News

Sign Up for e-Notes

Recently Posted

Pre-concert talk

April 22nd, 2017

Season listing | Biography | Program | Program Notes | Pre-concert talk

Yaniv DinurSaturday, April 29
6:30 to 7 p.m.
Lars Thune Center
Green Bay West High School

Join Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra assistant conductor Yaniv Dinur for a pre-concert lecture in the Lars Thune Center (adjacent to the auditorium lobby at West High School) from 6:30 to 7 p.m. before the group’s concert on the Saturday, April 29. This is an excellent opportunity to more deeply enjoy the performance for having gained some insights about the program prior. This talk is free to attend.

90th Anniversary Reception

April 15th, 2017

The Brown County Civic Music Association invites you to celebrate its 90th Anniversary with a reception in the West High School cafeteria following the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert on April 29, 2017. Join us for refreshments and reminisce with past presidents, members and fellow concert-goers.

2017-18 Tickets are on sale now!

April 15th, 2017

2017-18 tickets are available for sale on our website. Brochures are in the mail. Be on the lookout for friendly membership campaign volunteers to hear about the fantastic talent in store for us next season! Prices are the same for the 11th straight season: $80 adults, $25 students. To keep Civic Music concerts affordable, season tickets are mailed in September.

Event Date
Bonus! Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Sat., May 6, 2017
1 Russian String Orchestra Fri., Oct. 13, 2017
2 Solid Brass Ensemble Sat., Nov. 18, 2017
3 Imani Winds Sat., March 3, 2018
4 Anderson & Roe Piano Duo Sat., April 7, 2018
5 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Sat., May 5, 2018

Bonus concert – MSO April 29, 2017

April 15th, 2017

New and returning 2017-18 memberships include a free bonus concert, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Memberships must be paid prior to the MSO concert and may be done so online, by mail or in person at the door.

Online
2015-16 membership will be available for online purchase, soon at www.bccivicmusic.org/tickets

By Mail
Mail a check and the brochure membership form to:

Brown County Civic Music Association
P.O. Box 5243
De Pere, WI 54115-5243

By check, in person
In person by check at the concert on Saturday, April 29, 2017

Doors: 7 p.m. Concert: 7:30 p.m.
Ralph Holter Auditorium
Green Bay West High School
966 Shawano Avenue
Green Bay, WI

Order 2017-18 tickets by June 1 for a chance to win

April 15th, 2017

Purchase your membership (2017-18 season ticket) by June 1st for a chance to win one of seven restaurant gift certificates from our supporters:

Civic Music in the news

April 15th, 2017

Don’t miss Andrew Kruse-Ross’s feature article Brown County Civic Music Association Ninety Years of Music in the April 2017 issue of FRANKLY Green Bay.

Chris Sampson recorded an interview with Frank Hermans about the Brown County Civic Music Association that will air on WFRV Channel 5’s morning program on Wednesday, April 26 at 9:30 am.

There will also be an interview with Kevin Rompa on WBAY Channel 2’s Noon show on Thursday, April 20.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – Biography

April 15th, 2017

Season listing | Biography | Program | Program Notes | Pre-concert talk

Yaniv DinurYaniv Dinur

Assistant Conductor

Conductor Yaniv Dinur, currently assistant conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, was born in Jerusalem in 1981. He has performed with orchestras in Israel, Europe, the United States, Canada, and Mexico. He is a winner of numerous conducting awards, among them the 2nd Prize at the 2009 Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico, and the

Yuri Ahronovitch 1st Prize in the 2005 Aviv Conducting Competitions in Israel. Mr. Dinur was chosen by the League of American Orchestras to be a featured conductor in the 2011 Bruno Walter Conducting Preview, and is a recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Zubin Mehta Scholarship Endowment.

Dinur started his conducting career at the age of 19, performing with the Israel Camerata, making him the youngest conductor ever to conduct an orchestra in Israel. Since then, he also conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, New World Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese, Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Solisti di Perugia, Torino Philharmonic, Portugal Symphony Orchestra, So a Festival Orchestra, State Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

Dinur has worked closely with such world-class musicians as Lorin Maazel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Pinchas Zukerman, and Kurt Masur. He holds a Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where he studied with

Prof. Kenneth Kiesler.Yaniv Dinur began studying the piano at the age of 6 with his aunt, Olga Shachar, and later with Prof. Alexander Tamir, Tatiana Alexanderov, and Mark Dukelsky. At
the age of 16, he began to study conducting with Dr. Evgeny Zirlin. While still in high school, Dinur began his formal studies with Dr. Zirlin at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. After graduating from the Jerusalem Academy, he studied privately with conductor Mendi Rodan. He served in the Israeli army’s Excellent Musicians unit. During his service tenure, he conducted the Education Corps Orchestra and wrote musical arrangements for the army’s various ensembles.

About the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Edo de Waart, is among the finest orchestras in the nation. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee.

Now in his eighth and final season as music director, Maestro de Waart’s tenure has included sold-out concerts, critical acclaim, and a celebrated performance at Carnegie Hall. Following the 2016.17 season, Maestro de Waart will become the MSO’s conductor laureate.

The MSO’s full-time professional musicians perform more than 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. A pioneer among American orchestras, the MSO has performed world and American premieres of works by John Adams, Roberto Sierra, Phillip Glass, Geoffrey Gordon, Marc Neikrug, and Matthias Pintscher, as well as garnered national recognition as the first American orchestra to offer live recordings on iTunes. Now in its 45th season, the orchestra’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast series, the longest consecutive-running series of any U.S. orchestra, is heard annually by 3.8 million listeners on 183 subscriber stations in 38 of the top 100 markets.

The MSO’s standard of excellence extends beyond the concert hall and into the community, reaching more than 40,000 children and their families through its Arts in Community Education (ACE) program, Youth and Teen concerts, Meet the Music pre-concert talks, and Friday Evening Post-Concert Talkbacks. Celebrating its 27th year, the nationally-recognized ACE program integrates arts education across all subjects and disciplines, providing opportunities for students when budget cuts may eliminate arts programming. The program provides lesson plans and supporting materials, classroom visits from MSO musician ensembles and artists from local organizations, and an MSO concert tailored to each grade level. This season, more than 7,200 students and 500 teachers and faculty in 24 Southeastern Wisconsin schools will participate in ACE.

MSO Spring 2017 Personnel (pdf)

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – Program Notes

April 15th, 2017

Season listing | Biography | Program | Program Notes | Pre-concert talk

Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Yaniv Dinur, conductor Matthew Ernst, trumpet

Ludwig van BeethovenLudwig van Beethoven

Born December 16, 1770, Bonn, Germany.
Died March 26, 1827, Vienna, Austria.

Leonore Overture No. 3

Of the four overtures Beethoven wrote for his opera Leonore—later renamed Fidelio—only the one called Leonore no. 3 has gained favor both in the concert hall, where it is much loved, and in the opera house, where it is often played, inappropriately, just before the finale. That it is an intruder in the opera house, where it can too easily overshadow all but the greatest performances of Fidelio, is something Beethoven himself could easily have told us.

The Leonore Overture no. 3 is as dramatic as any music Beethoven wrote, and that is part of the problem. Placed before the curtain rises, it overshadows much of what follows. Playing it just before the final scene—a convention never sanctioned by Beethoven, but one loved by many conductors, including Mahler and Toscanini—is problematic because it first delays and then gives away the ending.

Despite its number, Leonore no. 3 is Beethoven’s second version of the overture. Although it is more concise and less symphonic than his first effort (the work we call Leonore no. 2), it does not avoid the dilemma of telling us everything about the opera, in music of unforgettable substance and power, before the curtain goes up. Beethoven ultimately understood the situation well and wrote his fourth and final overture to Fidelio—less powerful music, but better stagecraft. (Leonore no. 1 was written for a production in Prague that never took place; the score was discovered after Beethoven’s death, mistaken for his earliest effort, and assigned no. 1.)

In the concert hall, where it has ultimately retired, the Leonore Overture no. 3 is a miracle of dramatic music, as compelling as any symphonic poem in the literature. The overture tells, or at least distills, the essence of the story. Beethoven begins in the darkness of the prison cell where Florestan has been sent, unjustly. Florestan remembers brighter days, and the music, ignited by his hope, is filled with fire and action. The distant trumpet call of the tower guard, announcing Florestan’s reprieve, brings silence and then guarded optimism, but the trumpet sounds again, and freedom seems certain. At the news, the flute cannot contain its rapture. Beethoven then treats us to a full-scale, symphonic, utterly heroic recapitulation.

Franz Joseph HaydnFranz Joseph Haydn

Born March 31, 1732, Rohrau, Lower Austria.
Died May 31, 1809, Vienna, Austria.

Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major

Perhaps because Haydn was not a virtuoso performer himself (unlike his friend Mozart), he showed little interest in composing solo concertos. This was not so much a question of talent or skill—he was a perfectly decent pianist and violinist—as personal character. Haydn was not by nature a showman. Few of his compositions are ostentatious—in fact, much of his best music is actually much harder to play than it sounds, and the difficulties are not the more obvious, crowd-pleasing ones—the high wire acrobatics on which many a solo career depends.

Although Haydn wrote one hundred and eight symphonies, sixty-eight string quartets, and forty-seven piano sonatas, the catalog of his complete works lists a scant seventeen concertos composed over three decades—and most of those are lost. Many apparently were written quickly, for a single performance, and then set aside, with no eye to the future. Of those that remain—including two cello concertos and a concerto apiece for violin and piano (compared to Mozart’s groundbreaking twenty-seven)—the E-flat trumpet concerto is the most popular of all.

This is the last concerto of Haydn’s career; it also is one of the few instrumental works composed during the final years of his life, when he had given up writing symphonies and piano sonatas for good, and had begun to concentrate on vocal music. It was prompted, sometime in 1795 or early in 1796, by a request for a concerto from Anton Weidinger, a trumpet player in the Vienna Court Orchestra. Weidinger had spent his career perfecting an “organized trumpet” designed to fill in the gaps between the notes of the natural series; five or six holes drilled in the instrument and covered by padded keys provided the missing chromatic notes. In Weidinger’s hands, the natural trumpet became a melodic instrument, like the oboe or the flute. Weidinger toured Europe, demonstrating his invention, and became something of a celebrity (although his instrument was superseded by the valve trumpet after 1820). He eventually commissioned a concerto from Hummel that now rivals Haydn’s in popularity.

Oddly, Weidinger did not play the concerto Haydn wrote for him until March 1800, perhaps because he needed the four years after the work was completed to master its technical challenges. Haydn fully enjoys the advances of Weidinger’s invention. The soloist’s opening phrase, for example, would have been impossible to play on a natural trumpet in E-flat, since it contains six notes accessible only with Weidinger’s padded keys. The opening movement, in particular, is unusually showy and brilliant. The slow movement is richly lyrical, with the same melodic luxury one hears in The Creation that Haydn began the same year he wrote Weidinger’s concerto. The jubilant finale suggests that Haydn had not forgotten how to bring down the curtain in fine style.

Maurice RavelMaurice Ravel

Born March 7, 1875, Ciboure, France.
Died December 28, 1937, Paris, France.

Pavane for a Dead Princess

Maurice Ravel was born in the French Pyrenees, only a few miles from the Spanish border, a geographical boundary he often crossed in his music. Even though his family moved to Paris while he was still a baby, Ravel came by his fascination with Spain naturally, for his mother was Basque and grew up in Madrid. (His Swiss father inspired in his son a love for things precise and mechanical that carried over into his impeccable music, provoking Stravinsky to dismiss him as a “Swiss watchmaker.”)

One of Ravel’s earliest pieces—written just after he left the Paris Conservatory in 1895—was a habanera for two pianos, the first indication that he would join that group of French composers, which includes Bizet, Lalo, and Chabrier, who have written some of our best Spanish music. The habanera was Ravel’s first music to be performed publicly, in March 1898, and, despite the two pianists’ inability to stay together, it made a strong impression on Claude Debussy, who was in the audience. (He hadn’t yet met the composer whose name would one day be linked with his own.) Debussy asked to borrow the score, and his La soirée dans Grenade (Night in Grenada), written five years later, suggests that he studied it carefully. (The suspicious similarity of the two pieces contributed to the eventual falling-out between the composers.)

Like the Habanera, the Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a dead princess) was conceived as piano music and benefited greatly from the translation to a full orchestral score. The piano piece was an instant success. Ravel later realized that music of such apparent ease—a simple melody over broken chords—is doomed to a life at the hands of amateur pianists, and so eleven years later he rescued

the Pavane and rescored it for the modern virtuoso orchestra. A pavane is a slow processional dance from Padua (Pava is a dialect name for Padua). According to an old Spanish tradition, however, it was performed in church as a stylish gesture of farewell to the dead. As to the identity of the dead princess, Ravel finally admitted he picked the title because he liked the sound of the words.

Modest MussorgskyModest Mussorgsky

Born March 21, 1839, Karevo, Russia.
Died March 28, 1881, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Pictures at an Exhibition (Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel)

When Victor Hartmann died at the age of thirty-nine, little did he know that the pictures he left behind—the legacy of an undistinguished career as artist and architect—would live on. The idea for an exhibition of Hartmann’s work came from Vladimir Stassov, the influential critic who organized a show in Saint Petersburg in the spring of 1874. But it was Modest Mussorgsky, so shocked at the unexpected death of his dear friend, who set out to make something of this loss. “Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,” he is said to have asked, paraphrasing King Lear, “and creatures like Hartmann must die?”

Stassov’s memorial show gave Mussorgsky the idea for a suite of piano pieces that depicted the composer “roving through the exhibition, now leisurely, now briskly, in order to come closer to a picture that had attracted his attention, and at times sadly, thinking of his departed friend.” Mussorgsky worked feverishly that spring, and by June 22, 1874, Pictures at an Exhibition was finished. Mussorgsky may well have had an inflated impression of Hartmann’s artistic importance (as friends often do), but these Pictures guaranteed Hartmann a place in history that his art alone never could have achieved. There’s no record of a public performance of Pictures in Mussorgsky’s lifetime, and the composer didn’t even play the work on his extensive 1879 concert tour, perhaps finding it too personal for the stage. It was left to Rimsky-Korsakov, the musical executor of Mussorgsky’s estate, to edit the manuscript and bring Pictures to the light of day.

The thought of orchestrating Pictures evidently never occurred to Mussorgsky. But it has intrigued musicians ever since his death, and over the years several have tried their hand at turning Mussorgsky’s black-and-white pieces into full color. The earliest was that of Rimsky-Korsakov’s student, Mikhail Tushmalov, conducted (and most likely improved) by the teacher himself. In 1915, Sir Henry Wood, an eminent British conductor, produced a version that was popular until Maurice Ravel unveiled his orchestration in 1922.

Although Ravel worked from the same Rimsky-Korsakov edition of Pictures that Tushmalov and Wood used (he had tried without success to find a copy of Mussorgsky’s original, which wasn’t published until 1930), his orchestral version far outstrips theirs in the brilliance of its colors and its sheer ingenuity.

Ravel was already sensitive to Mussorgsky’s style from his collaboration with Igor Stravinsky on an edition of Khovanshchina in 1913, and, since most of his own orchestral works started out as piano scores, the process of transcription was second nature to him. Ravel remained as faithful as possible to the original; only in the final Great Gate of Kiev did he add a few notes of his own to Mussorgsky’s.

The success of Ravel’s edition inspired still further efforts, including one by Leopold Stokowski that was popular for many years. Mussorgsky’s Pictures also has been rescored for rock band, brass ensemble, acoustic guitar, massed accordions, and even rearranged for solo piano by Vladimir Horowitz. (Essentially a piano transcription of Ravel’s orchestration—a translation of a translation, in other words—Horowitz’s Pictures are far removed, stylistically, from Mussorgsky’s). But Ravel’s orchestration remains the best-known guide to Mussorgsky’s picture collection.

Mussorgsky chose eleven of Hartmann’s works for his set of piano pieces. He owned the sketches of Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle, which were combined in one “picture”; most, though not all, of the other works were in Stassov’s exhibition. Some of the original pictures have since disappeared. (Of the four hundred Hartmann works exhibited, less than a hundred have come to light; only six of those in Mussorgsky’s score can be identified with certainty.)

Mussorgsky referred to Pictures as “an album series,” implying a random, ad hoc collection of miniatures, but the score is a coherently designed whole, organized around a recurring theme and judiciously paced to progress from short pieces to a longer, majestic finale—creating a kind of crescendo effect like that of Schumann’s Carnaval. Mussorgsky had no use for the conventional forms of the earlier classical masters— “I am not against symphonies,” he once wrote, “just symphonists, incorrigible conservatives.” We don’t know when Mussorgsky settled on the overall layout of his picture series, but a letter he wrote to Stassov suggests that he had worked on at least the first five in order, and apparently had the entire set in mind when he started.

Mussorgsky begins with a promenade, which takes him into the gallery and later accompanies him as he walks around the room, reflecting a change in mood from one picture to another. (Despite his considerable girth, Mussorgsky apparently was a fast walker—the promenade is marked allegro, rather than andante [Italian for “walking”]—and Mussorgsky was precise in his tempo markings.)

  1. Gnomus. Hartmann’s drawing, which has since been lost, was for a Christmas tree ornament— “a kind of nutcracker, a gnome into whose mouth you put a nut to crack,” according to Stassov’s commentary in the catalog. Mussorgsky’s music, with its awkward leaps, bizarre harmonies, and slippery melodies, suggests the gnome’s “droll movements” and “savage shrieks.”
  2. The Old Castle. Two drawings of medieval castles are listed in the catalog, both sketched while Hartmann was in France, just before he met The music gives song to the troubadour standing in front of the castle. Mussorgsky’s melody, which Ravel memorably gives to the alto saxophone, is clearly indebted to Russian folk music, despite the provenance of the castle.
  3. Tuileries: Hartmann lived in Paris long enough to get to know the famous park with its squabbling children and their
  4. Bydlo. Stassov describes a Polish wagon (“bydlo” is Polish for cattle) drawn by oxen. Although Mussorgsky wanted the piece to begin fortissimo— “right between the eyes,” as he told Stassov — Rimsky- Korsakov switched to a pianissimo opening followed by a crescendo to create the illusion of the approaching cart and the tread of hooves.
  5. Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells. Hartmann designed costumes for a ballet, Trilbi, in 1871. The music depicts a scene where “a group of little boys and girls, pupils of the Theatre School, dressed as canaries, scampered on the stage. Some of the little birds were wearing over their dresses big eggshells resembling breastplates.”
  6. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle. Mussorgsky owned these two drawings entitled “A Rich Jew in a Fur Hat” and “A Poor Jew,” to which he gave proper names. Hartmann, whose wife was Polish, visited Sandomierz, in southern Poland, in 1868; there he painted scenes and characters in the Jewish ghetto, including these two men, as well as Mussorgsky begins with the commanding Goldenberg; Ravel makes Schmuyle’s whining reply wonderfully grating.
  7. The Market Place at Limoges. Hartmann did more than a hundred and fifty watercolors of Limoges in 1866, including many genre pictures. In the margin of his score, Mussorgsky brings the scene to life: “Great news! de Puissangeout has just recovered his cow . . . Mme de Remboursac has just acquired a beautiful new set of teeth, while M. de Pantaleon’s nose, which is in his way, is as much as ever the color of a peony.”
  8. Catacombs: Sepulcrum Hartmann, a friend, and a guide with a lamp explore underground Paris; to their right in Hartmann’s watercolor is a pile of skulls.
    Con mortuis in lingua mortua. At the end of Catacombs, Mussorgsky penciled in his manuscript: “Con mortuis in lingua mortua” (With the dead in a dead language), signaling the start of this mournful rendition of the Promenade.
  9. The Hut on Hen’s Legs (Baba-Yaga). Hartmann sketched a clock of bronze and enamel in the shape of the hut of the witch Baba-Yaga. Mussorgsky concentrates not on the clock, but on the child-eating Baba- Yaga herself, who, according to Russian folk literature, lived deep in the woods in a hut on hen’s legs, which allowed her to rotate to confront each approaching (Incidentally, Stassov’s first impression of Hartmann was of him dressed as Baba-Yaga at a masked ball in 1861.)
  10. The Great Gate of Kiev. Hartmann entered this design in a competition for a gateway to Kiev that was ultimately called off for lack of funds. Hartmann modeled his gate on the traditional headdress of Russian women, with the belfry shaped like the helmet of Slavonic Mussorgsky’s piece, with its magnificent climaxes and pealing bells, finds its ultimate realization in Ravel’s orchestration.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – Program

April 15th, 2017

Season listing | Biography | Program | Program Notes | Pre-concert talk

Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Yaniv Dinur, conductor Matthew Ernst, trumpet

Ludwig Van Beethoven
Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72a

Franz Joseph Haydn
Concerto in E-flat major for Trumpet and Orchestra, H. VIIe:1

I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Finale: Allegro
Matthew Ernst

Intermission

Maurice Ravel  (Ed. Carl Simpson)
Pavane pour une infante défunte (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”)

Modest Mussorgsky  (Orch. Maurice Ravel)
Pictures at an Exhibition

Promenade
I. Gnomus
Promenade
II. The Old Castle
Promenade
III. Tuileries
IV. Bydlo
Promenade
V. Ballet of Little Chicks in their Shells
VI. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
VII. Limoges
VIII. Catacombae
Cum mortuis in lingua mortua
IX. Baba-Yaga – The Hut on Hen’s Legs
X. The Great Gate of Kiev

 

 

BCCMA Annual Membership Meeting

April 15th, 2017

The annual Civic Music Membership Meeting will be held Monday, June 12, 2017 at 7:15 pm at the First United Presbyterian Church in De Pere (corner of Webster Ave. and George St.). All Civic Music members (season ticket holders) are welcome and encouraged to attend. On the agenda are the election of officers and board members and other board matters. If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors, please contact office@bccivicmusic.org prior to May 30th. Board members meet several times a year, and all members volunteer for the various committees that keep this non-profit, volunteer organization running smoothly and successfully.