John Williams (1932-)
Tonight's Composers
Program notes: December 13, 2014

Program notes for tonight’s concert are abstracted from the following sources:,,
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Dry Your Tears, Afrika (John Williams; vocal adaptation by Audrey Snyder; orchestral adaptation by Paul Lavender) was the centerpiece of a movie soundtrack for the 1997 Academy Award nominated film “AMISTAD”. The movie is an historical drama based on the 1839 uprising by newly abducted Mende tribesmen who took control of the slave ship La Amistad off the coast of Cuba. The capture of La Amistad by the United States resulted in legal battles that reached the Supreme Court in 1841. At the Supreme Court, John Quincy Adams passionately defended the Africans and convinced the court to return them to Africa. “Dry Your Tears, Afrika” uses sound and rhythm (including a slapping metallic sound unique to this score) to represent the slave’s story. The American story is represented by ideas for trumpet and French horn. Williams links the African and American themes together symbolizing the eventual and inevitable merging of cultures. The 1967 poem "Dry Your Tears, Afrika" by Bernard Dadie adds an upbeat feel, although the Mende slaves would undergo years of hardship.
Masters in This Hall (arranged by Mark Hayes) and alternatively known as "Nowell, Sing We Clear" is a carol with lyrics written around 1860 by William Morris to a melody from the 1706 opera Alcyone by Marin Marais. The words describe a poor man (represented by his rural dialect) who draws his master's attention to Christ’s birth by describing how he met shepherds travelling to Bethlehem. After joining the travelers, he saw the Christ child in his mother's arms. "Masters in This Hall" has a sixteenth-century feel that looks back to a simpler society and that illustrates Morris' own romanticism. The lyrics also contain elements of Morris’ socialist beliefs as shown by the poor bringing news of Christ's birth to the "Masters in this Hall" along with a warning to the proud.
Nella Fantasia (Ennio Morricone with lyrics by Chiara Ferraù) is a song produced by Sara Brightman. The theme is based on Morricone’s “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the 1986 film “The Mission”. The Italian lyrics translate as:

    In my fantasy I see a just world,
    Where everyone lives in peace and honesty.
    I dream of souls that are always free,
    Like clouds that float,
    Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

    In my fantasy I see a bright world
    Where each night there is less darkness.
    I dream of souls that are always free,
    Like clouds that float.
    Full of humanity.
O Holy Night (arranged by René Clausen) is a well-known carol by Adolphe Adam (a French composer and music critic), who in 1847 composed music for the French poem "Minuit, Chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau. According to Cappeau, "Minuit Chrétiens" was written between the towns of Mâcon and Dijon while travelling to Paris. Adolphe Adam called his music "la Marseillaise Religieuse" (The religious Marseillaise) reflecting Cappeau’s republican, secular, and even somewhat socialist views.
Pacem Noel (arranged by Larry Clark) combines the popular canon “Dona Nobis Pacem” (Give us Peace) with “The First Noel”. “Pacem Noel” also contains a short quote from “Angels We Have Heard on High” in the low brass in its final measures. Most hymnals list Pacem’s melody as "traditional", but some scholars attribute it to Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, or even to Mozart. “The First Noel” is an 18th century traditional classical English carol based on a much older folk melody. The melody is unusual in that it consists of one musical phrase repeated twice, followed by a refrain which is a variation of that phrase. All three phrases end on the third of the scale. “Noel” was first published in “Carols Ancient and Modern” (1823) and in Gilbert and Sandys “Carols” (1833). Today, it is usually performed in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer from his 1871 “Carols, New and Old”.
Marin Marais (1656-1728)
In my fantasy exists a warm wind,
That breathes into the city, like a friend.
I dream of souls that are always free,
Like clouds that float,
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

Season’s Greetings (James Christensen) offers a simple, but very happy melody in the strings and woodwinds and a “refrain” of cascading “bell” sounds in the brass. Chimes and bells in the percussion add to the mood. Season’ Greetings admirably fulfills its task of seasonal cheer all around.
White Christmas (Irving Berlin; scored for orchestra by Robert R. Bennett) was written in about 1940 and first publically performed by Bing Crosby in 1941. It became one of 12 songs included in 1942's “Holiday Inn”, a movie in which Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby were the leads. “White Christmas” earned Berlin an Academy Award in 1942. This orchestration is by Robert Russell Bennett who between 1920 and 1975, worked with Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and Frederick Loewe on more than 300 shows. In addition to his commercial work, Bennett completed nearly 200 original works including symphonies, operas, chamber music, and choral music.
Tis the season for the medley: In addition to BSA’s traditional “sing-a-long”, during which everyone gets to sing a verse or two of some holiday favorites, the medleys in tonight’s show include:
Carol of the Bells (M. Leontovich; P. Wilhouski: arranged by Richard Hayman) (as conceived and featured by Shari Lewis) is a popular Christmas carol composed in 1904 and based on an Ukrainian folk chant that originally celebrated the “new year” in what is now April. The original lyrics were replaced by Wilhousky to Americanize them and fit them to the holiday season. This medley includes quotes from: “We Three Kings”, “What Child is This”, “Silent Night”, and “Joy to the World”. Shari Lewis was a 1960s-1970s children’s-television entertainer known mostly as a ventriloquist and puppeteer. Her best known character was the sock puppet “Lamb Chop”. Richard Hayman was the principal arranger at the Boston Pops Orchestra for more than 30 years. Known for his sequined jackets, harmonica solos, and corny jokes he became the orchestra’s principal Pops Conductor in 1976.
Christmas Favorites (arranged by Bruce Chase) includes: “It’s Beginning to look like Christmas”, “Silver Bells”, and “The Christmas Song”. Bruce Chase was an American composer; music arranger; and a second violinist for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. During the 30 years he was with the orchestra he became its principal arranger and Pops Concert Conductor.
Christmas Fugue on “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (Robert B. Brown): includes a quote of “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” in its final measures.
Christmas Memories (arranged by Bruce Chase) includes arrangements of: “Frosty the Snowman”, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”, “Here Comes Santa Claus”, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.
A European Christmas Festival (setting by William E. Rhoads) includes arrangements of: “Blest Be Maid Marie” (English), “Touro” (French); “Star O'er Bethlehem” (Poland); “While by Sheep” (German), “We Have Heard in Bethlehem” (Czechoslovakian), and “The Golden Carol” (English). William E. Rhoads has written nearly 100 works for band, orchestra, and wind ensemble as well as pedagogical works for clarinet. Some his classical arrangements for wind band include “Variations on America” by Charles Ives, the “Scherzo” of Charles Marie Widor, and “Three Spanish Ladies” by Francisco Tárrega.
Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
Adolphe Adam (1803-1856)
Ennio Morricone (1928-)
Larry Clark (1963-)

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