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Program Notes for April Fools: Unexpected Instruments - April 1, 2023

Updated: Apr 1




Program

Rain on a Tin Roof Katerina Gimon (b. 1993)


Two Pieces for viola (or violin) and cello Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979)

I. Lullaby

II. Grotesque


Duet for two violins No. 1, Op. 5 Maddalena Sirmen (1745-1818)

I. Allegro Moderato

II. Minuetto


Sonata No. 1 in D minor Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729)

II. Presto

VI. Presto


Excerpting for solo oboe Elizabeth Raum (b. 1945)

I. Brahms Violin Concerto

II. Silken Ladder

III. Beethoven March Funebre


Florence Price Suite Florence Price (1887-1953), arr. Ashley Ertz

I. The Goblin and The Mosquito

II. Rabbit Foot

III. Adoration

IV. Ticklin’ Toes




Ashley Ertz, oboe

Gordon Daole-Wellman, clarinet

Colin Marusek, trombone

Rebecca McDaniel, vibraphone



Katerina Gimon (b.1993): Rain on a Tin Roof

Duration: 8 minutes


Photo by Brian Lee Topp

Composer, improviser, and vocalist Katerina Gimon's uniquely dynamic, poignant, and eclectic compositional style has earned her a reputation as a distinct voice in contemporary Canadian composition and beyond. Her music has been described as “sheer radiance” (Campbell River Mirror), “imbued…with human emotion” (San Diego Story), and capable of taking listeners on a “fascinating journey of textural discovery” (Ludwig Van), earning her several honours including multiple SOCAN Awards (2016, 2021, 2022), nomination for Western Canadian Composer of the Year (2021), and a Barbara Pentland Award for Outstanding Composition (2022).


In her music, Katerina draws influence from a myriad of places — from the Ukrainian folk music of her heritage to indie rock, as well as from her roots as a songwriter. Her compositions are performed widely across Canada, the United States, and internationally, with notable performances at Carnegie Hall, Berliner Philharmonie, and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Recent commissions include new music for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Choir of Toronto, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and re:Naissance Opera.


Katerina holds a Master of Music in Composition from the University of British Columbia ('17) and an Honours Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and Improvisation from Wilfrid Laurier University ('15). Katerina is the composer-in-residence for Myriad and is based in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Learn more at www.katerinagimon.com.


"Rain on a Tin Roof" is a work for flexible instrumentation, meaning it can be performed by any number of players, playing any instruments. 5th Wave performed this work with a chamber orchestra in 2019, and we are glad to share it again today for our unusual quartet.




Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979): Two Pieces for violin (or viola) and cello

Duration: 5 minutes


Born to a musical family in Harrow, England, in 1886, Clarke was taught the violin at an early age, and then sent for further study at the Royal Academy of Music, in London. In 1908, she went to the Royal College of Music as one of Sir Charles Stanford’s first female composition students. Stanford urged her to shift over to the viola because then she would be “right in the middle of the sound, and can tell how it’s all done.” Two years later, after she quarreled with her father and had to leave the College, she began to support herself as a violist. She became a much-sought-after supply player in orchestras and ensembles around London, and played chamber music with many of the greatest artists of the early twentieth century, including Schnabel, Casals, Heifetz, Thibaud, Suggia, Rubinstein, Grainger, Hess, Monteux, and Szell. She stood nearly six feet tall in her prime and, as one witness put it, “she strode on stage like a goddess.”


She was one of the first women to be made regular members of a professional orchestra in London, in 1913, when Sir Henry Wood hired her for his Queen’s Hall Orchestra. She performed throughout Great Britain, Europe, and the United States, and made a round-the-world tour, as a self-styled “viola player and composer.” During her first American tour, she wrote one of the greatest extended works for viola, her Sonata of 1919, which quickly made her name known around the world.


As a violist, Clarke composed many pieces for viola, either solo or with other instruments, including the work you'll hear tonight — though with no string instruments at all! Tonight this work will be performed on vibraphone (instead of violin/viola) and trombone (instead of cello).


Maddalena Sirmen (1745-1818): Duet for two violins, No. 1 Op. 5

Duration: 8 minutes


Maddalena Laura Lombardini[1] was born in Venice to poverty-stricken parents, noble by birth. She began her studies at the San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti (one of the four great hospices or Ospedali Grandi which trained orphaned girls in music) in Venice at the age of seven.


Hoping to play the violin professionally in a European classical scene almost entirely dominated by men, Lombardini was occasionally given permission to leave and study with the virtuoso violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770). Tartini paid her tuition himself for musical lessons at the orphanage.


At age of twenty-one, Lombardini received her maestro license at the orphanage, and was given permission to pursue a musical career outside of Venice. In 1767 she married the renowned violinist Ludovico Sirmen. The two began touring together that same year. Although little is documented about their relationship, it appears he encouraged Maddalena's career, respecting her compositions and relishing her successful solo performing career.


In 1771, she debuted her "Concerto on the Violin" in London, met by rave reviews and lavish support. Her compositions displayed the violin in all its virtuosic brilliance in the dynamic yet restrained early Classical tradition. She visited London for a final time in 1772, performing as a vocalist. Although her career faded in its final years, she is remembered as a dynamic inventor and brilliant performer in 18th-century classical music.


Tonight's performance features Sirmen's Duet for two violins — but you won't see any strings at all! Instead, you'll hear oboe and clarinet.



Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet. de la Guerre (1665-1729): Sonata No. 1 in d minor

Duration: 6 minutes


Elisabeth Jacquet was born into a family of artisans that included both musicians and instrument builders. She emerged as a musical prodigy and made her debut as a singer and harpsichordist at the court of Louis XIV, apparently at quite a young age. At about age 15 she was taken into the court as a musician and placed under the care of the king’s mistress, Madame de Montespan.


Jacquet left the regular service of the court in 1684 and that year married Marin de la Guerre, an accomplished Parisian harpsichordist, organist, music teacher, and composer from a well-established family of professional musicians. The fact that she dedicated nearly all of her published works to the king, however, indicates that she retained connections to the royal circle throughout her career. With Marin she had one son who died at age 10, having shown promise as a musician himself. Marin died in 1704.


Jacquet de la Guerre was noted for her compositions for harpsichord (still relatively uncommon in France at the time), violin sonatas with continuo, and opera — she is considered the first woman to have composed an opera in France. She was also an active performer throughout her life, giving concerts in her home and elsewhere.


Tonight you will hear one of her sonatas, composed for violin with 'basso continuo' :" an instrumental part that serves the function. of outlining the music's harmonies, usually harpsichord or cello. Tonight, however, you will hear vibraphone instead of violin, and trombone instead of cello.



Elizabeth Raum (b. 1837-1945): Atraente Polka (1877), arr. A. Ertz

Duration: 5 minutes


Photo by Graham Powell

Elizabeth Raum has had a career in music that has spanned over 45 years beginning in Halifax where she played principal oboe with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra before coming to Regina when her husband was offered a position in the Music Department of the University of Regina in 1975. She joined the Regina Symphony Orchestra at that time and from 1986 until her retirement in 2010, played principal oboe as a member of the Chamber Players.


Raum has established herself as one of Canada’s most eminent composers with commissions coming from such important performing groups as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Calgary Philharmonic, the CBC, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Music Toronto, Concours de Musique du Canada, Scotia Festival, Eckhardt-Gramattee National Competition, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Maritime Concert Opera, as well as many other performing organizations and individuals. Her music is played all over the world in concerts and festivals throughout Canada, the US, Europe including Rome, England, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Russia, China and Japan.


An extremely prolific composer, her works include 4 operas, over 90 chamber pieces, 18 vocal works, choral works including an oratorio, several ballets, concerti and major orchestral works. She enjoys a reputation of being one of Canada’s most ”accessible“ composers, writing for varied mediums and in remarkably diverse styles. Learn more at https://elizabethraum.com/


In "Excerpting" for solo oboe, Raum places a new spin on famous 'orchestral excerpts' for oboe — short segments from orchestral works that highlight the instrument and are required as audition material to win a spot in a professional orchestras. Here are Raum's notes about the three movements you will hear tonight:


"'Brahms Violin Concerto', although a concerto for violin, is one of the most practiced excerpts in the oboe orchestral repertoire. and also one of the most beautiful. This movement is much. like the original but. with some improvisation and technical flourishes.

'Silken Ladder' is like a mini opera in effect combining the oboe excerpt with a vocal part.

'Betthoven's March Funebre' is a bit of a musical joke in that the somber funeral march is interrupted by a light-hearted pop tune, and in spite of a couple of attempts to return to the dignity of the march, the tune wins out."



Florence Price (1887-1953), arr. Ashley Ertz: Florence Price Suite

Duration: 9 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 four short works, composed by Price for piano or organ and arranged for today's ensemble by 5th Wave Artistic Director and oboist Ashley Ertz. You may recognize her famous work "Adoration", which has been arranged and performed by many ensembles.



 

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