MAY, 2010

 

 


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENTS

 

As we enter the merry month of May, two rehearsals remain before our June concert.  The following program notes can but add to our performance pleasure….enjoy!

Muchas gracias to Fred.  And a happy summer to all!

 

Grace and Liz (Co-Presidents)

 

 

PROGRAM NOTES

by Frederic Palmer

 

Here are the program notes for the June 5 MPRO concert.  I hope they will give you a more complete picture of the music you will be playing.

 

Legrenzi’s Sonata “La Buscha” is found in a set of his instrumental works published in 1663.  “La Buscha” means “search or “quest,” and by adding these two words to the title of this sonata Legrenzi stimulates the imagination of the listener by suggesting a program as the music unfolds.  In fact, the five sections that comprise the sonata could be taken to represent the dynamics of a search or quest:  (1) setting out, (2) discovery, (3 and 4) exploration and wonder, (5) return and reporting.  When Hector Berlioz first presented his famous programmatic Symphonie fantastique in 1830, he felt it necessary to supply the audience with an extensive synopsis of the action portrayed in the music.  Amazingly, Legrenzi seems to have accomplished something similar almost two hundred years earlier and only needed to use two words to do so.

Go hert, hurt with adversite is an early example of the English melancholy song that persisted into the 17th century and whose best-known exponent was John Dowland (1562-1626).  This selection dates from the mid-15th century when the musical style of the Middle Ages was being supplanted by that of the early Renaissance.  Of particular interest is that the music does not favor one of these styles over the other or try to blend the two together but rather juxtaposes them by contrasting characteristic elements of each.  The title of the song also incorporates a pun on the words “hert” and “hurt” (“heart” and “hurt”), a device also employed by John Dowland.   By contrast, Be pes!  Ye make me spille my ale! (Be peace! You make me spill my ale!) belongs to the genre of the English drinking song.  The text apparently recounts the battle of words that ensues after a serving wench drops or spills the tankards of ale she is carrying as the result of being subjected to the unwanted advances of a tavern patron.  This scenario is supported by a similar incident that occurred recently at a beer garden in Germany and the fact that human nature has not changed in the last five hundred and fifty years.

It is amazing that such an eloquent melody as Mayn rue plats can be found in an early 20th-century Yiddish love and sweatshop protest song.  The lyrics gently contrast a befitting final resting place with that shared by 175 workers who died in an infamous industrial accident in 1911.  What is even more amazing is that the music is that of an immigrant from Russian Poland who settled in the United States, worked in a sweatshop and is best known as a poet and social activist rather than a composer.  Aside from potentially harsh working conditions, Ellis Island portrays another aspect of the ordeals European immigrants faced.  The fits and starts of the melody along with the modulation of the harmonies from minor to major and back to minor represent the uncertainty attached to staring a new life in a new country.  Baigelach (Little Bagel) is a lively Russian folk song that embodies the amalgam of cultural influences found in the klezmer music of early 20th-century Yiddish theater.

Franz Joseph Haydn played a crucial role in the development of the string quartet and modern symphony.  Nevertheless, he also composed music for other combinations of instruments, including wind ensembles.  The title of this afternoon’s selection, “Feld-Parthie,” is a term that refers to entertainment music for military band instruments, and although this is one of Haydn’s earlier works, the music contains some distinctive features that readily identify the composer’s music throughout his career.  Of the five movements that make up the Feld-Parthie, the orchestra will be performing three of these arranged for recorders, an arrangement that proves very effective given that the music was originally conceived for winds.

Giovanni Bassano was a cornetto virtuoso and served at the San Marco Basilica in Venice where he eventually became director of the instrumental music performed there.  Bassano’s tenure at San Marco coincided with a major shift in Western music at the end of the 16th century that was centered in Italy and the San Marco Basilica in particular.  It was at San Marco that composers, the most influential of which was Giovanni Gabrieli, cultivated forms that added a spatial dimension to the music by taking advantage of the multiple choir lofts found throughout the basilica and using two or more separate ensembles at different locations to create dramatic antiphonal effects.  This antiphonal style later developed into the form we now know as the concerto.  Although Bassano is best remembered today for his treatise on ornamentation, he was also an accomplished composer, and his motet, Quem vidistis pastaores?, is an excellent example of the antiphonal music he heard and performed.     

 

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Conductor’s Corner

Dear members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra,

 

Listed below is information regarding the final two rehearsals and performance that will conclude MPRO’s 2009-2010 season.   Dulcien, great bass and contrabass recorders will be needed for the rehearsal on May 26 and krummhorns, great bass and contrabass recorders, dulcien and keyboard will be needed for the rehearsal on June 2 as well as for the concert on June 5.   Please note that Wednesday, June 2, is the dress rehearsal for MPRO’s spring concert, and this rehearsal will take place at Foothill Presbyterian Church, 5301 McKee Road in San Jose at 7:30 P.M.  The spring concert will take place at Foothill Presbyterian Church on Saturday, June 5, at 3:00 P.M.  As in the past, small ensembles are encouraged to appear in the spring concert.  Those groups that intend to perform at the spring concert on June 5 are asked to send me the following information by May 19:  the title(s) of the music to be performed, the name(s) of the composer(s), the name of the ensemble (if any) and the names of the ensemble's members.

 

Wednesday, May 26

JLS Middle School, 8:00 P.M.

Be pes! Ye make me spille my ale

Legrenzi:  Sonata “La Buscha”

Haydn:  Feld-Parthie

Rosenfeld:  Mayn Rue Plats

 

Wednesday, June 2

Foothill Presbyterian Church

5301 McKee Road in San Jose, 7:30 P.M.

Bassano:  Quem vidistis pastores?

Legrenzi:  Sonata “La Buscha

Go hert, hurt with adversite

Be pes! Ye make me spille my ale

Rosenfeld:  Mayn Rue Plats

Ellis Island, Baigelach

Haydn:  Feld-Parthie

           

Saturday, June 5

MPRO Spring Concert

Foothill Presbyterian Church, 3:00 P.M.

Legrenzi:  Sonata “La Buscha

Go hert, hurt with adversite

Be pes! Ye make me spille my ale

Rosenfeld:  Mayn Rue Plats

Ellis Island, Baigelach

Haydn:  Feld-Parthie

Bassano:  Quem vidistis pastores?

 

This season’s spring concert will feature two brilliant antiphonal works utilizing all of the orchestra’s resources as well as outstanding selections from the mid-15th through the 20th centuries, and I encourage you to invite your family and friends to attend this performance.  I would also like to thank the members of MPRO for all of their hard work and diligence in preparing some very challenging music for this concert and, once again, want to express my thanks to the orchestra's officers for their invaluable expertise in seeing to the necessary tasks that make MPRO's programs possible as well as for organizing a highly successful workshop this season.  I wish all MPRO members the very best this summer and look forward to seeing all of you again in September at our first meeting of the 2010-2011 season.

Sincerely,        Fred Palmer

 

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CONCERT REVIEW

by Keith A. Kvenvolden

            The Albany Consort has been around for about 35 years, and we on the Peninsula are truly privileged to have ready access to their performance music, an example of which was available in Palo Alto at two venues, Etz Chayim (April 4) and All Saints (April 10).  From the program notes we learn that, of the original Albany Consort, formed in London in 1974, only two of the original players remain, the husband and wife team of Jonathan Salzedo and Marion Rubinstein.  More than 400 musicians have played with the Consort, which may have aged a little, but, like a fine wine, it has gotten even better with time.  The Palo Alto performances were both learning and musical experiences.  We learned about the differences in styles of Telemann and Bach, who were actually contemporaries and friends.  In Bach’s Concerto in a minor, we heard a reversal of usual instrumental roles wherein the harpsichord (Jonathan Salzedo) was featured, and the flute and strings provided the accompaniment.

 

A rare pairing of recorder and flute in a Trio Sonata by Quantz (flute teacher to Frederich the Great) showed how two quite disparate instruments in the hands of Marion Rubinstein (alto recorder) and Greer Ellison (transverse, one-key flute) along with the continuo can create a magical moment in music.  In Vivaldi’s Concerto in G, brilliantly played by Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo and David Wilson (accompanied by strings), the two violins actually seemed to talk to one another in an animated but profound discussion.  Bach’s Suite in a minor, originally in b minor for flute and strings, was rescored in a minor substituting a soprano recorder for the flute.  (In fact, the original Suite may have actually called for the recorder).  This six movement piece was magnificently played with Marion Rubinstein featured on the soprano recorder in a virtuoso performance.  Standing ovations followed the programs at both venues.  Indeed, we are most privileged to have the Albany Consort on the Peninsula scene.  Thank you Jonathan and Marion!


Text Box: west valley music

Moeck and Yamaha recorders

LARGE selection of recorder music
Solo—ensemble—method

Accessories

262 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
650-961-1566
          www.westvalleymusic.com

Musica Pacifica at the Berkeley Festival: Dancing in the  Isles!

Saturday, June 12, 2010, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Berkeley City Club2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley

Come  celebrate our upcoming CD: "Dancing in the Isles" - Baroque and folk  music from England, Ireland, and Scotland, including original Musica Pacifica  arrangements. The program includes Musica Pacifica’s original arrangements of  traditional Irish and Scottish folk tunes, English country dance tunes,  a Purcell theater suite, Jacobean masque music, a sonata "a la  Scozzese" by Veracini, and Purcell’s famous "Three Parts upon a Ground."

 

Judith Linsenberg, recorder; Elizabeth Blumenstock and Robert  Mealy, violins; David Morris, cello/viola da gamba; Charles Sherman,  harpsichord, and Peter Maund, percussion.

Additional information:  http://bfx.berkeley.edu/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


UPBEAT