sept 29, 30, oct 1

Vänskä Opens the Season: Boléro

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor Greg Paulus, trumpet • Michael Lewis, saxophone Bryan Nichols, keyboards • Adam Linz, bass • JT Bates, drums
Thursday, September 29, 2011, 7:30 pm Friday, September 30, 2011, 8 pm Saturday, October 1, 2011, 8 pm John Stafford Smith/ arr. Stanislaw Skrowaczewski George Antheil Stephen Paulus and Greg Paulus The Star-Spangled Banner Orchestra Hall Orchestra Hall Orchestra Hall ca. 2’

A Jazz Symphony TimePiece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra Rain (all day) Everything Happens to Me Anxiety’s Edge A Night at the Cosmos Greg Paulus, trumpet; Michael Lewis, saxophone; Bryan Nichols, keyboards; Adam Linz, bass; JT Bates, drums

ca. 7’ ca. 30’

I

N

T

E

R

M

I

S

S

I

O

N

ca. 20’

John Adams Maurice Ravel

Fearful Symmetries Boléro

ca. 27’ ca. 15’

thank you

With Friday’s concert, we recognize the support of Target.

Minnesota Orchestra concerts are broadcast live Friday evenings on stations of Minnesota Public Radio. The concerts are also featured in American Public Media’s national programs, SymphonyCast and Performance Today. Regional broadcasts are supported by the Minnesota Orchestra and by Patterson, Thuente, Skaar and Christensen.

28

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

SHOWCASE

All materials copyright © 2011 by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra

Artists

sept 29, 30, oct 1
Austin City Limits, The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show, Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Background: A Twin Cities native, he studied jazz at William Patterson University and saxophone with Kenni Holmen and Brian Grivna. He credits his parents, both musicians, and the eclectic local music scene with shaping his artistic identity, and he views art as key in building links within communities.

Concert Preview:
with Phillip Gainsley 9/29 at 6:30 pm 9/30 at 7 pm 10/1 at 7 pm Orchestra Hall Auditorium

Greg Paulus, trumpet
St. Paul native Greg Paulus is a composer, performer and producer based in Brooklyn. These performances mark his Minnesota Orchestra debut as both trumpet soloist and composer. Projects: Paulus tours extensively with the electronic production team No Regular Play, which performs in major clubs and electronic music venues worldwide and has released albums on the Wolf + Lamb label. Since 2010 he has played trumpet and keyboard in the band of electronic pop artist Matthew Dear. He also produces and performs as a solo artist, and he regularly organizes concerts and events in Brooklyn. Education: With a background in both jazz and classical trumpet, he attended the Stanford Jazz Residency before earning a bachelor’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. Among those he studied with is Minnesota Orchestra trumpet player Charles Lazarus.

Bryan Nichols, keyboards
Minneapolis-based pianist and composer Bryan Nichols works primarily in jazz and improvised music. He leads and writes music for his own trio, his quintet and his large group, We Are Many, and has performed extensively in the Twin Cities and Chicago and internationally. Additional roles: Nichols teaches jazz piano at MacPhail Center for Music and at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. He was recently named artistic director of Jazz is NOW! Honors: Nichols has been chosen for a 2010-11 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, a 2004 residency by Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program and a subito grant from the American Composers Forum. Discography: In May 2011 he released his debut album as bandleader, Bright Places, featuring nine original compositions. More: bryannichols.org.

Michael Lewis, saxophone
Michael Lewis performs throughout the Twin Cities and around the world. A founding member of Fat Kid Wednesdays and Happy Apple, he records and/or tours with such artists as Alpha Consumer, Dosh, Haley Bonar, Andrew Bird and Bon Iver. Television: Lewis has reached national audiences through appearances on

Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Profile appears on page 16.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

29

All materials copyright © 2011 by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra

sept 29, 30, oct 1

Program Notes

one-minute notes
Antheil: A Jazz Symphony
This one-movement “symphony,” one of the earliest symphonic works to incorporate jazz elements, is built on a catchy tune that recurs throughout, culminating in a finale in triple meter with an intense honky-tonk atmosphere.

Adam Linz, bass
Twin Cities-based bass player Adam Linz is the jazz studies program coordinator at the MacPhail Center for Music, where he is also an electric and acoustic bass instructor. Collaborations: He is a member of Fat Kid Wednesdays, which has toured extensively throughout Europe and North American. In addition, he has performed with such jazz artists as Evan Parker, Stanley Turrentine and Milt Jackson, and with electronic artist Dosh. Educator: Linz has taught at Macalester College, Augsburg College, the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth and EDAM Music Outreach in Paris. He has given clinics in the U.S. and abroad. Background: He earned a bachelor’s degree from the William Paterson University Jazz Studies program.

S. Paulus/G. Paulus: TimePiece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra
Here is the world premiere of a father-son collaboration, a concerto-like work that incorporates jazz, classical and electronic elements. Of note: an opening movement that steadily increases in intensity; wistful, lyrical segments by the five jazz soloists; an edgy scherzo featuring the conductor on solo clarinet; and nods to several jazz standards.

Adams: Fearful Symmetries
This Adams work brings to mind the comical contraptions of Dr. Seuss and Rube Goldberg, with musical jokes abounding throughout a series of fascinating episodes, each full of high spirits and pulsating exuberance.

Ravel: Boléro
Over a beguiling and insistent rhythm, Ravel repeats a single hypnotic melody on an ever-shifting combination of instruments. With each change in orchestral color, the tension builds—to a climax of shattering intensity.

JT Bates, drums
Minneapolis-based drummer JT Bates performs a wide range of music throughout the Twin Cities, around the country and abroad. Recently: His calendar has included a tour of France with the trio Fat Kid Wednesdays, a duet tour with French cellist Didier Petit, and performances and recordings with such artists as Andrew Bird, the Pines and the Bryan Nichols Quintet. He was also showcased at the South by Southwest festival with the band Alpha Consumer. Recordings: His albums include a disc with the band Face Candy and the late rap artist Eyedea. Background: Bates grew up playing in his father’s big band alongside his two brothers.

at the same time...
Adams’ Fearful Symmetries premieres in 1988, the year: • A record-setting drought hits Minnesota, leading to $1.2 billion in crop losses • After eight years of fighting, the Soviet Army begins withdrawing from Afghanistan • CDs outsell vinyl records for the first time In 1928, when Ravel’s Boléro is first performed: • American aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean • The Dow Jones Industrial Average of U.S. stocks surpasses 300 for the first time • Mickey Mouse appears in Steamboat Willie, the first Disney cartoon with synchronized sound

30

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

SHOWCASE

All materials copyright © 2011 by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra

Program Notes

sept 29, 30, oct 1

The last movement was one of the first symphonic pieces to incorporate jazz elements, predating even Milhaud’s Création du monde, programmed in the Minnesota Orchestra’s concerts for next week, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. In 1922, Antheil declared jazz to be “one of the greatest artistic landmarks of modern art.”

George Antheil

a ‘vivacious composition’

g

Born: July 8, 1900, Trenton, New Jersey Died: February 12, 1959, New York City

A Jazz Symphony (1955 revision)

eorge Antheil was a biographer’s dream. Though he was born in America, he spent most of his 20s and 30s in Europe, especially in Paris, where he formed part of that city’s thriving cultural community that included James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway.

A Jazz Symphony was composed in 1925 on commission from Paul Whiteman. It was originally written for an ensemble of 22 instruments, but in 1955 the instrumentation was reduced and the structure tightened. The first performance of the original version was given in Carnegie Hall by W.C. Handy’s Orchestra, conducted by Allie Ross on April 10, 1927. Antheil played the prominent piano part. Carnegie Hall was also the venue for the first performance of the revised version, on December 14, 1960, by the Orchestra of America conducted by Richard Korn. Biographer Linda Whitesitt offers an apt description of A Jazz Symphony. She calls it “the largest composition in which Antheil attempted to synthesize jazz characteristics with his own personal idiom….The opening measures present a catchy tune that recurs throughout the one-movement work to articulate its form. Other musical elements besides melody reinforce the jazz characteristics of the symphony….The pervasive nonfunctional tonal language is diatonic. Static key centers in each musical block are established by the constant repetition of a pedal or ostinato. The symphony abounds with syncopated jazz-derived rhythms within a fairly consistent duple meter….In the concluding section, Antheil suddenly changes to triple meter and a firm orientation in B-flat major with colorful chromatic alterations. The full orchestration intensifies the honkytonk atmosphere of the conclusion of this vivacious composition.”
Instrumentation: flute (doubling piccolo), 3 clarinets, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, drum set, tambourine, castanets, xylophone, piano and reduced strings

During these years he caused riots and scandals in half a dozen cities with his outrageous music, most notably the notorious Ballet méchanique (1926) for multiple pianos, xylophones, electric bells, airplane propellers and other percussion. His machine-age music also included such works as an Airplane Sonata for piano, a Sonatina subtitled “Death of the Machines” and Mechanism—all highly dissonant, ruggedly percussive and rhythmically violent. His opera Transatlantic is reputed to be the first by an American composer to have a major production in Europe (Frankfurt, 1930). In 1936, Antheil made an abrupt about-face and returned to America, where he settled in Los Angeles. Having outraged the traditional musical community, he now did the same to the avant-garde: he composed music in classical forms full of nostalgically-tinged lyricism, American folk tunes and boogie-woogie. He also spent the last 22 years of his life orchestrating film scores for Hollywood, contributing essays to fashionable magazines like Coronet and Esquire, inventing a torpedo, writing a best-selling autobiography called Bad Boy of Music, working as a war analyst for the press and radio, and dispensing advice to the lovelorn in a syndicated newspaper column. Antheil’s involvement with jazz dates back to his Symphony No. 1 (Zingareska), written in his 20th year and premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic in 1922.

‘bad boy of music’

Program note by Robert Markow.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

31

All materials copyright © 2011 by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra

sept 29, 30, oct 1

Program Notes

Stephen Paulus
Born: August 24, 1949, Summit, New Jersey; now living in St. Paul

addicted to the exhilaration of never having to repeat yourself musically. “You can play a song 15,000 times, and every time you play it, it’s going to be completely different,” he says. “The same is true for classical music, but it’s more about the interpretation of what the composer has written. In jazz, you can take it in a million directions and half the time not even recognize it’s the same tune you just played.” Greg earned a bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2006, and while there he played in such jazz clubs as the Jazz Gallery and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. In 2008 he and a friend founded an electronic production team called No Regular Play. In 2010 they began touring extensively throughout the world, including dates at London’s Fabric and Berlin’s Watergate. Last year he began playing trumpet and keyboard in the band of electronic pop sensation Matthew Dear. In a recent interview with electronic-music journalist Bianca Von Baum, Greg Paulus talked about the work we hear tonight: “I had this idea four or five years ago. I was racking my brain every day and I thought, wouldn’t it be a good idea to write a piece in conjunction with my father, because he does a completely different kind of music? I guess there are a lot of similarities, because I listened to him a lot when I was younger. He’s in the classical realm, and I was thinking we could take a quintet up front and improvise but also play a long composed piece with sections for improvising. It could really work because he knows all the stuff I don’t and I know how to do the stuff that he doesn’t.”

Greg Paulus
Born: July 24, 1984, Minneapolis; now living in Brooklyn, New York

i

TimePiece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra

t’s rare to encounter a classical work written by more than one composer; to find one by a father-and-son team is even more unusual. Such is the composition receiving its world premiere performances in these concerts.

The father, Stephen Paulus, has had a long and fruitful association with the Minnesota Orchestra. He wrote his first major orchestral work, the Concerto for Orchestra (1982), for the Minnesota Orchestra. He and Libby Larsen were the Orchestra’s first composers in residence, sharing the post from 1983 to 1987. The numerous works Paulus has written for the Orchestra over the years include the Concerto for Two Trumpets (2003), Symphony in Three Movements (1986) and the Holocaust oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn (2005). His catalogue of more than 400 compositions now includes some 50 orchestral works, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dallas Symphony and many other orchestras. He has also written more than 200 choral compositions and ten operas, of which his second, The Postman Always Rings Twice, has seen nine productions to date. Paulus is currently writing a concerto for William Preucil, the concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, and new operas for the University of New Mexico and for the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York. Son Greg Paulus grew up in St. Paul studying jazz and classical trumpet. While still in elementary school, he was already investigating the world of jazz. He joined his school jazz band in seventh grade, and within a year was listening exclusively to big band and bebop music from the ’40s and ’50s. Like all jazz artists, Paulus says he became
32 MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA SHOWCASE

father and son

powerful, edgy, lush

What eventually evolved was TimePiece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra, a 30-minute, four-movement composition that combines elements of jazz, electronics and classical techniques. Stephen Paulus offers these comments:

rain (all day). “The title of the opening movement comes
from an electronic track of ‘house music’ by the duo No Regular Play (Greg and his colleague Nick DeBruyn). This serves as a powerful introduction. The movement opens with pre-recorded sounds of the street—cars, rain, wind, etc. We then hear a series of repeated, computer-generated chords, which are gradually subsumed by the orchestra. In a sense, this movement is like a harmonic version of Boléro in that it begins quietly and grows in intensity, culminating in the final hammering chords.”

All materials copyright © 2011 by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra

Program Notes

sept 29, 30, oct 1

everything happens to me. “The second movement
begins with the orchestra laying the groundwork for some lyrical, nostalgic, wistful solo work from the jazz soloists. The title comes from the eponymous 1940 song (lyrics by Thomas Adair, music by Matt Dennis) written for Frank Sinatra to be sung with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. This allows for some real melodic stretching and the opportunity for all the soloists to explore their creativity within an orchestral setting.”

John Adams
Born: February 15, 1947, Worcester, Massachusetts; now living in Berkeley, California

anxiety’s edge. “The next movement is meant to be just
that—an ‘edgy’ scherzo that propels itself relentlessly.  Conductor Osmo Vänskä takes up the clarinet to introduce this movement in an improvisatory duo with drummer JT Bates. Osmo’s notes are written out, but only as a suggestion, as a point of departure. I’ve indicated that the two of them should ‘get into it’ and feel free to go ‘off book.’ The movement comes to a loud, frenetic and dramatic close.”

Fearful Symmetries
ohn Adams is one of the biggest success stories in classical music of our time, a success that derives not just from critical acclaim, but from the fact that he gives lie to the notion that contemporary music must necessarily be abstruse, inaccessible and unintelligible to all but specialists. Rhythmic vitality, colorful instrumental writing, tonal harmonic orientation, intriguing conceptual premises and an ability to tap deeply into a vein of the American psyche all contribute to the public’s eager acceptance of his music, bringing him a measure of popular success unsurpassed and scarcely equaled within living memory for a strictly “classical” composer.

j

a night at the cosmos. “The final movement is a slight nod
to the jazz standard A Night in Tunisia. It opens with violins, violas, tam-tam and a solo cello in a quiet and spare use of harmonic materials. This gives way to lush harmonies in the strings and solo work from the jazz ensemble.” 
Instrumentation: soloists on trumpet, alto saxophone, keyboards, bass and drums, with orchestra comprising 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, xylophone, crotales, 2 sets of 4 tom-toms, tambourine, bass drum, high and low woodblocks, small, medium and large suspended cymbals, 5 temple blocks, large tam-tam, snare drum, brake drum, bell tree, metal wind chimes, maracas, hi-hat cymbal, chimes, harp and strings

‘entertain and amuse’

R. M.

Fearful Symmetries was first performed on October 29, 1988, by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, with the composer conducting. A comment by Adams in the annotations for the Nonesuch recording gives a clue to its emotional undercurrent: “I think one problem of 20th-century music is that composers feel they have to be serious, unforgiving and grim. We have lost the kind of composer who is able to use his or her art not only to elevate, but to entertain and amuse as well.” Entertain and amuse Fearful Symmetries certainly does. Musical jokes of every description abound, including shameless incorporation of idioms from the blues and the dance band, quirky syncopations, wrenching harmonic sidesteps (the musical equivalent of slipping on a banana peel, or, as Adams puts it, “like shifting without a clutch”) and unexpected timbres like those of a quartet of saxophones, a synthesizer and a keyboard sampler. Despite the title, there is really nothing fearful about Fearful Symmetries. The name. which comes from William Blake’s poem “The Tyger,” occurred to Adams only after he had been working on the piece: “I realized that the harmonic phrase structures were falling into almost maddeningly symmetrical
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011 MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA 33

All materials copyright © 2011 by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra

sept 29, 30, oct 1

Program Notes

patterns, and so the Blake phrase sprang to mind.” Still, there is nothing four-square, predictable or conventional about Fearful Symmetries. It unfolds in a succession of endlessly fascinating episodes, each somewhat different from its predecessor in terms of orchestration, rhythmic underlay, textural fabric and mood. These episodes evolve and interact with each other in a continuously changing panorama of high spirits and pulsating exuberance. “Out of control glandular boogie-woogie,” “a glorious orchestral romp,” “very unzipped” and “a captivating, if outrageous work”—these are only a few of the epithets that have been aimed at Fearful Symmetries. Sarah Cahill’s imaginatively visual description in her Nonesuch annotation probably cannot be bettered: “With its enormous momentum, the playful whirring of large cogs turning smaller ones, the occasional brassy blurt of a trumpet or rude timpani thump, Fearful Symmetries brings to mind the excessively complex and comical machine inventions of Dr. Seuss or Rube Goldberg, or the hilarious kinetic sculptures of Jean Tinguely: each tiny and apparently purposeless mechanism hooked up to another to form a massive, grinding, sputtering creation as riveting as it is undignified.”
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (both doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (1 doubling English horn), 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, soprano saxophone, 2 alto saxophones, baritone saxophone, 2 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, piano, synthesizer, keyboard sampler and strings

in 1928. In Rubinstein’s choreography, a young woman in gypsy dress mounts a table in a smoky tavern and begins to dance. Men surround the table and begin to pound out the bolero rhythm as her dance grows in excitement. The climax brings an explosion—knives are drawn—but trouble is avoided and everyone vanishes with the last chord. So exciting was the premiere in Paris on November 22, 1928, that the audience rushed the stage and Rubinstein herself barely escaped injury in the resulting tumult. Originally, a bolero was a moderately-paced Spanish dance in triple-time in which the dancers sang and accompanied themselves with castanets. Ravel excludes the sound of voices and begins with the simplest of openings: a snare drum lays out the two-measure rhythmic pattern that will repeat throughout Boléro. Solo flute plays the languorous main idea, a lilting, winding melody that is repeated and extended by other wind instruments. And then Ravel simply repeats this material, subtly varying its orchestration as it gradually grows louder. The music is full of striking effects that make use of uncommon instruments (two kinds of saxophone, E-flat clarinet and oboe d’amore) or set instruments in unusual registers. At the close, he makes one harmonic adjustment, shifting from C major to E-flat major, and in this context even so simple a modulation seems a cataclysmic event. Grinding dissonances drive Boléro to a thunderous close on a great rush of sound. Even before its use in the movie 10, Ravel’s Boléro was one of the most famous works ever written for orchestra, familiar to millions around the world and a favorite even with those who claim to dislike classical music. Yet this dazzling piece is remarkable for the utter simplicity of its material. Ravel himself described it as “seventeen minutes of orchestra without any music” and said that it was “one very long, gradual crescendo.” But it is the “non-musical” materials—the hypnotic rhythms, subtle shifts of instrumental color, avoidance of any kind of development, cumulative expressive power—that make Boléro such an exciting experience.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (both doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (1 doubling oboe d’amore), English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, E-flat clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, cymbals, 2 snare drums, tamtam, bass drum, harp, celeste and strings

R. M.

Maurice Ravel
Born: March 7, 1875, Ciboure, Basses-Pyrénées Died: December 28, 1937, Paris

t
34

Boléro
hough it is most often heard today in the concert hall, Ravel’s Boléro began life as a ballet—the dancer Ida Rubinstein asked the composer for a ballet with a Spanish atmosphere, and he wrote this score for her
SHOWCASE

Program note by Eric Bromberger.

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA

All materials copyright © 2011 by the Minnesota Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra