Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We should have known...

Of course there is No "L" in December!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rearranging the alphabet

Well friends, we think the letters of the alphabet have been in the same order for quite a long time, too long.....so we are going to shake it up a bit! Make alphabet soup!!

In other words, we are postponing the Dragon (but the Dragon is just resting and Will show up...beware!) We had a last minute cancellation in the cast and were not able to fill the opening on such short notice. So the Dragon is looking at February for his arrival and will keep you posted!

Meanwhile, we roll on to "M", January 6 at the gorgeous Petaluma Museum!
Elizabeth Blumenstock, who has just recorded the Vivaldi Four Seasons with Philharmonia Baroque at Skywalker Ranch, will be playing with members of that orchestra and of VOT (very old time) Music: Phebe Craig, Maria Caswell,Cynthia Albers, David Bowes, Gwyneth Davis and Judiyaba. Music of Merula, Matteis, Martini, Marini, Mielczewski and more! much more...mmmm.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Dragon approaches.......

The Dragon of Wantley will arrive at Beth Ami (the Friedman Center) in Santa Rosa in February. This comic opera was written by a bassoonist in Handel's orchestra.....perhaps spoofing Handel's operas! We will do a semi-staged version, which allows you to enjoy the totally silly words, and the orchestra of strings and harpsichord.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

But who is playing?

The "K" concert performers are the VOT (Very Old Time) Music Group: Cynthia Albers, Maria Caswell and David Bowes on violins, violas and more. Gwyneth Davis on cello and viola da gamba. Judiyaba, cello, and Karen Clark, contralto.
The program starts with "Sage mir...." (tell me) and ends with "Es ist genug" (That's enough!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kirnberger gets the axe.....

We had a Kirnberger Ricercar planned. And we know that Ricercar means searching....
But we couldn't even figure out what he was searching for! So out it went, and in it's place we found another piece for Karen to sing with us. It's by Klingenberg (are you keeping all these K's straight?) and is titled "Es ist genug". Seemed very fitting for the day after Thanksgiving!
Don't worry about a lack of Ricercare, we still have one by Krieger that we like much more,
as well as pieces by the Earl of Kelly and Keller and Kellner and a slightly more modern piece we think you will recognize......
See you soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"K" for kith and kin......

The "K" concert is going to be an hour for kindred spirits to meet and unwind with the kind voices of the baroque era. .....so no living composers this concert! In fact it has been a chance to explore some lesser known composers: Johann Krieger is the oldest, born in 1651 (34 years before Bach!) And one of the pieces of his that we are doing is for contralto, violin, viola da gamba and cello. We also have, Keller, The Earl of Kelly (He is listed in the catalogs under "K"!) and we get positively modern with Kirnberger, born in 1721.
We will be at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts at 6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol, 4-5pm Friday November 26. An alternative to shopping....or maybe post shopping!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"J" was a varied concert!

There were 7 composers represented on this concert! And as many different instrument groupings! Fun, but tricky logistically! Here is the trio of Marilyn, Roy and Yaba.
And thanks again to the man with the camera: Charlie Lucke!

"J" composer...Warner jepson

Three pieces of Warner 's were played last Sunday.
Two from his 20's: "Thinking" and "Snow Room" and one...finished last week! was a wonderful duet for 2 cellos called "Twins".

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

..and something for our audience......

Elly Lichenstein, director of Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, and fan of A-Zed Concerts, would like to offer our audience 2 for the price of 1 tickets to the Supernatural Double-Bill at Cinnabar this weekend! A one act play by Jack Paglen: We (heart) you, Nosferatu or At Home With The Draculas. Followed by The Medium, a one act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti (which the Eloquence quartet members are playing)
Sharpen your fangs and call Cinnabar at 763-8920, mention the "alphabet special" to enjoy these strange tales.

The audience starts arriving.........

One never knows who will show up at an A-Zed Concert!!! A fun loving audience!
..more pictures to follow.....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just a "J" note....

Trinity Episcopal Church is at 275 East Spain, Sonoma, just 2 blocks off the Town Square.
It is a lovely small wood lined church and in front they have a labyrinth walk set in redwood trees. It would be worth it to come a bit early to stroll there. Or at 4;30 there will be a guided labyrinth walk.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A jolly jumble......

The October concert encompasses work from the 17th century to, well, yesterday!
The oldest piece on our program is by Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guarre, who was born in 1664. The piece is for 2 cellos and keyboard, in this case organ. And the most recent composition is being refined as you read this, a cello duet by Sonoma composer Warner Jepson, who will be at the concert! (We will also have older compositions of his on the program)
Scott Joplin I think you know..... Paul Juon has been a wonderful newcomer to our repertoire list. We played the Four Miniatures for clarinet, cello and piano a few years ago and are delighted to have an excuse to bring it back. Gordon Jacob, a 20th century English composer will be represented by a solo clarinet piece. Janacek is perhaps better known and we will play Pohadka for cello and piano. And what is an alphabet concert without a transcription? The 2 cellists will steal a bassoon duet by Jancourt.

Performers this month are: Marilyn Thompson, piano; Roy Zajac, clarinet; Judiyaba, cello and a return visit (remember "E"?) of the Eloquence String Quartet; Peggy Brady, Rachelle Davis, Beth Heid and Gwyneth Davis.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"I" Photos

After the Ives Piano Trio; performed by Mariko Smiley, Marilyn Thompson, Judiyaba and the A-Zed audience!

Sophia Hall

Charlie Lucke photos

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kudos to the audience!

It's not every chamber music audience that can sing Rock of Ages and TaRaRaBoomDerE.....at the same time! It was a good spirited group that was willing to try to do a little bit of what Charles Ives does in the Piano Trio, which we then played.
Thanks for entering the spirit of the piece!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Charles Ives

Charles Ives (1874-1954) was a pioneer of combining American tunes, feelings and sounds with European musical forms. His music was a radical departure from what had been done before. Both Henry Cowell (C concert...violin sonata) and Lou Harrison (H concert...string quartet) learned from him and were promoters of his music.
There is a well written biographical sketch online at http://www.charlesives.org/02bio.htm
And the words he wrote for one of his songs gives a clue to how he thought of music.

I think there must be a place in the soul
all made of tunes, of tunes long ago;
I hear the organ on Main Street corner,
Aunt Sarah humming Gospels; Summer evenings,
The village cornet band, playing in the square.
The town's Red, White and Blue,
all Red, white and Blue; Now! Hear the words
But they sing in my soul of the things our Fathers loved.

Thanks to Will Johnson for the quote and the link!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"I" or is it "IF"?

"I" is approaching rapidly!
But in truth it is the "IF" concert because the Faure songs which suffered a last minute cancellation from the "F" concert will be on this one! Soprano Carol Menke and pianist Marilyn Thompson will do not only Faure, but also songs by Charles Ives on September 26. Judiyaba and Marilyn will play some Ippolitov-Ivanov. (you'll love it) and then Mariko Smiley, Judiyaba and Marilyn will play the Ives Piano Trio, a wonderfully inventive, fun, and unusual piece.
The concert is at 7pm in Sophia Hall at Summerfield Waldorf School; 655 Willowside Rd. Santa Rosa.
There might also be a bit of audience participation in this concert.
Don't worry (how many of you remember Mitch Miller?)

Friday, August 27, 2010

From the "H" concert.

Add Image

Thank you ,
Charlie Lucke
for the wonderful photos!!
...showing the cello technique used in Robert Hughes duet "Sonitudes"
...Robert Hughes talking about the inspiration for his piece, and a bit of history about Lou Harrisons quartet.

Mariko Smiley and Maria Caswell
listening to Bob before playing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Practicing fo "H"

This concert requires a different sort of practice for the cellist.
In Robert Hughes' duet for flute and cello (Sonitudes) I had to buy a new drumstick and am practicing using it on the strings...with the cello on the .....well, you'll see! And in Lou's string quartet I am also practicing my drumming, but this time with the flat of my hand on the body of the cello.
(I am writing this between practice sessions)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lou Harrison 1917-2003

I encourage you to google Lou, if not to read more, to see the photos. I think seeing him helps give a sense of this unusual and wonderful man. One of his teachers was Henry Cowell, who many of you heard in the "C" concert and who encouraged the use of known tunes. Lou taught at Black Mountain college and worked with John Cage. He also studied Balinese and Javanese gamelans. He and his partner Bill Colvig made an American gamelan, using reclaimed materials for special sounds and tunings. From all these influences he developed a very personal style. I find it elegant, touching, inventive and different from a lot of 20th century music in being what I think of as non-aggressive.
A Lou story: For many many years he and Bill lived in Aptos (near Santa Cruz) and was composer in residence at Cabrillo Music Festival, which I played. One year he invited a friend and I to camp in his backyard during the festival. That sounded fun, so we arrived with a little pup tent and a hibachi and set ourselves up. Lou came out, shook his head and disappeared for a while. He came back with a huge cabin style tent which we all erected. We thought that was great! But he shook his head again, disappeared for a few minutes and came back out with an asian carpet which he placed very carefully in the tent. THEN we were set. Except the hibachi.
He took us inside and showed us around the kitchen, just warning us that a certain pot in the fridge was their 1000 year old family soup and was never to be emptied. (one just adds to it, and boils it...a lot)

Friday, July 30, 2010

The "H" program.....

Hi All!
The "H" Concert is going to be part of the Cinnabar Summer Music Festival
(www.cinnabartheataer.org for tickets)
The program is taking shape nicely...Starting with a Handel Violin Sonata, and an early Haydn Trio for violin, cello and in this case, harpsichord. Then Kathleen Reynolds will bring us into the 20th century with a Honegger solo flute piece, then a cello duet by Hindemith, and then the cello will start acting as a percussion instrument in a duet by Robert Hughes for cello and flute. The final piece is an amazing string quartet by the Aptos composer Lou Harrison.
Other performers will be Maria Caswell and Mari Smiley, violins, Betsy London, viola, Yuko Tanaka, harpsichord, Kathleen and the usual suspects on cello......

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Too many G guys!

So is it Gabrieli or Gabrielli??
We are playing pieces by Domenico Gabrielli, who was actually not related to Andrea or Giovanni Gabrieli. Those other guys were the ones who wrote the antiphonal brass pieces. They were Venetian and our guy (Domenico) lived in Bologna. What confusion!
Now the Grauns.....There were 3 brothers who all wrote music. The oldest, August, was frequently in trouble with the law and didn't publish much. And of the other 2 (Johann Gottlieb and Carl Heinrich) it is sometimes unclear which of them wrote what.
There...did that clear things up?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gamboling through.....

Graun, Graupner, Giamberti, Guerini, and the great Gabrielli......
We're in rehearsal for our coast baroque concert!
This month's Alphabet Players are: Maria Caswell, violin; David Barnett, recorders and chalumeau; Marion Rubinstein, recorder and harpsichord; and Gwyneth Davis and Judiyaba, cello.
Yes, chalumeau.....any guesses?
A clue...must blow, not bow a chalumeau......

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"F" photos!

The "F" Concert, at St. Vincents, was a bi-level concert. After opening with the Finzi Bagatelles for clarinet and piano, we continued from the organ loft. The acoustics were so wonderful that people thought the cello was amplified. Plus...the church is gorgeous. The organ pipes are actually hidden behind the screen on the right. Too bad they hid them! After intermission the Frühling Trio; piano, cello and clarinet was played downstairs. Unfortunately, soprano Carol Menke was sick so we were without the Faure songs.......Now an ethical question.....Can we postpone and put them on a later program???? Even though it would be the "wrong" letter???

Monday, June 21, 2010

St. Vincent's

Marilyn has very old connections to this church. She has been organist there for many many years and is going to show off the organ by playing Pièce Héroique by Franck.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


The concert on Monday the 28th is at 7:30 at
St. Vincent de Paul Church. It's a beautiful old church built in 1927 at the huge cost of $200,000 dollars.... and was paid for in one year!
The address is 35 Liberty St. Petaluma. It's very close to downtown, just off Western and a few blocks west of Petaluma Blvd North.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Finalizing the "F" program.....

Well, in the final plan, Foote got the boot. (sorry)
But Faure came out ahead with both songs sung by soprano Carol Menke and the Elegy played by Judiyaba with Marilyn Thompson on organ! The same duo will play a deFesch (1687-1761) Sonata. Finzi (1897-1945) Bagatelles for clarinet and piano, with Roy Zajac and Nancy Hayashibara. Fruhling (do his dates spring to mind? 1868-1937) Trio for piano, clarinet and cello
and to show off the organ, a piece by Franck.
No living composers this time....but a fun mix.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Plans!

All three summer concerts are in the planning stages.......getting close to finalizing!
But to let you know a bit......

June 28, a Monday night (we really are going for variety) the concert will be at St. Vincents Church in Petaluma. Gorgeous church! And big! We thought it would be fun to bring everyone up to the organ loft for half the concert...and then downstairs by the piano for the other half. Faure (songs, and..), Finzi (Bagatelles for clarinet and piano), De Fesch, Foote (I'll keep you guessing) and Fruhling.
Carol Menke, soprano; Marilyn Thompson, organ and piano; Nancy Hayashibara, piano; Roy Zajac, clarinet and Judiyaba, cello.

July 18....come to the coast!! We have a 4pm concert in the "church space" at Point Reyes Dance Palace. Lovely little wood lined space. Think Gabrielli, harpsichord, strings.....
And plan a day to get to the coast! Point Reyes is a cute little town, not far from Inverness and beaches. And restaurants for dinner after......

August 26, a Thursday evening, will be part of the Cinnabar Summer Music Festival in Petaluma. "H" is good.....from Handel to Harrison (that's Lou Harrison, a wonderful and very unusual string quartet.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"D" photo

Charlie Lucke took this photo of the last piece on the "D" concert.
We were playing the Dohnanyi Piano Quintet (Gwyneth Davis was the page turner....sometimes the scariest job!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More "E"s

Lots of "E"s!
Edward Elgar and Eric Ewazen! And the Eloquence String Quartet!
The quartet, made up of Peggy Brady and Rachelle Davis, violins, Beth Heid, viola and Gwyneth Davis can be checked out at Eloquencestringquartet.com. (pictures there too) They are playing the Elgar Quartet, a piece which isn't played nearly often enough.
But to crank up the volume a bit, Dan Norris will join them for a Quintet By Eric Ewazen, a composition teacher at Juilliard, who apparently went to Juilliard at the same time as Shinji.

about the "E" concert

Live composers are featured on the "E" concert!
San Francisco composer and bass player Shinji Eshima has written a very moving piece for bassoon, string quartet and optional buddhist monk. It's called Krapp's Endgame and refers to a Samuel Beckett play: Krapp's Last Tape, but also references an Allen Ginsberg's poem: Song.
It's a great poem. The beginning is:

The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
The weight we carry
is love.

The players for this are; Greg Barber, bassoon, Peggy Brady and Rachelle David, violins, Beth Heid, viola and Judiyaba, cello.

Shinji also wrote a piece for Judiyaba and Gwyneth Davis called the Judiyabadabaduo, which we will play.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


This Sunday, April 25th we will be repeating the "D" concert in San Francisco!
At 7:30 at the St. James church. A beautiful small church at 4620 California (between 8th and 9th Avenues) There is a suggested donation of $10 which also helps the church learning center.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"D"....a slavic romp

We visit the 1890's through the ears of Dohnanyi and Dvorak in this concert. The 2 main pieces were composed only 2 years apart. Dvorak wrote the American Quartet in 1893, while he was teaching in New York, and Dohnanyi wrote the Piano Quintet (his first published composition) in 1895. Both are big romantic pieces....great fun to play.
Nancy Hayashibara will be the pianist. Violinists are Heidi Wilcox and Beni Shinohara. Wayne Roden is the violist and Judiyaba the cellist.
This concert is a faculty concert at Sonoma State where Beni and Judiyaba are leading the string orchestra this semester. Tickets are $12 general, $8 seniors and students, and SSU students free.
The box office number is 664-2352.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

C for Composers

Lots of composers!
Copland and Chopin are familiar to concert goers, but who are these other characters?
Cesar Cui is a name that might be familiar from music history courses. The "Russian Five" that we had to memorize were Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Balakirev and Cui. ( Mr. BBC when studying) But somehow we never heard any music by the last two! I still haven't heard any Balakirev but we found a lovely Barcarolle for cello and piano by Cui.
And Guillaume Connesson? The most modern composer on the program, he was born in 1970. Studied and now teaches in France and has commissions from major orchestras all over the world. Fortunately he also writes fun short chamber music pieces like the Disco Toccata. (probably too short to dance to)
Rebecca Clarke, American, born in 1886, and lived until 1979, composing, touring as a performer with a cellist, playing her own music and battling sexism. She once tied in a composition contest with Bloch but was not given the prize when it was known that she was a woman.
More coming about Henry Cowell, an early promoter of world music (born in Menlo Park 1897), prolific composer and mentor to John Cage, Lou Harrison, Charles Ives, and Harry Partch.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"C" is coming soon....

The "C" Concert is March 5...at 7:30 at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa (also home of the UU Church)
Performers will be: Nancy Hayashibara, Judiyaba, Gwyneth Davis, Roy Zajac, Bonnie Lockett, David Abel, Julie Steinberg and Aja Gianola-Norris.

Performing Chopin, Clarke (Rebecca), Cell phones, Cui, Comedy, Connesson, Cookies, Cacophany, Cowell (Henry), and Copland.......

....most of the above.......

the Glaser Center is at 547 Mendocino Ave. and the suggested donation is $10-$25 (no more!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

the A Team in SF

This was taken after our January 25th concert at St. James church in SF......A repeat of the Sebastopol concert on january 10. The color matching was accidental! We had been working together rather intensely!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the "B" is almost here......

The next concert, "B", will be hosted by the Petaluma Historical Museum. It is a wonderful place. A glass domed ceiling and open 2 story room.......their website, with pictures, is www.petalumamuseum.com. The concert is February 7th at 2pm and admission is $10 general, $7 museum members. Tickets are available through them 778-4398 or at the door.
The music will be our basic B's......Bach (guess), Beethoven Cello Sonata in g minor, Brahms clarinet, cello, and piano Trio,.....and the Bernstein Clarinet Sonata.
Marilyn Thompson, piano, Roy Zajac, clarinet and Judiyaba, cello.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Repeating "A" in San Francisco!

We have been invited to repeat out first concert!
On January 25 at 7:30pm, we will play at St. James Church; 4620 California St. SF.
Again, no paper tickets, but donations for the St. James Community Learning Center will be accepted. (We will not be handing out letters this time)
Hope to see some of you who couldn't get up to Sonoma County!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Off and running!

Thanks to all who made our first concert so fun!
The A-Team consisted of Maria Caswell and Heidi Wilcox; violins. Betsy London, viola. Gwyneth Davis and Judiyaba, cello. and Phebe Craig, harpsichord. The music was by Anon (as promised) Albinoni, Arne, Arriaga, d'Anglebert, and Arensky. With tea at the break provided by Ann (she sells that blend thru www.teahousestyle@earthlink.net) and almond cookies and A-mandelbread by Barbara. And a wonderful Audience!!
We still welcome comments and suggestions which can be entered here.
Hope to see you February 7 at the Petaluma historical Museum!