MEDIA PARTNER

Sunday, June 20, 2004

ARCHIVE  •  2004  •  SUN 20  •  MON 21  •  WED 23  •  FRI 25  •  SUN 27

Saint Michael & All Angels Church, 4 p.m.

Baroque Concertos

Rob Diggins, violin
William Skeen, violoncello
Todd French, violoncello
John Thiessen, trumpet
Gabriel Arregui, organ
Strings of the Festival Orchestra
Burton Karson, conductor


Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Concerto in G minor, RV 416
for violoncello (performed by William Skeen)

Allegro
Adagio
Allegro


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
for violin

Allegro
Andante
Allegro assai


Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Concerto in D
for trumpet

Grave
Allegro
Grave
Allegro
Allegro

Intermission


Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Concerto in G minor, RV 531
for two violoncellos

Allegro
Largo
Allegro


Michel Corrette (1709-1795)
Concerto in G
for organ

Allegro
Gavotte I (Andante); Gavotte II
Allegro


Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709)
Sinfornia con Tromba in D
for trumpet

Allegro
Adagio
Allegro
Allegro


Nhe title “concerto,” from the Italian concertare (to contend, to agree, to get together), ofen was given to tpes of compositions that may surprise us. Seventeeth-century “concertos” frequently employed various ensembles, often small versus large singing and playing in contast with each other, sometimes pitting soloists against larger vocal or instrumental choruses. The earliest publication entitled Concerti, from Venice in 1597, contained sacred vocal motets and secular madrigals by Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli. German composer Michael Praetorius, in 1618, wrote that nearly all Italians used the term concerto for sacred compositions for voices and instruments. A century later, J.S. Bach titled church cantatas “concerto,” since they contasted vocal solos (often in duet with solo instruments) with chorus and orchestra — a dramatic illustration of which we shall hear next Sunday in our Festival Finale.

The Baroque concerto grosso pitted a small group of soloists, the concertino, against the larger string ensemble with harpischord, the ripeno, some of the earliest and most influential being those of Corelli. Torelli and Vivaldi must be credited with the earliest truly solo instrumental concertos in a form that immediately influenced composers all over Europe.

 TOP

The fast-slow-fast arrangement of movements, solidifed by Vivaldi, is heard today in his G minor concertos for both one and two cellos, the latter being the only known double concerto for that instrument. In both, his principle of an orchestral ritornello versus dazzling solo passages clearly delineates the contrasting roles of soloist(s) and orchestra, and his melodic inventiveness and technical demands on soloists illustrate his complete familiarity with instruments and the expectations of audiences. BACK

 TOP

Bach’s popular A minor concerto for violin will sound familiar to those acquainted with his harspichord concerto in G minor, BWV 1058. He often borrowed from himself when hurriedly searching for materials for a new composition. Here the ubiquitous ritornello principle of the repeated theme is clearly evident, but without the orchestra giving the soloist as much rest as Vivaldi might have done, resulting in a workout for both players and listeners. BACK

 TOP

Corrette composed solo and chamber pieces for many instruments, in addition to comic secular vocal and vaudeville works for the stage, and Latin motets and masses for the church. He was a famous (from his reputation, perhaps infamous) teacher, and his published teaching methods for flute, double bass and violin offer much insight into musical practices of his time in France and England. He occupied several positions as organist in French churches and noble households, so his obvious facility at the organ — coupled with what he must have heard of Handel’s organ concertos during his visit to England — resulted in six concertos “for harpsichord or organ,” a choice of words perhaps made by Corrette’s publisher to enhance their commercial potential.

The first movement of the G major concerto, played this time on the organ, includes trills in the riotrnello and in passages assigned to a solo violin. The gavottes (the first repeated after the second) are attractively dance-like, and the third movements again gives us solo passages and typically French ornamentation. BACK

 TOP

The terms “sonata” (from suonare, to sound) and “sinfonia” (from a Greek term meaning sounding together) illustrate a historical casualness in specific terminology, since these pieces for trumpet by Corelli and Torelli are, according to our understanding, concertos. Their multiple movements precede Vivaldi’s groupings of three, but their orchestral ritornelli reflect thematic elements from the opening statements.

The Baroque trumpet’s reliance on pitches in the natural overtone series, similar to that of a valveless modern bugle but with a different fundamental pitch, places its virtuosic scale passages in a high and dramatically captivating if technically risky range. We have only this trumpet piece of Corelli, but Torelli’s prolific output will be evidence again Monday and Wednesday evenings. BACK

Notes by Burton Karson

TOP


BAROQUE MUSIC FESTIVAL CORONA DEL MARFacebook
Post Office Box 838 | Corona del Mar, CA 92625-0838
Tel. (949) 760-7887 | info@BMF-CdM.org
Kindly report any problem to the webmaster.