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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

ARCHIVE  •  2006  •  SUN 18  •  MON 19  •  WED 21  •  FRI 23  •  SUN 25

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

Music in the Gardens I

Jennifer Foster, soprano
Daniel Roihl, countertenor
Jonathan Mack, tenor
Aram Barsamian, baritone
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Jolianne von Einem, violin
Rob Diggins, viola
William Skeen, violoncello
John Thiessen, trumpet
Timothy Howard, harpsichord
Burton Karson, conductor

 

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Overture in G, Z. 770 (1681)


Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Sonata for trumpet & strings, Z. 850 (1694)

Pomposo
Andante maestoso
Allegro ma non troppo

 

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Welcome to all the pleasures, Z. 339 (1683)
Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day (C. Fishburn)

Symphony

Verse
Welcome to all the pleasures

Chorus
Hail, great Assembly

Ritornello

Solo (countertenor)
Here the deities approve, the god of music, and of love

Ritornello

Verse (trio)
While joys celestrial their bright souls invade

Ritornello

Solo (bass) and chorus
Then lift up your voices, those organs of nature

Verse (trio)
The Pow’r shall divert us a pleasanter way

Chorus
Then lift up your voices

Solo (tenor)
Beauty, thou scene of love

Ritornello

Solo (soprano) and chorus
In a consort of voices while instruments play, with music we celebrate this holy day: Io Cecilia.

Intermission


Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
The Masque in Timon of Athens, Z. 632 (1694)
Shadwell, after Shakespeare

Overture

Duet (soprano/tenor)
Hark! how the songsters

Solo (soprano)
Love in their little veins inspires

Trio (soprano/tenor/bass)
But ah! how much are our delights more dear

Solo (bass)
Hence! hence with your trifling deity!

Chorus (alto/tenor/bass)
But over us no griefs prevail, no, no, no

Solo (bass)
Come all, come all!

Chorus
Who can resist such mighty, mighty charms?

Solo (bass)
Return, return, revolting rebels

Solo (soprano)
The cares of lovers, their alarms,
their sighs, their tears

Solo (countertenor)
Love quickly is pall’d, tho’ with labour ’tis gain’d

Duet (soprano/bass)
Come, let us agree

Chorus
Come, let us agree. There are pleasures divine in love and in wine.

This evening’s performance is dedicated to the memory of
Judge Phillip Petty (1933-2005)


Henry Purcell generally is acknowledged as the last truly great English composer before the twentieth century’s Benjamin Britten. He certainly inspired the German-English Handel with his odes, and his often complex yet brilliantly beautiful music still presents tonal and rhythmic challenges to contemporary performers. The amazing wealth and depth of his creative output for theater, chamber, church and home must be measured sadly but gratefully against his short life of thirty-six years.

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The Overture in G major, listed in Franklin Zimmerman’s 1963 catalogue as number 770, originated as the introduction of “Swifter, Isis, swifter flow,” a 1681 welcome ode to Charles II. The typically noble march-like opening section of dotted rhythms in duple meter leads directly to a brisk fugue built on a descending G major scale. BACK

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The trumpet sonata, Purcell’s only solo work for that instrument, is in D major, the normal key of the open horn and thus the most common key of Baroque music for trumpet as well as for strings. Purcell gave a tempo title to only the slow movement, making the indications in brackets what we think he’d have called them. His source for this music might have been his overture for a staged work in a London theater.

The opening Allegro’s memorable theme in D moves to A, the key of the dominant, for a new melodic idea that quickly returns to the home key. Since the embouchures of trumpeters welcome a rest, the tonally meandering Adagio is for strings only. The third movement opens with a scale-like theme in the strings, repeated by the soloist. After some robustly contrasting interchanges, the strings play the opening theme in an inverted form, repeated by the trumpet, before a return to the original theme with a conclusion on the repeated chords of the previous interchanges. BACK

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Purcell wrote four odes in commemoration of St. Cecilia’s Day: “Welcome to all the pleasures” and “Laudate Ceciliam” of 1683, “Raise, raise the voice” of 1685, and the great “Hail, bright Cecilia” of 1692 (a portion of which we shall hear on Sunday’s Finale). The text of “Welcome to all the pleasures” addresses the musical “Assembly of Apollo’s race” (Apollo being the Greek and Roman god of sunlight, prophecy, music and poetry) and the “great improvement you have made,” then exhorts the gathered musicians to lift up their voices, “the organs of Nature.” Thus we honor the patroness of our art: “in a consort of voices while instruments play, with music we celebrate this holy day. Io Cecilia.BACK

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Thomas Shadwell’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, published in 1678, is titled, “The History of Timon of Athens, the Man-hater.” In it, he gives the original masque (a little entertainment within the play) a pastoral setting for a debate between Bacchus and Cupid as to whether wine or love rules the world. (For an informative background piece on Masques, please see Professor Seller’s essay that follows these notes.) Purcell composed music to part of Shadwell’s masque in 1694, and it was produced in 1695, the year of Purcell’s death. From the names on the score (George, Jacob), all of the singers were male, the soprano undoubtedly a boy.

“Timon” was produced in public as late as the second decade of the eighteenth century, sometimes as “Bacchus and Cupid.” Neither opera nor oratorio, cantata nor song, this musical divertissement is but a little scene in which humans sing of love and nature, often contrasting themselves with little creatures such as the birds in “Love in their little veins inspires:”

While heat makes buds and blossoms spring,
those pretty couples love and sing.
But winter puts out their desire,
and half the year they want love’s fire.

In the following trio we hear:

But ah!
How much are our delights more dear.
For only human kind love all the year.

All ends happily with:

Come, let us agree.
There are pleasures divine in wine and in love,
in love and in wine.

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Notes by Burton Karson

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