Chamber Music II

Saturday, March 4, 2017 • 7:30 p.m.
Resonance at SOMA Towers (288 106th Avenue NE, Suite 203, Bellevue)

purchase advance tickets

members of OSSCS
Olympic Brass Ensemble

Program

Antonio Salazar (1928 – 2000)⁤/ arr. Tony Taño
Tres Canciones Mexicanas

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart (1756–1791)
Divertimento in E♭ major, K. 563

intermission

Leonard Bernstein (1918 –1990)
Trio for Violin, Violoncello and Piano

Victor Ewald (1860–1935)
Brass Quintet No. 3 in D♭ major, Op. 7

About the Concert

Soprano Peggy Kurtz, joined by clarinetist David Frank and pianist Rose Fujinaka, sings three Mexican songs (originally for voice and guitar) by Salazar. Violinist Alexander Hawker, cellist Roberta Rominger and pianist Lewis Thompson play Bernstein’s piano trio, composed when he was a student at Harvard (the opening of the slow movement later found its way into On the Town). Violinist Jason Hershey, violist Karen Frankenfeld and cellist Peter Ellis perform Mozart’s only work for string trio. The Olympic Brass Ensemble closes the program with a quintet by Victor Ewald.

Ticket price ($25) includes one drink from the bar. Only 100 seats available (purchase advance tickets); tickets will also be available at the door if any seats remain.

resonance

Program Notes

Antonio Salazar
Tres Canciones Mexicanas

By far the most famous work written expressly for voice, clarinet and piano is Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (“The Shepherd on the Rock”), the last of more than 600 lieder composed by Franz Schubert. For an August 2007 recording of Schubert’s masterpiece and other works featuring the same instrumentation, American soprano Jessica Rivera commissioned Cuban-born composer Antonio Taño to arrange three pieces (two tangos framing a central ballad) by the Mexican singer-songwriter Antonio Salazar Arroyo. According to Rudolph H. Weingartner’s booklet notes for Rivera’s CD:

“A skillful jeweler living in Guadalajara, Salazar was also a successful musician, who, in the 1950s, was a principal singer of an immensely popular radio program, Te lo diré cantando (‘I will tell you with a song’), on Guadalajara’s station XEHL. In later years, on the program La hora del ranchero (‘The Hour for Countryfolk’), Salazar specialized in tangos. However he could sing from memory a great variety of songs, accompanying himself on guitar. But he also composed numerous songs, writing both words and music.”

Wolfgang Amadè Mozart
Divertimento in E♭ major, K. 563

Joannes Chrisostomus Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart was born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756, and died in Vienna on December 5, 1791; he began calling himself Wolfgango Amadeo around 1770 and Wolfgang Amadè in 1777. He completed this trio for violin, viola and cello on September 27, 1788.

Mozart composed at least two dozen works he labeled a “divertimento,” many of them during his youthful years in Salzburg; he produced a few others sporadically during the final years of his all-too-brief life. Like his numerous serenades (which include Eine kleine Nachtmusik for strings and the Gran Partita for wind instruments), these divertimenti had as their forbears the Baroque dance suite, but added elements of sonata-allegro form, particularly in their opening movements. Often conceived as light entertainment, these works required forces varying from three basset horns to full orchestra.

During the summer of 1788, Mozart composed his final three symphonies (known as Nos. 39, 40 and 41), then produced a string trio for his good friend (and fellow Freemason) Johann Michael Puchberg (1741–1822), possibly as a thank-you gift for Puchberg bailing Mozart out of yet another gambling debt. It would be his only original work for the combination of violin, viola and cello (aside from a fragment of a trio begun the following year). Mozart biographer Hermann Abert considered the six-movement divertimento “not only one of his most mature chamber works, but also … an unsurpassed high point in its genre.” Nine years later, Beethoven used it as the model for his own early Op. 3 string trio (also in E♭ major).

Leonard Bernstein
Trio for Violin, Violoncello and Piano

Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on August 25, 1918, and died in New York City on October 14, 1990.

Leonard Bernstein was classical music’s version of a five-tool player: conductor, composer, pianist, songwriter and educator. Although he enrolled at Harvard with the intent of becoming a concert pianist, encounters with Dimitri Mitropoulos and Aaron Copland shifted his attention to conducting and composition. “There wasn’t much to teach him,” confessed composition professor Walter Piston. “He knew it all by instinct.”

Bernstein’s earliest surviving composition is this 1937 piano trio, written for pianist Mildred Spiegel, a childhood friend and Harvard classmate. The work exhibits a wide variety of influences, at times foreshadowing Bernstein’s mature compositional style. The opening movement incorporates a fugue said to have been deemed “inappropriate” by Piston when Bernstein had previously submitted it as a counterpoint assignment. The opening of the brief, playful second movement later found its way into Bernstein’s Broadway musical On the Town. The finale begins slowly before recalling the first movement’s fugue theme and finally launching into an Eastern European–style folk dance.

After initial performances by Spiegel and her colleagues, the trio disappeared into Bernstein’s archives: it remained unpublished and unrecorded during his lifetime.

Victor Ewald
Brass Quintet No. 3 in D♭ major, Op. 7

Victor Vladimirovich Ewald was born November 27, 1860, in St. Petersburg, where he died on April 16, 1935.

Between 1848 and 1850, Frenchman Jean-François-Victor Bellon (1795–1869) composed a dozen brass quintets, but these languished in obscurity for 150 years. Thus Victor Ewald, a Russian composer of German heritage, came to be acknowledged as the father of the brass quintet. Born in St. Petersburg, where he studied cello and composition at that city’s conservatory, Ewald maintained a “day job” as a successful professor of civil engineering while playing cello in an ensemble organized by Mitrofan Belyayev (a violist, timber merchant and music publisher) and widely recognized as the most influential string quartet in Russia.

Around 1888, Ewald — who also played cornet, horn and tuba — composed a quintet in A♭ major for five brass instruments. His B♭-minor quintet debuted a couple years later and became the first — and only — one of Ewald’s four quintets to be published (by Belyayev) during the composer’s lifetime. Ewald returned to the form some 15 years later, composing an E♭-major quintet, followed (around 1912) by a final quintet in D♭ major (known as “No. 3”).

Ewald created these works for an ensemble consisting of two cornets, a rotary-valve alto horn, a rotary-valve tenor horn and tuba, but today they are generally performed by the standard brass quintet, substituting French horn and trombone for the alto and tenor horns.

Jeff Eldridge