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As a conductor and academic, Erik is ever interested in the back stories and origins of music, composers, and performers.  He enjoys sharing those stories through concert comments and printed program notes for his own orchestras and others.  Over the years he has compiled an anthology of hundreds of program notes, available for print by other organizations for a nominal fee.  For a quote on publishing program notes for your organization, please send Erik an e-mail at
For a sample of Erik's writing and a list of works previously published, please see below.  Newly written program notes are also available for pieces not listed below.


Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)

Symphony No. 82 in C Major, "The Bear" (1786)


The story of Joseph Haydn is an ultimate success story.  Born in a very small village in Austria, he was recognized as having musical talent very early, and at a relatively young age found himself in the employment of the Esterházy family, whom he served for nearly all of his life as court composer and Kapellmeister.  For most of his life he lived and worked in a small corner of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and yet, his music (and his fame) spread throughout Europe, and as far as Prussia and even America.  By the end of his life he was finally able to travel to London, where he found his fame was nearly boundless.  He was endlessly inventive, and extremely prolific.  Known as the father of both the symphony and the string quartet, his influence was far-reaching and well-recognized even in his lifetime.


When he received the commission for six symphonies from Le Concert de la Loge Olympique in Paris in 1785, Haydn was coming to the height of his mature compositional powers.  The commission was a recognition of the composer’s immense popularity in Paris, and he was handsomely paid for the works.  He wrote six symphonies that were premiered during the 1785 – 1786 season under the baton of the Chevalier du Saint-Georges, himself a remarkable figure in the history of Western Classical music, remembered now primarily for his association with Haydn and Mozart, but in his lifetime famous as a composer, violinist, conductor, and one of the greatest fencers and military leaders in Europe.  Haydn’s symphonies were met with considerable success, performed several times that season, and quickly published in Paris.  The pieces were so successful in fact that the rival Parisian concert series, the Concert Spirituel also played the six symphonies.  It had been for the Concert Spirituel that Mozart had written his single “Paris” Symphony just a few years earlier.


As is so often the case, the nickname of “The Bear” came to be added to the symphony long after Haydn’s lifetime.  The first written record of the name comes from a piano arrangement made in 1829 that lists the last movement as “Danse de l'Ours,” or Dance of the Bears.  It comes from the vigorous last movement, which features a dance-like melody played over a low-sustained drone.  In the other movements too, Haydn adds so many little details to give a nod to his French audience.  Even though he never made it to Paris, he was remarkably both well-informed and well-connected outside of the remote city of Eisenstadt where he worked for almost his entire creative life.


The first movement starts with a grand upward gesture, a bold beginning that the French would have recognized immediately as a premier coup, sort of a musical opening volley.  Throughout the movement, and indeed the whole symphony, Haydn created all sorts of surprising harmonic effects that certainly delighted the Parisian audiences.  They even wrote about Haydn's grand effets d’harmonie.  The second movement is sort of a loose theme and variations movement.  In some ways there are two sets of variations alternating with each other.  Typical for Haydn, it isn’t really a slow movement, but has more of a jaunty moderate tempo.  The third movement, a Minuet, is Haydn’s typical formal dance in 3.  Instead, however of writing the German ‘Minuet,’ he opts for a lighter, French ‘Menuet,’ another nod to his adoring Parisian fans.

Notes Sample

Previously published works

Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Cantata 140: Wachet Auf!

  • Concerto for Two Violins


  • Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537

Grażyna Bacewicz

  • Concerto for String Orchestra

Samuel Barber

  • Adagio for Strings 

  • Symphony No. 1 in One Movement 

Bela Bartok

  • Piano Concerto No. 3

  • Concerto for Orchestra 

Amy Beach

  • Bal Masqué

Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Symphony No. 5

  • Symphony No. 6 

  • Symphony No. 7 

  • Symphony No. 9

  • Piano Concerto No. 4 

  • Triple Concerto


  • String Quartet No. 11 ‘Serioso’ 

Leonard Bernstein

  • Serenade (After Plato’s “Symposium”) 

Lili Boulanger

  • D’un matin de printemps 

Johannes Brahms

  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor 

  • Symphony No. 1 

Benjamin Britten

  • Simple Symphony 

  • Sinfonietta, Op. 1

Max Bruch

  • Scottish Fantasy 

Anton Bruckner

  • Symphony No. 2 in C minor 

Ruth Crawford Seeger

  • Rissolty-Rossolty

Frederic Chopin

  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor

Aaron Copland

  • Lincoln Portrait 

Archangelo Corelli

  • Concerto Grosso in D Major 

John Corigliano

  • Fern Hill 

Michael Daugherty

  • Asclepius 

  • Route 66 

Claude Debussy

  • La Mer 

David Diamond

  • Rounds for String Orchestra

Antonin Dvorak

  • Violin Concerto 

  • Cello Concerto 

  • String Serenade

  • Wind Serenade

Edward Elgar

  • Cello Concerto 

Michael-Thomas Foumai

  • Kaunānā

  • Concerto Grosso

Giovanni Gabrieli

  • Canzon à 12 

Edvard Grieg

  • Piano Concerto 

  • Peer Gynt: Suite No. 1, Op. 46 

Joseph Haydn

  • Symphony No. 30 ‘Alleluia’ 

  • Symphony No. 82 in C Major, ‘The Bear’

  • Symphony No. 85 in B-flat Major 

  • Symphony No. 88 

  • Symphony No. 102 in B-flat Major

Steve Heitzeg

Flower of the Earth: Homage to Georgia O’Keeffe

Henry VIII

  • Pastime with Good Company 

Jennifer Higdon

  • To the Point 

  • Soliloquy

Gustav Holst

  • Christmas Day (arr. Haislip) 

Jacques Ibert

  • Hommage à Mozart 

André Jolivet

  • Concerto for Flute 

Hannah Kendall

  • The Spark Catchers 

Erich Korngold

  • Violin Concerto 

Morton Lauridson

  • O Magnum Mysterium 

Gustav Mahler

  • Symphony No. 1 “Titan” 

Arr. Marchand

  • Gaudete, Christus Natus Est 

Cindy McTee

  • Circuits 

Felix Mendelssohn

  • Symphony No. 4 ‘Italian’ 

Darius Milhaud

  • La creation du monde 

W. A. Mozart

  • Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major 

  • Horn Concerto No. 4 

  • Violin Concerto in A Major

  • Symphony No. 1 in E-flat Major 

  • Symphony No. 29 

  • Symphony No. 40 in G Minor

  • Symphony No. 41 in C Major ‘Jupiter’ 

  • Don Giovanni Overture 

  • Exultate Jubilate 

  • Sinfonia Concertante 

  • Clarinet Quintet

Carl Nielsen

  • Clarinet Concerto 

Astor Piazzolla

  • Four Seasons of Buenos Aires 

Francis Poulenc

  • Organ Concerto in G Minor 

Sergei Rachmaninoff

  • Piano Concerto No. 2 

  • Piano Concerto No. 3 

Jean-Batiste Rameau

  • La Poule from Nouvelles Suites 

Maurice Ravel

  • Pavane for a Dead Princess 

  • Bolero 

Ottorino Respighi

  • Pines of Rome 

Le Chevalier du Saint-Georges

  • Violin Concerto No. 9 in G Major, Op. 8 

Camille Saint-Saëns

  • Piano Concerto No. 2 

  • Symphony No. 3 in C Minor 

Robert Schumann

  • Violin Concerto 

  • Symphony No. 1 ‘Spring’ 

Dmitri Shostakovich

  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35 

  • Violin Concerto No. 1 

  • Symphony No. 9 

Bedrich Smetana

  • Bartered Bride Overture 

Jean Sibelius

  • Symphony No. 5 

Ethyl Smyth

  • Serenade in D

James Stevenson

  • ROCOMotive

Richard Strauss

  • Don Juan 

  • Der Rosenkavalier Suite 

Johann Strauss II

  • Voices of Spring 

Igor Stravinsky

  • Concerto in E-flat ‘Dumbarton Oaks’ 

Piotr Tchaikovsky

  • Symphony No. 5 

  • Variations on a Rococo Theme 

  • Swan Lake: Suite 

  • Serenade for Strings 

Augusta Read Thomas

  • Prayer and Celebration

Randall Thompson

  • Suite for Oboe, Clarinet, and Viola

  • Alleluia

Henri Tomasi

  • Fanfares liturgiques 

Michael Torke

  • Javelin 

Joan Tower

  • Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman #1 

Ralph Vaughan Williams

  • The Lark Ascending 

Antonio Vivaldi

  • Nulla in mundo pax sincera 

  • Arias for countertenor (various) 

Richard Wagner

  • ‘Forest Murmers’ from Siegfried 

John Williams

  • Various 

Takashi Yoshimatsu

  • Atom Hearts Club Suite No. 2 

Roger Zare

  • Fanfare Solaris 

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