Cibelle J. Donza & Louis Menchaca, conductors
The Ithaca College Sinfonietta (ICS) is an instrumental ensemble open to any student at Ithaca College who has prior experience performing on a traditional orchestral instrument (wind, brass, strings or percussion). This spring, Sinfonietta is structured in the configuration of a string chamber group: 2 cellos and 1 violin. This evening's repertoire was lovingly selected to offer an enriching experience for both the musicians and the audience, allowing the performers to grow in their musical skills as well as simply experience the pleasure of making music among friends.
Prelude for Two Cellos by Dmitri Shostakovich is from the soundtrack that the composer wrote for the Soviet film The Gadfly (from 1955). The Gadfly is based on the eponymous novel by Ethel Lilian Voynich. The film tells the story of the underground struggle of Italian patriots fighting for independence of their homeland against Austrian invaders. These events serve as the background to a tragic story of a person transformed from a pure-hearted, enthusiastic young man into an ruthless revolutionary - the legendary and elusive Gadfly.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed Ave Verum Corpus, K 618, in the summer of 1791 - half a year before his death and eight years after he had last completed a piece of sacred music. It was originaly a motet (vocal musical setting of a sacred text) based on a passage from the Roman Catholic Eucharist. The piece was written for Anton Stoll, choirmaster in the town of Baden, where Mozart’s wife, Constanze, often visited. Ave Verum Corpus is of humble mien and was perfectly suited to the small-town choir for which it was intended.
The opera The Barber of Seville, was premiered in Rome in 1816 when Rossini was just 24. It may be his greatest opera. Giuseppe Verdi certainly thought so: “For abundance of real musical ideas, for comic verve, and for truthful declamation, [it] is the finest opera buffa in existence.” The libretto was based on the story by the French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1775), and like the play, the opera is notable for its perennial themes, giddy wordplay, mad-capped action and lively characters.
An interesting historical note to the opera's Overture is that the original was lost shortly after the premiere. Rossini - well supplied with an old chest filled with musical snippets, full operas and manuscripts - reputedly rummaged about in his chest and borrowed another of his earlier opera’s overtures for the Barber. Therefore, it is not sursprising that the Overture that we’ve come to associate with The Barber of Seville bears no thematic resemblance to the opera that follows it. Despite its quirky parentage, its superbness in form and melody has successfully quieted all complaints.
Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama film, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally. The film is based on the life of Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. John Williams, composed the score for Schindler's List. The composer was amazed by the film, and felt it would be too challenging a task to write its music. He said to Spielberg, "You need a better composer than I am for this film." Spielberg responded, "I know. But they're all dead!" Violinist Itzhak Perlman performed the theme on the original soundtrack's recording, which won the Academy Award and the BAFTA Award for "Best Original Score" as well as the Grammy Award for "Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media". It was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Campus Band is an instrumental ensemble open to any student at Ithaca College who has prior experience playing a wind, brass, or percussion instrument. The group rehearses once per week and typically gives one performance each semester. Campus Band is intended primarily for non-music majors who would like to continue to play in a large ensemble, although some music majors often participate as well on primary or secondary instruments.
John Philip Sousa, famous American bandmaster and popular composer, was appointed leader of the US Marine band in 1880. After a successful tenure, he left the Marines in 1892 to organize an immensely successful band of his own, eventually touring the world in 1910-11. He wrote extraordinary band music with infectious rhythms and brilliant arrangements, earning him the sobriquet of “The March King.” The Washington Post march was composed in 1889 to be performed at an award ceremony for a promotional essay contest held by the eponymous newspaper. Rhythmically well-suited to accompany the then-popular "two-step" dance, it rapidly gained popularity across both the US and Europe following its premiere, and today it is still one of Sousa's most famous marches.
- Program note by Andrew Balent and Louis Menchaca
For over 20 years, Michael Giacchino has composed music for myriad video games, television series, and Hollywood films. After beginning his career writing music for various Playstation and Sega Genesis titles in the late 1990s, he forged a partnership with J.J. Abrams and composed the music to two of Abram's most successful television projects, Alias and Lost. In recent years, he has contributed scores to blockbuster franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the rebooted Star Trek, but he is most well known for his on-going relationship with Disney-Pixar, writing the original soundtracks to The Incredibles, Inside Out, and Coco, among others. Some of Giacchino's most famous music from Disney-Pixar films includes Selections from Up, which contains several pieces from the 2009 animated feature of the same name. Mirroring the success of the film it accompanies, Giacchino's score to Up won several Grammys and was the first ever Pixar film to win the Academy Award for "Best Original Score."
Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Del Tredici's music blends surrealism and nostalgia in an instantly recognizable mixture, and he is noted for his superlative writing for large orchestral forces. His work Final Alice is the fifth of six large works for soprano and orchestra based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland books. It was commissioned in honor of the US bicentennial and was premiered by soprano Barbara Hendricks and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under George Solti in 1976. "Acrostic Song" is the lullaby-like concluding aria from Final Alice. The original song's text is the seven-verse epilogue poem to Through the Looking Glass, the second of Lewis Carroll's Alice books. The poem is an acrostic; the initial letters of the lines spell out Alice Pleasance Liddell, the name of the real-life Alice for whom Carroll wrote his stories. This arrangement for band was prepared by Dr. Mark Spede (Director of Bands, Clemson University) at the request of the composer.
- Program note from score
Adolphus Hailstork first studied composition in college at the age of fifteen with Mark Fax at Howard University in Washington D.C., where he graduated magna cum laude, and later earned two degrees from the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Vittorio Giannini and David Diamond. His further pursuits in composition training included studying in Paris at the American Institute with Nadia Boulanger, at Dartmouth College for electronic music with John Appleton and Herbert Howe, and earning a doctorate in composition from Michigan State University, where he studied with H. Owen Reed. Deeply impacted by the death of Dr. Martin Luther King during his years in college, Hailstork felt it was his responsibility to contribute to the lineage of black arts in America. As a result, his musical interests have always been to fuse African American melodic and rhythmic materials with European structural principles, to create music that would be universal and transcend cultural boundaries. New Wade‘n Water is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional African American Spiritual Wade in the Water. Hailstork's setting of this spiritual for band opens with an introduction constructed using a G blues scale and mixed meter. Throughout the piece, the material from the introduction serves as an interlude between each variation of the Wade in the Water melody. This melody is frequently stated in hocket style, with fragments of the melody being passed from one section of the band to another.
- Program note from score
John Williams is perhaps America's most recognizable contemporary composer. A close collaborator of film director Steven Spielberg, he has scored some of Hollwood's most famous movies such as Jaws, Indiana Jones, E.T., and Jurassic Park. Among his most well-known music are the soundtracks to all nine flapship films in The Star Wars Saga. Our performance tonight will feature various tunes from five of the first six films in the "Skywalker saga" story arc: Star Wars (Main Title) & Cantina Band (Episode IV), The Imperial March (Episode V), The Emperor Arrives (Episode VI), Across the Stars (Episode II), and Battle of the Heroes (Episode III).
Special Guest - Elizabeth Carroll (cello)
* denotes (co-)principal
Jack Henry Cicio*
Monday, May 3 | 8:15pm, Ford Hall
Wednesday, May 5 | 8:15pm, Ford Hall
Thursday, May 6 | 8:15pm, Ford Hall
Graduate Conducting Recital:
Cibelle J. Donza
Friday, May 7 | 2:15pm, Ford Hall
All performances will be livestreamed at www.ithaca.edu/music/live