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.