Fresno State’s Department of Music will present its annual faculty concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, in the Concert Hall. This year’s concert will include a symphony orchestra comprising faculty members as principal players alongside selected students.
Faculty orchestra and vocalists participating (in alphabetical order) are: Rachel Aldrich, Teresa Beaman, Maria Briggs, Michael Chang, Brigid De Jong, Cari Earnhart, Andrew Quiring, Matthew Darling, Larry Gardner, Richard Giddens Jr., Thomas Hiebert, Ed Hull, Thomas Loewenheim, Aaron Marcus Luna, Anthony Radford, Nathan Sobieralski, Limor Toren-Immerman and Andreas Werz.
The concert serves as the Department of Music’s annual gala and is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities. All proceeds go to the Department of Music Scholarship fund.
The concert will include Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture,” music composition professor Dr. Kenneth Froelich’s “Jefferson Rising” and the sextet from Mozart’s opera “Cosi fan tutte” featuring Fresno State voice faculty and two students. The orchestra will close the concert with Gliere’s “The Red Poppy Suite.”
Known as the greatest Czech nationalist composer of the late 19th and early 20th century, Antonín Dvorak wrote the ”Carnival Overture” after the completion of his eighth symphony and requiem. The ”Carnival Overture,” which was inspired by the dance rhythms and folk music of his native Bohemia, is the center of three overtures written on the themes of “nature, life and love.”
Froelich’s “Jefferson Rising” was composed as an unofficial overture to his opera “Jefferson,” which will be completed in fall 2018. Elements of big-band jazz, classic bluegrass, military fanfare and folk music are all woven together to create a tapestry of musical styles that represent both the time and the region.
Operatic-like themes are interspersed throughout the piece, composed in a style similar to the arias found in the opera. Sonic elements, such as drums muted with towels, violins performed fiddle-style and piano strings hit with mallets, are all used to further establish a folk-like sound not typically found in a standard orchestra.
Mozart’s beloved comedy, “Così fan tutte,” (‘Thus do they all), is a probing look into romantic relationships. Briggs, De Jong, Earnhart and Radford will be joined by students Christian Cabral and Lim Forgey for the exiting sextet from one of Mozart’s most loved operas.
Reinhold Glière was best known for his interest in folk music, his considerable teaching abilities and his conservative musical taste, which appealed to the Soviet officials. His ballet, “The Red Poppy,” is one of his most memorable works, taking place in a Chinese seaport in the 1920s.
One night while dancing for the sailors aboard the ship, the beautiful Taohua notices the Soviet captain trying to rescue the coolies from the harbormaster. Impressed by the captain’s act of kindness, she gives him a red poppy as a symbol of her love. She is later killed when a riot breaks out on the dock, thus sacrificing her life for the captain. As she dies, she gives another red poppy flower to a young Chinese girl as a sign of love and freedom.
The suite begins in rattling fashion with “Heroic Coolie Dance” in the style of Chinese music, followed by the setting out of the young couple’s love for each other, during which the opening bars of “The Internationale” are heard to emphasize the music’s revolutionary credentials. The suite ends with the famous “Russian Sailor’s Dance,” a series of increasingly frenetic variations that end with the powerful orchestral climax.
Tickets are $20 general, $15 for seniors and Fresno State employees and $10 for students.