"Classical Hodgepodge"

August 8, 2021

3:00 pm

Laurel Heights Church

227 West Woodlawn Ave., SA, TX

Rachel Ferris, harp

Mark Teplitsky, flute

Matthew Cohen, viola

Program:

Carl Nielsen - The Fog is Lifting for flute and harp

Jacques Ibert - Two Interludes for Flute, Viola, and Harp (arr. Andrew Lipke) 

     I. Andante Espressivo 

     II. Allegro vivo 

 

Maurice Ravel - Sonatine for Flute, Viola and Harp (arr. Kanga) 

     I. Modéré 

     II. Mouvement de menuet 

     III. Animé 

 

INTERMISSION

François Devienne - Duo for Flute and Viola in C minor, Op. 5 

     I. Allegro Molto con Espressione 

     II. Rondo-Majeur 

 

George Gershwin - St. Louis Blues Rhapsody for flute and viola

 

Arnold Bax - Elegiac Trio for flute, viola and harp

Claude Debussy - Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp 

     I. Pastorale 

     II. Interlude 

     III. Finale 

This concert is sponsored in part by a generous gift from Dr. Joseph and Toni Murgo, Anne and Bruce Johnson, 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 through our YouTube channel. For Livestream, click here.

*programs and personnel subject to change

Program notes written by Mark Teplitsky.

Carl Nielsen (1865-1931)
The Fog is Lifting Op. 41

Composed in 1920 by Denmark’s most prominent composer, Carl Nielsen, this duet for flute and
harp is very short and very charming. Despite having become a standalone gem for flute and
harp, “The Fog is Lifting” was originally written as part of a larger work meant to accompany
Helge Rode’s play “The Mother.” The theatrical piece tells a tale of a kidnapped son’s return to
his mother and the flute/harp duet is heard right at the opening of the first scene in which a
mother is seen walking through fog searching for her child.

Jacques Ibert (1890-1962)
Two Interludes for Flute, Viola, and Harp

Having spent his entire life living in Paris, it is no surprise that Jacques Ibert’s music epitomizes
the arabesque sonority and flow of French impressionist music. While often performed as stand-
alone works, the Two Interludes for Flute, Viola, and Harp were originally composed as just a
small portion of a larger work titled Le Burlador, meaning The Seducer. The original work is a
spicy rebranding of the well-known Don Juan tale, only the story is told not via the seductive
male protagonist, but through a female perspective. The first Interlude is very French, composed
in a commonly seen musical structure, slow-fast-slow, with the flute presenting the first delicate
theme under a constant ripple of harp notes. The second Interlude is Iberian (Spanish) in nature
with the harp taking on the role of a guitar while the other two instruments provide the flavorful
rhythms of flamenco music.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Sonatine en Trio for Flute, Viola, and Harp (arr. Salzedo)

Composed just after the turn of the 20 th century, Ravel’s Sonatine is a three-movement work
originally written for solo piano as a submission for a competition hosted by France’s Weekly
Critical Review magazine. Amusingly, Ravel dedicated the work to himself and submitted it
under a false name. He was later disqualified for having composed a few bars over the 75-bar
entry limit for the initial draft. The first movement, titled Modére, reflects Ravel’s mastery of
Classical Era compositional techniques. Despite his unique harmonic language, Ravel chose to
compose the Modére in very traditional 18 th century Sonata Allegro with the introduction
returning at the end after the middle Development section. The second movement, Mouvement
de Menuet, is less classical beginning as a slow waltz and building in energy throughout. Finally,
the last movement, titled Animé, is the most difficult with changing time signatures that create a
sense of exciting restlessness that continues to the very last note. Tonight’s presentation of the

work is an arrangement by French harpist Carlos Salzedo, who transcribed the Sonatine for
Flute, Viola and Harp.

François Devienne (1759-1803)
Duo for Flute and Viola in C minor, Op. 5 

A flutist himself, François Devienne was a popular figure in France during the Classical Era.
Having attained the nickname “Mozart of the Flute,” Devienne strived to be a Renaissance man,
learning to also play bassoon, clarinet, violin, and piano in addition to singing, composing, and
conducting. The concertos written by Devienne have become staples of woodwind repertoire and
are often ranked on par with the same compositions of Mozart and Haydn. The C minor Duo for
Flute and Viola is the third of six Duo Concertantes that Devienne composed for the pair of
instruments. The ranges of the two instruments span to just about six octaves, creating a
surprisingly pleasant ringing resonance between them.

George Gershwin (1898-1937)

St. Louis Blues Rhapsody

St. Louis Blues Rhapsody is a duet for flute and viola arranged by Andrew Lipke, a Philadelphia based, South African born multi-instrumentalist and composer.  It was Inspired by and draws source material from two original compositions: St Louis Blues by W.C. Handy and Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin.  The work was composed in 2017 and was premiered the same year at the Philadelphia World Cafe Live by flutist Edward Schulz and violist Matthew Cohen; it contains instantly recognizable themes and contains elements of tango, jazz, rock and roll and blues within the classical setting of a flute and viola duet.  The piece is short but fun and will receive its Texas premiere today.

Arnold Bax (1883-1953)
Elegiac Trio for Flute, Viola, and Harp

From the early years of his life, London born Sir Arnold Bax was fascinated with the culture of
Ireland, writing music, poetry, and plays that yearned for these Western Isles. Born to a wealthy
family, Bax was fortunate to pursue a path of composition that interested him most, not that of
orthodoxy. Bax moved to Ireland before the First World War erupted, where he was able to study
the music of Claude Debussy, whose compositions were not yet welcome in many academic
circles. The Elegiac Trio for Flute, Viola, and Harp was written in response to Bax’s protest to
the execution of those who participated in the Easter Rising, a six-day insurrection in Dublin.
Despite its similarities to the Debussy Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, it is unlikely that the
Elegiac Trio was influenced by it, as both works were composed at almost the exact same time.
Despite the intentions behind composing the work, Bax shows no indications of rage in his
music, but instead chooses to express his grief through old tunes and melodies.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp

In the last three years of his life, Claude Debussy fell ill with a cancer that would eventually take
his life. During this dark time, he set out to compose six unusual sonatas, only three of which
were completed. Thankfully, amongst those that were composed was the Sonata for Flute, Viola
and Harp. Possibly inspired by the stringed Koto and wind Shaguhachi, both Asian instruments
he saw on display at the Paris Exhibition, Debussy had already established an entirely new world
of sound in his composing by the time he began to compose this Sonata. Despite his love of
Wagner, whose compositions had become an educational staple and obsession across the
European continent, Debussy strived to make his music as original as possible. In the search for a
French identity, Debussy began studying French Baroque and folk music. During the
composition of this Sonata, Debussy wrote a letter to Stravinsky stating, “I’ve been writing
nothing but pure music: twelve etudes for piano, and two Sonatas for diverse instruments, in our
old form, which graciously did not impose Ring-Cycle [Wagner] efforts upon the auditory
faculty.” The Sonata is written in three movements: Pastorale, Interlude, and Finale.