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.

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