Luther College Symphony Orchestra The Luther College Symphony Orchestra, Luthers largest and oldest orchestral ensemble, maintains an active rehearsal and performance schedule during the academic year, from early September to late May. 85 student musicians, representing a variety of academic majors, perform with Symphony Orchestra. Many also play chamber music, sing in a choir, or play in a jazz ensemble. In addition to regular concerts featuring masterworks of the standard orchestral literature, Symphony Orchestra takes great pride in performing new music on a regular basis: since 2001 the orchestra has been pleased to present five world premieres. Members of the orchestra also perform with the Luther College choirs, in periodic performances of major choral-orchestral works, and in the annual Christmas at Luther festival performances. Symphony Orchestra tours annually throughout the United States and maintains a three-week residency in Vienna, Austria every four years, performing in venues such as the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz. Recent domestic tours have included trips to the Pacific Northwest, the Great Plains States, the Southeast, and the Upper Midwest. The Luther College Symphony Orchestra engages local and regional high school students through several educational opportunities. Each February, Symphony Orchestra hosts more than 180 high school string players at the annual Dorian Orchestra Festival. In cooperation with music specialists for the Decorah (Iowa) School District, the Symphony Orchestra has presented special programs of music for elementary school children in northeast Iowa. Seven chairs in the Luther College Symphony Orchestra benefit from endowed scholarships generously provided by Luther donors. Scholarship recipients are determined by auditions conducted under the guidance of the orchestra conductor.
Daniel Baldwin Daniel Baldwin has served since 1997 as Director of Orchestral Activities at Luther College. Baldwin earned the Bachelor of Music (cello) from Furman University and Master of Music (cello) and Doctor of Musical Arts (instrumental conducting) from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to his arrival at Luther, Dr. Baldwin served as Director of Orchestras at Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA). Baldwin received his formal training in string pedagogy as a teacher in the University of Texas String Project, perhaps the most comprehensive program of its kind in North America. Phyllis Young, director of the String Project for 35 years, was Baldwins cello teacher during his studies at the University of Texas. He studied conducting with Henry Charles Smith, Cornelius Eberhardt, Sung Kwak, Walter Dulcoux, and Fiora Contino.
Daniel Baldwin has served as Music Director of the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras and the Transylvania Youth Orchestra of the Brevard (NC) Music Center, the largest summer music festival in the South. A 1991 conducting fellow of the Conductors Institute of the University of South Carolina and formerly a cellist with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra, Dr. Baldwin maintains an active schedule as clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor. Since 2007 he has served as Musical and Artistic Director for the Lake Chelan Bach Fest in north central Washington state. On four occasions since 1997 he has traveled to Europe with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra, enjoying month-long January residencies in Vienna, Austria and performing in such venues as the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz and the Vienna Konzerthaus. The Luther College Symphony tours annually in the US; since 1997, Daniel Baldwin and the Luther orchestra have completed twelve major American tours, performing in at least twenty states.
Program Introduction and Gopak from The Fair at Sorochinsk Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Marche Valse Polka Galop Masquerade Suite Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
Waltz Nocturne Mazurka Galop I N T E R M I S S I O N
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Un poco sostenuto; Allegro Andante sostenuto Un poco Allegretto e grazioso Adagio; Piu Andante; Allegro non troppo, ma con brio Introduction and Gopak from The Fair at Sorochinsk Modest Mussorgsky Modest Mussorgsky based his last (and unfinished) opera, The Fair at Sorochinsk, on a story from Nikolai Gogols (1809-1852) collection of Ukrainian stories, Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka. The Fair is a comedy about Ukrainian peasants who, after a lot of buffoonery and misunderstandings, marry off a young couple and dance a celebratory gopak (or hopak). The gopak dates far back in Ukrainian history. Very early on, it entered Russias folk and concert dance traditions. Its most remarkable feature is the way the dancers leap while squatting, kicking their legs outa feat of enormous grace and extraordinary athleticism. Among the few numbers that Mussorgsky completed before his death, the Introduction and Gopak are the most familiar. (The two pieces were orchestrated by Anatoly Lyadov, 1855-1914). Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra Igor Stravinsky Having taken refuge in Switzerland during World War I, Igor Stravinsky busied himself with a variety of musical-compositional projects. In the hope of creating something fun for his children to play (son and daughter, Theodore and Mika), between November 1914 and April 1917 Stravinsky wrote a series of easy piano duets, based on a variety of dance forms. Later he orchestrated the pieces and arranged them into two suites of four movements each. The Second Suite presents four dance forms: March, Waltz, Polka, and Galop. The composer amused himself by drawing some of the dances as portraits of colleagues: the Italian composer Alfredo Casella (March); composer Erik Satie (Waltz); and the impresario of Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev (Polka). Stravinskys own description of how he came to write the original music is instructive:
I wrote the Polka first. It is a caricature of Diaghilev [impresario of the Ballets Russes, which had produced the three early ballets that made Stravinsky famous], whom I had seen as a circus animal trainer cracking a long whip. The idea of a four-hand duet was part of the caricature, because Diaghilev used to play four-hand piano music with his life-long friend Walter Nouvel. The simplicities of the music, especially of the bass part, were also designed for the small range of Diaghilevs
technique. I played the Polka to Diaghilev in a hotel room in Milan, in 1915, in the presence of [Italian composer] Alfredo Casella, and I remember how amazed both men were that the composer of Le Sacre du printemps should have produced such a piece of popcorn. For Casella, however, a new path had been indicated, and he was not slow to follow it: so-called "neo-classicism," or one aspect of it, was born at that moment. But Casella was genuinely enthusiastic about the Polka, and I promised to write a little piece for him, too. This was the March, composed immediately on my return to Morges. A little later I added a Valse in homage to Erik Satie, a souvenir of a visit with him in Paris. Satie had suddenly become old and white, a very touching figure for whom I felt a profound sympathy. I wrote the little ice-cream-wagon Valse for him on my return from Paris to Morges. It, too, like the Polka and the March, is a caricature. The Galop, which found its way to the end of the Suite No. 2, was a "Russian souvenir," designed as a caricature of the St. Petersburg Folies Bergres, which I had watched in the Tumpakov, a semi-respectable nightclub in the Astrava, the islands in the Neva River. When Ravel heard me conduct it in the orchestral version, he advised me to play it at a fasterthe fastest possibletempo, but I think this was because he mistook it for a French can-can.
Masquerade Suite Aram Khachaturian Aram Ilich Khachaturian was born near Tiflis (now known as Tbilisi, capital of Georgia) on June 6, 1903 and died in Moscow on May 1, 1978. Educated at the Gnesin School and the Moscow Conservatory, Khachaturian emergedalong with Prokofiev and Shostakovichas one of the most popular and successful composers of the Soviet period. His unique musical idiom was indelibly marked by his Armenian heritage; his scores are noted for their sensuous, singing melodic writing, colorful orchestration, and elemental rhythmic drive. Known in the West chiefly as a composer of instrumental concerti and the ballet scores Gayaneh and Spartacus (the former including the brilliant Sabre Dance), his output also encompasses symphonies and other works for orchestra, theater music, works for band, chamber music, and a large number of patriotic and popular songs. In fact Khachaturian also wrote a lot of film music: he composed about twenty-five film scores, including one for a film about Lenin, from 1948, and one called The Battle of Stalingrad from 1949. These intensely patriotic films were made during the 1948 purges, when Khachaturian was criticized for some of his recent work, in particular his Third Symphony (1947). The Symphony No. 3 was written for the 30th anniversary of the October Revolution, and was noted not so much for its musical substance as for its special effects. The piece calls for a very large orchestra, including an organ and not fewer than fifteen extra trumpets.
Later Khachaturian gained considerable success with a series of concert rhapsodies, first for violin, then for cello, and finally for piano. These rhapsodies are characterized by rhythmic vitality, rich orchestration, and intoxicating melody, all influenced by Armenian folk music. Khachaturians Masquerade Suite was conceived as incidental music for an 1835 drama by Mikhail Lermontov. The piece was staged with Khachaturian's music for the first time in Moscow on June 21, 1941the day before Russia's formal entry into World War II. Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 When in 1876 Brahms at long last finished work on his First Symphony (he had wrestled with the piece for twenty years), the composer was 43 years of age and had established himself as one of Europe's most respected artists. By 1876 Johannes Brahms had written masterworks in every musical genre except operaa field he never chose to enterand the symphony. Back in 1853 Robert Schumann had declared Brahms (then 20) "the young eagle," and prophesied: "If he will sink his magic staff . . . where the capacity of masses in chorus and orchestra can lend him its powers, still more wonderful glimpses into the mysteries of the spirit world will be before us." Effusive tributes such as Schumanns may perhaps have imposed a burden Brahms found difficult to bear. For the next twenty years, Brahmss publisher nagged and his friends begged him for a symphony. In 1872, he exploded at conductor Hermann Levi: "I shall never write a symphony! You can't have any idea what it's like always to hear such a giant marching behind you!" The giant, of course, was Beethoven. His nine symphonies were, for Brahms, the apogee of symphonic form; in the light of Beethovens staggering achievements, Brahms found his own efforts utterly inadequate. And so Brahms the symphonist served a long apprenticeship, honing his skills in lighter orchestral works such as the two Serenades and the Variations on a Theme of Haydn. Meanwhile, for two decades, Brahms struggled with a work in C minor that would eventually become his First Symphony. In 1862 he sent a version of the opening movement to his dear friend Clara Schumann. At this early stage there was no slow introduction; it began instead with an abruptness that seems to have startled her. In 1868 another teaser arrived, penned on a postcard from Switzerland sent to heal a recent quarrel. It contained the haunting horn call from the finale with a little fence-mending verse written underneath: "Thus blew the alphorn today: High in the mountains, deep in the valley, I greet you a thousand times over." Because Brahms was very secretive about the genesis of this work and, unlike Beethoven, usually destroyed his sketches, we don't know much beyond these clues. Scholars believe the first movement was written first (the slow introduction appeared very late in the compositional process), the finale next, and then the two middle movements. Nervous about the response of the Viennese critics, Brahms had the piece premiered in the musical backwater of Karlsruhe on November 4, 1876. In fact the Symphony No. 1 was received
very well; for all his self-doubt, Brahms had at last demonstrated that Beethoven had perhaps not spoken the final word in symphonic composition. Much has been written about the philosophical-artistic feud between Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner, between the composers of absolute (pure) music and the composers of the so-called New German School, between 19th-century classicists (conservatives) and progressives (modernists). A brief excerpt from Wagner's "Open Letter to Friedrich Schn" (published in the Bayreuther Bltter in July 1882) is instructive:
But as the Gospel has faded since the cross of the Redeemer has been hawked like merchandise on every street corner, so has the genius of German music grown silent ever since it has been hauled around the world-mart by the mtier, and pseudo-professional gutter-witlessness celebrates its progress.
This assessment was prompted by Hans von Blow's recent championing of Brahms's music in touring concerts with the Meiningen Orchestra, the happy reception of which, Wagner bitterly continued, only went to show that the taste of the public had become so debased that posterity would choose to preserve nine symphonies by Brahms but at most only two by Beethoven. Brahms was in fact the only German composer of Wagner's lifetime who was big enough to stand with him on more or less an equal footing. Wagner was the revolutionary, the man of the future. Brahms was the classicist who worked with abstract forms and never wrote a note of program music in his life. Wagner was to exert enormous influence on the future. With Brahms the symphony as handed down by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Schumann came to an end. Brahms, like Bach, summed up an epoch. Unlike Bach, he contributed little to the development of music, though some of his textures and harmonies find a faint echo in Schoenberg. Even in Brahms's own day the progressives thought little of him. Mahler called Brahms "a mannequin with a somewhat narrow heart." Such Wagnerite hotheads as Hugo Wolf gleefully jumped on each new Brahms composition, poking fun at it. Wolf, reviewing the Symphony No. 3 for the Wiener Salonblatt, proclaimed that Brahms is the epigone of Schumann and Mendelssohn and, as such, exercises about as much influence on the history of art as the late Rober...