Concerto grosso Op. 6, no. 8,……………..……………………………………Arcangelo Corelli
Fatto per la notte di natale
Soloists: Margaret Ziemnicka and Peter Kupfer, violin, and Sarah Freiberg, cello
Circle of Friends
Judson Griffin...........................violin and director
Peter Kupfer........................... violin
Lisa Rautenberg....................... violin
Theresa Salomon..................... violin
Nelva Tebrake......................... violin
Margaret Ziemnicka................... violin
Andrea Andros........................ violin
Sarah Freiberg......................... cello
Mollie Glazer........................... cello
Susan Iadone........................... cello
Patricia Ann Neely..................... violone
Dongsok Shin.......................... harpsichord
Sarah Davol............................. oboe and oboe D'amore
Glenn Alpert............................ tenor
Notes on the Program
By the time Corelli's Concerti grossi were published in 1712, a year before his death, they may well have been in existence for 30 years. They certainly seem conservative, if not old-fashioned, next to the emerging galant style coming out of Naples or the new music being composed by the Venetian Vivaldi. Yet few composers of instrumental music in the first half of the 18th century could escape their influence.
Corelli came to Rome as a young man from his studies in Bologna where, in the 1660’s, the concerto principle, which contrasts a large group of massed strings with a smaller group of soloists, was being developed. At the same time, multi-sectional instrumental forms were being expanded into works with separate movements, while the modal system was being refined into modern tonality. Corelli perfected these ideas and married them to Roman counterpoint modeled on that of Palestrina. His gift was not for motoric energy like Vivaldi, or daring harmonies, nor are his melodies memorable. It is rather the equipoise between overall sweep and fine detail and the exquisite balance of form as a result of revising and perfecting over the course of a career that engage the listener today as they did in the 18th century.
Op. 6, no. 8 may seem an unlikely candidate for the title Christmas Concerto, being in the grim key of G minor. Furthermore, the work begins with a sort of inverted introduction: a brief, impatient, almost violent passage yielding to a Grave of stern import, which the listener may take to be a foreshadowing of the Passion. But in the second group of movements -Adagio - Allegro – Adagio- the gently lapping solo strings and accompaniment pulsating in the warm key of E flat set a scene of melting tenderness that may recall the scene in the manger. After a sarabande and gavotte (not so labelled) in G minor, Corelli suddenly brings in droning bagpipes, evoking a pastoral scene; the work ends in a hush. Every Christmas Eve to this day shepherds from the Abruzzi, playing bagpipes, make a procession into central Rome and up the long flight of steps to the church of the Aracoeli as a re-enactment of the shepherds' journey to Bethlehem.
Our vocal selections are arranged as a tableau. Ombra mai fù is cherished as “Handel's Celebrated Largo," a popular selection for weddings and other solemn occasions. Ironically Handel's indication is larghetto: the young king Xerxes professes his preference for the companionship of a plane tree over that of people- especially women!
William Boyce's Solomon is not an oratorio like Handel's contemporary work of the same title, but rather "A Grand Serenata" based on a play by one Edward Moore. The music, a string of melodious arias and effective nature painting, was extremely popular for many years until its mildly erotic texts brought it into disfavor in the more decorous 19th century. It remains a masterpiece of Boyce, well deserving more frequent performance today. In the aria Softly rise, O southern breeze the strings gently suggest the rustling of leaves.
Handel`s Musette takes its name from the French instrument of that name, a type of bagpipe associated with the countryside and pleasure. As in the Corelli, we have drones to summon images of shepherds and peasants.
The mood is then elevated for the sublime Waft her, Angels from Handel's final oratorio, Jephtha. Jephtha has made a vow that if successful in battle he will sacrifice the first living thing he encounters: this turns out, tragically, to be his beloved daughter. In preparation for her death on the altar he sings this fervent yet peaceful prayer. (In one of the most thrilling of Handel's many dramatic masterstrokes, an Angel intervenes in the nick of time to save her life; In the Book of Judges from which the story originates, however, the sacrifice duly takes place - although scholars dispute the translation and the interpretation.)
Bagpipes and shepherds' pipes are double-reed instruments, of course, and in much baroque music the oboe connotes an outdoor, bucolic setting. Alessandro Marcello, like his better-known brother Benedetto, was a noble amateur, but the music of the Marcellos and of their contemporary Albinoni contributed much to the style associated with Vivaldi. This includes the structure based on the ritornello (orchestral passages), which is often musically distinct from what the soloist plays, as in the first movement of this Concerto for Oboe and Strings in D minor. The Adagio features the oboe in its plaintive-shepherd, quasi-improvisational, "oriental" mode, supported by throbbing, searching harmonies. (This kind of texture derives from archaic practice in which an instrumental work replaces al1 or parts of a sung Mass; the mystical shimmering accompaniment is associated with the Elevation of the Host, in which bread and wine are transubstantiated into flesh and blood.) The last movement is rhythmically a Passepied, a light, nimble triple-¬meter dance.
So much fresh air and sunshine might whet the appetite! Each of Telemann's three productions of Musique de table comprises an orchestral Ouverture, a quartet, a concerto for multiple solo instruments, a trio sonata, and a solo sonata. Rather than music for dinner, Telemann proposes music as dinner: a complete, well planned concert; yet the individual component compositions easily stand on their own. The Concerto for 3 violins, from the second production, is especially appropriate for our musical fête champêtre, being set in the quíntessentially pastoral key of F. A characteristic of Telemann's concerto style is his use of numerous themes in his ritornellos; the opening tutti of the first movement, for example, features at least four ideas. Throughout the concerto the three soloists, in addition to extensive solo passages, engage in complicated interplay, two of them often commenting together on the solo utterance of the third.
Ouverture for Oboe d’amore and strings in E. Some 100 Telemann Ouvertures survive today, an astounding number even for this most prolific composer, if far short of the Incredible number of 3000 claimed by Telemann himself. The French overture as developed by Lully and his followers from the 1660s is a 2-part structure, the first part majestic, even pompous the second fleet, with voices entering in imitation. This is followed by a suite of dances or, in the hands of Telemann, character pieces like the Harlequinade. Telemann was fond of exotic tone colors, unusual or neglected instruments figuring prominently in his chamber music. The oboe d'amore may be somewhat unfamiliar today, but for Telemann (as for I. S. Bach) it was simply an alto oboe, nearly as useful as the normal oboe - if perhaps more specially expressive and well suited to playing in sharp keys. In this work less a soloist than an integral part of the ensemble, the oboe d'amore imbues the aggregate sound with its plaintive earthiness by doubling now one instrument, now another, often playing the melody with the first violins.
- Judson Griffin
GLENN ALPERT (tenor) has been a member of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus since 1987. Since that time he has performed more than 4000 times in over 100 different operas. As a soloist at the Met he has appeared in a number of operas, including Eugene Onegin, La Traviata, La Boheme, Luisa Miller (with Luciano Pavarotti), Manon, The Magic Flute, Falstaff, Pagliacci (with Placido Domingo) and Turandot.
ANDREA ANDROS (violin) maintains a steady career as a commercial and classical musician. Active on Broadway, in the recording studio, and at the Bethlehem Bach Festival, Radio City Music Hall, New York Grand Opera, American Ballet Theater, and the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, she is a prominent talent in the early music field.
SARAH DAVOL (oboe) serves as principal oboe of Big Apple Baroque, Bach Sinfonia, Vox Ama Deus Orchestra, La Follia, Connecticut Early Music Festival Orchestra, and is a founding member of the American Classical Orchestra. Ms Davol has performed as soloist with these ensembles as well as with Amor Artis, Concert Royal, and Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra. She has toured Europe with Publick Musick, Washington Bach Consort and Apollo Ensemble, and South America with Bachanalia and with John Malkovich’s one-man show with Music Angelica. The Metropolitan Museum features Ms Davol’s demonstration of historical oboes on their Audioguide, and she may be heard on 30+ CDs. Her recording of Sunbin Kim’s Aphorisms for solo oboe won a national ASCAP award, and Tulpe, a CD by Englewinds featuring her compositions, was listed for Grammy Nomination. She is on the adjunct faculties of Sarah Lawrence College and William Paterson University.
SARAH FREIBERG (cello) is principal cellist of Boston Baroque and a tenured member of the Handel and Haydn Society. She has performed with the New York Collegium, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), Portland Baroque, Seattle Baroque, the Boston Early Music Festival and Arion (Montreal). Ms Freiberg edited the long forgotten Guerini cello sonatas for both PRB Productions and Broude Brothers, and recorded both Guerini and Laurenti cello sonatas for Centaur. She teaches in the Historical Performance department at Boston University and is Chair of Strings and Chamber Music at the Powers Music School in Belmont. Sarah received her DMA and MM degrees from SUNY Stony Brook, and holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory, Brown University and the Mozarteum in Austria.
MOLLIE GLAZER (cello) is the Artistic Director of the Nantucket Community Music Center. She studied cello and viola da gamba at New England Conservatory of Music and the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands. Ms Glazer has performed throughout the US and Europe with such ensembles as Concert Royal, Waverly Consort, New York's Ensemble for Early Music and is a frequent soloist at the Bethlehem Bach Festival. She has made seven recordings, the latest a self-produced CD with former student Ethan Philbrick entitled Two Friends Two Cellos. Also a pianist, composer and jazz vocalist, Ms Glazer wrote the score to the musical about Nantucket, Faraway Land, which was produced on- island. She has also written scores for films and modern dance including a work for the Pennsylvania Ballet. She sings and plays regularly with jazz guitarist Andy Bullington.
JUDSON GRIFFIN (violin) is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and earned Master's and Doctorate degrees at The Juilliard School. After a period as viola soloist and champion of new music, Mr. Griffin began playing period instruments in 1979 through the influence of harpsichordist Albert Fuller. He was a founding member of the Smithson Quartet, in residence at and using instruments from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, making ground-breaking recordings of quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. He was Music Director of the Connecticut Early Music Festival from 2000 to 2007. He has been a frequent performer in Europe and in the US as concertmaster, soloist, and conductor, appearing with groups like Amor Artis, the American Classical Orchestra, Concert Royal, Florida Pro Musica, and Baltimore Pro Musica Rara. Mr. Griffin led period-instrument orchestras for dance performances at the Maggio musicale in Florence, in opera at Musica nel chiostro near Grosseto, Italy, and led the Lobkowitz Quartet in performances of Haydn's Seven Last Words in Germany. He has toured with the English Concert and Trevor Pinnock; played with the Akademie der alten Musik in Berlin; with Il complesso barocco in Innsbruck, Milan, and Venice; and has been a soloist at the Festival de Clisson, France. Solo recitals have been given in Boston, Detroit, Washington, D.C., in New York at Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Hall, and in Alaska.
MARGRÉT HJALTESTED (viola) is an active performer and teacher in the New York area. She has played with orchestras such as Westchester Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony and Key West Symphony. On baroque viola she has performed with the American Classical Orchestra and Clarion Music Society. Ms Hjaltested has toured internationally with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphonic Ensemble on its annual tour of the Far East, Luciano Pavarotti ́s International Farewell Tour and with the Icelandic award-winning pop artist Björk. She is a member of the chamber ensemble Resonant Spectra. Ms Hjaltested is a recipient of the American Scandinavian Society’s Cultural Award for her musical contributions to Scandinavian communities in New York and New Jersey. Ms Hjaltested is currently on the faculty of the Queens College preparatory division and Summerkeys in Lubec, Maine. She is a graduate of the Reykjavík College of Music, The Juilliard School and the Mannes College of Music. Her teachers include Karen Tuttle, Karen Ritscher, Richard Simon and Joey Corpus.
SUSAN IADONE’s (viola) diverse musical activities run the gamut from Medieval and Renaissance music through contemporary opera. For over twenty years, she has been the recorder and viola soloist with the Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City, and has never met a Bach cantata she didn't love. As a performer on viola, viola d’amore and viola da gamba, Ms Iadone has appeared with the Washington Bach Consort, the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, the Classical Band, the Bethlehem Bach Festival, Concert Royal, the New York Consort of Viols and the Waverly Consort. Some highlights of her career include performing in recital with Victoria de los Angeles at the Metropolitan Museum, touring Europe with Meredith Monk’s opera Atlas, recording with klezmer icon Giora Feidman, performing the viola d’amore solos in the St. John Passion with the NY Philharmonic, playing viola da gamba on-stage in the Broadway production of The Three Musketeers, and playing sopranino recorder at the Metropolitan Opera in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ms Iadone can be heard on the soundtracks of the Coen Brothers remake of The Ladykillers, and the Heath Ledger Casanova, as well as numerous legitimate recordings.
PETER KUPFER (violin) specializes in 17th- and 18th-century repertoire performed on period instruments. Following undergraduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley, conservatory studies in France and graduate studies at the University of Michigan, he began performing with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and other early music ensembles. Other groups he has performed with include American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, Aston Magna, Handel & Haydn Society, Opera Lafayette, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, Tafelmusik, and Washington Bach Consort. In New York Mr. Kupfer has performed with American Classical Orchestra, Clarion, Concert Royal, Four Nations, Trinity Wall Street, and Rebel, and has served as concertmaster for Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church since 2001.
PATRICIA ANN NEELY (violone) has appeared with many early music ensembles including the Folger Consort, Smithsonian Chamber Players, New York Collegium, Washington Bach Consort, Amor Artis, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Boston Camerata, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Newberry Consort, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, New York Consort of Viols, Early Music New York, and Sonnambula, among others, and was a founding member of the viol consort Parthenia. She performed with the European medieval ensemble Sequentia on the medieval fiddle throughout Europe and North America. Ms Neely began playing the viol at Vassar College and earned an MFA in Historical Performance at Sarah Lawrence College. She has recorded for Arabesque, Allegro, Musical Heritage, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Ex Cathedra, Classic Masters, Erato, Lyrichord, and Music Masters labels. She is currently on the faculty of The Brearley School in New York City and is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Music Society and Festival.
In addition to her role as Associate Concertmaster of the Hartford Symphony, LISA RAUTENBERG (violin) performs as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. She gave her New York City solo debut with Concert Royal at the Mostly Mozart festival in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. She performed her New York City recital debut in Merkin Hall playing virtuoso masters for the baroque violin. Ms Rautenberg can be heard on over 100 recordings on SONY Classical, Virgin Classics, Newport Classics, MCA, Decca, Nonesuch, Telarc, Deutsche Grammophone, and Champignon International. Notable solo recordings include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Anthony Newman, as well as the Schubert String Quintet. Ms Rautenberg has performed solos in America and Europe including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall Chicago, Boston Symphony Hall, Hercules Hall, Concertgebow, BBC London, and at the London Proms. Ms Rautenberg holds a degree in violin performance from Indiana University, and studied early violin techniques with Marilyn McDonald.
THERESA SALOMON (violin), a native of Germany, came to New York in 1993. She has performed at such international festivals as Festival Presence, Paris; Gulbenkian Festival, Lisbon; Prague Spring Festival; Ostfriesland Festival, Germany;
Connecticut Early Music Festival; and Ostrava Days for New Music (Czech Republic), where she was a soloist with the Janacek Philharmonic. In New York she performs on both period and modern violin with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Rebel Baroque Orchestra, New York Collegium, and SEM Ensemble. She also directs a new music series at Music
under Construction and plays frequently for Dance under Construction. Ms Salomon has recorded for the Vandenburg and Tzadik labels, among others.
DONGSOK SHIN (harpsichord) has appeared with American Classical Orchestra, ARTEK, Bach Sinfonia, Dryden Ensemble, New York Philharmonic, Early Music New York’s Grande Bande, and Pro Musica Rara. He has toured throughout North America, Europe, and Mexico, has been heard on countless radio broadcasts, and has recorded for Bridge, ATMA Classique, Dorian Sono Luminus, Ex Cathedra, Helicon, Hollywood Records, Lyrichord, Naxos, and Newport Classic. Mr. Shin has been the keyboard player for the internationally acclaimed baroque ensemble REBEL since 1997. He has parallel careers as a tuner/maintainer of early keyboard instruments. He is the harpsichord technician for the Metropolitan Opera.
NELVA TEBRAKE (violin) is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She studied Baroque violin with Jaap Schroder at the Amsterdam Conservatory and with Sigiwald Kuyken at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. She has performed and recorded with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Concert Royal, the Waverly Consort, Smithsonian Chamber Players and the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra.
MARGARET ZIEMNICKA (violin), studied violin, piano, and chamber music at the Wieniawski Music Lyceum in her native Lodz, Poland and in the United States at DePaul and McGill Universities. As a member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra she performed under Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, and Pierre Boulez. Ms Ziemnicka has performed baroque and classical music on period instruments with REBEL, Concert Royal, Early Music New York, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Sinfonia New York, Gotham Chamber Opera, at Museum Concerts in Providence, and has made numerous recordings on modern and baroque violin. She appears regularly at Lincoln Center with the American Classical Orchestra, and has performed at the Kennedy Center and the Washington National Cathedral. Ms Ziemnicka is also a member of the recently formed New York Classical Quartet.
The Annual Roslyn Young Memorial Concert
Roslyn Young (1957–2004) grew up in Guilford, and began violin lessons at the age of nine with Julius Scheir at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven. After attending Brown University, she studied and performed in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, from 1979 – 1986. She earned a diploma in violin and viola from the Mozarteum Conservatory in Salzburg, studying under Juergen Geise. As principal violist, she played with the Rome Opera Orchestra, Palermo Opera Orchestra and the Quattro Stagioni Chamber Orchestra of Italy.
Upon returning to the United States, Roslyn settled in New York with her husband Glenn Alpert, a tenor with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus. She performed on viola and baroque viola with many ensembles and orchestras in the New York area, throughout the United States and in Europe. These included the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, American Classical Orchestra, Concert Royal and Virtuosi strings. Summer festivals included Glimmerglass Opera, Monadnock Music Festival, the Windham Chamber Music Festival and the Connecticut Early Music Festival. Roslyn continued studying under Burton Kaplan and Midhat Serbagi.
The Roslyn Young Memorial (RYM) was established by the family of Roslyn Young to honor her memory and love of music by presenting an annual classical music concert in the Guilford, Connecticut area. Judson Griffin is the artistic director.
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