Flutes, Flicks and Fantasies
Sunday, May 6, 2012, 3:00 PM
McAfee Performing Arts Center
Dr. Edward C. Harris, conductor
Jim Walker, flute
Fanfares from the Opera “Libuše”
Bedřich Smetana (1824 – 1884), arranged by Vaclav Nelhybel
Bohemian composer Bedřich Smetana is considered to be the father of the Czech national style of music, and his musical style paved the way for Antonin Dvořák and Leoš Janáček. Smetana’s works, notably his opera The Bartered Bride and the symphonic poem My Country (Má vlast), continue to be performed throughout the world.
Libuše is a festival opera in three acts. The libretto was originally written in German and then translated into Czech. In Czech historical myth, Libuše prophesied the founding of Prague. The opera was composed in 1872 for the coronation of Franz Josef as king. He was not crowned king, but Smetana saved Libuše for the opening of the National Theatre in Prague in 1881. After the destruction of the National Theatre in a fire, Libuše opened the reconstructed theatre in 1883. The first U.S. performance was given by the Opera Orchestra of New York in March, 1986.
Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn
Norman Dello Joio (1913 – 2008)
Born in New York City, Dello Joio received his musical training from his father, who was an organist and coach for the Metropolitan Opera. Norman began playing the piano at age 4 and began working as a church organist and choirmaster at age 12. He received a scholarship to study composition at the Juilliard School of Music. He began his teaching career at Sarah Lawrence College, became a professor of composition at Mannes College in 1956, and worked as a professor of music and dean of the Fine and Applied Arts School of Boston University from 1972 to 1979. Dello Joio composed pieces for chorus, orchestra, band, and solo instruments. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1957 for Meditations on Ecclesiastes and received an Emmy Award in 1965 for his score to the television special, The Louvre.
“Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn” was commissioned by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association in 1968. Dello Joio commented: “This work for band is based on a theme from a composition for piano by Joseph Haydn. The subtly conceived theme, I concluded, offered an opportunity to fantasize in the musical language of today. The three movements are a constantly varied examination of Haydn’s basic idea. The bubbling humor of the first and third fantasies flank a second which is intensely lyric. In the final sense, it is my homage to a composer who will always remain contemporary.”
Carmen Fantasy for Solo Flute and Concert Band
François Borne (1862 – 1929), arranged by Ken Kugler and Jim Walker
Although it is known born in France, there is a great deal of debate over François Borne’s actual birth year, various sources citing it between 1840 and 1862. Borne was principal flutist for the Grand Theatre of Bordeaux and professor of flute at the Toulouse Conservatory of Music.
The composition date of this piece is also in question, varying from 1880 to 1900. Originally titled “Fantaisie Brillante,” it is the most popular of Borne’s surviving compositions. The piece was written for flute and piano, but Mr. Walker collaborated with Ken Kugler to create this flute and band arrangement. Many familiar themes from George Bizet’s opera Carmen are explored, and the music runs the gamut of the emotions that are defined in the opera, giving the soloist opportunities to “sing” some of the famous melodies. Otherwise, there are many variations on the themes, presenting the soloist virtuoso opportunities.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Symphonic Suite)
Michael Kamen (1948 – 2003), arranged by Paul Lavender
Kamen studied oboe at The Juilliard School of Music and later formed a rock ensemble, when he began to consider composition. Kamen tried his hand at orchestral arranging, even though he had no formal training. Kamen said, “I had played in an orchestra, so I thought I knew how it went… I could hear the orchestra in my head, and I wrote it down.”
Kamen also worked as an arranger, creating orchestral parts for a variety of rock artists, including David Bowie, Queen, Aerosmith and Metallica. He is most well known for his musical scores to the films Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Don Juan DeMarco, and Mr. Holland’s Opus. Kamen also scored ballets and the Symphony for the Millennium for the National Symphony in Washington, D.C.
Kamen said of composing, “I really do believe in orchestras, and I really do believe in melody. And I believe that both of those structures are seriously threatened in this world.”
Kamen composed this musical score of bravado to accompany the film, which included a collaboration with singer Bryan Adams on Maid Marian’s popular song “Everything I Do, I Do It for You.” The suite opens with Kamen’s adventurous brass fanfare theme for Robin Hood.
“Harry’s Wondrous World,” from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
John Williams (b. 1932), arranged by Jerry Brubaker
“Harry’s Wondrous World” is originally heard in the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. For this project, Williams broke from his usual practices and actually took the time to read Rowling’s book for inspiration (and he reportedly enjoyed it, too).
Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song
Samuel R. Hazo (b. 1966)
Samuel Hazo received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duquesne University and has been a music teacher at every educational grade level from kindergarten through college. In 2003, Mr. Hazo became the first composer to win both composition contests sponsored by the National Band Association. He has composed original scores for television, radio and the stage, as well as music for the professional, university and public school levels. His music has been performed by ensembles nationally and internationally, including at the Music Educators National Conference, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. He has served as composer-in-residence, lecturer and clinician at high schools, universities, and professional events internationally.
According to the composer, “‘Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song’ tells the story of a Japanese girl who is given a music box by her mother and father when she is just a child. This music box played the Japanese doyo (child’s song) ‘Sunayama.’ As a young girl, this music box always provided a sense of comfort and solace during her trying times. When she becomes an adult, she falls in love with an American and faces the difficult choice of remaining in her Japanese village or marrying and going to America with him. She is so much in love with him that she chooses to leave… Balancing her love for her husband with her love for the culture she left behind gives way to painful episodes. During these moments, her only method of coping with her circumstance is to lock herself away, open the music box given to her as a child, and at the sound of the very first note, to cry.” This piece opens and closes with the haunting sound of ocean waves, played on an ocean drum.
American Flute Salute, American Songs for Solo Flute and Band
“American Flute Salute” was commissioned by Jim Walker and composed and compiled by David Mairs. The piece comprises a collection of familiar themes and melodies from the American song landscape, including “America the Beautiful,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “My Country 'Tis of Thee” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.” Jim’s goal was to have a new fresh solo vehicle for flute and band or orchestra. Rich orchestrations and innovative meter changes were suggested, and David delivered wonderfully. Jim created a virtuoso cadenza to give the piece some additional technical and musical challenges.
Blackie and Max
Named for two long-since-departed cats from Jim’s household in the 1980s, “Blackie and Max” is an up-tempo swing piece that is basically a 14-bar blues (as opposed to the traditional 12-bar blues), with an eight-bar bridge. The band takes on the role of a jazz rhythm section, backing up the flute soloist. Perhaps the most fun part of the composition is the “shout chorus” half-way through, where the ensemble and soloist combine for a rhythmically challenging ride.
“Raiders March,” from the Paramount Motion Picture Raiders of the Lost Ark
John Williams (b. 1932), transcribed for band by Paul Lavender
The 1977 movie Star Wars brought the talents of John Williams to international fame, and he is one of the most gifted contemporary composers for film and television. He works in a different compositional style than most soundtrack composers, in that he does not write short “cue music” for individual scenes, but rather writes large compositions to accompany large segments of the films. He has composed the music and served as music director for such well-known films as Harry Potter, Jaws, E.T., Star Wars, Superman, and Saving Private Ryan. Williams has been awarded numerous Emmy, Oscar, and Grammy Awards. Williams served as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1992.
SJWS program notes are edited by Karen Berry from the composers’ notes, Band Notes by Norm Smith and: