PERFORMANCES & TICKETS


Britt Orchestra / Mahler's "Resurrection"

Saturday, August 13, 8 p.m.

PROGRAM

MAHLER: Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection"

TICKETS ON SALE 2-12-16 at 9 a.m.: Reserved $47 | Lawn $32 | Child/Student Lawn $10 
GATES OPEN: @ 5:45 Early Entry | 6:00 General Public

Britt Orchestra

“’What is life and what is death? Will we live on eternally? Is it all an empty dream or do our life and death have a meaning?’ And we must answer this question, if we are to go on living.” —from Mahler’s own program notes, for a 1901 performance of his Symphony No. 2, (Resurrection).

Mahler’s expansive, dramatic, and sublime work showcases some of the composer’s most lyrical symphonic writing. The five-movement symphony reflects his lifelong view of the beauty of afterlife and resurrection. The Britt performance will feature soloists Celena Shafer, soprano, who last performed at Britt during Carmina Burana in 2015; Tamara Mumford, mezzo-soprano; and members of the Rogue Valley Chorale and Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, under the direction of Chorus Master Dr. Paul French.

Unless otherwise noted, program notes are written by Mark Knippel.

Gustav Mahler
Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Auferstehung (Resurrection)
(world premiere; Britt co-commissioned this work with the Louisville Orchestra)

Composer: born July 7, 1860; died May 18, 1911

I.     Allegro maestoso. Mit durchaus ernstem und feierlichem Ausdruck (with serious and solemn expression throughout)
II.    Andante moderato. Sehr gemaechlich. Nie eilen (very comfortable, never rushing)
III.   In ruhig fliessender Bewegung (in peacefully flowing motion)
IV.   Urlicht. Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht (Primal light. Very solemn but simple)
V.    Im Tempo des Scherzos. Wild herausfahrend (In the tempo of the scherzo, wildly driving forward)

Instrumentation: four flutes (all doubling piccolo), four oboes (two doubling English horn), four clarinets (one doubling bass clarinet and another doubling E-flat clarinet) plus E-flat clarinet, four bassoons (two doubling contrabassoon), nine horns, nine trumpets, four trombones, tuba, timpani (two players), cymbals, triangle, military drum, orchestra bells, chimes, bass drums, tam-tams, two harps, organ, and strings, plus soprano and mezzo-soprano soloists and a mixed chorus; an offstage band comprising four trumpets, bass drum with cymbals attached, and additional triangle; another off-stage band consisting of four horns and additional timpani.

NOTES
“What is life and what is death? Will we live on eternally? Is it all an empty dream or do our life and death have a meaning?” Such are the questions at play in Mahler’s Second Symphony, a monumental work of art that really has no equal in the whole of Western music. Obviously, answering such questions is no small task, but if ever there were a composer up for the challenge, Mahler would be the one. He enjoyed a lifelong fascination with existentialism and the meaning of life and death, probing many different religious and philosophical schools of thought to wrestle with these ultimate of questions. His music served as an expression of his musings therein, not so much as direct responses to the questions.

All that said, Mahler did not ascribe the “Resurrection” subtitle to his Symphony No. 2, nor did he think of his narrative in purely religious terms. Though he did provide program notes on three separate occasions for the work, he did not think that any program he could devise for it would be of much use to an audience. In a letter to his wife, Alma, he stated:

“It gives only a superficial indication, all that any program can do for a musical work, let alone this one, which is so much all of a piece that it can no more be explained than the world itself. — I’m quite sure that if God were asked to draw up a program of the world he created he could never do it. — At best it would be a ‘revelation’ that would say as little about the nature of God and life as my analysis says about my C-minor Symphony.”

Known more as a conductor than a composer during his lifetime, many of Mahler’s compositions (including his First Symphony) fell on unappreciative ears at their debuts. Starting in 1880, he held various director positions in Ljubljana, Olomouc, Kassel, Prague, Leipzig, and Budapest, with each lending more notoriety to his conducting abilities. He found time to compose in his free time, which increased in frequency as his conducting career provided more and more financial security. By 1888, following the unsuccessful premiere of his First Symphony, Mahler had embarked in earnest on a new symphony. He completed a 20-minute first movement, and named it “Todtenfeier” (Funeral Rites). Some speculate that, given the sprawling nature of this movement, Mahler considered publishing it as a single movement tone poem. He was working on other movements for a new symphony at the time as well, but it isn’t entirely clear if he initially intended Todtenfeier as part of the symphony, or if it became the first movement as a matter of convenience. Clearly, he was already wrestling with the questions previously discussed here, and perhaps the completion of Todtenfeier, which ends in a rather dreary fashion, didn’t provide answers that were satisfying to Mahler’s probing, thus necessitating further musical exploration through an entire symphony.

The remaining movements of the symphony were composed over the course of the next sixyears. While the outer two movements (1 and 5) serve to drive the “resurrection” narrative of the symphony, the inner movements of this work serve more as intermezzi, in particular movements 2 and 3. We hear clear First Viennese School influences at the outset of the second movement, which Mahler described as “A blissful moment in the dear departed’s life and a sad recollection of his youth and lost innocence.” On the whole, the second movement’s character maintains the nostalgic, pensive mood of the beginning, with only occasional reminders of the gravity of the subject matter at hand.

The third movement is based on a song for voice and piano Mahler composed in 1893, while he was still busy with the bulk of the Second Symphony. Throughout his life, Mahler would return time and again to Des Knaben Wunderhorn (“the boy’s magic horn”), a set of German folk songs and poems, as a source for text and inspiration in his music. For this song, Mahler used parts of the Wunderhorn poem “Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt” (“St. Anthony of Padua’s Sermon to the Fishes” — a sermon given due to lack of human congregants, and a fitting image in this context). The constant motion in the strings and winds give a sense of the ceaseless stream that is life, and the futility of fighting against that stream. The movement builds toward a climax that seems to depict the utter frustration of this struggle, ultimately leading to what many have dubbed the “Death Shriek,” a huge orchestral outburst which you will almost certainly recognize without any further description.

Once again drawing from a Wunderhorn poem, the fourth movement is an actual song for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, based on the poem “Urlicht” (Primal Light). The form in more or less ternary (ABA), with a brief introduction over the words “O little red rose.” The mood turns somber here, as the song describes an angel appearing in a moment of great despair (“Man lies in greatest need! Man lies in greatest pain! Even more would I rather be in heaven!”) The angel reminds us that even in the darkest of desperate moments, “The loving God will give me a little of the light, will illuminate me into the eternal blessed life!” Ultimately, this movement seems to serve as a turning point from despair to hope in the overall narrative. It also introduces the voice as an instrument in the performing forces, giving the listener a small preview of the many voices to come.

Whereas the first movement posed these questions of life, death, and the nature of reality, the fifth and final movement attempts to actually respond to them, and respond it does! The movement opens again with the famed “Death Shriek,” and winds its way through a sonata form that is better understood as a two-part form: one that is purely instrumental, and one that includes the solo voices and chorus. These two parts are interrupted by an image of the Apocalypse, with offstage trumpets and horns signaling what may be the end. Mahler states the rest better that I can, in notes he prepared for a 1901 performance:

In the eerie silence that follows, we can just barely make out a distant nightingale, a last tremulous echo of earthly life. The gentle sound of a chorus of saints and heavenly hosts is then heard: “Rise again, yes, rise again thou wilt!” Then God in all His glory comes into sight. A wondrous light strikes us to the heart. All is quiet and blissful. Lo and behold: there is no judgment, no sinners, no just men, no great and no small; there is no punishment and no reward. A feeling of overwhelming love fills us with blissful knowledge and illuminates our existence.

Mahler masterly weaves together thematic material from previous movements into a resoundingly triumphant movement. His conception of the symphony as a world unto itself begins to crystallize in his Second Symphony. Though he would later return to this dense subject matter later in life, the Second lays out a vision of the depth of the human condition that we all share, regardless of religious or philosophical leanings. The result is an overwhelmingly beautiful take on life’s wonders and challenges. Though put in religious terms, the last lines of the chorus sum up the optimism and hope of Mahler’s message:

Rise again, yes, you will
rise again,

My heart, in the twinkling
of an eye!

What you have conquered,

Will bear you to God!

Rogue Valley Chorale

Soprano
Melodee Adams
Donna Barrett
Dee-Marie Broyles
Karen Campbell
Michelle Cipollone
Ruth Engle
Beth Gibson
Kathy Gordon
Jan Jacobs
Leslie Jean
Gail Mitchell
Erin Morgan
Ellie Murray
Deanna St. Martin
Susan White
Alice Wolf
Jean J Zwang

Alto
Andrea Armstead
Beverly Bowman
Sharon Dady
Donna Daniels
Valerie Darby
Carol Doty
Kristy Denman
Pat Franks
Susan Franks
Merry Harris
Judy Kloetzel
Larissa Montegna
Kelly Nuss
Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs
Marjorie Overland
Nancy Purdy
Jeanie St. Germain
Debby Sanford
Nora Smith
Susan Ward
Nancy Yie

Tenor
Ralph Dady
Seth Morgan
Geri Shimabukuro
Jeff Works
Kris York

Bass
Robert Begg
Adam Callaway
Lou Franks
John Kloetzel
Bob Larson
Mark Sanford
Eric Smith
Gary Ward
Peter Yeager

Southern Oregon Repertory Singers

Soprano
Gayle Bate
Lauren Cypher
Amanda Gerhig
Linda Hawkes
Pricilla Hunter
Marian Horton
Marcia Katzmar
Karli Krueger
Jennifer Matsuura
Dacey McCrae
Lindsay Panero
Rebecca Pinnock
Mikaeli Rhodman
Erin Scott
Bailey Snelgrove
Cheri Sperber
Chris Williams
Alice Wolf

Alto Beatriz Abella
Luna Bitzer
Anita Caster
Julia Curiel
Shelly Cox
Laurie Hunter
Julia Sommer
Gaelen Thurow
Heather Tomiyama
Ginny Walker
Juliana Wheeler

Tenor
Nicholas Bate
Edward Boyd
Mark Brown
Peter Giffin
Tom Hearon
Strand Hill
Nic Kinzie
Phil Koenig
Brandt Nakamura
Chris Phillips
John Stadelman
Tom Walker
Hal Wing

Bass
Ken Depp
Ethan Gans-Morse
Zach Gifford
Paul Levins
Don Matthews
Jeff Meyers
Keith Smelcer
Chris Stoney
Nick Tennant
Brian Tingle
Ryan Weber
Michael Wing

Celena Shafer

After two summers as an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera, the career of Soprano Celena Shafer was launched to critical raves as Ismene in Mozart’s Mitridate, Re di Ponto. Anne Midgette of The New York Times wrote, “It takes the debutante Celena Shafer, an alumna of the apprentice program here, to show how it should be done, singing the Oriental princess Ismene with flair, vocal balance and great cadenzas.”

Since that breakthrough debut, Shafer has garnered acclaim for her silvery voice, fearlessly committed acting and phenomenal technique. She spends much of her time on the concert stage and has appeared with the orchestras in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles with leading conductors such as Christoph von Dohnanyi, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Labadie, Robert Spano, Nicholas McGegan, Kent Nagano, Donald Runnicles, Michael Tilson Thomas, David Robertson and Sir Andrew Davis.

Shafer returns to Britt after her appearance in Carmina Burana in the 2015 season.

Tamara Mumford

This season, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Smeaton in Anna Bolena, appeared on tour in the US and Europe with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in performances of Mahler Symphony No. 3, made her debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in performances of John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary and returned to the Utah Symphony for performances of Mahler Symphony No. 8. This summer she returns to Caramoor for the first ever American performances of Rossini's Aureliano in Palmira, and next season she appears in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Kajia Saariaho's L'Amour de loin and appears in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra on tour in Europe.

Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Resurrection
TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS

Urlicht
O Röschen rot!
Der Mensch liegt in grösster Not!
Der Mensch liegt in grösster Pein!
Je lieber möcht’ ich im Himmel sein!

Da kam ich auf einen breiten Weg;
Da kam ein Engelein und wollt’ mich
abweisen.
Ach nein! Ich liess mich nicht abweisen!
Ich bin von Gott und will wieder zu Gott!
Der liebe Gott wird mir ein Lichtchen
geben,
Wird leuchten mir bis in das ewig selig
Leben!

— from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Die Auferstehung
Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n wirst du,
Mein Staub, nach kurzer Ruh!
Unsterblich Leben! Unsterblich Leben Wird,
der dich rief, dir geben.

Wieder aufzublüh’n, wirst du gesät!
Der Herr der Ernte geht
Und sammelt Garben
Uns ein, die starben.

— Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

O glaube, mein Herz, o glaube:
Es geht dir nichts verloren!
Dein ist, ja Dein, was du gesehnt,
Dein, was du geliebt,
Was du gestritten!

O glaube:
Du wardt nicht umsonst geboren!
Hast nicht umsonst gelebt, gelitten!

Was entstanden ist, das muss vergehen!
Was vergangen, auferstehen!
Hör’ auf zu beben!
Bereite dich zu leben!

O Schmerz! Du Alldurchdringer!

Dir bin ich entrungen!
O Tod! Du Allbezwinger!
Nun bist du bezwungen!

Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen,
In heissem Liebesstreben
Werd’ ich entschweben
Zum Licht, zu dem kein Aug’ gedrungen!
Sterben werd’ ich, um zu leben!

Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n wirst du,
Mein Herz, in einem Nu!
Was du geschlagen,
Zu Gott wird es dich tragen!

— Gustav Mahler

Primal Light
O little red rose!
Humankind lies in greatest need!
Humankind lies in greatest pain!
Much rather would I be in Heaven!

Then I came onto a broad path;
And an angel came and wanted to turn me away.

But no, I would not be turned away!
I am from God and would return to God!
The dear God will give me a little light,

Will light me to eternal, blissful life.

— from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Resurrection
Rise again, yes, you will rise again,
My dust, after brief rest!
Immortal life! Immortal life
Will He, who called you, grant you.

To bloom again, you were sown!
The Lord of the Harvest goes
And gathers like sheaves,
Us, who died.

— Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

O believe, my heart, believe:
Nothing will be lost to you!
Yours, yes, yours is what you longed for,
Yours what you loved,
What you fought for!

O believe:
You were not born in vain!
You have not lived in vain, nor suffered!

All that has come into being must perish!
All that has perished must rise again!
Cease from trembling!
Prepare to live!

O Pain, piercer of all things!
From you I have been wrested!
O Death, conqueror of all things!
Now you are conquered!

With wings I won for myself,
In love’s ardent struggle,
I shall fly upwards
To that light which no eye has penetrated!
I shall die so as to live!

Rise again, yes, you will rise again,
My heart, in the twinkling of an eye!
What you have conquered,
Will bear you to God

— Gustav Mahler

Paul French
Chorus Master

Dr. Paul French is Director of Choral/Vocal Studies at Southern Oregon University and is the Music Director of Southern Oregon Repertory Singers. In recent years to much acclaim, Dr. French and Repertory Singers have brought world-class performances to audiences in the Rogue Valley in an annual series of concerts. Highlights include performances of Bach’s profoundly beautiful St. Matthew Passion, Fauré’s hauntingly ethereal Requiem, and most recently, Haydn’s jovial and effortlessly charming oratorio, The Creation.

French’s practiced hands have also guided preeminent musical organizations including Rogue Valley Symphony, Rogue Opera, Jefferson Baroque Orchestra, and the Northwest Bach Festival. He was Chorus Master for the 2015 opening of the Britt Orchestra season with the stirringly epic Carmina Burana, as well as this year’s Messiah with Rogue Valley Symphony. French also directs the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church, Ashland, which is regarded among the top tier choirs in Oregon for liturgical music.

Equipped with extensive professional experience as a singer, conductor, and educator, French has led ensembles to noteworthy acclaim at prestigious six-state conventions, such as the American Choral Directors Association Northwest Convention (1994, 2002), the American Guild of Organists Northwest Convention (1997), and the Oregon Music Educators National Conference (2002, 2007).

Southern Oregon Repertory Singers

The 60-voice Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, following their highly acclaimed performances of Haydn’s Creation, now enters their 31st season of bringing choral excellence to the Rogue Valley. Under the direction of Dr. Paul French, the semi-professional ensemble captivates audiences by bringing them the best of classical choral literature from around the world throughout the ages, including newly composed works by world-renowned composers, such as Gabriel Jackson, Eric Whitacre, and Ä’riks Ešenvalds. Repertory Singers have premiered new works by Oregon’s own Jodi French and Craig Kingsbury.

The mission of Repertory Singers is to promote the performance, development, and appreciation of high-quality choral music. They offer local and regional musicians — including professionals and music educators — access to a wide variety of repertoire, while providing cultural enrichment to southern Oregon through a series of unique concerts. The Repertory Singers Outreach Program delivers inspiration and insight into the world of professional classical musicians to area high schools and senior residences with world-class performances by a small group of outstanding singers.

Repertory Singers proudly present at least one choral masterwork every year in their season. Other recent masterworks include Fauré’s Requiem; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Messiah performed with the Rogue Valley Symphony. For their 31st season, audiences can look forward to hearing Maurice Duruflé’s wondrous Reqieum and — in two concert partnerships with the Rogue Valley Symphony — John Rutter’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, and Mozart’s Requiem.

Rogue Valley Chorale

For over four decades the Rogue Valley Chorale has been at the heart of the arts scene in southern Oregon. Led by Conductor Laurie Anne Hunter, the 100 members who make up the Chorale are men and women with diverse musical backgrounds, including professional singers, actors, music educators and gifted vocalists who simply love to sing. Since its founding in 1973, the chorale has contributed to the cultural atmosphere of Southern Oregon by providing audiences with exceptional classical choral works, including Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Mass in B Minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the Requiems of Brahms, Mozart, and Faure, and many other major works.

In 2001 the group presented the Verdi Requiem with the Rogue Valley Symphony. In 2009 the Chorale was featured with the Symphony performing Orff’s Carmina Burana. The Chorale presents contemporary choral works including George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, Broadway classics, and even Simon and Garfunkel and The Beatles. The Chorale is committed to showcasing the works of local and emerging artists and is pleased to add to its repertoire by commissioning original compositions. The organization’s concerts are featured on the Broadway stage of the beautiful Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater located in downtown Medford, Oregon. The Rogue Valley Chorale nurtures young singers through the Rogue Valley Youth Choruses. The 200 talented young singers perform in four different choruses. They appear with the Rogue Valley Chorale, at state choral competitions, in local schools and for community organizations. Many of the young people who participate in the Youth Choruses are inspired to continue singing in college and local choirs.

 

Guest Artists: Tamara Mumford, Celena Shafer
Members of the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers and Rogue Valley Chorale
under the direction of Chorus Master Paul French

Tamara Mumford Celena Shafer

Tamara Mumford, Mezzo-soprano
This season, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Smeaton in Anna Bolena, appeared on tour in the US and Europe with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in performances of Mahler Symphony No. 3, made her debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in performances of John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary and returned to the Utah Symphony for performances of Mahler Symphony No. 8. This summer she returns to Caramoor for the first ever American performances of Rossini's Aureliano in Palmira, and next season she appears in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Kajia Saariaho's L'Amour de loin and appears in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra on tour in Europe.

Celena Shafer, soprano
Shafer has garnered acclaim for her silvery voice, fearlessly committed acting and phenomenal technique. She spends much of her time on the concert stage where she appears regularly with orchestras in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and with leading conductors.

For more information about Rogue Valley Chorale
website

For more information about Southern Oregon Repertory Singers:
website

For more information about Tamara Mumford:
website

For more information about Celena Shafer:
website







Pre-concert music: Saxophonic Quartet

Begins in the Britt Performance Garden at 6:00 p.m.

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