WINTER DELIGHTS

Corelli: Christmas Concerto

Martin Kutnowski: “En la mar hay una torre” (“In the Sea There Is a Tower”)
Clarinet and String Orchestra

Richard Kidd: Suite for String Orchestra

Haydn: Symphony #44 in E minor “Trauer” Hob 1:44

December 16, 2020, 7:30pm
Imperial Theatre, Saint John

Friday, December 18, 2020, 7:30pm
Community Peace Centre, Moncton

December 19, 2020, 7:30pm
The Playhouse, Fredericton

Program Notes

 

Haydn Symphony #44

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) wrote his E-minor Symphony in about 1771 for the Esterházy court orchestra, where he directed music for many years. Like most of his symphonies in those years, it has come to be associated with the artistic movement known as Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress” is the usual translation, but Drang might also be rendered “longing” or “impulse”), which manifested itself in music through emotion-intensifying devices: increased dissonance and chromaticism, driving rhythms that are often pushed by accompaniments off the beat, and use of minor keys. Haydn, after writing no symphonies in minor keys before 1767, wrote seven minor-key symphonies between 1767 and 1773. Both the brusque opening motif of the E-minor symphony, and the yearning song that follows it, are hallmarks of the new emotional style, which laid the foundation for what we call Romanticism and began the trend toward the symphony as drama that continued into the 20th century.

Haydn often pushed the minuet far beyond its original character as a dance. The main section of the second movement (like all minuets, it is in A-B-A form) is a canon at the octave, with the bass instruments playing exactly what the violins play, an octave lower and three beats later. The violas, oboes, and horns are freer agents, but the effect is fairly severe. The middle section, in E major, is spring to the main section’s winter.

There is no hint of storm or stress in the slow movement, also in E major. The violins are muted throughout, as they are in all the symphonic slow movements Haydn wrote in the early 1770s. The wispier violin tone allows the sound of the oboes and horns to bloom sweetly in their very simple moments in the sun. The Symphony got its “Mourning” nickname from a story that Haydn asked that the slow movement be played at his funeral. Whether the story is true or not, the movement was not, in fact, played at his funeral or at any of the memorial services during the following weeks.


The finale is about as stormy and stressed as the first movement, impressive in its unrelenting drive and singlemindedness, with the principal theme never out of the picture.

The Conductor for Haydn #44: Andrew Creeggan

After leaving the ‘pop’ group Barenaked Ladies, Toronto native Andrew Creeggan pursued his musical education studying composition at McGill University.  He continues to have a deep musical bond with brother Jim and they perform and record under the name The Brothers Creeggan and have 4 albums and several North American tours under their belt with collaborations including the Gryphon Trio and Kitchener/Waterloo Symphony.  He uses the moniker Andiwork for his solo recordings of experimental instrumental music. and is on the cusp of releasing his 4th instalment.   Director Kim Collier has commissioned Creeggan for original music for theatre including Red (2011), The Great Gatsby (2014) and 40 Days and 40 Nights (2018).  He has been busy composing and arranging pieces for various ensembles and artists such as Barenaked Ladies, Suzie Leblanc, Steven Page, Julie Doiron, Symphony New Brunswick (including a commission for Spring 2021) and Ventus Machina with performances ranging from the Boston Pops, TSO, VSO, Calgary Philharmonic to the Made In Canada ensemble.  Lately he has turned a new leaf and has begun conducting in earnest, most recently for Symphony New Brunswick’s presentation of Camil Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with soloist Roger Lord and also for the Steven Page trio with SNB.  His producing credits include Les Païens “Carte Noire” winner of East Coast Music award and Mike Evin “I’ll Bring the Stereo.”  He has a musical and sporty life in Moncton with his wife and two boys.

In the Sea there is a Tower: Martin Kutnowski

 Notes by the composer

“En la mar hay una torre” (The Tower by the Sea) is inspired by a Sephardic Jewish song from medieval Spain. The lyrics speak of a maiden calling to sailors from a tower by the sea. When I read the lyrics, I try to imagine the context of the story. Who is this mysterious woman: friend, lover, a stranger…perhaps a siren? In some anthologies, an alternate title is La Serena, which in archaic Spanish perhaps meant “The Siren” or “The Serene One,” or perhaps both. Reconstructing the story, I think of a sailor gazing from the bridge of his ship at a castle in twilight. I picture the ship gently rocking back and forth, enveloped by the warm breeze of a Mediterranean evening; the sailor singing of loneliness accompanied by the sound of distant waves crashing against cliffs. The appearance of the woman at the window of the castle’s tower turns his lament into a serenade reminiscent of the lull of the sea and the steps of a sensual dance. A declaration of love ensues and…..what happens next? Does the siren extend her hand to the sailor? Do the lovers unite (or perhaps reunite)? Does he fall under her spell, locked in that tower for eternity or does he sail away, never to return?

En la mar ay una torre,                 In the sea there is a tower,
en la torre una ventana,                In the tower there is a window,
en la ventana una hija                   In the window there is maiden
qu’a los marineros llama.             That calls out to sailors.

Si la mar era de leche                   If the sea were made of milk
yo m’haria un pexcador                I would become a fisherman
pexcaria las mis Dolores             I’d fish for my worries
con palavricas d’amor.                 With words of love

Dame tu mano palomba               Give me your hand, dove,
para suvir a tu nido                       So that I climb to your nest;
maldicha que durmes sola           You’re unlucky to sleep alone:
vengo a durmir contigo.               I’ll come to sleep with you.

Richard Kidd : Suite for String Orchestra

A native of the United Kingdom and graduate of McGill university, Richard Kidd has been active in the New Brunswick music scene since 1986. He is organist and choir director at the Cathedral in Saint John and is a long time member of the trombone section of Symphony New Brunswick. He frequently performs as a pianist is jazz ensembles, and is in demand as a conductor and arranger. Richard has worked frequently as music director for the Saint John Theatre Company, and is particularly noted for their performance at of his musical – Marco Polo – the Musical, a collaboration with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. As a composer he has also written extensively for choral groups, orchestra and chamber ensembles. Several of his orchestral pieces have been premiered by Symphony New Brunswick. His works have been recorded by numerous choirs, the Saint John String Quartet and NBYO.

 

Suite for String Orchestra was composed 2008. It consists of five short contrasting movements. The first and last movements are based on fiddle tunes written for the composer’s daughter. The melody for the central movement, Idyll is based on a vivid dream of children singing and playing. THe fourth movement, Elegy, is dedicated to the memory of Symphony New Brunsick and SJSQ violinist, Erika Low. Overall the suite celebrates the wonderful string players of SNB.