Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, January 26, 2014 @ 3 p.m.

James Hall, tenor
Michael Mastronicola, piano
  • Benjamin Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22
       1. Sonetto 16: Sì come nella penna e nell' inchiostro
       2. Sonetto 31: A che più debb io mai l'intensa voglia
       3. Sonetto 30: Veggio co' bei vostri occhi un dolce lume
       4. Sonetto 55: Tu sa' ch'io so, signior mie, che tu sai
       5. Sonetto 38: Rendete a gli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume
       6. Sonetto 32: S'un casto amor, s una pietà superna
       7. Sonetto 24: Spirto ben nato, in cui si specchia e vede
    [YouTube: #1-2 ; #3-7]
  • Reynaldo Hahn: Venezia
       1. Sopra l’acqua indormenzada
       2. La Barcheta
       3. L’Avertimento
       4. La Biondina in gondoleta
       5. Che pecà!
    [SCORE @ imslp.org][RECORDING @ YouTube]
  • Franz Liszt: Tre sonetti di Petrarca
       1. Pace non trovo
       2. Benedetto sia 'l giorno
       3. I’ vidi in terra angelici costume
    [SCORE @ imslp.org][RECORDINGS @ instantencore.com]
Dr. James Hall, tenor, enjoys an active and varied career that includes opera, oratorio, chamber music, and solo recital. His artistic versatility is evident through a diverse repertoire that spans baroque to contemporary music. Consistently praised for his elegant musicality and soaring high register, Hall has performed as a soloist throughout the United States with groups such as Mercury Baroque, Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra of Washington, D. C., Shepherd School of Music Chamber Orchestra, and St. Matthew’s Cathedral. A new music advocate, Hall has participated in projects with renowned composers Kirke Mechem, Daniel Catan, Carlisle Floyd, and Ann Gebuhr. Recent and upcoming engagements include appearances with Miami Bach Society as haute-contre soloist in Andre Campra’s Requiem and as tenor soloist in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with The University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory Dancers, Choirs, and Wind Symphony. Well-regarded as an accomplished pedagogue, Dr. Hall has presented master classes in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Washington, D.C., and throughout Texas. He maintains an active voice studio at the University of North Florida, where he joined the faculty in 2011. Dr. Hall holds advanced degrees from The Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland as well as Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Dr. Michael Mastronicola teaches Accompanying, Piano Pedagogy, and Class Piano at the University of North Florida, and has taught at Jacksonville University and Front Range Community College.  He is the chair of the annual Outstanding Young Pianists Competition, was artist-coach at the Friday Musicale Emerging Young Artist Chamber Music Festival in 2011,  and has conducted and served as guest clinician for piano festivals in Colorado and Florida. Dr. Mastronicola often adjudicates music competitions, and he is proud of his award-winning students. Among his own awards, Mastronicola received the Harold A. Norblom award in recognition of his “outstanding dedication and exemplary community service” while collaborating with Opera Colorado.  With extensive performance credits as both solo and collaborative pianist, Dr. Mastronicola has appeared in recitals and concerts throughout the United States and Europe, including with the Boulder Philharmonic. Praised for his “intelligent, skilled” and “expressive” playing (Daily Camera), his most recent recording is Then Sings My Soul with soprano Tresa Waggoner.  Additionally, he maintains a busy lecture schedule, and has authored reviews for American Music Teacher.  Dr. Mastronicola holds degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder (D.M.A), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.M.), and Ithaca College (B.M.), with additional training in the Taubman Approach at the Golandsky Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.  He is Organist/Choirmaster at Jacksonville's All Saints Episcopal Church, and is a Colleague with the American Guild of Organists.

PROGRAM NOTES by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

SEVEN SONNETS OF MICHELANGELO, Op. 22 : Song Cycle by Benjamin Britten 

Sir Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) is widely regarded as among the most significant composers of 20th-Century concert music, with an extensive catalog including vocal and choral music, instrumental solo and chamber music, orchestral music, and music for the stage and screen. The British composer first came to international prominence with his opera, Peter Grimes (1945), and his operas remain more frequently performed than those of any other composer born after 1900. Among his best-known works are the orchestral song cycles Les illuminations (1939) and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1943);  the choral A Ceremony of Carols (1942) and War Requiem (1961); and the orchestral The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1946).  Also a gifted pianist and conductor, Britten performed and recorded his own music, as well as works by other composers. 

Britten lived in the United States between 1939 and 1942, and although he composed the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (1940) during these “American years,” the premiere had to wait until September 1942, after his return to England.  Composed for and dedicated to Britten’s partner, tenor Peter Pears, the Sonnets proved to be so challenging that Pears decided he needed additional vocal coaching to improve his stamina and range before putting them before the public. The delay paid off: London critics declared the cycle to contain the finest examples of art songs by an Englishman since Henry Purcell (as they similarly would observe about English opera after the premiere of Peter Grimes). And as soon as the applause died down for the Sonnets, literally, Decca Records approached Britten and Pears about recording the cycle. The recordings became a best-seller, and began a life-long association between the composer and recording company.

Texts: Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564). Translations: John Addington Symonds (1840-1893)

VENEZIA : Chansons in Venetian Dialect, by Reynaldo Hahn

By his fourth birthday, Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947) had moved with his wealthy family from Venezuela to Paris, France, but not before his prodigious musical talents had already begun to manifest—in 1878, Venezuelan poet José Maria Samper published A Reinaldo Hahn (niño a tres años y medio), an ode about the three-and-a-half-year-old singer “Foretelling the symphonies / Of another Beethoven perhaps.” By the age of six Hahn was making the rounds as a salon singer, accompanying himself at the piano in the apartments of Parisian socialites, and by eight he had begun composing his own songs. At 11 he entered the Paris Conservatory, where he excelled as conductor and composer, with Massenet and Saint-Saëns as his particular champions. As conductor, Hahn was a recognized Mozart specialist, and in 1906 he conducted Don Giovanni at the first Mozart Festival in Salzburg, Austria. In addition to composing and conducting, in 1909 he began a career as a respected music critic, and in 1945-1946 was named director of the Paris Opéra. He was an intimate friend of author Marcel Proust, who, in his unfinished early novel Jean Santeuil, portrayed the witty Hahn as a genius. But even less personal observers recalled Hahn’s extraordinary charisma, and how as a singer he was so attuned to the meaning behind the words that he could make poets weep when he performed—this though Hahn’s baritone voice was not in itself particularly memorable nor well-disciplined, with him going so far as to sing with a cigarette dangling from his lips (which, one supposes, was pretty memorable all by itself). Hahn wrote a variety of dramatic, instrumental and vocal music, and is remembered especially for his art-song mélodies.

Although the Venezia cycle was published in 1919, the songs date from 1901, when Hahn first visited Venice while travelling with his mother. As Thea Sikora Engelson observes in The Mélodies of Reynaldo Hahn (2006), the composer made a point of distinguishing the folksy chansons of Venezia, meant to mimic the style of Venetian popular songs, from the rest of his more classically-inspired mélodies, and the set includes a sixth piece, La primavera, for soprano and tenor soloists with chorus. In addition to setting verses in the local dialect (for which he provided a pronunciation guide), to pay further homage to his beloved Venice Hahn opens with the barcarolle rhythm of the gondoliers; and in the second song Engelson suggests he uses the piano to conjure oar strokes rippling through the canals that lace the city.

TRE SONETTI DI PETRARCA : Song Cycle, by Franz Liszt

Hungarian-born 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.

Liszt prepared four different versions of his Tre sonetti di Petrarca (Three Sonnets of Petrarch), the first for tenor and piano, two for piano solo, and one for mezzo-soprano or baritone and piano. The original tenor version and the first piano transcription most likely were composed between 1843-45, and it was the piano version that was published first, in 1846. [The second piano version became numbers 4-6 in Liszt's suite, Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année: Italie (Years of Pilgrimage, Second Year: Italy), completed in 1849 and published in 1858. The second vocal version is from 1865, and is perhaps less impetuous and showy than the other versions.] As originally conceived, the Sonetti are operatic in nature, incorporating both a sustained lyricism and more dramatic, declamatory passages. In addition to the interpretive challenges for both performers, as one might expect the virtuosic piano writing offers technical complexities for the pianist, and Liszt provides a couple of opportunities for the tenor to show off high D-flats (above the staff), if so inclined. The composer is ever respectful of the verse of Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374), which teeters between ecstatic joy and hopeless despair, with a touch of reverential awe thrown in for good measure. Liszt's then cutting-edge chromatic harmonies highlight the poet's searching uncertainty, and helped lay the foundation for the tenuous tonality of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (1857-59).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, February 9, 2014 @ 3 p.m.

Jorge A. Peña, viola
Maila Gutierrez Springfield, piano

Haydn/Piatigorsky : Divertimento in D Major
1. Adagio
2. Minuetto
3. Allegro molto

Manuel De Falla/Peña : Suite Populaire Espagnole
1. El Paño Moruno
2. Seguidilla
3. Nana
4. Jota
5. Asturiana
6. Canción
7. Polo

Henri Vieuxtemps : Sonata in B-flat Major
1. Maestoso
2. Barcarolla (Andante con moto)
3. Finale scherzando (Allegretto)


Honduran-born violist Jorge Peña is a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and a former member of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. He has performed for Midwest Clinic, Grand Teton Music Festival, St. Augustine Music Festival and Island Concert Association, as well as at the National Gallery of Art, Tanglewood Music Center, University of North Florida and Jacksonville University. As a solo artist he has appeared throughout the Americas and Europe. With chamber music holding a special place in his career, Jorge and his wife, cellist Jin Kim-Peña, formed and perform with the Movado Quartet, and he often collaborates with a variety of ensembles, such as the Ritz Chamber Players, the Dover Quartet, the Diaz Trio, the Virginia Chamber Orchestra and the Atlanta Virtuosi. Mr. Peña is Founder and Artistic Director of the annual St. Augustine Music Festival, the largest free music festival in the United States. Mr. Peña was graduated from Columbus State University and the Peabody Conservatory of Music with degrees in performance and chamber music. He studied with Curtis Institute President Roberto Diaz, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra principal viola Richard Field, and Julliard quartet member Earl Carlys.

Award-winning pianist Maila Gutierrez Springfield is an instructor at Valdosta State University and a member of the Maharlika Trio, a group dedicated to commissioning and performing new works for saxophone, trombone and piano. Twice-honored with the Excellence in Accompanying Award at Eastman School of Music, Maila has been staff accompanist for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, Georgia Southern University, the Buffet Crampon Summer Clarinet Academy and the Interlochen Arts Camp, where she had the privilege of working with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. She has collaborated with members of major symphony orchestras, including those in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Jacksonville. Maila can be heard on saxophonist Joren Cain’s CD, "Voices of Dissent," and on clarinetist Linda Cionitti's CD, "Jag & Jersey." Ms. Springfield was awarded a Bachelor of Music degree from Syracuse University, and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.

PROGRAM NOTES by Edward Lein, Music Librarian

Haydn/Piatigorsky : Divertimento in D Major

Genial Austrian composer (Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) is the musician most credited with establishing the “Classical” style that his two younger contemporaries Mozart (his friend) and Beethoven (his pupil) built upon.  By the time of his death "Papa" Haydn had become the most widely celebrated composer in Europe.

When Haydn was 8 years old he was accepted as a choirboy at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, where in addition to vocal training he received instruction in violin and piano. But puberty spoiled all that, and by about 1749 Haydn found himself re-cast as a struggling free-lance musician. His choirboy years had not provided him with any substantial training in music composition, so he began to teach himself the essentials, pretty much on his own.  Through the next decade he began to make a name for himself as a composer, and in 1757 Haydn earned a full-time position as the chief musician for the aristocratic Morzin family. This success was short-lived: by 1761 Count Morzin's finances had tanked and Haydn found himself newly-married and unemployed.  But as a manor-door was slamming shut behind him,  Haydn climbed through a palace-window of opportunity and immediately entered into the employment of the fabulously wealthy Esterházy family, becoming their Kapellmeister in 1766. Both Prince Paul Anton (1711-62) and his successor, Prince Nikolaus (1714-90), were music connoisseurs, and Haydn thrived under their patronage.   In 1779, Nikolaus even agreed that Haydn could publish and sell works apart from those composed for (and belonging to) the family, and Haydn's reputation spread throughout Europe.  Unlike his grandfather and father, Nikolaus's son and heir, Prince Anton (1738-94), was no musician, so after Nikolaus died in 1790 the composer was free to travel, most notably to London, and his international reputation as the greatest living composer was sealed. When the financially-independent Haydn returned to Vienna in 1795, he was himself an important public figure.  He continued his association with the Esterházy family, but he was no longer their servant, and he neither needed nor wanted full-time employment. Instead, he could compose for himself and for posterity.

In addition to being Haydn's boss for nearly three decades, Prince Nikolaus played the baryton, an archaic bowed instrument with frets akin to the bass viol, that was pretty rare even back then. So one of Haydn's chief tasks was to write music for Nikolaus to play, which resulted in 123 trios for baryton, viola and cello. The music of the present Divertimento in D Major was adapted and arranged from the baryton trios by legendary cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976).  Published in 1944, The majority of the music derives from Haydn's Baryton Trio in D Major, H. XI:113, but rather than providing a straight-forward arrangement, Piatigorsky used Haydn's music essentially to create a new work. As violist Myron Rosenblum observes, "What Piatigorsky seems to have done is to take the baryton and viola lines, merge them, with much recomposing to come up with his own work." Piatigorsky created the Divertimento to play himself, and in addition to the versions for either viola or cello and piano, there is also a version for cello and orchestra.

Manuel De Falla : Suite Populaire Espagnole

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.

In 1907, Falla moved from Madrid to Paris where he met and shared ideas with many of the era’s leading composers, including Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky.  In 1914, shortly before he returned to Spain with the outbreak of World War I,  Falla wrote Siete canciones populares españolas (Seven Popular Spanish Songs).  Five of the songs are settings of existing folksongs, and two, Jota and Polo, are original tunes that mimic Spanish folk dances. In harmonizing the pieces, rather than providing accompaniments based simply on modal scales, Falla drew his harmonies from the natural overtone series. For an instrumental version, Falla collaborated with violinist  Paul Kochanski (1887-1934) to prepare the first edition of Suite Populaire Espagnole, which adapted six of the songs, omitting the Seguidilla.  Many subsequent arrangements have been made for a variety of different instruments, both with and without the Seguidilla movement. Jorge Peña has prepared his own edition for viola, and includes all seven canciones.

Henri Vieuxtemps : Sonata in B-flat Major

Belgian composer and violinist Henri Vieuxtemps (1820–1881) was a child prodigy who famously performed a concerto at age six, and who went on to gain an international reputation as both performer and teacher. Vieuxtemps was a student and eventually professor at the Brussels Conservatory, and he represented the Franco-Belgian school of violin playing. He lived in Russia for five years (1846-51), where he founded the violin school at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, while also serving as principal violinist in the court of Czar Nicholas I. In 1871, Vieuxtemps suffered a stroke that affected his bowing arm, effectively ending his concert career and interrupting his teaching. A second stroke in 1879 made even teaching impossible, and he retired to Algeria to be near his daughter and son-in-law, but he still continued to compose. Most of Vieuxtemps' compositions feature the solo violin, and he is most remembered for his seven violin concertos, with which he helped redefine Romantic concertos as works of symphonic scope rather than merely vehicles for virtuosic display. Other works of note include two cello concertos, three string quartets, and several works featuring the viola, another instrument of which Vieuxtemps had been a master. One of these, the Viola Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 36, was first published in 1863, and included an alternate part for the cello.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, June 8, 2014 @ 3pm

Windward Brass from Navy Band Southeast

Navy Band Southeast’s Brass Quintet, Windward Brass, performs music ranging from traditional brass quintet literature and patriotic fare to Broadway hits and the popular music of today.
  • MU2 Scott Farquhar (Unit leader, Horn) 
  • MU3 Carl Schulte (Trumpet) 
  • MU3 Shawn Reince (Trumpet) 
  • MU2 Tony Garcia (Trombone) 
  • MU2 Rebecca Jenkins (Tuba)
    Giovanni Gabrieli : Canzona per Sonare No. 2
    Ludwig Maurer : Three Little Pieces
       Maestoso alla marcia - Andante con moto - Allegro grazioso
    Victor Ewald : Quintet No. 3, Op. 7. Allegro
    Michael Kamen : Quintet
    W. C. Handy : St. Louis Blues
    John Philip Sousa : El Capitan
    Eric Ewazen : Frost Fire. Tense and dramatic
    Armed Forces Medley

    PLEASE NOTE: This Sunday concert takes the place of one originally scheduled for Tuesday, June 3


    Established in 1995, Navy Band Southeast is one of 13 official U.S. Navy Bands. Proudly representing the Commander, Navy Region Southeast, the band consists of 35 highly trained professional musicians dedicated to the highest levels of musical performance. Highly versatile, the band or any of its various sub-groups are perfect for the widest variety of musical settings including military ceremonies, public concerts, parades and much more. Inspiring pride and patriotism through music, this incredibly popular unit performs more than 500 engagements annually throughout the Southeastern United States.

    Musician Second Class Scott Farquhar hails from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He studied music at Kalamazoo Valley Community College before entering the Navy in 2001. MU2 Farquhar has served the Navy for 13 years as a hornist and is currently the Unit Leader of “Windward Brass.”

    Musician Second Class Rebecca Jenkins is from Alexandria Virginia. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. MU2 Jenkins has been serving the Navy for four years as a Tubist.

    Musician Second Class Antonio Garcia hails from Austin, Texas and has been in the Navy music program for almost four years. He has recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Rutgers University, primarily studying with American Brass Quintet trombonist, Michael Powell. This is his first tour, but he looks forward to his next assignment with U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band in Naples, Italy.

    Musician Third Class Carl Schulte is from Clarkston, Michigan, and holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Western Michigan University, as well as a Master of Music Degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. He has served the Navy for two years as a Trumpet player. In addition to being a valued member of “Windward Brass,” MU3 Schulte is a freelance musician and private instructor.

    Musician Third Class Shawn Reince was born and raised in Green Bay, WI. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Music from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. In 2009, MU3 Reince graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities earning a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance. Upon graduation, MU3 Reince was accepted into the Navy Music Program and attended Recruit Training in December 2010.

    PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian

    Giovanni Gabrieli : Canzona per Sonare No. 2

    Italian composer Giovanni Gabrieli (1554?-1612) was among the most influential musicians bridging the Renaissance and Baroque stylistic periods. He became organist and chief composer for Venice's famed Saint Mark's Basilica, and the prestigious position made him one of the best-known composers in Europe. Among the Venetian master’s students was the early German Baroque composer Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672), who in turn cultivated the style that culminated in the works of J.S. Bach (1685-1750). Canzon Secunda a 4 (Second Song for 4) is one of four canzoni by Gabrieli included in Canzoni per sonare (Songs to Play), an anthology of works by a number of different composers first published in 1608. They are among the earliest works intended for performance specifically by instruments rather than by voices.

    Ludwig Maurer : Three Little Pieces
       Maestoso alla marcia - Andante con moto - Allegro grazioso

    Following a successful career as violin soloist and conductor in Germany and France, German-born composer Ludwig Wilhelm Maurer (1789-1878) moved permanently to Russia in 1833. In 1834 he appeared as soloist in the first Russian performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, and in 1835 he became director of the French Opera in St. Petersburg. Maurer's principal works include four operas, ten violin concertos, a symphony, and six string quartets. His Maestoso alla marcia, Andante con moto, and Allegro grazioso are the first three of his 12 Kleine Stücke (12 Little Pieces). Originally for 2 cornets, 2 horns and trombone, the pieces were published posthumously in 1881.

    Victor Ewald : Quintet No. 3 in D-flat Major, Op. 7.  I. Allegro moderato

    Professor of Civil Engineering by day, Victor Ewald (1860-1935) was a Russian composer and cellist with the Beliaeff Quartet, said to have been one of Russia's most influential music ensembles. Ewald belonged to the same nationalist circle that spawned "The Mighty Handful" (Balakirev, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Cui), who hoped to forge a distinctly Russian musical style rooted in indigenous folk music, and less beholden to Germanic compositional traditions. Brick and cement manufacturing notwithstanding, Ewald is most remembered for his four Brass Quintets, opp. 5-8.  This might seem a bit surprising for a cellist, but his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory included both cornet and horn, and he was photographed as the tuba player in a brass quintet in 1912. Ewald's quintets generally are regarded as the most significant original works for brass quintet from the Romantic era. They also are among the earliest examples of music written for the "modern" brass quintet voicing (2 treble instruments, and one each in alto, tenor and bass ranges), made practicable with the development of modern valved brass instruments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Of Ewald's four quintets, only Quintet No. 1, Op. 5 was published during his lifetime.  His Quintet No. 3 in D-flat major, op. 7, was composed (and probably performed) around 1912, but the manuscript only came to light in 1964. A decade later, the American Brass Quintet gave the first "modern" performance.

    Michael Kamen : Quintet

    Best known for collaborations with rock musicians and for his film scores (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Don Juan de Marco, X-Men, etc.), American composer and oboist Michael Kamen (1948-2003) received multiple Oscar, Gloden Globe and Emmy nominations, and won numerous other awards including three Grammys. In addition to his music for over 80 films and television shows, Kamen’s output includes ten ballets, a concerto for saxophone, and one for electric guitar. His one-movement Quintet dates from 2002, and was commissioned by the famed Canadian Brass.

    W. C. Handy : St. Louis Blues

    Called "The Father of the Blues," W(alter) C(hristopher) Handy (1873-1958) was born in a log cabin in Florence, Alabama, which now is preserved as the W. C. Handy Home, Museum & Library. Handy's father was a preacher who tried to discourage his son from taking up popular music, so W.C. was mostly self-taught and had to keep his true calling from his parents. In addition to early gigs throughout the Southeast United States and Cuba, Handy performed on cornet at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. He joined the faculty of the newly-formed Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes in 1900, but by 1902 he realized he could make a better living as a touring musician. In 1912 Handy wrote Memphis Blues, perhaps the first song in a distinct "blues" style, which also became the inspiration for the foxtrot dance-step. Two years later Handy himself published St. Louis Blues, which has a "tango" bridge section using the habanera rhythm, perhaps reminiscent of his time spent in Cuba. The jazz standard has been recorded by numerous jazz and popular musicians— and also by Minnie Mouse in the 1931 cartoon short, Blue Rhythm.

    John Philip Sousa : El Capitan

    "The March King" John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was an American composer and conductor whose many works include 136 marches and 10 operettas. As fate would have it, the composer of Stars and Stripes Forever was born in the Marine Corps barracks in Washington, D.C., where his father was a member of the Marine Band. Musically precocious, at age six Sousa began studying violin, piano, flute, cornet, baritone, trombone and alto horn, and at age 13 his father enlisted him as an apprentice in the Marine Band, reportedly to keep the youngster from running away and joining a circus band. Beginning at age 21 Sousa performed first as violinist and later as a conductor for Broadway shows, and drawing on this experience he returned to the Marine Band as its conductor from 1880-1892. He then formed a civilian band, but during World War I he became a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and conducted the Navy Band in Illinois. El Capitan (1896) is the name shared by Sousa's most popular operetta and the march composed on themes from his stage work.

    Eric Ewazen : Frost Fire. III. Tense and dramatic

    On the faculty of the Juilliard School since 1980, Eric Ewazen (b. 1954) also has been lecturer for the New York Philharmonic's Musical Encounters Series, Vice-President of the League of Composers/International Society of Contemporary Music, and Composer-In-Residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke's in New York City. With a particular affinity for wind ensemble and brass music, Ewazen has won multiple awards and commissions, and his works receive numerous international performances. Published in 2006, Frost Fire was commissioned by the American Brass Quintet for its 40th anniversary. “Tense and Dramatic” is the last of the work’s three movements.

    Armed Forces Medley

    It is no surprise that the Armed Forces Medley combines music honoring the valiant men and women who serve and have served the United States as members of our Army (The Army Goes Rolling Along), Coast Guard (Semper Paratus), Marine Corps (The Marines’ Hymn), Air Force (The U.S. Air Force) and Navy (Anchors Aweigh). Past and present Service members and their families are invited to stand during the playing of your branch’s song. We honor and salute you!

    Windward Brass performing Fats Waller's Aint Misbehavin' at a Music @ Main "Out to Lunch" concert in June 2013.

    Tuesday Serenade, May 6, 2014 @ 7pm

    Dr. Ken Trimmins, trumpet
    Dr. Mimi Noda, piano
    Faculty Artists from Albany State University

    Pierre Gabaye
    Boutade for Trumpet and Piano
    [Video performance]

    Ernst von Dohnányi
    Capriccio in B Minor, Op. 2, No. 4
    [Piano roll performance]

    Jacques Castérède
    Brèves rencontres: Three Pieces for Trumpet and Piano
    1. Divertissement - 2. Pavane - 3. Scherzo
    [Video performance]

    Ernst von Dohnányi
    Aria in C Major, Op. 23, No. 1

    George Enescu
    Légende for Trumpet and Piano
    [Video performance]

    Frédéric Chopin
    Ballade No. 4 in B Minor, Op. 52
    [Video performance]

    Eugène Bozza
    Caprice No. 1 for Trumpet and Piano, Op. 47
    [Video performance]


    Dr. Ken Trimmins is a dynamic and versatile trumpet player, composer and educator who excels in both jazz and classical genres. He completed a distinguished 23-year career with the United States Air Force Band, serving as director of operations, musical director and band leader for a number of touring ensembles. As a trumpet soloist, he has been a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, and his broadcast performances have included appearances on BET Jazz and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Dr. Trimmins holds degrees from Valdosta State University (BA), Mercer University (MM), and FSU (DMA), and has studied with a number of world-renowned artists, including jazz great Bobby Shew, Willie Thomas, Vincent DiMartino, and former Atlanta Symphony principal trumpeter Jim Thompson. Currently Assistant Professor of trumpet, conducting and jazz at Albany State University (Albany, Georgia), Dr. Trimmins previously served on the faculty of Armstrong Atlantic State University, in Savannah. As a jazz artist, he performs with The Ken Trimmins Jazz Quartet.

    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 Georgia's 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 (in alphabetical order by composer's last name) - by Edward Lein, Music Librarian

    Although the catalog of French composer Eugène Bozza (1905-1991) includes five symphonies, an opera, and a ballet, he is known primarily for his chamber music for wind instruments.  His Caprice No. 1, Op. 47, dates from 1943, while Bozza was conductor of the Opéra-Comique in Paris. It was written as a contest piece for the Paris Conservatory, and among the technical challenges for the trumpeter is its frequent use rapidly-repeated notes in all registers. The Caprice begins with a rather moody introduction before the capriciousness begins, and the introduction is recalled, momentarily muted, and extended before a jaunty dash to the finish.

    Born in Paris on April 10, 1926, French composer and pianist Jacques Castérède (1926-2014) passed away just a few weeks ago, on April 6, 2014.  Among several awards he won while studying at the Paris Conservatory was the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome in 1953, for the cantata La boîte de Pandore (Pandora's Box). In 1960, he returned to the Conservatory as a professor, and also taught in China at the invitation of the Chinese government.  Castérède's output includes works for the stage, vocal and choral music, orchestral music, and chamber music, and, as with so many French composers, he was quite generous in writing chamber music for wind instruments.  The three movements of Castérède's Brèves rencontres ("Brief Encounters) were composed in 1965 as a contest piece for the Conservatory.

    The Polish-born pianist Frédéric Chopin was the first composer to make full use of the expressive qualities and coloristic potential of the piano when it was a still-developing keyboard instrument, and he rightly has been called the "Poet of the Piano." Much of all piano music by subsequent composers shows his influence, and his revolutionary use of chromatic harmonies and unusual key relationships profoundly influenced composers of symphonic music and operas as well, such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner--thus Chopin's importance in the development of the "Romantic" style in general can not be overestimated.  Chopin is credited with establishing the Ballade as an extended instrumental form, and all four of his solo piano works bearing this title are considered among the crowning achievements of the Romantic period. British pianist and composer John Ogdon (1937-1989) called the Ballade No. 4, Op.52, completed in 1842, ”the most exalted, intense and sublimely powerful of all Chopin’s compositions ... it contains the experience of a lifetime.”

    Hungarian-born composer, pianist and conductor Ernst von Dohnáyi (born Ernő Dohnányi, 1877-1960) first gained international recognition as a pianist performing in the tradition of Franz Liszt, and as a composer his first published work, Quintet in C minor, Op. 1 (1895), was introduced to the Viennese public by no less than Brahms himself when Dohnányi was only 18. Between 1905 and 1915 Dohnányi taught in Berlin, and then returned to Hungary where he became a driving force in his homeland’s musical life, both as a teacher and as the conductor of the Budapest Philharmonic. Dohnányi always remained true to his conservative Romantic voice in his own compositions, but he vigorously promoted the music of his younger contemporaries Bartók and Kodály, thereby actively encouraging the development of a modern Hungarian school of composition.  Dohnányi remained in Hungary through most of World War II, but moved first to Argentina in 1944, and finally to Tallahassee, Florida, where he joined the music faculty of FSU in 1949. The Capriccio in B minor is the last of Four Pieces, Op. 2, written in 1897 when Dohnányi was 20.  His Aria in C Major is the first of Three Pieces, Op. 23, composed in 1912.

    If you ask musicians to name a Romanian composer, unless they draw a complete blank they almost certainly will answer "George Enescu" (1881-1955), or, as the French say, "Georges Enesco." As fate would have it, Enescu was born the same year as the Kingdom of Roumania (the "u" was dropped later), and he became a national hero in his fledgling homeland. Enescu's compatriots have since named an international airport after him, and changed the name of the village where he was born to "George Enescu." Young George's extraordinary musical gifts were recognized early. He earned the silver medal for his prodigious virtuosity when he graduated from the Vienna Conservatory at age 12, and he entered the Paris Conservatory at 14.  Among the greatest masters and teachers of the violin, Enescu also was so highly regarded as a conductor that he was considered as Toscanini's replacement for the New York Philharmonic, and he just as easily could have become a leading piano virtuoso. Légende was composed in 1906 in collaboration with Merri Franquin, a trumpet professor at the Paris Conservatory who gave the first performance.  The piece incorporates lyrical episodes and virtuoso passages, and utilizes the full range of the trumpet while demonstrating its chromatic capabilities that were only just evolving.  Légende is regarded among the greatest 20th-Century works for trumpet and piano.

    French composer and pianist Pierre Gabaye (1930-2000) was at home in jazz as with the classics.  Among numerous prizes from the Paris Conservatory, he won a 1956 Grand Prix de Rome for his cantata, Le Mariage forcé (The Forced Marriage), and 1st Prize in piano at the International Jazz Competition sponsored by Jazz-Hot magazine that same year. His Neoclassical compositions mostly date from the 1950s and 60s, but his last work, Marche pommarde for concert band, was composed in 1988. He taught at the Conservatory in Vésinet, and served as Director for Light Music for Radio France from 1975 to 1990. Despite his many awards, Gabaye’s essentially light-hearted music has never gained wide-spread exposure. He is most remembered for his chamber music for woodwinds and brass, and—if YouTube performances are an indication—his joyous Boutade ("Outburst") for Trumpet and Piano (1957) ranks among the most popular.

    Intermezzo Sunday Concert, April 6, 2014 @ 3pm*

    Kimberly Beasley, Soprano 

    Scott Watkins, piano

    Faculty Artists from Jacksonville University

    *Note that this concert has been rescheduled from April 1.

    Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
      Quattro Rispetti, Op. 11
         Un verde praticello senza piante
         Jo dei saluti ve ne mando mille
         E tanto c'è pericol ch'io ti lasci
         O sì che non sape vo sospirare

    Piotr Tchaikovsky
       Three Romances, from Op. 47
           1. Кабы знала я (Had I but Known)
           6. День ли царит (Whether Daylight Reigns)
           7. Я ли в поле да не травушка была (Was I not a Sprig of Grass in the Meadow?)
       Нет, толко тот, кто знал, Op. 6, No. 6 (None but One Who Knows Longing,
            aka "None But the Lonely Heart")


    Richard Strauss
       Zueignung, Op. 10, No. 1
       Ich trage meine Minne, Op. 32, No. 1
       Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27, No. 3

    Claude Debussy
       Trois chanson de Bilitis
         I. La flûte de Pan
         II. La chevelure
         III. Le tombeau des Naïades

    William Bolcom
       3 Cabaret Songs
         Over the piano
         Places to Live

    UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Please Check Back!

    Kimberly Beasley is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Jacksonville University and holds a Bachelor's in Music Theatre from the University of Colorado, a Master of Music from Valparaiso University and a Certificate of Vocal Performance from Northwestern University where she studied with Sunny Joy Langton and coached with Richard Boldrey and Baritone Sherrill Milnes of the Metropolitan Opera, who observed that   "Kimberly is a fine musician who sings with great sensitivity, offering mature musicianship and strong performance technique."            

    While a Chicago resident she performed frequently as a soloist with the Northwest Festival Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Elmhurst Symphony, the Northwest Indiana Symphony, DuPage Opera Theatre, the New Philharmonic Orchestra, Light Opera Works, and the Grant Park Symphony Chorus. With the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Kimberly performed in their productions of Cavalleria Rusticana, Fidelio, and Turandot

    Professor Beasley has extensive concert and recital appearances featuring varied repertoire including opera, oratorio, jazz, and musical theatre. Her varied stage roles have ranged from Cinderella in Into the Woods and Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, to Angelica in Suor Angelica, Rosina in Barber of Seville, Dorine in Tartuffe, Micäela in Carmen, and Butterfly in Madama Butterfly. An experienced stage director for companies including the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso and OneTheatre in Chicago, Professor Beasley has brought her expertise to Jacksonville University, directing a number of opera and musical theater productions, including Little Women, the Musical, which won awards for Best Actor and Best Set Design from Broadway World, and the Jacksonville premiere of Kurt Weill's Street Scene, in April 2013.

    Professor Beasley has taught university courses in applied theory, opera scenes, vocal pedagogy, and opera history at Valparaiso University, Northwestern University, and the Graham School of the University of Chicago. In addition to Music at Main, you can hear her locally with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Jacksonville, and Friday Musicale.

    Scott Watkins, Assistant Professor of Piano at Jacksonville University, is well known to First Coast audiences for his appearances with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, his numerous solo recitals, and his frequent collaborations with many of the areas finest singers and instrumentalists. His 1985 U.S. debut, an all-Bach recital given in Chicago, was broadcast live nationwide, and has been followed by a steady flow of solo and concerto performances in North and South America, Europe and the Caribbean. He has been heard often in the United States and Canada on National Public Radio and Television, and in South America and Europe on The Voice of America. Performances have included the world premieres of Elie Siegmeister’s From These Shores and Ned Rorem’s Song and Dance.

    An active chamber musician, Dr. Watkins has appeared with the LaSalle Quartet and violinist Eugene Fodor, and a  performance with violinist Hillary Hahn was broadcast on NPR's Performance Today. Much in demand as an accompanist, he has appeared with soprano Elizabeth Futral and baritone Steven White, and released a disc of late romantic lieder with White. Watkins also released two solo discs, one featuring works from his New York debut at Carnegie Hall, and another, Christmas Cards, featuring music for the holiday season, with works by Bach, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Handel, Grainger, and others.
    A champion of new music, Watkins recently recorded An American Sonata for two pianos and percussion by noted American composer and pianist Gary Smart.

    Dr. Watkins is the recipient of numerous awards, including the John Philip Sousa Award for Outstanding American Musicians, Rotary Club of Florida's Annual Artistic Merit Award, and France's Jeunesse Musicales. In 1985, he became the youngest winner ever of The U.S. Department of State's Artistic Ambassador Award. His degrees include a Bachelor of Music from the University of Cincinnati, Master of Music from University of South Carolina, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Florida State University.

    PROGRAM NOTES, by Kimberly Beasley

    Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) was an Italian composer born of a German father, but his tastes always gravitated toward Italian Renaissance music. His songs are melodic and tonal and he is quoted as saying, "Why do so many `modernists’ rail at the things past? Can one imagine a saint, railing at all the saints that preceded him?" He never apologized for not being drawn to more modernist compositional techniques. These songs are appealing for their melodic beauty and I imagine them to be somewhat of a progression: imagining love not yet discovered, pining for love that has become a reality, encouraging and maintaining love in an effort to hold on to it, and finally being exhausted of all the effort this thing called love has required!

    Piotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) wrote over 100 songs and had a special ability to take a poem and demonstrate its deepest emotions. Although not sung with the expanse of vocal color in Schumann or Mahler, his songs are engrossing and haunting. The three on this program from Opus 47 use the poetry of Tolstoy (1817-1875), Apukhtin (1840-1893), and Surikov (1841-1880). Tolstoy is an understood favorite of the Russian romantic era and Had I But Known is a fantastical, imaginary vignette, sung by a young girl anticipating a rendezvous. Apukhtin supposedly wrote Whether Daylight Reigns at the suggestion of Tchaikovsky himself in honor of the singer Alexandra Panayeva. He knew Apukhtin was enamored with her and asked if he had ever written her a poem. Apukhtin handed him a piece of paper with this poem on it, and Tchaikovsky wrote the song two days later. Surikov was a peasant by birth and remained a stable hand until his death. His poem for “The Bride’s Lament” (Was I not a Sprig of Grass in the Meadow?) uses a familiar theme in Russian poetry and echoes the poet’s own station in life.

    [Given his gift for singing melodies, it is not surprising that Tchaikovsky created some memorable songs.  The best-known, at least in the English-speaking world, is None but One Who Knows Longing (aka, None but the Lonely Heart), which even has been recorded by pop and jazz singers, including Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan.--Ed Lein]

      Нет, толко тот, кто знал                                            None but One Who Knows Longing

    Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was a multifaceted composer with output in song, opera, and orchestral repertoire. His songs written between 1885 and 1918 have a more conservative harmonic structure; however, although never reaching the progressiveness of Salomé, which commenced his operatic output ranging from 1905-1942, the later songs do have mildly shocking chord structure and harmonic progression reminiscent of later compositions. The songs selected are from Opus 10, 27, and 32 and demonstrate some evolution as a composer. All three songs were orchestrated by Robert Heger and Heimliche Aufforderung and Ich trage meine Minne were later transcribed for piano by Max Reger. Zueignung, with poetry by Hermann von Gilm, was dedicated to singer Viorica Ursuleac, Ich trage mein Minne, with poetry by Karl Henckell from his Buch der Liebe, is dedicated to Pauline, Strauss’ wife, and Heimliche Aufforderung, with poetry by John Henry Mackay, was given to Pauline on her wedding day.

    Claude Debussy (1862-1918), known for his pentatonic and whole scales, defines the Impressionistic era of classical music. Although his orchestral works are frequently heard, you almost have to be at a song recital to hear some of his vocal works. The Trois chansons de Bilitis are set to poetry by Pierre Louÿs, poetry that depicts the Grecian courtesan Bilitis* as a contemporary of Sappho. They are set low in the soprano voice, but it is a timbre that was desired by the composer and evokes the mood of these sensual, “satyrical” poems perfectly. I picture the Narnia of C.S. Lewis, first in spring, then in winter, fauns, satyrs, and nymphs all around.

    *Louÿs presented his original poetry as though it were translations of ancient Greek poems written by Bilitis, though she actually is a fictional character he created for the project.

    William Bolcom (b. 1938) is a National Medal of Arts winner as well as a multiple Grammy award winner. He retired from teaching in 2008 after serving as Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan for 35 years. An accomplished pianist, he has performed and recorded extensively with his wife Joan Morris. He has written songs as well as orchestral works and operas that have been premiered all over the world. The Cabaret Songs hearken back to the day when Bolcom played for vaudeville shows and are, as a group, a cabaret in and of themselves. Set to poems by Arnold Weinstein, a frequent collaborator with Bolcom, enjoy these three selections!

    Tuesday Serenade, March 4, 2014 @ 7pm

    Music Students from 

    Douglas Anderson Schools of the Arts 

    Vera Watson, faculty coordinator 


    Douglas Anderson School of the Arts is a Duval County Public School for students grades 9 through 12 with a desire for intensive study in the arts. Established as an arts school in 1985, the school attracts students from all parts of North Florida and South Georgia who have talent in dance, instrumental or vocal music, performance or technical theater, film and video production, creative writing, and visual arts. A high academic standard, coupled with broad arts curriculum, offers students an opportunity to excel in a chosen discipline while preparing them for post-secondary education.

    Douglas Anderson's Piano Program
    In 2000 DA’s Piano program was recognized as the best music program in Northeast Florida and was awarded the Jacksonville Symphony Association’s Harmony Grant. The Piano Department offers serious young pianists a unique opportunity to be in an intensive and varied program and to work with internationally acclaimed guest artists.

    Pianist Vera Watson
    Vera Watson has been Chair of the Piano Department at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts since 1999. She holds National Certification in piano from the Music Teachers National Association and a Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate. Under her leadership the DA piano program was recognized as the best music program in Northeast Florida by the Jacksonville Symphony Guild in 2001, for which Douglas Anderson received the Harmony Grant. In 2003, Ms. Watson received the Surdna Foundation Grant in New York City, in recognition of her achievements among the best arts teachers in the United States. In 2010, Friday Musicale presented Vera Watson with the Carolyn Day Pfohl Music Educator Award for Outstanding Achievements. She is especially proud of her many students who have been accepted into prestigious music conservatories, and have become successful artists.

    PROGRAM NOTES (Alphabetical order by composer) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Please check back!

    ALEXANDER : Tango à la Mango [SCORE EXCERPT] [RECORDING - click on the title under the cover illustration]

    Dennis Alexander is one of America's most prolific and popular composers of educational piano music for students at all levels. Professor Alexander taught at the University of Montana, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge, and currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he maintains an active composing and touring schedule. Tango à la Mango is from A Splash of Color, Book 3, which he describes as "Romantic and Contemporary Piano Solos Designed to Enhance an Awareness of Imagery in Performance."

    BEETHOVEN: Presto (1st Movement), from Piano Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3

     The Transcendent German-born composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) began his compositional career essentially imitating the styles and forms he inherited from Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and W.A Mozart (1756-1791), but during his "middle" period (ca. 1803-1815) Beethoven expanded and personalized this inheritance, creating works that have come to represent the culmination of the Classical style in much the same way that the works of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) represent the culmination of the Baroque. During Beethoven's "late" period (ca. 1815-1827), he discovered new paths toward still more personal, even intimate, musical expression, and, despite the gradual and eventually total degeneration of his hearing, he forged the way beyond the Classical tradition into the Romantic. Even though  his Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 10, No. 3, composed in 1798, is still grouped with his "Early" works, Beethoven already had begun experimenting with new formal procedures, building upon what he had learned from the models Haydn had provided.

    Nocturne in C# minor, Op. posth. [SCORE] [RECORDING]
    Nocturne in D-flat, Op. 27, No. 2  [SCORE] [RECORDING]

    The Polish-born pianist Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was the first composer to make full use of the expressive qualities and coloristic potential of the piano when it was a still-developing keyboard instrument, and he rightly has been called the "Poet of the Piano." Much of all piano music by subsequent composers shows his influence, and his revolutionary use of chromatic harmonies and unusual key relationships profoundly influenced composers of symphonic music and operas as well, such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner--thus Chopin's importance in the development of the "Romantic" style in general cannot be overestimated.

    Influenced greatly by the piano works with the same title by Irish composer John Field, Chopin's 21 Nocturnes remain among his most popular pieces. These "night pieces" are typically characterized by singing melodies somewhat reminiscent of bel canto opera arias, with accompaniments characterized by arpeggios and broken chords.

    DEBUSSY : Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum [SCORE] {RECORDING]
    Arabesque No.1 [SCORE] {RECORDING]

    Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was a quintessentially French composer, pianist and music critic whose own revolutionary music ushered in many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy is universally identified as the chief proponent of musical “Impressionism,” but he did not approve of that label and the associations he felt it harbored. But since his death the term, as applied to music, has been redefined almost exclusively around the characteristics of some of Debussy's most famous pieces, such as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and La mer ("The Sea"), so whatever negative connotations "Impressionism" once may have had have since evaporated. Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum is the first of six movements in Debussy's piano suite, Children's Corner, which was dedicated to the composer's daughter in 1908. The title "Gradus ad Parnassum" refers less to the famous book of counterpoint instruction by Johann Joseph Fux, and more to a collection of piano exercises by Muzio Clementi with the same title. Debussy's early Arabesque No. 1 (Andantino con moto) is the first of Deux Arabesques, composed between 1888-91. The arching curves of the two pieces provide an aural evocation of the visual curlicues typical of the Art Nouveau movement that helps define the end of the 19th Century.

    HAYDN : First Movements from Sonata in D Major & Sonata in C major

    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.  By the time of his death "Papa" Haydn had become the most widely celebrated composer in Europe. Haydn started out as a choirboy and never developed into a keyboard virtuoso, so his 52-62 keyboard Sonatas (depending on who's counting) were mostly composed in the early part of his career for the instruction and amusement of his noble patrons.

    MOZART : Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545. II. Andante [SCORE] [RECORDING]

    Wolfagang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career touring Europe as a six-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the musical trends he was exposed to along the way. 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.

    RACHMANINOFF : Moment musicaux Op. 16, No. 4, Presto [SCORE] [RECORDING]

    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-War 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 was only 23 when he wrote the 6 concert pieces grouped as his opus 16, entitled Moments musicaux (Musical Moments).  No. 4, Presto, is the most bravura piece in the set, and with its torrential flood of notes it seems to pay homage to Chopin's famous "Revolutionary" Etude.

    SCARLATTI : Sonata in D minor L.422 [SCORE (go to p. 5)] [RECORDING]

    In the beginning of his career Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) concentrated mostly on vocal music, following in the footsteps of his famous father, Alessandro. But in 1719 Domenico resigned his position in the Vatican, and moved first to Portugal in 1720, as music master to the Portuguese royal family, and then to Spain in 1729, following one of the Portuguese princesses after she married. It was after he left Italy that he began to concentrate more on keyboard music, and it is for his 555 one-movement keyboard sonatas that he now is most remembered. The toccata-like Sonata in D minor (L. 422) is regarded as one of his finest compositions, and it is meant to imitate the mandolin in its use of rapidly-repeated notes.