Vic Hoyland

Programme notes

Essex-Xingu souvenir programme page 13

By Stephan de Haan (1979)

Overture to the Opera Fidelio, Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 — 1827)

Fidelio is Beethoven's only opera. He always had a passion for the theatre and wanted to compose other works for the stage, but his continuous search for another suitable text remained unsuccessful. The libretto of Fidelio is was based on Bouilly’s Leonore and adapted by Sonnleitner and Treitschke. The subject, freedom and the fight against tyranny, was inspired by the French Revolution and thus close to Beethoven's heart, but the text was far from perfect, and before Beethoven completed the final version of Fidelio, considerable alterations had to be made, some of them due to the intervention of the Imperial censor in Vienna who objected to the political implications of the story. The first performance of the opera Leonore in 1805 was not successful, nor that of the revised version in 1806, and the final version was played to empty houses in 1814 because Napoleon had entered Vienna a few days earlier. By that time the opera had been renamed Fidelio. The opening scene was now in A major and the long overtures in C major, composed for the earlier opera Leonore were replaced by a shorter one in E major which incorporated no themes from the opera. This overture begins with four fast bars and an Adagio. The first four bars are repeated in another key and the Adagio is then extended and leads to the main Allegro, heralded by a well known (and difficult) solo played by the second horn.

Concerto for Flute, Oboe and Orchestra, Antonio Salieri (1760 —1825), arr. Wojciechowski

Antonio Salieri received instruction in music at a very early age and as a result of the early death of his parents, he went as a pupil to the Choir school of St. Mark's, Venice in 1765. He then travelled to Vienna to continue his work where in 1774 he was appointed Kapellmeister to the Italian Opera.

In 1788 he took over the position as director of the Vienna Court Opera and after that acted solely as Kapellmeister of the Court Singing School, where Beethoven and Schubert were numbered amongst his pupils.

The present edition of this concerto, being also the first publication of this work, has as its source the original autograph in the Vienna National Library which specifies the instrumentation as used in today's concert. Copies of the score, which have been all that have been available in the past, showed an altered instrumentation, in particular replacing the trumpets with oboes.

Three Dances from the ballet The Three Cornered Hat, Manuel de Falla (1876 — 1946)

  • The Neighbours' Dance
  • The Miller's Dance
  • The Final Dance

Manuel de Falla has done more than any other composer to raise the music of Spain from a national to an international level. The number of his compositions, at any rate of those widely known, is small, but he achieved a popularity with them which is rare among composers of the early twentieth century. We can assume that by leaving Spain and moving to Paris he broadened his outlook and increased the vocabulary of his musical idiom. He certainly made friends with Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky who influenced him in many ways, and in particular as regards the transparency of his instrumental texture.

The Three Cornered Hat was originally a mimed comedy with music. De Falla revised the score and increased the orchestration for the ballet of the same name, written for the Russian Impresario Diaghilev. In this revised version The Three Cornered Hat was first performed in 1919 at the Alhambra Theatre in London. The decor was by Picasso. The plot is based on a story by Pedro Alarcon in which the Corregidor or mayor makes amorous advances to the miller's daughter. She leads him a dance in more ways than one and finally ridicules him. The three dances from the ballet evoke the life in a Spanish village and vividly characterize the male protagonists.