October 2017

Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 pm at Camarillo United Methodist Church, at 291 Anacapa Drive, Camarillo.

Sunday, October 15,  20173:00 pm, at First United Methodist Church of Ventura, 1338 East Santa Clara Street, Ventura.

Best of CHICO

Program notes by Dr. Ted Lucas, Professor Emeritus, CSU Channel Islands.

Sonata pian’ e forte by Giovanni Gabrieli

The importance of the Venetian composer Giovanni Gabrieli in the history of music cannot be overstated. While we don’t hear much of his music today, he was well known throughout Europe in is time, and his profound influence on Vivaldi, Bach, Handel andhundreds of other Baroque composers is enormous. Composing before the time the nature of harmony was fully understood, Gabrieli wrote exciting music that was harmonically advanced for its time. Most of his music was performed in St. Mark’s Basilica in “stereo.” That is, two or more small groups of instruments were placed inopposing balconies, answering each other’s musical phrases back and forth.

The title of this composition translates from the Italian as “Soft and Loud Sonata.” Imagine yourself sitting in the vast nave of St. Mark’s in the 16th century and hearing the echoing brass choirs filling the basilica with glorious music as you listen to our excellent performers reproduce on of Giovanni Gabrieli’s best known works.

Selections from Sinfornia Concertante, K. 297b in E-flat Major by W. A. Mozart, featuring Paula Dublinski oboe;  David Singer, clarinet; Lynne Doherty, French horn; Cavit Celayir-Monezis, bassoon;

The 2nd and 3rd movements of a delightful concerto for four woodwinds and orchestra is a rare example of a “concerto gross” written in Mozart’s time. Since the original score has been long lost, it is not certain that W.A. Mozart was its composer. Whatever the truth, it remains a frequently performed work in the early Classical style.

Listen as the 2nd movement begins with unison orchestra followed by four descending notes in the bassoon, then the clarinet, and finally the oboe as it continues the lovely theme that is passed from instrument to instrument throughout this movement.

The 3rd and final movement is an upbeat theme and variations, with the wind quartet announcing the theme, followed by a recurring orchestral interlude between the 14 variations. An unusual coda completes this work– unusual in that it is in 6/8 meter while the rest of the movement is in 4/4 meter. Mozart was not known for his metric changes, perhaps leading some to question the work’s authorship. Still, the work has been a crowd pleaser for 250 years. 

Selections from Carmen Opera Suite (Prelude, Habanera) by Georges Bizet featuring Chelsea Melamed, mezzo-soprano;

“Shocking.” “Lewd.” “Immoral.” Indecent.” These are only a few of the derogatory terms audiences and reviewers used to describe Bizet’s groundbreaking four-act opera Carmen. Written in 1873-74 and first performed in Paris in 1875, the opera broke new ground in many areas, not the least of which was that it starred an immoral seductress in the leading role when other operas up to that time featured leading women as paragons of high virtue. A heavy smoker most of his life, Bizet died the same year, going to his grave at age 33 believing that Carmen was a failure. Today Carmen is the second most frequently-performed opera in the world. The “Prelude” (a kind of overture after the curtain opens) features the famous “Toreador” song, while the “Habanera,” Carmen’s first aria, performed by our own Rebecca Comerford, laments the lawlessness of love (“Love is a rebellious bird”). 

Suite from Pulcinella Ballet by Igor Stravinsky;

Ask any number of professional musicians and music historians who the greatest composer of the 20th century is, and a large majority will almost certainly say it was Igor Stravinsky. Known primarily for his ballet music, Stravinsky is frequently credited with beginning the modern period in music with his ballet, “The Rite of Spring” that was first performed in Paris in 1913. Seven years later, his ballet “Pulcinella” was based on the music of the 18th center composer Giovanni Pergolesi and saw its premier in the same city. The central character Pulcinella was often portrayed in 18th century comedy theater. Stravinsky cleverly rewrote the music of Pergolesi, updating it with 20th center harmonies and techniques while retaining the Classical style of Pergolesi’s music. The concert version of the ballet was written in 1922 and structured in the form of a suite, something Stravinsky did with most of his ballets.Listen for the inventive interplay of 18th century and 20th century musical styles as CHICO presents one of Stravinsky’s best orchestral works.  

Grande polonaise brillante  by Frédéric Chopin featuring Miriam Arichea, piano.

In his short 39 years, the Polish composer Frederic Chopin wrote a tremendous amount of piano music– over 230 works for piano alone or piano with other instruments. (He never wrote anything that didn’t include the piano.) The Grande polonaise brilliant, originally written for piano and orchestra, though often played by piano alone, was composed when Chopin was only 20 years old. He had just left Warsaw when the Polish-Russian War 1830-1831 threw Poland into chaos. Though heartsick for Poland the remainder of his life, Chopin never returned.

Our always-popular Miriam Arichea interprets the polonaise with flair and precision. Listen as she effortlessly renders the difficult arpeggios, rapid scales in thirds, trills in thirds, and octave leaps and jumps, revealing the youthful energy of the great master of the piano.