Thursday, December 29, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 2/12/2012 @ 2:30 p.m.

Sarah Wilson MacMillan, soprano
Louis Poeltl, tenor
Bonita Sonsini Wyke, piano

Songs, Folksongs, Arias & Duets
featuring selections from Opera & Musical Theater

    Mr. Poeltl & Ms. Wyke:
  • Kander: Willkommen (Cabaret)
    Ms. MacMillan, Mr. Poeltl & Ms. Wyke:
  • Lloyd Webber: All I Ask of You (Phantom of the Opera)

Beginning with her solo debut at Teatro Municipal de Bahía Blanca, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the singing career of soprano Sarah Wilson MacMillan has encompased three continents. In addition to return engagements in Argentina, a solo recital at La Cultura Inglesa in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was broadcast throughout the region. In the United States and the United Kingdom she has appeared in solo and chamber music recitals, as well as in opera performances, including as "Queen of the Night" (The Magic Flute), "Susanna" (The Marriage of Figaro), "The Blonde" (The Abduction from the Seraglio), "Ilia" (Idomeneo), and "Mrs. Heartmelt" (The Impresario). Her varied solo repertoire ranges from works by J.S. Bach to contemporary composers, such as Grammy winner Libby Larsen and Jacksonville's own Bob Moore. Before pursuing graduate studies at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music in Missouri, Ms. MacMillan completed her undergraduate work at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, and now she is coached by Betti McDonald, the Director of the Institute for Musical Arts, in Orlando. Locally, Sarah performs in concert series throughout the First Coast, including recent engagements with the Mayo Clinic, Penney Farms Retirement Community, and the Cathedral Basilica in St. Augustine. She teaches under her married name, Sarah Sasen, and is a member of the North Florida Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Tenor Louis Poeltl was a 1995 Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and subsequently he appeared with the National Opera Company in 175 performances in over 40 states, in such diverse roles as "Fenton" and "Slender" in The Merry Wives of Windsor, "Paolino" in The Secret Marriage, "Pozzo" and "Verada" in El Capitan, "Count Amalviva" in The Barber of Seville, and "Rodolfo" in La Boheme. He also sang the leading role of "Ollantay" in William Hollister's opera, The Inca’s Chosen Bride, recorded with the Bulgarian National Symphony and Chorale. Mr. Poeltl has performed with numerous symphonies, and his appearances have included recitals and concerts throughout Europe. Most recently, Mr. Poeltl has brought his artistry to the concert stage in recitals throughout the Eastern United States. A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, Louis Poeltl holds a BA in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University, a Master's Degree in Counseling from Webster University, and is pursuing a PhD in Counseling at Barry University. He continues his professional musical studies with Betti McDonald, Founder and Director of the Institute for Musical Arts.

Bonita Sonsini Wyke has been an active part of the Jacksonville music community since 1985, and in working with many of the First Coast's leading vocalists, instrumentalists and musical ensembles she has earned the reputation as a musician of unsurpassed sensitivity, technical skill and artistry. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she has performed for more than thirty years as a collaborative pianist and harpsichordist for choral groups, and orchestral and instrumental ensembles. She has been the music director for a wide variety of stage productions, including opera, musical theater and ballet, and for several years was an integral participant in staged productions at Jacksonville University. While at JU she also performed with the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, as well as for student and faculty recitals. She continues her mentoring of student musicians, collaborating with choral groups at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and with woodwind and brass players at the University of North Florida. A founding member of the San Marco Chamber Music Society, Ms. Sonsini Wyke is a seasoned chamber player, and especially enjoys four-hand piano literature.

PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

When William Brown (1938-2004) joined the faculty of the University of North Florida in 1972, he already had a national reputation as an operatic tenor, with credits including several world premieres, among them the televised production of John La Montaine’s The Sheparde’s Playe (1967), and Hugo Weisgall’s Nine Rivers from Jordan (1968) with the New York City Opera. The Mississippi native earned his bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University (1960), and his master’s at Indiana University (1962). After a stint as soloist with the United States Navy Band and Chorus (1962-1966), he began his operatic career in earnest, performing repertoire ranging from Monteverdi and Mozart to the aforementioned contemporary works. But he also taught at Florida Presbyterian College (1970-1972), and completed his doctorate at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory (1972). Dr. Brown remains one of very few African American men to have achieved national fame as an opera singer, and his career highlights include a concert with the New York Philharmonic featuring the works of African American composers (1977), and a 1982 recording of Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts, on a libretto by Gertrude Stein. In 1991, he received the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian award given by that state. Regarding her choice of Dr. Brown’s arrangement of He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand, Ms. MacMillan commented:
Dr. Brown was my teacher and mentor for many years, and I would like to dedicate this song to him.  I sang this at his memorial service at UNF.

George Gershwin (1898-1937) wrote his first song in 1916 and his first Broadway musical in 1919, and remained a fixture of the New York stage for 14 successive years. In 1924 he enjoyed success in applying jazz idioms to concert works with Rhapsody in Blue, and until the end of his life he produced larger-scale works alongside songs for musicals and films. Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess (1935), with lyrics by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, remains the only opera by an American composer firmly established in the international repertory. Gershwin began composing the show's most memorable song, Summertime, in December 1933, and he new a good thing when he heard it--the song appears twice in the opera's first act and reappears in the 2nd and 3rd acts as well. Indeed, Summertime is one of the most popular songs ever written: an international group of collectors of recordings of Summertime known as "The Summertime Connection" has tabulated over 47,000 public performances of which more than 38,000 have been recorded!

Carlisle Floyd (b. 1926) began his undergraduate studies in piano performance at Converse College in his home state of South Carolina in 1943, but he finished them in New York in 1946, following his principle teacher, Ernst Bacon, to Syracuse University when Pulitzer-prize winning composer and pianist accepted a position there. Floyd joined the piano faculty at Florida State University in 1947, while pursuing his master’s degree at Syracuse University, completed in 1949. At FSU he began composing distinctly American operas on his own librettos, regarding them as music dramas rather than as operas in a more traditional sense. At the 1955 world premiere in Tallahassee of his second opera, Susannah, Floyd received an honorary doctorate from FSU, and in 1983 he was awarded another doctorate from Dickinson College. Floyd’s many other honors include awards from the National Opera Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he also received a Medal of Arts from the White House in 2004.
Following its New York premiere, Susannah won the 1956 New York Music Critics Circle Award for Best New Opera, and it was selected to represent American music and culture at the 1958 World’s Fair, in Brussels. The two-act work is often cited as the second-most frequently staged American opera, after Porgy and Bess—but it is unlikely that these counts include Menotti’s perennial, one-act Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, which receives numerous productions each December.
Inspired by the Apocryphal story of Susannah and the Elders, Floyd’s McCarthy-era drama tells the tragic tale of a young girl whose life is ruined by the deceitful gossip spread by the women in her church, who are jealous of Susannah's beauty and the attention the menfolk pay her. Her problem is compounded by the guilt of the Church Elders, manifested as outrage, when they discover her bathing in a secluded stream. Encouraged by the false rumors of her loose morals, a travelling preacher, Olin Blitch, forces himself on Susannah. When he discovers that Susannah was indeed an innocent, Blitch is overcome with remorse and tries to convince the townspeople to “forgive” her. Of course they will not, as it would mean they must admit to their own sins of envy and lust. When Susannah’s brother discovers what has happened, he shoots and kills Blitch, and then disappears, never to return—and Susannah’s fate as an embittered outcast is sealed.
Floyd’s musical palate is heavily colored by the hymnody, folk music, and fiddle tunes indigenous to the opera’s rural Tennessee setting, and its backwoods feeling is reinforced by the use of regional dialect. In the soaring 2nd-Act aria, The Trees on the Mountain, Susannah sings a melancholy song her deceased mother taught her, that compares the bleak isolation of a young woman with the harshness of impending winter. The song obviously mirrors Susannah's own situation, and it becomes the musical focal point of the opera. Despite the wholly operatic technique the aria demands of the heroine, Floyd's original lyrics and music achieve the direct, emotional impact of an Appalachian folksong.

In the earliest days of his career as a singer-songwriter, Italian composer Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916) had a difficult time making a living, reportedly living on oranges and stale bread for weeks at a time. But his talents eventually lead him into the highest reaches of fashionable society, and he became singing master first to the Queen of Italy, and then, in 1880, to the British Royal family. By the mid-1880s he had become the most popular songwriter in Britain, and he received a professorship at the Royal Academy of Music in 1894. Tosti became a British citizen in 1906, and was knighted by King Edward VII in 1908, but he returned to his homeland in 1913 and spent his remaining years in Rome. Although he never wrote an opera, his finely crafted melodies became a favorite of opera stars during the early years of the recorded era, and Ideale (The Ideal One) has been in the repertoire of virtually every tenor of note from Caruso to Bocelli.

Tosti / Errico : Ideale (The Ideal One)

Music: Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)
Poem: Carmelo Errico (1848-1892)
English version: Edward Lein, ©2012

Io ti seguii come iride di pace
Lungo le vie del cielo:
Io ti seguii come un'amica face
De la notte nel velo.

E ti sentii ne la luce, ne l'aria,
Nel profumo dei fiori;
E fu piena la stanza solitaria
Di te, dei tuoi splendori.

In te rapito, al suon de la tua voce,
Lungamente sognai;
E de la terra ogni affanno, ogni croce,
In quel giorno scordai.

Torna, caro ideal, torna un istante
A sorridermi ancora,
E a me risplenderà, nel tuo sembiante,
Una novella aurora.
Like a rainbow serene, I followed you forth
Along highest heaven’s trail:
I followed there, you, like a kindly torch
Bright'ning night’s darkening veil.

And I sensed you in moonlight, and in the air,
In the scent of the flower’s bloom;
And you, and all your splendors fair
Filled full each empty room.

So enraptured was I that your voice’s song
Did my dreams ever long purvey;
And the world's every sorrow, each suffered wrong,
Were forgotten that day.

Return! my ideal love, for just a brief time,
To smile upon me, just once more--
And upon me your countenance shall shine
As no dawn has shone before.

In the broadest terms, the genre of Canzoni Napoletane, or Neapolitan songs, consists of a large body of popular vocal music, with the distinguishing feature of having texts in the Southern Italian dialect centering around Naples. The genre became firmly established during the 1830s as the result of an annual songwriting competition in Naples, but there are songs in the dialect dating back perhaps into the 1100s. Although the competition ceased as an annual event in 1950, there are still a few singer-songwriters who carry on the tradition. In the early part of the 20th Century the famous tenor Enrico Caruso popularized them, in the U.S. and elsewhere, by singing them as encore pieces, and a decade later "The Three Tenors" (Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras) helped keep them in our collective consciousness. As with the majority of popular songs, regardless of the language, most Neapolitan songs are about love, either lamenting unrequited or lost love, or joyously celebrating it. In addition to Santa Lucia and Funiculì, Funiculà, the best-known Neapolitan songs in America likely are Torna a Surriento (Come Back to Sorrento) -- the lamenting variety -- and 'O sole mio (That Sun is All Mine) -- the celebratory kind. They have been recorded numerous times, and the tunes for these last two were given entirely new English lyrics and released as chart-topping hits by Elvis Presley, respectively as Surrender (1961), and It's Now or Never (1960), his best-selling single, ever.

De Curtis : Torna a Surriento (Come Back to Sorrento)

Music: Ernesto De Curtis (1875-1937)
Text (Neapolitan dialect): Giambattista De Curtis (1860-1926)
English version: Edward Lein, ©2012

Vide ’o mare quant’è bello.
  Spira tanta sentimento,
Comme tu, a chi tiene mente,
  Ca, scetato, ’o faje sunnà.

Guarda, guá’ chisti ciardine.
  Siente sié’ sti sciure ’arancio
Un prufumo accussí fino,
  Dint’ ’o core se ne na.


E tu dice, "Io parto, addio!"
  T’alluntane da stu core.
  Da la terra de ’ll ammore
  Tiene ’o core en un turná?
Ma nun me lassá!
  Nun darme stu turmiento!
  Torna a Surriento,
  Famme campá!

Vide ’o mare di Surriento,
  Che tesore tene ’nfunno!
Chi a girato tutt’ ’o munno
  Nun ll’ha visto comm’a ccá!

Guarda, attuorno, sti Serene,
  Ca te guardano ’ncantate,
E te vono tantu bene
  Te vulessero vasá!

See the sea, so immensely lovely.
  It inspires the deepest feelings,
Just like one who pulls your heartstrings;
  It lets you dream while you're awake.

Look there, gaze into the garden.
  Smell the scent of oranges in bloom:
Such a fine and fragrant perfume ...
  It's so dear your heart might break.


And yet you say, "Farewell! Now I'll go,"
  Forsaking this sore heart of mine.
  You'd leave this land of love behind ...
  Lest you return, won't your own heart break?
Do not forsake me!
  Please do not torment me so!
  Come back to Sorrento,
  Or death take me!

See the sea of dear Sorrento,
  There hidden treasures lie, deep down!
One might travel the whole world round
  And not see the likes of this!

Look there, gaze upon these mermaids
  Who gaze back at you, enchanted,
And their love for you is so great
  They might offer you their kiss!


De Capua / Capurro : 'O sole mio (That Sun is All Mine)

Music: Eduardo de Capua (1865-1917)
Text (in Neapolitan dialect): Giovanni Capurro (1859-1920)
English version: Edward Lein, ©2012

Che bella cosa na jurnata 'e sole,
n'aria serena doppo na tempesta!
Pe' ll'aria fresca pare gia' na festa ...
Che bella cosa na jurnata 'e sole!

Ma n'atu sole cchiu' bello, oi ne';
'O sole mio, sta 'nfronte a te!
'O sole, 'o sole mio,
Sta 'nfronte a te, sta 'nfronte a te!

Lùceno ’e ’llastre d’a fenesta toia,
’Na lavannara canta e se ne vanta.
E pe’ tramente torce, spanna e canta,
Lùceno ’e ’llastre d’a fenesta toia.

Ma n'atu sole cchiu' bello, oi ne';
'O sole mio, sta 'nfronte a te!
'O sole, 'o sole mio,
Sta 'nfronte a te, sta 'nfronte a te!

Quanno fa notte e 'o sole se ne scenne,
me vene quase 'na malincunia;
sotto 'a fenesta toia restarria,
quanno fa notte e 'o sole se ne scenne.

Ma n'atu sole cchiu' bello, oi ne';
'O sole mio sta 'nfronte a te!
'O sole, 'o sole mio,
Sta 'nfronte a te, sta 'nfronte a te!
How lovely a thing is a day in the sun,
When calm breezes follow a stormy squall!
The fresh, balmy air feels just like a festival ...
How lovely a thing is a day in the sun!

But another sun shines with still lovelier rays;
That sun is all mine: it glows from your face!
O that sun, that sun is all mine,
It glows from your face, it glows from your face!

With the light sparkling bright on your windowpane,
A laundry-maid calls out--she's bragging and singing.
She sings as she goes about tugging and wringing,
And the sunlight glints off of your windowpane.

But another sun shines with much lovelier rays;
That sun is all mine: it glows from your face!
O that sun, that sun is all mine,
It glows from your face, it glows from your face!

When twilight descends and the sunlight is gone,
My spirits tend, sadly, to sink down low;
But I'd wait then gladly, under your window,
When nighttime descends, and the sunshine is gone.

For another sun shines yet with lovelier rays;
This sunshine is mine: it's the glow on your face!
This sunshine, this sunshine is mine,
It glows from your face, it glows from your face!

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) came from a long line of Italian church musicians, and it was assumed he’d inherit the “family business” in Tuscany. But a fateful trek from Lucca to Pisa to see Verdi’s Aïda convinced Puccini to give up organ pedals for footlights, and he became the only real successor of Verdi in the realm of Italian opera. Puccini is reckoned to be the most popular opera composer in America, with his Madama Butterfly (1904) and La bohème (The Bohemian, 1896) ranking as the two most-performed operas in the United States.
The story of La bohème comes from the semi-autobiographical novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème (Scenes in the Life of a Bohemian), by Henri Murger (1822-1861), and it loosely serves as the model for the Broadway musical, Rent. The sad tale centers around the on-again, off-again romantic relationship between Rodolfo, a struggling writer, and the delicate Mimi, who ekes out a meager living making needlework flowers. As the curtain opens it's Christmas Eve, and Rodolfo and his roommate are getting ready for a jolly night out with their friends. Rodolfo decides to finish a bit of work on his own first, but his solitude is interrupted by a neighbor, Mimi, whose candle has gone out on the stairway. Rodolfo is taken with her beauty, so, as his friends call for him from outside to hurry along, he hangs behind to get better acquainted with the distressed damsel. Alone, the pair share their life stories, with some of the most beautiful music ever written for the stage--so, really--how could they not fall in love? In their duet, O soave fanciulla, which ends the first of the operas four acts, Rodolfo begins his seduction routine, reciting lines he may well have used many times before. Only, this time, he realizes he actually means what he's saying.

Puccini / Illica - Giacosa : O soave fanciulla (O Lovliest of Maidens)

Music: Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Italian libretto: Luigi Illica (1857-1919) and Giuseppe Giacosa (1847-1906)
English translation: Edward Lein, ©2012
O soave fanciulla, o dolce viso
di mite circonfuso alba lunar
in te, vivo ravviso il sogno
ch'io vorrei sempre sognar!
(Ah! tu sol comandi, amor!)

Fremon già nell'anima
le dolcezze estreme,
nel bacio freme amor!
(Oh! come dolci scendono le sue lusinghe al core...
Tu sol comandi, amore!

No, per pietà!
Sei mia!
V'aspettan gli amici...
Già mi mandi via?
Vorrei dir ... ma non oso ...
Se venissi con voi?
Che? Mimì?!
Sarebbe così dolce restar qui. C'è freddo fuori.
Vi starò vicina!
E al ritorno?
Dammi il braccio, mia piccina.
Obbedisco, signor!
Che m'ami di'!
Io t'amo!
Amore! Amor! Amor!
O loveliest of maidens, O sweetest vision,
Bathed in the soft glow of a moonbeam;
In you, I see a dream come to life--
A dream I pray always to dream!
(Ah! You alone command us, O Love!)

In the depth of my soul
I tremble with the height of passion.
Your kisses thrill Love itself!
(Oh! How sweetly does his flattery fall upon my heart...
You alone command me, Beloved!

No, I beg you!
Be mine!
You're expected by your friends ...
Already I'm sent away?
I'd rather say... but I dare not ...
Say ...
Might I go along with you?
What? Mimi?!
It would be so much sweeter to stay here. It's freezing outside.
I shall stay close to you!
And when we return?
You'd like to know!
Let me take your arm, my dear little one.
I shall oblige, kind sir!
Tell me you love me!
I love you!
My darling! My love! My love!

"There was a cabaret, and there was a master of ceremonies ... and there was a city called Berlin, in a country called Germany ... and it was the end of the world." In Cabaret, the 1966 Broadway musical which also became a big-screen sensation in 1972, these lines are uttered near the end of the show by the character Clifford Bradshaw, as he begins to recount the events that have just transpired on stage. An American writer travelling through Germany in the 1930s, Cliff will write about Sally Bowles, the young British cabaret singer who broke his heart amid the Nazi nightmare that was unfolding before their eyes. With music by John Kander (b.1927) and lyrics by Fred Ebb (1928-2004), the musical opens with the instantly identifiable Willkommen (Welcome), featuring the aforementioned Master of Ceremonies (or "Emcee" as he's identified in the score), who flirtatiously welcomes an international crowd to the Kit Kat Klub. The song also closes the musical, but at the end its original playfulness becomes harsh and sadistic, the transformation reflecting the changes that accompanied Hitler's rise.

Steven Mark Kohn (b.1957) is Director of the Electronic Music Studio on the composition faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the same school where he received his Master's degree in Composition in 1982 under esteemed composer Donald Erb. In addition to classical compositions and music for the stage, Kohn has written numerous jingles for television commercials, as well as soundtracks for a number of award-winning children's films and television specials, including the Emmy-nominated Runaway Ralph. There are now three volumes comprising his American Folk Set, for voice and piano, which, as one would expect, are arrangements of folksongs.

Set in the early 19th Century leading into the Paris Uprising of 1832, Les Miserables, won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, it started out as a concept album in 1980, with music by composer Claude-Michel Schönberg (b.1944), and French lyrics by Alain Boublil (b.1941) and Jean-Marc Natel (b.1942). It was later adapted for the British stage with an English libretto by Herbert Kretzmer (b.1925), but the 1985 London production was not a great success, running for only three months. That all changed following its 1987 Broadway premiere, and it became the third-longest running production in Broadway history (after The Phantom of the Opera and Cats). Bring Him Home is sung by the central character, Jean Valjean, an escaped convict who had been jailed for 19 years, originally for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family. Revolution is in the air, and the song is a prayer for safe passage through the impending violence, offered on behalf of Marius, a student in love with Cossette, the young peasant woman Valjean has sworn to protect.

Described by The New York Times as the greatest artist working in musical theater, Stephen Sondheim (b.1930) certainly has won enough awards to help back up the statement, including eight Tony awards (more than any other individual), an Academy Award, multiple Grammys, and the Pulitzer Prize. After Company opened on Broadway in 1970, Sondheim's musical won six of the unprecedented 14 nominations for Tony Awards it received. Set amid a surprise 35th birthday party for Robert, a confirmed bachelor, the show unfolds as a string of flashbacks that examine the pros and cons of married life. In the show's final song, Being Alive, Robert realizes that, despite his commitment issues, his life will never be complete until he finds the right "someone" too share it with.

With his 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, Andrew Lloyd Webber (b.1948) catapulted to international fame and has become a fixture of musical theater, music publishing, the recording industry, and motion pictures, winning virtually every major award open to him (Tony, International Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe, etc.) along the way, plus a British knighthood and peerage. Hoping to repeat the success of Superstar, Lloyd Webber again collaborated with lyricist Time Rice (b.1944), producing the rock opera Evita, based on the life of Eva Duarte Perón (1919-1952), the First Lady to Argentine President Juan Perón. Before the London and Broadway stage productions in 1978 and 1979 respectively, Evita was first released as a concept album in 1976, and two decades later, in 1996, it became a major motion picture starring Madonna. In the original stage production, Another Suitcase in Another Hall was sung by an unnamed mistress of Juan Perón after she is sent packing by Juan's future wife. But for the film version, Eva sings it herself after a failed romance that nonetheless brought her to Buenos Aires. In Don't Cry for Me Argentina, Eva addresses her public for the first time after she and her new husband set up housekeeping in the Presidential residence. The sweeping melody, which borrows thematic material from the last movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto, became an international hit, and is the song most closely identified with the musical.
For The Phantom of the Opera (1986), based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux (1868-1927), Lloyd Webber collaborated primarily with lyricist Charles Hart (b.1961). The musical is ranked as the longest-running show in Broadway history and the top-grossing theatrical entertainment of all time. The title character is a disfigured musical genius (read: psycho) who haunts the sewers beneath the Paris Opéra, and the story details his obsession for Christine, an aspiring young soprano. Christine sings Think of Me as an audition number for the Opéra, and as she sings she is recognized by Raoul, a friend from her childhood. Christine has secretly been taking voice lessons with the mysterious masked Phantom, and she soon willingly visits his underground hideout. But when the deranged "Angel of Music," as Christine calls him, murders the Opéra's stage manager and becomes instead an angel of death, Christine escapes to the rooftops with Raoul, and there she accepts her childhood sweetheart's offer of love and protection, in All I Ask of You.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 1/8/2012 @ 2:30 p.m.

Tuğçe Tari, piano

At the age of five, Tuğçe Tari (TOO-tchay TAH-ree) took the entrance exam for the Istanbul University State Conservatory, and she was one of only twenty accepted from among more than 600 applicants. She was the only applicant who got a perfect score on the exam, and by the age of six she was performing publicly. In her teens, Tuğçe won the 26th International Istanbul Music Festival, and her Festival performance and interviews were conducted on national television, earning her rave reviews.

After completing her Bachelor of Music degree from the Istanbul University State Conservatory--in one and a half years instead of the usual four--Ms. Tari moved to the United States. She was awarded scholarships and grants to study at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she earned her Master of Music degree in piano performance under Boris Slutsky. In addition to Turkish and English, Ms. Tari is fluent in French, and she pursued further post-graduate performance studies with Huseyin Sermet at the École Normale de Musique (National School of Music) in Paris, France. She has participated in numerous international music festivals, and in over 20 master classes conducted by many of the world's foremost pianists, including Leon Fleisher, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Vladimir Feltsman, and Alexander Korsantia.

Her international career includes chamber music collaborations as well as solo performances, and she was featured in a 90-minute television program, Kunst Tempel ("Temple of Art"). The program, which included a live solo concert and interview, was hosted by Turkish composer Betin Güneş, the conductor of Symphony Orchestra Cologne (Germany), and was broadcast several times in 2008-2009. Among Ms. Tari's solo recitals have been several command performances at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., at the request of the Turkish Ambassador, and also a 2005 command performance at the Mayport Naval Station for Britain's Royal Navy and the United States Navy, at the request of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ms. Tari was on the board of the Steinway Society from 2003-2008, and during this time she gave a benefit concert which raised $1,500 for financial assistance to young artists. In 2009, she performed a benefit concert for the Princes' Islands Government (Istanbul, Turkey), raising $15,000.

Tuğçe Tari has been teaching privately since she was 14 years old, and she also taught several undergraduate courses during her time at the Peabody. She has been invited to teach masterclasses at Philadelphia's famous Curtis Institute of Music, as well as at Stetson University. In addition to her concerts in the U.S. and abroad, Ms. Tari maintains a piano studio in Jacksonville, and her devotion as a teacher has prepared many of her students for acceptance into the music programs at such prestigious universities as Yale, Wesleyan, Auburn, and Florida State.

PROGRAM NOTES by Ed Lein, Music Librarian
Once dismissed by many of his contemporaries as being too old-fashioned, the great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) now ranks with Beethoven (who himself studied Bach’s music) as the most influential composers of all time. From 1717-1723, Bach was employed by Prince Leopold of Cöthen, and it was during this period that he wrote the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903. Although Bach had become famous as a church organist, Cöthen was essentially a Clavinist town, so instrumental music was not usually a part of religious services there. But Leopold was a great lover of music and a very capable performer, and he encouraged Bach to write music for the enjoyment of the court. It was during this time the Bach wrote much of his famous secular music, including the The Well-tempered Clavier (Book I), the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the six Suites for solo cello, the four Orchestral Suites, and the famous Brandenburg Concertos. Even though Cöthen lacked any fine church organs, Bach obviously kept up his keyboard skills on the harpsichord, as demonstrated by the improvisatory, virtuosic display of the Chromatic Fantasy. Its companion 3-voice Fugue is in 3/4 time, and is one of the longest fugues Bach ever wrote.
Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) was a child prodigy who made his public debut as a pianist at age seven, and who, at twelve conducted a performance of a Stabat Mater he had composed. During his life he was best known as a virtuoso pianist of the highest order, but he also was respected internationally as a composition teacher--among his famous students are Kurt Weill, Edgard Varèse, Percy Grainger, Dimitri Tiomkin, and Stefan Wolpe. Busoni called J.S. Bach's keyboard works "the foundation of pianoforte playing," and he began adapting and editing Bach's music in 1888, continuing the practice throughout his career. Busoni's famous transcription of Bach's Chaconne (originally Ciaconna) was undertaken in 1892, during his brief professorship at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Busoni's is one of several adaptations for piano of the monumental piece, including one for the left hand alone by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). Like the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, the Chaconne was written during Bach's Cöthen years, circa 1720, and it is the fifth and final movement of the Partita in D minor, for solo violin (BWV 1004). Its 3-part form is built over a repeated four-measure bass pattern, D | D-C# | D-B flat | G-A(-C#), with its middle section in D major. Brahms observed about the original violin composition:
On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.

Austrian-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career touring Europe as a 6-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way. Mozart wrote 22 operas, as well as 40 symphonies (“No. 37” is by Michael Haydn, but with a new introduction by Mozart), 27 concertos, chamber music, sonatas, and choral pieces, numbering over 600 works all together. Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 311, gets its "Alla Turca" nickname from the famous last movement, which is often performed on its own as Turkish Rondo or Turkish March. The "Turkish" style was meant to conjure the sound of Janissary bands which had become quite the rage throughout Europe--Haydn and Beethoven, among others, also imitated the style in several pieces. Mozart's first movement is a theme with six variations. Following the 2nd-movement (minuet with trio), the Alla Turca rondo tune has been described as beginning like a 7th variation of the first-movement theme, perhaps providing the whole Sonata with a cyclic unity unusual for the time.
This year [2012] marks the 150th birth anniversary of Achille-Claude Debussy (1862-1918), a quintessentially French composer, pianist and music critic whose own revolutionary music ushered in many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy, whose teachers included César Franck, is usually identified as the chief proponent of musical “Impressionism,” but he did not approve of that label himself. Debussy was a great fan of Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) and he even edited a French edition of the Polish composer’s piano music for publication. Debussy proved himself to be a true successor of Chopin in writing for the piano, and his 24 Préludes, composed between 1909 and 1913 and grouped into two books of 12 each, may be regarded as a tribute to the Pole. Like Chopin, Debussy continued a Baroque tradition with his Préludes while expanding the harmonic language and piano technique of his contemporaries in ways previously unimagined.

Tuğçe Tari performing Chopin: Revolutionary Etude, and Beethoven: Appassionata Sonata, 3rd Movement

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 12/11/2011 @ 2:30 p.m

The Sterling Brass

Music of the Season & Year-round Classics

BRUCE BYRD trumpet
AMY SCOTT trombone

  • Serenade (1st movement from Eine kleine Nachtmusik, by W.A. Mozart, arranged by Jeff Tomberg)
  • Nessun Dorma (from Turandot, by Giacomo Puccini, arranged by Angelo Anton)
  • 3 Elizabethan Madrigals (by Thomas Morley and John Dowland, arranged by Walter Barnes)
        1. Morley: My Bonnie Lass -- 2. Dowland: Come Again, Sweet Love Doth Now Invite -- 3. Morley: Now is the Month of Maying
  • Gloria (from Nelson Mass, by Joseph Haydn, arranged by Walter Barnes)
  • Rondeau (by J.J. Moret, arranged by Walter Barnes)
  • My Heart Ever Faithful (by J.S. Bach, arranged by Walter Barnes)
  • March (1st movement from Second Suite in F, by Gustav Holst, arranged by Jerry Nowak)

  • From A Celebration of Carols, arranged by Lani Smith
          Joy to the World -- O Come, All Ye Faithful -- The First Nowell
  • Sleigh Ride (by Leroy Anderson, arranged by Tim Jameson)
  • From A Celebration of Carols, arranged by Lani Smith
          Angels We Have Heard On High -- Away in a Manger -- Silent Night (F.X. Gruber) -- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  • Hallelujah Chorus (from Messiah, by. G.F. Handel, arranged by Walter Barnes)

The Sterling Brass was formed in May 2010, and in addition to providing music for weddings and other private functions, the quintet is committed to introducing audiences to new music for brass quintet, and especially to introducing the genre to young audiences and inspiring young performers.
By day, Jason Boddie (trumpet) is in the Financial Services industry, but musically he is a regular at Frankie's Jazz Jam in Fernandina Beach, and he is a mentor to beginning brass players.
Fernandina Beach native Bruce Byrd (trumpet) plays both the trumpet and cornet in the Nassau Community Band, and he is graciously sitting in with The Sterling Brass while trumpeter Megan Yates is on Maternity leave. Bruce is a Process Control Engineer, and some of his hobbies, in addition to music, are fishing and his grand kids.
Shaun Bennett (horn) has a degree in Music Theory and Composition from Jacksonville University, and his studies also included a semester at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, New Zealand. In addition to playing horn with the Coastal Symphony of Georgia in Brunswick, Shaun is the brass instructor at North Florida Music Academy in Orange Park.
Amy Scott (trombone), a graduate of the University of Indianapolis, is a music educator and professional trombonist. She is the conductor of the Nassau Community Band at the Amelia Arts Academy in Fernandina Beach.
Paul Mullen (tuba) holds a Masters in Music Composition from the University of Missouri, and a degree in Music Theory from Stetson University. Paul teaches privately and is active as a clinician, and also plays with the Nassau Community Band.

Austrian-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career touring Europe as a 6-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way. Mozart wrote 22 operas, 40 symphonies (“No. 37” is by Michael Haydn, but with a new introduction by Mozart), 27 concertos, chamber music, piano sonatas, and choral music, numbering over 600 works all together. From among all of these, the first movement of Eine kleine Nachtmusik ("A Little Night-music," 1787), K. 525, is probably the most-recognized piece by the public at large.

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) came from a long line of Italian church musicians, and it was assumed he’d inherit the “family business” in Tuscany. But a fateful trek from Lucca to Pisa to see Verdi’s Aïda convinced Puccini to give up organ pedals for footlights, and he became the only real successor of Verdi in the realm of Italian opera. When he died of throat cancer the whole of Italy went into mourning, and no opera composer since has enjoyed the same kind of sustained international following that Puccini still has. Based on a folktale from The Arabian Nights, Puccini’s exotic final opera, Turandot, was left unfinished at his death, but that hasn’t stopped its 3rd-act aria, Nessun dorma (“None shall sleep”), from becoming the biggest-ever “crossover” hit, owing primarily to the international commercial success of Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007). Although he rarely performed in stage productions of the entire opera, Nessun dorma became Pavarotti’s signature song, and when he was too sick to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award during the 1998 Emmy broadcast, the legendary Aretha Franklin (b. 1942) stepped in and provided a soulful live tribute performance of the aria (in the original key!), in a thrilling, non-operatic style uniquely her own.

Walter H. Barnes has made numerous arrangements for brass instruments in association with what is perhaps the most famous brass quintet of all, the Canadian Brass. For 3 Elizabethan Madrigals, Barnes chose works by two of the most famous English composers of the late Renaissance, Thomas Morley (1557?-1602) and John Dowland (1563-1626), and adapted three of their pieces that still enjoy frequent performances in a wide variety of arrangements. English madrigals were inspired by contemporary Italian part-songs on secular texts, and they were composed primarily for amateur singers and instrumentalists. They became the predominant form of popular music in England from the late 1580s until about 1630, and Morley more than any other is credited with driving the "craze." Dowland (pronounced "DOO-land" during his time) was famous throughout Europe for his singing and lute-playing, and Come Again, like many of his "Songes or Ayres," was published for performance by one to four voices, with or without lute accompaniment.

Genial Austrian composer (Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) is the musician most credited with establishing the “Classical” style that his two younger contemporaries, Mozart and Beethoven, built upon, and by the time of his death "Papa" Haydn had become the most widely celebrated composer in Europe. Nicknamed the “Nelson Mass” in honor of Britain’s Admiral Horatio Nelson, Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis ("Mass for troubled times," Hob. XXII:11) premiered in 1798, shortly after Lord Nelson had dealt the first hard blow to Napoleon’s intended world domination. The Mass has been singled out as Haydn’s finest work, and its second movement Gloria has rightly been called an unqualified “song of exultant praise.”

By the time he was in his twenties, French Baroque composer Jean-Joseph Mouret (1682-1738) had become one of the most successful musicians living in Paris. But then, as now, musical styles were ever-evolving, and Mouret could neither adapt to changing musical tastes nor cope with his eventual fall from fashion, and when he died he was penniless and confined to an insane asylum. Although the majority of his works remain virtually unknown, today one would be hard-pressed to name another piece from the French Baroque more recognized than this Rondeau, thanks to its becoming the trademark theme music for PBS's Masterpiece Theatre in 1971.

Although he was dismissed by many of his contemporaries as being too old-fashioned, the great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) now ranks with Beethoven (who himself studied Bach’s music) as the most influential composers of all time. My Heart Ever Faithful is the English title of Mein gläubiges Herze, from Bach’s Cantata No. 68 (Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt). Originally sung by solo soprano, it is one of Bach's most popular arias.

British composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) composed over 200 works, but in America his fame with the general public rests squarely on his brilliant orchestral suite, The Planets (1920). That being said, Holst's two Suites for Military Band (1909 and 1911, respectively) remain cornerstones of the band repertoire. The Second Suite, Op. 28, no. 2, makes use of British folk tunes, with the 1st movement March including Glorishears (Morris Dance), Swansea Town, and Claudy Banks.

Equally at home in pop and jazz, as well as classical styles, Lani Smith is a graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati, with Bachelor and Master degrees in composition. He has composed and arranged thousands of organ, choral and piano pieces, and has composed over 30 cantatas. A recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation grant, he has received numerous commissions and awards, including Columbia University's Bearns Prize in Composition. For his A Celebration of Carols, for brass quintet, Mr. Smith arranged 10 holiday favorites, seven of which are included on today's program.

American composer Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) studied music at Harvard University, earning both bachelor's and master's degrees. But his doctoral work at Harvard was in German and Scandinavian languages, and during World War II he became a translator for the Army, eventually (in 1945) ending up in the Pentagon as Chief of the Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence. Of course now he is most remembered as one of the best American composers of light orchestral music, largely thanks to the championship of his works by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra. Sleigh Ride became something of a signature song for the Boston Pops, and even as recently as last year, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced it as their "Most-Played Holiday Song."

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) ranks with J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) as among the most enduring Baroque-period composers. Born in Germany as Georg Friedrich Händel, he settled in London in 1712, Anglicized his name and became a naturalized British subject. Handel's sacred oratorio, Messiah (1741), contains some of the most-recognized music in the history of Western music, and the Halleluja Chorus in particular is undoubtedly his single most-recognized piece.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 11/13/2011 @ 2:30 p.m.

Ruxandra Marquardt, violin
Christine Clark, piano

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A major ("Duo"), Op. post., D. 574

  1. Allegro moderato [YouTube performance]
  2. Scherzo Presto [YouTube performance]
  3. Andantino [YouTube performance]
  4. Allegro vivace [YouTube performance]
    {YouTube: Movements 1-2 together]
    {YouTube: Movements 3-4 together]
    Score (pdf), from

DVORAK: Romantische Stücke ("Romantic Pieces"), Op. 75

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Allegro maestoso
  3. Allegro appassionato
  4. Larghetto
    [YouTube perfromance, Pieces 1-2]
    [YouTube perfromance, Pieces 3-4]
    Score (pdf), from

FALLA/KREISLER: Danse espagnole (Spanish Dance, from La vida breve)
         [YouTube performance]
         Score (pdf) transcribed for piano solo, from


Violinist Ruxandra Marquardt is the Principal Second with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, which she joined in 2002, but her hometown is Bucharest, Romania. At age six she entered the George Enescu School of Music, where she studied both violin and piano, but she began to concentrate on violin because "there were too many pianists around." She continued her musical education at the Bucharest Conservatory of Music and the Indiana School of Music.

At age ten, Ms. Marquardt began performing solo recitals and chamber music throughout Eastern Europe under the guidance of her teacher, Stefan Gheorghiu. She since has won an impressive array of competitions, including the Wieniawski International Competition (Poland), the Spring (Prague), the Tibor Varga Prize (Switzerland), the Yehudi Menuhin Competition (London), the Richard Wagner International Festival (Bayreuth), and two consecutive years of First Prizes at the All-Romania Competition. She has been a featured soloist with the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, and the Syracuse Symphony, where she served as Associate Concertmaster prior to moving to Jacksonville with her husband, composer Paul Marquardt. In addition to the JSO, Ruxandra is a frequent performer with the San Marco Chamber Music Society, and she has participated in the Eastern Music Festival and the Grand Teton Music Festival.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Christine Armington Clark began piano studies with James Crosland, and continued her professional training at Oberlin Conservatory. She received a Master's degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois, and studied with Leon Fleisher in the Peabody Conservatory Artist Diploma Program upon the recommendation of legendary concert pianist Lorin Hollander. Ms. Clark was national finalist in the Collegiate Artist Competition sponsored by the Music Teachers National Association, and attended the Aspen Music Festival on a piano performance and accompanying scholarship. She competed in the Maryland International Piano Competition, and won the Boca Raton Piano Competition. A versatile musician, Ms. Clark played keyboard with Trap Door, a local rock group, and toured Europe under the aegis of Proclaim! International. She taught piano at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and her chamber music performances include an appearance at the Goethe Institute in San Francisco.

Well known along the First Coast, Ms. Clark has appeared with the Jacksonville Starlight Symphonette and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and appears frequently with many of the areas finest instrumentalists and vocalists. She also has served on the boards of several arts organizations, is a past President of Friday Musicale, and is on the faculty of Prelude Chamber Music camp. While working as a law clerk in Washington, D.C., Christine gave perhaps her most unusual recital, performing in the United States Supreme Court at the request of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

PROGRAM NOTES by Edward lein, Music Librarian

In addition to numerous symphonies, chamber works, masses, and solo piano music, the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed over 600 songs in his short life, and he has remained unsurpassed in the ability to marry poetry with music. Even Beethoven, who apparently never met the younger composer, touted Schubert's genius when he was given some of Schubert's songs shortly before his death. Although during his lifetime Schubert was virtually unknown to the general public, his music was regularly performed in private concerts for Vienna’s musical elite, and by 1825 he was in negotiations with four different publishers. But the bulk of Schubert's masterworks remained unpublished at the time of his death, so he generally had had to depend on his devoted circle of friends to help maintain his finances. After Schubert died, probably from medicinal mercury poisoning, his wish to be buried next to Beethoven, who had died just the previous year, was honored.

Schubert's father was a dedicated amateur musician who wasted little time in drafting his young'uns into the family consort. From the age of 5, Franz's routine began to include lessons in singing, violin, viola, piano and organ. In 1804, It was his dulcet singing tones that brought him to the attention of Antonio Salieri (1750-1825), then the most influential musician in Vienna. By 1808, Schubert had entered the imperial seminary on a choir scholarship, and it wasn't too long after that that Salieri was giving him private composition lessons.

An early champion and Schubert's very first publisher was Anton Diabelli (1781-1858), who issued Schubert's famous song, Der Erlkönig (literally "The Alder-King," but often translated as "The Elf King"), in 1821. Their association ended in 1823 when Schubert had a falling-out with Diabelli's business partner, Pietro Cappi. But after Schubert died, Diabelli (who had himself split with Cappi in 1824) bought a large portion of Schubert's manuscripts from Schubert's brother, and for about 30 years after the composer's death, Diabelli was still publishing "new" works by Schubert.

Austrian musicologist Otto Erich Deutsch (1883-1967) prepared a chronological thematic catalog of Schubert's total output (hence the "D." for "Deutsch" numbers), which now includes 998 pieces altogether. Considering the generous bulk of Schubert's oeuvre, it is surprising that only eight of the nearly 1,000 works are for a solo instrument with piano. Of the six duos from among these that are for violin and piano, four are sonatas, and, given Schubert's proficiency on the violin as well as piano, they are perfectly idiomatic to the forces at hand. In 1836, Diabelli issued the first three sonatas, all composed in March and April 1816, renaming them Sonatinas, Op. 137, probably better to whet the growing appetites of amateur players. In 1851, Diabelli finally issued the fourth sonata, composed in 1817, as "Duo" Sonata, Op. 162, adding the nickname that indicates the full partnership between the two instruments. Now often also called the "Grand Duo," this work of Schubert's early maturity withholds none of its composer's characteristically singing lyricism.

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) is an immensely popular Czech composer who fused melodic and rhythmic elements of Bohemian folk music with classical symphonic forms. Fostered by his friend Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), Dvořák gained international acclaim and was invited to New York City to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music from 1892 to 1895, during which time he wrote the famous New World Symphony.

A few years prior to the American sojourn, the Dvořáks were living with Antonín's mother-in-law in Prague. It was there, in January 1887, that Dvořák composed a set of four "Miniatures" for two violins and viola, after he overheard Jan Pelikán, a violinist from the orchestra of the National Theatre, giving lessons to Josef Kruis, a chemistry student renting a room in Dvořák's building. Dvořák was an accomplished violist, and he first wrote the lovely Terzetto in C Major, Op.74, intending that the three of them should play it together. The Terzetto certainly demonstrates that Dvořák's mastery of writing for strings extended to intimate settings as well as to the concert hall, but it proved to be too challenging for the student fiddler, so Dvořák scaled things back a little with the Miniatures. The individual movements of the newer trio were entitled Cavatina (Moderato), Capriccio (Poco allegro), Romance (Allegro), and Elegy or Ballad (Larghetto), and Dvořák wrote to his publisher that he enjoyed working on them as much as working on a full-scale symphony. Despite his delight with the trio format, he immediately adapted the pieces for solo violin and piano, dropping the more descriptive movement titles in the process. The violin-piano version was published that same year as Romantic Pieces, Op. 75 (or, Romantické kusy in Czech), and Dvořák himself played the piano for the work's public premiere.

During the early decades of the 20th Century, Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) gained an international reputation as the leading Spanish composer of his generation. Infused with the rhythms and harmonies of the folk songs and dances of his native Andalusia, Falla’s music has been described as representing “the spirit of Spain at its purest” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Among his best-known works are the ballets El amor brujo (Love, the Magician, 1915) and El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-cornered Hat, 1917), and the beautiful Noches en los jardines de España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain, 1916), for piano and orchestra. But his first major work was the prize-winning verismo opera, La vida breve (The Brief Life, 1905/revised 1913), unusual in that its instrumental music is as significant as the singing, including a sometimes wordless chorus treated like a part of the orchestra. Although the complete opera is seldom staged, there are frequent performances of the orchestral Interlude and Dance, and also Danse espagnole, not only in this bravura adaptation for violin and piano by the famous violinist Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), but in other arrangements as well, including for two guitars.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 10/9/2011 @ 2:30 p.m.

Shawn I. Puller, tenor
Read Gainsford, piano

Faculty artists from Albany State University and Florida State University team up for an afternoon of song!

Roger Quilter
     5 Shakespeare Songs (Second Set), Op. 23
Fear no more the heat o' the sun
Under the greenwood tree
It was a lover and his lass
Take, o take those lips away
Hey, Ho, the wind, and the rain

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dalla sua pace (from Don Giovanni)

Vincenzo Bellini
Il fervido desiderio
Dolente immagine di Fille mia

Franz Liszt
Du bist wie eine Blume
Im Rhein im schönen Strome
Hohe Liebe

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Lilacs (Op. 21, No. 5)
A Dream (Op. 8, No. 5)
Here All is Just Right (Op. 21, No. 7)

Juan Bautista Plaza
     from Siete canciones venezolanas
Por estos cuatro caminos
Hilando el copo del viento
Cuando el caballo se para

John W. Work III

Richard Pearson Thomas
          I Never Saw a Moor

Undine S. Moore
          Love let the wind cry...How I adore thee!

Tenor Shawn Puller (Ph.D) is an Assistant Professor of Music at Georgia's Albany State University, and has taught in New York at SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College, as well as at Florida State University, where he is on the faculty of their Summer Music Camps. As director of both bands and choruses his teaching experience includes instruction of children as well as young adults, and as a vocal soloist, in addition to art-song literature, his repertoire includes opera, oratorio, and other large-scale choral works. Shawn has directed the music programs of several churches, and also has served as the Assistant Director of the Heifetz International Music Institute, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Among other professional organizations, Dr. Puller is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and serves as the head Archivist of the Georgia Chapter of NATS.

Pianist Read Gainsford (D.M.) has performed widely in the USA, Europe, Australia, South Africa, and his native New Zealand as solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. He has made successful solo debuts at the Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, and has performed in many other prestigious venues, including the Kennedy Center, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican Centre, Fairfield Halls, Birmingham Town Hall and St.-Martin-in-the-Fields. Dr. Gainsford has recorded for the Amoris label, BBC Radio Three, Radio New Zealand's Concert Programme, and has broadcast on national television in New Zealand, the UK, and Yugoslavia. Since moving to the United States in 1992, Read has been a guest artist for the American Music Teachers Association, has appeared at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival and the Music Festival of the Hamptons, and spent several summers as a member of the collaborative pianist faculty at the Heifetz International Music Institute. He is a member of the contemporary music group Ensemble X, the Garth Newel Chamber Players, and, in addition to providing our opener with Dr. Puller in 2010, he has performed on Music @ Main programs twice as the pianist with FSU's Trio Solis. Formerly on the faculty of Ithaca College where he received the college-wide Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004, Dr. Gainsford became Associate Professor of Piano at FSU in 2005.

PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

Although some of the lighter orchestral pieces by Roger Quilter (1877-1953) are still performed, outside his native Great Britain Quilter's reputation is sustained primarily through his art songs, which number more than a hundred. Quilter began his studies at Eton College, and in the 1890s he continued his musical education in Germany. In addition to Quilter, there were several other English-speaking composers who studied at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt (although not all at the exact same time), including Percy Grainger and Cyril Scott, and together they became known as the "Frankfurt Group." In 1900, Quilter published his first songs, and following performances the next year he quickly became established as a composer with a special gift for creating melodies that enhanced the natural rhythm of the words, while also providing fully-realized accompaniments that nonetheless allowed the singer to make expressive use of rubato. As an interpreter of his own songs, Quilter sometimes provided the piano accompaniment for public performances, and he even recorded several of them.
In 1905, Quilter's Three Shakespeare Songs, Op. 6, provided an early success, but he waited until 1919 to return to The Bard for inspiration, composing a song (Under the Greenwood Tree) and a duet (It was a Lover and His Lass) on lighthearted texts from As You Like It. In 1921, Quilter included these as the second and third selections in his Five Shakespeare Songs, Op. 21, recasting the duet as a solo. The text for the elegiac first song, Fear No More the Heat o' the Sun, is from Cymbeline. The beautiful and concise 4th song, Take, O Take Those Lips Away, which is from Measure for Measure, was later adapted for piano quartet by the composer. The cycle ends with Hey, Ho, the Wind and the Rain, the song which likewise provides the conclusion for its source, Twelfth Night.
Hear them on YouTube
Complete Score (pdf), from
Fear No More the Heat o' the Sun
Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
     Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
     Home art done, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;
     Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
     To thee the reed is as the oak:
The Sceptre, Learning, Physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the'all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.
No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have,
And renownèd by thy grave!
Under the Greenwood Tree

UNDER the greenwood tree,
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
     Here shall he see
     No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

     Who doth ambition shun,
     And loves to live i' the sun,
     Seeking the food he eats,
     And pleased with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
     Here shall he see
     No enemy
But winter and rough weather.
It was a Lover and his Lass

IT was a lover and his lass,
     With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass,
     In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
     With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
     In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

This carol they began that hour,
     With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that life was but a flower
     In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

And, therefore, take the present time
     With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownèd with the prime
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
Take, Oh Take Those Lips Away
Take, oh take those lips away,
     That so sweetly were forsworne,
And those eyes: the breake of day,
     Lights that doe mislead the Morne;
But my kisses bring againe, bring againe,
Seales of love, but seal’d in vaine, seal’d in vaine.
Hey, ho, the Wind and the Rain
     [NOTE: Quilter omits Shakespeare's original 4th verse, also omitted here]

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
     With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
     For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
     With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
‘Gainst knaves and thieves men shut the gate,
     For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
     With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
     For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
     With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
     And we’ll strive to please you every day.

Austrian-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career touring Europe as a 6-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way.
Of all the different versions of the Don Juan legend, Mozart’s comic opera, Don Giovanni (1787), on a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838), is among the best known and most discussed. The Don is an unrepentant rake who lives solely for his own selfish pleasures, with utter disregard for how his behavior might affect others. Mozart’s opera picks up as Giovanni’s luck finally begins to fade and his past begins to catch up with him. He is on the run after dueling with and killing the father of Donna Anna, a would-be romantic conquest. Anna asks Don Ottavio, her fiancé, to avenge her father's death, and when left alone Ottavio sings Dalla sua pace, reflecting, basically, that her wish is his command.

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Dalla sua pace

Dalla sua pace la mia dipende;
Quel che a lei piace vita mi rende,
Quel che le incresce morte mi dà.

S'ella sospira, sospiro anch'io;
È mia quell'ira, quel pianto è mio;
E non ho bene, s'ella non l'ha.

--Don Octavio's Act I aria from Don Giovanni
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
On Her Mind's Peace

Along with the operas of Rossini and Donizetti, those of Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) have come to epitomize the essence of the lyrical vocal style we now call bel canto (i.e., "beautiful singing"), as opposed to the more forceful and declamatory style represented by Wagner. Bellini, whose operas include Norma (1831), La sonnambula(1831), and I Puritani (1835), was born into a musical family, and he showed prodigious talent from an early age. Little Vinnie reportedly was singing arias before he was two, and before he turned three he had begun to study music theory (remember, kryptonite didn't make an appearance until the 20th Century ...). At age 18, Bellini entered the conservatory in Naples, where, for his graduation in 1825, his first opera was produced; and by the fall of 1827 Il pirata (The Pirate) premiered at La Scala in Milan. Before too long, Bellini went from being local sensation to international celebrity, and elements of his style--sensuous, long-flowing melodies and sometimes surprising harmonic shifts--are said to have had a great impact on the young Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). Bellini's rise was cut short at the height of his popularity, when he grew ill in Paris (on an extended stopover between London and Milan), and died from acute intestinal and liver maladies.
During the first few years after he left the conservatory Bellini composed more than a dozen songs with piano. Among these, Il fervido desiderio and Dolente immagine di Fille mia were published posthumously, along with a third song, as Tre ariette; the authorship of the texts is unknown.
Score for Il fervido desiderio (pdf), from
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Il fervido desiderio

Quando verrà quel dì
che riveder potrò
quel che l'amante cor tanto desia?

Quando verrà quel dì
che in sen t'accoglierò,
bella fiamma d'amor, anima mia?
The Fervent Desire

Score for Dolente immagine di Fille mia (pdf), from
Hear it on YouTube
Dolente immagine di Fille mia

Dolente immagine di Fille mia,
perché sì squallida mi siedi accanto?
Che più desideri? Dirotto pianto
io sul tuo cenere versai finor.

Temi che immemore de' sacri giuri
io possa accendermi ad altra face?
Ombra di Fillide, riposa in pace;
è inestinguibile l'antico ardor.
Mournful Image of Phyllis Mine

Hungarian- composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) is widely regarded as the greatest pianist of all time, and his performances excited an hysteria that today is reserved for only the most popular of rock stars. Despite great fame following a sometimes impoverished youth, Liszt remained unspoiled and donated great sums of his concert earnings to a wide variety of charitable causes, and in later life he even took orders in the church. His generosity extended to helping increase the fortunes of struggling musicians, among them Hector Berlioz and Liszt’s future son-in-law, Richard Wagner. An innovative composer, Liszt is credited with creating the symphonic tone poem as a form, developing the technique of thematic transformation, and he even anticipated some of the harmonic devices of Impressionist composers.
Heine's poem, Du bist wie eine blume, has been set by dozens of different composers (including a Russian version by Rachmaninoff), and, along with Robert Schumann's setting, Liszt's is among the most famous. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Liszt's birth, and, fortunately for him, good penmanship is not a criterion for immortality, as the autograph manuscript of the song (1843?) attests. A solo piano version of the song was prepared by Joachim Raff (1822-1882--Raff would become Liszt's music copyist for a time ...), which Liszt performed. Liszt himself prepared a concert arrangement for solo piano of Im Rhein, im schönen Strome (1840?/1854), as well as of Hohe Liebe (1850), which became the first of Liszt's three Liebesträume (Dreams of Love).

Du bist wie eine Blume

Du bist wie eine Blume
so hold und schön und rein;
ich schau' dich an, und Wehmut
schleicht mir ins Herz hinein.

Mir ist, als ob ich die Hände
aufs Haupt dir legen sollt',
betend, daß dich Gott erhalte
so rein und schön und hold.

--Text: Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Thou Like a Budding Flower Art

Hear it on YouTube Score from (pdf)

Im Rhein

Im Rhein, im schönen Strome,
Da spiegelt sich in den Wellen
Mit seinem großen Dome
Das große, das heil'ge Köln.

Im Dom da steht ein Bildnis,
Auf goldnem Leder gemalt;
Ach, In meines Lebens Wildnis
Hat's freundlich hinein gestrahlt.

Es schweben Blumen und Englein
Um unsre liebe Frau;
Die Augen, die Lippen, die Wängelein,
Die gleichen der Liebsten genau.

--Text: Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), altered slightly

In the Rhine

Hear it on YouTube Score (2nd version) from (pdf)
Score (1st version) from (pdf)

Hohe Liebe

In Liebesarmen ruht ihr trunken,
Des Lebens Früchte winken euch;
Ein Blick nur ist auf mich gesunken,
Doch bin ich vor euch allen reich.

Das Glück der Erde miss' ich gerne
Und blick, ein Märtyrer, hinan,
Denn über mir in goldner Ferne
Hat sich der Himmel aufgetan.

--Text: Johann Ludwig Uhland (1787-1862)

Exalted Love

Hear it on YouTube Score from (pdf)

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was a  Russian composer and conductor, and one of the greatest pianists of all time. Although of the 20th Century, Rachmaninoff's music remained firmly rooted in 19th-Century Russian Romanticism. For a time some post-World War II critics foolishly dismissed him as old-fashioned, but the lush harmonies and sweeping melodies that characterize his music assure it a continuing place in the world’s concert halls. Astonishingly, Rachmaninoff had what might be called a "phonographic" memory in that upon hearing virtually any piece he could play it back at the piano, even years later—and if he liked the piece it would sound like a polished performance!

Rachmaninoff composed songs throughout his career, and his choral music has a devoted following among aficionados.  His melodic talent was perfectly suited to vocal music so it is surprising that his songs are not better known. Rachmaninoff completed his six Romances, Op. 8, in 1893, and the 12 Romances, Op. 21, in 1902, and he adapted both Lilacs and Here All is Just Right (often translated as "How fair this spot") as pieces for piano solo.

Сирень (Op. 21, No. 5)

По утру, на заре,
По росистой траве,
Я пойду свежим утром дышать;
И в душистую тень,
Где теснится сирень,
Я пойду свое счастье искать...

В жизни счастье одно
Мне найти суждено,
И то счастье в сирени живёт;
На зелёных ветвях,
На душистых кистях
Моё бедное счастье цветёт...

--Text: Ekaterina Andreyena Beketova (1855-1892)
Hear it on YouTube


Complete score (pdf), from


Сон (Op. 8, No. 5)

И у меня был край родной;
    Прекрасен он!
Там ель качалась надо мной...
    Но то был сон!

Семья друзей жива была.
    Со всех сторон
Звучали мне любви слова...
    Но то был сон!

--Text: Aleksey Nikolayevich Pleshcheyev
(1825-1893, after Heine)


A Dream

Complete score (pdf), from

Здесь хорошо (Op. 21, No. 7)

Здесь хорошо...
Взгляни, вдали
Огнём горит река;
Цветным ковром луга легли,
Белеют облака.

Здесь нет людей...
Здесь тишина...
Здесь только Бог да я.
Цветы, да старая сосна,
Да ты, мечта моя!

--Text: Glafira Adol'fovna Galina (1873-1942)

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Hear it again on YouTube


Here All is Just Right

Complete score (pdf), from

At the tender age of 16 years, Venezuelan composer, educator and ethnomusicologist Juan Bautista Plaza (1898-1965) was appointed choirmaster at his school in Caracas, and he continued in that post even after he entered University, ostensibly to study law and medicine. But music won out, and in 1920 he was sent on scholarship to Rome, Italy, becoming a Master of Sacred Composition (1923). He returned to Caracas as the choirmaster of the cathedral (1923-1947), and was also a professor at the Escuela Nacional de Musica (1924-28/1936-62). In 1936, Plaza began studying and cataloging a large collection of Venezuelan colonial music, eventually published in 12 volumes in 1943, making him a central figure in the growth of Venezuelan Nationalism. He was a prolific writer and lecturer, and produced daily newspaper articles and hundreds of radio talks for the general public.

Plaza's Siete canciones venezolanas (Seven Venezuelan Songs) (1932) are on Spanish texts by Venezuelan poet Luís Barrios Cruz (1898-1968). The songs are an example of Plaza's brand of música criolla, drawing on popular Venezuelan songs and dances of partially European origin, and they may well have been inspired by Siete canciones populares españolas (1914), by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946).

The three mp3s from /

Por estos cuatro caminos (Over These Four Roads)
CLICK HERE for the original Spanish text (still under copyright) and an excerpt from the score.
No 5. Por estos cuatro caminos (MP3)

Hilando el copo del viento (Spinning the Puff of Wind)
No 4. Hilando el copo del viento (Excerpt--MP3)
Cuando el caballo se para (When the Horse Stops)
No 3. Cuando el caballo se para (Excerpt--MP3)

Both John Wesley Work III (1901-1967) and his brother, Julian, became the third generation of professional musicians in their family: their grandfather, the first John Wesley Work, was a Tennessee church musician and choral arranger; their father, John Wesley Work II, was a singer, ethnomusicologist and professor at Fisk University, in Nashville; and their mother, Agnes Haynes Work, was a singer and choral director at Fisk. In addition to composing, John W. Work III followed extremely closely in both his parent's footsteps, becoming an important ethnomusicologist, as well as both choral director and professor of music theory and composition at Fisk, eventually becoming chair of the music department there in 1950. He began composing as a high school student, and throughout his career wrote over 100 works in a variety of genres, with songs and choral music dominating his output. In 1946 he won first prize from the Federation of American Composers' competition for a cantata, The Singers, and the following year he received an award from the National Association of Negro Musicians. Also dating from 1946, Soliloquy is a setting of a text by Myrtle Vorst Sheppard--still under copyright, so it cannot be reprinted in its entirety, but the beginning and ending lines aptly convey the sentiment of the whole song:
If death be only half as sweet as life, I will not fear, I'll shed no tear,
Nor will I ask my friends to weep;
If death be only half as sweet as life, I will not fear to go.
I love life so! I love life so!
Hear it on YouTube

The versatile New York pianist and composer Richard Pearson Thomas (b. 1957) is at home in both the musical theater and the concert hall. In addition to accompanying recitals with singers at major U.S. and international venues, he composes for films and the stage, including the Off-Off-Broadway shows Parallel Lines (2005) and Ladies in a Maze (1996). The Montana native is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, was on faculty at Yale and the University of Central Florida, and currently is on the faculty at Teachers College/Columbia University. He has composed more than 80 operas with students in New York City public schools as composer-in-residence of the Gold Opera Project, Young Audiences/New York.
I Never Saw a Moor (1991) is a setting of a poem by Emily Dickenson (1830-1886).

Hear it on the Composer's website
I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.

Sometimes called "Dean of Black Women Composers," Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989) was graduated cum laude from Juilliard in 1926, became supervisor of music for the Goldsboro, North Carolina public school system in 1926, and joined the faculty of Virginia State College (now Virginia State University) in 1927 until her retirement in 1972. She earned an MA degree from Columbia University (1931), and was awarded honorary Doctor of Music degrees from both Virginia State College (1972) and Indiana University (1976). In 1977 she was named Music Laureate of Virginia, and other honors include the National Association of Negro Musicians Distinguished Achievement Award (1975), the National Black Caucus Award (1980), and the Virginia Governor’s Award in the Arts (1985). Moore, who modestly referred to herself as a teacher who composed, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for her cantata, Scenes from the Life of a Martyr (1980), based on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., following the work's premiere in Carnegie Hall. Moore's song, Love Let the Wind Cry, How I Adore Thee, sets five (of six) verses from an untitled poem adapted by Bliss Carman (1861-1929), published as No. 31 in Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics.
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Love let the wind cry
On the dark mountain,
Bending the ash trees
And the tall hemlocks
With the great voice of
Thunderous legions,
How I adore thee.

Let the hoarse torrent
In the blue canyon,
Murmuring mightily
Out of the gray mist
Of primal chaos
Cease not proclaiming
How I adore thee.

Let the long rhythm
Of crunching rollers,
Breaking and bursting
On the white seaboard
Titan and tireless,
Tell, while the world stands,
How I adore thee.

Love, let the clear call
Of the tree cricket,
Frailest of creatures,
Green as the young grass,
Mark with his trilling
Resonant bell-note,
How I adore thee.

But, more than all sounds,
Surer, serener,
Fuller of passion
And exultation,
Let the hushed whisper
In thine own heart say,
How I adore thee.