DR. BRICE ADDISON
2022 - 2023
Chamber Music Series
FRIDAY January 6 7pm
SUNDAY January 8 2pm
The Chinook Winds is joined by Michigan's Pure Winds quintet –– you'll hear two contemporary works performed by all ten musicians, and a partita that highlights music from 18th and 19th century courts.
420 Central Avenue
First Congregational Church
2900 9th Ave S
Brandon Scott Rumsey
When asked by Trade Winds Ensemble to compose Emblems, I was told that the piece would be played in Tanzania in a village for children and young adults and used as a teaching tool in addition to its role as a concert work. Because it was my first work for wind quintet, I wanted to convey to the students how fun it is to combine the various instruments in a number of ways to paint with the ensemble’s colors. Emblems can be easily deconstructed into duos, trios, quartets and reassembled in a variety of ways to show how the music is put together and how the wind quintet operates as a single unit of five instruments that are often reserved for solos. This sort of playful assembly of sounds, rhythms, and pitches create composition’s magic, lying in experimentation, trying things that might work or not, putting this with that and seeing how it turns out. My hope is that these ideas that were once conveyed to students of Trade Winds Ensemble can be reflected upon in concert with others through this music; may we all be reminded to just play.
Notes by Brandon Scott Rumsey
1921 – 1999
In the long and distinguished history of music making in England, one aspect concerning twentieth-century British composition is especially intriguing – the importance of women composers in their musical society. Perhaps the most fascinating woman of all was Ruth Gipps. While almost completely unknown in the United States, she was a pioneer in England with accomplishments (for their time) that were quite extraordinary. Just think: A woman – who in the midst of a male-dominated, brass band and military musical culture – founded and conducted a wind ensemble in the 1950s that was comprised entirely of women. This organization, named the Portia Wind Ensemble, featured Thea King as principal clarinet and remained an important part of the British musical scene for many years.
Seascape, Opus 53, was composed for the Portia Wind Ensemble around 1960 and written for double wind quintet. It is composed in a neo-impressionistic style, which considering the dearth of works for wind ensemble from that period, makes it all the more important to us today. The music begins with soft undulating arpeggios in the flutes and clarinets, which gradually gives way to a hauntingly beautiful solo line in the oboe. Numerous solos follow for the other principal players as the impressionistic emphasis on color takes over. The middle section is a small, halting march featuring the English horn. Quasi-cadenza figures eventually take the music to a serene middle section, which then segues back to a reprise of the march section. This section is followed by a recapitulation of the opening and a short coda, which brings the whole piece to a logical and satisfying conclusion.
Notes by Rodney Winther
1759 – 1831
Partita in F major
I. Allegro vivace
IV. Alla Polacca
Without a doubt, Franz Krommer’s Partita in F major, Op. 57, holds an important place in the development of woodwind writing and chamber music during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The history of what we consider the standard ensemble of flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, otherwise known as a woodwind quintet, begins with court music of the mid-18th century aristocracy. This music, known as Harmoniemusik, originated with Austrian nobility of the time as a form of recreational entertainment. The standard ensemble traditionally employed the wind section of a court orchestra, usually including pairs of oboes, horns, bassoons and later clarinets. The most significant contributions to this repertoire belong to Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart, and the most large scale work being Mozart’s famous Gran Partita of 1781. Not only were original compositions popular, but arrangements of popular operas were highly fashionable, and versions of Mozart operas including Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte were commonplace. By the arrival of the 19th century, Harmoniemusik had fallen out of favor. However, a set of woodwind quintets composed for what we consider the modern ensemble were written by Anton Reicha in 1811 and are an extension of this tradition, setting the roadmap for composers for the next two hundred years.
In addition to the more notable composers who we readily recognize today, there were many composers for whom Harmonie bands were a specialty, including Antonio Rosetti, Josef Mysleviček, Josef Triebensee and Franz Krommer. The latter of these in particular, was an extremely prolific writer for wind instruments. Krommer, a Czech native, moved as many did to Austria and France in search of work in royal and aristocratic courts. His wide output includes over fifty partitas for Harmonie, all of which emphasize the incredible virtuosity of the musicians of the era. While perhaps not as innovative or as significant as some of his contemporaries, Krommer’s music sparkles with the creativity of a natural idiomatic language that highlights the versatility of the wind instruments, using them to their best advantage. The Partita, Op. 57 is such an example of this writing, and is an epithet of classical balance and compositional values. These works form the backbone of woodwind repertoire, exploring elements and characteristics of the instruments that contemporaries and future composers would be inspired by.
Notes by Nick Davies
Scott was first inspired to write the piece in 2004 on a trip to Brazil after witnessing a festival for the goddess Iemanjá. Having been raised Catholic, to see such a beautiful display of devotion to another deity entirely foreign to him piqued his interest. Each movement begins with a summoning of the goddess being celebrated, moves to a middle section as a dance in honor of that goddess, and finally concludes with a return to quiet prayer.
The music of the first movement honors Isis, a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Believed to help the dead enter the afterlife as she had helped Osiris, her maternal aid was also invoked in healing spells to benefit ordinary people. She was usually portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a thronelike hieroglyph on her head. Her reputed magical power was greater than that of all other gods, and she was said to protect the kingdom from its enemies, govern the skies and the natural world, and have power over fate itself.
Titled Iemanjá: Goddess of the Sea, the second movement celebrates a deity worshiped in the cultural area known as Yorubaland, a territory covering present-day southwestern Nigeria and parts of Togo and Benin. For pregnant women and children, Iemanjá represents protection, for hunters she provides rich prey, and for farmers abundant crops. Today, celebrations of Iemanjá are accompanied by gifts such as brightly colored flowers and crafted fruits or plates of food. During the festivities, followers offer flowers and gifts to the goddess at the sea’s edge and send them out to her in the ocean. Everyone dresses in white, and night-long music and dancing continue after the offerings have been made.
The final movement pays homage to Mawu, a West African goddess of creation known as the first mother—the one who gave life to all creatures on earth. She is depicted as quite old and sometimes riding on the back of an elephant. She was the first and ultimate fertility goddess, sometimes also known as the goddess of the moon and night sky, and twin sister to Liza, the god of the sun and day.
Notes by Christine Lundahl