VISUAL PROGRAM NOTES

Symphony Concert - December 4, 2022
Virtuosity and Variations

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - Hiawatha Overture
Coleridge-Taylor was an English composer and conductor. He is best known for his three cantatas on the epic 1855 poem The Song of Hiawatha by American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The first part, Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, was premiered in 1898, when he was 22. The second part, The Death of Minnehaha, was completed in 1899 and the third part, Hiawatha’s Departure, was completed in 1900. Coleridge-Taylor composed the Overture in 1901.

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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, circa 1905

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1912 Christmas card displaying Coleridge-Taylor with wife- Jessie,  son- Hiawatha, and daughter- Avril.

Sergei Rachmaninov- Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Rachmaninov was a Russian composer, virtuoso pianist, and conductor. The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was premiered with Rachmaninov himself performing in 1934 with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Rachmaninov, Stokowski, and the Philadelphia Orchestra also made the first recording at the RCA Victor Studio in Camden, New Jersey. 

Rachmaninov playing his Steinway grand piano at his home, circa 1936

A Victor advertisement from 1921 with Rachmaninov

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"Nipper” window of the former RCA Victor studios

Edward Elgar- Enigma Variations
Elgar was an English composer and one of his best-known compositions is his Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, popularly known as the Enigma Variations completed in 1899. The Enigma Variations is an orchestral work comprising fourteen variations on an original theme. In naming his theme "Enigma", Elgar posed a challenge which has generated much speculation but has never been conclusively answered. The Enigma is widely believed to involve a hidden melody. Each variation is a musical sketch of one of his close acquaintances including his wife, Alice and his publisher, Augustus J. Jaeger.

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Edward Elgar, circa 1903, by Charles Frederick Grindrod                

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Edward and Alice Elgar, circa 1891

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August Jaeger, Elgar's publisher and friend (photograph credited to E.T. Holding)