Friday, June 25, 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 II

David Shostac, flute
Clayton Haslop, violin
Timothy Landauer, violoncello
Gabriel Arregui, harpsichord

George Phillip Telemann (1681-1767)
Trio Sonata in A

Allemanda (Presto)
Sarabande (Grave)
Corrente (Vivace)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Chaconne in D minor, BWV 1004
for solo violin

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Sonata in G minor, RV 58
for flute and continuo

Fuga da Cappella (Alla breve)
Allegro ma non presto

Johann Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
Trio Sonata No. 6 in C minor



Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
From Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 109
for solo violoncello


François Couperin (1668-1733)
Fastes de la grande, et
Ancienne Mxnxstrxndxsx (Ménestrandise)

Festivals of the Grand & Ancient Minstrel Guild

Prominent Citizens, and Juryment of the Minstrel Guild
The Hurdy-Gurdy Players and Beggars
Jugglers, Pole-vaulters, and Acrobats;
     with the Bears, and the Monkeys
The Disabled (or Veterans crippled in the Service
     of the Grand Minstrel Guild)
Disorder, and total collapse of the Company;
     Caused by the Drunks, the Monkeys
     and the Bears

Performed in memory of our colleague, friend and virtuoso harpsichordist Malcom Hamilton (1932-2003)

Johann Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745)
Trio Sonata No. 1 in F

Adagio ma non troppo
Allegro assai



Telemann’s trio sonata in A major begins with a pompously French Largo in dotted rhythms, with the flute and violin in tight conversation, and then proceeds to dance movements: an Allemanda (an Italian spelling of the French word for a German dance), a Sarabande (French for a Spanish dance), and Corrente (more often seen, as Bach preferred, in its French spelling, Courante).

Two movements titled only with tempo markings, plus two of specific dance types, create a delightful mixed form of “sonata” and “suite.” BACK


Bach’s sublime Chaconne is from his second suite for unaccompanied violin. Imported into spain from Latin America in the 16th century, the originally fast ciaccona became, as seen in 17th-century Spanish guitar books, improvisatory with variations over a repeated progression of harmonies. This ostinato (obstinate bass) variation form soon became popular all over Europe, being incorporated into harpsichord and chamber suites and even opera choruses.

Here Bach’s unsurpassed inventiveness results in one of his greatest masterpieces, exploring the violin’s singing qualities along with double and triple stops that produce magnificently rich chords. BACK


Vivaldi’s G minor flute sonata opens with a charmingly bouncy Vivace followed by an unexplained “Fugue for the chapel,” and continues through a slow movement that begins with a Siciliano-type rhythm to a flashy concluding Allegro. Thematic relationships are created through the same three notes (G, D, B-flat in different orders) that begin the movements, the final Allegro starting with flute alone on these three notes, which then are answered by the violoncello. BACK


Bach wrote six suites for solo (unaccompanied) violoncello, in addition to his six sonatas and partitas for solo violin. The Baroque suite generally consisted of a prelude followed by a group of dances from various cultures, concluding with a gigue, the French formalization of the English sailor’s jig. Bach wrote so remarkably for the unaccompanied strings, as evidenced by these excerpts from the C major suite, that we often imagine hearing two or even three independent voices or musical lines from an instrument on which that is technically impossible. BACK


Couperin’s programmatic farce that ridicules the guild (union) of minstrels which had won royal favor over the guild of organists is one of many Orders or suites for clavecin (French for harpsichord) that have titles with extra-musical connotations. Surnamed Le Grand in acknowledgment of his keyboard skills, Couperin served as harpsichordist for Louis XIV, and one of his daughters became the first woman to be claveciniste to the king. It is said that he exchanged letters with Bach along with Telemann, who know his music. Alas, these letters disappeared after being used for jampot covers!

Here the French predilection for ornamentation is clear, as are Couperin’s typical rhythmic eccentricities and a searching for all of the tonal colors that the instrument can produce.

Malcolm Hamilton played this wonderful piece on this stage for our Festival of 1993, and Gabriel Arregui offers it this evening in loving memory of that astonishing virtuoso, dedicated teacher and our committed friend. BACK


The two trio sonatas by Zelenka, a Bohemian who left Prague at age 30 to accept a position as bass viol player in the royal orchestra at Dresden, are little-known delights in the Baroque chamber music repertoire. After further study in Venice and Vienna, Zelenka returned to work in Dresden until his death. He knew Bach and Telemann, both of whom, it is reported, admired his mastery of counterpoint and harmonic invention.

The C minor sonata treats the three written parts for two high instruments and violoncello (the keyboard part being improvised) with unusual quality. The fast movements in both sonatas contain nearly breathless surges of sixteenth notes, often involving the cello in a most democratic interplay. Quirky shifts in motion and harmonies lurk around every corner in the slow movements, rarely allowing one to anticipate what’s going to come next; and rhythmic complexities, particularly in the final movement of the F major, border on those of modern times. BACK

Notes by Burton Karson


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