From the Historic German Evangelical United Church of Christ
Boonville, Missouri: Sunday, June 28, 2009
Ilmari Hopkins, Cello, and Aline Rocha, Piano
A special musical addition to the 2009 Boonville Heritage Days weekend was
the performance by the Finnish-American cellist Ilmari Hopkins and the
Brazilian pianist Aline Rocha on June 28th at the Evangelical United
Church of Christ. Ilmari and Aline were in the U.S. for the North
American tour of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and were visiting
Boonville for the first time especially to perform in Ilmari's ancestral
Ilmari is the son of the pianist and composer James Robert Hopkins of Lahti, Finland. Robert is
the youngest son of the late Woodard Brownfield and Erna Rowe Hopkins of
A Church and Musical Tradition Into Its Third Century
The Hopkins and Rowe families have a strong historical connection with
the church and its musical tradition. Ilmari's great-great-grandfather,
Johann David Christian Rau, was
one of the founders of the original German Evangelical Church of
Boonville, from which the UCC evolved. His great-grandfather William Martin Rowe was church
vice-president and a stalwart of the choir until his death in 1936. His
funeral was the first time that the choir wore robes, which had been
completed in his honor just in time for the service. The church Memorial
Fund was also established at that time in his memory.
All six of William Martin and Christine Toellner Rowe's children, Alverta Rowe
Souder, Edwin Rowe, Erna Rowe Hopkins, Vera Rowe Grathwohl, William
Toellner [W.T.] Rowe, and Kenneth Christian Rowe, were active in the
church and its musical tradition. Erna and Vera were life-long church
members, with their siblings having left Boonville after marriage.
Ilmari's grandfather, Woodard B. Hopkins Sr., was choir director from
1931 until his death in 1961, and all five of Woodard and Erna Hopkins'
children, William Thomas,
Woodard Jr., Sara Jane, John David and James Robert, have been part of the
church's musical history especially William Thomas and Sara Jane
as were Vera's children, Charles William and Elizabeth Ann. On
June 28th, Ilmari continued this musical tradition into its third century,
with Aline accompanying him on the former Hopkins family piano, now in the
Order and Background Notes on the Music
- Prelude: Romance in
C Minor [MP3], Oskar Merikanto (1868-1924)
The Finnish composer Oskar Merikanto was a contemporary of Jean
Sibelius; both of their Romances were composed in the late 19th
century, during a period of growing nationalism before Independence
in 1917. The Romance in C Minor especially reflects the melancholic,
nostalgic mood of Finnish folk music.
- Special Music:
Love Thee [MP3], (op.5, #3), Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) and
Romance op.78 N.2 [MP3], Jean Sibelius (1865-1967)
Edvard Grieg's I Love Thee was a frequent request for
Woodard Hopkins Sr. to sing at local weddings, often accompanied by
Sara Jane on the piano. It was also performed by Robert on the piano
and Ilmari on the cello for the 1999 wedding in Tampere, Finland, of
John and Maritta's daughter Christina Anne Elisabeth.
The thought of being so in love with someone that you want to be with
them into eternity is so romantic that once Grieg had set Hans
Christian Andersen's poem Jeg elsker dig to music, it soon had many
variations. The version sung by Woodard Hopkins Sr. was based on the
German Ich liebe dich by F. von Holstein.
The English translation of the lyrics is:
"Thou art my joy, the radiance of my being,
Thou art my heart's desire, my ecstasy!
I cherish thee, my every passion freeing,
I love thee, dear; I love thee, dear,
I love thee, dear; now and eternally;
I love thee dear, now and eternally."
- Offertory Music:
Allegro moderato [MP3], Franz Schubert
(1797-1828), from the D821 'Arpeggione' Sonata in A Minor
Schubert's D821 Sonata in A Minor (1824) was originally written
for the "arpeggione," or the guitarre d'amour. Nowadays it is usually
performed on a viola or cello. The opening Allegro moderato is built
around a hauntingly beautiful melody which is often recognized even by
those who have never heard of the sonata.
- Pre-Hymn: Theme from
Finlandia, Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius' Finlandia is not only a national song of Finland,
but was also the music played at the April 12, 1941 wedding of Vera Rowe
and Henry Grathwohl by her sister, Alverta Rowe Souder, on the piano, with
Woodard Hopkins Sr. the soloist. Finlandia is also the melody for
Vera's favorite hymn, "This is My Song," which after two of the Hopkins
brothers had moved to Finland, always seemed to appear, as if by magic, in
the worship service whenever they returned to their home church.
- Post-Service: Sonata for Piano and Cello in E
Minor, (op. 38) Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Brahms' First Cello Sonata is a powerful work by one of music's
greatest composers, a favorite of Ilmari's that he and his father had
performed for Sara when she was last in Finland, for the wedding of
Ilmari's sister Marilla, for whom Sara is godmother.
Allegro non troppo [MP3] builds to a climax in which it is
the cello that accompanies the piano, reminding us that the work is
titled Sonate für Klavier und Violoncello and not the
other way around. The second movement,
Allegretto quasi Menuetto [MP3], is a melancholy minuet.
Allegro [MP3] is a passionate fugue that evolves into a
rondo, concluding with a coda.
Background on Ilmari Hopkins and Aline Rocha
Born in Finland, Ilmari Hopkins is principal cellist of the Stavanger (Norway) Symphony Orchestra. Ilmari
has performed widely as a soloist with orchestra and in chamber music
ensembles in Europe, South America and Japan.
The Skasei Trio ensemble in
which he performs was winner of the Europe-wide Gaetano Zinetti
Competition in Verona, Italy, in 2006. Ilmari is on the Youth Orchestra
of the Americas faculty for the 2nd year.
Born in Brazil, Aline Rocha has received prizes in numerous competitions,
most recently the Claudio Arrau International Piano Competition in Chile.
Aline is also in her second year with YOA. In 2008 she performed as a
soloist with the Symphonic Orchestra of Colombia under Jean-Pascal
Hamelin, and in the fall of 2009 she will record a CD featuring the music
of the Brazilian composer Calimerio Soares under the direction of the
German conductor Götz Hartmann.
The Youth Orchestra of the Americas, led
by Artistic Advisor Plácido Domingo, is a multicultural world class
symphony of outstanding musicians aged 18-28 from North and
South America, promoting international friendship and understanding
through music. All players are selected through national and international
auditions, and perform on full scholarship.
Hopkins and Rowe Relatives Who Returned For the Service
Among the Hopkins and Rowe relatives present for the June 28 service were
Sara Jane Hopkins Beene; Patricia Miller Hopkins; John and Maritta
Hopkins; James and Joyce Hopkins Symmonds (daughter of Woodard's brother
Harry Hopkins); Norma Jean Hopkins Swartz (daughter of Woodard's brother
Forrest Hopkins); Ann Souder Schreen (daughter of Alverta Rowe Souder);
Angalia (`Ann') Haas Rowe, wife of W.T. Rowe, and her son Ed and his wife
Karen; Betty Ann Grathwohl Maddex (daughter of Vera Grathwohl), and her
husband Robert Maddex; and Kurt and Kristen Grathwohl, Vera's
The online recordings linked above are in compressed MP3 format for easier
web playback. A CD in full digital audio (see cover and tracklist above)
of the June 28 church service and performance is also available.
The original recording was via an Olympus Digital LS-10 Linear PCM
Recorder mounted on a Shannon tripod.
Digital editing and MP3 conversion was via Audacity, with the CD produced
via Nero software.
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Last Updated 15 September 2016