The Winter Solstice Concert
The programme is
organised in three sections, to allow breaks for food, drink, and conversation.
The first movement starts with a warm-up of Beethoven's classic trio and ends
with guest singers who have to leave by 2 pm for another musical engagement.
in G major, Op. 1 No. 2, Adagio and Allegro vivace by Ludwig van Beethoven
in e minor for cello and guitar, Largo and Allegro by Antonio Vivaldi
Op. 85 arranged for viola and piano Max Bruch
is My Quiet by Henry Purcell arranged for voice
and solo guitar by R. Bekkers
for voice and piano George Gershwin
Catherine Fish and Allan Fish
The second movement as
typical of most second movements is much slower. Since the last Sicilienne Concert
(16 December 2001), several more siciliennes have been discovered. In the tranquility,
we remember friends who have died and their families left with no closure. The
Theme from Schindler's List is performed in remembrance.
and in remembrance"
Sicilienne for violin
and piano by Maria Theresia von Paradis
Op. 78 for cello and piano by Gabriel Fauré
from Suite Française by Francis Poulenc, arranged for two guitars
by R. Bekkers
Thais Meditation by Jules
Massenet arranged for violin and guitar by R. Bekkers
Two Play for
viola and piano by Robert
Theme from Schindler's List for
violin and piano by John Williams
Canon in D
by Johann Pachelbel, for violin, cello, piano arranged by Daniel Dorff
a hearty warm lunch and hot drinks, the audience is ready for some fun and good
cheer. Like most final movements, the last section is faster moving. To give the
cellist a break, instead of the Gigue from Bach's Cello Suites, we have Anne Ku
playing one of her own arrangements. Then follows several dances. This section
features an original composition by the Dutch composer Heleen Verleur.
"Let's dance and be merry"
Medley for piano solo arranged by Anne Ku
en forme de habanera arranged for cello and piano by Maurice Ravel
Folk Dances arranged for cello and piano by Béla Bartók
from Trio Nr. 2 for piano, violin, and cello by Heleen Verleur
from Suite No. 2 by J.S. Bach arr. viola, cello, piano, and solo guitar
by R. Bekkers
Christmas Medley for viola, cello, guitar, and piano
by Robert Bekkers
Alphabetically by composer
The orchestral suites of Bach all use traditional French
dances. (Bach wrote several French suites and several English suites for keyboard.)
In the second orchestral suite (B minor), the badinerie is the last dance. The
badinerie is a relatively rare dance movement, and this is by far the best-known
example of this genre. It rarely appears outside 18th-century suites, and is generally
defined merely as a "dancelike piece of jocose character."
Bartók (1881 - 1945)
Peter Bates writes of Bartók's earlier
works, including the six Roumanian Folk Dances, originally composed for piano
solo: "Often when we hear our favourite composers' early works, it is like
going through their laundry drawer. We're embarrassed or amused at what we find,
as well as relieved we seldom see it shown in public. With these Bartók's
solo piano works, most written before he was forty, the seams and rents are readily
visible. But if we listen closely enough, we find pieces of remarkable strength
and flexibility. Along with the callow experiments, there are flashes of innovation."
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1820)
piano trios span most of Beethoven's professional life, from his very first publication,
a set of three trios published as op. 1 in 1795, to the popular "Kakadu"
Variations, op. 121a, published in 1824. Altogether, Beethoven wrote nine works
for piano trio that were published during his lifetime.
Bruch (1838 - 1920)
Bruch was one of Germany's most important musical personalities
of the Brahmsian era. The most interesting element in Bruch's music is that behind
its formal perfection and even present optimistic nature, there was a quite selfish
and egocentric personality only too eager to argue; an ability which cost him
friendships with many of his contemporaries.
The Romanze in F Major, op.
85 was written around 1912 for viola and orchestra and is a wonderful representation
of Bruch's writing in his later years. In the agitated though melodic outburst
at the beginning of the second section, Bruch shows himself as a master of atmospheric
music and as a musician who remained loyal to his romantic origins even when both
times and musical style had changed. (Liza Grossman)
Fauré (1845 - 1924)
Fauré was nicknamed the 'The Cat' by
his friends who thought he had feline qualities in the casual way he moved and
the impression he gave. Fauré's innate sense of delicacy and charm also
won him many friends during his life. (A charm that can be heard in his music
as well.) In 1893 Fauré wrote incidental music for a production of Molière's
Le bourgeois gentilhomme. The Sicilienne for this production was later used again
in incidental music for Maeterlinck's Pelléas et Mélisande and later
still won popularity in a variety of arrangements, including the composer's own
orchestral version and arrangement for violin or cello and piano.
Gershwin's family wasn't particularly musical and
he had no access to a piano at home until he was about twelve. Before that he
recalled being captivated by hearing Rubinstein's Melody in F on a player-piano
in the street. But once he discovered the piano for himself, it focused his entire
musical orientation. Fascinating Rhythm from Lady be Good (1924) is a dance number
for Fred and Adèle Astaire, where Gershwin himself made a suggestion for their
exit steps at the end of the number. What the composer called the tune's 'misplaced
accents' come from ragtime.
Jules Massenet (1842-1912)
was the most prominent French composer of the late nineteenth century. Thais,
based upon Anatole France's 1889 novel about a courtesan-turned-saint in 4th century
Egypt, combines passion and religion. Set in Coptic Egypt, the opera was groundbreaking
in its departure from metric rhyme in the text. The Meditation is the entracte
between acts 2 and 3 represents the spiritual awakening of Thais.
Pachelbel (1653 - 1706)
Pachelbel was one of the great organist-composers
of his day, a man who could count Bach's teacher among his pupils. His life was
tinged with tragedy and hardship - his first wife died with her baby son in the
plague of 1683, and he had to flee from the French invasion of Stuttgart in 1692
- but he settled in Nuremberg and his second marriage produced seven children,
two of whom became musicians, one an instrument maker and one a painter. His lilting
Canon in D, which was written in or around 1680, is a throwaway little piece by
comparison to his big sacred works, but its charming grace has made it a favourite
filler of compilation CDs.
You might have heard his Canon in the following
places: films: Father of the Bride; Ordinary People; TV ads for: Threshers Wines;
Pure New Wool, British Gas; Coolio rap single in 1997; 1968 Aphrodite's Child
single Rain and Tears; in lots of shopping malls and other muzak palaces; at Lady
Diana's Funeral; and the Ambrosia advert. (Ray Hutchings)
Theresia von Paradis (1759 - 1824)
Maria Theresia von Paradis was the blind
daughter of Imperial Court Secretary of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, after
whom she was named. She was a pupil of Antonio Salieri and was a celebrated concert
pianist in her day. Both Mozart and Salieri dedicated piano concertos to her.
In later years she founded a musical conservatory for handicapped persons in Vienna.
Few of her compositions have survived, and the original of the "Sicilienne"
has not come to light. Scholars are divided as to how much (if any) von Paradis
actually wrote and how much Samuel Dushkin, a violinist who used to do a lot of
violin/piano duets touring with Igor Stravinsky, was responsible for. (John Speller)
Poulenc (1899 - 1922)
Poulenc typifies in many ways the characteristic
of being French and being in the 20th century. His music changes mood so fast
that it cannot but hold your attention. His talent is huge and output profusely
varied, his style cheekily indescribable. Above all, this self-taught composer
was an individual - and one who delighted in fun (but could also be deadly serious).
The Suite Française is scored for two each of oboes, basoons and trumpets,
plus three trombones, one percussionist - and a harpsichord! Ha, in Poulenc terms,
that means: "Let's have some fun!" Written as yet another homage to
French dance forms, the seven movements describe their music. (Chia Han-Leon)
The author of the lyrics to "Lost is My Quiet"
is not known. The song was written as a duet for high and low voice.
is my quiet for ever,
Lost is life's happiest part;
Lost all my tender endeavours,
touch an insensible heart.
But tho' my Despair is past curing,
much undeserv'd is my fate,
I'll show by a patient enduring
My love is unmov'd
as her hate.
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
is sometimes seen as a remote, detached and unemotional man - however much his
music may say otherwise to his admirers. His life was not particularly eventful
and does not provide ready insights into his nature. The short piece for low voice
and piano was written in March 1907, and was commissioned by A.-L. Hettich as
one of a series of studies by contemporary composers for use in his voice classes
at the Conservatoire. It was subsequently arranged in various instrumental versions,
including one for violin and piano, under the title Pièce en forme de habanera.
It was composed at about the same time that Ravel was working on two other major
works with a Spanish background.
A graduate of the Conservatory of Hilversum, Heleen Verleur lives
in Amsterdam with her husband Jan and newborn twin girls Gaia and Rosa. After
teaching children how to compose and writing short pieces for them, Heleen turned
to writing serious classical work for piano solo, violin/piano, voice/piano, trios,
and quintets. She has regular performances with a violinist as well as with a
piano trio (violin, cello and piano). The Tango from Trio number 2 was first performed
and aired on Dutch radio in celebration of the wedding of the Dutch prince to
his Argentine bride in Spring 2001.
(1678 - 1741)
Among Vivaldi's cello sonatas, the fifth in e minor seems
to be the best-known. Vivaldi wrote most of his works for the girls residing at
the Ospedale della Pietà orphanage in Venice, where he was employed in
various musical capacities. The Sonatas for Cello and Continuo were apparently
also composed for the young musicians there, whose considerable instrumental skills
can be inferred from the rigors of these demanding compositions. The improvisation
of the accompaniment based on the written figured bass line may just as well have
been executed by either harp or lute as by the more traditional harpsichord or
John Williams (b. 1932)
List is in some ways barely recognisable as John Williams. The heart breaking
simplicity of the melody sensitively rendered on solo violin with a chamber orchestra
backing (strings and woodwind) conveys musically everything Spielberg set out
to achieve in his film. This is touching music without sentiment, possibly one
of the most difficult things of all. The main theme is used as a starting block
for many of the other cues. It is sometimes quoted, but often inverted and adjusted
in an almost theme and variations type way.