Montgomery Philharmonic 2014 - 2015 Concert Season – SINGULARITY
January 29, 2015
Canticle for the Sun
Music by Larry Clark (b. 1963) is some of the most popular and most performed by concert bands and string orchestras of all ability levels. Larry is equally adept at writing music for beginners as he is for high school and college ensembles. His music is tuneful, contains a fresh harmonic perspective, is well scored, and stretches the musicianship of the performers. He prides himself on producing music that is not only intriguing to performers and audiences alike but that contains a playability that comes from a keen understanding of the technical difficulties inherent in all instruments. His pieces have been performed internationally and appear on numerous contest/festival performance required music lists. He is an ASCAP award-winning composer, has over 200 publications in print, and is in demand to write commissions for bands and orchestras across the country.
In addition to his abilities as a composer, Larry serves as Vice President, Editor-in-Chief for Carl Fischer Music. In this capacity, he oversees all publications in all genres. His main focus, however, is on selecting, editing, and producing concert band and string orchestra music for the company. He travels the world representing Carl Fischer Music, doing clinic/workshops and guest conducting appearances. His background as a former middle school and university band director at Syracuse University, combined with his composing and editing skills, has placed Larry at the forefront of music for school ensembles. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Florida State University and Masters Degrees in Conducting and Composition from James Madison University in Virginia. For more information about the music of Larry Clark, visit his website www.larryclarkmusic.com.
* Born: 1963
* Compositions: Many compositions for school band and orchestra. Clark’s orchestra compositions include Aftershock, Air and Caprice, Antagonist, Canticle of the Sun, Character, Chronicles, Cimarron, Colossus, Consensus, Contredans, Rondo in the Nick of Time, Clash and Roar, Declaration and Dance, Eden Ridge, and Engines of Resistance. Clark has also collaborated on several books, including – The Complete Scale Compendium, First Festival Solos, the I Used to Play Series for Adults, The NEW Bennett Band Book, and the Yamaha Advantage Music Method Books. Clark has also arranged several compositions for orchestra.
Larry Clarke (b. 1963) – Canticle for the Sun (2005)
A slice of Americana for young players, this piece by Larry Clark features a spotlight on the cello section. This lush and reserved composition has all of the aspects and variety, including independent contrapuntal lines, homophonic choral style playing, and pizzicato. It may be described as a Tone Poem, depending upon shades of color and timbre to express its musical point
Full score with recording embedded –
Le Froid de l’hiver
Soon Hee was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted by the Newbold family. She grew up in Frederick, Maryland, with two sisters and began playing piano at age five and violin at age seven. Soon Hee Newbold won prestigious competitions and performed as a concert artist at an early age. As a soloist and in professional orchestras worldwide, she has appeared in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Disney World, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Tanglewood and in many countries.
Soon Hee attended Frederick High School, where her interests included science, languages, and drama. She studied German, French, and Russian and completed an internship in AIDS and Cancer research at the National Institutes of Health in Fort Detrick, Maryland under Dr. David Derse. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from James Madison University, where she concentrated on film scoring, orchestration, and audio production. While still in college, she also performed in professional symphonies in Virginia, Maryland, and New York and twice was the winner of the JMU School of Music Concerto Competition, performing Violin Concerto (Khachaturian) her Freshman year and Tzigane by Ravel as a Senior.
* Born: Seoul, South Korea
* Compositions: Egyptian Legacy (2014), Pirate's Legend (2014), Warrior Legacy (2013), New Directions for Strings (The FJH Music Company, Inc.), Film Score – Ghost Rock (2004)
* Appeared as an actress in: The Waterboy, Camp Tanglefoot, Tú, Killing Cupid, Alien Invasion Arizona, The Nowhere Man, Lethal, Bounty Killer
* Education: James Madison University
Soon Hee Newbold – Le Froid de l’hiver (2004)
This French-inspired work describes the magic of a winter scene, where snow is quietly falling and icicles are forming on trees. The beautiful melody begins in the violins with the rest of the ensemble playing pizzicato in a supportive role. The melodic line continues to grow until the entire ensemble soars in a magical climactic moment before the tension releases and the group fades to a single note.
Full score with recording embedded –
Overture for Winds
About Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist, and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn was singularly responsible for bringing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach out of obscurity by conducting Bach’s compositions.
His compositions were considered more conservative than his contemporaries Liszt, Wagner, and Berlioz. Known primarily for his symphonies and concerti, Mendelssohn also wrote several well-known oratorios and chamber music, as well as piano music.
As a conductor, he held many important posts. He began his conducting career in Düsseldorf as the music director of The Lower Rhenish Music Festival. His first performance was Handel’s Israel in Egypt followed by Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. This caused a revival of the works of both Handel and Bach throughout Germany. Following his post in Düsseldorf, he chose an appointment as the music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. It was in Leipzig where he developed a strong musical culture with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the opera house, and the Choir of St. Thomas Church and also founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music.
* Born: February 3, 1809, Hamburg, Germany
* Died: November 4, 1847, Leipzig, Germany
* Compositions: Violin Concerto, Elijah, Songs Without Words, More
* Siblings: Fanny Mendelssohn, Rebecka Mendelssohn, Paul Mendelssohn
* Children: Paul Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Carl Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Marie Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Lilli Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
* Parents: Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Lea Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Felix Mendelssohn – Overture in C major for Winds, Opus 24 (1826) (edited by Miller Asbill and Kevin Geraldi)
Mendelssohn composed this overture for a Wind Band that was playing at the Doberan resort, on the coast of the Baltic Sea. He happened to be staying at the resort with his family and, at age 15, thought that it might be fun to compose a piece for the band. Although he was very young, this piece was not his first and it displays much of his mature composition style even at this very young age.
The work is in Sonata Allegro form, with a slow melodic introduction that leads directly into a spirited allegro full of counterpoint and polyphonic introduction. The composition shows Mendelssohn’s classicist style, yet it has the grace and beauty of a true Romantic era composer. It is one of only a handful of pieces written for band during the Romantic era.
An American in Paris
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Originally a pianist and then a composer, Gershwin studied piano with Charles Hambitzer and composition with Rubin Goldmark and Henry Cowell. In mid-1920’s, Gershwin applied to study composition with Nadia Boulanger and Maurice Ravel, but he was rejected. Their response was that if he entered into rigorous composition study, he might lose his wonderful jazz influence. Maurice Ravel was also impressed with Gershwin's abilities, commenting, "Personally I find jazz most interesting: the rhythms, the way the melodies are handled, the melodies themselves. I have heard of George Gershwin's works and I find them intriguing.”
His composition career started with composing songs and then spread to Broadway Theater works with his brother Ira Gershwin and Buddy DeSilva. He went to Paris for a short time, where he met with Boulanger and Ravel. Gershwin was influenced by French music and wanted to be immersed in the tradition. While in Paris, he wrote An American in Paris. It met with mixed reviews following its 1928 Carnegie Hall premiere, but later became one of his most popular pieces. Along with the French tradition, Gershwin stated that the works of Alban Berg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, and Arnold Schoenberg also influenced him.
Gershwin’s film composition career started in 1929, when he was contracted by the Fox Film Corporation (later 20th Century Fox) for the film score to the movie Delicious. In the end, only two of his pieces made it into the film and this infuriated Gershwin. He was so angry that he didn’t work in Hollywood for another seven years. At that time, Gershwin moved to Hollywood and composed numerous film scores until his death in 1937 from a brain tumor. The hallmark of Gershwin’s compositional sound was his ability to manipulate musical forms to his unique style. Gershwin took jazz and spliced it together with classical idioms to compose music that was uniquely Gershwin.
* Born: September 26, 1898, Brooklyn, NY
* Died: July 11, 1937, Los Angeles, CA
* Compositions: Porgy and Bess, Rhapsody in Blue, Summertime, Concerto in F, I’ve Got Rhythm, Embraceable You, An American in Paris, Preludes, Second Rhapsody, Cuban Overture, several works for solo piano, several works for musical theater, several songs, scores for eight musical films
* Siblings: Ira Gershwin, Arthur Gershwin, Frances Gershwin
* Nominations: Academy Award for Best Original Song
* Awards: Grammy Hall of Fame Award, More
George Gershwin was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to write a new piece for the orchestra in the mid-1920’s. On a trip to Paris, he got his inspiration while shopping for taxi horns to take back to the US. He would write a piece that would catch the clamor of the Paris streets in sound. Back in New York, Gershwin put the finishing touches on the work and presented what he called “American in Paris, A Tone Poem for Orchestra,” to the New York Philharmonic. In an interview for the August 1928 edition of Musical America, Gershwin said: “this new piece, really a rhapsodic ballet, is the most modern music I have ever attempted.” He also gave a “program note” for the new piece:
“The opening gay section is followed by a rich blues with a strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our America…perhaps strolling into a café and having a couple of drinks, has succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The harmony here is both more intense and simpler than in the preceding pages. This blues rises to a climax, followed by a coda in which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bubbling exuberance of the opening part with its impression of Paris. Apparently the homesick American, having left the café and reached the open air, has disowned his spell of the blues and once again is an alert spectator of Parisian life. At the conclusion, the street noises and French atmosphere are triumphant.”
Although the work was not a critical success, it has always be a huge success with both musicians and audiences. It truly is the essence of George Gershwin’s Americana.
Instrumentation – 3 flutes (3rd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets in Bb, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in Bb, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, triangle, woodblock, cymbals, low toms, taxi horns, xylophone, glockenspiel, celesta, 4 taxi horn, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass
American In Paris first page manuscript
Gershwin composing An American in Paris
Sandra Ragusa has an extensive background as both conductor and flutist. Before completing her undergraduate degree, she was asked by her flute teacher, Roger Stevens, to join him in the flute section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra as a substitute flutist. This experience led her to playing with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under such noted conductors as Carlo Maria Giulini, Zubin Mehta, Mehli Mehta, Andre Previn, Daniel Lewis, JoAnn Falletta, Simon Rattle, and John Mauceri.
In the Los Angeles studios, she has worked with composer-conductors John Williams, Danny Elfman, Michael Kamen, Hans Zimmer, Bernard Herrman, and Henry Mancini. Ms. Ragusa has been invited to conduct orchestras on three continents, including recent tours of the southern United States, Austria, and Japan.
As an educator, her orchestras have won top honors in festivals and in 1996 she received an invitation to the prestigious Midosuji Festival in Osaka, Japan. Ms. Ragusa is noted for her interpretation of the core symphonic repertory, and is establishing her reputation as an advocate of contemporary American music as well. Her creative programming has garnered praise from the press and fellow musicians alike.
Ms. Ragusa’s outreach to communities and young people in education has centered on bringing music to all. Her community efforts have filled parks and auditoriums with music lovers of all ages in celebration of music. Known for her ability to build audience, she started the community concert series in her hometown and spearheaded its efforts to build a community concert venue.
Ms. Ragusa received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern California and a Master of Music from Carnegie Mellon University. She studied flute with Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, and Roger Stevens, and conducting with Daniel Lewis and William A. Schaefer.
Sandra Ragusa – Tromphonium Musik (2014)
Sandra Ragusa wrote this piece especially for the Rappaport Competition when she discovered that there was no music suitable for middle school trombone/euphonium and orchestra. Ragusa wanted to write a short piece with an opening legato section followed by a second, faster section that used melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic figures from the opening lyrical section. The work uses rhythmic variation in the solo to showcase the talent of the soloists.
Instrumentation – piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in Bb, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, glockenspiel, tambourine, cymbals, bass drum, snare drum, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass
Variations on America
Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer. He is one of the first American composers of international renown, although his music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. What made Ives’ music distinct was his ability to combine American popular music with American and European church music. He was influenced by both genres during his childhood because his father was an Army bandleader during the Civil War and also the local municipal band conductor in Danbury, Connecticut. In Ives’ mind, his sound spectrum included hymns and traditional songs, the town band on the bandstand and at the holiday parade, the fiddlers at Saturday night dances, patriotic songs, and melodies by Stephen Foster. These influences combined to produce experimental music with polytonality, polyrhythms, tone clusters, aleatory elements, and quartertones. Ives was truly ahead of his time and much underappreciated. Ives won a 1947 Pulitzer Prize for his Symphony No. 3. Leonard Bernstein was a champion of Ives’ music. He first brought Ives to the stage on a live radio broadcast of Ives’ 2nd Symphony in 1951.
* Born: October 20, 1874, Danbury, CT
* Died: May 19, 1954, New York City, NY
* Spouse: Harmony Twitchell (m. 1908–1954)
* Compositions: Piano Sonata No. 2, The Unanswered Question,
* Parents: Mary Parmelee, George Edward Ives
* Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Music, Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition
Charles Ives – Variations on America (orchestrated by William Schumann, 1963)
Written originally for organ, Variations on America has always excited audiences and performers alike. Ives wrote this set of variations at age 17 for a July 4th celebration in Brewster, New York. The work is a thematic statement with five variations and two interludes. Ives submitted it to several publishers, but it was summarily rejected, so the composition was put away in a drawer for several years. The famous American organist, E. Power Biggs, discovered and reassembled the piece in 1949. He performed the piece in 1962 at what is now known as Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. William Schuman, then the president of the Juilliard School, attended the concert and immediately felt that the piece should be orchestrated. In 1964, Ives – Variations on America was performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Andre Kostelanetz. William Schuman’s orchestration vividly amplifies Ives’ sense of unadulterated, irreverent fun. In Ives’ set of variations, the orchestra plays in two different keys, playing the theme a la merry-go-round—in a minor key like a Spanish dance, and in a totally fragmented style. It was thought that Ives’ use of musical unorthodoxy was an attempt at a young age to assert his independence from the genteel musical life of the 19th century.
3 flutes (2nd and 3rd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (3 players) snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, suspended cymbal, triangle, orchestral bells, xylophone, castanets, tambourine, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass
– Performance of E. Power Biggs from Ives Original score.
– Charles Ives at about 17 years old when he wrote Variation on America