May 17, 2021
(reservations open May 1, 2021 by email request only)
Laurel Heights Church
György Ligeti: Six Bagatelles for Wind quintet
I. Allegro con Spirito
II. Rubato. Lamentoso
III. Allegro Grazioso
IV. Presto Ruvido
V. Adagio. Mesto
VI. Molto Vivace. Capriccioso
Gordon Jacob: Sextet for piano and wind quintet
I. Elegiac Prelude
IV. Minute and Trio
V. Rondo with Epilogue
Carl Reinecke: Trio for horn, oboe, piano
I. Allegro Moderato
II. Scherzo. Molto Vivace
IV. Finale. Allegro ma non troppo
Theodor Blumer: Sextet for piano and wind quintet
V. Slavic Dances
This performance is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts, and concert sponsors Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt.
Program Notes, written by Mark Teplitsky
György Sándor Ligeti (1923-2006)
Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet
Hungarian born composer György Ligeti spent a significant portion of his life living under the rule of Eastern European totalitarianism. Ligeti knew that much of his music would not be performed or even acknowledged in an Era where dissonance, modernism, micropolyphomy, and any expiremental music in general was categorized as sacrilegious by the then authoritarian government. Still Ligeti's music did not go unnoticed in his lifetime as his works "Atmospheres," "Lux Aeterna," and "Requiem" were all used in Stanley Kubrick's: 2001 A Space Odyssey. The Six Bagatelles for Woodwind Quintet are borrowed from a larger twelve movement piano work Ligeti composed two years prior in 1951. Despite the purposeful dissonances and a minimal amount of different notes used per movement the bagatelles are surprisingly expressive and accessible. It is worth noting that the first Bagatelle consists of four pitches, the fifth Bagatelle is dedicated to Béla Bartok, and the final is marked "as though insane."
Gordon Jacob (1895-1984)
Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet
Composed in the latter half of his life, the wind and piano sextet by British composer Gordon Jacob was premiered in 1962. A student of Ralph Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music, Jacob was often praised by his acclaimed professor as being the more knowledgeable despite his young age. Throughout his life Jacob struggled with being fairly conservative and traditional leaning in his compositions despite the powerful avant grade movements that ruled artistic circles post the Great Wars. In an interview with BBC in 1959, he said "I personally feel that the day that melody is discarded, you may as well pack up music altogether." Composed for the renowned French Hornist, Dennis Brain, the Sextet is true to Jacob's musical philosophy with beautifully melodious lines and harmony. The repeating motif in the Sextet consists of the notes ABEBA, derived from the name of Dennis Brain's father, Aubrey Brain, also a French Hornist. Sadly, Dennis died very soon after his father passed in a tragic car accident.
Carl Reinecke (1824-1910)
Trio for Horn, Oboe and Piano
In his own time, Carl Reinecke, conductor of the world famous Gewandhaus Orchestra and director of the Leipzig Conservatory, stood shoulder to shoulder with his Romantic contemporaries. Sadly, not much is remembered of this productive, creative composer who taught Edvard Grieg, Leos Janacek, Isaac Albeniz, Max Bruch, and many more. The three hundred major compositions Reinecke has left the world to explore have recently come to light, including some works recorded by the composer himself. These piano rolls brand Reinecke with the honor of being the earliest concerticizing pianist to have some of his performances preserved. The Trio for Horn, Oboe, and Piano is one of a few Reinecke wrote for such unusual instrumentation and was written specifically for his Conservatory colleagues who complained of their instruments' lack of chamber repertoire. Composed in 1887, the Trio is in Reinecke's favorite four movement form with the Scherzo ordered as the second instead of the standard third.
Theodor Anton Blumer (1881-1964)
Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet
Composed for the illustrious Dresden Woodwind Quintet, the "Sextet" for piano and wind quintet was of high importance to the German composer Theodore Blumer who performed the piano part in concert himself. Born in Dresden, Blumer spent his entire life moving around Germany as a performing pianist, composition teacher, and conductor. In addition to the standard repertoire expected of a successful composer ranging from piano to opera, Blumer showed a fondness for the woodwind instruments writing quite a few works for them as solo and ensemble. With the influence of his teacher, Felix Draeske, a prominent figure in the late Romantic German clique, Blumer's "Sextet" draws upon the music of Strauss quite often. The theme of the work is introduced by the woodwinds alone with the next section of the work played in retaliation by solo piano. The variations that follow the opening theme are aptly named to fit their character: Capriccio, Pastorale, Slavonic Dance, Romance, and Humoresque. The finale is unnamed, begins with a fugue and ends with a March.