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A Long-Awaited Spring

Program Notes

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

The Magic Flute - Overture (6')

(Die Zauberflöte, K. 620: Overture) 

Flute Concerto No. 1 in G Major, K313

I. Allegro Maestoso (9.5')

Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K622

II. Adagio (from 'Out of Africa') (12.5')

Appalachian Spring (25')

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

AARON COPLAND

Horn Concerto No. 3 in Eb Major, K.447

III. Allegro (4')

 
 
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The Magic Flute - Overture

The Magic Flute, K. 620, whose original German title is “Die Zauberflöte”, is an opera sung in German with spoken text inserted throughout the story (Singspiel) to a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder.

The first performance took place on 30 September 1791 in the suburbs of Vienna, at the Schikaneder Theatre, a small wooden room frequented by an audience more popular than that of a usual opera house. Due to its success, the 100th performance was achieved a year later.

 

Its famous overture displays a simplicity that is both profound and already almost supernatural, it is with an ascending sequence of three chords, interspersed with short silences, that begins the initial adagio. They warn of the solemnity of a work that will also mix gravity with humour. These chords are also reminiscent of the blows struck at the entrance of the Masonic lodge and thus make manifest the three points of Freemasonry. Mozart, who was a Freemason, sprinkled Masonic symbolism throughout the work.

 

The Allegro that follows is loosely based on the coloratura bravura aria heard later in the opera, the celebrated “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" (“Hell's vengeance boils in my heart”).

 
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Flute Concerto No. 1 in G Major, K313

I. Allegro Maestoso 

Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K622

II. Adagio (from 'Out of Africa') 

Horn Concerto No. 3 in Eb Major, K.447

III. Allegro 

To celebrate RDSO's return to the stage, we decided to showcase some of our own musicians as soloists but we combined three excerpts into a Mozart Frankenconcerto! A first, second and third movement were chosen from different wind concertos, featuring three different instruments.

It is at age 22 that Mozart completed the first (K. 313) flute concerto in January 1778 in Mannheim for the flutist nicknamed “De Jean” who wanted concerti that would not be too long or too difficult. Unlike the 2nd concerto, it was through-composed and not copied from previous works. There is even an isolated movement, an Andante for flute and orchestra in C Major K.315, which could be a second version of the slow movement of this first concerto - but it may have exceeded De Jean's capabilities as a soloist.

 

The Clarinet Concerto was composed between September 28 and October 7, 1791, for the attention of Anton Stadler. Unlike De Jean, Stadler was an eminent virtuoso who played both basset horn and clarinet, and whom Mozart greatly appreciated. In reality, the Allegro had been composed as early as 1787, but in G major (K.584b/K.621b) and not in A, and for basset horn. Mozart took up and transcribed this movement to add it to this concerto, while adding two measures. According to a letter Mozart wrote to his wife about eight weeks before his death, it is known that the Rondo was completed on October 7, 1791. Mozart stated that he had written it for Stadler's purported “Bass Clarinet”, an instrument Stadler had invented three years earlier, and which extended the lower range of the normal clarinet in A. This instrument was eventually called "basset clarinet" (not to be confused with the modern bass clarinet). Mozart probably composed his concerto taking into account the peculiarities of this instrument: the basset clarinet in A can go down to C while the clarinet in ordinary A can only go up to E. The editors made changes so that the piece could be played on clarinets in B flat or A, and some passages in the bass were therefore revised. Unfortunately, the original version of the concerto was never published and the original score is lost. The earliest surviving version of this work is the version published by Andrè in 1801 for clarinet in A.

Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K. 447, was completed in 1787 during the composer's stay in Vienna. Currently, it is one of the most requested concertos in bass horn orchestra competitions as its tessitura is more restricted. The concerto was composed out of friendship (just like his other horn concertos) for Joseph Leutgeb, an amateur horn player whose name is mentioned humouristically several times in the score. Mozart probably did not consider it important because he did not mention it in his catalogue of his works. The original, well-preserved score is in the British Library in London. As all of Mozart’s Horn concertos are, it is a sunny, joyful, and tuneful work.

 
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Appalachian Spring

Appalachian Spring  is a ballet composed by Aaron Copland in 1944 and choreographed by Martha Graham. It premiered on October 30, 1944 at the Library of Congress in Washington. The work was commissioned and sponsored by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge foundation, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945. 

 

Because the orchestra pit was narrow, the original orchestration had only 9 strings, a clarinet, a flute and a bassoon. The piece was later transcribed by the composer for a symphony orchestra. RDSO is happy to present the work in its original orchestration, as heard at its premiere.

 

The ballet tells the story of the American pioneers at the dawn of the nineteenth century. The main themes are largely inspired by the traditional music of the time, especially the Shaker Dance, which serves as a melodic link between the eight movements of the piece. The title stems from the first line of a poem by Hart Crane: The Dance; but was chosen after the ballet score was completed.

 

The Los Angeles Times gave the following synopsis of the ballet’s storyline:

“Created in 1944, the ballet tells a simple story. A young farm couple ruminate on their lives before getting married and setting up house in the wilderness. An itinerant preacher delivers a sermon. An older pioneer woman oversees the events with sympathy and wisdom. The newlyweds muse on their future as night falls. In the course of the dance, Graham reveals the inner lives of the four principal characters – Wife, Husbandman, Pioneer Woman and Preacher. She shows that the couple will face a future that will not be all sweetness and light, but she also draws out the private and shared emotional resources they will be able to bring to the challenges. Such is the power of Graham's images, however, that this very particular story broadens out to become a parable about Americans conquering a new land.”

 
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Lucie Jones, Flute

Dutch-born flutist Lucie Jones (Batteké) is principal flute with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, an extra player with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra since 2004, and a busy chamber musician, soloist, teacher, and adjudicator.

 

Lucie is a winner of the University of Calgary Concerto Competition, and the 2008 and 2010 National Flute Association International Performer's Competitions. Lucie has been a featured performer with Rosa Barocca, the Instrumental Society of Calgary, Land’s End Ensemble, Kensington Sinfonia, Mountain View Festival and a soloist with the Red Deer Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestras. Along with her orchestral work, Lucie performs regularly as a member of the Looking Glass Duo, StoryMusic, and Perfect Cadence Woodwind Quintet.

 

In addition to her performing schedule, Lucie maintains a busy flute studio at MRU Conservatory and continues to work as a sessional flute instructor at the University of Calgary.

Lucie has BMus and MMus in Flute Performance, a BSc in Computer Science, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary in the Computational Media Design Program, with a We-TRAC specialization.

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Ilana Dahl

Ilana Dahl has played principal Clarinet with the Red Deer Symphony for 22 years, including a solo performance of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622.

 

She completed her Bachelor and Masters degrees in Music Performance at the University of Calgary with Stan Climie and Steve Amsel, and the University of British Columbia with Wes Foster.

 

Ilana has a busy freelance career on clarinet and bass clarinet. She has taught all over Southern Alberta, and regularly performs with the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble. Additionally, Ilana is an extra musician with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and has played with both the Calgary and Edmonton Ballet and Opera Companies. One of her favorite musical highlights was performing with Ben Heppner and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

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Douglas Umana, Horn

Douglas Umana is an active freelance musician and clinician in Calgary, where he performs regularly as a substitute/extra horn with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and as 2nd Horn of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. Douglas is also the Instructor of Horn at the University of Lethbridge. Before coming to Calgary, Douglas was based in Dallas TX, where he maintained a private teaching studio and performed regularly with the Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, and Plano Symphony Orchestras.

Originally from Miami, Florida, Douglas received his Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Methodist University and Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music at Yale University. His principal teachers include Gregory Hustis, former Principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and William Purvis, horn soloist and chamber musician.