The opera Samson and Delilah tells the Biblically-based
story of Israelite leader and hero Samson who has been betrayed by the seductive
Philistine beauty Delilah. He is blinded and then chained to the pillars of the
temple of Dagon as the Philistines celebrate their victory over his people. Bacchanale (found in Act III of the opera) begins softly,
reprising a "song to spring" heard in Act 1. The music then becomes fast-paced and
exotic to act as the musical accompaniment to the wild revelry taking place just
before Samson, calling upon the Lord for one last burst of strength, brings down
the mighty pillars and tumbles the temple roof, destroying his enemies and himself.
Program notes compiled by Beth Seavers.
Sousa prefaced the sheet music's score for this march with a quotation from the
English diplomat John Hookham Frere: "A sudden thought strikes me; let us swear
eternal friendship." Though Sousa does not indicate a particular nation the march
was composed for, it certainly represents the goodwill that the Sousa Band brought
with them on their world tours. Composed in the wake of the Spanish-American War,
this march is idealistic, in addition to patriotic, in nature. When it was premiered
in 1899 the audience insisted it be repeated three times.
Program notes compiled by Marcie Phelan.
This piece was written by Saint-Saëns for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco
in 1915. Originally scored for full orchestra, organ and supplemental wind band
of 60 members, the performance at the Exposition included a full orchestra (reportedly
the Boston Symphony Orchestra), an organ soloist, and the Sousa Band. It was a tribute
to Franco-American relations entering a critical phase as World War I unfolded.
The piece was important enough to have been mentioned in Saint-Saëns' obituary in
the New York Times but disappeared into virtual obscurity until now.
Arranger Peter Stanley Martin found the score at the Sibley Music Library at the
Eastman School of Music and carefully arranged the work for concert band in a Centennial
Performing Edition. This proud finale combines the melodies of
La Marseillaise (the national anthem of France) with the
Star Spangled Banner in a dramatic and triumphal finish to the grand
cantata that was performed 100 years ago in San Francisco and never again until
last season by the Ridgewood Concert Band.
Paprikash is a popular dish of Hungarian origin whose name is derived from the ample
use of paprika. It is a dish prepared by people in Jewish, Greek, Hungarian, Arabic,
and Russian cultures. Giroux utilized the dish’s name for the title of this piece
as it draws heavily on the Phrygian Dominant Scale, which is used in the music of
these cultures. Listeners will easily hear this “flavor” in the melodies, harmonies
and overall energy. This piece was composed for the Saitama Sakae Wind Orchestra
(Japan) and premiered by the ensemble in December 2014 at the Midwest Clinic, an
international band and orchestra conference in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1990, James Barnes (b. 1949) was commissioned to compose a work to help celebrate
the 250th Anniversary of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Realizing that Bethlehem was in
the very center of the many settlements of Moravian Baptists who founded the city,
Barnes searched for some sort of musical identity that would be appropriate for
this commission. He found it in an obscure but very beautiful Moravian hymn entitled
Morning Star, O Cheering Sight. Instead of composing
the normal "theme and variations" based on this hymn, Barnes opted to save the tune
in its entirety until the very end of the work, so it essentially became a variations
and theme. After a lengthy introduction featuring the percussion seection and three
extensive variants, the hymn tune is finally presented in its entirety by a trombone
choir. Barnes chose this instrumentation because the Moravians are most famous for
their wonderful trombone choirs accompanying the singing in their church services.
The full band then plays the hymn and the work ends in a Vivace tempo derived from
the music at the very beginning of the piece.
Finale, Symphony No. 3 – Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
is generally referred to as the "Organ Symphony" and the last major effort by the
composer in symphonic form. The piece was dedicated to his friend and fellow composer
Franz Liszt upon his death. Although the symphony is still performed in the symphonic
world, the Finale is the most memorable movement and has been transcribed for wind
symphony. The sustained organ chord announcing the Finale is testimony to the grandeur
of the piece and the movement contains considerable artistic variety. It includes
a massive climax with a show of musical alliance between the winds and the organ.
The final sustained organ chord is reflected with the winds that will leave the
listener breathless in the dramatic conclusion.
Taps - Eternal Father – Daniel Butterfield (1831-1901) and
John B. Dykes (1823-1806) Arranged by Capt. Kenneth R. Force, USMS. The
familiar melody of Taps is credited to Union General Daniel Butterfield during the
Civil War. The melody was made the official Army bugle call after the war, but was
not given the name "Taps" until 1874. The first time "Taps" was played at a military
funeral may have been in Virginia, soon after Butterfield composed it. This has
become a tradition that continues at military funerals in the present day. Eternal
Father Strong to Save is known to United States Navy men and women as the “Navy
Hymn”. It is a musical benediction that has had a long and special appeal to seafaring
men and women. This arrangement of these two moving melodies places a lone bugler
away from the band. The two echo each other back and forth, finally fading away
into the night, just as Taps does each evening at sundown. This reverent music is
an emotional ride.
The Stars and Stripes Forever – John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)
is considered the finest march ever written, and one of the most patriotic ever
conceived. The march was not so well received at first, yet its popularity grew
as Sousa used it during the Spanish-American War as a concert closer. Audiences
would rise from their chairs when the march was played. Sousa added to the entertainment
value of the march by having the piccolo up in front of the band for the final trio,
and then added the brass section to join on the final repeat of the strain. The
march was performed on almost all of Sousa's concerts and always drew an emotional
response from the audience. In 1987 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law
that designated the Stars and Stripes as the official march of the United States
of America. This march continues in the present day to stir patriotic emotion from
audiences both home and abroad.