As we all "shelter in place," Live Arts Maryland has launched a new online series: QuaranTiny Concerts.
QuaranTiny Concerts feature performers from Live Arts Maryland's Mainstage, Thursdays@St. Anne's, and Bach+ series. The programs are often quick, informal performances, recorded in our homes in one or two takes. They may not have benefitted from a lot of rehearsal and so may not be perfect, almost like impromptu studio recordings. And sometimes we reach back into our library of past live performances. Regardless, these "tiny concerts" present an opportunity for us to explore some interesting aspects of the music that we love. We'll continue to add to the "tiny concert" performances while performance venues are closed. Mostly - we're having fun and hope that you will enjoy these, too.
Today is Maundy Thursday, the start of the Paschal Triduum in the liturgical year of the Christian religion. So, for QuaranTiny Concert #23, since the volunteer choir of St. Anne's Church cannot sing together in person during these three days, we are bringing them together virtually. Singing from living rooms, at kitchen tables, in basement dens, and even garages, they have each contributed to a rendition of Mozart's "Ave Verum" and Tallis' "If Ye Love Me," thanks to the recording capabilities of iPhones and Alec Green's expertise with Pro Tools.
Because these QauranTiny programs are a way to present aspects of music that we don't usually get to explore, we have decided to situate the famous "Ave Verum" among a few versets - short organ works that are played in alternation with sung chants or motets. Johann Ernst Eberlin, a German composer who worked in Salzburg in the middle of the 18th century, held the posts of both Hof- und Dom- kapellmeister (master of music for both the court and cathedral). Eberlin was known and much respected by Leopold Mozart, and even Amadeus thought highly of his skill with counterpoint (although he thought Eberlin's works were not up to the level of Bach and Handel). So tonight we present Eberlin's "Prelude and First Verset on the 7th Tone," written for the Salzburg cathedral, prior to Mozart's Ave Verum. We then add a "postlude" to Mozart's work that consists of Eberlin's "final" verset on the 7th tone. We follow all of this with Tallis' immortal anthem "If Ye Love Me," a text appropriate to the season.
Tomorrow and Saturday we will offer extracts from the Annapolis Chamber Chorus and Orchestra's 2019 performance of Bach's St. John Passion, BWV 245.
For QuaranTiny Concert #22, we offer "Ain’t No Sunshine" - Bill Withers (a tribute) performed by Alec Green and J. Ernest Green
Ernie offered the following reflection: "This tune has been a staple of family music-making in our house for years. It is often the first tune that someone starts playing when we sit down together. Last Monday, Bill Withers, who wrote and sang this iconic song, passed away at the age of 81. “Ain’t no sunshine” has been covered many times over the years by artists like Eva Cassidy, Buddy Guy (with Tracy Chapman) and even a 14-year-old Michael Jackson on his debut solo album “Got To Be There”!" One of the things I love about this song is that it has a simple groove that lulls you into a comfortable, almost complacent, place before the lyrics start to bite with “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s (he’s) gone. It's not warm when she’s away…” I am not sure we started this song because of the sense of isolation we are all feeling during this time or whether is was just coincidental. But if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it's that specific pieces of music come to us at the time we need them the most. When that happens, grab it and hang on for the ride. That’s what Alec and I tried to do with this one…"
For QuaranTiny concert #21, we welcome Dan Tepfer back to Live Arts Maryland. For our Bach+ series, Dan played his inimitable Goldberg Variations/Variations, in which “…interspersed with his affectionate interpretation of the complete "Goldbergs" are his own improvised variations on Bach's variations.” I find Dan to be one of the most creative musical minds we’ve presented – he blends thoughtful interpretations, creative improvisation and composition with a mathematician’s passion. If you haven’t yet seen his “Natural Machines” opus in which he blends his improvisations with his science and programming background, watch Dan’s Tiny Desk Concert on NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/29/754542733/dan-tepfer-tiny-desk-concert.
So what has Dan been doing during the quarantine? Here is what he says: “What to do during a pandemic? On March 18th, 2020, with the COVID-19 coronavirus rapidly expanding in New York City, with all my gigs canceled for the foreseeable future, confined to my home, I decided to make a complete #BachUpsideDown video recording of the Goldberg Variations, one a day. This felt like an achievable goal that just might keep me sane. Bach was such a badass, and to be more specific, such a master of counterpoint, that his music sounds almost as good upside down as it does right side up. So I wrote a computer program that records what I play, then plays it back upside down. The amazing thing about this approach is that the music feels brand new, like a new piece, very different from the original. It's like looking at Bach through a prism, and it makes me fall in love with his music all over again.”
This is a perfect addition to our QuaranTiny Concerts. Tonight we offer you the Aria and first variation. There is much more available on Dan’s blog at dantepfer.com/bachupsidedown. You’ll want to be sure to bookmark that one. The whole series is available on YouTube here.
For the QuaranTiny Concert on April 2, 2020, we present the third and final movement from the April 6, 2019 premiere of “Chesapeake Triptych—Cry of Earth’s Tidal Places,” commissioned from Vermont composer Kathy Wonson Eddy by Live Arts Maryland, performed by the Annapolis Chorale and Annapolis Chamber Orchestra.
Kathy Eddy wrote the following: "The third movement, 'Chesapeake Alleluia' begins with a driving and urgent ostinato pattern in the instruments (alternating 3/4 and 5/8). The unison chorus calls out each element of this tidal place (coves and inlets, salt water marshes, oysters and crabs, krill and plankton, etc.) to praise, to thrive as themselves. Solo soprano and tenor begin the alleluia section ( “alleluia, praise dazzling beauty: vast shining bay flashing in the sun”). The chorus lifts up the waterways (“let the creeks flow, watery ribbons unspooling through the marsh”), the creatures (“let the dolphins breach, let schools of fish wheel as one”), and the sky (“let the salt air, fresh and bracing, brim our hearts with joy”). Each alleluia section is followed by the heart-wrenching cry of Mother Earth, pleading with us to put aside our greed and care for these fragile and radiant treasures. Finally, in a tumultuous crescendo the driving ostinato returns, joining with the lyrical alleluia music in a last cry of Mother Earth. I wrote the text of this movement after not being able to find a text by a Maryland poet that was both a psalm of praise and also an urgent call for us to preserve and protect our tidal home. It is my hope that this music inspires both our gratitude and our action." [Note: Eddy researched poetry related to the Chesapeake Bay and selected two poems for the first two movements and wrote the text for the third.]
Listen to the entire Chesapeake Triptych here: https://vimeo.com/wonsoneddy
Read more about Kathy Eddy: https://kathywonsoneddy.com
Read a review of the premiere: https://www.ourherald.com/articles/braintrees-eddy-fetes-chesapeake-in-annapolis-orchestral-premiere/
For our QuaranTiny Concert Series for April 1, 2020 we celebrate the birthday of Live Arts Maryland Music Director, Ernie Green. First up is a “mashup” arrangement by Alec Green and Noah Dion of Owl City’s “Fireflies” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” While we’re not sure what to call it, we think you’ll agree it’s phenomenal. And – best of all - it features Ernie playing the bass, along with Alec Green (guitar and vocals), Noah Dion (keyboards and vocals), and Gabe Petkaitis (Drums and mix). Next up are two “living room label” improvisations by Larry Molinaro. In our Bach+ series, we’ve gotten fond of improvising over bass lines. So, taking “Happy Birthday” as the launching point, Larry recorded (in his living room, of course) two birthday “gifts” for Ernie. He notes, "what I realized is that the song “Happy Birthday” divides nicely into two well-known bass lines. The first couplet (“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you”) is a common bass for the “Fandango,” a popular baroque couples dance. The second couplet (“Happy birthday, dear Ernie, happy birthday to you”) is the “Bergamasca,” a dance used by many composers, such as Frescobaldi, Buxtehude and – wait for it – J.S. Bach, at the very end of his Goldberg Variations (in the Quodlibet). So I recorded two improvisations. The first is a “Fandango” over the whole birthday song, played on the sounds of one of Ernie’s favorite instruments – the Hammond B3. The second improvisation is after a French-style unmeasured prelude of the late 17th century. I use both major and minor (although I much prefer minor). "
For the QuaranTiny concert on March 31, 2020, we reprise Mimi Stillman’s dazzling performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango with her spectacular improvisation. Libertango (Spanish “libertad” freedom + tango) is an example of Piazzolla’s “nuevo tango”, a new style that incorporates elements from jazz and classical music. From Mimi: "I want to thank Jim Kessler for his wonderful arrangement of Libertango, and to the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra for commissioning it. In this piece, Piazzolla develops two primary themes, layering and developing them to their fullest expressive capabilities. There is a sense of inexorable rhythmic drive, building up as I switch from alto flute to flute and then to piccolo, with improvisations throughout. I had a lot of fun performing this entire program which also included concertos by Mozart and Vivaldi, along with a premiere for chorus and orchestra by Kathy Wonson Eddy, with Maestro Green and the orchestra.
Flutist Mimi Stillman, internationally acclaimed solo, chamber, and recording artist, “is not only a consummate and charismatic performer, but also a scholar. Her programs tend to activate ear, heart, and brain.” (The New York Times). She is Founding Artistic Director of the popular Dolce Suono Ensemble, “one of the most dynamic groups in the U.S.” (The Huffington Post), performing Baroque to new music with 55 world premieres in 15 seasons. A wide-ranging and innovative artist, Ms. Stillman celebrates the canon while deeply exploring new music and Latin genres.
For the QuaranTiny Concert on March 30, 2020, Live Arts Maryland is thrilled to be able to offer you our performance of the Dvorak “Te Deum,” recorded with the Annapolis Chorale, Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and soloists Lindsay Espinosa and baritone Jeffrey Gates on November 16, 2019. Conductor Ernie Green commented that "Dvorak’s setting of the this text is one of my favorites because of it’s unbridled exuberance! From the opening moments of the piece with the timpani playing triplets to the concluding allegro this is a hymn of praise at it’s brightest and best. The opening of music calls to mind church bells being rung in a sort of joyous celebration. Written to commemorate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the the “New World” it was premiered in 1892 at Carnegie Hall with Dvorak himself conducting." Although the piece is seamless, it was conceived to be four distinct sections that are somewhat akin to the structure of a symphony as follows:
3. Vivace (somewhat in the character of a scherzo)
4. Slow introduction leading to a faster closing section
This work has become a permanent part of the repertoire since it was first heard and is a favorite of choral musicians."
"The QuaranTiny Concert for March 29, 2020 switches gears to showcase some jazz standards and an R&B classic performed by Live Arts Maryland performers. The Petkaitis brothers (Gabe and Ben) are joined by Live Arts pianist Noah Dion and guitarist Alec Green. On tonight's program are their arrangement of the jazz standard "Nardis," a short version of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," and a cover of Thelanious Monk's "We See". Access the tracks on Live Arts Maryland's public SoundCloud playlist by clickin on the links below (notes are by Gabe Petkaitis):
Nardis: Piano - Noah Dion / Bass - Ben Petkaitis / Drums - Gabriel Petkaitis
"Nardis" is a Miles Davis composition played often by the Bill Evans trio. It’s one of my favorite standards to play especially with Noah and my brother as we’re all so fond of it. This recording took place after a long two days of sessions and really acted as a breath of fresh air for the three of us.
We See: Piano - Noah Dion / Bass - Lawrence Hutfles / Drums - Gabriel Petkaitis
"We See" is a standard by Thelonious Monk that never seems to sit still. I love that while still a 4/4 swing tune, it’s quirky melody and structure keep you on your toes.
Superstition: Keys - Noah Dion / Bass - Alec Green / Drums - Gabriel Petkaitis
It goes without saying that superstition is a groovy R&B staple. I hope you enjoy our funky trio cover of one of our favorite Stevie Wonder tunes.
The QuaranTiny Concert for March 28, 2020 presents a “living room edition” of Bach’s Sonata in E Major, BWV 1035, for flute and continuo, performed by Shaughn Dowd (flute) and Larry Molinaro (harpsichord). This was a nice way to spend part of a rainy afternoon today. Not at the level of professional recording (where we would have the benefit of choosing among multiple takes captured by professional equipment rather than an iPad) but not too bad. And if we hit a few wrong notes - well, that’s what repeats are for…
A rather dated view of J.S. Bach has the composer focused on chamber music for only a short part of his career (at Cöthen, 1717-1723) while producing a continuous stream of church music during his long tenure as Cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. In fact, Bach spent many of his later years producing and refining a vast array of chamber music, especially linked to his association as Director of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig. In particular, Bach’s writing for the transverse flute as a solo chamber instrument spanned almost a quarter century, from the unaccompanied Partita in A minor, BWV 1013 (c. 1718) to the Sonata in E Major, BWV 1035 (c. 1741). The technical demands of this repertoire probably reflect Bach’s knowledge of the capabilities of the instrument as well as the highly polished technique of certain virtuosi - specifically Pierre Gabriel Buffardin, a Frenchman working at the Dresden court, and Michael Gabriel Fredersdorf, Chamberlain to Frederick the II (the “Great”) of Prussia. The Sonata in E major (BWV 1035) survives in a nineteenth-century copy indicating that it was composed in 1741 for Michael Gabriel Fredersdorf, Frederick II’s chamberlain and himself an amateur flutist. In this respect, it shares a stylistic history with the C minor sonata from the Musical Offering. Although the overall structure may reflect the older church sonata form, the musical language reflects the mid-century German empfindsamer Stil (“expressive” or “sensitive” style) advocated by pre-Classical composers in general and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in particular. This is particularly evident in the third movement (“Siciliano”) and the concluding “Allegro assai,” which features a playful theme that is tossed back and forth between flute and continuo and given substantial syncopated (“off the beat”) treatment.
Click here to access the entire playlis in SoundCloud:
For videos of the "living room edition" on YouTube:
- Siciliano (BWV 1035/iii): https://youtu.be/4TdQ4eVJOCo
- Allegro assai (BWV 1035/iv): https://youtu.be/CNqls8qOA3c
The QuaranTiny Concert for March 27, 2020 offers two short pieces "from our living rooms to yours” from Live Arts Maryland musicians Laurie Hays (piano) and Jason Hentrich (baritone). As we close in on two weeks of social distancing, they have recorded music from their homes - pieces that have special meaning for them in this time of “sheltering in place.” Laurie, soloist and assistant director at St. Anne’s, plays "O Nata Lux" from one of her “absolute favorite” choral works, Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, which will be one of the featured works on a Live Arts Maryland concert in, hopefully, the not too distant future. She notes that “until such time, I hope it brings a little bit of peace and comfort to your day.” Jason Hentrich, who most recently played King Arthur in Live Arts Maryland’s production of Camelot at Maryland Hall, offers “No One is Alone” from Sondheim’s Into the Woods, recorded last week, as he notes, “during interesting times.”
For "O Nata Lux": https://tinyurl.com/twnm6qk
For "No One is Alone": https://tinyurl.com/tkpf9tv
All of us at Live Arts are thinking of everyone in our community. Please stay safe and healthy. We hope these concerts are adding a bit of joy to your days!
Our QuaranTiny Concert for March 26, 2020 features three different pieces by Live Arts accompanist Noah Dion. Noah is a wonderful jazz pianist and has become an important part of our Live Arts family. The first piece, “Chance,” also features Gabe Petkaitis on drums (Gabe is one of our tenor section leaders and works on recording and live sound for our concerts) and bassist Michael Gary II. Noah notes that "'Chance' is a lesser known (but no less admired) piece by Kenny Kirkland for piano trio. Note how the harmonies jump up unexpectedly, even as our solos and melodies tie the whole performance together." Next is Noah’s solo piano arrangement of Sondheim’s iconic song, “Send in the Clowns”. Noah writes that "'Send in the Clowns' was the finale to a college recital, as well as a heartfelt personal favorite; I grew up listening to the soundtrack of A Little Night Music and I wanted to incorporate my emotion and style into the piece in a respectable way. " The last piece, “Nakamarra,” was originally performed by the group Hiatus Kaiyote. Here “Nakamarra” was explicitly arranged for an Army Blues recording, with vocals by the wonderful Rachel Winder. Michael Gary and I sought to fuse elements of jazz with the original group’s “neo-soul” genre. Live Arts Maryland Director Ernie Green shares that "I love the musical diversity that these pieces bring to these 'QuaranTiny Concerts'. If you have been to our concerts with the Annapolis Chorale, Chamber Orchestra, or Bach+/St. Anne’s you will know that, as Chick Corea once said, 'our goal is musical fun with no boundaries…'"
Our QuaranTiny Concert release for March 25, 2020 comes from guitarist Piotr Pakhomkin. Piotr has performed with us numerous occasions, most notably playing the Rodrigo “Concierto de Aranjuez” with the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra. Since then he has appeared on concerts with the Annapolis Chorale and on the Bach+ Series. Both of the selections for today were recorded live during our October Bach+ concert where we reconstructed several concerti by using movements that Bach pulled from cantatas and other sources. The Sinfonia from "Cantata 29" was taken from the "Partita for Violin” - BWV 1006. This was later transcribed for lute (the version which Piotr is playing in this recording) before eventually making its way as the Sinfonia for a wedding cantata (BWV 120a.). Its final form is the one that is best known as the Sinfonia to his Cantata #29 “Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir”. The second piece is a transcription of the Sinfonia of Bach’s “Cantata #156”. This piece was derived from an earlier oboe concerto and was later used in the “Concerto for Harpsichord” in f minor - BWV 1056.
For the QuaranTiny Concert on March 24, 2020, soprano Rachel Sitomer shares two of her favorite arias. Rachel is a dynamic artist whose beautiful singing, talent for comedy, and dramatic flair enliven any stage. She enjoys critical acclaim for performances as diverse as Monica (The Medium) which she "sings and acts with a subtlety that suits the space and the show well" (Parker Woolfe, Chelsea Clinton News) and Papagena (The Magic Flute), for which the Baltimore Sun praise her "zest and comic skill." You can read more about Rachel at rachelsitomer.com. Rachel told us that "…I’m so happy to share two of my favorite pieces in this QuaranTiny Concert! I love singing Caro nome (Rigoletto) and The Silver Aria (The Ballad of Baby Doe) because both of these pieces sparkle with optimism and hope. In Caro nome, Gilda, a young girl, sings about her first experience with love. Although the person she’s singing about has lied about literally everything about himself, Gilda's earnest, honest, and passionate musings about love make this character one of my favorites. Listen for the many cadenzas throughout the piece. Although there are very few words in the cadenzas, each one means something a little different; sometimes it’s laughter, sometimes it’s a sigh, sometimes it’s excitement that just can’t escape any other way.” “In The Silver Aria, Baby Doe sings of the merits of the silver standard as opposed to the gold standard, because she loves and believes in her husband Horace Tabor so very much. (Horace is the owner of a silver mine.) The shimmering melody and descriptive text of this aria not only extols the value of silver, but also speaks to her unwavering love and support of her husband.”
For the QuaranTiny Concert on March 23, 2020, Matthew Brower, joined by cellist Nathaniel Pierce and violinist Su-Fan Yiu, plays the second movement from Paul Schoenfeld’s “Café Music”. Matthew is on faculty at Washington College in Chestertown, MD and performs with Live Arts Maryland. Matthew sent us this because “…during this time of social isolation, the slow movement of Paul Schoenfeld's Cafe Music comes to mind. One can imagine a person sitting alone in a cafe late at night as they are closing (and hopefully not for too long!!). Despite the melancholy feel, it remains hopeful even though we have a long road ahead.”
The recording is from a live performance at University of Michigan. Even if his works have rarely been popular with the press (“bad culture” [The Hague], “really annoying music” [Danceview Times], “an undeserved standing ovation” [The New York Times], “one is not sure whether to laugh or gape in awe at a mind so warped” [San Francisco Examiner]), Paul Schoenfeld‘s music is widely performed and continues to draw an ever-expanding group of fans. You can read more about Paul Schoenfeld, (including that quote) here.
Tomorrow we will feature a few selections recorded by Rachel Sitomer, who will appear on the St. Anne’s series once we’re back on site.
For the QuaranTiny Concert on March 22, 2020, Laurie Hays (who performs with Live Arts Maryland and is a soloist and assistant director at St. Anne's) plays Mozart’s twelve variations (K. 265) on the popular nursery tune Ah! vous dirai-je, maman. The tune originated in France in the mid-18th century and is best known to us as “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” Laurie chose this piece because “…it was one of my favorite Mozart pieces growing up and thought this might be something that our "tiny" listeners might enjoy during this QuaranTiny time! Maybe they will recognize the tune as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", "Baa-baa, Black Sheep" or the "A-B-C Song", which, by the way, are all perfect songs to sing while washing those hands!” Laurie washed her hand and then recorded this in her living room this past weekend.
Tomorrow we will feature music from Ernie Green’s Washington College (and Live Arts Maryland) colleague pianist Matthew Brower.
Happy Bach’s Birthday! For our QuaranTiny Concert on March 21, 2020 we offer you some of the music of J.S. Bach. Bach+ is thrilled to see so many social media postings today that include snippets (or even extended works) of music by Bach. We know that you will have no shortage of access to his masterworks. So we offer two pieces that are less well known but that show Bach in full command of his art.Drawn from Bach’s first publication for organ in 1739, a collection of works based on liturgical texts, they are especially powerful in showing how Bach uses musical devices for text painting.
The great Gloria (Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr’) from J.S. Bach's "Clavier-Ubung III" is very much a trio sonata – three equal voices to suggest the three persons of the Trinity. This setting is one of Bach’s greatest trios – it has all of the exuberance implied by the chorale but is also delicate chamber music. Listen for the strict canon that Bach uses in each of stanzas 1 and 2: the exact musical lines from stanza 1 repeat in the stanza 2 but in each alternate voice–a technique that is very difficult for a composer to successfully write (but which Bach does beautifully). Thus, this particular setting could be thought of as musically depicting the doctrine of three distinct persons in one God--ie three independent lines that make up a unified whole.
The short setting of “Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot” (“These are the holy ten commandments”) is an unusual construction – a gigue that is also a fairly strict fughetta with, of course, 10 statements of the primary subject. While remaining true to these forms, it has the character of a large-scale sinfonia that might be found at the beginning of one of the cantatas or the “Osanna” of the Mass in B Minor. The joyous nature of the piece probably reflects Luther’s admonition that we should “cheerfully do what the Lord has commanded” and, perhaps, the notion that we “delight in thy statutes” (Psalm 119).
These were recorded by Larry Molinaro (on the Allen organ in his living room) – but he can’t wait to get back into St. Anne’s and play them on the magnificent Freiburger!
For the QuaranTiny Concert on March 20, 2020 (and to celebrate the recent start of Spring) we present the second movement from the April 6, 2019 premiere of “Chesapeake Triptych—Cry of Earth’s Tidal Places,” commissioned from Vermont composer Kathy Wonson Eddy by Live Arts Maryland, performed by the Annapolis Chorale and Annapolis Chamber Orchestra. Kathy Eddy writes that “…I grew up north of Boston a mile from the sea, in the tidal area where my father's ancestors had lived for 300 years, so a love of salt water estuary runs deep within me.”
“The second movement, “You Are (My Anchor, My Magnetic North)," feels to me like a love song. In the simple yet powerful text of Roland Flint, former Maryland Poet Laureate, we sense this love song is on many levels, addressing a beloved, or the Chesapeake, or even the craft of poetry. It begins with the strings swelling like ocean waves and features melodic choral lines, horn solo, and gripping minor sections before the quiet return to ‘my coming home, my setting forth, my anchor and magnetic north’.” [Note: Eddy researched poetry related to the Chesapeake Bay and selected two poems for the first two movements and wrote the text for the third. Roland Henry Flint was a professor of English at Georgetown University from 1968-1997 and also Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1995-2000.]
Listen to the entire Chesapeake Triptych here: https://vimeo.com/wonsoneddy
Read more about Kathy Eddy: https://kathywonsoneddy.com
Read a review of the premiere: https://www.ourherald.com/articles/braintrees-eddy-fetes-chesapeake-in-annapolis-orchestral-premiere/
The QuaranTiny Concert for March 19, 2020 features Handel's "Rejoice greatly" sung by Amy Cofield, recorded during the Annapolis Chorale’s December 21, 2019 performance of 'Messiah' at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. Conductor J. Ernest Green writes that "...'Messiah' is one of the most beloved and recognizable works ever written. The aria “Rejoice greatly” immediately follows the scene from the Gospel of Luke that begins with the “Pifa” (pastoral symphony) and concludes with the chorus “Glory to God”. One of the things I find remarkable about this aria is that is follows the only bit of narrative in the entire work. The texts that Jennens selected for Handel to set are almost entirely “non-narrative” so that instead simply telling the story, they serve as a reflection on Christian faith. This aria was re-worked at least three times. The first two versions were in 12/8 giving it a “swingy” feel. The final version (and the one on this recording) is the version that Handel settled on in 4/4 creating what our soloist Amy Cofield describes as a “sparkly” feel!" Listen here: "Rejoice, Greatly" (Messiah), sung by Amy Cofield
The QuaranTiny Concert for March 18, 2020, presents two of Astor Piazzolla's Nuevo Tangos from the March 5, 2020 Concert at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church entitled, “Unconventional Swing” and featuring Shaughn Dowd (flute), Jihoon Chang (clarinet), Noah Dion (piano), Aaron Clay (bass) and Chris Rose (drums/percussion). Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla, (born March 11, 1921, Mar del Plata, Argentina—died July 4, 1992, Buenos Aires) was an Argentine musician, a virtuoso on the bandoneón, and a composer who left the traditional Latin American tango to create a new tango (Nuevo Tango) that blended elements of jazz and classical music. Although many of Piazzolla’s compositions were written for his Quinteto Nuevo Tango, which featured a violin, electric guitar, piano, double bass, and bandoneon, he frequently performed his compositions with and encouraged the use of different ensembles.
Listen here: Astor Piazzolla's Oblivion and Primavera Portena
One of Ástor Piazzolla's most popular tangos, Oblivion became widely known through the soundtrack of Marco Bellochio's film Henry IV, the Mad King. This short piece has long been considered one of Piazzolla’s most beautiful and haunting melodies and has been recorded in many versions. Less “jazzy” than his other compositions, it is one of his more traditional tangos but retains a lush harmonic sophistication while creating a sense of “whispered sadness”. Composed between 1965 and 1970, the Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, or The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, are a set of four tangos originally scored for Piazolla’s, Quinteto Nuevo Tango. The pieces were conceived and treated as separate compositions rather than one collective suite with Primavera Porteña (Buenos Aires Spring) having been written in 1970 and containing counterpoint (the art of combining different melodic lines over the same harmonic structure). Today’s performance of Primavera Porteña is an arrangement by Shaughn Dowd and Noah Dion specifically for this ensemble using both elements of the original composition and improvisational techniques.
For the QuaranTiny Concert for March 17, 2020, Live Arts Maryland is reaching back four years to a performance of Francis Poulenc’s "Sonate pour flûte et piano" (1957). Premiered at the Strasbourg Music Festival by Jean-Pierre Rampal on flute and the composer at the piano, the sonata has become a staple of the 20th-century chamber music repertoire. This recording by a member of the audience captured only the last part of the first movement and the beginning of the second. It was recorded during a live performance at St. Anne’s on March 17th, 2016 by flutist Shaughn Dowd and Live Art Maryland’s beloved late pianist, Erik Apland. Shaughn told us that this was a favorite piece of Erik’s. This beautiful and serene excerpt seemed to be a fitting way to not only remember Erik, but to add to this collection that I know he would have wanted to be a part of!
Poulenc Sonata for flute and piano (1957) - Extract
Also, for today's "tiny concert" is Erik's improvisation on "Slane," an Irish hymn tune most often used for the text of "Be Thou My Vision." Click on the link below to listen:
"Be Thou My Vision" (Slane) - Erik Apland
For the March 16th QuaranTiny Concert, Alec Green performs Andrew York’s - “Glimmerings,” a set of five short pieces for guitar: Ride / Evensong/ Knowing/ Glimmer/ Joyn.
Alec writes that "These pieces are written by Andrew York and were recorded by him and released on his album “Yamour”. They feature the guitar tuned in “lute tuning” which means from lowest to highest the strings are E-A-D-F#-B-E. This creates interesting chord voicings. The group of pieces is similar to a baroque dance suite."
LIsten here: Andrew York's "Glimmerings" (performed by Alec Green)
For the second “QuaranTiny Concert” (March 15th), Larry Molinaro plays two of the keyboard exercises ("Prob-Stucke") from Johann Mattheson’s “48” – originally published in 1719, at least a year before J.S. Bach started to compile what would become the Well-Tempered Clavier. Mattheson was a contemporary of Bach. He was a well-known composer and music critic who lived in Hamburg. His “48,” while similar to Bach’s WTC in that it provides exercises in all major and minor keys of the new tuning system and is designed to support students to think compositionally, differs in one very meaningful way: Mattheson provides only the bass line for each exercise, with the expectation that the student will improvise an upper voice to create a finished piece. Along the way he provides clues as to how to take elements from the bass line to create an upper voice. Mattheson Prob-Stucke (Test Pieces) #20 and #21
Larry writes: "I’ve chosen to play the two pieces in “H” (the German key of “B”), one in minor and one in major. Today, rather than using Hauptwerk on the Allen organ, I used my Yamaha Clavinova so that I could get both harpsichord and organ sounds. (I could have recorded on my harpsichord but I didn’t feel like tuning it for this – but I promise I will for a few future recordings). I played through these a few times before recording them, in order to try out some different ideas for the upper voice. You can see my transcriptions of Mattheson’s original publication in the attached PDFs."
Mattheson Prob-Stucke #20 in B minor
Mattheson Prob-Stucke #21 in B major
For this first "tiny concert" (March 14th), organist Larry Molinaro juxtaposes two fugues by Bach written late in his career. The first is Contrapunctus 1 from Art of Fugue, which is beautiful but austere, following contrapuntal rules rigorously. The second is the fugue on "We all believe in one God" from the Clavier-Ubung III. While written in the same key as Contrapunctus I, and sharing the same opening interval and tonal response, it is very free.
Contrapunctus 1 (De Kunst der Fuge) and "Wir glauben all an einen Gott" (ClavierUbung III).