LAVALLÉE (Arr Gilliland)
ARNE (Arr Chapman)
God Save the Queen
PORTER (Arr Carmen Dragon)
Begin the Beguine (from Jubilee) (5’)*
YRADIER (Arr Dragon)
La Paloma (5’)*
ABREU (Arr Dragon)
Tico-Tico no Fubá (5’)*
Conga del Fuego Nuevo (5’)*
Young Composer Project: Voyage (5’)* (World premiere)
Tap Dance Concerto (12’)*
Ryan VanDenBoom, tap dancer
Ouvertuere solenelle “1812”, Opus 49
Program subject to change.
*indicates approximate performance duration.
It’s certainly fitting that, in this Jubilee year of one British monarch, we recall another jubilee celebration. Cole Porter (1891-1964) and Moss Hart’s 1935 Broadway show Jubilee
was inspired by the golden jubilee of George V, though a fictionalized European country featured in the musical. The show was a smash, and featured some great Cole Porter songs, including Begin the Beguine. The beguine is a Caribbean dance form, and combines both Latin and French elements. Porter’s song helped to popularize the dance form outside the Caribbean.
Spanish composer Sebastián Yradier (1809-1865) visited Cuba in 1861, and was inspired to write a song in the style of a Cuban habañera. Unfortunately, he died in relative poverty before the song exploded in popularity. La Paloma
(“The Dove”) has been adopted, adapted, and reinvented any number of ways in the last century and a half.
The tico-tico bird is found throughout the Brazil River region. In 1917, the creature was depicted in a song originally called Tico-Tico no Farelo
by Brazilian popular songwriter Zequinha de Abreu (1880-1935). In 1942, it was recorded as Tico-Tico no Fubá
(“The Tico-Tico Bird in the Cornmeal”). It was shortened to Tico-Tico
in North America, and under that name, it has become a standard, popularized by Carmen Miranda – but even quoted in songs by Frank Zappa, no less. Abreu, a child prodigy in his native São Paolo, chose the title because the song’s rhythms imitated the bird’s way of pecking at cornmeal. Tonight’s orchestration of the popular chorinho
(a dominant song form in Brazilian music) was done by Clifford Colnot.
Arturo Márquez (b. 1950) is the son of a mariachi musician. He was born in Mexico, but raised in Los Angeles, and it was there he furthered his musical education. He went back to Mexico to attend conservatory there, earning a scholarship that took him to Paris as well. The Edmonton Symphony has made Márquez’ Danzón No. 2
a recent favourite, and this afternoon, adds his Conga del Fuego Nuevo
(“New Fire Conga”) to its repertoire. It is thought that the conga was introduced by African slaves in Cuba. It was popularized in the 1940s by Desi Arnaz and others, and enjoyed a second heyday in North American popular culture in the 1980s thanks to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine’s hit single. Márquez’ orchestral version begins in a steady simmer, the pulsing, syncopated beat constantly underpinning the music. The work builds in intensity, its pace slowing unexpectedly about halfway through – but only briefly, as the orchestra then whips the dance up to a thrilling finish.
Maurice Ravel’s (1875-1937) most famous work is his orchestral tour de force
. The musical form known as the boléro, like so many of this afternoon’s works, is a dance, and Ravel’s was commissioned by the famous Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein. It thrilled audiences from its first performances (it premiered in 1928), and its popularity soon drew choreographers to it like moths to a flame. Based on the same repetitive drum pattern, Ravel described his Boléro
as, one long crescendo, “a tissue of music” he said deprecatingly, that grows and grows over the course of a quarter of an hour until it bursts out in a fabulous climax.
Daniel Belland (b. 1992) has been composing for five years, and has developed a passion for the endless possibilities of creating new music. As a performer, he has completed his Royal Conservatory Grade 10 Piano and Grade 9 Flute. He is also involved in theatre and musical theatre, as a composer and performer. He recently composed the score to (semicolon) the musical
, which ran at Nextfest 2011 and the 2011 Edmonton Fringe Festival. Having been homeschooled for the first eleven grades, Daniel recently completed Grade 12 at St Joseph High School. He will be studying music at Grant MacEwan University this fall.
Of his work Voyage
, Mr. Belland writes: “The title Voyage
represents the idea of optimistically setting out, overcoming trials, and growing stronger in the process. Whether a physical journey or a personal one, we are familiar with the idea of a voyage, and this piece reflects that process. The primary theme takes the form of a classical-sounding piece, but with a slightly modern edge. This theme is introduced in a jaunty fashion, and dominates the work. It is passed about the orchestra, unfolded, developed, and pushed forward by a strong sense of motion. Occasionally, the movement is interrupted, but the theme pushes through to a triumphant ending.”
Ever one to combine classical and popular music, Morton Gould (1913-1996) was the perfect person to write something as audacious yet pop-appealing as a Tap Dance Concerto
. A skilled musician at an early age, Gould rose to prominence in New York as the staff pianist at Radio City Music Hall, and as part of popular radio programs such as The Chrysler Hour
. As a composer, he wrote for the concert stage, but also for Broadway and Hollywood. In fact, it was for the 1946 Broadway show Billion Dollar Baby
that Gould met dancer/choreographer Danny Daniels, and it was for him that the Tap Dance Concerto
was written. “Morton would write sections, with the rhythms noted as part of the musical score, and then play it on the piano for me to see if the rhythms were tap-able,” Daniels said. “I would then take the manuscript score and a tape recording of his playing, and work on the choreography in my basement studio.”
The concerto premiered in November 1952 in Rochester, New York. “It is exactly what its name says it is, a four-movement, formal, jazz-influenced symphonic piece in which the tap dancer has a solo role as virtuosic and important as the piano in a Mozart concerto,” wrote critic Raymond Ericson. This afternoon’s performance includes three of the work’s original four movements: Toccata, Pantomime, and Rondo (the third movement, Minuet, has been cut). Each movement allows the dancer places to improvise, and, according to Daniels, was the highlight of his career. “After the concerto I thought I had done it all and anything after that was gravy,” he said.
The 1812 Battle of Borodino (exactly 200 years ago) proved vital in the eventual Russian repulsion of the Napoleonic army. 70 years later, that victory was commemorated at the dedication of the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. For the occasion, Russia’s leading composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was commissioned to write a suitably reverent yet jubilant overture. Such specific commissions held little appeal for Tchaikovsky, and he chafed at this one too, complaining to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck that, “the overture will be very noisy…It has no great artistic value.” He finished sketching the work in a week, and probably thought it would not have much of a life past that first performance on August 20, 1882.
Several works are quoted throughout the overture, including several traditional Russian hymns and songs, and the 1812 Overture
is sometimes performed with a chorus. The work opens with low strings presenting God Preserve Thy People
, appealing to the Almighty for help against the French army. The distress and suffering of the Russians is illustrated as the opening measures of Le Marseillaise
are heard. Ideas both sentimental and martial combine, building until a cannonade thunders out – the battle has begun. Le Marseillaise
is gradually overcome by the Tsar’s Hymn
, and at the overture’s climax, church bells peal, a brass band plays, and the victory of the Russian people is portrayed with a grand statement of the main march theme, complete with another cannonade – but this one in celebration and triumph.
Program notes © 2012 by D.T. Baker, except as noted
Robert Bernhardt, conductor
Robert Bernhardt served as Music Director and Conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera for 19 seasons. He was the second Music Director in the combined company’s history, and is now the first with the title Emeritus. A lover of all genres of music, he is equally at home in symphonic, operatic, pops, and educational performances. He also nears another milestone in his career with the Louisville Orchestra, with this year representing his 30th consecutive season with the LO, and his 15th as Principal Pops Conductor. This season, he will make his conducting debuts with the Dallas and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, return to the Cincinnati Pops and Detroit Symphony, and will conduct six Boston Pops concerts. His vast symphonic repertoire covers most of the standard canon and his commitment to the music of our time is significant. He has been a frequent guest conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Boston Pops. He has also been a guest with the Houston, Seattle, Phoenix, Nashville, Colorado, Iceland, and Pacific Symphony Orchestras, among others. He has recorded for Vanguard, First Edition, Carlton Classics, and RPO record labels. He has also conducted the Louisville Ballet, the North Carolina Ballet, the Jacksonville Ballet, and the Lonestar Ballet.
Born in Rochester, NY, Robert Bernhardt holds a Master's Degree with Honours from the University of Southern California School of Music where he studied with Daniel Lewis. He was a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Union (NY) College, where he was an Academic All-American baseball player. His son, Alex, lives and works in Seattle with his wife and new daughter, and his daughter, Charlotte, is a resident of New York City. He and his wife, Nora, live on Signal Mountain.
Robert Bernhardt holds a special place in the hearts of Edmonton Symphony Orchestra musicians and audiences. This year’s Symphony Under the Sky marks his seventh consecutive as the festival’s conductor, and he frequently leads the ESO in subscription series performances at the Winspear Centre. He last conducted the ESO in May 2012.
Ryan VanDenBoom, dancer
A recent graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and CAP 21 Musical Theatre Conservatory, Ryan VanDenBoom has worked at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse (Kiss Me, Kate
), as performer/choreographer for the Mac-Haydn Theatre (Anything Goes, Chicago, Sweet Charity, Damn Yankees
), and is currently featured as a singer/dancer/choreographer for a new symphonic multimedia concert event entitled Here to Stay: The Gershwin Experience
Mr. VanDenBoom worked with legendary tap dancer/choreographer Danny Daniels to learn his original choreography for Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto
. Later this fall, he is slated to make his Broadway debut in a new revival of Annie
This is Mr. VanDenBoom’s debut with the ESO. He returns later this season when he brings Here to Stay: The Gershwin Experience
to the Robbins Pops series on June 7, 2013
& June 8, 2013