Max Derrickson

Writing Music Program Notes for Over 20 Years

Grieg – Holberg Suite

Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907) Holberg Suite (From Holberg’s Time), Op. 40 Praludium – Allegro vivace Sarabande – Andante Gavotte – Allegretto, Musette, Un poco mosso Air – Andante religioso Rigadoun – Allegro con brio   The marvelous works of Norwegian composer Edward Grieg always seem to capture the ineffability of sweetness and nostalgia that […]

Gounod – Final scene from Act V of Faust

Charles Gounod (1818-1893) Final scene from Act V of Faust (1859)   The storyline of Gounod’s Faust follows roughly the plot of Part I of the famous Goethe play but with a few dramatic liberties.  That famous story presents an aged Dr. Faust who, in his disillusionment with life and his science, appeals to the Devil, […]

Gounod – Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile

Charles-François Gounod   (b in Paris, June 17, 1818; d in Saint-Cloud, October 18, 1893) Messe solennelle de Sainte Cécile Kyrie Gloria Credo Offertory Sanctus Benedictus Agnus Dei   There have been hundreds of masses written both before and after Gounod’s Solemn Mass for St. Cecilia of 1855.  And yet in terms of lyrical beauty, St. […]

Goldmark – Violin Concerto in A-Minor

Karl Goldmark   (Born Keszthely, May 18, 1830; diedVienna, January 2, 1915) Violin Concerto in A-Minor, Op. 28 Austrio-Hungarian composer Karl Goldmark was one of 20 children who in his autobiography claimed to have taught himself to read, write and compose.  His long career as violinist and composer brought him into the collegiality of many famous […]

Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue

George Gershwin [Jacob Gershvin]   (b Brooklyn, NY, September 26, 1898; d Hollywood, CA, July 11, 1937) Rhapsody in Blue (1924)   It’s a wonderful story, about as American as one could want, about a poor kid from Brooklyn making it big through tenacity and talent.  [. . .] In the Roaring 20’s Jazz was earning its respect on […]

Gershwin – Lullaby for Strings

George Gershwin   (b Brooklyn, NY, September 26, 1898; d Hollywood, CA, July 11, 1937) Lullaby for Strings George Gershwin’s life is one of those great and inspirational American stories:  the son of a poor immigrant family in Brooklyn who worked his way up from nowhere to becoming one of the most famous musicians in the world […]

Gershwin – “I Got Rhythm” Variations

George Gershwin   (Born in Brooklyn, NY, 1898; died in Hollywood, CA, 1937) “I Got Rhythm” Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1934) [. . .]      With Rhapsody in Blue (1924), Gershwin became world famous.  In 1930 his show Girl Crazy was a gigantic success.  One of its many hit tunes, “I Got Rhythm,” has become […]

Gershwin – An American in Paris

George Gershwin   (b in Brooklyn, NY, 1898; d in Hollywood, CA, 1937) An American inParis(1928) Born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, Gershwin grew up in a crowded, small home with three siblings and one piano.  Having flourished precociously at the piano, the young Gershwin dropped out of school at 15 to work on Tin […]

Zhanhao (and Chen Gang) – The Butterfly Lovers Concerto (for erhu)

He Zhanhao (born 1933) and Chen Gang (born 1935) The Butterfly Lovers Concerto The Maori of New Zealand believe that the soul returns to earth as a butterfly. In ancientGreece, the word “psyche” meant “soul and breath,” and was symbolized by a butterfly. Myths about moths and butterflies abound in Celtic lore, and in Aztec […]

Gang (and He Zhanhao) – The Butterfly Lovers Concerto (for erhu)

He Zhanhao (born 1933) and Chen Gang (born 1935) The Butterfly Lovers Concerto The Maori of New Zealand believe that the soul returns to earth as a butterfly. In ancientGreece, the word “psyche” meant “soul and breath,” and was symbolized by a butterfly. Myths about moths and butterflies abound in Celtic lore, and in Aztec […]