ALIAS October 2004

October 24, 2004, 4:00 PM
St. Philip Catholic Church

Rondo, op. 94 for cello and piano Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
  • Matt Walker, cello
  • Roger Wiesmeyer, piano
Pohádka (Fairy Tale) for cello and piano Leos Janacek (1854-1928)
  1. Con moto – Andante
  2. Con moto
  3. Allegro
  • Christopher Stenstrom, cello
  • Amy Dorfman, piano
Quartet in F major for oboe and strings, K 370 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio
  3. Rondo: Allegro
  • Roger Wiesmeyer, oboe
  • Alison Gooding, violin
  • Christopher Farrell, viola
  • Michael Samis, cello
Blues Suite for string quintet Jeff Tyzik
  1. Blue Funk
  2. Blue Adagio
  3. Blue Rondo
  • Jeremy Williams, violin
  • Zeneba Bowers, violin
  • Christopher Farrell, viola
  • Matt Walker, cello
  • Joel Reist, bass
– Intermission –
Tempest Fantasy for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano Paul Moravec
  1. Ariel
  2. Prospero
  3. Caliban
  4. Sweet Airs
  5. Fantasia
  • Lee Levine, clarinet
  • Zeneba Bowers, violin
  • Michael Samis, cello
  • Amy Dorfman, piano

Proceeds from this concert benefited the Montessori School of Franklin.

Program Notes

Antonin Dvorak: Rondo, op. 94, for cello and piano
Dvorak, like many renowned composers, was something of a musical prodigy as a youth, showing an early affinity for playing and writing alike. His style ultimately combined a distinctively Czechoslovakian nationalistic style (along with his countrymen Smetana and Janacek) with the classical symphonic tradition of the likes of Schumann and Brahms. His Rondo for cello and piano foreshadows both the folklike quality of his work in his famous New World Symphony (op. 95, written the same few months) and the virtuostic cello writing in his Cello Concerto (op. 104, written just a year later).

Leos Janacek: Pohádka (Fairy Tale) for cello and piano
Leos Janacek was an avid promoter of Dvorak’s music, and the two later became friends, taking a walking tour through Moravia in 1877. While he shared Dvorak’s interest in folksong, the inspiration for Pohádka came instead from Russia. As a Slavic nation Russia was for many Czechs a cultural compatriot in the face of the powerful Austro-Hungarian empire. Written in 1910 and revised in 1923, Pohádka is based on an epic poem by Vasily Zhukovsky, which tells the story of Ivan, a young prince who falls in love with Marya, the daughter of the immortal Kaschei, the ruler of the Underworld. It is a story of magical metamorphoses, trials, an escape on horseback, and, finally, a happy ending. Janacek does not recreate this story literally, but instead suggests the different characters through the juxtaposition of short musical ideas and the use of varied tone colors. To some, the cello plays the part of the young prince and the flowing lines of the piano suggest the beautiful Marya.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Quartet for oboe and strings
In 1781, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was staying in Munich to finish and attend the premiere of his opera Idomeneo. Because the opera was taking so much of the composer’s time, the oboe quartet was one of only a few works which came from that year. Idomeneo was a success, while Mozart’s lyrical genius evidently carried from his opera to the oboe quartet that is full of melody and song, particularly noticeable in the aria-like Adagio. The prominent oboe line was written with the beautiful and expressive qualities of oboist Friedrich Ramm in mind, who was then the principal oboist of the Elector of Bavaria’s orchestra.

Jeff Tyzik: Blues Suite for string quintet
Conductor and trumpet player Jeff Tyzik is well known to patrons of the Nashville Symphony’s Pops series, which he has conducted a number of times in recent years. He is the Principal Pops conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic and is Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the Eastman School of Music.

The Blues Suite was written in 1997 as an effort to give a jazz voice to instruments (and instrumentalists) that are not commonly heard playing in this style. Its three movements are variants of a standard form known as 12-bar Blues. The first, “Blue Funk,” features solo work in the violin and bass. “Blue Adagio” is a slow ballad showcase for the viola. The third movement, “Blue Rondo,” places the blues progression in a classical form, and features improvisation in the violin and cello.

Paul Moravec: Tempest Fantasy
A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University, Paul Moravec has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Hunter College, and currently heads the Music Department at Adelphi University. Following are his notes on his Pulitzer-Prize winning piece:

Tempest Fantasy is a musical meditation on characters, moods, situations, and lines of text from my favorite Shakespeare play, The Tempest. Rather than depicting these elements in literally programmatic terms, I’ve used them instead as points of departure for flights of purely musical fancy. The first three movements spring from the nature and selected speeches of the three characters after whom they’re named. The fourth movement was inspired by Caliban’s uncharacteristically elegant third-act speech: “Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.” The finale, the most “fantastic” flight of all, elaborates on the various musical elements of the earlier movements and draws them together into a convivial finale.