Orchestra Roster, Soloist Bio, and Program Notes for
May 21 & 22, 2005 Musica Bella Concerts
Musica Bella Orchestra Season Series Concerts Nos. 20 and 21
Conductor: Phillip Gaskill
Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22, 2005
Church of the Blessed Sacrament
OUR MOSTLY MOZART SERIES:
AN ALL-MOZART CONCERT
Mozart: Symphony No. 17 in G, K. 129
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Winds and Orchestra, K. Anh. 9
Members of the Musica Bella Woodwind Quintet:
Daniel Fierer, oboe; Christine Todd, clarinet;
Phil Fedora, bassoon; Christophe Gillet, horn
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K. 550
principal second violin
Cecee Pantikian, concertmaster
Jeremy Hwang, principal
Anahit Harutyunyan Gaskill,
Do Kien Cuong
Manager Anahit Harutyunyan-Gaskill
Assistant Manager Thomas Crane
Stage Manager Shoji Mizumoto
Music Director/Conductor Phillip Gaskill
|ABOUT OUR SOLOISTS
Daniel Fierer began his musical studies in San Diego, where he was a student of Betsy Spear of the San Diego Symphony. He then studied with the late and dearly missed Ronald Roseman at Yale and was principal oboist of the Yale Symphony, at home and during their European tour. Upon relocating to our nation’s capital, he studied with Rudy Vrbsky of the National Symphony, and became a regular performer in the chamber music community, most notably as a monthly soloist with the Pilgrims Chamber Ensemble, emphasizing 20th century and new music, and continued as an orchestral performer as the oboist of the award-winning Gilbert and Sullivan opera company The Washington Savoyards. Daniel has now recently moved to New York to join the medical faculty at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Daniel joined The Musica Bella Orchestra in 2003 and was a featured soloist with the Musica Bella Chamber Orchestra in the Bach Concerto for Oboe and Violin in January 2004.
Christine Todd has performed with various musical organizations in the New York area, including the American Chamber Opera Company, the New York Repertory Orchestra, and the Gotham Winds, a woodwind quintet that has been coached by Jane Taylor, founding member of the Dorian Wind Quintet, and clarinetist David Krakauer. Christine is a CPA and holds an MBA degree from Columbia University and bachelors degrees in accounting and German from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she was principal clarinetist of the university orchestra as well as an active performer of chamber music and solo recitalist. She has studied clarinet in New York with Allen Blustine, leading contemporary music performer and founding member of Speculum Musicae. Christine is currently Associate Vice President for Financial Services and Controller of the Juilliard School.
Phil Fedora is from Pittsburgh, where he was a student of Arthur Kubey, former principal bassoonist of the Pittsburgh Symphony. His recent performances (2001) have been with the Albany Symphony, the Berkshire Symphony (Williamstown, MA), the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony, and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (Poughkeepsie). He has also performed with the Springfield Symphony (MA), the Portland (ME) Symphony, and at the Berkshire Choral Festival (Sheffield, MA). He is also a member of the Westwind Woodwind Quintet. He resides in Croton-On-Hudson, NY.
Christophe Gillet was principal horn of the Columbia University Orchestra and the New York Youth Symphony; was a member of the National Guild Youth Symphony and The Chautauqua Youth Symphony; and was a founding member of Columbia’s Bach Society. He was a finalist in both the Enrico Fermi and Sarah Lawrence Concerto Competitions, and was awarded the Westchester Music Teacher’s Scholarship, Columbia’s Dolon Prize for excellence in Music, and The Brook and Rappaport fellowship to study at the Brevard Music Festival. He has studied with Bill Purvis of Juilliard, Scott Temple of the New York City Opera, and Karen Froehlich.
by Thomas Crane
|By the time of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birth in 1756, the symphony had almost entirely supplanted the concerto grosso as the dominant orchestral form. The early symphonies were comparatively brief, rarely more than about ten minutes in length; stylistically, they avoided the elaborate counterpoint of the concerto grosso in favor of a rather simple homophonic texture. One of the principal engines of the new style was the virtuoso court orchestra at Mannheim, with its two particular “trademarks”: the massive, controlled crescendo by the full orchestra, and the “Mannheim skyrocket,” a brilliant melodic figuration that leaped rapidly upward for as much as two octaves. (The “Mannheim Steamroller,” by the way, is a modern invention.) The boy Mozart was surrounded by new works of this type, and by the age of eight he had absorbed the style sufficiently to begin writing his own First Symphony.
The Symphony No. 17, one of a series Mozart produced in the months preceding and following his sixteenth birthday, is a good example of the Mozartean symphony in its infancy. The strings carry most of the melodic burden, while the winds serve mainly to back up the harmonies. The first movement makes wide use of the “Scotch snap,” a figure which will be heard again in the slow movement of the 40th Symphony. The jig-like finale rounds out this cheerful, upbeat bit of juvenilia.
Although the concerto grosso was effectively a dead form, its influence continued to be felt, particularly in the concerto for multiple instruments called the sinfonia concertante. The work heard today, the Sinfonia Concertante for four winds and orchestra, has had a checkered history. Once accepted as a part of the Mozart canon, it has come under much scrutiny in recent years and is now relegated to the Anhang (Appendix) of the Köchel catalogue as a “suspect” work, for which no autograph score exists. Mozart’s letters from around the time of his sojourn in Mannheim in 1777-78 refer to a Sinfonia Concertante for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, for which no score survives; many scholars now believe that the present work is an adaptation of that composition, either by Mozart or some arranger.
The sonorities of the four solo instruments are intimately intertwined with the orchestra, which contains two oboes and two horns as well as strings. In typical fashion for the classical concerto, an orchestral introduction states the principal themes of the first movement before the soloists enter. Near the movement’s close, the four instruments alone present an ensemble cadenza. The second movement has the unusual feature of being in the same key as the first and third. The third movement is a set of ten variations on a 24-bar theme (16 bars allotted to the soloists, followed by an eight-bar orchestral refrain). The variations thoroughly test the virtuosity of the soloists, and the movement concludes with a 6/8 coda which is really an additional variation.
The Symphony No. 40, probably Mozart’s most popular work in this form, was composed in Vienna in the summer of 1788 together with No. 41, the so-called “Jupiter” Symphony. The contrast with the 1772 symphony is dramatic, both in scope and in style. The Mannheim school, with its insistent homophony and somewhat monotonous “chugging” bass line, has largely been left behind; the three-movement format has grown to four with the addition of the minuet; and each movement has greatly expanded in size and in its exploration of the musical material. The 40th Symphony is also notable in another respect: it is one of only two Mozart symphonies in a minor key, and the attendant pensive quality of the work may explain why Mozart dispensed with trumpets and timpani.
Most striking, though, is the way in which musical material proceeds from a tiny melodic/rhythmic cell, a technique that would later come to be strongly associated with Beethoven. In the first movement, this cell consists of the first three notes in the violins—two eighth-notes a half-step apart, followed by a quarter-note on the beat—which then appears hundreds of times in many different variants. Similarly, the second movement’s motivic source is six repeated eighths in the violas. The minuet imposes a hemiola rhythm (a “large 3”) on the underlying “small 3” of the classic court dance, while the trio section (in major) has more the air of a country dance or Ländler. The finale begins with an example of the “Mannheim skyrocket” mentioned earlier, but Mozart reserves his biggest surprises for the development, where the rocket seems to veer out of control. After passing through almost the entire chromatic scale (Mozart’s anticipation of the twelve-tone row?) and completely obscuring any sense of key, the theme appears rapidly in one key after another (all of them far removed from G minor) and in complex double counterpoint. This astonishing passage might well be the composer’s response to some contemporary critics who grumbled about his “highly spiced” chromaticism and dissonance.