Santa Clarita Philharmonic | Season Winter Concert | December 10, 2017
The Santa Clarita Philharmonic present their first concert of the 2017-18 season at College of the Canyons’ Performing Arts Center, featuring the Valencia Concert Choir on December 10, 2017.
Set 2 (featuring the Valencia Concert Choir)
2. He Has Come to Aid His Servant
3. Gloria Patri
Program Notes by Jeffrey Gilbert, Music Director
“The concert opens with the only non-American composer featured on the program. Under the guise of a tableau for the journalistic pension fund in Finland, Jean Sibelius wrote Finland Awakens as a call to be Finnish, and independent of the rule of Russia. The original title was considered controversial by the regime. so the piece gained its popularity under the name Impromptu. We know the piece as Finlandia.”
“Howard Hanson, born in Wahoo, Nebraska, was an admirer of Sibelius. He composed his second symphony in a style similar to that of neo-Romanticism. creating a work that was more lyrical in style with more emotional content. Symphony No.2, sub-titled, Romantic, is scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English Horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, and strings.
The first movement of the symphony, written in a sonata form, begins with a slow introduction by the winds on a three-note motif, joined later by the strings and brass. This motive heard in all three movements, serves as an underlayment to the first main theme featuring the horns. The oboe, strings and horns introduce the second and third themes.
Slow in tempo, the second movement is set with rich tones popular in the Romantic style. Flutes introduce the main theme with bassoons and clarinets accompanying.
The Third movement opens with the first theme in the horns, taken from the opening horn line in the first movement. The orchestra then slows to a similar character from movements one and two for the second new theme, in the English horn and Cello. This final movement brings a return of all previous themes, transformed in minor, stretched out in longer forms. and finally as a triumphant closure to the symphony.”
“With the next selection we change the instrumentation and composers. Known for his innovative compositional style, Eric Whitacre in an interview with Nolan Gasser states, ‘With vocal and choral music, first and foremost it’s the text. Not only do I need to serve the text, but the text – when I’m doing it right – acts as the perfect ‘blueprint’, and all the architecture is there. The poet has done the heavy lifting, so my job is to ind the soul of the poem and then somehow translate that into music.’
Mr. Whitacre, from Reno, Nevada, has created a global phenomenon with his use of a ‘virtual choir.’ In 2009, a young singer recorded herself singing Sleep, a work by the composer, and shared it on YouTube. Mr. Whitacre was moved by this and invited others to do the same. He was so inspired by the result, that he took this to the next logical step with his work, Lux Arumque. Now, 8 years later, what had started with 185 singers, has now led to four virtual choirs with over 8400 singers uploading submissions from 101 countries. In 2013, Eric and the Walt Disney Co. collaborated on a new venture involving the use of a virtual choir, and Disney magic. The result was Glow written for the World of Color, Winter Dreams show, at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. With online submissions from all 50 states, most of the 1473 singers submitting recordings were accepted as part of the virtual choir.
The moderate tempo and limited dynamic range of Glow emphasize the text to lead into the mystery of birth.”
“In Mark Millers setting of O Magnum Mysterium, the composer uses the text pertaining to the place of birth. An exciting relationship exists between the music of Eric Whitacre, and that of Mark Miller. Both settings speak of birth, and share a quiet feeling to them with text reflecting the mysteries of a holy birth. O Magnum Mysterium is written in a sonata form with the first A section intoning the great mystery, the B section reflecting on the mystery of the animals being the first to witness the birth, then the return of the A section, now in G minor, again singing of the great mystery. Mark Miller, a graduate of Julliard with a Masters of Music in Organ performance, is a composer and lecturer of scared music at Yale University.”
“Based on the Canticle of the Virgin Mary, the Magnificat is one of the earliest hymns of the church. Based upon the Gospel according to Luke (1:46 – 55), this was sung by Mary. In this text, Mary sings her praises to God, tells of the mercy of God and sings of the promises made to Abraham. While in Latin, Kevin Memley has taken some exceptions with the traditional setting of the Magnificat. The second movement includes a poetic English translation with the exception of the last acapella section. In correspondence with the composer, he states, ‘I chose English for two reasons. I thought it would help identify with English audiences better, in that it is the core of the entire text, and I just plainly thought it sings better.’
This setting of the Magnificat is in three movements.
The first movement, Magnificat, is in F Major and in a sonata-rondo form. The opening motive is a recurring theme in the first and third movements. The work is marked with changes in meter, which are driven by the text.
The second movement, written in a slow C major, begins with solos in the violin and horn. The theme, introduced by the piano, provides the musical content for the entire second movement. The movement finishes in Latin with the choir singing a capella, reflecting choral traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.
The third and final movement, set in a lively tempo, is in the key of F major. With each entrance of a new voice, the key proceeds up the circle of fifths to G major. With a time signature of 7/8, the ‘Gloria Patri‘ continues for the entire first section of the sonata form. A return to the key of F Major begins the second section with a restatement of the main theme from the first movement. The concluding section of the work is written with an alternating 12/8 – 9/8 pattern, with Amen as text. Mr. Memley closes his setting of the Magnificat with a return to his dynamic main theme from the first movement.”
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