Program Notes for 5th Wave Wind Quintet - October 1, 2022
Wind Quintet in C (1955) Claude Arrieu (1903-1990)
"Swans" from Avian Escapades (2016) Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964)
Three Pieces (1933) Florence Price (1887-1953), arr. A. Ertz
The Goblin and the Mosquito
Portraits of Josephine (2007) Valerie Coleman (b.1970)
Ol’ St. Louis
Atraente Polka (1877) Francisca Gonzaga (1847-1935), arr. A. Ertz
Eric Leise, flute
Ashley Ertz, oboe
Gordon Daole-Wellman, clarinet
Emily Whittaker, horn
Liam Jackson, bassoon
Claude Arrieu (1903-1990): Wind Quintet in C (1955)
Duration: 12 minutes
Claude Arrieu was the pseudonym used by Louise Marie Simon, a common practice for women wanting to be taken more seriously in the 'man's field' of classical music composition. Arrieu went on to study music at the Paris Conservatory, and received their first prize for composition in 1932. She wrote music in nearly every genre: opera, orchestra, solo, chamber, electronic music, and several radio and film scores, and also served as a radio producer.
Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964): "Swans" from Avian Escapades (2016)
Duration: 5 minutes
The music of Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964 in New York) is nuanced, majestic, elegant, capricious, lyrical, and colorful — "it is boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
A composer featured on a Grammy winning CD by Chanticleer and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Thomas’ impressive body of works “embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry” (American Academy of Arts and Letters). The New Yorker magazine called her "a true virtuoso composer." Championed by such luminaries as Barenboim, Rostropovich, Boulez, Eschenbach, Salonen, Maazel, Ozawa, and Knussen, she rose early to the top of her profession. The American Academy of Arts and Letters described Thomas as “one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American Music."
She is a University Professor of Composition in Music and the College at The University of Chicago, and she was the longest-serving Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for conductors Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez (1997-2006) Click here to visit her website.
Florence Price (1887-1953): Three Pieces (1933)
Duration: 8 minutes
Florence B. Price (1887-1953) achieved a level of renown that defied all expectations for an African American woman in her day. Having studied at the New England Conservatory from 1903 to 1906, taught in the Music Department at Shorter College (Little Rock), and headed the Music Department at Clark University (Atlanta), she married and bore two children in her native Arkansas before moving to Chicago with her husband and daughters in 1927 due to the persistent climate of racial violence in the South. Despite the formidable challenges of leaving behind family and friends to relocate to a new and radically different home, she thrived in Chicago. There she became actively involved in the bustling cultural life of a city that was gearing up to celebrate its centenary — joining the R. Nathaniel Dett Club of Music and the Allied Arts, attending Chicago Musical College, and studying harmony and orchestration with Wesley La Violette and composition with Carl Busch before graduating in 1934. Her unquenchable thirst for learning and her expansive intellect led her to continue her studies for years beyond this second graduation, taking courses in a variety of subjects at the American Conservatory, Chicago Teachers College, Central YMCA College, the Lewis Institute, and the University of Chicago.
And through it all, she composed. Florence B. Price penned several hundred compositions of astonishing richness and breadth, each bespeaking a musical imagination that would be stilled. Latter-day commentaries unanimously — and justly — cite the performance of her First Symphony by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as part of the World's Fair in 1933 as evidence of her extraordinary success in overcoming the pervasive institutional racism and sexism of the United States. But her renown spread much farther than that, and lasted much longer. Her music was performed by at least nine major orchestras, and her vocal and instrumental chamber music and piano compositions were performed by some of the great soloists of her day. So great was her eminence even a decade after her death that the musical and educational metropolis of Chicago named the Florence B. Price Elementary School after her in 1964. That school closed in 2012, but the same building still bears her name: the Florence B. Price Twenty-First Century Academy for Excellence.
Today you will hear her Three Pieces, composed by Price for piano and arranged for wind quintet by 5th Wave Artistic Director and oboist Ashley Ertz.
Valerie Coleman (b. 1970): Portraits of Josephine (2007)
Duration: 13 minutes
Valerie Coleman is regarded by many as an iconic artist who continues to pave her own unique path as a composer, GRAMMY®-nominated flutist, and entrepreneur. Highlighted as one of the “Top 35 Women Composers” by The Washington Post, she was named Performance Today’s 2020 Classical Woman of the Year, an honor bestowed to an individual who has made a significant contribution to classical music as a performer, composer or educator. Her works have garnered awards such as the MAPFund, ASCAP Honors Award, Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Program, Herb Alpert Ragdale Residency Award, and nominations from The American Academy of Arts and Letters and United States Artists. Umoja, Anthem for Unity was chosen by Chamber Music America as one of the “Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works” and is now a staple of woodwind literature.
Former flutist of the Imani Winds, Coleman is the creator and founder of this acclaimed ensemble whose 24-year legacy is documented and featured in a dedicated exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Along with composer-harpist Hannah Lash, and composer-violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama, she co-founded and currently performs as flutist of the performer-composer trio Umama Womama. Click here visit her website.
Portraits of Josephine is a musical memoir dedicated to Ms. Josephine Baker, an American-born French actress, singer, and dancer. Baker was the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture and was one of the most celebrated performers in Paris during her lifetime (1906-1975). She was also active in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and refused to perform for segregated audiences.
The 4 movement work chronicles significant events in Josephine Baker’s life, her humor, and quick rise to fame. The wind quintet version is in four movements, and the entire original suite can be heard on Imani Winds’ album, A Life Le Jazz Hot.
Francisca Gonzaga (b. 1837-1945): Atraente Polka (1877), arr. A. Ertz
Duration: 5 minutes
Francisca Gonzaga, better known as Chiquinha Gonzaga, was was a Brazilian composer, pianist and the first woman conductor in Brazil. She created more than more than 200 compositions, from waltzes and serenades to polkas and tangos, and was a pioneer of the characteristic Brazilian style 'choro'.
Gonzaga's Atraente Polka was written for solo piano and arranged for wind quintet by 5th Wave Artistic Director Ashley Ertz.
Today's performance is supported by Jennet Ingle.
5th Wave Collective's season is generously supported by Forrests Music, and by fans like you. Thank you!