Concert Spam

topic posted Sat, November 26, 2005 - 12:31 AM by  Michael

Yeah, yeah, I know....I should post this under events, but it sure has been rather lifeless here as of late, so I thought I'd post here. My woodwind quintet is presenting a rather interesting program tomorrow evening, should anyone be interested.

So....go ahead, flame me.


Saturday, November 26, 2005, 8:00 p.m..

Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto

Passacaille (1898)...........................................Adrien Barthe (1828-1898)

“ was the nightingale” – from Romeo & Juliet (1977)....Ned Rorem (1923- )

Mari Duncan, flute

Arbeau Suite (1942)............................................Philip Weston (1900 -)

1. Tordion
2. Pavane
3. Buffoons

Suite for Woodwind Quintet (1930).............................Henry Cowell (1897-1965)

1. Allegretto
2. Allegro
3. Adagio Cantabile
4. Allegro con Moto

Ballad for Woodwind Quintet (1956)............................Henry Cowell (1897-1965)

Woodwind Quintet, Op. 51 (1952)...................Wallingford Riegger (1885-1961)


Alarme (1969)...................................................Åke Hermanson (1923 - )

Michael Henry, horn

Quartet for Winds (1941)......................................Arthur Berger (1912-2003)

1. Allegro Moderato
2. Andante
3. Allegro Vivace e Leggermente

Kleine Kammermusik für fünf Bläser, Op. 24, Nr. 2 (1922)......Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)

1. Lustig. Masig schnelle Viertel
2. Walzer Durchweg sehr leise
3. Ruhig und einfach. Achtel
4. Schnelle Viertel
5. Sehr lebhaft

Polka – from the Golden Age Ballet (1930).................Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)


ADRIEN BARTHE (1828-1898), is a pseudonym for the French composer Grat-Norbert Barthe. Barthe began his music studies with piano and composition lessons, and eventually became a student of Leborne at the Paris Conservatory. In 1854 he took first prize in composition at the Rome Institute with a cantata entitled Francesca de Rimini. His later oratorio Judith and opera Don Carlos also won acclaim. After his return from Rome, Barthe attempted to work in the theater, but to no avail. Barthe then took up a career as a teacher, apparently working for the French government as well, in which connection he published a text on musical composition. A Passacaille is both a musical form and the corresponding court dance. Its name derives from the Spanish pasear (to walk) and calle (street), supposedly to denote the music played by wandering musicians.

NED ROREM (1923 - ) was born in Richmond Indiana in 1923. He received his early musical training in Chicago, where he studied with Leo Sowerby. He later took lessons with Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland. He moved to Paris in 1951, where he entered the circle of modern Parisian and expatriate American composers active at that time. The French influence, particularly in his songs, remains the most pronounced characteristic of his music. He has been regarded as one of the finest song composers in America, with a natural feeling for the vocal line and the prosody of the text.

" was the nightingale" is one of the nine pieces which comprise Rorem's 1977 work for flute and guitar, Romeo and Juliet. In this work Rorem focuses on several moments in the Shakespeare play, with the flute at times representing Juliet, and the guitar Romeo. The flute solo movement is reminiscent of a nightingale's song.

PHILIP WESTON (1900 - ) is the pseudonym used by Amedeo De Filippi. De Filippi is a composer, author, conductor, violinist and arranger, who studied at Juilliard with Rubin Goldmark. He has composed and arranged for films, radio, television, recordings, theater, ballet and publishers, and was on the CBS staff. He was chosen as a NY Fellow, and elected to the International Institute of Arts and Letters in 1962. His Arbeau Suite is based on musical themes found in Thoinot Arbeau's Orchésographie, a “treatise in the form of a dialogue whereby all may easily learn and practise the honourable exercise of dancing”, originally published in 1589.

HENRY COWELL (1897-1965) was a remarkably innovative composer. Born in Menlo Park, California in 1897, Cowell is most known for his early experimental work, employing techniques such as striking the piano keys with the fist and forearms. He named such chords “tone-clusters” and at the age of 13 composed a piece entitled Adventures in Harmony, which employed them extensively. Cowell later took lessons at U.C. Berkeley where he studied privately with the noted musicologist and composer Charles Seeger. In 1931 he received a Guggenheim fellowship to study in Berlin with the pioneering ethnomusicologist Erich von Hornbostel. Many of his later works show the influences of his study of the world’s music -- in fact he is often credited for coining the term “world music”. He also worked with Leon Theremin, the inventor of the Theremin, on the construction of an instrument called the Rhythmicon; it made possible the simultaneous production of 16 different rhythms on 16 different pitch levels of the harmonic series.

Cowell’s career was brutally interrupted in 1936 when he was arrested in Menlo Park on a “morals” charge (homosexuality was a heinous offense in California at the time). Using largely contrived and falsified evidence, Cowell was convicted and sent to San Quentin prison for 15 years. He was paroled in 1940. Continuing to compose while in prison, he eventually abandoned his more radically experimental music for more utilitarian and folk-influenced styles, which he continued to employ until his death in 1965. Thus his music tends to fall into two distinct periods; the radically experimental music of his pre-prison years; and the world-music influenced folk style of his later, post-prison years.

Written in 1930, the Suite for Woodwind Quintet, with its mélange of counterpoint and a dissonant chorale, is characteristic of Cowell’s more experimental period. The Ballad, written in 1956, is typical of Cowell’s later folk-inspired style.

WALLINGFORD RIEGGER (1865-1961) was born in Albany, Georgia in 1885. He received his primary education at home: his mother was a pianist; his father a violinist. After moving to New York in 1900, Riegger began serious study with Percy Goetschius at the Institute for Musical Arts. After graduation he went to Berlin where he took courses at the Hochschule für musik, where he studied with Max Bruch. He returned to America in 1917 and held many teaching posts. His earliest works were tonal and romantic, but he increasingly felt that the older compositional techniques did not successfully convey his musical ideas. His music from 1923 onward is of a highly advanced nature; a master craftsman, he wrote in disparate styles with an equal degree of proficiency, employing an aggressive rhythmic sense and free use of possible tone combinations.

His Woodwind Quintet from 1952 is a one-movement work full of many of Riegger’s favorite devices – canonic counterpoint, sharp dissonance, and reiterative rhythms.

ÅKE HERMANSON (1923 - ) is a Swedish composer born in 1923. During the second World War, he worked as a radio telegrapher far out on the Bohuslän archipelago. About his experience, he wrote “Along with, or in the center of, a period of alarm, the fog horns roared in like frightening black sails against the secure calls in Morse code....the fog horn at Vinga sounded, and the one at Böttö came in on the sixth. The ones at Tistlarna, Nidingen and Pater Noster could be heard from the opposite direction in the winter darkness. A stereophonic manifestation of outer reality which, in my loneliness between calls and dreams, was transformed into circling arms of sound, capturing my consciousness in the oscillating waves from elementary sources of sound....”

The composer’s inscription is translated as “Very intensive and almost like a siren.”

ARTHUR BERGER (1912 – 2003) was born in 1912 and raised in the Bronx. After studies at Harvard with Walter Piston, he went to Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger. Returning to the U.S. in 1939, he entered Mills College in Oakland, where he studied with Darius Milhaud. His musical idiom reflects the influence of divergent schools of composition, including both serialist and neo-classic styles. Often described as a “new-mannerist”, his works are often characterized by their strong formal structure.

The Quartet for Winds, written in 1941, two years after returning from his studies with Boulanger, is among Berger’s best known works. Virgil Thompson has called it “one of the most satisfactory pieces for wind in the whole modern repertory.” The work is dedicated to Aaron Copland.

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963) was one of the most influential composers and theorists of the 20th century. He was active as a conductor, viola recitalist, and a teacher, holding positions at the Berlin Academy of Music and Yale University. His abundant opus list includes compositions for practically every format and instrument – operas, orchestral works, concertos, chamber music, including a series of sonatas for each orchestral instrument with piano. Hindemith’s style may be described as a synthesis of modern, Romantic, Classical, Baroque and other styles, a combination saved from the stigma of eclecticism only by Hindemith’s mastery of technical means.

The Kleine Kammermusik für fünf Bläser, Op 24:2, was composed in 1922 for the Frankfurter BläserKammermusikvereinigung, during a period when Hindemith was often experimenting with different musical methods. His artisan-like attitude to the process of composition resulted in a large number of utilitarian works he called Gebrauchsmusik (utility music), music composed for a specific, identifiable purpose or use. His Kleine Kammermusik is a good example of such a work.

DIMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) was the preeminent Russian composer of the Soviet era, whose style and idiom of composition largely defined the nature of Russian Music. His opera The Nose, after Gogol’s whimsical story about the sudden disappearance of the nose from the face of a government functionary, revealed Shostakovich’s flair for musical satire. It was produced in Leningrad in 1930, with considerable popular acclaim, but was attacked by officious theater critics as a product of “bourgeois decadence”, and quickly withdrawn from the stage. Somewhat in the same satirical style was Shostakovich’s ballet The Golden Age (1930), which included the celebrated dissonant Polka, allegedly satirizing a disarmament conference which was taking place in Geneva.


THE KITCHEN WINDS are Mari Duncan, flute; Ben Lloyd, oboe; Susan Macy, clarinet; Rufus Acosta, bassoon; and Michael Henry, horn. The group was founded in 1998 by Ms. Duncan and Mr. Henry. The group takes its name from the room in which they most often found themselves rehearsing. While the personnel has changed (the current members have been playing together for the last four years) and the rehearsal venue has now shifted to the living room, the group still shares the common goal of exploring the breadth of literature for wind quintet. We aim to balance the familiar with the deserving-to-be-more-familiar, providing interpretations that are both true to composer's intent and also fun for the listener.

The members of the Kitchen Winds appear as soloists and perform with orchestral, chamber, jazz, experimental, and pop groups around the Bay Area.

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