MEDIA PARTNER

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ARCHIVE  •  2010  •  SUN 20  •  MON 21  •  WED 23  •  FRI 25  •  SUN 27

Saint Michael & All Angels Church, 4 p.m.

Baroque Concertos

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Michael DuPree , oboe
Alison Lowell, oboe
Timothy Howard, organ
William Skeen, violoncello
Festival Orchestra
Burton Karson, conductor


George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Overture to Atalanta


Nicola Porpora (1686-1768)
Concerto in A minor
for violoncello


Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Summer, from The Four Seasons
for violin

Allegro non molto
Adagio
Presto

Intermission


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Two Sinfonias, BWV 35
for organ


Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Concerto Grosso in A major
for strings

Allegro
Adagio
Allegro


François Dieupart (1670-1740)
Concerto Grosso in B minor
for trumpet and two oboes

Allegro
Adagio
Allegro
Adagio
Allegro

This concert is dedicated to the memory of
Ramon Boesch (1931-2010)

Reception on the Patio


Nhe term “concerto” described all sorts of musical compositions in the Baroque period: an instrumental concerto for one soloist with string orchestra, a concerto grosso that consisted of a group of two or more soloists called concertino against an orchestra called ripieno, a solo keyboard piece in “concerted” style, even a church cantata for soloists, chorus and instruments. The point was contrasting characteristics between performers, musical textures or varying sonorities. This program displays various uses of instruments in an orchestral overture, in solo concertos, and in a concerto for three soloists.

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Handel’s opera Atalanta opens with an “Ouverture” for strings — violins, violas, violoncellos, violone (a large string bass with six strings) and harpsichord — with trumpet and two oboes. The opening section is French Overture in style, centered on dotted rhythms. The subsequent Allegro threatens to be fugal, but soon lapses into a conversation dominated by the trumpet. The third section calms a bit into passages of dotted versus triplet rhythms. BACK

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Porpora, a Neopolitan, worked his way about Europe, taught several operatic castrati including the famous Farinelli, and even gave music lessons to the young Haydn in Vienna. He composed mostly dramatic and sacred works, but violin sonatas and two violoncello concertos survive; his concerto in G major was played for us in 2007 by William Skeen.

This recently surfaced A minor concerto for three sections of violins and basso continuo (no violas) begins unexpectedly with a brief slow movement, after which an Allegro opens unusually with the soloist’s statement of what soon becomes the ritornello. A slow movement for soloist and basso continuo, without high strings, breathes lyrically before emerging into the energetic finale. Somewhat erratic dynamic and textural contrasts maintain drama throughout. BACK

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Vivaldi, famous for his hundreds of solo concertos for many different instruments, also wrote string concerti grossi that, like this one, include some passage work for solo violins and cello. His favored fast-slow-fast pattern of movements here begins with his usual catchy melodies and rhythms in A major, followed by a soft and slow movement in F sharp minor. The final Allegro constantly alternates playfully between A minor and A major. BACK

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Bach’s church cantatas occasionally include concerted instrumental movements. Cantata 35, Geist und Seele wird verwirret for solo alto, is in two sections, each of which begins with a Sinfonia that is a concerto movement for organ and orchestra. Bach himself must have had fun playing this brilliant music during a service! BACK

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Vivaldi, famous for his hundreds of solo concertos for many different instruments, also wrote string concerti grossi that, like this one, include some passage work for solo violins and cello. His favored fast-slow-fast pattern of movements here begins with his usual catchy melodies and rhythms in A major, followed by a soft and slow movement in F sharp minor. The final Allegro constantly alternates playfully between A minor and A major. BACK

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Trançois Dieupart was born in France but lived and died in London, where he was known as Charles. A composer, harpsichordist and violinist, he worked for and with many of the most famous musicians of his time. His compositions were known and copied by Bach and other Germans, and he even played in Handel’s orchestra.

This little-known concerto for trumpet, two oboes and strings opens with an Allegro that puts a stubborn trumpet against mostly agreeing oboes and strings. A brief Adagio, which lets the oboes sing while the trumpet rests, leads to an Allegro that is somewhat less energetic than the first. A second Adagio, again without trumpet, makes way for the final Allegro in which all forces celebrate. BACK

Notes by Burton Karson

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