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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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

Sherman Library & Gardens, Central Patio Room, 8 p.m.

Music in the Gardens I

Claire Fedoruk, soprano
Jonathan Mack, tenor
Aram Barsamian, baritone

Rob Diggins, violin
Jolianne von Einem, violin
Zachary Carrettin, viola
John Thiessen, trumpet
William Skeen, violoncello
Gabriel Arregui, harpsichord
Burton Karson, conductor
 


Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Hark, how the wild musicians sing, Z 542

Trio: Hark, how the wild musicians sing
Soprano: Look how the fields clad in flowery dress
Trio: Pleased Nature, thus dressed up in all her charms
Bass: Then why, Dorinda, should we not rejoice like them
Trio: We’ll freely feast love’s eager appetite
Tenor: Though now your eyes are all divine
Trio: Then let us not waste the dear minutes


Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)
Sinfonia in G
For four strings

Allegro
Minuetto
Allegro


Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)
Sonata in C
For trumpet, strings & continuo

Grave
Allegro
Grave
Allegro


George Frideric Handel (1685-1795)
Excerpts from Acis & Galatea , HWV 49

Recitative: Ye verdant plains
Aria:
Hush, ye pretty warbling quire!
Recitative: I rage, I melt
Aria: O ruddier than the cherry
Aria: Would you gain the tender creature
Trio: The flocks shall leave the mountains

Intermission


Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)
Sonata in D
For trumpet & strings

Grave; Allegro
Grave
Allegro


Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1634-1704)
Le mariage forcé
Music for Molière’s Comédie

Overture
Dialogue: My good friend, tell me in faith
Grotesque Trio: Duan Juans with graying hair
Menuet
Plain or comely, it makes no difference
Ah! What a strange, fantastic notion
Gavotte
La, la, la, la, la...bonjour
Les Grotesques (strings)
O, la belle symphonie! How it’s soothing and full of charm! Let’s join it with songs so sweet of the dogs, the cats, and the nightingales of Arcadia. Caw, caw, caw.
Bow, wow, wow. Meow, meow, meow. Arf, arf, arf.
Hee haw, hee haw, hee haw.
O, the superb concert and the sweet harmony.

Le mariage forcé is published in Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Music for Molière’s Comedies, edited by John S. Powell, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, Vol. 63 (A-R Editions, Inc., 1990, Madison, WI). Used with permission.

Reception


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Henry Purcell was England’s greatest composer of the 17th century, and the honor he enjoyed during 36 years of a highly productive life were followed by a funeral with great pomp and burial near the organ over which he had presided in Westminster Abbey. To support a wife and their seven children, he accepted royal appointments as keeper of instruments and organist while composing more than 50 anthems and services for the church, plus festive odes and welcome songs for royal occasions. He also turned out a half-dozen operatic works (including the first English opera, Dido and Aeneas), over 40 pieces of incidental music including songs for stage plays, hundreds of songs for solo voice and continuo, more than 50 unaccompanied “catches” (polyphonic secular songs, some of which border on the smutty), dozens of harpsichord pieces (some arranged from his own dramatic works), and songs for two or more voices with continuo and occasionally a few other instruments.

“Hark, how the wild musicians sing” is one of the latter, celebrating the joys of youth in May, Nature dressed up in her charms, he budding trees anticipating summer, and lovers who pity dull mortals who never know the greatest blessings the gods can bestow. BACK

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Albinoni attained great fame during his lifetime, in his native Venice, and throughout much of Europe. He supported his operatic soprano wife and their six children through a prolific compositional output: 80 operas, more than 40 solo cantatas, 79 sonatas for various instruments with continuo for church and chamber, 59 concerts and eight sinfonias. His publications were popular and known even to Bach, who used his music for teaching materials in northern Germany.

This Sinfonia in G is for four strings, uncharacteristically without a figured bass for the ubiquitous basso continuo that relied on the harpsichord to keep the strings together and in tune. Thus it may be the first piece that pointed toward the Classical string quartet of two violins, viola and violoncello, all of equal importance. BACK

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Albinoni’s Sonata in C really is a concerto for trumpet and strings, although its slow-fast-slow-fast pattern reflects the sonata da chiesa more than the concerto à la Vivaldi. The key of C is unusual, since most trumpet music of the period is in D. The trumpet remains silent in the slow movements, but in the others, particularly the last, it chases or echoes the strings in a most gamely manner. BACK

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Handel’s Acis and Galatea was conceived and first performed in 1718, while he was working for the Duke of Chandos at Cannons, and revised twice, 1739 and 1742 (the year of Messiah). It is distinctly operatic in musical character but more ike a masque or “pastoral opera” in form. Based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the mythical story was set by many other composers in France, England, Italy and Germany. These excerpts give us an example of how the characters Acis, Galatea and Polyphemus are characterized in dramatic recitatives and memorably melodic operas. BACK

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Torelli’s sonatas (somewhat synonymously concertos and sinfonias) are well represented in this year’s Festival, being heard on last Sunday’s concerto program, Monday evening’s organ recital, and this evening. The slow movements give the trumpet a recess, the interplay between soloist and strings occurring in the fast movements. Of special interest is the duet between trumpet and violoncello in the middle Allegro. BACK

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Charpentier, a Parisian, studied during a five-year Italian period with the great Carissimi in Rome, but seems to have suffered lifelong under the popularity of his contemporary Lully, an Italian (originally Lulli), who was the favorite of the French king. His current reputation is of being France’s finest 17th-century composer. Charpentier’s early years were given mostly to secular music, but later exclusively to the composition of many hundreds of sacred works (his great Te Deum will be heard in our Festival Finale on Sunday).

Le mariage forcé is incidental music to a comedy by Molière. Here three men discuss their notions about the charms and dangers of matrimony, at the end falling into cat calls, dog barks and other domestic animal sounds, concluding with “O, the superb concert and the sweet harmony.” BACK

Notes by Burton Karson

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