Archive for September, 2017

Gold Coast Chamber Players, Family Business

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Family Business

For a program by the Gold Coast Chamber Players

Fanny MendelssohnMusical genius can be found in musicians and composers from all kinds of circumstances, even against all odds. But history shows a vivid pattern of musical families, even dynasties. The latest research suggests that musical aptitude and talent is rooted in nature, in our genes to some extent, as well as nurture: how that musical proclivity is encouraged, supported and nourished. With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that music “runs” in families: a combination of genes and lifestyle. This marvelous program is inspired by musical families, the Bach’s, the Mozart’s, and the Mendelssohn’s. In addition, Family Business highlights the issue of nature without nurture, where 18th and 19th century women, daughters, sisters and wives, were socially discouraged from pursuing their musical gifts as their male counterparts were free to do. This resonates with contemporary debates on gender in the tech world. It is refreshing to note that Mozart and Mendelssohn both had sisters who were equal prodigies, while the very first computer programmer was a woman: Ada, Countess of Lovelace. (more…)

Yinam Leef, Triptych (Homage to Oedeon Partos)

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Yinam Leef (1953)

Triptych (Homage to Oedeon Partos) for clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano (1997)

Yinam LeefThe recipient of numerous prestigious awards, Yinam Leef is an Israeli composer, born in Jerusalem, educated in Israel and the United States and currently the chairman of the Department of Composition, Conducting and Theory at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and Dance. His composition teachers have included Mark Kopytman, Richard Wernick, George Rochberg, George Crumb and Luciano Berio. Leef’s substantial output includes concerti, symphonies, choral works and a variety of chamber music including two string quartets. In his book, Twenty Israeli Composers (1997), Robert Fleisher summarizes that Leef’s works are “characterized by his threefold commitment: to universal, Western-oriented post-serial composition; to local or locally echoing musical traditions of Jewish and Middle Eastern modality and timbre; and to the young Israeli (“Canaanite”) search for musical identity.” Leef composed his Triptych in 1997 in homage to legendary Hungarian-Israeli composer and violist Oedeon Partos who was principal violist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, a director of the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv and now regarded as one of Israel’s most important founding composers. (more…)

Stravinsky, Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat (for violin, clarinet and piano), (1919)

Igor StravinskyBy 1919, just barely into his first decade as a professional composer, Stravinsky was well on his way towards becoming one of the most important and sensational new composers of the 20th century. His successful partnership with Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes in Paris yielded three stunning ballet scores for massive orchestra, the works for which Stravinsky is most famous today: The Firebird (1910), Petroushka (1911) and the Rite of Spring (1913). Despite his stunning achievements, 1919 found Stravinsky stranded in Lausanne, Switzerland in rather dire financial straits. WWI had made a desperate shambles of Europe sapping any hope for staging large concerts or obtaining new commissions while the Russian Revolution cut Stravinsky off from his family fortune as well as any hopes for ongoing royalty payments. Rising to the occasion, nonetheless, Stravinsky and his French-speaking, Swiss writer friend Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz schemed a new work to be “narrated, performed and danced” by a small troupe that could easily be mounted in small, makeshift venues, even outdoors, all with modest costs. The scenario was derived from Alexander Afanasiev’s collection of Russian folk tales, a story about a soldier returning home from the front with a magic violin that he foolishly trades with the devil for a book promising great riches in what proves to be an ill-fated Faustian bargain. (more…)