Guest artist accommodations: Hal and Debbie Lurtsema
Composer, arranger, performer, and studio producer Gordon (Dick) Goodwin notes: “I used to wear two hats, ‘Gordon Goodwin’ for my classical work and ‘Dick Goodwin’ for the after-hours jazz character.” Now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina (USC), he headed the theory-composition area beginning in 1973. He received the prestigious USC Educational Foundation Award and the 2001 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Individual Artist Award (the highest honor awarded in the arts by the State of South Carolina). He previously taught composition and theory and launched the jazz program at the University of Texas (UT), where he had earned his doctorate. Before teaching at UT, he served as a band director for the US Coast Guard.
Says Goodwin, “I loved teaching and I had a successful run of it. But I now have the time (and still have the energy) to concentrate full-time on my first love—composing, arranging, producing, and performing.” His myriad compositions and arrangements number more than 1,000, embracing jazz, opera, musical revues, film scores, and jingles, as well as works for orchestra, marching band, chorus, chamber groups, and individual artists. Goodwin’s instruments include trumpet, keyboards, and string bass, and he continues to lead the Dick Goodwin Big Band and Dick Goodwin Quintet and perform in various USC faculty ensembles.
Numerous medleys of the service songs of the US military have been arranged over the years, but Goodwin’s The Six Service Songs, written in 2023, is one of the first to include the Space Force song, which was officially adopted in 2022. The first performance took place on July 4, 2023, by the South Carolina Philharmonic led by Morihiko Nakahara.
According to Goodwin, “I feel like I’ve always known four of the service songs—my father was in the Navy in WWII, and I think that the family sang all of those tunes. I was a band director in the Coast Guard for four years, so I certainly know that anthem. As for the Space Force song, I didn’t think that there was any hurry about learning it, but I found out that the ROTC program here has already graduated several 6th service candidates. I just wonder where they go for boot camp!”
Goodwin’s masterful medley begins with the US Coast Guard’s “Semper paratus” (by Frances S. van Boskerck) followed by the Space Force’s “Semper supra” (by James Teachenor and Sean Nelson) and “The US Air Force (The Wild Blue Yonder)” (words and music by Robert Crawford). We next hear “The Marines’ Hymn: From the Halls of Montezuma” (words: anonymous, some attributed variously to Henry C. Davis, Charles Doyen, and L. Z. Phillips; music based on a melody from Jacques Offenbach’s comic opera Geneviève de Brabant). The US Navy appears next—“Anchors Aweigh” (music by Charles A. Zimmerman; words by Alfred Hart Miles, additional verse by Royal Lovell, revision by George D. Lottman)—and The Six Service Songs concludes grandly with the US Army’s “The Caisson Song” (words and music by Edmond L. Gruber, later revised by H. W. Arberg as “The Army Goes Rolling Along”).
—©Jane Vial Jaffe
Scored for 2 flutes, piccolo, oboe, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, piano, and strings
Originally discouraged in a musical career by his father who ran a celebrated dance orchestra in Vienna, Johann Strauss II eventually achieved international recognition as “the waltz king.” In 1888 he was inspired to write two different compositions in his capacity as “imperial court ball music director” for the jubilee celebrating Franz-Joseph’s fortieth anniversary as emperor. The first, the Emperor’s Jubilee Waltzes, op. 434, is rarely heard today, while the Emperor Waltzes, op. 437, has proved to be one of Strauss’s most enduring and popular works.
Most of Strauss’s great waltzes stem from the 1860s, including his most well-known On the Beautiful Blue Danube. The present Emperor Waltzes and the wonderful Voices of Spring, however, were written two decades later when he was concentrating more on operettas than independent dances pieces. He did include waltz sequences in his operettas, of which Die Fledermaus (The Bat) and The Gypsy Baron achieved the greatest success and renown.
The set of Emperor Waltzes finds itself equally at home in the concert hall as in the dance hall. The work is introduced by a quiet march—a bit Mozartean in style, orchestration, and trills—in which Strauss previews the theme of the first waltz and builds an impressive climax that subsides in a cello solo. The waltz proper is a tender, lilting affair, leading off a string of four charming waltzes. The third is said to recall Franz-Joseph’s military career in its second half, and the last constitutes a ländler (Austrian folk dance in triple meter, precursor to the waltz). The lengthy coda, which again highlights the solo cello, recalls and develops themes from the first and third waltzes. The final reminiscence of the first theme is tinged with an elegant nostalgia before the final flourish.
—©Jane Vial Jaffe
Scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, harp, and strings
Haydn had almost lost interest in writing concertos. Most of his works in the genre were composed between 1756 and 1765, then after a big gap came the D Major Cello Concerto (1783), the Piano Concerto in the same key (1784), and five mini-concertos in 1786 for two lire organizzate (hurdy-gurdy–like instruments with two ranks of organ pipes). Finally, in 1796, he produced one last gem, the E-flat Major Trumpet Concerto, perhaps his best work in the form and one of the world’s greatest trumpet concertos. He was inspired to these heights by the new keyed trumpet, invented by Viennese court trumpet player Anton Weidinger.
Trumpets had traditionally been able to play only a fundamental pitch and its overtones, so only in the extreme upper register could they fill in the notes of a scale. Baroque composers had fully exploited that part of the trumpet’s range, but by the second half of the eighteenth century, the upper range with its special shallow mouthpiece fell into disuse. With fewer notes at their disposal, trumpets were used more for rhythmic and reinforcing purposes than as melody instruments. Weidinger’s keyed trumpet was not the perfect solution—people complained about its tone and intonation—but it opened up new possibilities, which Haydn instantly grasped, and led to the modern valve trumpet.
Weidinger had not quite finished tinkering with his invention in 1796 or perhaps he was perfecting his technique, and thus it was not until March 20, 1800, that Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto was unveiled. The concert, held at the Burgtheater for Weidinger’s own benefit, also included other works he had commissioned for his keyed trumpet and three of Haydn’s symphonies. The Concerto was not published and did not circulate widely in Haydn’s lifetime, probably because Weidinger had exclusive rights, and, for a time, the only instrument on which it could be played.
Imagine the delight of the first audience on hearing the trumpet play the main theme of the first movement—a stepwise passage in low register instead of the usual fanfarelike configurations! Haydn continues to exploit the instrument’s possibilities with chromatic writing and trills, but he also shows off his most advanced sonata-form techniques. Rather than recapitulate the soloist’s second theme—which as in many of his works is somewhat similar to the first—he instead features the wide leaps that had taken place only in the orchestral opening.
The Andante, in a simple ternary design, again takes advantage of the new melodic and harmonic capabilities of Weidinger’s trumpet. The lovely opening melody would not have been possible on the old instrument, nor would the more obvious chromatic alterations and distant keys in the central section.
Haydn’s exuberant Finale shows off the trumpet in its entire range, with perhaps more virtuosity than the first movement—trickier trill passages, more extensive runs, and faster large leaps. In the course of his masterful sonata-rondo form he indulges in fugal interplay, modulatory excursions, and, in the coda, some of the surprising dynamic and harmonic twists that make his music so captivating.
—©Jane Vial Jaffe
Scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings
Composer profile provided by Lawdon Press
Jennifer Higdon is one of America’s most acclaimed figures in contemporary classical music, receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto, a 2018 Grammy for her Viola Concerto, and a 2020 Grammy for her Harp Concerto. In 2018, Higdon received the prestigious Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University which is awarded to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition. Most recently, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Higdon enjoys several hundred performances a year of her works, and blue cathedral is today’s most performed contemporary orchestral work, with more than 650 performances worldwide. Her works have been recorded on more than sixty CDs. Higdon’s first opera, Cold Mountain, won the International Opera Award for Best World Premiere and the opera recording was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Her music is published exclusively by Lawdon Press.
Program note by Jane Vial Jaffe
Composed in 1999 for the Curtis Institute in honor of its seventy-fifth anniversary, blue cathedral memorializes Jennifer Higdon’s younger brother Andrew Blue Higdon, who had died the previous year of a particularly virulent form of skin cancer. She includes numerous direct references to her brother, most significantly his instrument, the clarinet, which entwines with hers, the flute, in the piece’s main theme. “Because I am the older sibling, it is the flute that appears first in this dialog,” wrote the composer. “At the end of the work, the two instruments continue their dialogue, but it is the flute that drops out and the clarinet that continues on in the upward professing journey.” She also makes reference to his age by having the prepared piano—its sound enhanced by the addition of two screws—“chime” thirty-three times. Furthermore, she said, “I put in my birth date and Andy’s birth date (mine: 12-31; his: 7-13) in a very exposed location in the piece.”
On another level the piece is about life’s journey, which her brother’s death had led her to contemplate. “This piece represents the expression of the individual and the group—our inner travels and the places our souls carry us, the lessons we learn, and the growth we experience. Tying these thoughts to the Curtis anniversary she wrote: “Curtis is a house of knowledge—a place to reach towards that beautiful expression of the soul which comes through music.”
In the title, blue refers not only to her brother’s name, but to the sky—“where all possibilities soar”—and cathedral to “a place of thought, growth, spiritual expression, serving as a symbolic doorway into and out of this world.” She continued:
As I was writing this piece, I found myself imagining a journey through a glass cathedral in the sky. Because the walls would be transparent, I saw the image of clouds and blueness permeating from the outside of this church. . . . I wanted to create the sensation of contemplation and quiet peace at the beginning, moving towards the feeling of celebration and ecstatic expansion of the soul, all the while singing along with that heavenly music.
In order to achieve that “heavenly” sonority Higdon included celesta, chimes, glockenspiel, vibes, and crotales in her orchestration, but also some more unusual instruments: Chinese health reflex balls and tuned water goblets. Toward the end, the mysterious shimmering of the Chinese balls—Higdon’s “sound of stars”—builds gradually as one by one players begin shaking them. The delicate ring of the goblets, played by rubbing their rims, enhances the ethereal sheen. Though the piece also contains its moments of grief (plaintive English horn solo) and anger (powerful full orchestra section, brass fanfares), peaceful contemplation perseveres. “It was about deciding if life was going to be about living or about death,” said Higdon. “I was surprised it turned out so positively.”
—©Jane Vial Jaffe
Scored for 2 flutes, 2nd doubling piccolo, oboe, English horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, crotales, marimba, tam-tam, vibraphone, glockenspiel, bell tree, sizzle and suspended cymbals, chimes, bass drum, tom-tom, 2 triangles, 8 tuned crystal glasses, 50–70 Chinese health reflex balls (Chinese bells), harp, and strings
Strauss was quite ready to turn to comedy after the horrors depicted in Salome andElektra. While still working on the latter, he and his librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal had already agreed to collaborate again. Their search for a new subject led to a concoction dreamed up when Hofmannsthal was visiting Count Harry Kessler in Weimar, based on a number of French sources. Hofmannsthal completed the text of Act I in the middle of March 1909, and Strauss sketched the music for it by May 22. The text of Act II required several alterations before composer and librettist were satisfied, but finally by the end of that fall the act had been completed in short score.
While Hofmannsthal was at work on the third act Strauss was orchestrating the preceding acts. As it turns out Acts I and II were printed before Strauss began composing the music for the third act on April 23, 1910. Although Hofmannsthal generally worked ahead of Strauss, the composer had already written the melody for Sophie and Octavian’s final duet on June 26, 1909, and in this case Hofmannsthal had to write words to fit the music. Der Rosenkavalier (The Rose-Bearer), as it was finally called, was completed on September 26, 1910, and the first performance was given in Dresden on January 26, 1911, to riotous acclamation. Other opera houses in Germany, Austria, and Italy were so confident of a successful outcome that they had already begun to rehearse it. Strauss and Hofmannsthal did not consider Der Rosenkavalier their best opera, yet it remains their most popular.
In 1944, when Strauss had ceased most new ventures and turned to writing new versions of earlier material, usually for orchestra, he produced a new Waltz Sequence from Der Rosenkavalier, now known as the “first sequence.” Earlier at the request of publishers, concoctions of waltz sections had been made by other arrangers, notably Otto Singer, and in 1934 an anonymous sequence from Act III had appeared, also possibly by Singer (known as the “second sequence.”) Then in 1945 a potpourri was published under Strauss’s name, which he sanctioned but did not arrange himself entitled Der Rosenkavalier Suite. No arranger has been identified, but some reports suggest that Polish conductor Rodzinsky had something to do with it. Since Strauss’s most popular opera contains few instrumental excerpts that stand on their own, arrangements such as these are the only way audiences have of hearing the gorgeous music with its luscious orchestral sounds in the concert hall.
The 1945 Suite includes the introduction to the first act up to the point when the curtain rises on the Marschallin in bed, with her young lover Octavian standing by. The Suite proceeds with Octavian’s approach for the “Presentation of the Rose” in Act II. It follows well since it is the same thematic material from the opening of the introduction, which had also represented Octavian. The magical chords that punctuate his entrance and the sublime duet with Sophie are like nothing else in the whole realm of music.
The Suite then follows the opera through Octavian’s first sung line, skips to the exquisite, ethereal music for Sophie’s words “Wie himmlische, nicht irdische, wie Rosen vom hoch heiligen Paradies” (How heavenly, not earthly, like roses from the holy Paradise on high) and continues with their duet as they sing of the bliss of the moment. Since Strauss often doubled the vocal lines in the opera with instruments, the melodies in the Suite remain intact, without needing rewriting even when the voices are absent. At one point Sophie is taken by the clarinet and Octavian by the oboe.
Abruptly the Suite plunges into the music of Baron Ochs busting in on the couple in Act II—a theme reused in the Pantomime that begins Act III—followed by the baron’s favorite waltz. It is fascinating that Richard Strauss borrowed this, his most famous waltz, from Josef Strauss’s Dynamiden, op. 73, without acknowledgment. Presumably he thought it unnecessary as he intended to parody the idea of the Viennese waltz. The Suite follows Act II to within four measures of its close. Joined by a few bars from the second section of Act II’s introduction, the great Trio of Act III’s finale ensues; in some of Strauss’s most inspired music the Marschallin accepts the fact that the two young people, Octavian and Sophie, are in love. The remainder of Act III is presented (with a few cuts), finally jumping back to the “quick waltz” that accompanies the confusion of Baron Ochs’s departure just before the finale begins. Thus the Suite provides a rousing waltz ending that differs intriguingly from the emotionally charged close of the original opera.
—©Jane Vial Jaffe
Scored for 3 flutes, 3rd doubling piccolo, 3 oboes, 3rd doubling English horn, 2 clarinets, E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, 3rd doubling contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, glockenspiel, snare drum, cymbal, bass drum, tambourine, rattle, celesta, 2 harps (2nd ad lib.), and strings
John Freeman has enjoyed being the principal trumpet of the Stockton Symphony since 2015. He performs all over Northern California and lives with his wife Robin in Oakland. John also holds principal trumpet positions in three other professional orchestras: San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Fresno Philharmonic, and the Marin Symphony. He is also third trumpet of the Oakland Symphony and second trumpet of Opera San Jose Orchestra.
When he’s not busy performing with these ensembles, John can often be found freelancing with groups such as the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, California Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, and many others. Before moving to the Bay Area, John was the principal trumpet of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina.
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, John received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Michael Sachs and James Darling. John also loves teaching music and has been the trumpet professor at San Jose State University since 2016. He previously served as adjunct trumpet professor at University of California–Davis, California State University–Stanislaus, West Valley Community College, and Dominican University.
As a soloist, John has recently performed the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto with the Auburn Symphony (under the direction of Maestro Jaffe), the Hummel Trumpet Concerto with the Solano Symphony, and the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with the Marin Youth Symphony. He has performed Copland’s Quiet City with San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and was a featured soloist in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Palo Alto Philharmonic.
Outside of solo and symphonic music, John has performed with a wide variety of other ensembles including brass quintets, Broadway pit orchestras, jazz big bands, salsa bands, and several rock bands, including Metallica. John has recorded in many Bay Area recording studios such as Skywalker Sound, *25th Street Recording Studios, Tiny Telephone Studios, Fantasy Studios, and Trilogy Studios, among others.
When he’s not performing or teaching music, John is an avid mountain biker and road cyclist, and he also enjoys running, hiking, and home-roasting coffee.