Friday, August 30, 2013

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.

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