"Castles and Taverns"

At the Crossroads of Art Music and Popular Music in the 17th & 18th Centuries

August 15, 2021

3:00 pm

Laurel Heights Church

227 West Woodlawn Ave., SA, TX

Jeannette Sorrell, harpsichord

Eric Gratz, violin

Paul Lueders, oboe

Marilyn de Oliveira, cello

Program:

Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)
Chaconne from King Arthur 

Thomas Baltzar (1631 – 1663)

Division on John, Come Kiss Me Now 


Johann Jakob Froberger (1616 – 1667)
Le Tombeau pour Blancrocher 

Marin Marais (1656 – 1728)

Sonnerie de Ste. Genevieve du Mont de Paris


Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)
Ayres for the Theater, compiled and edited by Jeannette Sorrell

     Fairest Isle from King Arthur 
     Hornpipe from Dioclesian
     Shepherd, Shepherd, Leave Decoying, from King Arthur
     Hornpipes from King Arthur
 
INTERMISSION 
 

J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750)
Cello Suite No. 4
     Prelude

     Courante
     Gigue


Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767)
Sonata for Oboe and Harpsichord in g minor, TWV 41:g6
     Largo
     Presto
     Tempo giusto
     Andante
     Allegro


Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644 – 1704)

Rosary Sonata No. 1, Annunciation 


Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767)
Paris Quartet No. 1 in G Major, TWV 43 G1 
     Grave – Allegro
     Largo – Presto

     Largo – Allegro

INTRODUCTION by Jeannette Sorrell


Today we invite you back to a time when the “wall” between art music (or what we now call “classical”
music) and popular music was not so high. In fact, it barely existed at all. Up until the mid-18th century,
great composers of the Renaissance and early Baroque regularly wrote artful variations on folk dances
and tavern songs. Musicians of this period regularly improvised on popular ground basses (repeating
chord patterns) such as the chaconne or ciaccona, the passamezzo, the passacaglia, the bergamasca,
and others. These ground basses were essentially jamming tunes for musicians, both at casual parties of
the common people and at formal concerts in the palace. The difference was that at the palace or
castle, the improvised variations got written down.


We open with a joyful chaconne by Purcell, soon followed by Baltzar’s fiddle variations on the
passamezzo moderno. In Biber’s Annunciation Sonata, we hear a slightly different passamezzo pattern
in the variations representing Mary’s conversation with the Angel Gabriel. Marais’ famous Sonnerie de
Ste. Geneviève is an extended jam session over a 3-note chord pattern. Though Marais wrote the violin
notes on paper, one could easily continue playing after the piece finishes, just making up the rest in the
manner of a jazz player.

Program Notes: written by Mark Teplitsky


Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Chaconne from King Arthur
and
Ayres for the Theater


Despite his short-lived life, Henry Purcell’s fame as an English composer was unmatched until a
wave of new British composers appeared in the early twentieth century. Having already began
composing before the age of ten, Purcell’s career rose astronomically with commissions being
requested from Westminster Abbey, the Dorset Garden Theatre, and Queen Mary II herself. The
cause for Purcell’s death at the age of 36 is unknown and the young man at the height of his
career was buried at Westminster Abbey near the organ.
Purcell’s King Arthur is an opera composed in 1691 with libretto by John Dryden. The premise
is staged around King Arthur’s battles to retrieve his fiancé from the Saxon King Oswald of
Kent. As was standard at the time in English opera, the protagonists often spoke their dialogue,
while secondary characters and choirs sung peripherally with orchestra playing to set the tone of
each scene. Written to celebrate the restoration of King Charles the Second after exile, this
opera’s most famous section, the Chaconne, comes at the very end of the fifth and final act. A
merry tune and compound dance meter establish the festive aesthetic of King Arthur being
reunited with his love.
Purcell composed music for over forty plays, of which a collection was compiled and published,

titled A Collection of Ayres Composed for the Theater and Upon Other Occasions. Of these
plays, the more well-known are titled King Arthur, The Fairy Queen, The Indian Queen, and
Dioclesian. Tonight’s selection of Ayres was chosen by our guest artist, Jeannette Sorrell.


Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667)
Le Tombeau pour Blancrocher


Born at the turn of the 17th century, Johann Jakob Froberger is one of the earliest Baroque
composers. Recognized for creating concrete structure in his keyboard works, Froberger set the
foundation for the musical forms that later Baroque composers favored. The Tombeau in C
minor is dedicated to Monsieur Blancrocher, a renowned French lutenist of the early 17 th century.
Made more notorious by his infamous death down a flight of stairs, Blancrocher had multiple
musical dedications made to him including by Gaultier, Dufaut, and Couperin. However, unlike
these composers, Froberger had the unfortunate luck to watch Blancrocher fall to his death. The
harpsichord work opens with a slow, melancholic C minor chord and continues in the same
contemplative, dark manner through the end.


Thomas Baltzar (1631-1663)
Division on John, Come Kiss Me Now


Thomas Baltzar, born into a family of many generations of musicians, died of his drinking habits
at the very young age of 32. A gifted violinist, Baltzar’s playing abilities were able to help him
emigrate from Germany to England in his twenties. All of Baltzar’s finances relied on
performance positions, not composition. In fact, given his early dates and short life, very few of
his compositions have been recovered, but those that have are noted for their immense virtuosity.
The recognized fugal sound of Baroque music had not yet become stablished in Baltzar’s time
and his unaccompanied work for violin was recognized for its use of two or more independent
lines being played on a single instrument. Composed in 1656, John, come kiss me now is a
Preludio and Division (Variations), for violin and continuo.


Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704)
Rosary Sonata No. 1, Annunciation


Also known as the Mystery Sonatas, Biber’s Rosary Sonatas are a set of fifteen sacred works for
violin and continuo. Dedicated to Archbishop Gandolph, the fifteen Rosary Sonatas were written
as aural reflection on key events in Christ’s life that were meant for performance in Church
processions. As was common with compositions by early Baroque composers, many of these
Rosary Sonatas introduced violin techniques that were considered unplayable at the time due to
their high range and large double stops. Titled “The Annunciation,” the first sonata is meant to
reflect on Archangel Gabriel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary that she will be carrying the
son of God.


Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Sonata for Oboe and Harpsichord in G minor TWV 41:g6
and
Paris Quartet No. 1 in G Major, TWV 43:g1


As is true with much of other early composers’ music, Telemann’s Sonata for Oboe and

Harpsichord in G minor was written as part of a larger combination of works that accompanied a
Court held banquet. Not unlike in our own Olmos program, this Oboe Sonata was meant to serve
as a light interlude between two heavier works. Belonging to the third of six sets titled
Tafelmusik, the piece chosen was at one point something that could only be heard in the highest
echelons of society, written on manuscript literally titled “table-music.” Composed to satisfy an
aristocratic audience, the Sonata is very pristine and polished. The oboe is able to beautifully
demonstrate its ability to seamlessly change from lyrical singing passages to sudden bursts of
virtuosity.


Telemann’s Paris Quartets, named for their premier in Paris, were met with such enthusiasm that
they helped propel Telemann’s fame. During his lifetime, Telemann was lucky to have his music
printed and performed more than most other composers. By the time he left Hamburg in 1737,
for Paris, most French musicians were already acquainted with his works. Within his first year
living in Paris, Telemann was invited by a handful of respected musicians to perform
harpsichord for all twelve of his Paris Quartets. The first Paris Quartet in G Major is composed
in five movements. The first movement, Grave-Allegro, opens with a slow canon and quickly
becomes a virtuoso display between oboe and violin. The second movement, titled Largo, starts
and repeats a menacing set of diminished chords. The third movement, Presto, is full of urgency
as the solo instruments exchange flurries of notes while the fourth movement, Largo, is a repeat
of the short second movement. The last movement, Allegro, finally brings the ensemble into
a major key signature, finishing the quartet with some exuberance!


Marin Marais (1656-1728)
Sonnerie de St. Genevieve


Recognized as one of the greatest viola de gamba players, Marin Marais wrote Sonnerie de St.
Genevieve to highlight his own mastery of the viol. The difficulty of the viol part required a
skilled musician to perform, making the viol the feature instrument instead of the violin. Born in
Paris, France, Marais was a more rare contrast to his well-known German contemporaries. Noted
for being one of the earliest composers of programmatic music, Marais composed the Sonnerie
de St. Genevieve is based on a “ground bass,” where the bass perpetually repeats a pattern of notes.
Translating to mean the Bells of St. Genevieve, the three-note ostinato representing the ringing
of bells, can be heard right from the start of the work. Composed in 1723, this was one of Marin
Marais’ final works for instruments other than solo viol.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cello Suite No. 4


Considered some of Bach’s most profound work, the Cello Suites I-VI are each comprised of six
dance movements for unaccompanied cello. The Suites, which are almost always required for
professionally demonstrating one’s abilities, are all extremely challenging, both technically and
intellectually. Each of the suites has an identical structure. The first movement is a Prelude,
second Allemande, third Courante, fourth Sarabande, fifth Minuet, Gavotte, or Bourrée, and
finally Gigue. It is commonly heard that Bach composed the suites to teach himself cello, but as
the only remaining original manuscripts are handwritten by his wife, Anna Magdalena, little can
be known of the true originals. The Fourth Suite, composed in E flat Major, is a terrible key for
cello, like many other flat key signatures, not resonant and awkwardly arpeggiated. However,
when performed well, the music is beautiful as it demonstrates the full range of the perpetually

playing cello.

This concert is sponsored in part by a generous gift from Kenneth Fine and Rebecca Canary, and a grant from the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation of 1992, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov

This concert will be broadcast live on KPAC 88.3FM and Livestreamed on our You Tube channel. 

*programs and personnel subject to change