2018 Symphor!a Program            Back=>
Hamilton Village Green
July 5, 2018

 Star Spangled Banner
arr O’Loughlin
Please stand for this rousing arrangement of the American national anthem.

Overture to Candide 1956
Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990

This year we celebrate the centennial of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, a 20th century conductor, composer, pianist, educator, and social activist.   He was perhaps best known for his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which he led from 1958 to 1969.   Bernstein was passionate about teaching.   He felt that every composition had a story, and he was keen on sharing those stories, whether with the orchestra itself, with his concert audiences, or with his Young Peoples Concerts, broadcast on network television. Bernstein often conducted from the piano, which allowed him to combine his roles as conductor, performer, and educator.   Bernstein composed traditional works for solo piano, orchestra, opera, and the ballet, as well as lighter works for Broadway and film score such as West Side Story and On the Town.

Candide is an operetta, a setting of Voltaire’s novella of the same name.   It follows the travels and intrigues of Candide, the illegitimate nephew of a German baron, who eventually finds happiness not in power, riches, or romance, but in the simple hard work of farming.   The operetta premiered to mixed reviews and closed after only 2 months.  However, the music was well-received, and the operetta was revived and revised numerous times, and has now become a classic.

The overture opens with rhythmic punctuation by the brass and winds, over which the strings join in a marching theme.   The strings then play a lyrical melody growing ever larger, then alternating with sharp interjections from the winds and percussion.   A marching theme re-emerges, followed by passages exploring different rhythms and time signatures.   Eventually the whole orchestra joins together in a rousing finale.     Back=>

Symphony no 38 K504 D Major (Prague) Mvt 2 Andante 1786
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Mozart was perhaps the most influential composer of the classical era.   Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl were child prodigies who were taught by their father.  They made several tours of Europe, performing on the keyboard and violin.   Between his composing debut at the age of 5 and his untimely death at age 35, he composed more than 600 works, including piano sonatas, concerti, symphonies, and operas.

Mozart’s Prague symphony, one of the last of his 41 symphonies, premiered in Prague in 1786.   The symphony is in 3 movements rather than the traditional four.   The orchestra tonight will play the middle andante movement.   This slow movement begins with a lyrical melody in the strings.   It gradually becomes more stately and broad, exploring both major and minor tonalities.   The winds take over the melody over the top of the strings, then alternate melody and descant..   The movement ends quietly.     Back=>

Sleeping Beauty TH 13 Waltz  1889
Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky 1840-1893

Tchaikovsky began learning piano at age 5, and showed early musical promise.  He first studied law, before eventually entering the St. Petersburg Conservatory 1863.  In contrast to the styles of his Russian contemporaries, Tchaikovsky is known as a composer in the European or cosmopolitan style, though he did frequently incorporate Russian folksongs into his works.  Listeners to Hamilton Concerts on the Green may remember Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien or his 1812 Overture.

In 1888, Tchaikovsky was commissioned to compose music for a ballet adaptation of the Brothers Grimm story of sleeping beauty.   Tchaikovsky was captivated by the project, which he felt was perfectly suited to an orchestral score.   It premiered the following year in St Petersburg.   Sleeping Beauty was the middle of his three complete ballets (the others are Swan Lake and the Nutcracker).   This waltz will be familiar for its incorporation into Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in the song “Once Upon a Dream”.   The strings give the waltz beat, punctuated by lively woodwind lines.  Picture the dancers whirling around the ballroom in this sweeping waltz.      Back=>

Enigma Variations Nimrod variation     1899
Edward Elgar 1857-1934

Elgar’s father was an organist and owned a sheet music shop.   Elgar learned violin and bassoon as a child and performed with several local ensembles.  As a composer, however, he was largely self-taught, having never attended conservatory.   His music, while considered distinctly British, is rooted in the European Romantic traditions of the late 19th century.   He was the first British composer in generations to achieve international stature, and he was knighted in 1904.   His Pomp and Circumstance march is widely used for graduation ceremonies.

The Enigma variations, initially titled Variations on an Original Theme, was composed after Elgar had returned home after a day of teaching violin lessons.   He sat down at the piano to improvise, and his wife commented that she enjoyed the tune.  Elgar began manipulating the tune into caricatures of people they knew.   The “enigma” in the title has two meanings.   The first refers to the characters depicted in each variation.  Initially this was left for the listener to discern, but later Elgar named each person in the score.   The larger enigma refers to the theme that was meant to be playable with each of the movements, but was not explicitly stated.  For generations, scholars have unsuccessfully tried to identify the tune Elgar had in mind.   The Nimrod variation refers to Elgar’s friend, Augustus Jaeger, who encouraged Elgar greatly when he had been tempted to give up music during a dark period in his life.   Nimrod is a biblical hunter (Jaeger is German for hunter).   The Nimrod variation is a lush composition, very slow and largely in rhythmic unison.   The strings carry most of the weight of the movement, with the winds contributing melodic support for some of the more lyrical sections.     Back=>


The Patriot (movie suite) 2000
John Williams b1941

John Williams is perhaps the best-known film composer of all time.   He has written music for such films as the Star Warsmovies, Jaws, ET, Superman, the Indiana Jones movies, and Schindler’s List.   His music is featured in 8 of the top 20 highest-grossing movies of all time, and he has earned more than 50 Academy Award nominations.   In addition to his work for film, Williams served as the Principal Conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1993.

The Patriot was a 2000 film depicting an American Colonist in South Carolina during the American Revolutionary War.  Moviegoers will recognize Williams’ broad passages in the strings and brass.   In this music, Williams also incorporates fife, drum, and bugle lines that evoke the historical setting.      Back=>

Fairest of the Fair 1908
John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)

Sousa began his musical training on the violin at age 6.   He soon learned a variety of wind and string instruments.   At the age of 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted the young Sousa in the Marines as an apprentice.   After serving his apprenticeship, he joined a theater pit orchestra, where he learned to conduct.   He later returned to the Marines, conducting and composing military music for much of his career.   His many familiar marches for military band have earned him the title “March King”.        Back=>

The Fairest of the Fair was composed for his band to perform at the Boston Food Fair in 1908, though he actually wrote it while staying at Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks.   Like most of his marches, this one follows a typical march form.  The introduction is rousing and introduces the “oompah, oompah” baseline.   This is followed by a first theme with unison strings and winds.   The second theme more heavily uses the brass and winds.   The trio section is more broad and lyrical, featuring more of the upper woodwinds.  The “breakstrain” or “dogfight” is a rhythmic interlude, which sets up the repeat of the trio section.     Back=>

The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman is a 2017 musical film inspired by the founding of the Barnum and Bailey Circus and the lives of its performers.   The songs were composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.   This arrangement is by Symphoria! Primcipal pops conductor Sean O’Loughlin.     Back=>

My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine is a show tune from the 1937 Rogers and Hart musical Babes in Arms.   It has become a Jazz standard, and is considered part of the Great American Songbook. This arrangement also comes to us courtesy of Maestro O’Loughlin.     Back=>

ET Adventures on Earth (movie suite)1982
John Williams

Williams’ music for the film ET: The Extraterrestrial won both an Academy Award for Best Original Score and a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.   The film depicts an alien who is stranded on earth when his family leaves without him, and the human boy who is determined to help him get back home.   The music was ranked 14th on the American Film Institute’s list of greatest film scores of all time.     Back=>


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