May 23, 2009, 8:00 PM
Turner Recital Hall, Blair School of Music
Sonata for Harp Germaine Taillefere (1892-1983)
Licia Jaskunas, harp
Sonata Duodecima for violin and continuo Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704)
Zeneba Bowers, violin Matt Walker, cello Murray Somerville, organ
Notturno for four celli Enrico Mainardi (1897-1976)
Squaretet Matt Walker (b. 1968)
Sari Reist, Michael Samis, Chris Stenstrom, Matt Walker, cellos
– Intermission –
Breaking Away for horn and percussion Michael Kallstrom (b. 1956)
Leslie Norton, horn
Chris Norton, percussion
Warm Wind Anders (b. 1962)
for clarinet, horn, marimba, and vibraphone
Leslie Norton, horn
Chris Norton, percussion
String Quartet Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel
*Emerging Voices* (1805-1847)
Adagio ma non troppo
Allegro molto vivace
Alison Gooding, Jeremy Williams, violins Daniel Reinker, viola Matt Walker, cello
NOTES ON THE PROGRAM
Germaine Tailleferre: Sonata for Harp (1953)
A great example of the “Emerging Voices” concept, Tailleferre’s complete body of work has only recently become published and performed. For decades, she was known primarily for the prize-winning works she composed before World War II, when she was closely associated with the likes of Milhaud, Honneger, and Poulenc. She composed a great deal of music after the war, including choral and orchestral music, stage works, and even music for television and cinema.
Tailleferre knew Ravel and studied orchestration with him; while her music bears his mark, it reaches much farther into realms of polytonality and serialism.
Isabella Leonarda: Sonata duedecima for violin and continuo (1693)
Born a noblewoman, Leonarda entered the convent Collegio di Sant’Orsola at the age of 16, where music was a part of the curriculum. She composed nearly 200 pieces; her set of 12 violin sonatas in her opus 16 set are a departure from her usual work of sacred vocal music, and are among the first instances of instrumental pieces by a woman. Since her work predated Bach by some decades, it is unbound by what later became the standard “rules” of Baroque composition, yielding a style that, to today’s listener, sounds fresh and engaging, almost new. The piece is composed in one long gesture, but it changes tempo and character many times throughout The sections are marked: Adagio, Allegro e presto, Vivace e largo, Spirituoso, Adagio, Aria – allegro, Veloce.
Enrico Mainardi: Notturno for four cellos (1925)
Mainardi was a virtuoso cellist and teacher of international reputation. Richard Strauss invited him to record Don Quixote in 1933; he also recorded most of the major cello repertoire on dozens of albums. Although not known as a composer, Mainardi wrote over twenty well-crafted chamber and orchestral works that often featured virtuosic cello parts. His Notturno is a beautiful diversion that brings to mind the music of Puccini; the fact that it was written a year after Puccini’s death may not be entirely coincidental.
Matt Walker: “Squartet” for four cellos (2009)
Although a cellist by trade, Walker has occasionally put some of his musical ideas to paper, resulting in a small but growing body of chamber music. In the past few years he has focused on writing music with a jazz edge. A few of his pieces for solo cello are imitative of blues guitar music, and thus required the adaptation of complex finger-picking patterns and left-hand “hammer-on” techniques. His writing also calls for the player to use the cello to imitate a bass and drumset as needed, something that is not generally taught (or approved of) at most conservatories. “Squaretet” is Walker’s attempt to codify some of the ideas from his solo cello pieces while gaining the freedom to not have to play every part by himself. It is a funk romp introduced by a soulful homage to Rossini. The fact that it was written only 180 years after William Tell is entirely coincidental.
Michael Kallstrom: Breaking Away for clarinet and marimba (1992)
Breaking Away was commissioned by Chris and Leslie Norton in 1992 during Chris’s tenure with Western Kentucky University where Michael Kallstrom teaches Theory and Composition. Kallstrom is a prolific composer for diverse media and is best known for his one-man “Electric Operas” where he sings baritone to his original pre-recorded scores of newly created synthesized sounds.
Anders Åstrand: Warm Wind for clarinet, horn, and vibraphone (2006)
Warm Wind was written by Swedish composer Anders strand on a commission from Chris and Leslie Norton. With ALIAS in mind, the Nortons asked their friend Anders to create a work for marimba, vibraphone, horn, and clarinet. The result was premiered at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in 2006, and tonight marks the local premiere. Though Åstrand plays the complete array of percussion instruments, he is particularly recognized as a jazz-fusion vibraphone artist, and his compositions bear that stylistic influence. Åstrand’s percussion trio Global Percussion Network is aptly named, as they have performed in nearly every continent.
Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn: String Quartet in E-flat (1834)
Felix Mendelssohn was a staunch proponent of the music of J.S. Bach, and was largely responsible for the revival of interest in Bach’s music in the 19th century. Certain elements in Fanny’s string quartet seem to indicate that she shared her brother’s love of the great master: The slow-fast-slow-fast arrangement of the work’s movements is typical of a Baroque sonata form; moreover, it contains several hidden quotes from Bach’s keyboard works.
Fanny’s musical upbringing was similar to that of Felix, and she was every bit the prodigy on the keyboard and as a composer. Most of her compositions, sadly, remain unpublished to this day; this string quartet was only recently uncovered from family archives in Berlin and published in 1997.
– Notes by Matt Walker and Christopher Norton