Friday, October 12, 2012

Promenade! Art Walk Concert, 1/2/2013 @ 7 p.m.

Boyan Bonev, cello

Shaun Bennett, horn 

Austin Clark, piano

Katherine Adams, piano

  • BACH: Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
  • MOZART: Horn Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major, K. 447
  • MOZART: Piano Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K. 545
  • CASSADO: Suite for Solo Cello
  • MOZART: Piano Fantasia No. 3 in D Minor, K. 397

Bulgarian cellist Boyan Bonev has participated in numerous master classes and music festivals in the United States and Europe. An active performer of solo and chamber music, Dr. Bonev has taken part in concert and educational programs for the Bulgarian National Television and Radio, and is a prize winner of national and international competitions. He teaches cello and double bass at the University of West Florida, and previously taught at Albany State University and Darton College. He is on the faculty of the Florida State University Summer Music Camps, and he taught cello and chamber music as a Graduate Assistant at FSU while working on his doctorate there. Dr. Bonev performs with the Tallahassee, Pensacola, Mobile, Florida Lakes, and Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestras. He has been a featured soloist with the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra and the Stara Zagora Symphony Orchestra, and he has performed at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall). This program marks his fourth appearance in concerts for Jacksonville Public Library.

Horn player Shaun Bennett is a member of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia in Brunswick, and he is the brass instructor at North Florida Music Academy in Orange Park. He earned his degree in Music Theory and Composition from Jacksonville University, and he also studied at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, New Zealand.
Jacksonville native Austin Clark is an Organ Scholar at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and an accompanist for the Choral Department at the University of North Florida. He attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, and is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Mr. Clark is pursuing a degree in Piano Performance at UNF.

Pianist Katherine Adams began studying piano when she was five years old. She pursued her degree in Piano performance at Jacksonville University, where she was a student of Dr. Scott Watkins. She now resides in her hometown of Brunswick, Georgia, where she is a church musician at The Episcopal Church of Our Savior, Honey Creek. She also maintains a private studio, and teaches voice in addition to piano.

Once dismissed by many of his contemporaries as being too old-fashioned, the works of the great German Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) probably have been studied more than those of any other composer, making him perhaps the most influential musician of all time. And among works written for unaccompanied cello there is no doubt that Bach’s six Suites are the best known. Bach’s own manuscripts of the Cello Suites have never been found, but current research suggests that they were composed while Bach was at Cöthen, where he served as Kapellmeister from 1717-1723 in the court of Prince Leopold (1694-1728), and that they pre-date Bach’s well-known Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, which were written in 1720. All six of the Cello Suites follow a standard six-movement pattern, but with the fifth movement dance types varying among minuets (in Suites 1, and 2) bourrées (in 3 and 4), and gavottes (in 5 and 6). Among all 36 movements of the six Suites, the popular Prelude from Suite No. 1 has had the most exposure: it’s been used as background music in television commercials hyping everything from sports cars and insurance to dog food.

Austrian-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career as a 6-year-old piano prodigy touring Europe with his father (Leopold, 1719-1787) and sister (Maria Anna, or "Nannerl," 1751-1829), and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way. When Mozart reached the ripe old age of 7, he made the acquaintance of Joseph Leutgeb (1732-1811), one of his father's colleagues and a leading horn virtuoso of the day. Leutgeb remained a lifelong friend, and Mozart wrote his four horn concertos specifically for Leutgeb; the autograph copies of the solo horn parts even include personal messages from the composer to the performer.  The four horn concertos date from the last eight years of Mozart's short life, beginning with "No. 2" in 1783, and ending with "No. 1" in 1791, not long before his death. Mozart kept a catalog of his works, but it did not include what we know as Horn Concerto No. 3, K. 447 (it may have been second in order of composition). So exactly when it was completed is not known, but the mid-1780s is the likely timeframe. All four concertos have held places in the repertoire of virtually all professional horn players, and they certainly attest to the skill of Herr Leutgeb--the piston and valve horn we have today had not yet been invented, so performance on the "natural" horn requires a prodigious amount of hand and lip manipulation to play any tones outside the instrument's natural harmonic series.

Mozart’s graceful and charming Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545, is likely the one that first comes to mind when his 18 works in the genre are mentioned. Despite its present-day popularity, the Sonata, dating from 1788, remained unpublished while Mozart was alive, not appearing in print until 1805. The clear-cut themes and formal structure are about as “Classical” as you can get, but the first movement sonata-form (i.e., using an "exposition-development-recapitulation" structure) boasts one anomaly: the recap begins in F major (the subdominant key) rather than in the expected home key of C major. Schubert and other later composers picked up on the idea, but it was very unusual when Mozart used it.

Left unfinished, Mozart’s Piano Fantasia in D minor, K. 397, is thought to have been composed in 1872, around the same time as the Prelude (Fantasy) and Fugue in C major, K. 394, and the Fantasy in C minor, K. 396. The manuscript of the D minor Fantasy ended on a dominant 7th chord, and Mozart originally may have planned to follow it with a fugue, as in K. 394. It was first published in its original, incomplete form in 1804, but a new edition came out two years later that included an additional 10 measures added by the publisher so the work could be performed without leaving the audience hanging. Comprised of three contrasting sections, The Fantasy has become one of Mozart’s most popular piano pieces. It opens with an Andante section reminiscent of Baroque-era preludes, replete with arpeggios. The second section, the longest of the three, is a melancholy Adagio that is interrupted by a couple of unmeasured cadenzas, and the final section is a spritely Allegretto in D Major.

By virtue of a scholarship from his hometown of Barcelona, Spain, a nine-year-old Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966) was able to accept an invitation to study in Paris with the legendary Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, where, in addition to his cello lessons, Cassadó studied composition with both Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel. After World War I, Cassadó began a successful international career as both cellist and composer, including several concerts with Casals. During the1920s Cassadó settled permanently in Florence, Italy, and after World War II his reputation and career, not to mention his personal morale, suffered tremendously when his mentor unjustly accused him of sympathizing with Mussolini’s fascist regime, despite Cassadó’s continuing friendship and collaboration with perhaps the most vocal of Italy’s anti-fascist composers, Luigi Dallapicolla. The rift between teacher and protégé was finally reconciled during the mid 1950s through the efforts of a mutual friend, the British violinist Yehudi Menuhin, but Cassadó’s career never fully recovered.  

The 1926 Suite for Solo Cello remains one of Cassadó’s best known works. Its modal inflections and folk-dance rhythms attest to the composer’s Catalan heritage, and the rhapsodic first movement acknowledges other influences, with direct references to Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8, and Ravel’s ballet, Daphnis et Chloe.