September 9, 2023 Program Notes

Featured Countries Composers


Variations on a Korean Folk Song (1965) (arr. Longfield) John Barnes Chance (1932-1972)

Originally written for concert band by American composer, John Barnes Chance, it was inspired by a traditional Korean folk song, known as “Arirang“. Chance heard the tune while serving in South Korea with the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict in the late 1950s. The orchestral arrangement of this work was set by Robert Longfield in 2006.


Procession of the Nobles from Mlada (1890) Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Composed as a feature from the Russian opera-ballet, Mlada, in four acts. The composer, Rimsky-Korsakov, was one person of what was known as the “Russian Five”. The “Russian Five” were Russian nationalist composers that included: Mili Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, Cesar Cui, and Alexander Bordin. They collaborated on various musical works in St. Petersburg, Russia. Each of these composers celebrated and championed the cause of traditional Russian musical texture throughout their careers, Russian music by and for the Russian people. Their music spanned the time-period of Russian czars of the 19th century and the early 20th century.  The last “Emperor of Russia”, Czar Nicholas II, reigned from 1894-1917, with the fall of the Russian imperial system, to the communist governmental system. 


Eroica Overture (2001) Marius Herea

(United States premiere)                                                                                                                   

The inspiration for this composition came from one of the most disastrous events in the history of the United States. On September 11, 2001, terrorists boarded three American airliners. These flights were hijacked, with catastrophic results in New York City, NY, Arlington, VA, and Shanksville, PA. Upon viewing these attacks via news media, music composer, Marius Herea, began composing this work almost immediately. Its musical inspiration drew from the National Anthem of the United States of America.

Words of the composer: “In 2001, after the September 11 tragedy when seeing the news, I found myself under complete shock. So many lives lost…And I thought that it was just the beginning of an extended tragedy of humankind. So, hearing the U. S. anthem, I felt the urge to do something with it, to write something grand instead of letting myself be dominated by black thoughts. This urge gave me imaginary wings. Some morning after that, I needed to walk so I went out. I reached a market and bought apples from some lady when suddenly the anthem started to develop in my head. I paid for the apples and I forgot to take the apples. I found myself possessed by some music that was trying to come to life through me. The lady called me back and gave me the apples. I took them like a robot and left wishing to arrive home as soon as possible. On my way back home, the music kept growing in my head. I had no pen and no music paper with me, therefore I had to let it play in my head again so that I would not forget any detail. When I reached some park, I felt as if I was carrying the whole orchestra on my back. I heard trombones playing the main theme, the trumpets responding…My head had become a kind of a battlefield. The music was unfolding there by itself with more and more strength and authority. At some point, I felt exhausted. I had no more energy and I almost fainted. I got scared so I leaned over a tree while I was repeating in my mind: ‘Must I die for this stupid music? Stop this stupid music! Stop it at once!’ I was suggesting to myself that the music was no good because I felt as if I were its prisoner and I needed to get my freedom back and overcome that scary, dramatic moment. Thanks to that induced thought, I managed to get better for a moment, so I went on walking until I finally reached home. Once I arrived at my desk, I sketched all that as fast as I could and then I abandoned myself in bed like a convalescent. The following day, I overtook the sketches and started to work on my Eroica Overture”.

With this concert being played on September 9, 2023, this is a remembrance of the fallen for the cause of freedom that took place on American soil in 2001. Herea originally hails from Romania, but later migrated to Canada.


Hungarian Dance No. 5 (1869) Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Composer, Johannes Brahms, wrote the 21 lively Hungarian dances, in 1879. The orchestra is playing No. 5 on our program today. Brahms originally wrote the Hungarian dances for piano four-hands, to be performed on one piano. This dance is in a gypsy-style.


Blue Danube Waltz (1866) Johann Strauss, II (1825-1899)

The original title of this work was “An der schönen blauen Donau”, translated from German as “By the Beautiful Blue Danube”. It was composed in 1866. It is considered one of the most consistently popular pieces in classical music. It is comprised of five distinct waltzes.    


Bolero (1928) Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Although Ravel was a French impressionist music composer, this composition has as its origin, a Spanish dance form, called a bolero. The world premiere performance of this work took place in Paris in 1928. It is considered by many as Ravel’s most famous work. An incessant percussion accompaniment by percussion instruments continues throughout the composition. Solo instruments from the orchestra feature: flute, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, trumpet, various saxophones, French horn, piccolo, celeste, English horn, and trombone. The American premiere took place in 1929, performed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Arturo Toscanini.     


Selections from Irish Suite (1947/1949) (arr. Wagner) Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)

This rendition of Anderson’s original work was inspired by several traditional Irish tunes including: The Irish Washerwoman, Minstrel Boy, and The Rakes of Mallow. Anderson ethnic roots have him descended from Swedish parents, although several of his musical compositions were inspired from various ethnic backgrounds. His compositions were featured with the Boston Pops Orchestra, during his lifetime, from the decades of the 1930s through the 1970s. He is considered by some as an American master of light orchestral music. His works continue to be played in the 21st century.


El Condor Pasa (1913) Daniel Alomia Robles (1871-1942)

Robles, a composer from Peru, was a champion of various traditional musical forms from the Andes Mountains of South America. This musical fragment of Robles’s work, was eventually performed in the 1960s, believed them to be a traditional piece of South American folk song. American popular musician, Paul Simon, heard it and recorded a duet on an album with Art Garfunkel, entitling the piece “If I Could”. “The recording was produced without giving credit to Robles, which resulted in one of the most famous lawsuits in music history. The case was finally resolved in 1970 in favor of its author” (Marino Martinez E., Director of Research, FILARMONIKA LLC).


Selections from West Side Story (1957) (arr. Mason) Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

West Side Story is an American Broadway musical, with the music composed by American composer, Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein served as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 1958-1969. The storyline of West Side Story is a 20th century depiction of forbidden love, between Tony and Maria, with roots in the street gangs of the Sharks and the Jets of New York. West Side Story is a musical adaptation of the original literary work, Romeo and Juliet, by English writer, William Shakespeare.

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Thank you for coming to our free concert. Voluntary contributions are accepted at the doors, as you exit this evening.

SDG – Soli Deo Gloria (Maestro Nordan’s motto)