virginia Music Educators Association; Advisory Board Member, Hampton Roads Flute Faire - Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA; Midwest Band and Orchestra Performer; Virginia Music Educators Association Performer and Clinician; Hampton Jazz Festival Performer; Suffolk Public Schools All City High School Band Clinician; NORFOLK Commission on the Arts and Humanities “Arts Within Reach” Performer; North Carolina Region East Jazz Ensemble Clinician; District XVI All State Jazz Ensemble Clinician; Who’s Who of Educators; Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers; Norfolk Public Schools All-City Middle School Band Director; and Board Member of Symphonicity – The Symphony of Virginia Beach.
Her professional affiliations include: Silver Star - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., American Federation of Musicians Local No. 125, Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Inc., Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity Inc., Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity, National Association for Music Educators, Texas Black Music Educators Association, Virginia Music Educators Association, Tidewater Association of Negro Musicians, National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music and Founding member of the Association of Black Women Band Directors.
Dr. Robyn Card is an active trumpet performer in the Tidewater area of Virginia. She holds degrees in music from James Madison University, the University of Illinois, and West Virginia University. A freelance trumpet performer and instructor, Robyn is currently principal trumpet with Symphonicity: The Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach, the Tidewater Winds, and Protocol Brass. She has performed in the Virginia Symphony, the Virginia Wind Symphony, the Eastern Virginia Brass Quintet, the Appalachian Brass Quintet, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Lipzz Big Band and the Mel Gillispie Orchestra, among others.
Robyn spent a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Elizabeth City State University teaching courses in music business. She has served as a Lecturer in Music at Christopher Newport University, Fairmont State College, and West Virginia Wesleyan College. She was a Music Instructor at Young Musicians of Virginia and a Reserve Component Instrumental Instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk. This is in addition to maintaining a brass teaching studio.
An advocate for the arts and music education, Robyn has served on the board of directors for Symphonicity and has served as chair on the Pioneer Committee of the International Women's Brass Conference as well as the president of the board of directors for Young Musicians of Virginia, a homeschool enrichment program. She was the founder of the West Virginia Festival of Trumpets Recital Series which featured trumpet players of all levels in solo, chamber, and large group performances.
Her interest in the history of professional women brass performers resulted in her doctoral research document, Women as Classically-Trained Trumpet Players in the United States. Her interviews with several significant female trumpet performers, including Carole Dawn Reinhart and Susan Slaughter, have been published in the International Trumpet Guild Journal.
Robyn has worked as a contracting officer for General Dynamics Information Technology since 2012, and currently serves as the Director of Small Business Office. Prior to moving into government contracting, Robyn was a music educator in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia. She currently resides in Virginia Beach with her husband, Dr. Christopher Card, who is also a musician and music educator.