Program Notes December 17, 2019

  • Coeur d'Alene High School Music Department
    Jim Phillips, Director

    “VIKING CAROLS”
    Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 7:00 pm

    CHS STRING ORCHESTRA

    Masters In This Hall...Traditional French Carol/arr. Brendan McBrien

    "Masters in This Hall" (alternative title: "Nowell, Sing We Clear") is a Christmas carol with words written around 1860 by the English poet and artist William Morris to an old French dance tune. The carol is moderately popular around the world but has not entered the canon of most popular carols.  "Masters in This Hall" is said to have a sixteenth-century feel, harking back to a simpler society, in line with Morris's own romanticism. It also has elements of Morris's socialist beliefs, with the poor bringing news of Christ's birth to the "Masters in this Hall" and a warning to the proud.

    The image of raising up the poor and casting down the proud is also contained in the song of the Virgin Mary, often referred to as the Magnificat, sung upon the occasion of her visit to Saint Elizabeth, a relative of hers and the mother of John the Baptist, that is referenced in Luke 1:51.

    The carol describes a poor man, emphasised by his rural dialect, drawing his master's attention to the birth of Christ by describing how he had met shepherds travelling to Bethlehem in solemn mood where, joining them, he had seen the Christ child in his mother's arms. The chorus repeats how the birth of Christ has raised up the poor and cast down the proud.

    Carol of the Bells/Greensleeves...Mikola Leontovich/arr. Larry Clark

    "Carol of the Bells" is a popular Christmas carol, with music by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych in 1914 and lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky. The song is based on the Ukrainian folk chant "Shchedryk".  Wilhousky's lyrics are under copyright protection (owned by Carl Fischer Music); the music is in the public domain.  The music is based on a four-note ostinato. It has been performed in many genres: classical, metal, jazz, country music, rock, and pop. The piece has also been featured in films, television shows, and parodies.

    Greensleeves has been around since at least the 16th century. Shakespeare mentions it twice in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and it appeared widely throughout the 17th century in both song and lute publications. In the 19th century it assumed new lyrics as What Child is This? and became integral to our own Christmas tradition, a somewhat ironic touch since its earliest lyrics suggest that it was a paean to a rather loose woman.
    There is a persistent belief that Greensleeves was composed by Henry VIII for his lover and future queen consort Anne Boleyn. Boleyn allegedly rejected King Henry's attempts to seduce her and this rejection may be referred to in the song when the writer's love "cast me off discourteously". However, the piece is based on an Italian style of composition that did not reach England until after Henry's death, making it more likely to be Elizabethan in origin.

    I’ll Be Bach For Christmas...JS Bach/arr. Michael Hopkins

    We hope that you will enjoy this imaginative Christmas medley that combines snippets of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Deck The Halls, We Three Kings, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The pieces by Bach are Brandenburg Concerto N. 3 in G Major (BWV 1048: I. Allegro); Concerto For 2 Violins (BWN 1043: I. Vivace); Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major (BWN 1047: I. Allegro); and Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in Bb Major (BWV 1051: III. Allegro).

    Andante Festivo...Jean Sibelius

    Andante festivo for strings with timpani ad lib. Arrangement of a string quartet with the same name (1922). Completed 1938; the first performance was a direct broadcast on 1st January 1939 (The Radio Orchestra under Jean Sibelius). Also under opus 117.

    Just before Christmas 1922 Walter Parviainen commissioned a festive cantata from Sibelius for the 25-year celebration of the Säynätsalo sawmills. On going through his sketches, Sibelius quickly decided on a small work of only a few pages, to be played by a string quartet. The work may have been based on very early sketches, perhaps even on the plan for the oratorio Marjatta from the beginning of the century.

    In 1929 the composer's niece Riitta Sibelius got married, and Andante festivo was performed at the wedding by two combined string quartets. It is possible that the composer also made changes to the work for this performance.

    During the 1930s Sibelius spent a lot of time listening to the radio. The imperfections of the loudspeakers of the time annoyed him, leading him to think that one should compose differently for the radio than for live concerts. He decided to try this out in practice when his friend Olin Downes, the critic of the New York Times, asked him to conduct a piece of music as Finland's greeting to the world in a radio broadcast to celebrate the New York World Exhibition. The 73-year-old Sibelius agreed to conduct after a break of over a decade.

    In 1939 Sibelius prepared a version of the Andante festivo for string orchestra and timpani with the broadcast in mind. The recording of the broadcast is the only surviving document of Sibelius as a conductor. His tempo is solemn and quite slow. The orchestral string tone is singing, though on the coarse side – the piece was recorded after only one general rehearsal.

     

    CHS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

    Firelight, Candlelight...Robert Sieving

    This evocative original piece features a sensitive melody and warm harmonies that will remind audiences of a cozy hearth in wintertime. The melodic style and contemporary harmonies suggest a time when gatherings of friends and families are remembered with pleasure and a particular kind of American nostalgia for days gone by.

    Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol...Percy Aldridge Grainger/arr. Clark McAlister

    This tune was noted by Miss Lucy Brodwood near Horsham in Sussex, England, in 1880 and 1881. It came from the singing of Christmas Mummers called Tipteers or Tipteerers during their play of Saint George, the Turk and the Seven Champions of Christendom. A mummer is one who goes merrymaking in disguise during festivals.

    Percy Grainger (1882 – 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist. His chief fame rests as a composer of unconventional and original music that was characterized by its shift from the standard convention. He employed meters which were irregular and unusual. An eccentric to the core, Grainger's private life was as celebrated and scrutinized as his works. Born to an architect father and a domineering mother, who was apparently a major influence in his life, he traveled widely and eventually settled in the United States. He developed a deep interest in Nordic music, something that he carried throughout his life, taking measures to spread it across the globe. 

    Montagues & Capulets (Dance of the Knights)...Sergei Prokofiev/arr. Jim Phillips

    Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet has long been celebrated as one of the greatest ballet scores.  But during the period of its creation and early performances, Prokofiev met resistance at every turn.  This prompted the great Russian ballerina Galina Ulanova, who danced the role of Juliet at the July 11, 1940 Leningrad premiere, to offer the following toast, a play on the concluding lines of the Shakespeare original:

         Never was a story of more woe
         Than this of Prokofiev’s music for Romeo.


    Prokofiev adapted music from his Romeo and Juliet ballet for two Orchestral Suites (premiered, respectively, in Moscow, in 1936, and Leningrad, in 1937) as well as a collection of Ten Pieces for Solo Piano, Opus 75 (1937). 

    Suite from “Messiah”...GF Handel/arr. Calvin Custer

    The first performance of Messiah took place not in London, but rather in Dublin, on April 13, 1742. Handel gave the London premiere less than a year later at Covent Garden. It was not well received, in part because of objections to presenting a sacred work in that most profane of buildings—a theater! (Handel had advertised the oratorio as a "musical entertainment.") It was only in 1750, when Messiah began to be presented in annual performances for a London charity at the local Foundling Hospital, that the public embraced the work.

    Handel performed it some three dozen times—every time, it should be noted, around Easter, not Christmas, as later became the custom. Over the years he revised Messiah to accommodate new surroundings, performing forces, and audiences. Such adaptations have continued ever since: Mozart re-orchestrated the work in 1789 to bring it up to the dimensions of a Classical period orchestra, and more "heavy metal" versions would come in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of these later arrangements helped to make the work viable for large choral festivals with many hundreds of singers, sometimes even more than a thousand.

    Messiah is divided into three sections. The first is concerned with the prophesy of the coming of a Messiah and then with Christ's Nativity. Part II deals with Christ's suffering and death. The concluding section offers an affirmation of Christian faith and glimpses of Revelation.  

     

    CHS SYMPHONIC BAND


    Noel…Hawley Ades

    Hawley Ades was an American choral arranger, born in Wichita, Kansas on June 25, 1908. He died March 26, 2008, at the age of 99, three months shy of his 100th birthday. He was the son of two professional musicians; choral director Lucius Ades, and concert pianist and teacher Mary Findley Ades.

    Hawley Ades graduated from Rutgers College in 1929. He was hired as a staff arranger for Irving Berlin's publishing company, where from 1932 to 1936 he made hundreds of stock arrangements for the leading dance bands of the day, including special arrangements for Raymond Scott and Paul Whiteman.

    In 1937, he was hired as a choral arranger for Fred Waring's very popular group, The Pennsylvanians, and was a mainstay for the next 38 years. Fred Waring often introduced Ades on concert tours by saying that "more people play and sing his arrangements than those of any other arranger in history.”

    He became one of the most prolific choral arrangers of the 20th Century. His arrangements - published by Waring's Shawnee Press - are still very popular throughout the USA, especially with high school and community choirs.

    Christmas At The Movies...arr. John Moss

    Some of the best holiday music over the years has come from movie soundtracks. This unique and entertaining medley includes: The Polar Express - music by Alan Silvestri; Somewhere in My Memory (from Home Alone) - music by John Williams, and Overture from The Nightmare Before Christmas - music by Danny Elfman.

    Concert Rondo...Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/arr. Andy Clark

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) composed four horn concertos plus two substantial fragments of opening movements for two horn concertos and a substantially complete closing movement for a horn concerto. The latter, a Rondo Allegro for horn soloist plus two oboes, two horns, and strings in E flat major, K. 371, was dated by Mozart March 21, 1781 and was possibly intended to go with one of the opening movement fragments. It was possibly intended for Joseph Leutgeb, the horn virtuoso for whom Mozart composed the extant horn concertos or possibly for Viennese Hofkapelle horn virtuoso Jacob Eisen. But for whatever and whomever it was intended, Mozart's Rondo for horn is nearly as delightful as his completed horn concertos. (Description by James Leonard)

    We Wish You A Merry Christmas...traditional/arr. William Packer

    The traditional Christmas carols generally evoke a deep religious aura. However, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," along with some other carols, broke the established order, offering more of a humorous twist. The identity of the author and composer of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" remains a mystery to date. However, its origins are widely believed to be the sixteenth-century, where it was dedicated to carolers who performed for the entertainment of the rich and powerful.

    The carol has quite a colorful history, reflecting on the witty carolers of the Victorian era and their inclination towards a traditional "Christmas dessert." It is also connected to the regeneration of the tradition known as "caroling," - a practice that was banned in the churches during the middle ages. The Protestant Oliver Cromwell had played a key in this, banning all Christmas carols between the period 1647-1660. The church-going public collaborated in a desperate attempt to save the traditional songs - going from door-to-door and performing them in the Victorian era.

     

    CHS WIND ENSEMBLE

    March of the Toys from “Babes In Toyland”...Victor Herbert/arr. Herbert L. Clarke

    March of the Toys is from the operetta “Babes in Toyland” which wove together various characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes into a Christmas-themed musical extravaganza. The original production opened at the Chicago Grand Opera house in 1903. The creators wanted to cash in on the extraordinary success of The Wizard of Oz, which was produced in New York earlier that year. Toys was so popular that it spawned other "fairy-tale" shows over the next decade. It has enjoyed many successful tours and revivals.

    Victor Herbert (1859-1924) was an Irish-born American composer, conductor and cellist whose works include operas, musicals, compositions for orchestra, band and solo instruments. He was co-founder of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).

    Do You Hear What I Hear?...Gloria Shayne Baker/arr. Keifer

    "Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a song written in October 1962, with lyrics by Noël Regneyand music by Gloria Shayne. The pair, married at the time, wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Regney had been invited by a record producer to write a Christmas song, but he was hesitant due to the commercialism of the Christmas holiday. It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of artists.

    "Do You Hear What I Hear?" tells a story loosely based upon the story of the nativity of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Matthew, incorporating fragments of the annunciation to the shepherds from the Gospel of Luke, though Jesus is never explicitly mentioned. A "night wind" tells a lamb of a star, following which the lamb tells his young shepherd that he also hears a loud song. They are each led to a "mighty king," whom they tell of a child in the cold and ask to bring the child silver and gold (much as the Biblical Magi, which in tradition with prophecies in the Book of Isaiah and Psalm 72 are often characterized as kings, did with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh). The king proclaims a prayer of peace and announces that the child will "bring goodness and light."

    The lyrics are inconsistent with the response of Herod the Great, the reigning monarch over the region at the time, who feared the arrival of a new "king of the Jews" and ordered the child massacred. The Magi did not receive word of Christ's birth from the shepherds (who instead went directly to Bethlehem), but by noticing an astrological event, interpreting it as a new Jewish king, and going to Jerusalem, where Herod informed them of Old Testament prophecies and pointed them toward Bethlehem.

    Catch Me If You Can...John Williams/arr. Jay Bocook

    Catch Me If You Can is an exciting work for alto saxophone and concert band based on the music from the Stephen Spielberg film Catch Me If You Can. The music was scored by the legendary film composer John Williams, who also wrote the music for such great films as Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws. Since Catch Me If You Can takes place in the 1960s, Williams felt that a kind of jazz score representative of that decade featuring the alto saxophone would be most appropriate for the movie’s soundtrack. Williams scored Escapades for Alto Saxophone from the film for the Boston Pops Orchestra. This work has been adapted for band by Jay Bocook.

    Roses de Noel...Emile Waldteufel/arr. Jerry Brubaker

    Emile Waldteufel was born in Strasbourg in 1837. He became well known for the waltz, "Les Patineurs" ("The Ice Skaters"), composed in 1882. Waldteufel's music can be distinguished from Johan Strass II's waltzes and polkas in that he used subtle harmonies and gentle phrases, unlike Strauss's more robust and 'masculine' approach.

    Subtitled a "Holiday Waltz for Concert Band," this Emile Waldteufel theme is developed through a variety of waltz-styles featuring a variety of sections of the band.