This page shows our concert series for 2018. Details of performers, the musical offerings and program notes can be accessed by clicking on the concert series title.
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Tickets $30, concession $25 and students $15. Available at the door (cash only).
Clarendon Piano Trio
The Clarendon Trio competed in the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.
Much Ado About Contrasts!
* if staying to enjoy the hospitality of the venue, please make a booking:
Home Hill Winery Restaurant 6264 1200 | Riversdale Estate 6248 5555
Pictured (L-R): Andrew Seymour clarinet, Meriel Owen piano and Jennifer Owen violin.
1. Allegro tristamente (Allegretto - Très calme - Tempo allegretto) 2. Romanza (Très calme) 3. Allegro con fuoco (Très animé)
In 1962, Benny Goodman, the famous American jazz clarinettist, commissioned Francis Poulenc to compose a work for Clarinet in memory of the passing of the Swiss composer Arthur Honegger. Poulenc and Honegger were old friends and both were members of the group of Les Six.
Poulenc composed this piece for the commission. The emotional and melancholic atmosphere of the piece is brought about not by introduction and development of discernible melodic lines but by a fleeting figurative exposition of silhouettes and shapes in sound.
The untimely death of the composer in January 1963 upset the plans for the work’s premiere with the composer accompanying on the piano. Instead, Benny Goodman and Leonard Bernstein premiered the work in April 1963 at the Carnegie Hall.
Poulenc, in describing himself, once revealed his admiration for Bach, Mozart, Satie and Stravinsky, his dislike of Beethoven and hatred of Wagner!
1. Maiden in the Bridal Chamber 2. March of the Watch (Dogberry and Verges) 3. Garden Scene 4. Hornpipe
In 1918 and at the age of 20, the music prodigy Erick Wolfgang Korngold was commissioned to compose some incidental music for the Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. Later, Korngold re-arranged the work into a chamber music suite in five movements by enhancing and expanding its orchestration.
The piece soon became a popular feature of concert repertoire and remained so throughout the first half of the last century. It was also used on many occasions in its original role as incidental music in various productions of Shakespeare’s play. On one such occasion, due to unavailability of musicians, Korngold extracted a four-movement suit from the original work and arranged it for violin and piano and played the piano himself.
The popularity of the work can be attributed to its sparkly and energetic treatment of melody and orchestration in the familiar and traditional disposition of melody, harmony and classical forms.
1. Verbunkos 'Recruiting Dance' Moderato ben ritmato 2. Pihenö 'Relaxation' Lento 3.Sebes 'Fast Dance' Allegro vivace
In 1938, Benny Goodman conveyed to the violinist Joseph Szigeti his desire to commission a work by Bela Bartok. Szigeti wrote to Bartok and sent him some of Goodman’s Jazz Trio records. Bartok agreed to the commission and composed the Contrasts.
As in many of the Bartok’s compositions, Romanian and Hungarian dance melodies feature prominently in this work. Of the three instruments, the clarinet plays the most prominent role followed by the violin. Curiously, the piano plays only a supporting role throughout the work providing the underlying texture and harmonic foundation.
The three movements, “recruiting dance”, “relaxations”, and “fast dance” represents contrasts in speed. As the name of the work suggests, such contrast has been the intention of the composer. However, music scholars often maintain that the intended contrast applies more to mood than speed.
Original reception of the work ranged from neutral to slightly positive and was generally agreed that it does not reach the heights of Bartok’s achievements. Nevertheless, Contrasts continues to be an important part of the clarinet repertoire.
Pictured L-R top: Ian Cocking, bass; Tom Misson, piano; Abby Fraser, flute
Bottom: Matthew Ives, drums.
Essentially an original American art form, jazz music took root in France as the first world war came to an end. Few cultures outside the United States have contributed to the development of jazz more than the French, and this tradition continues as we approach the second decade of the twenty first century. Many French jazz musicians are familiar names around the world. Stephan Grappelli, Michel Legrand, Jacques Loussier and Claude Bolling are among such famous names.
Claude Bolling, a native of Cannes and graduate of Nice Conservatory, was a child prodigy and was an established professional jazz pianist by the age of fourteen. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bolling did not venture into French inspired avant-garde jazz and remained true to the traditional jazz styles such as bebop. His books on jazz techniques as well as his friendship with Oscar Peterson in 1960s helped the revival of traditional jazz.
A classical training and close friendship with many famous classical musicians of the twentieth century enticed Bolling into composing several “cross-over” works that bridge the gap between classical music and traditional jazz. The two suites for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio are among these works.
The Suite No 1 was written in 1973 with the most famous classical flautist of the time Jean-Pierre Rampal in mind. The work was recorded by Rampal and Bolling’s trio in 1975 and is the first jazz recording by the famous flautist.
The work became very popular, and classical flautists around the world adopted it in their repertoire. The suite is composed in seven movements: Baroque and blue, Sentimentale, Javanaise, Fugance, Iraldaise, Versatile (with Bass Flute) and Veloce.
By necessity, the work avoids improvisation so central to jazz in favour of strict melodies committed to paper in the tradition of classical music. While the piece is not strictly jazz, it nevertheless, presents an “atmosphere” closer to jazz than traditional classical flute music.
For the flute player, the piece poses major challenges through intricacies of the melody line and in particularly the constant changing of tempo so intrinsic to jazz and so unfamiliar in classical compositions. Those who can read music scores are often surprised how the produced sound by the ensemble differs from what one expects by just looking at the notes on the page.
In 1986, a decade after the first work was performed and encouraged by its popularity, Bolling and Rampal joined forces again, and Bolling composed the Suite No. 2 for the same ensemble. While the second work did not gain the popularity of the first, it is more sophisticated in its structure and content and requires a higher level of virtuosity.
The Suite No.2 is composed of eight movements and is among Bolling’s longest compositions. The movements are named: Espiegle, Amoureuse, Entr’amis, Vagabonde, Pastorale, Affectueuse, Intime and Jazzy.
Pictured (right) are Yue-Hong Cha violin and Karen Smithies piano.