Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ARCHIVE  •  2009  •  SUN 14  •  MON 15  •  WED 17  •  FRI 19  •  SUN 21

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

Music in the Gardens I

Susan Montgomery, soprano
Daniel Roihl, countertenor
Jonathan Mack, tenor
Aram Barsamian, baritone

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Jolianne von Einem, violin
Rob Diggins, viola
William Skeen, violoncello
Paul Sherman, oboe
John Thiessen, trumpet
Timothy Howard, harpsichord
Burton Karson, conductor

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

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, Doinda, should we not rejoice like them
Trio: We’ll freel 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


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


George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Excerpts from Acis & Galatea

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


Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709)
Sonata in D for trumpet & strings, G 7

Grave; Allegro

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (?1645/50-1704)
Le mariage forcé
Music for Molière’s Comédie

Dialogue: My good friend, tell me in faith
Grotesque Trio: Don Juans with graying hair
Plain or comely, it makes no difference
Ah! What a strange, fantastic notion
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.


This evening we observe the birth of Purcell and Mendelssohn and the death of Handel through some of their most attractive secular music. Purcell, the greatest and most famous English composer of his time, was a later inspiration to the German Handel, who became English. Handel was an acknowledged inspiration to Mendelssohn. This evening’s program is all- English Baroque, with the exception of a brief Romantic homage to Mendelssohn, which will be sung in the original German.


Purcell’s Overture in G is a concert version for four strings of the introduction to his Swifter, Isis, swifter flow of 1681, a welcoming ode for Charles II. Its stately opening in dotted rhythms leads to a brisk fugue based on a descending G major scale. BACK


Purcell’s Celestial Music did the gods inspire is an ode, but not to a royal personage. Written for a performance at Mr. Maidwell’s school in 1689 to a text by a student, it celebrates a teacher whose pupils obviously admired him. The opening reference to music suggests that the young poet deliberately wrote for a musical setting.

The many Greek and Roman mythological gods and historical figures cited throughout (“Thus Virgil’s genius lov’d the country best where music by each creature was exprest”) reflect the essential classical school curriculum of the times, and attempt to place the object of their respect in lofty and even heavenly company. BACK


The suite for trumpet was excerpted from King Arthur — a semi-opera whose text was written by John Dryden with Purcell’s music in mind — that had its first performance in London’s Dorset Garden in 1691. Its five short movements alternate rhythmic sections for valveless Baroque trumpet and strings with lyrical settings of songs in contrasting keys for strings alone. BACK


Handel learned the prevailing operatic style during his early years in Italy, and carried that to England where Italian operas and imported Italian opera singers were the rage. He wrote around forty operatic works for London before suffering from the English change of mood away from the Italian, which led to his later successful output of English oratorio that gradually supplanted opera for London musical theater-goers. Our four Italian arias, two from Rinaldo of 1711 and two from Oreste of 1734, clearly show Handel’s abilities to harness the human voice for dramatic challenges with ingratiatingly beautiful music. BACK


Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas, a stage work categorized as a “Romance,” to a text by Victor Hugo (translated into German), was completed in 1839. Only the overture, assigned Opus 95, was performed that year in Leipzig. This short romantic strophic song for two voices is accompanied throughout by pizzicato strings with much “double- stopping” in a manner that suggests strumming guitars. BACK


Purcell’s lovely Come ye sons of art, one of his enduring and endearing works, has been heard previously in our Festival concerts.

To a text perhaps by Tate, this ode, composed for the birthday of Mary II in 1694, calls musicians to come and celebrate a festive day with singing and playing — nature and the sacred charms of music leading to ultimate joy. BACK

Notes by Burton Karson


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