Ken Trimmins, trumpet
Mimi Noda, piano
- PAUL VIDAL : Aria et Fanfare
- JOHANN BAPTIST GEORG NERUDA : Concerto
- HENRI TOMASI : Triptyque
- RICHARD PEASLEE : Nightsongs
Dr. Mimi Noda was a collaborative pianist with the Japanese Choral Association before relocating to the United States in 1998 to pursue graduate studies. While earning degrees at the University of Georgia (MM) and Florida State University (DM), she was awarded a number of prizes and scholarships in piano performance, and she also has taught Japanese in FSU’s Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. In addition to her responsibilities as Assistant Professor at Albany State University, Dr. Noda is a keyboardist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and she regularly volunteers keyboard performances at Albany's Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. She also enjoys singing as a member of the Albany Chorale.
PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian
French composer Paul Vidal (1863-1931) was a classmate of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) at the Paris Conservatory, and in 1863 Vidal won the coveted Prix de Rome, the year before Debussy won the same composition prize. But unlike his famous friend, Vidal was better known as an opera conductor than as a composer, and he became chief conductor at the Paris Opera from 1906, and was director of the Opera-Comique from 1914-1919. After 1909, Vidal also taught at the Paris Conservatory, where his students included Henri Tomasi (see below), Jacques Ibert (1890-1962) and Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), the legendary conductor and composition teacher who used Vidal's harmony text as one of her principle pedagogic tools. Not surprisingly, as a composer Vidal was best known for his theatrical and vocal compositions, although these are rarely performed today. In addition to the Aria et Fanfare (1927), among Neruda's instrumental works featuring cornet or trumpet, his Concertino (1922) is also sometimes still performed.
Little is known about the composer born as Jan Křtitel Jiří Neruda (ca.1707-ca.1780) except that he came from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), and that he was a violinist and conductor working primarily in Prague and in Germany. In addition to one opera and a number of chamber sonatas and sacred choral pieces, Neruda wrote at least 18 symphonies and 14 concertos. His cello and bassoon concertos are still performed, but the Trumpet Concerto in E-flat is his best-known work. It was composed around 1750, the same year Neruda became the concertmaster of the court orchestra in Dresden, Germany, where he was known by the German translation of his name, Johann Baptist Georg Neruda. The Concerto in E-flat originally was written for the high register of the Corno da Caccia, a valveless hunting horn, but today it is almost always performed on trumpet or cornet.
Composer and conductor Henri Tomasi (1901-1971) was born in Marseille, France, and entered the conservatory in his hometown when he was 7 years old. As a youngster he was not very happy being a musician, complaining that his father forced him to perform "like a trained animal" for wealthy families. Despite dreams of running away and joining the navy--and skipping many of his classes--Tomasi won his school's 1916 prize in harmony. This set him up to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, but because of World War I, his entrance there was delayed until 1921. In the meantime he played piano in any place that would hire him, from fancy hotels to low-rent brothels, and, significantly, in movie houses where he began to hone his compositional skills while improvising background music to the onscreen antics of Charlie Chaplin, et al. In 1925, Tomasi won a prize for a wind quintet, apparently his first "official" composition, and he continued to demonstrate a special affinity for wind instruments throughout his career. In 1927, and by unanimous vote, he won both the Prix de Rome for composition and the first prize in conducting, and by the 1930s he had established a strong reputation throughout Europe as both composer and conductor. In 1936, he won the Grand Prix du Disque for his recorded performance of Gluck's opera, Orfeo, and, after World War II in 1946, he became the principal conductor for the Opera de Monte Carlo. He enjoyed success as a composer of operas and other works for the stage, and in 1952 he was awarded the Grand Prix de Musique Française, and in 1960, the Grand Prix musical de la ville de Paris. Tomasi's Triptyque dates from 1957, about the same time that he had to give up conducting due to failing health and failing hearing in his right ear.
Richard Peaslee (b. 1930) lives in Seattle, Washington, but he was born in New York City, and he has written music for numerous theatrical productions in his hometown, as well as in London, England, and Paris, France. In addition to receiving degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School, he studied in Paris with the afore-mentioned Nadia Boulanger. His concert music has been performed by a number of major orchestras throughout the United States, and Lincoln Center’s Composers’ Showcase presented a career retrospective at Alice Tully Hall. Peaslee has composed for film (e.g., Marat/Sade, 1967) and television, and he received an Emmy nomination for his music to the PBS series, The Power of Myth (1988). Nightsongs, for flugelhorn and/or trumpet, was written in 1973 to fulfill a commission from trumpeter Harold Lieberman.