Sunday, June 29, 2014

PROGRAM SCHEDULE  •  SUN 22  •  MON 23  •  WED 25  •  FRI 27  •  SUN 29

Newport Harbor Lutheran Church, 4 p.m.

Festival Finale: 300 Years On
Births, Deaths, Marriages, Publications and
Good Gigs in the Music World of 1714

Kristen Toedtman, mezzo-soprano

Festival Orchestra
Elizabeth Blumenstock, leader

PUBLISHED IN 1714 (posthumously)

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Concerto grosso in D major, Op. 6, No. 1

Largo - Allegro
Largo - Allegro

MARRIED IN 1714 (for the second time)

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Ouverture in G minor, TWV 55:g7

Menuets I & II

BORN IN 1714 (5th of 20 siblings)

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Sinfonie No. 1 in G major, H. 657

Allegro di molto
Poco Adagio


Memorial tribute by Dr. Burton Karson,
Artistic Director Emeritus

GOOD GIG IN 1714 (in London)

Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768)
Overture VI in G minor


BORN (and notorious) IN 1714

Susannah Maria Cibber (1714-1766)

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
As Stars that Rise, and Disappear

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
O Lord, Whose Mercies Numberless
from Saul, HWV 53

Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778)
Vengeance, O Come Inspire Me

DIED IN 1714

Philipp Heinrich Erlebach (1657-1714)
from Overture V in F major



It is difficult to overstate the popularity of Arcangelo Corelli during his life and after his death. Roger North, a prolific contemporary writer about the English music scene in the late 1600s and early 1700s, commented that when Corelli’s music arrived there, musicians embraced it as if it were “the bread of life.” Corelli was still adored a decade later, when North remarked, “It is wonderful to observe what a scratching of Corelli there is everywhere now — nothing will relish but Corelli.” That his popularity has been restored enthusiastically in the latter-day revival of Baroque music is perhaps astonishing when you consider his miniscule output of only 72 compositions!

On my 18th-century facsimile edition of his Opus 6, the Italian words “XII Concerti Grossi” have been nicely translated on the cover page as “XII Great Concertos!” And great they are. Their publication generated a sustained frenzy of copycat composition; the form was novel, and it appealed enormously.

If you attended our Wednesday concert, you will have become familiar with the short sectional early Italian sonata; Corelli, writing several generations later, appears to have taken this sectional form and expanded it, turning a 4-minute composition into a 10-minute one. Though not the first to write pieces featuring a small solo group played off against a larger tutti group, his solo sections are more coherent and well-developed than those of his predecessors, and his formal structure achieves an almost Classical balance.

I also feel that his music somehow crystallized the modern sense of mode. There is virtually no antique modal writing in his work; major and minor stand out cleanly, and seem to signal the beginning of a new musical century. BACK


Georg Philipp Telemann once estimated that he had written over 600 orchestral “Ouvertures” (suites). Only about 200 have survived, a hideous loss for those who love this composer! He had an incomparable flair for dance forms, endless invention, good humor, and superlative craftsmanship. Today’s Ouverture is not entirely typical, however; it is a remarkable hybrid of a dance suite and a solo violin concerto. This specific cross-breeding is a taxonomic wonder rarely seen in a music world full of them. BACK


J.S. Bach’s fifth child and second son was godfathered by Telemann, and was given Telemann’s middle name for his own in honor of the relationship. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was largely responsible for the development of the “Sensitive Style” — an extravagantly and unpredictably emotional approach which, in the late Baroque milieu of polite, sweet and charming music, stands out like a bristlecone pine in a bed of daffodils.

His G major symphony gets right to bristling within a few bars, and the shocks don’t stop coming. This is his first symphony, and he seems determined that people should notice it! BACK


Francesco Maria Veracini was apparently a difficult character, paranoid, defensive and rageful, but he was clearly an astonishing musician as well. Tartini, upon hearing him in a concert, secluded himself for two years to perfect his bow technique before daring to appear in public again. Charles Burney, an avid chronicler of music throughout Europe, commented about his skill as a composer, that “he had certainly a great share of whim and caprice, but he built his freaks on a good foundation, being an excellent contrapuntist.”

One doesn’t often sense his conflicted inner life in his compositions; this Overture may be the piece that best reveals them. A stormy whirlwind of an opening Allegro gives onto a passionately tender Largo and a driven Allegro, and the piece ends with an appallingly grim Minuet. BACK


Susannah Maria Cibber, the younger sister of composer Thomas Augustine Arne, was best known as an actress. She possessed what was generally agreed to be a sweet and nimble yet not fully trained voice, but her dramatic gifts were powerful enough to support both a singing and an acting career. Again in Charles Burney’s perceptive words, “by a natural pathos, and perfect conception of the words, she often penetrated the heart, when others, with infinitely greater voice and skill, could only reach the ear.”

She became a lifelong personal friend of Handel, who, because she could not read music, taught her to sing her arias note by note. She was married unhappily; an affair with a tenant blew up into an enormous scandal, but somehow did not affect either of her highly successful careers. The arias written for her by Handel and Arne play to her strengths of vocal agility, compelling eloquence, and dramatic flair. BACK


We close the 2014 Festival with a tribute to a 17th-century composer who died 300 years ago. Philipp Heinrich Erlebach was a gifted and renowned composer whose posterity was largely destroyed in a catastrophic fire that broke out in a library where most of his works were housed. Today it is estimated that only 7% of his works are extant.

His six surviving Overtures are written in the French style, and this Chaconne is a fine and exuberant example of the genre. BACK

Notes by Elizabeth Blumenstock


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