Janet Bebb, flute

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Repertoire 2010 - 2014


Trios:

  1. Andriessen, Hendrik.  Theme and Variations, for flute, oboe and piano (1951).

  2. Damase, Jean-Michel.  Trio for flute, oboe and piano (1962).

  3. del Aguila, Miguel.  Seduction Dance, op. 81, for flute, oboe and piano (2007).

  4. Doran, Matt.  Trio, for flute, oboe and clarinet (2003).

  5. D’Rivera, Paquito.  Invitación al Danzón, for clarinet, bassoon/cello and piano (2008).

  6. DuFord, Brian.  New York Streetscapes, for flute, oboe and piano (2009).

  7. Goossens, Eugene.  Pastorale et Arlequinade, op. 41, for flute, oboe and piano (1941).

  8. Gray, Kevin.  Mebasi, for flute, oboe and prepared piano (2008).

  9. Harris, Paul. Summer Waltzes, for flute, oboe and piano (2008).

  10. Koetsier, Jan.  Papillons-Variationen, op. 108, for flute, oboe and piano (1987).

  11. Kramarchuk, Katerina.  Spiral Visions, for flute, oboe and piano (commissioned by The Mousai) (2013).

  12. Martin, Frank.  Pièce Brève, for flute, oboe and harp/piano (1957).

  13. Still, William Grant.  Miniatures, for flute, oboe and piano (1948).

  14. Svoboda, Tomas.  Scherzo, op. 184, for flute, clarinet and piano (2004).


Quartets:

  1. Curtis, Mike.  Mexican Fantasies, for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon (2014) (commissioned by The Mousai).

  2. Milhaud, Darius.  Sonata, op. 47, for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano (1918).

  3. Paulus, Stephen.  Courtship Songs, for flute, oboe, cello and piano (1981).

  4. Saint-Saens, Camille.  Caprice on Danish and Russian Airs, op. 79, for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano (1887).


Quintets:

  1. D’Rivera, Paquito.  Aires tropicales, for wind quintet (1994).

  2. Milhaud, Darius.  La cheminée du roi René, Op. 205, for wind quintet (1939).

  3. Piazolla, Astor, arranged by Jeff Scott.  Oblivion, for wind quintet (1982).

  4. Ravel, Maurice, arranged by William Schmidt.  Trois Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, for wind quintet (1911).

  5. Small, Haskell.  Short Story, for flute, oboe, clarinet, cello and piano (1980).


Sextets:

  1. del Aguila, Miguel.  Latin Love, op. 82, for wind quintet and piano (2004).

  2. Maslanka, Richard.  Blue Mountain Meadow: Missoula, Montana, for wind quintet and piano (1996).

  3. Poulenc, Francis.  Sextuor, op. 100, for wind quintet and piano (1931, rev. 1939).


Flute and piano:

  1. Andriessen, Hendrik.  Little Suite, for flute and piano (1981).

  2. Gianopoulus, George N.  Novelette: A Slow Drag, from Suite for flute and piano, op. 19 (2008 - 2014).


Oboe and piano:

  1. Jolivet, Andre.  Chant pour les Piroguiers de L’Orénoque, for oboe and piano.

  2. Planel, Robert.  Serenade, for oboe and piano.

  3. Ravel, Maurice.  Piece en forme de habanera, for oboe and piano (1907).

  4. Saint-Saëns, Camille.  Sonata for oboe and piano, op. 166 (1921).


Repertoire for 2014

 

Matchmaking

  1. Scherzo, op. 184 (2004) by Tomas Svoboda (flute, clarinet, piano)                             

  2. Little Suite (1981) by Hendrik Andriessen (flute, piano)                                                  

  3. Theme and Variations (1951) by Hendrik Andriessen (flute, oboe, piano)                             

  4. Courtship Songs (1981) by Stephen Paulus (flute, oboe, cello, piano)                     

  5. Pièce Brève (1957) by Frank Martin (flute, oboe, harp/piano)                                      

  6. Trio (2003) by Matt Doran (flute, oboe, clarinet)                                                               

  7. Short Story (1980) by Haskell Small (flute, oboe, clarinet, cello, piano)  


Program Notes for “Matchmaking” are below


Repertoire for 2013


Uncharted Territory

  1. New York Streetscapes by Brian DuFord (trio for flute, oboe and piano)

  2. Spiral Visions by Katerina Kramarchuk (trio for flute, oboe and piano; commissioned by The Mousai; world premiere)

  3. La Cheminee du Roi Rene by Darius Milhaud (quintet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn)

  4. Mebasi by Kevin Gray (trio for flute, oboe and prepared piano)

  5. Danzon by Paquita D’Rivera (trio for clarinet, bassoon and piano)

  6. Blue Mountain Meadow: Missoula, Montana by Richard Maslanka (sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano)


Program Notes for “Uncharted Territory” are after “Matchmaking”


Repertoire for 2012


Let’s Dance

  1. Seduction Dance, op. 81 by Miguel del Aguila (for flute, oboe and piano)

  2. Summer Waltzes, by Paul Harris (for flute, oboe and piano)

  3. Aires tropicales, by Paquito D’Rivera (for wind quintet)

  4. Harlem, from New York Streetscapes, by Brian DuFord (for flute, oboe and piano)

  5. Trois Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, by Maurice Ravel, arranged by William Schmidt (for wind quintet)

  6. Oblivion, by Astor Piazolla, arranged by Jeff Scott (for wind quintet)

  7. Latin Love, op. 82, by Miguel del Aguila (for wind quintet and piano)


Program Notes for “Let’s Dance” are after “Uncharted Territory”


PROGRAM NOTES

All program notes © 2011 - 2014 by Ann van Bever


Program Notes for “Matchmaking” - April 6, 2014


As we started working on the music for this concert, we were struck by the two works by Andriessen and how dissimilar they were. From that kernel, we began thinking of other ways the pieces on the program matched up in unexpected ways (or failed to match up in more expected ways). Here are the program notes for “Matchmaking” along with some suggestions for pairing the music on the program. You can probably discover many other matches.


Scherzo, op. 186 (2004) for flute, clarinet, piano by Tomas Svoboda (b. 1939).

Born in Paris of Czech parents, Tomas Svoboda composed his first music at age 9 and was admitted to the Prague Conservatory 5 years later as its youngest student. After graduating from the Conservatory with degrees in percussion, composition and conducting, numerous performances and radio broadcasts of his music brought national recognition to Svoboda by the early 1960s, clearly establishing him as Czechoslovakia's most important young composer. In 1964, the Svoboda family departed Czechoslovakia and settled in the United States, where Svoboda enrolled at the University of Southern California in 1966, graduating 2 years later with honors. Svoboda came to Portland in 1971 where he joined the faculty of Portland State University’s music department. He retired from teaching in 1998. Svoboda suffered a stroke in 2013, but has had a remarkable recovery. Svoboda has received numerous honors and has had his works played by major orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the world. The Mousai’s pianist, Maria Choban, has been a long-time collaborator with Svoboda; as her alter-ego, MC Hammered Klavier, Choban recently performed a concert of his works at the Community Music Center. Choban first heard the Scherzo in concert in 2010 and was so taken with the piece that she bought Svoboda’s score before he could leave the stage. The Scherzo is light-hearted and jazzy; a perfect opener to our concert of matchmaking. In a review of an earlier performance, Jana Hanchett of Oregon ArtWatch said, “In the Scherzo op. 186 for clarinet, flute, and piano, Choban’s fingers skipped with present playfulness, capitalizing on this piece’s childhood innocence sans nostalgic mushiness.”


(There are three other trios on this concert. There is one other composer who lives in the Portland/Vancouver area. There is another composer who suffered a stroke in 2013. There is one other very short piece on the concert.)

Little Suite (1981) for flute and piano by Hendrik Andriessen (1892-1981)

Theme and Variations (1951) for flute, oboe and piano by Hendrik Andriessen

Hendrik Andriessen, 1892-1981, was a Dutch composer and organist, known for his work as a church musician and as director of the Utrecht Conservatory and later at the Royal Conservatory at The Hague. The Andriessen family is full of musicians; in addition to Hendrik there is his brother, Willem; sons Jurriaan and Louis; and daughter Heleen. Hendrik Andriessen contributed to the sacred music repertoire with eight masses and a Te Deum but he also wrote symphonies, chamber music and lieder. The Little Suite for flute and piano was written in 1981; it is a delightful and tonal work with three short movements. The Theme and Variations for flute, oboe and piano was written in 1953, while he was at the Royal Conservatory. Completely contrasting with the Little Suite, it is beautifully constructed in the classical theme and variations form, but also employing the modern technique of the twelve-tone row (a theme that uses each pitch of the chromatic scale in order before any repetition of pitches) and a combination of chromatic and whole-tone scales. [A listening guide is included on the back of this program for those who are interested in following along.]


(There are two pieces by Andriessen on the concert. There is another composer born in the 1890s. There is another composer who lived and worked in the Netherlands. There are two pieces written in 1981 on the concert.)


Courtship Songs (1981) by Stephen Paulus (b. 1949)

Stephen Paulus is an American composer best known for his operas and choral music. His most well-known piece is his 1982 opera The Postman Always Rings Twice, one of several operas he has written for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, which prompted The New York Times to call him "a young man on the road to big things." His style is essentially tonal, and melodic and romantic by nature. Courtship Songs was written for a prominent couple who support the arts in Minneapolis in honor of their 15th wedding anniversary. According to Paulus’ web site, it is “motivated by the desires, intentions and sentiments of a love relationship. The individual movements reflect the various stages through which that relationship may pass as it proceeds and evolves into the marriage of two persons. The subtitles for each movement are taken from Middle English lyrics and express the sentiments which the music attempts to amplify.”


(There are two pieces written by baby boom composers (born in the late 1940s) on the concert. There is one other piece that uses the cello in addition to winds and piano. There are two pieces written in 1981. There are two pieces that are narrative in style, that is, the music tells a story.)


Pièce Brève (1957) for flute, oboe, harp (piano) by Frank Martin (1890-1974)

Frank Martin was one of the foremost Swiss composers of the 20th century.  In the middle and late 1920s Martin was associated with Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, the originator of the eurythmics method of music education. Martin settled in the Netherlands in 1946 where he lived until his death in 1974. Active as a teacher and lecturer, he was also a pianist and harpsichordist and toured widely, performing his own music. Martin evolved a strong personal style that incorporated elements of German music, particularly that of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the expanded harmonies associated with early 20th-century French composers. Martin developed his mature style based on a very personal use of the twelve-tone technique, having become interested in this around 1932, but he never abandoned tonality. The Pièce Brève, originally written for flute, oboe and harp, shows his preference for lean textures and rhythmic structure.


(There is one other piece on the concert that uses the 12-tone technique. There is another composer who lived in the Netherlands. There is another composer who was born in the early 1890s. There are other pieces that are very short. There are other trios on the program.)


Trio (2003) for flute, oboe, clarinet by Matt Doran (b. 1921)

Flutist and composer Matt Doran was born in 1921 in Covington, Kentucky. He had the distinction of being awarded in 1953 the very first Doctor of Musical Arts (in composition) ever granted. Doran has composed over 220 works, including operas, concerti, symphonies, choral works and chamber works. He lives in Vancouver, WA where he founded the Vancouver Flute Club and enjoys his alter ego life as Narod the Magician. The Trio on today’s concert is in four contrasting movements. The opening Andante is lyrical and melodic. The Scherzo sandwiches a lilting middle section between jagged musical themes. All three instruments intertwine beguilingly in the Pastorale. The final Allegro begins with two motifs in counterpoint: the clarinet plays a staccato walking bass line while the flute and oboe have fast twisting passages. The instruments switch places several times leading up to a smooth middle section with running triplet accompaniment. The movement returns to the opening gestures before ending with a jazzy buildup to an ending featuring the flute in its highest register.


(There is another local composer represented on the concert. There are other trios on the concert. The Scherzo by Svoboda was written just one year after this piece was written.)


Short Story (1980) for flute, oboe, clarinet, cello and piano by Haskell Small (b. 1948)

Haskell "Hal" Small is a composerpianist and music teacher in Washington, D.C. After starting college as a science and engineering major, he began his musical education at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and earned a BFA in music from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1972, where he studied piano and composition. Small follows in the tradition of 18th- and 19th-century pianists/composers. In addition to music for the piano, he has written works for woodwinds and other instruments, ensembles and the symphony orchestra, as well as choral pieces and music with narration. He has received commissions from such organizations as the Washington Ballet, Three Rivers Piano Competition, Georgetown Symphony and Paul Hill Chorale, and he was the winner of the 1999 Marin Ballet Dance Score Competition. From 2000 to 2003, he was composer-in-residence with the Mount Vernon Orchestra.

Although there is no intended “program”, Short Story has a strong narrative quality throughout its single movement. The thematic material is mostly of an airy, lyrical nature juxtaposed with a “chase” motif and several sections of a gently jazzy flavor. It is essentially in sonata-form, with an introductory recitative-like section that repeats in the middle and at the end of the work. A short fugue based on the main lyrical them precedes this final ending.  Short Story was commissioned by the Georgetown Symphony and first performed by members of the Symphony with the composer at the piano in Gaston Hall in Washington, DC in 1980. The Mousai invites audience members to write their own narrative to go along with the music of Short Story. We hear a frightening tale of suspense and horror, possibly involving a cat and an ax murderer. What do you hear?


(This is one of two pieces on the program that is narrative in nature. There are two other pieces on the concert written in the early 1980s. Another composer was born in the late 1940s.)


Program Notes for “Uncharted Territory” - March 10, 2013

All program notes © 2011 - 2014 by Ann van Bever


Spiral Visions (2013) by Katerina Kramarchuk

A native of Kishinev, Moldova, Katerina Kramarchuk was raised in Portland. She holds a B.M. in Composition from Manhattan School of Music, an Artist Diploma in Composition from the Curtis Institute of Music where she was the recipient of the Charles Miller “Alfredo Casella Award for Composition”. She has studied with Richard Danielpour and David Ludwig, and is currently studying at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Christopher Rouse. Her music has been performed at prestigious locations throughout the world, including the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and Lincoln Center. She has received commissions from Chamber Music Northwest, where she was part of last summer’s Protégé Project, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Rock School for Dance Education and Portland Chamber Orchestra. After hearing her music at last summer’s CMNW festival, The Mousai commissioned her to write a trio for flute, oboe and piano that would draw on eastern European tonalities and rhythms. Kramarchuk writes: “Spiral Visions is inspired by the cyclical patterns of our lives. There are two contrasting ideas in the piece, a rapid strong section and a melancholic dreamy one. They take turns as the piece progresses where each time they sound slightly different. Just like in life - our experiences, although similar in nature, are different.”

 

Invitación al Danzón (2008) by Paquito D’Rivera

Born in Cuba, Paquito D’Rivera studied music with his father, a well-known classical saxophonist and conductor, from the age of five. He played both saxophone and clarinet and soloed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba at age 17. However by the time he was in his early 30s, he had grown dissatisfied with the music scene in Cuba as both rock and jazz were discouraged by the communist government. In 1981, he sought asylum in the US Embassy while on tour in Spain and subsequently made his home in the United States. Welcomed by jazz musicians with open arms, he quickly rose to fame with many Grammy Award winning recordings in both the Latin jazz and classical categories. His music crosses the boundaries between jazz, Latin and classical genres. His woodwind quintet, Aires Tropicales, has become a standard since it was first introduced in 1994.  Invitación al Danzón draws on the Latin dance rhythms of D’Rivera’s native land and includes an improvisation section--a type of playing classical musicians are not often called to do.

 

New York Streetscapes (2009) by Brian DuFord

Brian DuFord is a guitarist and composer who trained at Mannes College of Music and Yale School of Music. After concertizing as a classical guitarist for nearly two decades, he decided to quit the classical music world and embark on a new career of composing and arranging in the entertainment industry. Six years and numerous independent film and documentary scores later, he began composing chamber music that combines his classical knowledge with the color and drama that are essential to film composition. He calls it “a perfect fit.” His works have been performed by many world class chamber music ensembles, including the Imani Winds and the Borealis Wind Quintet. New York Streetscapes was written in 2009; a three-movement work, it depicts three New York City scenes in music. The opening movement captures the frantic pace of traffic and the sound of car tires crossing the rumblestrips on the Henry Hudson Parkway with a recurring accented downward turn. The second movement is DuFord’s response to the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The rhythmic motive in the piano is unsettled and the flute and oboe almost scream in frustration and horror. The movement closes with an intense sadness. The last movement has a jazzy energy and swagger that perfectly captures the ambience of the Harlem neighborhood.

 

Mebasi (2008) by Kevin H. Gray

A composer and painter, Kevin H. Gray lives in Memphis where he serves as a keyboardist for the Shady Grove Presbyterian Church. He is an active pianist and harpsichordist and particularly focuses on writing chamber music for piano and winds. He has had works for bassoon performed at the 2010 International Double Reed Society convention and Pyrrhic Suite, for clarinet and piano, won the International Clarinet Association’s composition contest in 2010. Gray makes his works available as free downloads and he holds a deep conviction that many possibilities created by the twentieth century’s myriad innovations in the arts have yet to be completely realized. Gray writes: “Mebasi is partly a tribute to the eminent French ethnomusicologist Pierre Sallée, who  made  several  protracted  expeditions to Gabon,  among  other destinations, to document various tribal customs during the sixties and early seventies.  The aspect of his work that pertains to this piece, however, is his time  spent  among  the  Bibayak  tribe,  whose  complex,  richly  textured,  and utterly compelling  musical  traditions were documented by  Sallée in several field recordings.  So although I certainly feel indebted to his important work in preserving evidence of these vanishing traditions, the true inspiration for this piece is the irrepressible ingenuity and undeniable artistry of the Bibayak people themselves; and in a broader sense, this music is about what society has lost as it has become progressively more technology-dependent.” Mebasi was inspired by a Bibayak musical game, in which the participants conspire to leave one unsuspecting singer performing an impromptu solo. Gray’s trio captures the playfulness of the game and mimics African sounds by damping the piano strings and having both the flute and oboe play in an improvisatory manner.

 

La cheminée du roi René, Op. 205 (1939), by Darius Milhaud.

Darius Milhaud was born into a Jewish family from Aix-en-Provence, France. He studied composition at the Paris Conservatory and was a member of the French group of composers known as Les Six. He heard jazz on the streets of Harlem on a trip to the US in 1922, and this had a great impact on his musical compositions. The rise of Nazism in France forced him to emigrate to the United States in 1940; he subsequently taught at Mills College in Oakland. Among his students was the jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and the popular songwriter Burt Bacharach. In 1939, Milhaud contributed some incidental music for the film Cavalcade d’amour, which was set in the fifteenth century court of King René I of Provence. Milhaud was fascinated by the history of the king and the legendary tournaments that took place at his court. The seven short movements that make up the suite are a collection of medieval miniatures and are some of the most popular chamber music for the woodwind quintet.

 

Blue Mountain Meadow: Missoula, Montana (1996) by David Maslanka

Massachusetts born David Maslanka studied composition at Oberlin College and Michigan State University. His music for winds has become especially well-known; he has written four wind quintets, two saxophone quartets and many works for solo instruments and piano as well as orchestral and choral pieces. He lives in Missoula, Montana where he frequently goes to Blue Mountain Meadow to walk and enjoy the views of the Mission, Sapphire and Rattlesnake mountain ranges as well as the town of Missoula laid out in the valley below. Maslanka writes that the sextet is “music that reflects the complex and humming life force of the nature place that I love. The music is brisk, vibrant and insistent. It is not a description of the meadow, but a meditative reaching into the power of all the things that live there, and the power of the place itself.”  The moan of the elk, the majesty of the mountains, the drums and flutes of the native American tribes that once lived on this land, and the hymns of a pioneer church can all be detected in the music.


Program Notes for “Let’s Dance!” - April 22, 2012

All program notes © 2011 - 2014 by Ann van Bever


Seduction Dance, by Miguel del Aguila (b. 1957)

Miguel del Aguila was born in Uruguay and currently resides in Los Angeles. Twice nominated for Grammy Awards, his musical style is marked by complex rhythms and lovely melodies that evoke the Latin America of his youth. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and did post graduate work in Vienna. He has composed in a wide variety of genre, including works for piano, orchestra, chamber music ensembles and opera. The Mousai are performing two of his works as bookends to today’s concert. Seduction Dance was written in 2007 and exists in versions for violin and piano as well as for flute, clarinet or oboe and piano. Rhythm is the captivating or seductive element, starting with a piano ostinato that is taken up first by the oboe and then the flute. The complex and shifting rhythmic patterns and swirling melodic lines drive the piece forward to the final cadenza-like climax.


Summer Waltzes, by Paul Harris

Paul Harris studied clarinet, composition and piano at London’s Royal Academy of Music. He is best known for his teaching materials, especially the highly acclaimed Improve Your Sight Reading Skills which has sold over 300,000 copies worldwide.  The three short waltzes performed today are from a set of five. Each waltz is slightly different in mood, yet all three capture the breezy, floating quality that is a hallmark of the dance form.


Aires Tropicales, by Paquito d’Rivera (b. 1948)

Born in Cuba, Paquito d’Rivera was a virtuoso saxophone and clarinet player by age 10, when he performed with the National Theater Orchestra of Havana. He studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music and was a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony at age 17.  He was a co-founder of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, and with several other members of that group, formed Irakere, a Cuban jazz ensemble that toured throughout the world. In 1981, while on tour in Spain, D’Rivera defected and subsequently moved to the US, where he began playing and composing in both jazz and classical idioms. He won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to Latin music in 1991. Aires Tropicales (Tropical Breezes) was written in 1994; its accessible sounds and infectious rhythms have quickly turned it into one of the mainstays of woodwind quintet music. Today the Mousai will perform five of the seven movements. The Alborada (Morning Song) is an introduction, really, to the Son, the popular Cuban dance form from the late 1800s which has its roots firmly planted in African rhythms. Vals Venezalano is a fast, syncopated waltz dedicated to Venezuela’s Antonio Lauro. The Contradanza is another traditional Cuban dance and is dedicated to Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona. Finally, Afro is introduced with a languid alto flute solo but soon morphs into an energetic dance over an African ostinato pattern.


Harlem, 125th Street, from New York Streetscapes, by Brian DuFord (b. 1969).

Brian DuFord is a guitarist and composer who trained at Mannes College of Music and Yale School of Music. After concertizing as a classical guitarist for nearly two decades, he decided to quit the classical music world and embark on a new career of composing and arranging in the entertainment industry. Six years and numerous independent film and documentary scores later, he began composing chamber music that combines his classical knowledge with the color and drama that are essential to film composition. He calls it “a perfect fit.” His works have been performed by many world class chamber music ensembles, including the Imani Winds and the Borealis Wind Quintet. New York Streetscapes was written in 2009; a three-movement work, it depicts three New York City scenes in music. The last movement, Harlem, has a jazzy energy and swagger that perfectly captures the neighborhood.


Valses nobles et sentimentales, by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), arranged by William Schmidt.

Along with Claude Debussy, Ravel was one of the leading composers of the French impressionist school. He was influenced by jazz, Asian music and folk songs and intrigued by the waltz genre. His most famous waltz is the orchestral tone poem, La Valse, which some see as a commentary on the decline and decay of Europe after the end of World War I. By contrast, the Valses nobles et sentimentales are intricate and precise and use a lovely palette of tonal colors and harmonies. Although the work was inspired by Schubert’s Valses Nobles and Valses Sentimentales, Ravel, unlike Schubert, makes no differentiation between which waltzes are noble and which are sentimental. The original work was written in 1911 for piano; an orchestral version was published the following year. There is also a ballet version, called Adelaide, or the Language of Flowers. This arrangement by William Schmidt presents three of the waltzes using the unique timbres of the wind instruments.


Oblivion, by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), arranged by Jeff Scott.

Astor Piazolla was born in Argentina, but grew up in New York City where he was exposed to both Bach and jazz at an early age. He learned to play the bandoneon, the native instrument of Argentina, when his homesick father bought one from a New York pawn shop. He became quite a prodigy on the instrument and was invited to tour with Carlos Guardel, a leading figure of Argentinean tango, when he was only 13. His father refused to allow him to go, which turned out to be providential as the entire touring group perished in an airplane crash. At age 16, the young Piazzolla returned to Argentina where he played in tango night clubs in Buenos Aires by night and studied classical composition with Alberto Ginastera by day. In the mid-1950s he traveled to Paris to study with the famous Nadia Boulanger, who convinced him that his authentic voice lay with tango music. Back in Buenos Aires he formed a band and began to develop the nuevo tango style for which he has become famous. Oblivion, with its haunting beauty that evokes images of tragedy and love, is perhaps his best known tango. This arrangement is by Jeff Scott, the impressive horn player of the Imani Winds.


Latin Love, by Miguel del Aguila.

Latin Love was commissioned in 2004 by the Pacific Serenades Ensemble. It is a nostalgic and optimistic revisit of the composer’s youth in the 1950s, using Latin American dance forms. After a short introduction, the solo flute plays the main dance theme and then is joined by the other winds in a kind of canon-like chaos. After the clarinet plays the first theme once again, the piano plays a meditative solo. The dance music comes back, going through various forms with shifting meters and percussive effects, culminating in a passionate tango.


Previous repertoire


Trios:

  1. Andriessen, Hendrik.  Theme and Variations, for flute, oboe and piano (1951).

  2. Damase, Jean-Michel.  Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano (1962).

  3. Goossens, Eugene.  Pastorale et Arlequinade, op. 41, for flute, oboe and piano (1941).

  4. Koetsier, Jan.  Papillons-Variationen, op. 108, for flute, oboe and piano (1987).

  5. Still, William Grant.  Miniatures, for flute, oboe and piano (1948).


Quartet:

  1. Milhaud, Darius. Sonata, op. 47, for flute, oboe, clarinet and piano (1918).


Sextet:

  1. Poulenc, Francis. Sextuor, op. 100, for wind quintet and piano (1931, rev. 1939).


Flute and piano:

  1. Gianopoulus, George N.  Novelette: A Slow Drag, for flute and piano (20??).


Oboe and piano:

  1. Jolivet, Andre.  Chant pour les Piroguiers de L’Orénoque, for oboe and piano.

  2. Planel, Robert.  Serenade, for oboe and piano.

  3. Ravel, Maurice.  Piece en forme de habanera, for oboe and piano (1907).

  4. Saint-Saëns, Camille.  Sonata for oboe and piano, op. 166 (1921).


Program notes for previous repertoire


Theme and Variations, by Hendrik Andriessen.

Hendrik Andriessen, 1892-1981, was a Dutch composer and organist, known for his work as a church musician and as director of the Utrecht Conservatory and later at the Royal Conservatory at The Hague. The Andriessen family is full of musicians; in addition to Hendrik there is his brother, Willem; sons Jurriaan and Louis; and daughter Heleen. Andriessen contributed to the sacred music repertoire with eight masses and a Te Deum but he also wrote symphonies, chamber music and lieder. The Theme and  Variations for flute, oboe and piano was written in 1953, while he was at the Royal Conservatory. It is beautifully constructed, using the classical theme and variations form, but also employing the modern technique of the twelve-tone row and a combination of chromatic and whole-tone scales. A listening guide is included on the back of this program for those who are interested in following along.


Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano, by Jean-Michel Damase.

The son of a renowned harpist, Macheline Kahn, Jean-Michel Damase showed his prodigious musical talent quite early. He started studying piano and solfege at age five, began composing at age nine, entered the Paris Conservatoire at age twelve, won a first prize for piano at age fifteen and won a first prize for composition and the Prix de Rome at age nineteen.  His style is elegant and attractive, with rich and varied orchestrations. His great admiration for French masters Faure and Ravel is palpable in his music. The Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano was written in 1962 and shows a clear sensitivity to the dramatic possibilities of instrumental music. The opening movement begins with a rather dissonant and loud introduction that softens into a melodic, almost fugal, theme. The second movement displays a light and airy dance quality. The third movement alternates between duple and triple meter while the melodic lines are sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged. The final movement opens with sounds reminiscent of the first movement introduction, but ends melodically and with a jaunty call and response between the flute and piano over a long A played on the oboe.


Pastorale et Arlequinade, by Eugene Goossens.

London-born Eugene Goossens was a conductor, violinist and composer and was born into a famous family of musicians (both his father and grandfather, both also named Eugene Goossens, were conductors and his brother, Leon Goossens, was a well-known oboist). His conducting career led him from a position as an assistant to Sir Thomas Beecham in the Queen’s Hall Orchestra, to Eastman School of Music, to the Cincinnati Symphony and eventually to Australia, where he conducted the Sydney Symphony. He was knighted in 1955, but only one year later was implicated in a scandal and forced to resign in disgrace. He died six years later in England. The Pastorale et Arlequinade is dedicated to his brother Leon. The music displays a lively imagination and fluent lyricism in a lovely impressionist tonal palette. The Pastorale paints a languid and lush picture of the countryside while the Arlequinade depicts the classic comedic character, Harlequin.


Papillons-Variationen, by Jan Koetsier.

Born in Amsterdam, Jan Koetsier grew up in Berlin where he studied piano, composition and conducting. He returned to The Netherlands in 1940 as the German regime grew hostile to foreigners. Based on the piano piece, Papillons (Butterflies), by Robert Schumann, this trio for flute, oboe and piano is a set of five variations. The trio first states the opening theme, and then immediately moves to a quick staccato variation followed by a triplet-figure variation. The third variation has grand flourishes (perhaps depicting monarch butterflies?), while the fourth variation creeps calmly and peacefully, possibly evoking caterpillars. The final variation includes a quotation of the traditional “Grossvater Tanz” (Grandfather Dance), a version of which was used by Tchaikovsky in the Christmas party scene in his ballet The Nutcracker.


Miniatures, by William Grant Still.

Born in Woodville, Mississippi, at the end of the 19th century, William Grant Still became known as the dean of African-American composers. His musical style is varied, incorporating spirituals to blues and jazz, in addition to folk music. Miniatures is a collection of folk-song inspired pieces from the Americas. “I Ride an Old Paint” is based on a cowboy tune from Santa Fe, New Mexico, sung by a rider who so loved his horse that he begged that, on his death, his bones should be tied to the horse so the two of them could wander westward. “Adolorido,” a Mexican ballad from the low hot country around the state of Guanajuato, tells of the betrayal of an ungrateful woman. “Jesus is a Rock in the Weary Land” is based on a spiritual. The rhythmic treatment it is given corresponds to the way it would be sung in some of the more primitive churches. “Yaravi,” meaning “lament” in the Quecha tongue of the ancient Incas, speaks of the absence of a dear one. The droll tune of “A Frog Went A-Courtin’” has been in continuous use for more than 400 years. The movement ends humorously with the croaking of the courting frog!


Sonate, op. 47, by Darius Milhaud.

Darius Milhaud was born into a Jewish family living in Aix-en-Provence. After studying music at the Paris Conservatory, he traveled to Brazil and then returned to Paris in 1918 and was a member of the diverse group of French composers known as Les Six. Although many of his works are charming and humorous, the Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Piano, which makes wide use of the polytonal techniques Milhaud was studying at the time, evokes a darker feeling. The first movement, Tranquille, opens with a Debussy-like sonority and tropical swaying, but this mood is quickly overtaken by an ominous and dissonant section. The second movement, Joyeux, seems lighthearted at first, but an element of wistfulness is introduced into the joyous feeling and the movement ends on a minor chord. The third movement (Emporte) is an angry rant evoking the sounds of terror, screaming and panic. The final movement, Doloureux, is a dirge full of bitterness and disillusionment. The work may reflect Milhaud’s mindset at the time; it was written as the horrors of World War I were changing history forever and an influenza epidemic was raging around the world. The work leaves a distinct overall impression of forced gaiety and impending doom.


Sextuor, op. 100, by Francis Poulenc.

In Britain and the US, Poulenc is seen as very Parisian, known mostly for his humorous, insouciant works, while in France, he is admired for his songs and religious music, especially the opera Dialogues des Carmelites. Flamboyant and often manically comic, he also suffered from lengthy bouts of depression. A contemporary wrote, “There is about him both the monk and the punk,” which sums up well the duality that can be hard in his music. He was the most prominent member of Les Six, a group of French composers including Milhaud, who sought to move French music away from the more expressive and picturesque music of Debussy and Ravel. Poulenc loved writing for winds, declaring them more important to him than strings. The opening movement of the Sextet is in a three-part form (fast-slow-fast) and is reminiscent of Prokofiev or Stravinsky, with moments of high farce and Gallic tongue-in-cheek humor. The middle movement features Poulenc’s typically lovely and poetic melodic lines and uses a contrasting three-part form (slow-fast-slow). The last movement is a frantic rush culminating in a “Roadrunner moment”—that place in most cartoon chase scenes where a character suddenly freezes in a moment of panic after having run off the end of a cliff—followed by a calm lento passage that builds to the final organ-like chord.


Novelette: A Slow Drag, for flute and piano; by George N. Gianopoulos.

George N. Gianopoulus is a Los Angeles based pianist and composer. There are risks involved when performing new music. This email from the composer arrived less than a week before the performance: “Thank you so much for all of your hard work! It is such a great feeling knowing that two very talented musicians have put so much thought and care into rehearsing and performing my music and for that I can never thank you enough. With that said, I am embarrassed to say that I’ve given you both a dated version of the score by accident! The changes in the more recent version are not in abundance, but do exist. I will totally understand if you cannot implement the changes this late into rehearsals, but I do implore you to at the very least look at the changes and consider the possibility.” This message was followed by a page of changes, which were dutifully incorporated into the performance.


Chant pour les Piroguiers de L’Orénoque, by Andre Jolivet.

French composer Andre Jolivet was interested in atonality, acoustics and ancient instruments. He was a founder of the group La jeune France along with Olivier Messiaen, Daniel Lesur and Yves Baudrier, a group attempting to establish a more human and less abstract compositional form. He pointedly rejected the style of Stravinsky, even though they had many ideas in common. He was the musical director of the Comédie Française from 1945-59, where he composed music for 14 plays, including works by Molière, Racine, Sophocles and Shakespeare. Much of his music is inspired by his frequent world travels. This piece (the title translates to “The Song of the Orinoco Fishermen”) evokes the rocking motion of the dugout canoe (the pirogue) on the Orinoco River as the native fishermen ply their trade.


Serenade, by Robert Planel.

Robert Planel was a French violinist, composer and Educator. Born in 1908, he was the son of Alphonse Planel, the founder of the Music School of Montelimar. He studied at the Paris Conservatory and after winning the Prix de Rome in 1933, worked at the Villa Medici. Following World War II, he became Inspector General of Paris and devoted himself to promoting music education. From 1972-74, he was one of the founders of the Municipal Conservatory of Paris. He died in Paris in 1994. The Serenade is a short piece full of French charm.


Pièce en forme de Habanera, by Maurice Ravel.

Originally composed for bass voice and piano in 1907, Ravel took the slow, sultry Spanish dance called the habanera and used it as the basis of a blindingly difficult virtuoso exercise. Ravel later transcribed the work for cello and piano and from this several other arrangements have been made for virtually any and all instruments with aspirations to virtuoso glory. Like most French composers of the period, Ravel was fascinated by the music of Spain and wrote many works using Spanish dance forms, such as Bolero, Rapsodie Espagnole and Gaspard de le nuit.


Sonata for Oboe and Piano, op. 166, by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Written only 3 years after the Milhaud Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Piano, the Oboe Sonata of Camille Saint-Saëns presents a completely contrasting perspective. Displaying a conservative musical style, Saint-Saëns is known for his proportionality, clarity, and elegant line. Saint-Saëns dedicated the sonata to Louis Bas, an oboist who was renowned for his facility in playing scales very fast. One of his last compositions, the Oboe Sonata is in three movements. It opens with a delicate Andantino, based on a two-note theme, which is followed by a lyrical melody and rapid scale passages. The middle movement evokes a shepherd playing a haunting improvisational pastorale in which a lilting dance is inserted. The final movement was designed to show off the virtuosic playing of the dedicatee. Listen for the piano’s practice room scale studies at the end of the movement!