From the New World

ARCHIVE WEBSITE: Go back to Past Concerts webpage in our new site.

Great Scott N' The Wright Stuff
Poulenc n' Pipes
World Premiere Horn Concerto
Tale of Two Symphonies
The Planets
Prodigy & Pops
2009 Arabian Nights
From the New World

From the New World

  • Julian Brown, Concertmaster is Violin Soloist

Saturday, May 16, 2009; 8:00 PM
at Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos -
Donation: $20 general, $15 senior/student, children 12 years and younger with adult FREE ˇ
Tickets available at door at 7:00 PM or from orchestra members in advance -
*Tickets now available ONLINE.

clipart_tech_audio_028  Click on the composition title to hear the actual audio from the concert.

Michael Paul Gibson, Conductor
Julian Brown, Concertmaster and Violin Soloist

The Hebrides, Op. 26
(Fingals Cave)
  by Felix Mendelssohn

Written 1829

Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn visited in 1829 and wrote Die Hebriden (in English, Hebrides Overture Opus 26, commonly known as Fingal's Cave), inspired by the weird echoes in the cave. Mendelssohn's overture popularized the cave as a tourist destination. Other famous 19th-century visitors included author Jules Verne, poets William Wordsworth, John Keats and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Romantic artist J. M. W. Turner, who painted "Staffa, Fingal's Cave" in 1832. Queen Victoria also made the trip.

The playwright August Strindberg also sets scenes from his play A Dream Play in a place called "Fingal's Grotto." Scots novelist Sir Walter Scott described Fingal's Cave as "…one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld. It exceeded, in my mind, every description I had heard of it… composed entirely of basaltic pillars as high as the roof of a cathedral, and running deep into the rock, eternally swept by a deep and swelling sea, and paved, as it were, with ruddy marble, baffles all description."

One of Pink Floyd's early songs bears this location's name. This instrumental was written for the film Zabriskie Point, but not used.

The grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, he was born to a notable Jewish family which later converted to Christianity. He was recognised early as a prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his abilities. Indeed his father was disinclined to allow Felix to follow a musical career until it became clear that he intended to seriously dedicate himself to it.

Mendelssohn was an accomplished artist, including drawing, watercolors, and oil painting.[18][19] His enormous correspondence shows that he could also be a witty writer in German and English — sometimes accompanied by humorous sketches and cartoons in the text.

Mendelssohn suffered from bad health in the final years of his life, probably aggravated by nervous problems and overwork. The death of his sister Fanny on May 14, 1847 caused him great distress. Less than six months later, on November 4, Felix himself died in Leipzig after a series of strokes. His grandfather Moses, his sister Fanny and both his parents had died from similar apoplexies..


Felix Mendelssohn
1809 - 1847


Fingals Cave


Pavane pour une infant défunte
(Pavane for a dead princess

 by Maurice Ravel

Written 1899 

The piece evokes the dignified elegance of a reception at the royal Spanish court as a young princess moves gracefully through the steps of the pavane, a slow processional dance that enjoyed great popularity in the courts of Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

This antique miniature is not meant to pay tribute to any particular princess from history, but rather expresses a nostalgic enthusiasm for Spanish customs and sensibilities which Ravel shared with many of his contemporaries (most notably Debussy and Albéniz) that is evident in some of his other works such as the Rhapsodie espagnole and the Boléro. By some accounts, Ravel may have been thinking about Princess Margarita, a daughter of King Philip IV of Spain, but this is far from certain.

Ravel dedicated the Pavane to his patron, the Princesse de Polignac. The Spanish pianist Ricardo Vińes gave the first performance on April 5, 1902. The Pavane was warmly welcomed by the public, but received much more subdued reviews from Ravel's fellow musicians. Indeed, Ravel himself complained that it "lacked daring". Subsequent performances tended to be much too slow and plodding. In one instance, Ravel attended just such a performance, and afterward mentioned to the pianist that it was called "Pavane for a Dead Princess", not "Dead Pavane for a Princess".



Maurice Ravel
1875 - 1937

Méditation from Thaďs
  by Jules Massenet

Composed in 1893

Julian Brown, Violin Soloist

Méditation is a symphonic intermezzo and is performed between the first and second scene in the second act of the opera, Thaďs. It is during this point in the Opera where, Athanaël tries to convince Thaďs to leave her life of luxury and pleasure and find salvation through God. It is during this time of reflection that the meditation is played by the orchestra. After the Méditation is finished Thaďs tells Athanaël that she will follow him.

The piece is in D major and is approximately five minutes (although there are a vast number of interpretations that stretch the piece to over six minutes.) Massenet may also have written the piece with religious intentions; the tempo marking is Andante Religioso. Which means that it should be played religiously and at walking tempo. The piece opens with a short introduction by the harps and the solo violin quickly comes in with the melody. After the violin plays the melody twice the piece goes into an animato section (therefore the tempo picks up) and gradually gets more and more passionate (Massenet wrote poco a poco appassionato which means more passionately little by little.) The climax is reached at the poco piu appasionato (which means a little more passion) and then it is followed by a short cadenza like passage from the soloist and then returns to the main theme. After the theme is played twice the soloist ends playing harmonics on the upper register of the violin while the harps and string quietly play below the solo line..


Jules Massenet
1842- 1912


Julian Brown

Roman Carnival Overture,
Op. 9
 by Hector Berlioz

Written 1843

Le carnaval romain, ouverture pour orchestre (English: Roman Carnival Overture) Opus 9. Composed in 1843 and first performed at the Salle Herz, Paris on 3 February 1844. A stand-alone overture intended for concert performance, made up of material and themes from Berlioz's opera Benvenuto Cellini, including some music from the opera's carnival scene - hence the overture's title. It is scored for large orchestra, is in the key of A major, and features a prominent and famous solo for the cor anglais.


Hector Berlioz
1803- 1869

New World Symphony, Op. 95
Symphony No. 9 in E minor
  by Antonín Dvořák

Composed in 1893

The Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World" (Op. 95), popularly known as the New World Symphony, was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893 during his visit to the United States from 1892 to 1895. It is by far his most popular symphony, and one of the most popular in the modern repertory.

Dvořák was interested in the Native American music and African-American spirituals he heard in America. Upon his arrival in America, he stated:

  "I am convinced that the future music of this country must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them."

The symphony was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and premiered on December 16, 1893 at Carnegie Hall conducted by Anton Seidl. A day earlier, in an article published in the New York Herald on December 15, 1893, Dvořák further explained how Native American music had been an influence on this symphony:

  "I have not actually used any of the [Native American] melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint, and orchestral color."

In the same article, Dvořák stated that he regarded the symphony's second movement as a "sketch or study for a later work, either a cantata or opera ... which will be based upon Longfellow's [The Song of] Hiawatha" (Dvořák never actually wrote such a piece). He also wrote that the third movement scherzo was "suggested by the scene at the feast in Hiawatha where the Indians dance".

Curiously enough, passages which modern ears perceive as the musical idiom of African-American spirituals may have been intended by Dvořák to evoke a Native American atmosphere. In 1893, a newspaper interview quoted Dvořák as saying "I found that the music of the negroes and of the Indians was practically identical", and that "the music of the two races bore a remarkable similarity to the music of Scotland". Most historians agree that Dvořák is referring to the pentatonic scale, which is typical of each of these musical traditions.

In a 2008 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, prominent musicologist Joseph Horowitz asserts that African-american spirituals were a major influence on the 9th symphony, quoting Dvořák from an 1893 interview in the New York Herald as saying, "In the negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music."[7]

Despite all this, it is generally considered that, like other Dvořák pieces, the work has more in common with folk music of his native Bohemia than with that of the United States. Leonard Bernstein averred that the work was truly multinational in its foundations.


Antonín Dvořák
1841- 1904


Antonín Dvořák
with his wife, Anna in London in 1886


The first page of the autograph score of Dvořák’s ninth symphony ˇ

Content © 2009 by SVS, BAMF, BACH to Music ˇ Disclaimer