Sunday, February 21, 2016

Alphabet Baroque Club 2016

Our concert this spring is called From the Ground up!
We start with a ground bass, add flowers, bugs, birds (mostly cuckoos and nightingales) throw in dogs, cats, owls and a butterfly and end up in the heavens. All on baroque instruments and with guest soprano Eileen Morris. The usual suspects wielding the instruments are Judiyaba on pardessus (the littlest  viol), Maria Caswell on baroque violin, Gwyneth Davis on viola da gamba, and Phebe Craig on harpsichord.

Two performances!

March 18, 7:30pm at the Iota Press printshop.  Sit amongst the presses, read your letterpress program ( a gift from the owner) and enjoy! 925d Gravenstein Hwy S. It is behind Bee Kind, the honey shop.
There is a suggested donation of $15.

June 9, 3pm at the Berkeley Piano Club.  This is a fringe concert of the Berkeley Early Music Festival.
Donations happily accepted.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Alphabet Baroque Club

Yet another somber meeting of the Alphabet Baroque Club. Rehearsals are deadly serious and of course never involve eating!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

We're back!

Now calling ourselves the Alphabet Baroque Club.

We have a series of concerts this spring which we call Time Warp…….going back in time to play music as old as that of the 15th century. The players? As in our last Nursery Concert: Phebe Craig, harpsichord;  Maria Caswell, violin;  Judiyaba, treble viol;  Gwyneth Davis, viola da gamba (bass viol).
No cellos this time as we have to get ourselves and our instruments to Ireland inMay!

The dates!  
February 23 was our 4th annual concert at Grow Gardens Nursery

March 2, 2pm, at Trinity Church in Trinidad, Ca. (this is a benefit for the historical church repair fund.)

May 10, 4pm, Music at Pepperwood. Santa Rosa, Ca.

May 17, matinee, Galway Early Music Festival, Ireland!

  Hope to see you at one of these…and was very pleased to see all of you who crowded in at the Nursery last Monday!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Alphabet Players return to the Nursery!

For the 3rd year the Alphabet Players will serenade friends and plants at Grow Gardens Nursery! A festive concert of baroque music by Marais, Schmelzer, Biber, Buxtehude, Corrette and perhaps even a familiar seasonal tune…..just one.
The Players are Phebe Craig, harpsichord; Maria Caswell, violin; Gwyneth Davis, viola da gamba; Judiyaba, treble viol and cello.
The plants are too numerous to name, but available to those who want to shop at intermission.

Grow Gardens….1841 Gravenstein Hwy South.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

and the players are....

The Hindemith duet: Judiyaba and Gwyneth Davis, celli

Lili Boulanger Trio: Terrie Baune, violin. Karen Rosenak, piano and Judiyaba

Pierrot Lunaire: Karen Clark, voice. Leslie Chin, flute. Roy Zajac, clatinets and Terrie, Karen R., and Judiyaba.

Facade: Elly Lichenstein and Michael van Why, speakers. Dan Gianola-Norris, trumpet. Steve Parker, saxaphone. Kevin Heuhoff, percussion,  and Leslie, Roy and Gwyneth.

A great crop of Bay Area musicians!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Boulanger sisters

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) was arguably the most important teacher of music in the 20th century. I would guess that most composers of that time studied either with her or one of her students. Copland, Philip Glass, Piazzolla, Piston, Francaix, Vigil Thompson......the list goes on. Aaron Copland said "she knew everything there was to know about music....pre-Bach and post-Stravinsky included". She taught rigorously using traditional harmony, counterpoint and sight-singing. She was the first woman to conduct a symphony orchestra (London, 1937) and between the World Wars brought Monteverdi into the musical mainstream, as well as bringing back French baroque and Renaissance music, and championing Stravinsky's music.

I would go on about this amazing musician, but it is actually her sister Lili (1893-1918) whose music we are playing on this concert. Nadia had always believed that Lili was the more gifted composer. Unfortunately most of her short life was spent in ill health, so her output was not huge. The 2 short trios  on the program have a wonderful character and a rather forward looking harmonic sense.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Two poetry settings

Arnold Schoenberg (born in 1874) wrote Pierrot Lunaire in 1912. It is in 21 parts; 3 groups of 7 and uses the poems of Albert Giraud. It's weird. And wonderful. The sprechstimme vocal part is a bit eerie and the small instrumental accompaniment changes with each poem. The first set of seven deals with love, sex and religion. That is enough for this concert!

William Walton (born in 1902) wrote his 21 part piece on poems of Edith Sitwell. It premiered in 1923 (the poems were written in 1918) And the vocal parts in this are spoken. This isn't sounding like a coincidence! We know that Walton had heard Schoenberg's music because he criticized his own string quartet from 1923 as "full of undigested Bartok and Schoenberg".  Yet he borrowed the form of Pierrot Lunaire very closely. Presumably it was well digested.