Tryon Concert Association Presents
WindSync Wind Quintet
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Quintet in E flat major, Op. 88 No. 2 Antoine Reicha
Finale: Allegretto (1770-1836)
Passacaglia in D minor, BuxWV 161 Dietrich Buxtehude
Wind Quintet No. 2, Op.46 Miguel Del Aguila
Movements: Back in Time, In Heaven, Under the Earth, Far Away
Six Bagatelles Gyorgy Ligeti
Allegro con spirito
Adagio. Mesto – In Memoriam Bela Bartok
Molto vivace. Capriccioso
American Suite Arranged by WindSync
“Simple Gifts” Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
“Summertime” George Gershwin (1898-1937)
“Johnny B. Goode” Chuck Berry (1926-2017)
“America” Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
WindSync appears by arrangement with United Talent Agency,
New York, NY, 10106
A footnote on applause: The spirit and beauty of the music will be enhanced for both the performer and the audience by saving your applause until the completion of the last movement of each composition.
Note on the Artists
The young energetic wind quintet WindSync has been hailed by the Houston Chronicle as “revolutionary chamber musicians.” This ensemble is noted for its creative and imaginative interpretation of classical music. The performances include elements of staging and choreography that build connections with audiences both young and old.
This group, created in 2009 at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, is made up of flutist Garrett Hudson, oboist Emily Tsai, clarinetist Julian Hernandez, bassoonist Kara LaMoure, and French horn player Anni Hochhalter.
Many awards have come their way as they received the gold medal in the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and won first place in the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh International Competition. The group made its New York debut in November 2013 at Carnegie’s Weill Hall.
Strongly committed to educational enrichment, WindSync works with children, members of the community and audiences with disabilities. The group has been featured in educational performances presented by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, The Midland Symphony Orchestra, and the Rockport Chamber Music Festival.
WindSync has created its own arrangements of classical music to fit the group. Avoiding music stands, the players perform completely from memory which gives them freedom to interact in various combinations on stage. As described by horn player Hochhalter the unique sound of this group comes from the fact that each of the instruments is so different. “We can combine these instruments in lots of different ways and with all their different ranges. The sounds we create are quite diverse.”
Notes on the Program
Quintet in E flat major, Op. 88, No.2
Antoine Reicha (1770-1836)
Composer, teacher and musical theorist Antoine Reicha was born in Prague. His father died when Antoine was just ten months old. His paternal uncle adopted the boy and raised him in the city of Bonn. Here he met Beethoven, his same age, and the two became lifelong friends. Reicha studied composition at the University of Bonn, writing music for opera, symphonies, and piano, as well as many papers on musical theory. Living in Paris between 1811 and 1820 he wrote his 25 wind quintets. These were performed widely during his day and have become his most enduring works.
Before Reicha’s time little classical music existed for wind instruments. His Op. 88 Quintets include a set of six works written for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. The quintets were written for five professors at the Paris Conservatoire, all outstanding musicians. These are some of the most difficult pieces in the early repertoire and became very popular with the public.
Quintet in E flat major, No. 2 is the most highly acclaimed of the six in Op. 88. The fourth movement, Finale: Allegretto, is a fast-paced, running episode in 6/8 time. It contains three themes which are repeated and passed among the instruments. A technically difficult and tight knit work, the Allegretto rouses the spirits.
Passacaglia in D minor, BuxWV 161
Dietrich Buxtehude (ca 1637-1707)
Dietrich Buxtehude was the organist at St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck (northern Germany), a post he held for forty years. His admirers were many including a young J. S. Bach who, in 1705, walked more than 200 miles to meet and hear Buxtehude play and to study his compositions.
The Passacaglia in D Minor is one of Buxtehude’s most famous and frequently performed works for organ. Brahms and others praised it as a masterpiece. The structure of this work reflects Buxtehude’s interest in numerology. To the composer the number seven was associated with the Advent and Christmas seasons; seven is mentioned many times in the Bible as a divine number.
The number seven is emphasized in the bass line by a seven-notes theme, which he repeats seven times in each of the four sections of this work. Each section is in a different key, the first and last being the key of D minor. While the bass line repeats its continuous melody, the higher parts play complex variations over this bass theme. Buxtehude inscribed all of his works with the phrase, “Non homini-bis sed Deo” (not to men but to God), a practice that Bach would also attach to his compositions: Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone).
Wind Quintet No. 2, Op. 46
Miguel Del Aguila (b. 1957)
Composer Miguel del Aguila left his native land of Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1978 because of the violence and political unrest in his country. He came to California where he graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and later completed musical studies in Vienna. Because of his South American roots del Aguila’s music is noted for its distinctive Latin sound. A review in the Albuquerque Journal noted that his music, “displayed his command of an arresting musical vocabulary, marked by a complex yet infectious rhythmic vitality.”
This composer has received numerous distinguished awards as well as three Grammy nominations, (Best Classical Album and Best Classical Contemporary Composition). His works have been performed by major symphony orchestras across the U.S. and Europe.
Wind Quintet No. 2 was composed in 1994 and was honored with the Kennedy Center’s Friedheim Award in 1995. It is comprised of four movements each with a distinct theme and combination of instruments.
In Back in Time, we hear the flute accompanied by chanting players who play a primitive modal theme. In Heaven offers a delicate Caribbean dance in which the instruments create a delicate distant percussive sound. Under the Earth presents a dark depiction of death, which demonstrates the timbre of the five instruments ranging from the high to the low registers. Using Arabic melodic scales, Far Away portrays a busy scene in the Middle East. In this section the digeridoo (Australian wind instrument) performs a constant bass pattern.
Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006)
Gyorgy Ligeti studied composition at the Kolozsvar Conservatory during the war years and later joined the faculty at the Budapest Academy. His early compositions were considered “too Western” by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes, so he produced mainly choral and folk style music for the public. He privately composed in his more complex style of tonality and rhythm. These works were largely unpublished because of fear of the authorities. He fled from Budapest for Vienna and Cologne in 1956 where his mature style could be developed.
Music from this transition period included an eleven-movement piano composition entitled Musica Ricercata, which remained unpublished. Each section emphasized a specific pitch and rhythm. From this group of eleven short movements Ligeti transcribed six for woodwind quintet which he published in 1956 as Six Bagatelles. Each section brings a different mood and image to the listener ranging from happy and playful, to serenity and grieving. They overlay in a manner that leads quickly from one emotion to another.
Arranged by Windsync
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Called by his peers and critics “The Dean of American Composers,” Aaron Copland was also an educator, writer, and conductor. Much of his music evokes the feel of the vast American landscape, the American dream, and the pioneering spirit of this country.
In 1944 he wrote music for the ballet Appalachian Spring in conjunction with choreographer and dancer Martha Graham. The story depicts the simple tale of a new life in a new land, filled with hope and the human spirit.
“Simple Gifts” comes from a Shaker song written in 1848 by Joseph Brackett. Copland’s first use of the melody was for voice and piano. He later orchestrated it and created a concert version in 1945. It has been arranged for many ensembles, it is heard in movies and in the play Our Town, and it was performed at the presidential inauguration of President Obama. Its straightforward melodic line and simple hymn-like harmony suggest a gentle spirit filled with youth, hope, and optimism.
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Dubose Heyward’s best-selling novel Porgy inspired George Gershwin to turn the book into an opera, which he set in the offshore islands of Charleston, South Carolina. Although the initial stage performance of Porgy and Bess (September 30, 1935) was not a success, the vocal works in the performance became well liked. “Summertime” is probably the most popular song from this opera. With its simplistic melody and wide range of tempos and moods the words speak of the summer season saying,
“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy,
Fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high…”
It also brings a comforting image of “daddy” and “mamma.” Not only a writer of fiction but a poet as well, Dubose Heyward wrote the lyrics for “Summertime.”
“Summertime” has been recorded by numerous famous artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday. Also the music has transcribed for instrumental groups in the forms of jazz, rock-and-roll, pop, soul, and hip-hop.
“Johnny B. Goode”
Chuck Berry (1926-2017)
“Johnnie B. Goode” by Chuck Berry tracks the real-life story of Berry’s rise from humble beginnings to the universe of a world-famous superstar. Berry grew up in St. Louis and lived at 2520 Goode Avenue. In his early days as a guitar-loving musician he joined a jazz and blues group, which included piano player Johnnie Johnson. Thus the title speaks of Johnnie and Goode from his own experience.
Written in 1955 this song became an instant hit and is considered one of the most recognizable songs in the history of popular music. It has been recorded by many leading artists and was heard in a scene in the movie Back to the Future. When Chuck Berry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he performed “Johnny B. Goode” along with several other of his works. As well, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and a golden record containing the recording was placed in the Voyager space probe as part of a package to represent the best in American culture. Perhaps aliens will find it someday and become a bit acquainted with our way of life here on Earth.
“America” (from Westside Story)
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist, Leonard Bernstein was described by music critic Donal Henahan as “one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history.” His compositions were in many styles including symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music, and works for the piano. It may be that he remains best known for this success with West Side Story.
In collaboration with choreographer Jerome Robbins, writer Arthur Laurents, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, Bernstein produced the musical West Side Story. The stage production premiered on Broadway in 1957 and the Academy Award-winning film version aired in 1961. From this work the song “America” has been performed and recorded by many groups. Conductor John Williams used the theme from “America” in music he composed in 1988 for Bernstein’s seventieth birthday gala.
This work praising America is made lively through its Hispanic musical style, Latin percussion, complex cross-rhythm, and the Spanish guitar.
Program Notes by Joella Utley