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Friday, June 20, 2008

ARCHIVE  •  2008  •  SUN 15  •  MON 16  •  WED 18  •  FRI 20  •  SUN 22

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

Music in the Gardens II

David Shostac, flute
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Timothy Landauer, violoncello
Gabriel Arregui, harpsichord


Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709)
Trio Sonata in G minor, Op. 5, No. 5

Vivace
Allegro
Adagio
Allegro


Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Sonata in D for violoncello & harpsichord

Lento
Allegro
Largo
Allegro


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude & Fugue in C major, BWV 846
Prelude & Fugue in C minor, BWV 847


Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Trio Sonata in G minor

Grave
Vivace – Adagio
Presto
Grave
Vivace

Intermission

 

Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758)
Assaggio in G minor for violin solo

Allegro giusto
Un poco Andante
Vivace


Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758)
Sonata in G for flute & continuo

Largo
Allegro
Larghetto
Andante
Vivace


Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758)
Trio Sonata in B minor

Larghetto
Allegretto
Andante – Adagio – Allegro

Reception


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Torelli’s 350th birthday celebration in Corona del Mar continues this evening as we hear a trio sonata for strings. Torelli’s violin sonatas, trio sonatas, orchestral sinfonias and suites and violin concertos published during his lifetime were influential — even on Vivaldi.

This trio sonata was published in 1692 in Bologna in a set of six such sinfonias and six concertos. All can be played by soloists or several on a part, such flexibility being normal at that time, but the two high parts plus the violoncello and the cembalo of course create a traditional trio sonata texture. The Vivace pairs the high voices in sweet thirds and sixths. The following Allegro treats the theme fugally with intervening passages of running 16ths shared by all. A slightly imitative Adagio of only seven measures pulls directly (attacca) into an Allegro that pairs the top voices in repeated imitative motives over a bass line that only hints at being an ostinato. BACK

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Telemann’s Violoncello Sonata in D represents a rather large output for various instruments that shows a trend toward the galant or pre- Classical style. The Sonata in D begins with a phrase of melody, unheard again, that leads to showy passage work. The bipartite Allegro is in an exuberant 12/8 meter, here and there giving us harmonies we don’t expect. The Largo, in the related minor, slips back to D major for a bar, then goes to F sharp major before landing seemingly tonally lost on a long E minor chord, at last wending its way back to B minor. The final Allegro, in the unusual meter of 4/8, presents no surprises other than the player’s skill in jumping from string to string. BACK

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Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, two books of 24 preludes and fugues each, was his demonstration that music could be heard in tune in every key, major and minor, if the instrument were tuned to the new evenly tempered scale. These two preludes and fugues from Book I still are enjoyed by pianists (before they discover the delights of the harpsichord for which they were written) and are quickly recognized by modern listeners. BACK

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Telemann’s Trio Sonata in G minor follows the sonata da chiesa (church sonata) form that begins with a slow movement. The energetic Vivace is highly imitative without being a strict fugue; the last measure is an Adagio that leads from G minor to F, the dominant of the relative major of B flat. The B flat Presto also is imitative without the expected academic procedures. A six-measure Grave in E flat major ends in D, the dominant of G minor in which the final 6/8 Vivace proceeds fugally to a proud conclusion. BACK

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Johan Helmich Roman was born in Stockholm and died in Haraldsmåla. His Swedish paternal ancestors had lived in Raumo, Finland — thus perhaps the name Roman. He was a member of the Swedish royal chapel as violinist and oboist while still a teenager, then studied music in England with the famous Pepusch for six years during which time he had contact with Geminiani and Handel (whose influence is noticeable in his later compositions). Back in Sweden, he held the post of master of the chapel until he retired due to deafness and ill health. Active in Swedish church music, he also produced secular choral and vocal music; sinfonias, overtures, and concertos for orchestra; and many chamber works.

Roman’s 15 Assaggi for violin are unaccompanied etudes that explore various dizzying techniques while still creating music. The tempo indications are suggestions where none originally existed. Awkward string changes and double stops with difficult rhythms present excruciating challenges to the player, making these “studies” more defiant than the compositions for which they ostensibly prepare the virtuoso violinist. BACK

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The G major Sonata for flute in five movements is from a group of twelve sonatas published in 1727 and dedicated to Queen Ulrika Eleonora. The opening Largo is followed by an Allegro that immediately introduces the same three-note motive in 8ths that dominated the previous movement. The brief bipartite Larghetto, with its active bass line, is in the relative key of E minor, and the Andante, in a da capo form, is in the unlikely key of B minor, what music theorists would term the “mediant.” A bipartite Vivace ends happily in the home key. BACK

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The B minor Trio Sonata begins imitatively with complex rhythms between flute and violin, the repetitions of the opening motive only suggesting a fugal texture. The Allegretto shows more traditional contrapuntal qualities with balanced assignments among the three linear instruments. The dance-like Andante, in D major with a short slow cadence on F sharp, leads to a faster dance pattern in the bass line above which the flute and violin converse in more and more complex figures. At length, they compel the violoncello to an angry outburst of running 16ths that, after calmer passages, return to force a deliberate and dramatic cadence to this splendid work. BACK

Notes by Burton Karson

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