October 3, 2018 Concert Notes

Baroque Battles

October 3, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Rockhurst High School – Rose Theatre

9301 State Line Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114

Concert Program

Don Quixote Suite, Telemann
Irish Tune (Danny Boy), Grainger
Battalia, Biber
Sabre Dance, Khachaturian
What’s Going On, Gaye

Concert Program Notes


Overture and Burlesque of Don Quixote

G.F. Telemann 1681-1767
Cervantes book 1605, 1615

Telemann writes an orchestra suite in normal Baroque style only the dances are programmatic, meaning they tell a story. A musical suite is a set of dance music usually starting with an opening Overture or Prelude. So, this title is simply an overture and the burlesque, a show or story. Cervantes’ book is often considered the first great novel or certainly the first great comic novel. He is making fun of chivalry, Royalty, and Lords and Ladies as he points out they truly just regular people. Quixote turns the innkeeper into a prince of a castle so he can Knighted, he turns the servant girls into princesses and ladies. Cervantes mocks the HIGH-Born. Cervantes lost the use of one hand in the war, spent time in prison and for a time was a slave.

Overture; French Overture style
In three sections Slow-Fast-Slow. The slower sections are dominated by long and shorter notes. Musicians called these dotted rhythms. The middle faster section is a fugue. This is sort of a musical chase. One melody starts in the violins and the reoccurs in the violas, cellos, and basses in an orderly fashion. The return of the slow section is familiar material like the beginning.

Don Quixote Awakens (Sarabande)
Quixote awakes from his dream of being a chivalrous knight on a quest for adventure and romance.

The Attack on the Windmills (Fast Dance)
In his rag-tag armor, make-shift helmet and lance he attacks his imagined foes.

Pining for the princess Dulcinea (Minuet)
These are Quixote’s sighs for his perfect but fictional woman. He imagines a local peasant woman as his princess. You can hear the musical sighs in the in the first violins.
Dulcinea has the perfect hair, skin, figure, eyes, clothing, and personality. She is not real.

Sancho Panza (Gavotte)
Sancho is Quixote’s man-servant or sidekick. Here he is mocked by the villagers. Sancho Panza is where the concept of the sidekick comes from. Examples from TV; Lucy and Ethel, Andy and Barney, The Lone Ranger and Tanto.

The Galloping of Rocinante and Sancho Panza’s donkey (Gigues’ 1 and 2)
Rocinante, the horse is old, is past his prime just like Quixote. The second gavotte represents the starts and stops of Sancho’s unruly donkey. The jig or Gigue is a dance in a 3 beat and is often used hunting scenes and horse gallops in music.

The Sleep of Don Quixote (Bouree)
This jaunty music ends softly as Quixote sleeps. Our burlesque is over.


Irish Tune from County Derry (Danny Boy)

Arranged by Percy Grainger 1913

This is the famous melody known as Danny Boy. The melody is very ancient and comes from the Irish area called County Derry. The words we know date from 1912 written by a British poet who had originally written the for another song. 1912 is the dawn before WW1 and the words are often seen as anti-war related to a parent sending Danny off to war.


Battalia (1673)

Heinrich Biber 1644-1704 Bohemian (Czech Republic)
Dedicated to Bacchus, the wine and party god.

Battalia is a war or battle story. Battalia is a unique and unusual piece

Coffee comes to Europe via a war between the Viennese and the Turks. The Viennese could smell it being brewed across the enemy lines. Once they capture some Turkish prisoners they get coffee and the rest is history. A war in the past was close, you could smell and hear your enemy. This is important in understanding Battalia.

Movement 1 Presto.
This is a Fanfare, a call to battle and the troupes. Drums and brass fanfares. Special string playing effects include Col Legno (with the wood of the bow)

Movement 2 Allegro
“The Lusty Society of all types of Humor” Eight different ethnic groups of soldiers from adjacent camps sing their song. This movement is wild and dissonant.

Movement 3 Presto
Camp activities, the music is only 7 measures with a repeat. Seven is a very ODD number in music, also unusual is the left-hand pizzicatos in the violins.

Movement 4 March
This is a march to war with fife and drum. Violin and Double Bass are the soloists. The violin imitates a fife and the bass fixes his strings to sound like a snare drum.

Movement 5 Presto -Minuet
As the soldiers go off to war the aristocrats have a courtly dance. This seems to be a bit of irony, soldiers and slaves do not dance the minuet.

Movement 6 Aria
The soldiers pray and sing before battle. The is no cello or bass in this movement. The violins and violas are divided up by four, each with very independent melodies or thoughts.

Movement 7 The Battle
Fast and ferocious, the cellos and basses pluck notes to sound like gunshots

Movement 8. Lamento Adagio
“The Lament of the Wounded” This movement is very chromatic and dissonant for music at this time period in music. It all very somber as the wounded in war are often forgotten. Battlia ends softly.


Saber Dance

Aram Khachaturian 1903-1978 Soviet-Armenian
From the Ballet Gayane 1942

For a while, he fit in with Soviets, but in 1948 he was on the outs.


What’s Going On 1971

Marvin Gaye (1939-1984)

Berry Gordy created Motown starting in the late 1950’s. The term Motown comes from Detroit being the car manufacturing center of America. During the 1960’s Motown introduced stars like the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, The Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye. Stevie Wonder was discovered on his front porch at age 11 playing bongos, harmonica and signing. Gordy was non-political and was not really into the civil rights movement. He had donated money or music to both democrats and republicans. He hired family, whites, and blacks in the office and talent staff. Black or white did not matter to him, talent and “Green” meaning making money were most important.

Marvin Gaye was a very sensitive person and socially aware of the of all issues of the times. As the Vietnam war protests and civil rights protests raged he wanted his music to reflect this. He talked to Gordy about making a more relevant album. Gordy did not want this, he did not think it would make money and it would hurt the Motown brand. Marvin stayed after him and around 1971 Gordy agreed. “What’s Going On” went on to a huge hit and one of the most significant songs from the time period.

Marvin had a lot of personal issues and he was shot by his own father at age 44 in 1984.

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