Music has an amazing way to connect people in any circumstance. There is something about it that seems to bring us closer together when we listen, play or sing together. The WFSO is committed to providing you with the joy of music, even when we are not in the concert hall together. We will provide a weekly play list for you, “Legato in times of Staccato”, curated by Music Director, Fouad Fakhouri. Simply click on each of the titles on the list below to view a special music selection. Also included each week is a Spotify playlist for you to enjoy all the selections together.
We invite you to participate each week by sending us music (from any genre) that you have found comforting and uplifting. We hope that through music we can encourage each other through these uncertain times. Send your play list additions to us at email@example.com. Preferable formats are YouTube and Sound Cloud clips, or just share the title and artist or composer and we will do our best to find it!
***To access all of our Legato in times of Staccato playlists on spotify, click here!***
Gulda: Cello Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
Due to limited seating capacity, tickets are available for reservation on a first-come, first-serve basis, with the following priority schedule for our current season ticket subscribers:
As we return to Memorial Auditorium, it is the WFSO’s top priority to ensure the safety and health of our musicians, patrons, and staff. Despite the recent elimination of mask requirements, we will continue to follow the CDC Covid-19 Safety Guidelines. Face masks will be mandatory for all patrons, staff, and musicians, along with limited and socially distanced seating for audience members.
A native of Belgrade, Serbia, cellist Igor Cetkovic enjoys a career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestra member, and educator. Igor has served with orchestras across Europe and the United States, including the Bergen Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, and as principal cellist of the Serbian chamber orchestra, The St. George Strings. Igor has appeared as a guest soloist with the Yugoslav Army Orchestra, the St. George Strings, Kalamazoo Symphony, Saginaw Bay Symphony, Albion Symphony, and in solo and chamber music recitals all over the world. Igor’s performance career has allowed him to play in many of Europe’s greatest halls, including Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Barbican Center in London, and KKL-Luzern Concert Hall. Igor finished his doctoral studies at Michigan State University, studying under the renowned Suren Bagratuni. He also holds degrees from Stavanger University, University of Belgrade and Central Michigan University. Igor’s other principal teachers include his father Relja Cetkovic, Sandra Belic, Liv Opdal and Jamie Fiste.
Currently, Igor is an artist-in-residence and principal cellist of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, principal cello of the Saginaw Bay Symphony, assistant principal cello of the West Michigan Symphony and the cellist for the Burdick-Thorne String Quartet. Igor is also co-founder and artistic director of the Michigan Princess Classical Concert Series in Grand Ledge, Mi, inviting musicians from all over the world to perform little-known chamber works. Igor served on the faculty at Albion College, and has given masterclasses at the Flint Institute of Music, Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, State Conservatory of Uzbekistan, and for MASTA (Michigan chapter of American String Teachers Association).
Friedrich Gulda: Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra (1980)
Born in Beethoven’s resting place of Vienna just over a century after the great composer’s passing, Friedrich Gulda (1938-2000) began his own musical career as a concert pianist at an early age, winning the prestigious Geneva competition at 16; at 20 he made his Carnegie Hall debut in the US. Alongside Glenn Gould, Gulda quickly became one of the most important interpreters of the piano repertoire in the post-World War II era, recording music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Debussy. Also like Gould, Gulda grew disillusioned with the formality of the classical music profession, moving his career in a decidedly different direction in the early 1960s towards jazz improvisation. Never one for following expectations (he once performed Schumann songs in the nude on stage with his girlfriend), Gulda refused to accept the esteemed Beethoven Ring awarded by the Vienna Academy of Music in protest against what he saw as the conservatism of classical music education. Gulda’s five-movement Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra is at one and the same time melodic, jazzy, dissonant, danceable, rocking, improvisational and virtuosic as it brings together an array of disparate musical styles—from the driving Big Band and 70s funk that opens the work’s “Overture,” to the traditional waltz-like Ländler which was popular in Beethoven’s Vienna. Composed for the cellist Heinrich Schiff in 1980—around the same time Gulda was collaborating with jazz pianist Chick Corea—the concerto’s scoring also calls for a drum set, guitar and two double-bases. The second movement, marked “Idyll,” returns us to the Austrian Alps with traditional melodic tunes that could easily find a home in one of Beethoven’s works for wind ensemble. The improvisatory “Cadenza” calls on the soloist’s virtuosity, while also embedding in it a variety of musical styles. A lovely dialogue between the flute, guitar and cello opens the lilting “Menuett,” which is followed by the bombast of the “Finale,” once again sending the ensemble on a different tact—that of a stylized beerhall or marching band—bringing this jaunty patchwork of musical styles to a close.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 F major, Op. 93 (1812)
Beethoven composed his Eighth Symphony towards the end of his “middle period” (1803-1813), a tumultuous time coincided with his increased hearing loss; an episode of unrequited love; a kerfuffle with his youngest brother, Johann, over his new live-in housekeeper; a quarrel with his good friend Johann Maelzel, inventor of the metronome; and having to learn to cope with the mortal illness of his other younger brother, Caspar. Visiting brother Johann at his home in Linz during the summer of 1812, the forty-two year old Ludwig returned his attention to completing his seventh and eighth symphonies, which were both begun in 1809. Situated between the Dionysian fervor and rhythmic power of No. 7 and the exalted spirituality and humanity of No. 9, the Symphony No. 8 in F major is the most charming and humorous of Beethoven’s symphonies. All four movements of the Eighth are clearly delineated, but they all somehow seem a little off-kilter. The first movement jumps right in without any kind of preamble. It is a joyous symphony—not in the “Ode to Joy” sense; rather, Beethoven is having fun here with a few musical jokes as the symphony at time stumbles on rather heavy-footedly, while at others it marches along to a regular beat. Indeed, the second movement is thought to be an affectionate parody of the metronome—perhaps even an apology to his above-mentioned friend—though others have heard a nod to Haydn’s “Clock Symphony.” Either way, the incessant ticking of the woodwinds moves us forward with monotonous regularity. The third movement, marked “Tempo di Menuetto,” finds Beethoven still at play as he replaces a slow and refined minuet with a hopping and stamping folkdance known as a Ländler (picture the scene in The Sound of Music where Maria and Captain von Trapp dance in the courtyard). The finale of No. 8 is pure Beethoven bombast, as the orchestra makes a mad dash full of surprises and unexpected effects while the composer continues to experiment with dynamics, instrumentation, and silent hesitations, closing this short and joyous symphony with a spirited, over-the-top coda.
Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525
Emmanuel Séjourné: Concerto for Marimba and Strings, Mvmts II and III
Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a
Corey Robinson is a Wichita Falls, Texas based percussionist, educator, and composer. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion and Associate Director of Bands at Midwestern State University. Previous appointments at the University of Texas at Tyler, Texas Woman’s University, the University of North Texas, Abilene Christian University (TX) Flower Mound High School (TX), Argyle High School (TX) and Coppell High School (TX) allowed Dr. Robinson the opportunity to work with hundreds of percussionists of all ages and ability levels. Many of Dr. Robinson’s recent performances have been as half of a percussion/saxophone duo with his wife, Amy. They have premiered numerous commissions and a number of his own works at saxophone conferences around the world including the World Saxophone Conference and six North American Saxophone Alliance Conferences. Dr. Robinson has also performed at three Percussive Arts Society International Conventions including a concert with the University of North Texas Percussion Ensemble at PASIC 2016. This performance included the world premiere of his large percussion ensemble work, Twisted Metal. Dr. Robinson received his Bachelor of Music Education from Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, his Master of Music in Percussion Performance from Indiana University, Bloomington, and his DMA at the University of North Texas. His percussion teachers include Mark Ford, Christopher Deane, Paul Rennick, Ed Soph, Poovalur Sriji, Stockton Helbing, José Aponte, Ed Smith, John Tafoya, Kevin Bobo, Michael Spiro and Dr. David Glover. Dr. Robinson currently endorses Marimba One and Innovative Percussion and his compositions are available through Murphy Music Press, Musicon Publishing and Innovative Percussion Publications. He currently resides in Wichita Falls, Texas with his wife Amy and their two cats, Beesly and Halpert.
“Modern String Landscape”
March 20, 2021
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 in G major, K.525) (1787)
It’s the classic Classical serenade—Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, or “A Little Night Music.” Indeed, ClassicFM.com places it at the top of their list of today’s most well-known classical compositions. Selections from the four-movement serenade have appeared in everything from TV commercials to films such as Alien, There’s something About Mary, and, of course, Amadeus. The divertimenti, nocturne and serenade forms were, one might say, the elevator music of Mozart’s time—light music performed outdoors in the evening as a tribute to a particular individual or event. While Mozart used these terms rather loosely in his catalogue, the forms all share certain characteristics: a wealth of material presented in the opening march, two slow movements, two minuets, and, on occasion, another fast movement or two in sonata form. Mozart wrote two serenades in the summer of 1787 while working on his opera Don Giovanni in Vienna—Eine kleine Nachtmusik and, six months earlier, Ein musikalischer Spass, or “A Musical Joke,” a satire on the small town composers of his day. Eine kleine Nachtmusik, which originally had a fifth movement that has been lost to time, is scored for string quartet and double bass, though it is now most commonly performed by orchestra. However one hears it, whether in the concert hall or at an annoying distant relative’s wedding, its liveliness and memorable melodies are sure to uplift and please.
Emmanuel Séjourné: Concerto for Marimba and Strings (2005)
French composer and percussionist Emmanuel Séjourné was born in Limoges, France in 1961. To date, he has composed music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, ballet, theatre, television, and more. Séjourné’s music embraces both the classical tradition and popular music; it is energetic, rhythmic, and, unlike much modern music, is romantic at its core. The Concerto for Marimba and Strings, which was commissioned and first performed by Romanian marimbist Bogdan Bacanu and the Salzburg Soloists in 2005, features two movements—a lush opening cadenza marked “Tempo Souple,” with an evocative melody reminiscent of the third movement of Braham’s Symphony No. 3, followed by the flashier “Rythmique, energique.” In 2015, Séjourné added a third movement to round out the composition. What we hear here is the original two-movement version. Already a standard work in the repertoire, Séjourné’s concerto pairs the marimba with a small string orchestra that never overshadows the solo instrument, even at its most gentle and subtle moments. Whether listeners are drawn to the rich, melodic playing of the strings, or the diversity of styles and pyrotechnics of the soloist, the Concerto for Marimba and Strings will appeal to all who have the pleasure of hearing this modern masterpiece which has already been performed by over 300 orchestras around the globe.
Dimitri Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony for Strings in C minor, Op. 110a (1960)
Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony is a transcription of the Russian composer’s String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, also composed in 1960. That the quartet is dedicated “to the victims of fascism and war” is made even more poignant when we consider that Shostakovich wrote it while working in the ruined city of Dresden, which had been fire-bombed fifteen years earlier during World War II. The Chamber Symphony is an autobiography for the ears, so to speak, in that Shostakovich included self-referential quotes from three of his earlier symphonies and his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. It also quotes from the Russian song “Exhausted by the Hardship of Prison.” Another autobiographical hallmark, along with Shostakovich’s usual melancholic depth and profound sense of anguish, is the inclusion of the notes of D, E-flat, C and B, representing the German spelling of “DSCH,” letters derived from the composer’s name. The first of the five interconnected movements of the Chamber Symphony opens with a sense of mournfulness and foreboding with Shostakovich’s trademark monogram. The second movement erupts with a frenzied savageness, while the skittering “Allegretto” returns the “DSCH” motive, followed by the two final “Largos,” the first of which suggests the “Day of Judgment” melody from a Gregorian chant associated with death and the apocalypse, the latter, once again returning to the “DSCH” motive, seems weary and bleak, as it drifts away into silence. In the Chamber Symphony we hear some of Shostakovich’s grimmest thoughts as this survivor of the Russian Revolution, the Second World War, and the Stalinist holocaust broods over a scene of incomprehensible devastation.
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade, Op. 48, C Major
JOHANN STRAUSS II & JOSEPH STRAUSS Pizzicato Polka
EDVARD GRIEG Holberg Suite, Op. 40
To view this concert’s Music & Wine Pairing click HERE
“WFSO—Bringing Music to Life”
January 23, 2021
Tonight’s program strives to put a little bounce back into your step during these awkward times by exploring the theme of the dance. In Tchaikovsky, we hear a beautifully flowing waltz harkening back admiringly to Mozart; in Strauss, we turn to a brief, plucky polka; and in Grieg, we look back again to Mozart’s time (and a little before) with a Neoclassical suite celebrating earlier dance tunes from around Europe. So sit back, loosen up your tapping toes, and get your sway on.
Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C major, Op. 48 (1880)
1880 saw Tchaikovsky complete two compositions that couldn’t have been more different—the bombastic 1812 Overture and the more sonorous Serenade for Strings. Of the former, Tchaikovsky wrote: “The overture will be very loud and noisy, but I wrote it without warmth or love, and so it will probably not have any artistic merit.” Conversely, he wrote of the latter: “I am violently in love with this work and can’t wait for it to be played.” Originally intended to be performed outdoors during the nighttime, serenades became popular with 18th century composers, as seen in two of the form’s exemplary works from the Classical era, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusic and the Haffner Serenade. The next century saw the serenade loose its evening and outdoor affiliations as it moved closer in line with the symphony form. Along with Tchaikovsky’s, the late 1800s also saw serenades composed across Europe by the likes of Dvorak, Suk and Elgar. Inspired by Mozart, his favorite composer, Tchaikovsky’s four-movement Serenade opens with a “Piece in the form of a sonatina” which is framed by a slow, sumptuous introduction that returns after the movement’s livelier middle sections. Next is the work’s shortest and most well-known movement, a “Waltz,” followed by a serene “Elegy” which brings back some of the grandeur of the first movement. After a slow, muted opening, the “Finale” quickly morphs into a fast-paced Russian dance tune sub-headed “Allegro con spirit.” In a final tip of the inspirational hat to Mozart’s wit and creativity, Tchaikovsky briefly and unexpectedly quotes from the beginning of the opening movement towards the end of the coda before returning for a few moments to the quickening pace of the Russian-inspired dance as the Serenate comes to a vivacious close.
Johann Strauss II & Joseph Strauss: Pizzicato Polka for Orchestra (1870)
Born in Vienna thirty-four years after the passing of Mozart, Johann Strauss II took the Austrian capital by storm with his prolific output of over 500 dance pieces, as well as 18 light operas and ballets. Following in his namesake’s footsteps—Johann Strauss, Sr.—the eldest Strauss son raised the light, danceable music of the late 19th century Hapsburg Empire to new heights of elegance with works such as the Blue Danube, Emperor, and Vienna Blood waltzes. With his younger brother, Josef (1827–1880), Johann, Jr. wrote the three-minute Pizzicato Polka for one of their concert tours of Russia in 1869. As a musical form, the polka first appeared in Prague in 1837, making its way to the capital city two years later. The Pizzicato Polka is scored for strings and glockenspiel, a German percussion instrument similar to the xylophone. As the title indicates, this unusual polka is performed entirely on plucked strings, which perhaps led to its sustained popularity.
Edvard Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 (1884-1885)
Similar to Czech composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonin Dvorak’s Romantic musical nationalisms, Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) also worked outside the European classical tradition by embracing the warmth and melodies of the folk traditions of his native land. Best known for the Piano Concerto in A minor (1868), as well as his Peer Gynt Suite (1875), Grieg also wrote some of the most endearing short works for orchestra in the late Romantic period. One such work is From Holberg’s Time: Suite in Olden Style, named after Norwegian-born Danish playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754). The work, originally scored for Grieg’s favored instrument, the piano, was composed in celebration of the bicentenary of Holberg’s birth in 1884. The Holberg Suite is an example of what in the early 20th century would become known as Neoclassism, a reactionary style which embraced the more melodic musical tastes of the 17th and 18th centuries. Grieg’s nostalgic backward glance takes the form a five-movement dance suite intended to call to mind the “olden style” of the late Baroque/early Classical periods of Holberg’s day. As is the case with Neoclassicism, Grieg’s own time period and personal style meld together with the earlier forms and sounds of the work’s dance movements, such as the Praeludium, Sarabande, and Rigaudon.
You are currently browsing the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra blog archives for October, 2020.
Stay connected with the WFSO by joining our email list!