ALIAS May 2006

May 7, 2006, 4:00 PM
Turner Recital Hall, Blair School of Music

Sonata no. 3 in A minor for cello and continuo Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
  1. Largo
  2. Allegro
  3. Largo
  4. Allegro
  • Michael Samis, Christopher Stenstrom, cellos
  • Roger Wiesmeyer, harpsichord
String quartet no. 4, “United” Henry Cowell (1897-1965)
  • Alison Gooding, Jeremy Williams, violins
  • Melinda Whitley, viola, Matthew Walker, cello
Ferdinand the Bull for violin and narrator Alan Ridout (b. 1934)
  • Maura O’Connell, narrator
  • Zeneba Bowers, violin
– Intermission –
Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)
  • Zeneba Bowers, Jeremy Williams, violins
  • Christopher Farrell, viola, Sari Reist, cello
Zapping Trio for clarinet, bass, and marimba Eric Sammut (b. 1968)
  • Lee Levine, clarinet
  • Craig Nelson, bass
  • Christopher Norton, marimba
Holberg Suite Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
  1. Praeludium
  2. Sarabande
  3. Gavotte
  4. Air
  5. Rigaudon
  • Keith Nicholas, Sari Reist,
  • Michael Samis, Christopher Stenstrom,
  • Matthew Walker, Xiao-Fan Zhang, cellos

Proceeds from this concert benefited Outlook Nashville.

Program Notes

Antonio Vivaldi: Sonata no. 3 in A minor for cello and basso continuo
The first surviving sonata for cello and basso continuo was composed by Domenico Gabrielli in 1689, when the cello was just emerging as a solo instrument. By 1740, when six of Vivaldi’s cello sonatas were published in Paris, the form was enjoying great popularity and Hubert Le Blanc was moved to write his rather nasty “Defence of the bass viol against the initiatives of the violin and the pretenses of the cello.” Vivaldi’s sonatas show the hallmarks of his style with a light texture, elegant melodic lines, and the slow/fast/slow/fast form, but also demonstrate a brooding character, more so than his violin works of the same period.

Henry Cowell: Quartet No. 4, “United” (1936)
Cowell was the son of a Native American mother and an Irish immigrant father. He became an accomplished pianist and a prolific writer on music as well as a composer. His musical style shows a wide range of influences, and much of his music included unusual Native American and Middle Eastern instruments and styles. His Fourth Quartet, while a traditional string quartet, nevertheless contains many elements (drones, augmented intervals, percussive interjections) which give it a distinctly Arabian flavor.

Alan Ridout: Ferdinand the Bull
Alan Ridout was an educator and church musician as well as a composer, teaching at the Royal Academy of Music and at Cambridge, and acting as resident composer in Canterbury. Aside from a great deal of organ and choral music, Ridout also wrote a number of works geared towards children, and he was well-known for his broadcast talks “Background to Music.” Ferdinand the Bull is a musical setting of the classic “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf. As the narrator tells the story, the different characters and events are depicted by different themes or motifs played on the violin.

Jimi Hendrix: Purple Haze (1967)
The opening track to guitarist Hendrix’ debut LP album, Are You Experienced?, “Purple Haze” introduced to the world his unique amalgam of blues and avant-garde experimentations, and it was instantly embraced as a classic rock anthem. Hendrix became one of the foremost artists in the pantheon of rock icons; it is virtually impossible to find a guitarist in the last 40 years that was not influenced by his innovations in guitar playing and recording. His music embodied the spirit of rebellion and freedom of the 1960s.

Eric Sammut: Zapping Trio
Born in 1968 in Toulouse, France, percussionist and composer Eric Sammut began his musical studies in 1979 at the Toulouse Conservatory. In 1985 he continued his studies at the Conservatoire National de Musique, graduating in 1989. He was immediately appointed principal percussionist at the Orchestre de l’OpĂ©ra de Lyon. Since 1998, Eric Sammut has held the post of principal solo timpanist with the Orchestre de Paris. In addition he is a professor of percussion at several music schools in Paris and Toulouse.

Edvard Grieg: From Holberg’s Time, Suite in the Olden Style, arranged for 6 celli
Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg once said that he enjoyed writing for strings more than for other orchestrations. In 1884, Grieg transcribed the original solo piano version of the Holberg Suite for string orchestra. The suite was a celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Ludwig Holberg, the father of Scandinavian drama. The work takes the form of a baroque dance suite, yet has the lush, rich harmony of the nineteenth century. Werner Thomas-Mifune transcribed the string orchestra version nearly note-for-note for six celli.