Saturday, December 31, 2011

Z end!

Amazingly we finished our 23rd concert last night! 23 concerts in 24 months. It was great fun musically, and we awarded prizes to the people with the most letter cards. 6 of us will go to Chez Panisse for a meal, 5 people got wonderful (altho maybe tasteless) tote bags made from the sets of the "Dragon of Wantley" production. (L concert). Some got wine from A-Z winery and those who had come to "Z" for their first alphabet experience got Zinnia seeds......Hey, prizes! Then Gwyneth had made alphabet soup, alphabet cookies, and zwetchendatschi, for the whole audience!
Peggy Lucke compiled a list that included these stats:

Total number of concerts...23
Number of performers involved...66
Composers whose music was played...113
Blog Posts...115
Number of artists designing cards...20
Number of instruments played...18
Number of rehearsals!...137
Operas performed...1

And so it was...a lot of fun and a wonderful feeling of camaraderie amongst the performers and audience members. Many, many thanks to all who participated in every way! It was a great adventure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Z...little bits about the composers......

Alexander Zemlinsky was born in Vienna in 1871 and died in New York in 1942, having had to flee his native land. By 1893 he had written some chamber pieces which Brahms liked so much he wanted his publisher to publish them. He later wrote a few operas which have not stayed in the usual repertoire, though they are occasionally revived, and then forgotten again. He became friends with Schoenberg and taught him counterpoint. And though they were close friends, in fact Schoenberg married Zemlinsky's sister, Zemlinsky stayed with a tonal style of writing while Schoenberg moved on to the new 12 tone style.

Manuel de Zumaya (1678-1756) also wrote operas which are no longer performed. He was a priest and composer in Mexico, and in fact wrote the first full opera to be performed in North America: La Partenope. ( a topic Handel handled perhaps more successfully) This concert includes his interesting cantata "Si ya a aquella nave", with Lynda Higson, mezzo-soprano.

Juan Garcia de Zespedes (1619-1678) is another Mexican composer. (but he wrote no operas) He was also a singer and viol player and teacher. His "Convidando esta la noche" is a lively, fun piece that we will end the program with....with possibly some new lyrics!

Monday, December 26, 2011


Francesco Zappa! ( a great-great-great-great-grandfather?) was born in Milan. Sometime.
Grove Dictionary of Music just says "(b. Milan; fl 1763-88)" Isn't that lovely, to say when someone flourished? And that is known because of his dedication of the trio sonatas, one of which we will play, to the Duke of York. After teaching the Duke of York in Italy he moved to The Hague and continued teaching. His output is small but charming. Interesting that there are a few measures in the Sonata you will hear that are almost identical to bits in the Haydn C Major Cello Concerto, which was written in 1761.
Zappa lives.....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Zipping up the series with zeal....

Zounds!! It can't be 2 years already! But December 30 will be our 23rd concert of alphabet madness! And we have a cast of thousands (give or take...) to celebrate with. Singers, string players, harpsichord, piano, clarinet and a comedienne!! And after the concert we move to another room at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts for a little reception/party and the awarding of prizes. And some zwetschendatschi (yum!) and other alphabetical treats. Bring your letter cards, there are prizes for all sorts of combinations, etc.....
The zillions of composers include Zumaya, Zemlinsky, Zwilich, Z├ęspedes, Zoilo, Zannetti, Zielenski and our favorite....F. Zappa.
The cast of thousands include: Cynthia Albers, David Bowes, Maria Caswell, Phebe Craig, Gwyneth Davis, Nancy Hayashibara, Lynda Higson, Larry London, Elly Lichenstein, Judiyaba, Karen van Sant, Marilyn Thompson, and you, our wonderful audience!