Saturday, April 22, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, Hope College
Johannes Müller Stosch, Music Director and Conductor
David Grogan, Baritone
Two movements from Old Vienna Serenades
Josef Marx (1882-1964)
Songs of a Wayfarer
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
David Grogan, Baritone
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Season Ticket Series
The final concert of the 22-23 season will feature German and Austrian romantic masterpieces with their full range of emotional expression. The concert will open with two movements from Marx’s Old Vienna Serenades. Baritone David Grogan will join the HSO for Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer. The concert will conclude with Brahms’s Symphony No 4 in E minor.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for students through college.
We will be hosting not only the Classical Chat series at Freedom Village, but also Pre-Concert Talks! Details below:
Classical Chats at Freedom Village: These informative and fun talks are led by Johannes Müller-Stosch and take place at 3:00pm on the Thursday before each Classics concert. (Freedom Village, 6th Floor Auditorium, 145 Columbia Ave.)
Pre-Concert Talks: These talks, led by Johannes Müller-Stosch and Amanda Dykhouse, are online under the "Pre-Concert Talk" Tab.
Parking Map at the Miller Center
Holland Symphony Orchestra will reserve and monitor Lot 40 for handicapped parking. The faculty parking lots are available for parking after 5pm
Born: May 11,1882, Graz
Died: September 3, 1964, Graz
Approximate Duration: 8 minutes (two movements)
Instrumentation: 3 flutes (one doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (one doubling English horn), 3 clarinets (one doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 4 French horns, 1 trumpet, timpani, celeste, harp, strings
Joseph Marx was born in Graz, Austria. His mother taught him piano at an early age, and he taught himself how to play violin and cello. He was raised in Graz and went to Graz University. His father wanted him to study law, but Marx initially focused on philosophy and other liberal arts. When he turned more fully to musical studies it led to a break with his family. He wrote an important thesis that presented a scholarly study of tonality. In this work he was the person who coined the term “atonal.”
Marx began composing as his primary work in 1908, ultimately writing over 150 songs. He focused on orchestral pieces in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by a time devoted to chamber music. He assumed a faculty position at the Vienna Music Academy in 1914 and eventually became the director. He had a lot of influence on many musicians and composers. He was also one of the most prominent music critics in Vienna, particularly in the 1930s, and published influential books on music theory.
As a composer Marx was concerned about upholding the Viennese classical tradition, both in the forms he used (waltzes, for example), and the use of Austrian folk music. His work is described as including Impressionist, Slavonic, and Italian elements. Following World War II he thought of himself as a “father figure” for conservative, tonal music. He was well known in his lifetime but much of his music fell out of notice due to cultural and political upheaval.
In his “Old Vienna Serenades,” Marks looks back to Haydn and Austrian folk music, combined with a lot of original material. The first movement performed at this concert is slow and in a sweeping gentle triple meter, featuring woodwind and string solos. The second movement to be performed draws on the rich waltz tradition in Viennese culture.
Born: July 7, 1860, Bohemia
Died: May 18, 1911, Vienna
Premiered: 1896, Berlin (orchestral version)
Approximate Duration: 16 minutes
Instrumentation: 3 flutes (one doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (one doubling English horn), 3 clarinets (one doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 4 French horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, bass drums, cymbals, triangle, tamtam, glockenspiel, harp, strings
Many of today’s music lovers think of Mahler as primarily a symphonic composer. His nine symphonies regularly appear on “World’s Best Symphonies” lists, and these works are viewed as milestones for orchestras to learn and perform. During his lifetime, though, Mahler was best known as an opera conductor, and he got his start as a composer writing songs. He worked on his first version of “Songs of a Wayfarer,” with piano accompaniment, in 1884 and 1885. He revised and orchestrated it in the 1890s.
This set of songs is loosely autobiographical. The word traditionally used in the English translation of the work’s title is “wayfarer,” but it would more accurately be translated “journeyman” or “tradesman.” This term was used for individuals who had completed an apprenticeship program in a trade. Typically these people would travel to various places and learn from various masters before settling down somewhere. As a young composer, Mahler identified with this tradition as he moved around and studied with various composers and conductors.
The subject matter of these songs is also loosely autobiographical. Mahler wrote the poetry. In these songs, a male narrator experiences romantic heartbreak and wanders the countryside. His loneliness and despair contrast greatly with the beauty in the world around him. The first song portrays the narrator thinking of his beloved’s wedding day–to someone else. The second song reflects a gentle walk through a mountain field, punctuated by pangs of despair. The third song presents a vision of a knife plunging into his chest. The final piece offers some peace and relief, with the narrator falling asleep under a blossoming linden tree, though the nature of his “sleep” is ambiguous.
To listen to the Mahler, click here.
English translation of song texts
“When My Sweetheart is Married”
When my darling has her wedding-day,
her joyous wedding-day,
I will have my day of mourning!
I will go to my little room,
my dark little room,
and weep, weep for my darling,
for my dear darling!
Blue flower! Do not wither!
Sweet little bird
you sing on the green heath!
Alas, how can the world be so fair?
Do not sing; do not bloom!
Spring is over.
All singing must now be done.
At night when I go to sleep,
I think of my sorrow,
of my sorrow!
“I Went This Morning Over the Field”
I walked across the fields this morning;
dew still hung on every blade of grass.
The merry finch spoke to me:
“Hey! Isn’t it? Good morning! Isn’t it?
You! Isn’t it becoming a fine world?
Chirp! Chirp! Fair and sharp!
How the world delights me!”
Also, the bluebells in the field
merrily with good spirits
tolled out to me with bells (ding, ding)
their morning greeting:
“Isn’t it becoming a fine world?
Ding, ding! Fair thing!
How the world delights me!”
And then, in the sunshine,
the world suddenly began to glitter;
everything gained sound and color
in the sunshine!
Flower and bird, great and small!
Is it not a fine world?
Hey, isn’t it? A fair world?”
Now will my happiness also begin?
No, no - the happiness I mean
can never bloom!
“I Have a Gleaming Knife”
I have a red-hot knife,
a knife in my breast.
O woe! It cuts so deeply
into every joy and delight.
Alas, what an evil guest it is!
Never does it rest,
never does it relax,
not by day, not by night,
when I would sleep.
When I gaze up into the sky,
I see two blue eyes there.
O woe! When I walk in the yellow field,
I see from afar her blond hair
waving in the wind.
When I start from a dream
and hear the tinkle of her silvery laugh,
O woe! I wish I could lay down on my black bier -
Would that my eyes never open again!
“The Two Blue Eyes of My Beloved”
The two blue eyes
of my darling
they sent me into the
I had to take my leave of this most-beloved place!
O blue eyes,
why did you gaze on me?
Now I have eternal sorrow and grief.
I went out into
the quiet night
well across the dark heath.
To me no one bade farewell. Farewell!
My companions are love and sorrow!
By the road stood a linden tree,
Where, for the first time,
I found rest in sleep!
Under the linden tree
that snowed its blossoms
I did not know how life went on,
and all was well again!
All! All, love and sorrow
and world and dream!
Born: May 7, 1833. Hamburg
Died: April 3, 1897, Vienna
Premiered: October 25, 1885, Meiningen
Approximate Duration: 40 minutes
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, triangle, and strings
Music donated by Douglas & Jennifer Griffith
Brahms is well-known among musicologists and music history students for his reluctance to write a symphony. In 1872, he famously stated, “I shall never write a symphony! You can’t have any idea what it’s like to hear such a giant marching behind you.” That giant was Beethoven, who had taken the symphony structure introduced by earlier composers and had pushed it to new limits of complexity, refinement, and emotional depth. Many late nineteenth century composers thought that Beethoven’s symphonies were so perfect that subsequent composers shouldn’t try to innovate further, instead turning to new genres. Brahms fundamentally disagreed, exploring the forms of the past and discovering new layers, colors, and complexity. He wanted to make sure the symphony remained a relevant genre. He ultimately conquered his feelings of intimidation and composed his first symphony in 1876–a work raw with power, sound, and emotion. He wrote his second, a joyful and optimistic work, in 1877. His third, the most introspective, came in 1882-3.
Brahms wrote his fourth symphony during two summer vacations in 1884 and 1885 in Mürzzuschlag in the Styrian Alps, southwest of Vienna. Brahms often reflected that his pieces sounded like the locations where he composed them. While composing this symphony he wrote to a friend that the work “tastes of the climate here; the cherries are hardly sweet here—you wouldn’t eat them!” Brahms sometimes referred to it as a “new tragic symphony.” Indeed the symphony is filled with emotional extremes: joy and sorrow, tenderness and severity, exuberance and restraining. The work builds from one movement to the next. The conductor of the first rehearsal remarked, “[it is] gigantic, altogether a law unto itself, quite new, steely individuality. Exudes unparalleled energy from first note to last.”
The first movement begins with a simple four-note theme in the strings. Brahms develops and elaborates on this simple, searching melody in endless ways. These “sighs” eventually evolve from lament to nervous agitation and finally into tragic resignation. The second movement begins with a summons, a horn call that transforms into a gentle melody. This quiet song passes through a wide range of moods, tonalities, and colors before a peaceful ending. The third movement is lively, aggressive, and humorous, providing a break from the emotional intensity of the first two movements. Whatever “joke” Brahms intended in this scherzo, though, is quickly upended by what was the most pessimistic, relentless concluding movement to a symphony to date. In the last movement Brahms makes his most direct connection with the past, drawing on an early Baroque form called the chaconne, a moderately paced continuous flow of variations on top of a recurring bass line, usually written in triple meter. The winds and brass initially outline eight huge chords that provide the foundation for thirty-two variations and a coda. Unlike Brahms’s previous symphonies, which ended in a major key or quietly, this one ends abruptly and severely.
To listen to the Brahms, click here.
The American baritone and music pedagogue, David Grogan, holds Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Texas Christian University, where he studied voice with Sheila Allen and pedagogy with Vincent Russo. His love of choral music was solidified under the tutelage of the late Ronald Shirey, who taught Grogan much of his musicality. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy in 2010 from the University of North Texas, where he studied voice with Jeffrey Snider, pedagogy with Stephen Austin, and worked closely with Lyle Nordstrom in the early music program. Grogan’s dissertation was on the vocal pedagogy of Frederic W. Root, who was an American vocal pedagogue of the 19th century. A shorter version of the dissertation was published in the January 2010 Journal of Singing under the title, “The Roots of American Pedagogy.”
David Grogan joined the faculty at the University of Texas Arlington in the fall of 2009, first as visiting professor and in 2010 as tenure-track Assistant Professor of Voice. In addition to providing private vocal instruction for voice majors, Grogan teaches vocal pedagogy, voice class, and choral methods. His background in choral music education is extensive, including experience directing programs in both private and public schools across the metroplex. As choir director at Dallas Christian School from 1996 to 2000, Grogan increased choir participation from 15 members to 115, and took the choir to one of the first TPSMEA competitions. He has taught voice and served as assistant choral director in some of the most prominent programs in the area, including at Arlington High School under Dinah Menger, and Manor Middle School under Tommy Haygood.