Roll Over Beethoven

I’m honored to say that I have been chosen as one of 8 to conduct at the UT – Arlington Conducting Symposium on February 9!! Apparently, I’ve been “on the list” since last fall when I applied but somehow, the word didn’t get to me until early this week. Heck, I even saw Doug Stotter (Director of Bands at UTA) at Midwest and he said if I didn’t receive an email by then, I wasn’t on the list so I guess the original email got lost in the shuffle. No matter, I’M IN!!!

ANYWHO, I had my choice of several pieces to conduct over 2 sessions that day so I decided I was going to conduct Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, Mvt. 2, Song Without Word and Mvt. 3, Song of the Blacksmith. Although both movements are short, it is quite a bit of music to prepare. Luckily, the Stony Point Wind Ensemble played the entire Suite several years ago for UIL so audibly, at least, I am VERY familiar with the music. Now, it’s just a matter of translating what I know in my ear to what I see on the page and make my own interpretations in some aspects.

Holst used English folk tunes and Morris dancing songs for inspiration when composing his Second Suite. The folk tunes used in the two movements are quite nice – I found the lyrics (yes, even to Song Without Words) in A Catalog of Folk Song Settings for Wind Band by Mark Aldrich.

Movement 2, Song Without Words comes from the love song, I’ll Love My Love.
1. What is the meaning of the song that rings so clear and loud,
Thou nightingale amid the copse, thou lark above the cloud?
What says thy song, thou joyous thrush, up in the walnut tree?
What says thy song, thou joyous thrush, up in the walnut tree?

2. What is the meaning of thy thought, O maiden fair and young?
There is such pleasure in thine eyes, such music on thy tongue?
There is such glory on thy face, what can the meaning be?
There is such glory on thy face, what can the meaning be?

Song of the Blacksmith comes from the ballad tune The Blacksmith.
1. A blacksmith courted me, nine months and better.
He so fairly won my heart, wrote to me a letter.
With his hammer all in his hand, and he looked so mighty clever,
And if I was with my love, I would live forever.

2. My love’s gone across those fields, with his cheeks like roses,
My love’s gone across those fields, gath’ring primroses.
I’m afraid the scorching suns will shine and spoil his beauty,
And if I was with my love, I would do my duty.

I’m using the Frederick Fennell edition of the score and in verifying that it would work with the band playing the Matthew edition, I called Ludwig Music. I spoke with a very nice man named Chris there and not only did he answer my questions about the score and its compatibility, he told me several stories about having worked with Dr. Fennell (or Fred, as he called him). It actually started about with a simple converstation about how wonderful these Fennell editions of scores are and it led to stories about his working with Dr. & Mrs. Fennell on a daily basis. See, Chris owns either Masters Music or Great Works Music and one of them bought Ludwig Music a while back from Mrs. Fennell. He said that when he did that, he also pretty much became the caretakers of everything the Fennells had done through their lives and eventually, kind of their caretaker. He talked about what a wonderful couple they were and how wonderful it is to still work with his wife, Elizabeth Ludwig Fennell now.

I love going to conducting symposiums and I think conductors in Texas are very fortunate that there are some affordable ones in our state (this one is free!!). I learn so much when I go to them, even when I’m observing. They make me a better conductor and teacher as well as a better musician!!

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One thought on “Roll Over Beethoven”

  1. How exciting for you, Miss Cathy! I’m only bummed that I was going to invite you to my friend Camille’s art show at Austin Figurative Gallery that night, but you’ll be doing your own wonderful thing, so it’s all good. Congrats!!! I love Holst.

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