Overture to The Barber of Seville Giaocchino Rossini _1792 by yurtgc548


									                                         PROGRAM NOTES
Overture to “The Barber of Seville”                                                 Giaocchino Rossini
                                                                                        (1792 – 1868)
         Rossini originally composed this overture for his opera, “Aureliano in Palmira,” that was
first performed in 1813. Two seasons later, in 1815, he adapted the same overture for another opera
of his, “Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra.” Then, in the same year, he composed a new opera,
“Almaviva, or The Useless Precaution,” that had its own overture. But, a few months after its
premiere, Rossini changed the title of this newest opera to “The Barber of Seville” and used the
overture that he had composed for the “Aureliano” opera. This time the overture stuck and has
remained a favorite with both opera and symphony audiences.
         “The Barber of Seville” is Rossini’s most famous comic opera. He was based in Naples as
the resident composer for the San Carlo theatre when he composed “The Barber of Seville.” This
overture has endured the test of time and, whatever its former uses, has become a favorite of
audiences and fits the opera for which it serves as overture.
         The work is written for: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets,
1 trombone, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, and strings. Dr. Baker and the YSO last performed the
work on March 16, 1986.

Divertissement                                                                             Jacques Ibert
    I. Introduction                                                                        (1890 - 1962
   II. Cortège
  III. Nocturne
  IV. Valse
   V. Parade
 VI.     Finale
         Ibert was born and raised in Paris. His father was a financier and his mother was a concert
pianist who had studied at the Paris Conservatory. Jacques had his first piano studies with his
mother. He served as a stretcher carrier and, later, as a naval officer during World War I. When he
returned from the war he studied at the Paris Conservatory. He received the Conservatory’s highest
honor, the Prix de Rome for his composition Ports of Call (Escales) based on recollections of his
tours of duty in the Mediterranean.
         The Divertisssement is a suite assembled by Ibert in 1930 from incidental music he wrote in
1929 for a revival of an 1851 play, “The Italian Straw Hat,” by the French playwright Eugène
Labiche (1815 - 1888). The play is a farce involving an Italian bridegroom, his straw-eating horse,
and a straw hat belonging to a married woman. The orchestral resources are limited to a chamber
orchestra. All of the movements contain parodies of aspects from Romantic orchestral music
referring mostly to dance music. Some of the gags are quite obvious, some require a little
         The Introduction establishes the general spirit of the music that is to follow – good-humored
satire in an irrepressible gay manner, with a clear reference to the theater.
         The Cortège is a solemn procession. On two occasions there are unmistakable distorted
references to Mendelssohn’s universally known “Wedding March.”
         Nocturne, a work often for piano, featuring great chords and arpeggios, pedaled in order to
increase a sustained cloud of sound supporting a lyrical melody, may have brought to Ibert’s mind
the music of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. This movement often moves, without pause into the
next movement.
        Valse, especially the popular Viennese waltzes, immediately conjure up the Johann Strauss
family and possibly Tchaikovsky and Dvorak as well.
        Parade, with the help of the tone colors from snare drum and cymbals, completes the
musical picture of a march, maybe even one by John Philip Sousa.
        The Finale is in the style of a galop and may well serve as the concluding number at a ball.
The mixture of meters and intentional wrong notes may have been Ibert’s clever play on the atonal
music of the music from the atonal school of composers: Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951), Alban
Berg (1885 – 1935), and Anton Webern (1883 – 1945). The humor approaches, and maybe is, that
of slapstick.

 Rhapsody in Blue                                                                             George Gershwin
                                                                                                 (1898 – 1937)
         Paul Whiteman encouraged George Gershwin to compose a serious “jazz concerto” for a concert in
 New York City in 1924. Gershwin reportedly told Whiteman that he did not know how to write parts for
 orchestra instruments. Whiteman assured him that Ferde Grofé would take care of the orchestration.
 Gershwin took up the challenge and composed the Rhapsody in Blue in about a month’s time while also
 working on a musical comedy, Sweet Little Devil. Gershwin was the piano soloist at the first performance
 of the Rhapsody in Aeolian Hall. Whiteman led the orchestra, Ross Gorman played the “outrageous”
 clarinet part and the hall was filled with luminaries such as Mischa Elman, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz,
 Sergei Rachmaninoff, Walter Damrosch, Leopold Stokowski, John Philip Sousa, and Igor Stravinsky.
         Gershwin’s Rhapsody is in a loose, episodic form with exaggerated, contrasting moods, all of them
 permeated with elements of jazz rhythms and styles. The opening cadenza by the clarinet with its trill and
 long slide up to the first note of the melody is a dramatic introduction to the first melody. Following the
 clarinet’s syncopated theme there are a series of rhapsodic melodies providing Gershwin with a wealth of
 material to develop. One of these melodies to be developed is in a light, scherzo style. Following that is a
 broad, emotionally warm, theme that could remind one of Tchaikovsky. There is a buildup in excitement
 for the brilliant closing on the melody that the clarinet introduced.
         The work is scored for solo piano, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 alto saxophones,
 tenor saxophone, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, cymbals, bass drum, snare
 drum, triangle, gong, and strings. Dr. Baker and the YSO last performed the work on April 23, 1989.

Flute Concerto in D major, Op. 283                                                                  Carl Reinecke
      I.Allegro molto                                                                               (1824 – 1910)
         Reinecke enjoyed a successful career as: composer, conductor of the famous Gewandhaus Concerts
  at Leipzig for thirty-five years, director of studies at the Conservatory in Leipzig, a pianist highly admired
  by Schumann and Liszt, and a teacher of pianists. This popular work was composed in 1908, not long
  before the composer died at age 86. It was the same year that the young Arnold Schoenberg, age 34,
  completed his Second String Quartet leaving traditional tonality along the way. Although Reinecke did not
  share Schoenberg’s interest in atonality, the two did share a conservative interest in the music of pre-
  romantic eras. Reinecke’s style of composition in this concerto avoids the ponderousness of much
  romantic music and exhibits a clarity more classical than romantic. The first movement follows traditional
  form in which the thematic material is presented first by the orchestra and then by the soloist.
         The work is scored for solo flute, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets,
  timpani, triangle, and strings. Dr. Baker and the YSO last performed this work with Diane Toulson on
  November 14, 1998.

Galop (Le Bal) from “Jeux d’Enfants, Op. 22                                                    Georges Bizet
                                                                                               (1838 – 1875)
        The composer Bizet usually makes people think of one of his operas, “Carmen” or “The Pearl
Fishers,” but not of piano music. Yet Bizet was a keyboard virtuoso praised by Franz Liszt. In 1871 he
composed a suite of two–piano pieces, “Jeux d’Enfants” depicting the world of childhood. In 1873 Bizet
scored five of these pieces for orchestra that he named Petite suite d’orchestre.
        As described in the Finale of Ibert’s suite, a gallop is often serves as the concluding number at a
ball. It is in duple meter with a very fast tempo. Jacques Offenbach (1819 – 1880), associated with
the Opèra Comique of Paris, often used such very fast dance numbers.
        The work is scored for pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 trombone,
timpani, and strings. This is the first time that Dr. Baker and the YSO have performed the work.

 Symphony No. 101 in D major (The Clock)                                                            Joseph Haydn
      I. Adagio – Presto                                                                           (1732 – 1809)
     II. Andante
    III. Menuet: Allegretto
    IV. Finale: Vivace
          Haydn wrote the third movement of this symphony in Vienna in 1793 and completed the work in
London in February 1794. He led the first performance at the Hanover-Square Concert Rooms on 3 March
of that year. Rarely have a composer and his audience been so attuned to each other as Haydn and the eager
Londoners who crowded the concerts of his twelve London Symphonies between 1791 – 92 and 1794 – 95.
The concert hall in which this symphony was first heard is described as a shoebox shape with seats along the
side walls facing inward as well as seats that faced the stage. The capacity was about 800.
          This symphony begins with a slow, dramatic, and somewhat mysterious introduction in the key of d
minor. There are only 23 measures, but enough to prepare the audience, musically and emotionally, for the
exciting 6/8 presto first theme in D major. The phrases of the exposition fall into graceful and natural
sounding 5-measure units. The second theme is a contrasting melody in the dominant key of A major. A
development section explores several key centers before returning to D major for a rousing recapitulation.
          The symphony is named for its second movement that begins in G major with a slow rhythm marked
by staccato notes in bassoons and pizzicato notes in the low strings that could be thought of as a ticking
clock. The first violins then introduce a simple and memorable melody above the already established
rhythm. A middle section moves abruptly to the parallel key of G minor and Haydn creates three variations
of the simple melody from the opening of the movement. The movement closes with a return to the key of G
major and the original simple melody embellished with fanciful scale passages. As befits a creative
composer such as Haydn, the tick-tocks appear in a variety of tone colors and pitch ranges.
          The third movement is the most substantial minuet in any of Haydn’s symphonies. His contrapuntal
imitations lend a more serious nature than is often the case with Haydn. The trio features the strings on a
largely unmoving rhythmic part in block chords while the winds have most of the melodic activity. This
section of the movement has been controversial in the past because some mild dissonances result from the
combination of the melodic wind parts with the unchanging string chords. Current scholars are sure that
Beethoven meant for the harmonic clashes to be present.
          The finale begins in a straightforward fashion. Near the end when it is time for the principal theme
to appear in D major, the first violins play the theme as expected, very softly. But the second violins begin a
new theme and a double fugue is in progress. Haydn’s clever way to the end does not disappoint.
          The work is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and
strings. This is the first performance of the work by Dr. Baker and the YSO.

                                                                            Program notes by Jim Mohatt

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