ALIAS February 2005

February 13, 2005, 4:00 PM
St. Philip Catholic Church, Franklin, TN

Canon in D major for two cellos Domenico Gabrielli (1651-1690)
  • Christopher Stenstrom, cello
  • Michael Samis, cello
Sonata for cello and piano in D major, op. 102, no. 2 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Adagio con molto sentimento d’affetto –
  3. Allegro fugato
  • Michael Samis, cello
  • Leah Bowes, piano
– Intermission –
Sextet in C major for clarinet, horn, string trio, and piano Ernö Dohnányi (1877-1960)
  1. Allegro Appasionato
  2. Intermezzo – Adagio
  3. Allegro con sentimento
  4. Finale – Allegro vivace giocoso
  • Lee Levine, clarinet, Leslie Norton, horn
  • Alison Gooding, violin, Daniel Reinker, viola, Matt Walker, cello
  • Melissa Rose, piano

Proceeds from this concert benefit the Montessori School of Franklin.

Program Notes

Domenico Gabrielli: Canon in D major for two cellos
Domenico Gabrielli was known both as a composer of vocal music and as a virtuoso cellist. By the end of the 17th century the cello was becoming more prominent as a solo instrument, and Gabrielli’s works reflect this trend as well as his own technical mastery of the instrument.

This work is a strict canon, meaning that each cellist plays the same part but starts at a different time, in this case one measure apart. An elegant compositional feat, this single part contains both melody and accompaniment, traded off between the two players. The richness of tone and the use of register for expressive purposes reflect Gabrieli’s intimate knowledge of the instrument.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata in D major for cello and piano, op. 102, no. 2 (1815)
Written in the summer of 1815, Beethoven’s fourth and fifth sonatas for cello and piano were his only significant works from that year. The energetic opening Allegro con brio of this fifth sonata is marked with very short phrases and filled with sharp, drastic mood changes. What follows is the only complete slow movement in the five sonatas for this combination. The Adagio, based on a brooding D minor chorale, gives way to a fugue with two distinct subjects, each introduced by the cello alone at the beginning and halfway through the movement. This fugue is a harbinger of Beethoven’s so-called final period of creativity, which was paradoxically forward-looking and reminiscent of Baroque masters such as George Frideric Händel, whom he revered even above Mozart.

Ernö Dohnányi: Sextet in C major, op. 37 (1937)
The first of three composers (along with Bartók and Kodály) who revived the Hungarian musical tradition at the start of the 20th century, Dohnányi became famous in his time as a virtuoso pianist as well as a composer. From 1915 he was a professor and then director of the Budapest Academy of Music, as well as conductor of the Budapest Philharmonic. His career was interrupted by the rise of Nazi influences in Hungary and by World War II. In 1941, he resigned as director of the Academy rather than comply with anti-Jewish legislation affecting his faculty members. He kept Jewish members of the orchestra until the German occupation, when he disbanded the ensemble. In September, 1949, he became pianist and composer-in-residence at Florida State University, and remained in that position until his death in 1960.

Written in 1937, Dohnányi’s Sextet is in a traditional four-movement mold, the first of which is a standard sonata form. The second movement is a beautiful study in three part harmony interrupted by a militaristic cadence; the third is a pastoral song which is in turn interrupted briefly by a mercurial scherzo. The last movement is a mischievous romp which keeps the listener off balance with witty syncopation and unexpected waltz figures. All four movements are tied together by common thematic material, sometimes disguised, sometimes recalled verbatim.