Program Notes for March 24 & 26

Beethoven Mar 2017 Poster.jpg

Beethoven & Sibelius Concerts

Symphony No. 4 in B opus 60 (1806)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

This is considered one of the good-humored even-numbered symphonies of Beethoven, yet this composer whom we never outgrow toys with us wickedly in the symphony's slow introduction: dark, snaking melodies, groaning bass sonorities, doubt after doubt expressed with no resolution offered, not a glimpse of a major chord...and in a flash, four movements emerge exploring worlds of untrammeled joy and freedom. Personally, I hear brilliance and romping playfulness in the first movement (once the gloomy introduction is brushed aside); serenity and generous acceptance in the slow movement; the capacity to laugh without mockery in the Scherzo; and self-acceptance, ease with the whole world, and everything in it, in the finale.

Those are my words and interpretations, and I look forward to taking myself by surprise in our rehearsals and performances together, and discover vistas and details I have never before encountered. 

Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra opus 47 (1905)
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

I. Allegro moderato

Jayna Leach, violin. Winner of Windham Orchestra Concerto Competition

Jayna Leach from Keene, the winner of our Windham Orchestra Concerto Competition, plays a substantial single movement by Sibelius, Finland's most celebrated composer. It is easy to associate Sibelius' music with a very particular northern, or Nordic, aesthetic of beauty, embracing darkness, introspection, and cold. The last Sibelius we played portrayed a wild, exhausting storm.

Now, as we embark on our rehearsals, I am struck by the warm, sunny richness (Mediterranean even!) of major passages of the violin concerto.

Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Sinfonia Eroica (1804)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

A memoir of Ferdinand Ries in 1804, visiting Beethoven:

"In writing this symphony Beethoven had been thinking of Buonaparte, but Buonaparte while he was First Consul. At that time Beethoven had the highest esteem for him and compared him to the greatest consuls of ancient Rome. Not only I, but many of Beethoven¹s closer friends, saw this symphony on his table, beautifully copied in manuscript, with the word "Buonaparte" inscribed at the very top of the title-page and "Luigi van Beethoven" at the very bottom. ...I was the first to tell him the

news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, "So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!" Beethoven went to the table, seized the top of the title-page, tore it in half and threw it on the floor. The page had to be re-copied and it was only now that the symphony received the title "Sinfonia Eroica."

Only one French horn is added to a standard classical orchestra, and awestruck, we enter a world of sonic richness and complexity un-inferrable from CPE Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven's two preceding symphonies.

Two declamatory chords open the vast first movement, miraculously these two moments of fission cause an expansion of formal engagement—time—that is without precedent. The movement is not just long, it has the quality of traveling without knowing where borders might be; we dwell for noticeable periods in realms greatly distant from our starting point of those two chords. Known experiences offer no stability or insight.

I find myself faced with limited resources in finding words for the Eroica, so just some questions. Where in the music, if anywhere, can 'heroic' be found?

Do you find a quality of 'joke' anywhere? If so, is there any incongruity?

Who, or what, do you experience as having died in the second movement Funeral March? Not as a matter of knowing the development of Beethoven's relationship Napoleon Buonaparte, but your reactions as you listen deeply, and encounter the music at its essence.

Violinist Jayna Leach Wins the 2017 Windham Orchestra Concerto Competition

We're pleased to announce that Jayna Leach, a 15-year-old violinist from Keene, New Hampshire, is the winner of this year's Windham Orchestra Concerto Competition. She played Sibelius Violin Concerto in the audition on February 5th, and will join the orchestra for the first movement of that work in our March concerts:

Friday, March 24, 2017, 7:30pm
The Putney School, Putney, VT

Sunday, March 26, 2017, 3pm
Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, VT

Jayna was a winner in an extraordinary field of players. She is already a musician of wide accomplishment, and her performances will be unmissable.

The rest of the Windham Orchestra program is devoted to Beethoven: the warm and light-hearted Symphony No. 4, and the heavens-storming Symphony No. 3, Eroica. Each piece offers a perspective on living with beauty and transcendence in turbulent times. This music is for us, now.

Audition for the Windham Orchestra's 2017 Concerto Competition!

Twenty-seventeen marks the 32nd year in which we have extended the invitation to participate in the Windham Orchestra Concerto Competition. The competition is open to serious instrumental, and this year for the first time, vocal music students in grades nine through twelve who live or attend schools in the following counties:

VT: Windsor, Windham, Bennington
NH: Cheshire, Sullivan, Grafton
MA: Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire

Auditions for the competition will be held on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at the Brattleboro Music Center, 38 Walnut Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301. Applications must be received on or before January 31, 2017.

The winner will receive $200 and an opportunity to perform with the Windham Orchestra on Thursday, March 23rd and Sunday, March 26th in Southern Vermont.

For more information contact 802-257-7623 or

Join us for passion and drama in Verdi's Il Trovatore

Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi



The perfect activity if you are not going to the Presidential Inauguration!

One great tune after another, a superlative Vermont cast of Julie Olsson, Jenna Rae, Cailin Marcel Manson, Javier Luengo Garrido, Elizabeth Wohl, James Anderson, and from Massachusetts Ethan Bremner as Manrico. We have the great singers for one of the central operas of the repertoire: our five principals are spine-tingling in their passion and vocal power. The Windham Orchestra is playing at white heat. Vermont operating at an international level.

We can't have any burnings-at-the-stake in the Latchis Theater, but we sing about them a lot. Also mistaken identities of babies in the cradle, spookiness and obsession, warfare at the national, family and personal levels. Some form of strife for everybody, and no, there is no absurd happy ending.

The whole opera is full of highlights. Memorable above all are the arias of longing and love; Manrico racing to save his mother from the stake; Azucena the wild gypsy living her inherited traumas over and over; the sublimely sad Act IV 'Miserere'...

AND the Anvil Chorus! Audience: please bring something to produce a light metallic clashing sound so you can play along in Act II. Maybe a pair of spoons, but remember: safety first.

Very Warmly,

Hugh Keelan
Music Director, Windham Orchestra

Announcing the Windham Orchestra's 2016-2017 Season!


The Windham Orchestra offers you a season of life-and-death emotion, virtuosic challenge, intellectual intensity and profound connection. We all experience music as a direct contact with these shared human phenomena and each of our concerts offers a rich and beautiful access to our own core.

In our opening concert, we experience what it is to live with the recent history of our town of Brattleboro, what it is to live in nature and the elements, what it is to be a flawed hero. Later: family drama painted very large; music that endures as a perpetual summit, no matter how frequently we scale it; purest beauty and delight. 

We hope you'll join us at one of our upcoming concerts!

People Who Change Our Lives

A Special Joint Concert with the Sage City Symphony


Saturday, November 12, 2016, 7pm
Shaftsbury Elementary School, Shaftsbury, VT

Sunday, November 13, 2016, 3pm
Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, VT


Carl Ruggles           Sun-treader

Philip Thomas Bloch    “for Nick and Alex”

Richard Strauss        Don Quixote
   with Michael Finckel, cello
           Catharine Hall-Schor, viola

The Troubadour


Friday, January 20, 2017, 7pm
Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, VT

Sunday, January 22, 2017, 2pm
Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, VT


Verdi          Il Trovatore
    with Jenna Rae, Julie Olsson, Elizabeth Wohl, Ethan Bremner,
            Cailin Marcel-Manson, Javier Luengo-Garrido



Friday, March 24, 2017, 7:30pm
The Putney School, Putney, VT

Sunday, March 26, 2017, 3pm
Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, VT


Beethoven      Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 3, 'Eroica'

Concerto, with Windham Orchestra Concerto Competition Winner



Friday, May 5, 2017, 7:30pm
Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro, VT

Sunday, May 7, 2017, 3pm
Bellows Falls Union High School, Westminster, VT


Dvorak         Slavonic Rhapsody No. 1

Prokofieff     Violin Concerto No. 2
    with David Horak

Respighi       Fountains of Rome