Polovtsian Dances, February 3
Alexander Borodin (1833 – 1887)
“Overture” and “Polovtsian Dances” from Prince Igor (1887)
As a doctor and chemist, Alexander Borodin provided science with such discoveries as “the first nucleophilic displacement of chlorine by fluorine in benzoyl chloride,” but fortunately we also have the fruits of his avocation in the form of a small body of memorable musical compositions. He wrote tuneful symphonies and string quartets, and left an unfinished opera about 12th-century Prince Igor and his war against the Polovtsy. After Borodin’s sudden death, his friends Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov finished Prince Igor, leading to a posthumous premiere in 1890.
Karel Husa (1921 – 2016)
“Élégie et Rondeau” for alto saxophone and orchestra (1961)
Czech-born composer Karel Husa became a US citizen in 1959 and spent his final years in Apex, North Carolina. A prolific composer, he won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for music. His 1961 “Élégie et Rondeau” begins slowly with a long solo line for the alto saxophone. Strings and later the rest of the orchestra gradually join to create an intense climax. After it subsides, bells, xylophone, vibraphone and piano introduce scattered notes that gradually assemble into a short melodic cell, providing the basis for the strongly rhythmic figures of the Rondeau.
Max Bruch (1838 – 1920)
Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 (1866)
Max Bruch was a teacher and composer who also spent three seasons as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society. Such has been the popularity of his Violin Concerto No. 1 that it has threatened to make the composer into a “one-hit wonder.” The ravishing melodies that spin across the entire range of the violin are instantly gratifying, as is the skillful interweaving of the solo instrument and orchestra.
The Dance of the Coin (2017)
Julia Walker Jewell – Director, Composer/Creator/Screenplay
Honey Head Films – Co-Direction and Cinematography
Lesa Rogers Broadhead – Co-Director, Choreographer, Independent Dance Artist
Steven Errante, Orchestration
The Dance of the Coin is a multi-media work for film, dance and music that traces the journey of a 1942 German Third Reich 5 Pfening coin as it travels in time through the hands of both Jews and non-Jews, eventually landing in the palm of Julia Walker Jewell in North Carolina in 2009.
A film and choreographed dance sequences, accompanied by piano and orchestra, provide a series of vignettes which juxtapose the increasing suffering and despair of the Jewish people against the increasing power of the Nazi officers. Eight dancers perform on stage, working as one with the music and film. All three aspects of this piece are designed to stand alone and represent the work independently as well as part of the multi-media stage piece.
Composer Julia Walker Jewell offers the following reflection on The Dance of the Coin:
“The Dance of the Coin is intended to provide the audience with a glimpse into how the lives of those who hold and pass along this coin are affected. As the coin travels from Germany to America, the power of the hand is symbolized. It is the power of the hand that has the potential to be vigilant and strong, and not be indifferent. By using our hands to make music, film and dance, hopefully, we will not experience a repeat of the past, but create a future that embraces all faiths, colors, and cultures.
“Although I have been composing classical music most of my adult life, it is only recently that I have started to see the ‘fruits of my labor.’ As this work deals with an important part of human history, it is also an educational piece – one that invites the audience to ponder and reflect on how people behaved toward one another during such a difficult time. I have done a tremendous amount of research and taken great care to show historical accuracy in the vignettes I have created. I think the educational aspect of this work is beneficial to people of all ages, especially since the film, choreography or music can stand alone and be used as teaching tools.
“Primarily, it is my hope that The Dance of the Coin is a work of art; that it portrays, reflects and comments on humanity while entertaining, and that it leaves the audience with more hope and inspiration than when they arrived.”
Composer and keyboardist, Julia Walker Jewell is a native of Wilmington, NC. She is currently the full time Director of Music at Wrightsville United Methodist Church, where she serves as organist and directs the adult, handbell and children’s choirs. She is also the leader of the Port City Trio, a long time Wilmington band. Along with her husband, Kelly, she owns and operates Ted’s Fun on the River, a popular music venue in downtown Wilmington.
As a composer, she writes in both the classical and jazz idioms. In addition to writing for her Jazz Quintet, her classical works have been featured by the Tallis Chamber Orchestra of Wilmington, the “ComposerWorks Series”, and the “Very Special Arts Festival” in Brussels, Belgium. She received her B.A. from UNC Wilmington where she studied piano with Dr. Richard Deas and did her graduate work at Oakland University in Rochester, MI, studying commercial music and jazz.
Choreographer Lesa Rogers Broadhead earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance and drama from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Professionally she has performed with The Cleveland Opera and the Atlanta Ballet. Lesa has also held teaching posts at Louisiana State University, Huntingdon College, Kent State University and the University of Akron.
Ms. Broadhead’s choreography includes reconstructing classical ballet favorites and contemporary works with themes on historical and societal issues, such as the Holocaust. In 1995 she was artist-in-residence at De Montfort University, Bedford, England, choreographing her first international Holocaust related dance work. In 1999 she presented three of her Holocaust related dance works at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by the museum and the Embassy of Israel. These dance works have been the stimuli for Broadhead writing her first book with the working title THE HOLOCAUST: A Journey through Dance. Currently, Lesa teaches at Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts, DREAMS of Wilmington, and at Brunswick Community College.
HoneyHead Films is a full service East Coast based female production company. Founded in 2016, HoneyHead Films specializes in magical connections with tangible results, and is passionate about the untold art. Co-Executive Producers: Erika Edwards, Kristi Ray, and Devan Clark.
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Steven Errante, conductor
Unless indicated, all program notes are researched and written by Dr. Steven Errante.