Max Derrickson

Music Program Notes for Over 20 Years

Smetana – “From Bohemia’s Fields and Groves” No. 4 from Má Vlast (My Fatherland)

Bedřich Smetana     (Born March 2, 1824 in Litomyšl, near Prague; died May 12, 1884 in Prague) “From Bohemia’s Fields and Groves” No. 4 from Má Vlast (My Fatherland) Smetana’s Má Vlast (“My Fatherland”) of 1875 was a revolutionary change to the symphonic poem idea made prominent by Liszt, one of Smetana’s musical heroes.  […]

Rimsky-Korsakov – Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov     (Born, 1844, Tithing, Russia; Died, 1908, Lubes, Russia) Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34 1. Alborada 2. Variozioni 3. Alborada 4. Scena e canto Gitano (Scene and Gypsy Song) 5. Fandango Asturiano Listening to Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1887 Capriccio Espagnol is like walking through a maze of glittery, colored-glass mobiles on a breezy, dazzling day.  […]

Britten – Men of Goodwill: Variations on a Christmas Carol

Benjamin Britten     (Born: Lowestoft, England, November 22, 1913 (St. Cecilia’s Day); died: Aldeburgh, England, December 4, 1976) Men of Goodwill: Variations on a Christmas Carol Like Barber’s Die Natalie, Britten’s Christmas variations were also crafted with intelligence and charm.  Unlike Barber’s medley, however, Britten uses only one carol as his theme: “God Rest […]

Barber – Die Natalie: Chorale Preludes for Christmas, Op. 37

Samuel Barber     (Born in West Chester, PA, 1910; died in New York, 1981) Die Natalie: Chorale Preludes for Christmas, Op. 37 As was the case with most of Barber’s compositions, Die Natalie was a commissioned piece, and in this case, by the Koussevitsky Foundation (the same group that commissioned Copland’s Appalacian Spring, and […]

Falla – Noches en los Jardines d’España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain)

Manual de Falla     (Born: Cádiz, November 23, 1876; died: Alta Gracia, Argentina, November 14, 1946) Noches en los Jardines d’España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain) 1. At the Generalife, Parts 1 and 2 2. Distant Dance 3. In the Gardens of the Sierra de Cordoba Falla began composing Nights as a set […]

Schoenberg – Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16

Arnold Schoenberg     (Born: September 1874 in Vienna; died: July 1951 in Los Angeles, CA) Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16 1. Vorgefühle (Premonitions) 2. Vergangenes (The Past) 3. Farben (Colors) 4. Perepetie (Perepeteia) 5. Das obligate Rezitativ (The Obbligato Recitative) Western music, since the time of Bach (1685 – 1750), has gone through many […]