Sunday, July 16, 3:00 pm
Ahavas Achim, Keene Synagogue ~ 84 Hastings Ave, Keene, NH 03431
Concert will end at 4:20 pm, reception to follow.
Piano Trio Performers:
Omar Chen Guey, violin
Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello
Vivian Choi, piano
Augusta Read Thomas: Rumi Settings
Richard Danielpour: River of Light
Gabriel Fauré: Trio in d minor, op. 120
Allegro, ma non troppo
Daniel Crozier: Nocturne (1997)
Anton Arensky: Trio in f minor, op. 73
Tema con variazioni: Allegro non troppo
Augusta Read Thomas: Rumi Settings (9')
American composer Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964) began piano lessons at age four. Her early schooling included St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, from which she later received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Thomas attended Northwestern University for Trumpet Performance and studied composition under reputable instructors at Tanglewood, Yale University, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her studies were just a stepping stone, as Thomas is now a renowned composer, scholar, and instructor herself. Amongst an array of astounding positions and opportunities, Thomas was a Mead Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony (1997-2006), a Pulitzer Prize in Music finalist, a contributor to the Grammy-winning CD “The Colors of Love” by Chanticleer, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Music Center.
Rumi Settings (2001) was commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music and was composed for violin and viola or violin and cello, the latter of which is performed today. Inspired by the works of Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, scholar, and theologian, Rumi Settings alludes to the text of a poem. Both the poem and music are in four movements, and Thomas says of her work “Throughout the score, each line of the text is written above the music, corresponding to the moment when the duo is depicting that particular line of the poem, thus the musicians know the connotation and nuance of the composition.”
Texts by Rumi
[Translations by Bark; date composed, approx. 1240]
Don't worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn't matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world's harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.
So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere in the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!
from a slow and powerful root
that we can't see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest
and let the spirits fly in and out.
Texts courtesy of augustareadthomas.com
Richard Danielpour (b. 1956) is an American Composer with impressive international commissions and recognition. In addition to his talent in composition, Danielpour dedicates himself to education and nurturing aspiring composers. He holds faculty positions at both the Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music. Danielpour’s extensive resumé of compositions includes his first opera (Margaret Garner, 2005), which he produced in conjunction with 2016 MacDowell Medal recipient Toni Morrison. Just last year seven of Danielpour’s works premiered in the United States including his Percussion Concerto, a ballet score, and a song cycle for voice and orchestra. In the works is Passion of Yeshua, due to premiere at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2018.
River of Light (2007) for piano and violin was commissioned by the Isaac and Linda Stern Foundation in order to memorialize and honor the late violinist Isaac Stern. The duo centers around the major theme of death, and the quiet dissonant demeanor is broken only by occasional eruptions. The metaphor of the river is evident in gentle melodic pockets within the larger introspective journey. With neo-romantic energy, this elegy elicits a commiserative feel, as listeners are urged to remember Isaac Stern and understand the inevitable road to death.
French Romantic composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) showed early talent as an organist, and at the age of nine, trained as a church organist and choirmaster at a college of music in Paris. During his time in Paris he learned piano from and befriended Camille Saint-Saëns. In 1863, while Fauré was still studying in Paris, he published his first composition, Trois romances sans paroles, for piano. Fauré remained in Paris as a church organist and later a composition teacher at, and director of, the Paris Conservatory. Fauré is recognized as one of the most influential French composers; his artistic innovation and harmonic boldness paved the way for future generations of French composers.
Composed within the last year of his life, Trio in d minor, Op. 120 (1923), was Fauré’s penultimate published composition. Allegro, ma non troppo loosely follows a sonata form with variation in development and recapitulation. Introduced by the piano, the gentle and flowing development of the second movement, Andantino, is handed off to the strings, and the intensity of the movement increases before the trio breaks off into differing counterpoint. The final movement, Allegro vivo, brings energy back to the trio. An initial reflection of the previous movement is interrupted by grand and bright piano ornamentation, and despite the drive and spirit, the prevailing key of d minor casts a dark element.
Daniel Crozier (b. 1965) is an American composer and educator, currently a Professor of Theory and Composition at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Crozier graduated from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins with the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. His work has been performed and recorded by a range of symphony orchestras, opera companies, and soloists, including today’s pianist Vivian Choi. Awarded a fellowship from the State of Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Morton Gould Young Composers Grant from the ASCAP Foundation, Crozier has made an early impact in his field. Crozier’s compositions are described as lush and lyrical, with narrative and evident perspective.
Nocturne (1997) premiered at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Crozier wrote that the piano and cello duo honors Chopin, despite Nocturne’s vastly different style. Crozier’s Nocturne revolves around four major musical ideas, each of which is unique from, but intertwines with, the others. Listen for the prominence of the third idea in the evolution of the piece and the lighter reappearance of the initial idea.
Russian composer Anton Arensky (1861-1906) is especially noted for his chamber music. Most recognized for his lyrical and lamenting sound, Arensky’s best work was in his shorter solo or chamber compositions. Arensky found a niche in scholarship and education, excelling in his studies at the Moscow Conservatory and was hired there as a professor shortly after graduating. Arensky had grown accustomed to conducting, and in the mid-1890’s began his direction of the imperial chapel in St. Petersburg. This new position led Arensky to pursue further opportunities in performance, accompaniment, and conducting.
Trio in f minor, Op. 73 (1903), was composed late in Arensky’s life, while his health was failing. It marks a breakthrough in technical composition for Arensky. A five-note theme drives Allegro moderato, and Arensky makes liberal use of variations within the shell of a sonata form. Romance: Andante is a delicate and slow movement, initiated by a duet between the strings and followed by the main theme in piano. Scherzo: Presto conveys a playful waltz, and is considered to resemble Arensky’s previous Trio in d minor, but in a more mature and refined compositional style. The trio is completed with a signature Arensky theme and variations form in Tema con variazioni: Allegro non troppo. Elements of Russian dance and waltzes appear in the variations, before the final variation references the original form and winds to a close.