Chamber Music Series
FRIDAY September 29 7pm
SUNDAY October 1 2pm
Experience the unique blend of marimba and strings with Great Falls own percussionist Jake Henneford, plus classics of Haydn and Mendelssohn.
DR. BRICE ADDISON
Judy Ericksen in Memory of Bill Larsen
2023 - 2024
String Quartet Op. 77,
No. 1 in G Major
Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in G Major is the first of two quartets in the Op.77 catalog. Both were comissioned by Prince Joseph Lobkowitz, a key patron of the arts in Vienna. Haydn is well regarded as the “Father of the String Quartet,” and this, being one of his latest in the genre, showcases the most masterful and progressive writing for string quartet at the time.
I. Allegro moderato
The quartet begins with a sprightly Allegro moderato, where Haydn introduces a lively, cheerful theme from the first violin and a jaunty, buoyant pulse from the lower three voices that sets the tone for the entire work. The interplay between the four instruments is delightful, especially noting the call and answer of the theme between the violin and cello, and later when the first violin has a soaring melodic line while the viola and second violin are having a conversation with running triplets. Later you will hear these triplets passed around the entire quartet. This is a great example of Haydn’s brilliance at integrating all voices of a string quartet. Haydn’s reputation for his sense of humor is truly evident in the jubilant nature of this opening movement.
The second movement is a direct contrast to the opening Allegro, encapsulating many complex emotions in its introspective quality. It is a moving, lyrical movement characterized by its warm melodies and expressive harmonies. Haydn’s ability to convey deep emotion within the classical framework is on full display here. It opens with all four voices in unison with a beautiful, inviting theme that carries throughout the rest of the movement, but also pendulates between hopefully sentimental and sorrowful.
III. Menuetto: Presto
The third movement, a Menuetto and Trio marked Presto, provides a playful and charming interlude. The quartet dances gracefully through this minuet, with lively rhythms and graceful phrasing, offering a glimpse into Haydn’s wit and humor. This movement is also a direct example of Haydn’s innovativeness, in calling for a faster tempo in a minuet-trio movement than had been traditionally asked for, and can be thought of as scherzo-like. This had a great impact on many great composers such as Schubert and Beethoven.
This movement also begins in unison but significantly contrasts with the second in its exhilarating opening theme. The first violin can be heard soaring into stratospheric heights as the other three voices offer a steady support. The momentum of the Minuet is kept by running eighth notes passed through every instrument.
The first part of this movement is then abruptly interrupted by the stark contrast of the trio, with its dynamic and boisterous character. The heavy pulses in the lower three voices create a strong foundation for the first violin to explore the entire range of the instrument.
IV. Finale: Presto
The quartet concludes with a brisk and spirited Finale marked Presto. Again we hear the quartet in unison in its opening (and catchy) theme that the rest of the movement is woven around. The entire finale is truly electrifying with its virtuosic sixteenth notes, contrasting dynamics, and a coda that yearns to keep going with its leaping eighth notes passing around the quartet leaving listeners uplifted and energized.
– Program notes by Christine Sherlock
1809 - 1847
String Quartet in E flat Major
Op. 12 No. 1
Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 12, No. 1, being his first published quartet, is a remarkable example of the composer’s prodigious talent and early mastery of chamber music composition. Written in 1829 when Mendelssohn was just 20 years old, this quartet reflects the Romantic era’s spirit while maintaining a classical structure and elegance.
I. Adagio non troppo - Allegro non tardante
The quartet opens with an Adagio introduction that sets a contemplative mood before launching into the Allegro non tardante. Mendelssohn’s signature lyrical melodies and rich harmonies shine in this movement. The mood turns blissfully sweet as the Allegro non tardante begins and has characters of grace and nostalgia. Intensity and a sense of urgency grows as the movement progresses, before finally returning to the hopeful, beautiful reminiscence it began with. The interplay between the four voices showcases his gift for creating engaging and dramatic dialogues within the quartet.
II. Canzonetta: Allegretto
Instead of the common Scherzo movement, Mendelssohn wrote a Canzonetta, which is translated as “a song for voice and accompaniment.” In the beginning of this movement, the two violins can be heard as the ‘voice’ while the viola plays a heartbeat-like pizzicato accompaniment and the cello joins in with harmonic support, resulting in the rhythmic theme being passed throughout the quartet. The middle section is very different in character, with a vibrant 16th note theme that gets passed back and forth between the two violins and the viola and cello, before returning again to the original, light-heartedly sinister theme.
III. Andante espressivo
Mendelssohn pours his heart into this lyrical movement, creating a profound and introspective atmosphere. It is the briefest of the movements, but packs an immense amount of emotional depth. Its theme, relating to the beginning of the first movement, is interrupted by moments of intense recitative from the violin marked “con fuoco” (on fire).
IV. Molto allegro e vivace
The fourth movement begins immediately at the end of the third, concluding with a vivacious finale characterized by its infectious energy. With virtuosic running eighth notes across the whole quartet, Mendelssohn’s mastery as a composer is evident in the rapid exchanges and brilliant passages that bring the quartet to an exuberant close.
Mendelssohn’s Op. 12, No. 1 represents a significant step in the development of the string quartet genre in the 19th century. It combines elements of Romantic expressiveness with classical form and structure, resulting in a work that is both emotionally engaging and intellectually satisfying. This quartet continues to be a beloved gem in the chamber music repertoire, a testament to Mendelssohn’s enduring genius and ability to capture the essence of both classical musical form and romanticism.
For String Quartet & Marimba
Heavenward is a captivating contemporary chamber composition by the Filipino composer Joshua Cerdenia, described as “a composer to watch over the next several years” by famed conductor Leonard Slatkin.
It combines the rich timbres of a string quartet with the percussive brilliance of the marimba to blend elements of classical and contemporary music.
Heavenward begins in a dissonant, asynchronous manner from the strings that calm into steady long tones as the Marimba enters. The opening has an ethereal quality with most of the motion coming from the marimba, alongside a melancholic melody from the violins.
The work is gradual in its intensity with short interruptions of both harmonic unrest and gorgeous melodic lines, ending on a climactic peak that is sure to leave listeners in a state of awe.
From the composer:
“Heavenward is my third offering in a cycle of loosely related pieces by Japanese death poems, preceded by On the Verge and When You Contemplate the Waters. It was directly inspired by a haiku of Dohaku: Cargoless, bound heavenward, ship of the moon. Unlike the previous two pieces in my ‘Death Haiku’ cycle, I did not derive a musical narrative nor musical elements from Dohaku’s poem; neither did I wish to express the tragedy of the poet’s impending death in general. Instead, I aimed to express a more personal reaction to the words.”
Heavenward was composed for Ensemble Gô and completed in Singapore in early 2014.
Marimbist Jake Henneford has performed across the United States and China as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician. He has performed at several Days of Percussion, the Oregon Fringe Festival, the McCormick Marimba Festival, and at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, as well as presenting solo and chamber concerts throughout the United States.
As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the Great Falls Symphony, Helena Symphony, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, Grand Forks Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Longmont Symphony. He has appeared as a soloist with the Concordia Orchestra playing Richard Rodney Bennett’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, and also as a soloist with percussion ensembles in the Midwest.
An advocate for new music, Henneford has premiered several works for solo marimba, and has been an enthusiastic participant in commissioning several works for solo, percussion ensemble, and mixed ensemble.
While living in Boulder, CO, Henneford was a member of the Boulder Altitude Directive new music ensemble, commissioning and performing works from professional and student composers in the Colorado area. He is a founding member of the MinusOne Percussion Quartet, and a part of the violin/marimba duo Woodworks, which just presented their arrangements of Scandinavian Folk music in Montana earlier this year.
He is also an extremely proud product of the Great Falls music education system. Music education is near and dear to Henneford’s heart. He has taught Music Theory, Music History, Percussion Pedagogy, and private lessons while a student at NDSU, and currently maintains a private teaching studio for up-and-coming percussionists in Great Falls. Henneford has also directed several student ensembles throughout the Midwest and is a coach for the Great Falls Youth Orchestra percussion ensemble.
Henneford holds a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from Concordia College and a Master’s of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Colorado–Boulder. Henneford has also completed work towards a secondary Master’s in Music Theory Pedagogy and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion at North Dakota State University.
His primary teachers include Lauree Wenger, David Eyler, Douglas Walter, and Sigurd Johnson. Currently residing in Great Falls, Montana, Henneford continues to strive to share the wonderful music of the marimba and percussion with audiences around the country.
When not hitting things with sticks, he enjoys baking, talking to his plants, making Thai food, and playing with his puppy, Evie, named after renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie. He even plays the begrudging board game with his partner, violinist Devin Burgess.