DR. BRICE ADDISON
Francesco Antonio Rosetti
TWO MOVEMENTS FROM
Quintet in F Major B6 for
Flute, Horn, Cello, Viola and Violin
II. Andante ma allegretto
II. Rondeau. Allegro
Norman Menzales . Madeleine Folkerts
Thad Suits . Alyssa Roggow . Mary Papoulis
Francesco Antonio Rosetti (1750 -1792) was a composer and double bass player. He spent his early years in northern Bohemia, receiving a musical education in Prague from Jesuits. In 1773, he took his first job as a court musician, leaving his homeland for Oettingen-Wallerstein (in modern-day Germany). He spent sixteen years there before moving to Ludwigslust after accepting the post as Kapellmeister, the head musician of the court.
He married Rosina Neher in 1777, with whom he had three daughters. Rosetti took a leave of absence in 1781 and traveled to Paris, where he expanded his reach and popularity as a composer. His pieces were performed by some of the top ensembles in the city. Soon after, he published his entire catalogue of works, which at the time included more than 400 compositions. Rosetti is arguably best known today for his horn concerti, which are believed to have been an influence on Mozart’s horn concerti.
This quintet was originally composed in E-flat for a standard woodwind quintet. A contemporary of Rosetti, Giovanni Punto, actually published the work after Rosetti’s death. Punto was a highly regarded horn player and composer in his time, known for popularizing and extending hand horn techniques (a method of covering the bell to play more notes before valves were invented) and his virtuosic playing. Along with publishing the original work, Punto also arranged this quintet for flute, horn, violin, viola, and cello.
– Notes by Madeleine Folkerts
Eight Duos for Bassoon and Viola
Dorian Antipa . Alyssa Roggow
Philippe Hersant (b. 1948) is a tonal composer who strives to be personal rather than to seek innovation at any cost. Born in Rome, Hersant studied withAndré Jolivet (who also composed a bassoon concerto which has become part of the standard repertoire) and earned degrees in music as well as literature.
Hersant blends unconventional sounds with lyrical melodies, often developing a simple idea or motive throughout a movement. His penchant for elaborating on a theme and recalling snippets of music help make even strange sounds quickly feel familiar.
One of the charming elements of this work are the quick transitions from one mood to another, almost as if one is walking through a hall and opening doors to different scenes already in progress. The Eight Duos (1995) draw on folk music styles and ideas, though only the seventh movement actually quotes a folk melody–in this case, a widow’s lament from Eastern Europe.
– Notes by Dorian Antipa
Quintet for Oboe and String Quartet
Paul Chinen . Mary Papoulis. Megan Karls Alyssa Roggow. Thad Suits
Tempo moderato - Allegro moderato - Tempo primo
Allegro giocoso - Piu lento - Vivace
British composer Arnold Bax (1883-1953) was influenced by the playing of the celebrated oboist Leon Goossens, to whom the Quintet is dedicated, and Bax was probably the first big name composer to write such a piece for him.
After an elegiac progression of chords, the oboe’s first entry, an improvisatory tempo molto moderato, has a plaintive cast, indeed surely the reminiscence of Peter Warlock’s despairing cor anglais in The Curlew is not far away from this music. The central section is vigorous, some commentators even finding it ‘rustic,’ but Bax is certainly not evoking Irish folk music, as he is in the finale. The range of colour Bax extracts from his string quartet is amazing, at the outset having the first violin playing tremolando in octaves with that characteristic sound that comes from playing close to the bridge, the cello and viola playing pizzicato and the cello declaiming a bold repeated motif. Soon, while the oboe plays an upward-lying phrase unaccompanied, the strings quickly put on their mutes for the return of the opening, much transformed. The ending is magical as the strings play soft chords underpinned by threatening repeated Gs on the cello and a final distant flourish from the oboe.
The slow movement is the emotional heart of the work. It opens very quietly with a serenely beautiful folk-sounding tune sung out molto espressivo by the first violin, warmly accompanied by the strings. Eventually the oboe sounds a plaintive improvisation, reminding us how Bax once unexpectedly heard pipe-music in London. This plangent tone contrasts with the beauty of the opening and is underlined and elaborated by the strings and oboe now together. Eventually the opening tempo returns and with it the violin’s opening tune, now clouded by troubled shifting string textures, and the spectral effect of the first violinist’s sul ponticello tremolandi. Even the oboe’s serene closing phrase is shadowed by the soft tremolando strings, and an uneasy repose is not achieved until the final chord.
The finale is an Irish jig, written by a composer who had seen and taken part in the real thing, though as far as is known, the authentic-sounding themes were composed by Bax himself. Yet all too soon, clouds cover the sun and the spectres return. The dance continues and although the ending is thrown off brilliantly, we are aware that this is no mere Irish picture postcard. In 1922 no one, certainly not Bax, could fail to be torn by the horrors, the terror and the infinite sadness overshadowing the picturesque scene.
– Notes by Paul Chinen
Four 2-Bit Contraptions for Flute and Horn
1. Second Lieutenant
Norman Menzales . Madeleine Folkerts
Jan Bach (b. 1937) is a contemporary American composer, whose primary instrument is the horn. Dr. Bach studied with Aaron Copland, and has won numerous awards (including winning the Koussevitzky competition and the New York City Opera competition), as well as six Pulitzer Prize nominations.
The New Grove Dictionary of Music hails Dr. Bach’s “structural clarity and a subtle use of instrumental timbre” and notes his “inexhaustible sense of humor.” Among his numerous compositions are two operas, the second of which was produced by Beverly Sills for the New York City Opera. His 1964 Four 2-Bit Contraptions (originally for flute and horn), was written while Dr. Bach served in the U.S. Army Band in Washington, DC.
Dr. Bach’s own words about Four 2-Bit Contraptions: “...The work’s title is an obvious satirical jibe at another composing Bach, now decomposing, and his Two-Part Inventions for keyboard. The work’s 1970 publication by Media Press is in large part responsible for its world-wide distribution and notoriety; to the composer’s eternal embarrassment, it remains his most frequently performed composition. It is particularly popular at the April Fool’s Day concerts that are becoming increasingly popular in this country, but it has also been performed in such distant countries as Sweden, England, and Germany with equally successful results.”
– Notes by Norman Menzales