GREELEY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
The second concert will feature the wonderful Greeley Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Dan Frantz, with glorious music by Mozart and Beethoven.
Joy and Delight
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Overture to Lenore No. 3, Op. 72b
W.A. Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Concerto for Two Pianos in E flat Major, K. 365, featuring Hanguang Wang and Adam Zukiewicz, pianists
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93
About the Artists:
The Greeley Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1981, presenting its first concert on October 30, 1981. Through the years, the orchestra has grown from a very modest group of 17 musicians to its present size of over thirty-five. The orchestra has been allowed to perform all its concerts in the majestic sanctuary of the Trinity Episcopal Church, a setting that is acoustically perfect and visually stunning.
The music the orchestra performs during its five-concert season is exciting and unique. The Greeley Chamber Orchestra has presented not only a varied spectrum of works but has featured some of the finest talents of Northern Colorado, many of whom are faculty at the remarkable School of Music of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. The Orchestra is joined twice a year by the Greeley Chamber Choir to perform works for choir and orchestra.
The repertoire of the Greeley Chamber Orchestra certainly focuses on music of the Baroque (Bach, Boyce, Handel, Telemann, and Vivaldi) and Classical (Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert) periods but has also featured the music of various late 19th century (Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Wagner) as well as 20th century composers (Argo, Ehle, Prokofiev, Puccini, Shostakovich and Sibelius,) The Greeley Chamber Orchestra is comprised of talented musicians from the northern Colorado and southern Wyoming area who take time from their busy schedules to collectively perform music. The musicians of the groups come from all walks of life and include accountants, computer engineers, homemakers, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, sales persons, teachers and students. This remarkable group of volunteers comes together every week to prepare the world’s finest music, driven by their passion for wonderful music
Dan Frantz founded the Greeley Chamber Orchestra in 1981 and has served as the orchestra's conductor since that time. Prior to moving to Greeley, Mr. Frantz performed trumpet in the Brico Symphony and other groups in the Denver area. He came to Greeley in 1975 to attend the University of Northern Colorado's School of Nursing, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in 1979. During his undergraduate years he studied trumpet with William Pfund and Gene Aitken, and presented two performance recitals through the School of Music. Mr. Frantz was accepted as a student by the renowned conductor, Antonia Brico, in 1980, and studied conducting and music with her until her death in 1989.
For more than 40 years, he has led the Greeley Chamber Orchestra and Greeley Chamber Choir in performances of a diverse listing of composers and types of music, championing the music of local composers and the less familiar works of baroque and classical masters. He has collaborated with a wide variety of local soloists and in 1993 conducted the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. He frequently serves as an adjudicator at various contests and competitions.
Mr. Frantz received his Master of Science degree in Psychiatric Nursing from the University of Colorado in 1985. He has taught in both the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine and the Graduate Program of the School of Nursing at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
He was the first man to be awarded the Florence Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing (1993) and was selected as Honored Alumni for Humanitarian Service from his alma mater, the University of Northern Colorado (1994). Frantz was honored for his Lifetime Contribution to the Arts in Greeley by ArtsAlive! in 2005.
Born and raised in China, Hanguang Wang started learning the piano at the age of six. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance at the Shandong Normal University, China. Upon her arrival in the United States in 2016, Hanguang began her studies with Dr. Zukiewicz at the University of Northern Colorado, completing her Master’s degree and Performance Certificate in Piano. She has performed in USA, Italy, Slovenia, and China, and has been an active piano teacher since 2011.
She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in piano performance at the University of Northern Colorado as a Graduate Assistant, both as a collaborative pianist and as a class piano instructor.
Adam Piotr Żukiewicz is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed concert pianist. He concertized across Europe, United States, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Hong Kong, and Macau, and his performances were broadcast in the USA, Canada, Italy, Slovenia, Germany, and Poland. Mr. Żukiewicz consistently receives critical acclaim, while his innovative programming - focused on exploring connections between the popular and the lesser known gems of the traditional and contemporary repertoire - continues to engage and inspire audiences around the world.Mr. Żukiewicz is an Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, where he currently resides. He serves as a Resident Faculty Pianist at the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Duino (Italy), and is a founder and Artistic Director of the Intercollegiate Piano Competition of the West. He is also a founding member of the Colorado Piano Trio. Prior to his arrival in Greeley, Mr. Żukiewicz served as faculty at the University of Toronto and St Michael's Choir School in Toronto. His students studied in renowned institutions such as Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, and Royal College of Music, and their successes include festival and competition awards in Canada, Italy, Singapore, and USA.
Beethoven: Overture to Leonore No. 3
Fidelio stands as Beethoven’s sole opera, a captivating romantic drama that underwent a decade-long journey from its early beginnings in 1804 to its final version in 1814. Throughout its compositional process, Beethoven wrote four overtures for this cherished work, with the “Leonore Overture No. 3” emerging as the most beloved and frequently performed in concert.
The opera was born in the aftermath of the French Revolution (1789-1799), a tumultuous period characterized by political upheaval and a fervent yearning for freedom. The libretto for Fidelio draws inspiration from a true story of that era, capturing the remarkable journey of Leonore, a fearless and devoted wife who assumes the guise of a young man named Fidelio. She ventures into the depths of a prison where her husband, Florestan, languishes unjustly. Through her unwavering determination, she rescues Florestan from political imprisonment and imminent doom. Notably, the premiere of Fidelio, in November 1805, unfolded against the backdrop of Napoleon’s army recently occupying Vienna, infusing the opera with an added layer of relevance and intensity. Its themes of freedom and political struggle resonated profoundly with the revolutionary spirit of the time, embodying the passionate quest for liberation and the ultimate triumph of humanity.
Returning to Leonore Overture No. 3, it serves as an instrumental summary of the opera, effectively distilling the essence of the entire opera, offering a condensed yet impactful musical journey through its narrative and themes. The overture follows the sonata-allegro form, beginning with a broad and slow introduction. A full orchestral chord in fortissimo opens the introduction, followed by a descending scale widely interpreted as a musical portrayal of Florestan’s descent into prison, capturing the atmosphere of uncertainty and anguish that pervades his unjust captivity. The clarinets and bassoons give us the themes from Florestan’s dungeon aria, a quotation from his second-act aria, accompanied by the strings.
The music gradually grows more agitated as it leads to the syncopated first theme of the main body of the piece, marked allegro in C major. A contrasting second theme emerges with a more relaxed motion in E major. Furthermore, significant themes from the opera also vividly emerged within the overture, including in the development section, sudden dynamic shifts and expressive harmonic explorations mirroring the perilous struggles depicted in the opera; and in the recapitulation section, the most dramatic moment occurs when the trumpet call of Florestan’s liberation sounds, and he then realizes that the one who has rescued him - Fidelio - is none other than his beloved Leonore.
The overture reaches its culmination in a joyous celebration of freedom and love, accompanied by rapid scales and the reappearing syncopated motive. An energic fanfare ensues, bringing this monumental overture to a magnificent conclusion. Perhaps it is the grandeur of the finale that provides subtle hints as to why Beethoven undertook multiple revisions of the overture: how can we effectively commence this compelling opera when the exciting finale has already unveiled Leonore’s ultimate success?
Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos in E flat Major, K. 365
Concerto is one of the areas in which Mozart most fully demonstrated his genius, revolutionizing and perfecting every aspect of the genre, bringing the classical concerto to unprecedented heights in both content and form.
In 1779, Mozart composed his Concerto for Two Pianos, K. 365, shortly after his return to Salzburg from a two-year tour across Europe. The purpose of this tour was to find a more prosperous job, but unfortunately, Mozart did not succeed in this endeavor. Nevertheless, his visits to cities such as Mannheim, Paris, and Munich exposed him to diverse musical styles prevalent in Europe at that time. These encounters laid the foundation for the richness and diversity of musical elements that would greatly influence his later compositions. Concerto for Two Pianos in E flat Major was his only composition for two pianos and was written for himself to play together with his loved sister, Nannerl (Maria Anna Mozart). He may have chosen to use the double concerto form because he realized that to be successful he needed a slightly different approach than he or his contemporaries were used to.
Typically, the primary focus of Mozart’s concertos is the conversation between the soloist and the orchestra. However, the texture became overly dense when two soloists were involved in. In response, Mozart made the decision to diminish the orchestra’s role, repositioning them as accompaniment rather than an equal counterpart to the soloist. This adjustment created the essential space for a dialogue to unfold, allowing the two soloists to propel the musical narrative forward through their alternating, fluid and virtuosic melodies.
In the double concerto, the soloists maintain a relatively consistent relationship. The first piano introduces the thematic material in a high register, while the second piano presents the same material an octave lower. Throughout the piece, there is an engaging dialogue between the two pianos, with fragments of themes and passages swiftly exchanged between them, resulting in an impressive stereo-like effect. The final movement follows a typical rondo structure. A melodious rondo theme resurfaces throughout the movement, but with each recurrence, the music unexpectedly halts on a different pivotal chord. This sudden shift in character leads to a distinct change in atmosphere.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F Major
Allegro vivace e con brio
Tempo di Menuetto
Unlike Beethoven’s well-known symphonies, the Eighth Symphony is not as familiar to many listeners. This symphony is a change from Beethoven’s usual majestic compositional style, full of sunshine and warmth. At the same time, it is significantly shorter and more concise, exhibiting extremely distinctive classical characteristics. In fact, Beethoven himself referred to it as “my little Symphony in F”, in contrast to the longer Sixth Symphony (the Pastoral Symphony), also in F major. Despite its short length, Beethoven was enamored of the Eighth Symphony, deeming it “much better” than his widely acclaimed Seventh Symphony.
Beethoven’s early music shows some traces of imitation of Haydn, but then it moved righteously in the direction of Romanticism. However, it was not until the Eighth Symphony that an “extremely classical” work re-emerged. In addition to being the shortest and simplest of the symphonies, this symphony employs the most classical harmonic language, adheres strictly to a structured form, uses material with concentration and economy, and the entire work resembles a rigorously mathematical problem. If this symphony is a Haydn work surely some will believe it, but it is not without the warmth and power of Beethoven. Just as there is “recapitulation” in life, this symphony also represents Beethoven's “second childhood” in a way.
In the Eighth Symphony, Beethoven explores subtle changes in the symphonic tradition. For example, he surprised listeners by omitting the slow introduction in the first movement and instead beginning with a gesture of closure. The opening two bars, which would typically serve as the end of a symphonic argument, are placed at the beginning. Interestingly, the first movement concludes with the same music, now in its proper place, bringing a sense of symmetry. In another unexpected alteration, Beethoven replaces the traditional slow movement with an Allegretto scherzando in the second movement. Initially, it was thought that this movement was a nod to the metronome, which had just been invented at the time by Johann Maelzel, but further evidence suggests that the metronome was actually invented a little later. Nonetheless, a metronome-like ticking sound continues throughout the movement. This constant and steady ticking may cause some confusion, naivety or mockery, but it is undoubtedly a pleasurable confusion.
The third movement is a light-hearted minuet and trio, featuring rough, thumping rhythms that are a departure from the elegant Baroque style, although the choice of genre might have appeared slightly dated to listeners during Beethoven's time. This is followed by the sharp finale, the most disturbing movement of all. Nonetheless, the symphony’s energy and passion, reminiscent of a perpetual motion machine, propelled it to a successful conclusion.