April 28, 2018
Program Notes by Endicott Reindl
John Corigliano (b.1938)
Composed in 1966
Originally written off an incidental score for the off-Broadway production of Helen Corigliano’s Elegy focuses on a love scene between the two main characters. Dedicated to the memory of the composer, Samuel Barber, best known for his Adagio for Strings, Corigliano was fascinated by his style of writing and wanted to pay homage to the popular composer. Barber and Corigliano mastered writing complex, beautiful musical passages that do not need ornamentation to emote their meaning. According to his website, he has “…One of the richest, most unusual, and most widely celebrated bodies of work from any composer in the last 40 years.”
Corigliano wrote in the score program notes, “The brief work, set at a single slow tempo, begins quickly with a key passage for paired flutes, builds during its course to two double forte (rather loud) climaxes for the whole orchestra, subsiding into a quiet close for strings and woodwinds.” Although short, this piece demonstrates Corigliano’s writing ability, to not just musically describe the love of the two main characters, but why they loved each other.
Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
Symphony in C
Composed in 1855
Georges Bizet was one of those folks, for whom academics and theory came easy to in life. He wrote his Symphony in C at the age of 17 while studying at the Paris Conservatory under famous composer Charles Gounod. As the story has been told over the years, he had no interest in having it performed or published. It wasn’t until after his death that his widow realized the gem it was. Bizet, looking to impress his teacher and mentor, incorporated a lot of similarities between his and Gounod’s composition style. Bizet became so intimately acquainted with Gounod’s Symphony in D after transcribing it for piano, that he in turn influenced his mentor.
Sticking to a traditional form of composition, although devoid of trombones, Bizet followed the style of the day in four movements, capping the start and finish in similar chords and flourishes. Many questioned his choice of composing a symphony in France during a time when opera was king.
Recorded as the only completed symphony ever written by the composer, he was keen to move into theatrical and opera writing. He would go on to write classics like Carmen. Bizet never visited Spain before or during writing the opera instead he looked for inspiration in the Provence region of France. Above all his symphony is known as a respectful gesture to his mentor Gounod.
Gabriel Fauré (1838-1875)
John Rutter, Arr. (b. 1945)
Originally Composed in 1890
Arranged in 1989
Composed as a shortened Catholic mass for the departed in Latin, Fauré focused on themes of eternal rest and consolation. Many of his earlier counterparts, like Mozart, focused more on the fire and brimstone of death. Fauré chose to omit the Dies irae and replaced it with the Pie Jesu, also noting that the final movement In Paradisum is not based on the funeral mass liturgy, but the actual burial. The work was originally written in seven movements for a full orchestra, chorus, solo soprano, baritone and organ. We feature the more intimate John Rutter edition. John Rutter explains his reasoning for reshaping the work:
“Gabriel Fauré began work on his Requiem in 1887 purely, in his own words, ‘for the pleasure of it’. At the time he was the choirmaster at the fashionable church of the Madeleine in Paris, and the completed first version of the Requiem was first performed there under his direction on 16 January 1888 on the occasion of the funeral service of a certain M. Joseph Le Soufaché. The work continued to be performed in this first version until 1893 when Fauré made an expanded version introducing the Offertoire and Libera me and including parts for bassoons, horns and trumpets. A third version followed – the familiar published one with full orchestra – which received its première in July 1900 at the Trocadéro Palace during the Paris World Exhibition, but it is not clear how much of this score was prepared by Fauré and how much was delegated to one of his assistants. The aim of this edition is to present the Requiem in a form as close as possible to Fauré’s original more intimate concept of the work.” –johnrutter.com