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Kevin Mcmahon | music director and conductor

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Program Notes

Program notes are written by Dr. Joseph Milicia.

May 1, 2017

May 13, 2017 Program Notes

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*This evening’s concert is a second Night at the Opera*, following last May’s festival of overtures, interludes, arias and choruses. Tonight we will hear 17 selections from 11 operas by 7 composers, with our spotlight mostly on Italy. “Act I” begins with Mozart, then leaps ahead to Italian verismo, 1890-1900. “Act II” is devoted to Donizetti and Verdi, spanning 1835 to 1871, while “Act III” features more Verdi, flanked by epic moments in Wagner and Boito.

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February 27, 2017

March 11, 2017 Program Notes

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*JOHANNES BRAHMS *Born Hamburg, 7 May 1833; died Vienna, 3 April 1897. *Piano Concerto No. 2, in Bb major, Op. 73 *Composed between 1878 and 1881; premiered 9 November 1881 with the composer at the piano and the Budapest National Theatre Orchestra, led by Alexander (Sandor) Erkel. The score calls for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings. Duration is about 49 minutes.

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January 23, 2017

February 4, 2017 Program Notes

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This evening’s concert is a celebration of movie music, focusing on selections from Hollywood blockbusters from 1980 to 2012, along with one older favorite and at least one TV show that became a movie franchise.  Plus, we’ll hear some very famous music from a very obscure Russian film.

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October 31, 2016

November 12, 2016 Program Notes

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GUSTAV HOLST Born 21 September 1874, Cheltenham, England; died 25 May 1934, London. *“Jupiter,” from The Planets, Op. 32. *Composed in late 1914 as part of The Planets, which was orchestrated in 1917 and premiered in a private performance at the Queen’s Hall, London, Adrian Boult conducting, 29 September 1918; first complete public hearing was 15 November, 1920, with the London Symphony Orchestra led by Albert Coates. “Jupiter” calls for a large orchestra of  2 piccolos, 2 flutes, 3 oboes, English horn, 3 clarinets, bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 6 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tenor and bass tubas, timpani (two players), bass drum, side drum, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, glockenspiel, 2 harps, and strings. The SSO played “Jupiter” at the gala inaugural concert of the Weill Center, 13 October 2001, Guy Victor Bordo conducting. Duration 8 minutes.

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September 26, 2016

October 8, 2016 Program Notes

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LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Born Bonn, 17 December 1770; died Vienna, 26 March 1827. *Leonore Overture No. 3. *Composed early 1806, and first performed in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, 29 March of that year, Ignaz von Seyfried conducting. The score calls for pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani and strings. Performed by the SSO most recently on 20 October, 1990, Manuel Prestamo conducting, it lasts approximately 14 minutes. 

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May 2, 2016

May 14, 2016 Program Notes

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*This evening’s concert is a night at the opera,* with overtures, arias and scenes from 15 operas by 13 composers. “Act I” takes us from Mozart to Wagner, with rousing choruses by Leoncavallo, Weber and Verdi in between. “Act II” offers four scenes in which beautiful women draw men to them -- unintentionally in at least one case. And “Act III,” opening with a boisterous march and a quiet vigil, offers two of the most thrilling scenes in opera: the soaring final trio and intimate duet of Der Rosenkavalier and the public spectacle of Boris Godunov’s Coronation Scene.

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March 7, 2016

March 12, 2016 Program Notes

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*FRANZ LISZT *Born Doborjan, Hungary, 22 October, 1811; died Bayreuth, Germany, 31 July, 1886.

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January 27, 2016

February 6, 2016 Program Notes

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GIOACCHINO ROSSINI Born Pesaro, Italy, 29 February 1792; died Paris, 13 November 1868. *The Barber of Seville: Overture *Written in 1813 as the overture for the opera Aureliano in Palmira, but repurposed as the overture of  Il Barbiere di Siviglia for ithe latter’s second production, in Bologna, premiered 16 August 1816.  The score calls for piccolo, flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, bass drum, cymbals and strings. Performance time is about 8 minutes. The SSO’s most recent performance was 4 February 2001, under the baton of Guy Victor Bordo.

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December 1, 2015

December 12, 2015 Program Notes

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OTTORINI RESPIGHI Born Bologna, 9 July, 1879; died Rome, 18 April, 1936. *Laud to the Nativity (Lauda per la Natività del Signore)* Composed 1928-30 and premiered in Siena at the Chigi-Saracini Palace, 30 November 1930, with an ensemble led by the composer. The score calls for 3 vocal soloists, chorus, 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), oboe, English horn, 2 bassoons, triangle, and piano four-hands. Performance time is about 25 minutes.

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November 4, 2015

November 14, 2015 Program Notes

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JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Born Eisenach, Germany, 25 March 1685; died Leipzig, 28 July 1750. *Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, BWV 1051* The six concertos Bach sent to the Margrave of Brandenburg on 24 March 1721 are presumed to have been performed by Bach’s orchestra in Cöthen sometime earlier. The instruments for tonight’s performance are 2 violas, 3 cellos, string bass and harpsichord continuo. Performance time is about 17 minutes.

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September 25, 2015

October 3, 2015 Program Notes

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JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

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April 27, 2015

May 9, 2015 Program Notes

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AARON COPLAND Born Brooklyn, NY, 14 November 1900; died Peekskill, NY, 2 December 1990. *A Lincoln Portrait* Written in 1942, A Lincoln Portrait was premiered 14 May of that year by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Andre Kostelanetz conducting and William Adams narrating. The score calls for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, glockenspiel, tam-tam, xylophone, sleigh bells, celesta, harp and strings. Performance time is about 14 minutes. Previous SSO performances of A Lincoln Portrait have featured narrators Herbert V. Kohler Jr. (2 December 1989, with Manuel Prestamo conducting the combined SSO/ Manitowoc Symphony) and Charles Krebs (16 June 2007, Andrews Sill conducting).

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March 2, 2015

March 14, 2015 Program Notes

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Walt Disney’s *Fantasia* (1940) was a true landmark in motion picture history: a full-length animated cartoon (Disney’s third, after *Snow White* and *Pinocchio*) illustrating works of classical music, with the collaboration of Leopold Stokowski  and (in all but *The Sorcerer’s Apprentice*) the Philadelphia Orchestra, originally released in stereophonic sound, a first for commercial movies. A sequel 60 years later, *Fantasia 2000*, featured James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Tonight’s concert honors these achievements with a program derived from the two films.

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January 26, 2015

February 7, 2015 Program Notes

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*PETER ILYCH TCHAIKOVSKY*

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November 4, 2014

November 15, 2014 Program Notes

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*RICHARD WAGNER *Born Leipzig, Saxony, 22 May 1813; died Venice, Italy, 13 February 1883.

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September 23, 2014

October 2014 Program Notes

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*WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART*

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May 1, 2014

May 2014 Program Notes

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The six concertos Bach sent to the Margrave of Brandenburg on 24 March 1721 are presumed to have been performed by Bach’s orchestra in Cöthen sometime...

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March 1, 2014

March 2014 Program Notes

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Composed 1888 and premiered 28 October of that year in St. Petersburg, the composer conducting. The score calls for 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes (2nd doubling...

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February 1, 2014

February 2014 Program Notes

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First performed 25 May 1823 for invited guests in the composer’s Berlin home, with Eduard Rietz, violin, and the composer at the piano, and for the...

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October 1, 2013

October 2013 Program Notes

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Haydn’s opera Armida was composed in 1783 and premiered 26 February 1784 at the Esterhazy family’s Court Theatre, Haydn conducting. The Overture calls for flute, 2...

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May 1, 2013

May 2013 Program Notes

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Composed between 1865 and 1868 (with the second movement making use of material from the 1850s), the German Requiem was premiered in its 7-movement entirety on...

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March 1, 2013

March 2013 Program Notes

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Composed in 1880 and premiered 18 December 1880 in Moscow, with an orchestra led by Nikolai Rubenstein. Isaac’s arrangement calls for 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 2...

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February 1, 2013

February 2013 Program Notes

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The 5-movement suite was composed in 1927, and premiered in Sao Paolo, June 1928, the composer conducting. It calls for 2 flutes (second doubling piccolo), oboe,...

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November 1, 2012

November 2012 Program Notes

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The ballet La Péri was composed in 1911, with its opening Fanfare added the next year; the premiere was in Paris 22 April 1912. The Fanfare...

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October 1, 2012

October 2012 Program Notes

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Commissioned by the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the Overture of the Season was premiered by that group on 7 October, 1978, under the baton of Lawrence Leighton...

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February 1, 2012

February 2012 Program Notes

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Composed 1809-10, and first performed in Leipsig’s Gewandhaus on 28 November 1811, with pianist Friedrich Schneider; Beethoven’s pupil Carl Czerny gave the first Vienna performance the...

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November 1, 2011

November 2011 Program Notes

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Composed to be part of a ballet evening, the Tanzsuite nach Couperin was first heard at the Vienna Redoutensaal, 17 February 1923, conducted by Clemens Krauss,...

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October 1, 2011

October 2011 Program Notes

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The complete work composed in 1896 and premiered in Frankfurt under the composer’s baton. The “Sunrise” section calls for piccolo, 3 flutes, 3 oboes, English horn,...

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February 5, 2011

February 5, 2011 Program Notes

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Composed 1899-1901 (the Finale in 1892) and premiered 25 November, 1901, the composer conducting the Kaim Orchestra of Munich, with soprano Margarete Michalek.

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October 9, 2010

October 9, 2010 Program Notes

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Published in 1597, and first performed in St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice. The score, in this edition by Robert King, calls for 2 French horns, 2...

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March 13, 2010

March 13, 2010 Program Notes

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Russian composers of the last couple centuries have found themselves dealing not only with the tensions of their music, but also the social and political implications...

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February 6, 2010

February 6, 2010 Program Notes

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The Prelude was composed in June, 1862 and first performed in Leipzig on November 1 of that year, with the composer conducting. The opera was completed...

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November 14, 2009

November 14, 2009 Program Notes

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Composed in the summer of 1889 and first performed on February 2, 1890 in Prague, with Dvorak conducting. The score calls for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2...

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October 10, 2009

October 10, 2009 Program Notes

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Composed in April, 1868, at the behest of Anton Rubenstein, and first performed on May 6 of the same year, with Saint-Saëns at the piano and...

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