Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

the Wonderful World of "W"

We will wallow in the wildly changing 20th century at this concert. Music was finding many different routes through these strange times. And as the setting for this concert is a pirate show at Petaluma Museum, we will use the motto of taking anything from anyone....musically, of course. From the first half of the century we have the English classical music of William Walton (2 movements from the Piano Quartet) songs of Italian Wolf-Ferrari, the very sparse (as in short....very short!) modernism of Anton Webern and the cabaret style songs of Kurt Weill. All written in the same time period and yet so totally different in mood.
Then to represent the second half of the century, we have music of 2 living composers on the program! We have a piano trio by SSU composer Brian Wilson and a song (Stopping by Woods) by local though unrelated composer Janis Wilson for soprano, clarinet and cello.

So! Join us for a whacky wild ride though the "W"'s!!
Violin, Terrie Baune; Viola, Maria Caswell; Cellos, Judiyaba and Gwyneth Davis; Clarinet, Larry London; Piano, Marilyn Thompson and for the Kurt Weill, Rick Riccardi; and soprano/narrator, Eileen Morris.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Victorious "V"

Last week we had a stunning turnout for the "V" concert! It was a gorgeous day, the O'Brien garden was overwhelmingly beautiful and the 8 cellists and soprano had a ball! There were even contributions from the dogs, who chased through at one point, and the blue jays, who apparently thought there was a very exuberant part written for them in the Villa-Lobos.
The concert was a benefit for Cinnabar Theater and raised over $4,000! This goes to the production of Don Giovanni there in the spring. All in all, it was a great day.

Friday, September 9, 2011 old favorite

One of the best known baroque composers is the Venetian, Antonio Vivaldi. The Four Seasons violin concerto is maybe the most familiar piece. But he was prolific not only in secular instrumental music, but sacred music and operas as well. As with most musicians throughout history, making a living was not always easy. He trained first as a priest, but gave that up rather quickly. When he was 23 he was appointed "maestro di violino" at Pio Ospedale della Pieta, an institution which cared for orphaned girls. It was a better job than it sounds; the concerts there were major social events in the city. And soon he was composing for the girls he trained to play. His employment there continued sporadically for decades. They would get annoyed with all his travel, fire him, commission pieces, hire him back, etc... He traveled more as he composed more operas and wanted to be in on the production of them. Strangely, his operas have not remained popular. Maybe A-Zed needs to look into doing one!

A very enjoyable book that is set in the Ospedale while Vivaldi was there is " Vivaldi's Virgins" by Barbara Quick. As it happens, she lives in Rohnert Park and has contributed a signed copy of her book to the silent auction at the concert tomorrow!
Yes! Tomorrow is the "V" concert. A benefit for Cinnabar Theater, and an extravaganza of cellists! A flock of cellists? A society of cellists? A crowd of cellists? A rowdy noisy bunch! That's it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Heitor Villa-Lobos

Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos was born in 1887. His father started him on cello when he was so young that he used a viola, but held it like a cello. He loved it, and also guitar, at which he excelled. He was a lively and curious child, didn't take well to formal studies, but did start composing early on. From age 18-25 he traveled around Brazil collecting folk tunes to use in his music (this sounds like Bartok!) Later he told his friends in Paris, that he had been caught by a cannibalistic tribe and only spared because of his music. (could be....) The years 1923-1930 were spent in Paris where he and his music were a huge success. In 1930 he went back to Brazil and became deeply involved in music education for the masses. And he continued composing. Between 1930 and 1945 he wrote the nine works that make up the Bachianas Brazilianas. Two of these are for 8 cellos, and Number 5 adds a soprano. And those are the pieces we are playing on the "V" concert!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The "V" concert

A very nice article about the "V" concert/benefit by Geneva Anderson is on her blog: ARThound
She has put in a lot of information about the event there. I recommend it!