Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"T" guest artists

Kati Kyme, co-concertmaster of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and Mary Springfels, nationally known performer and teacher of the viola da gamba, lead the viols and violins in the July 5th concert. The composers include Tomkins, Telemann, and Tartini. See how these 2 families of instruments work....separately and together in an evening concert at the studio of Melinda Moreaux: 269 Woodward Ave, Penngrove.
Phebe Craig will be the mediator on hrpsichord and the other string players are: Maria Caswell, David Bowes, Gwyneth Davis and Judiyaba.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Halsey Stevens

The other lesser known composer on this program (besides Robert Sheldon) is the American composer Halsey Stevens, 1908-1989. His main job (composers rarely just get to sit and compose) was teaching at USC from 1947 until he died at age 80. He also wrote about music and in 1953 published "the Life and Music of Belá Bartók". The cello duet on this program was written in 1957 and shows Bartok's influence, being 5 short movements similar in feeling to Bartók's 44 Duets for 2 violins. A wonderful thing about Halsey Stevens is that he worked to make his music idiomatic to the instruments and also believed that music should communicate to the audience rather than alienate them. It seems obvious now, but particularly in the 1960's and 70's this was most definitely not always the case, as some of us can recall!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crafters of Song......

Schubert and Schumann are familiar composers whose songs we have long enjoyed. But sometimes there are hidden treasures that could almost go missing if someone doesn't give a little push to get them into the public eye. One such is Robert Sheldon, a quiet man who taught at SF Conservatory, SF State University and Mills College. He just loved writing songs and in any spare when a student didn't show up for a lesson...would use a favorite poem and have a new song sketched out within an hour. Marilyn Thompson met him when she was a student and he a professor at the Conservatory. She accompanied his wife's voice students and became acquainted with the music that way. Now Carol Menke and Marilyn have recorded some 20 songs, ranging in mood from profound, to sentimental, passionate, even cute. BUT there are about 1000 more songs in his notebooks that are not even transcribed for publication or use! There are also instrumental works, choral works and 3 operas languishing.
On the "S" concert will be 3 songs for soprano and piano and one, Patterns, that also includes cello. Just a sample of what is hidden away.........