ABOUT THIS MUSIC
This concert centers around music that relies on imagery and context, using pure music (music for music's sake) to give the listener an impression of an item, or place, or feeling, or memory.
While some impressions are more literal than others (A bridge for William Schuman, the feeling of a pair of pants for Shruthi Rajasekar), others may be impressions of an idea (Copland's monumental nod to the common man, and Sibelius' love poem to his nation). We don't have to look far in classical music for pieces that conjure images, but tonight's collection works well together in their almost perceptible imagery, always keeping an anchor in the notion that this is still purely music for its own sake, and what fun music it is!
This evening's concert marks the close of the 2022/2023 UMSLWE and UMSLO season, and my first season as Music Director and Conductor. I say with confidence that my "first impression" (I had to do it) of these wonderful people is that they are positive, energetic, artistic, collaborative and always moving forward! Thank you for joining us tonight.
- Dr. David Wacyk
AARON COPLAND Fanfare for the Common Man
In late August 1942, Eugene Goossens, the conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony, wrote to Copland requesting a patriotic fanfare to help with the war effort. Goossens suggested the instrumentation of brass and percussion and length of about two minutes. A large group of American composers were given similar requests, and Goossens hoped to perform Copland's fanfare in October at his first concert of the season. Since Copland did not deliver the Fanfare until November, Goossens suggested another date: March 12, 1943, as it would then be income tax time, an ideal opportunity for honoring the common man.
ARVO PÄRT Fratres
Fratres (Latin for “Brothers” or "brotherhood") was composed in 1977 (this version, 1980) and belongs to the many works that were created after recognizing the principles of tintinnabuli music.
Fratres was initially composed as three-part music without fixed instrumentation that can be performed with various instruments. Such a practice was also used in Medieval and Renaissance music which Pärt intensively explored before the birth of his tintinnabuli style. The composition was premiered in 1977 by the composer’s like-minded friends from the early music group Hortus Musicus, and the original version of Fratres was also dedicated to them.
Structurally, Fratres consists of a set of variations separated by recurring percussion motifs (in the case of instrument settings without percussion, the drum-like sound is imitated). Throughout the composition we can hear a recurrent theme that starts each time in a different octave. We can clearly recognise three voices: two melodic lines mainly moving stepwise and the central tintinnabuli voice moving on the notes of minor triad. These are accompanied throughout the entire composition by a resounding low drone of fifth. Characteristically for Arvo Pärt, the apparent simplicity of the composition is governed by strict mathematical rules that determine the movement of voices, length of the melody and phrases, time signature alternations and so much more.
-Adapted from the Arvo Pärt Centre
Reena Esmail Ram Tori Maya
Ram tori maya, nach nachave
Nis din mera manva vyakul
Sumiran sudhi nahi ave
Jorat tori, neha sut mera Nirvarat arujhave
Kehi bhidi bhajan karu more sahib Barbas mohe satave
Ram tori maya, nach nachave
(Oh Lord), these worldly distractions are making me dance to their tune.
Every day, my mind is so restless that I’m not finding the time to focus.
And without that focus, peace will not come to me.
My mind is like a child
And I have gotten entangled in that worldly attachment.
(Oh Lord), when can I find the time to engage with you
When the mundane things are nagging at me?
(Oh Lord*), these worldly distractions are making me dance to their tune.
Ram Tori Maya is a Bhajan- a traditional Hindu Devotional song. This evening's version is set by the composer for String orchestra and two Hindustani Singers (a teacher and a student). Originally written as a way to bring together young classical musicians from both western and Hindustani traditions, the composer writes:
I love writing music for young people. This vibrant Hindustani bhajan is a beautiful portrait of Krishna dancing. My arrangement is designed with young musicians from both cultures in mind, with the aim to draw them towards one another, one step at a time.
The UMSL Orchestra is honored to have collaborated with Soorya Arts and Guru Seema Kasturi and Ms. Maithili Hoskeri, and this brief but engaging partnership is well-served by Reena Esmail's beautifully light and soaring arrangement.
JEAN SIBELIUS Finlandia
During the 1890s Sibelius took on the challenge of writing music that stirred Finnish patriotism in the face of Czar Nicholas II’s Russification policies. The composer wanted to create something recognizably Finnish, but without resorting to direct imitation of folk music. As he wrote to his wife Aino, “I would not wish to tell a lie in art … But I think I am now on the right path. I now grasp those Finnish, purely Finnish tendencies in music less realistically but more truthfully than before.” Many of his early efforts in this direction were ephemeral – a composer in search of his voice – but the 1899 Finlandia has transcended both its local association and its political objective.
Like all successful symphonic poems, Finlandia’s extra-musical meaning generates the music’s formal shape. The composer described this meaning in stirring words: “We fought 600 years for our freedom and I am part of the generation which achieved it. Freedom! My Finlandia is the story of this fight. It is the song of our battle, our hymn of victory.” His genius is that this story functions simultaneously on both exterior and interior levels – capturing just that intersection where patriotism feeds personal identity and vice versa. Massive chords establish the music’s parameters of great depth and seriousness. Very slowly they yield to a woodwind choir, then to the strings; the judiciously restrained orchestration suggests that there is power held in check. The accumulated tension yields to more defiant strains, then to a resolute, even jaunty section before settling into the strains of the last reverent theme (later used for the hymn “Be still, my soul,” whose text emphasizes patience in the face of suffering), which Sibelius gradually builds into triumph.
— Susan Key (L.A. Phil)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN March for Military Music in F, WoO 18.
March in F was written between 1809 and 1810 for "his Royal Highness Archduke Anton." It is one of several ceremonial marches that Beethoven composed during this period. From the name of the Prussian General, Yorck, this Beethoven march is also known as Marsch des Yorck’schen Korps. Since Prussia and the Prussian army played a paramount role in the German states, this march is often played, and is one of the most notable German military marches.
Writing these marches would likely have been a shrewd political business move for Beethoven, but we also know from his symphonic writing (Symphonies 3 and 9, for instance), that Beethoven wasn't shy to mix his personal political views with his art. Although marches like this are quaint offerings from such a master, they highlight the composer's well-crafted compositional style, and his ability to explore music of municipal ("street") genres, as well as for the concert hall. Extracted onto a 21st Century concert stage, this delightful march shows us a microcosm of mid-19th century German life.
SHRUTHI RAJASEKAR Patiala Pulse
The composer writes:
Patiala Pulse brings to life a beautiful element from the diverse world of Rhythm in South Asia: a pulse that feels paradoxically relaxed and intense. This manifests in patterns that reference the Carnatid idiom (e.g. kuraippu - reduction) of South India, and the dhol (e.g. 4-beat drum pattern sometimes known as "chaal") of Punjab, the region where the city of Patiala is located. In its embrace of elasticity within a forward-driving momentum, the piece also pays a playful homage to the structure of Patiala pants. One of the classiest and comfiest slawars in South Asia, these famed trousers fan out and spread beyond what might seem possible before becoming sleekly fitted at the very end. I find this to be a fascinating metaphor for thinking about rhythms and more broadly, for contemplating how, within a busy, exciting life, we can aim to stretch out and cherish every single moment of our present.
NADIA BOULANGER Prelude in F minor
The Prelude in F Minor is the first movement of Boulanger's Trois Improvisations for organ, composed in 1911, and published in 1912. The music is pensive and reflective, and, at times, dramatic and highly expressive. Boulanger's conservative and lean writing is counterbalanced by her astonishing use of timbre throughout the piece. Colors change frequently and with great subtlety throughout the work, allowing each new musical phrase to be cast in a slightly different light. This technique moves Boulanger's economical musical ideas forward in an effective compositional way, and also enables the listener to maintain a high degree of interest for the duration of the work.
- Program Note from publisher
WILLIAM SCHUMAN George Washington Bridge
George Washington Bridge is Schuman's musical appreciation for the iconic bridge in New York City. The work itself has become an icon in wind music, since its inception. This piece is often recognized for its use of bitonality, and for it's form, which itself is in the shape of a bridge (ABA). Schuman’s tendency to retain the independence of instrumental families and to contrast broad statements with aggressively rhythmic motives bears close relation to other composers of the 1950s and 1960s, including Vincent Persichetti and Aaron Copland. The composer writes:
"There are few days in the year when I do not see George Washington Bridge. I pass it on my way to work as I drive along the Henry Hudson Parkway on the New York shore. Ever since my student days when I watched the progress of its construction, this bridge has had for me an almost human personality, and this personality is astonishingly varied, assuming different moods depending on the time of day or night, the weather, the traffic and, of course, my own mood as I pass by.
I have walked across it late at night when it was shrouded in fog, and during the brilliant sunshine hours of midday. I have driven over it countless times and passed under it on boats. Coming to New York City by air, sometimes I have been lucky enough to fly right over it. It is difficult to imagine a more gracious welcome or dramatic entry to the great metropolis."
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS
Maithili Hoskeri, Vocalist
Maithili Hoskeri is a Freelance singer for local non-profit organizations in Saint Louis (Missouri). She has performed at international events like Navika 2017 (Dallas, Texas), Hampi Utsava (India). She is a Student of music with a keen interest in Indian Music (Hindustani style of singing) and a part-time job seeker otherwise.
She started her music lessons at the young age of 6 under Smt. Sunanda Katti (India). She continued to learn Harmonium and Hindustani Classical music lessons from I.N Kalburgi & Mohan Kalburgi (India). She also learnt Hindustani classical and light music under Preeti Uttam Singh (Atlanta, Georgia). Most recently, she has been learning under the tutelage of Smita Rao Bellur (India) &Vid. Smt. Rasana Manvi (India).
She has completed her Bachelor of engineering in Biotechnology (India) and had worked as a Research assistant at Defense Bio-Engineering & Electromedical Laboratory, India.
Seema Kasthuri, Vocalist
Seema Kasthuri has been in the field of music since 1995. Seema has given concerts in Bengaluru, Hassan, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Kansas, Topika, Chicago and many other places. She performed in Maatrunamana performance in Bengaluru, India; as a season concert presentation in Sangeetha, St. Louis in 2016. She won the reputed AKKA MUSIC IDOL in 2012. She has worked with Grammy awardee Pandit Vishwamohan bhat on the album Rainbow 2. Seema Kasthuri accompanied Dr. Nagamani Srinath in her USA tour. Seema has released a Devotional album - Sri Lola in 2002, a social and romance CD - Nireeksha in 2013. She regularly gives concerts in India, and In USA.
As a Teacher, Seema is the co-artistic director of Soorya Performing Arts and professor of music in Soorya Music School. She has taught more than 200 students - kids, teenagers, adults in USA since 2003. Under her recently two students - Priya Kanna and Neha Bharadwaj graduated through music rangapravesh in St. Louis. Seema ji is loved by one and all for her invaluable service to music in the USA. Seema was honored by ST. Louis Indian Association for her services in 2017.
DR. DAVID WACYK is a conductor and educator dedicated to serving students, the community, and the profession through meaningful music making. David serves as Director of Instrumental Ensembles and Assistant Teaching Professor of Music at University of Missouri- St. Louis where he conducts the UMSL Orchestra, UMSL Wind Ensemble, chamber ensembles, and coordinates the “Triton Sound” Pep band.
Prior to his arrival at UMSL, David was Director of Instrumental Music at Saint Martin’s University, and previously taught instrumental conducting at Towson University. As a Doctoral student at the University of Maryland he served as Assistant Conductor of the Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Prior to his Doctoral work, David was Director of Bands at North Harford High School, where he directed instrumental ensembles and taught music theory.
David's scholarship focuses on modernist and avant-garde wind music of Twentieth-century composers, including Igor Stravinsky, Edgard Varese, and Ida Gotkovsky. Additionally David has led discussions related to re-evaluating existing systems of concertizing and programming, and addressing systemic inadequacies in the field of wind bands. Recently he has accepted invitations to present at CBDNA (Symphonies of Winds: toward a new understanding of pitch structure, and The Intelligence of Sound: matters of ethos and style in the wind music of Edgard Varese), IGEB (The Wind Music of Ida Gotkovsky), WMEA (The Future is Flexible: Small bands as leaders in creativity, and DNMC (New Music and New Paradigms: an honest conversation on the future of college ensembles). The Wind Music of Ida Gotkovksy was also presented as a national webinar. David has been named a finalist- and awarded second place- for the American Prize in conducting.
David holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music degree in Conducting from University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Western Michigan University. David maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States, including as a conductor for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He resides in Clayton, MO with his wife Laurel, and son Roger.
UMSL WIND ENSEMBLE
Trumpet: Krishaun Dotson-Orange, Cristian Fudge, Brandon Kuras, Seth Peters, Joshua Veal, Dawn Weber*
Horn: Christina Schempf*, Sarah Mullins, Tommy Ahl, Tim Luft, Heidi Abbott
Trombone: Jamie Blaylock, Johnathan Daniels, Ben Ellis , Ryan Scott, George Todd, Joshua Thompson, Patrick Wilke, Michael Smith*
Tuba: Elizabeth Whitmore, Charles Wilkes, Matthew Banks*
Haydn Jones (principal)
Luke Hsieh Tung
Alexander Hsieh Tung
Emma Abernathy (principal)
John Tobin (principal)
Connor Travers (principal)
Finnegan Lindsay (principal)
Jennifer Mazzoni (Piccolo) *
Joey Brown (principal)
Sara Mullins (principal)
Cristian Fudge (principal)