Sunday, May 11, 2014


Happy Trails! Humboldt Chorale & U Singers in Last Concert of the School Year 

 The Humboldt Chorale ends the final concert of this school year by singing cowboy songs, most with a Humboldt County connection, in their shared concert with HSU University Singers beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday May 11.

 “We’re starting with ‘Home on the Range’ and ending with ‘Happy Trails,’” said Chorale director Carol Ryder. For her, it’s “happy trails” in more ways than one. “Since it is my last semester at HSU, I thought it would be a great time to celebrate Humboldt County and my own roots in music.”

 "Happy Trails" is of course the tune by Dale Evans Rogers that she sang with cowboy singer, movie and TV star Roy Rogers. But most of the Chorale’s set features cowboy songs with music composed by HSU professor emeritus Jim Standard and current staff pianist John Chernoff. The lyrics are by Gwen Peterson, rancher and cowboy poet. “Gwen is a friend of Jim’s in Montana,” said Ryder,” and a pretty funny woman.”

 In addition to the songs, Humboldt County rancher, designer and HSU professor emeritus Gerald Beck reads from his autobiographical book, To Be A Horseman.

 In their half of the concert, the HSU University Singers perform Gabriel Faure’s complete Requiem. “The singers would like to dedicate the performance of the Requiem to the memory of the young people who tragically lost their lives in a traffic accident in April,” said director Harley Muilenburg.

 The University Singers will also perform 20th century American composer Randall Thompson’s setting of a Robert Frost poem, “Choose Something Like A Star.” Muilenburg dedicates the performance to Carol Ryder, in recognition of her retirement from HSU.

 The University Singers and Humboldt Chorale perform on Sunday May 11 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Produced by HSU Music Department.


2014 University Singers: (not in order pictured; click image to enlarge) Ana Ceja, Berenice Ceja, Hope Botelho, Cat Clark, Emily Cornelus, Kinara Erickson, Alia Fix, Linnea Hillo, Katie Jumper, Stevy Marquez, Danielle Murray, Gabriela Pelayo, Jessie Rawson, Kallie Sorenson, Jessica Golden, Greata Goshorn, Michelle Green, Erica Luna, Katherine McCall, Skyler McCormick, Eve Ellen Mejla, Andrea Ortiz, Eiko Ujifusa, Steven Flores, Nicholas Hart, Victor Guerrero, Bryant Kellison, Kyle McInnis, David Paden, John Pettlon, Leonardo Simmons, Raul Yepez, Alex Albin, Neil Bost, Cliff Bruhn, Braxton Corbin, Charles Hollowell, Kristofer Lang, Joseph Mayer, Alberto Rodriguez, Justin Santos, Eric Taite, Chris Werner, Clayton Willis.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

From the Duke to Britney with the Jazz Orchestra

 HSU Jazz Orchestra plays a Duke Ellington classic, a brand new arrangement of Horace Silver’s “Peace,” and a Britney Spears tango in Spanish. Sort of. It all happens on Saturday May 10 in Fulkerson Recital Hall. 

Duke Ellington’s Harlem was performed by the Jazz Orchestra in collaboration with the Humboldt Symphony in March, under the direction of Dan Aldag. “This time it’s just the band,” Aldag said, “with the version Ellington originally wrote for his own band.” 

Jazz pianist Horace Silver originally recorded his classic ballad “Peace” with a quartet. David Berger, arranger and conductor of his own jazz orchestra, did a band version. In March, Dan Aldag heard it played by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. “I liked it so much that I immediately contacted Berger and purchased.” The HSU Jazz Orchestra plays it for this concert. 

 Also on the bill is Chick Corea’s “Blue Miles” (arranged by Bob Washut) and “the rhythmically intricate” Alan Ferber track from his Grammy-nominated album March Sublime, called “Kopi Luwak.” 

“The second half of the concert features works by current and former students,” Aldag said. Current trumpeter McKenna Smith sings her original tune, “Be Like Ella,” with the band. She also contributes a spoken word piece to “Pink,” a tune first recorded by the Bobby Sanabria Big Band.

 But the big collaboration revolves around the 2004 global pop hit “Toxic” as recorded by Britney Spears. “Dan Fair, who graduated last year, wrote an arrangement which turns it into a tango,” Aldag said. “One of the band's trombonists, Spanish major Bret Johnson, translated the lyrics into Spanish, and the band's baritone saxophonist, Lauren Strella, sings them.” You'll just have to be there.

 HSU Jazz Orchestra performs on Saturday May 10 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Humboldt Symphony Features Concerto Competition Winner

 Humboldt Symphony performs Alexander Borodin’s most popular symphony, plus Grieg’s piano concerto and a festive work by Spanish composer Joaquin Turina in two concerts at HSU, Friday evening May 9 and Sunday afternoon May 11 in Fulkerson Recital Hall. 

 Nineteenth century Russian composer Alexander Borodin’s romantic and melodic works influenced later classical and stage musical composers. Humboldt Symphony performs his Symphony No. 2, which became his most popular “because of its vividly rugged harmonies, deft orchestration, and a seemingly inexhaustible fund of energetic, passionate, and above all, Russian themes,” according to former Washington Post classical music critic Andrew Lindemann Malone. 

 The Piano Concerto in A minor by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg begins with what has been called one of the most familiar openings in the concerto repertoire. Like Borodin, he employs folk themes from his native country. The Humboldt Symphony features piano soloist Ryan McGaughey, winner of this year’s Concerto Competition.

 La Procession du Rocio by 20th century Spanish composer Joaquin Turina celebrates a fiesta and ceremonial march. Compared favorably to similar works by Ravel and Debussy, it was so well received by its first audience in 1913 that Turina—who was also conducting it—had to immediately lead the orchestra in playing it again.

 Humboldt Symphony performs on Friday May 9 at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday May 11 at 3 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Conducted by Kenneth Ayoob, produced by HSU Music Department.

Humboldt Symphony Additional Notes


Alexander Borodin Symphony No. 2
Notes by Andrew Lindemann Malone

"Symphony No. 2 in B minor took a long while to compose, as Borodin fit it in between labors on other works and his efforts as a scientist to ensure that women had access to chemistry courses. It was begun in 1869, but the piano score was not complete until 1875, and the orchestral version was not performed until 1877.

That version was revised in 1879 after a poorly received premiere. Yet posterity has made the Symphony No. 2 not only Borodin's most popular symphony, but the most popular symphony written by any member of the nationalist Mighty Handful (Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Mili Balakirev, and Borodin), because of its vividly rugged harmonies, deft orchestration, and a seemingly inexhaustible fund of energetic, passionate, and, above all, Russian themes.

 A program for all but the second movement of the symphony has survived, as Borodin told it to critic Vladimir Stassov. The sonata-form first movement depicts a gathering of Russian knights; it opens with a strong, noble theme played on unison strings, as brasses and winds provide dark color and essay a chivalric-sounding contrasting theme. After a few repetitions of the opening music, a second theme enters, based on motifs from the folk songs "The Terrible Tsar" and "The Nightingale" and distinguished by its easy lyricism.

The development section introduces a gallop rhythm that affects fragments of the themes and lends a knightly feel to the proceedings, leading into a recapitulation whose longer notes and thicker orchestration make it even more emphatic than the exposition. The Prestissimo scherzo that follows uses a sustained brass chord to modulate from B minor to F major (a remote key), and then launches into a succession of quick, bright, lightly scored melodies.

The Trio takes a graceful, winding theme (also derived from the abovementioned folk songs) and runs it through various keys. The Andante third-movement portrays a legendary minstrel named Bayan, and evokes the sound of his zither in the opening bars with harp and pizzicato strings. At first, a warm horn melody dominates, but soon a struggle develops between a nervous, minor-mode motive introduced on the woodwinds and the opening melody.

Finally, the opening melody enters triumphantly in the strings, and leads into a coda that brings back the minstrel evocation; this in turn leads directly into the Allegro finale. This finale depicts a jubilant crowd, using an appropriately buoyant main theme (decorated with generous percussion) and a second theme that begins as a quiet lyric, but soon expands into a celebration itself. A new development theme recalls the symphony's opening music, but this soon yields to a supremely joyous, unstoppable elaboration of the two main themes, whose momentum propels the music through the recapitulation and the coda. Borodin's Symphony No. 2 deserves its exalted position in the annals of the Mighty Handful's orchestral music."

Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor First Movement
Note by Don Anderson © Copyright 2014 Toronto Symphony Orchestra

"The first movement boasts one of the most familiar openings in the entire concerto repertoire. Much of its memorability springs from its very simplicity. The movement proper wears a rather melancholy expression, although warmth is amply present as well. A long, taxing solo cadenza near the end says about all there is to say, so Grieg follows it with only the briefest of summings-up. Grieg tapped into the rich heritage of the folk song for much of his music and helped chart a path of Norwegian nationalism and a moving away from Germanic models."


Joaquin Turina – La Procession du Rocio
Note by Joseph Stevenson 

 "This was the first orchestral work by Joaquin Turina. At its premiere in Madrid under the baton of in March 1913, it proved so popular that it had to be repeated on the spot. It is an exotic and colorful portrait of a fiesta in the composer's native Seville, equal in brilliance and orchestral magic to similar works by Ravel or Debussy. The first movement quickly shows scenes from the festival, opening with a seguidilla, then a coplas (oboe) and soleares (viola), before closing with a rather tipsy fandango. The other movement is the religious procession itself, a ceremonial march with interruptions for religious hymns. At the end, church bells peal out and trumpets play the Spanish royal anthem."

Thursday, May 08, 2014

AM Jazz Band Gets Bluesy

 AM Jazz Band gets bluesy for their concert on Thursday May 8 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

 On the blue side is “All Blues” by Miles Davis, as well as “Blues in the Closet” by jazz bassist and composer Oscar Pettiford, and “Blue Bossa” by trumpeter and composer Kenny Dorham. Dorham’s jazz standard was first recorded by Joe Henderson. 

 Also on the program are jazz standards by Sonny Rollins (“Doxy”) and hard bop trumpeter Lee Morgan (“The Sidewinder.”) “A Child Is Born” is the most famous tune by jazz trumpeter Thad Jones, known for his Count Basie Band arrangements as well as his own jazz orchestra. 

 The AM Jazz Band performs on Thursday May 8 at 8:30 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Madrigal and MRT Singers: From Dowland to a cappella Jazz

 Madrigal Singers highlight songs of John Dowland and Mad River Transit adds a cappella jazz to its offerings in a shared spring concert on Sunday May 4 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.


 John Dowland is perhaps the most famous of the madrigal era composers, especially after Sting recorded an album of his songs. The Madrigal Singers perform solo selections accompanied by HSU alumnus Jason Hall on guitar. “Jason’s superb guitar playing will provide an insight into the Elizabethan Madrigal style of music,” said director Harley Muilenburg.

 In various combinations, the Madrigal Singers perform other Renaissance era songs, including Peter Warlock’s “Pretty Ring Time” and settings by Henry Purcell, Gabriel Faure and Benjamin Britten, with John Chernoff accompanying on keyboards.

 The Mad River Transit singers perform their program of ballads, blues and swing accompanied by a three-piece rhythm section, ranging from Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen to James Taylor and Theolonius Monk. New this year is a student-led a cappella group called Syncopations, which performs two songs recorded by Take Six: “Gold Mine"and "Get Away Jordan.”

The MRT rhythm section is John Chernoff (piano), Ian Taylor (bass) and Thatcher Holvick-Norton (drums.)
 
Madrigal Singers and Mad River Transit perform on Sunday May 4 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Directed by Harley Muilenburg, produced by HSU Music Department.

Madrigal & MRT Singers: Additional Notes

John Dowland was above all the composer of lute songs, publishing his first collection of airs in 1597, followed by a second in 1600 and a third in 1603. He left over 80 secular songs of moving intensity.

 Melancholy was all the rage in Elizabethan England, and John Dowland was the most stylish composer of sad-themed music of his time. "Semper Dowland, semper dolens" was his motto, and much of his music is indeed exquisitely dolorous. Although he was a talented singer, Dowland mainly followed a dual career as a composer and lutenist. He was the period's most renowned and significant composer of lute solos, and ayres and was a gifted writer of consort music. —‘Dowland, semper dolens’ (‘Dowland, always grieving’)—Dowland had a reputation as being a cheerful man, despite his reputation for composing exquisitely melancholy music.

The Madrigal Singers (not in order pictured; click photo to enlarge) are: Tiffany Casparis, Ana Ceja, Stevy Marquez, Linnea Hill, Robyn Strong, Elena Tessler, Kellie Ventura, Erin Corrigan, Danielle Dias, Jessical Golden, Hannah Kelly, Rebeca Ramos, Rosemary Torres, Rae Marcum, Fidel Garcia, Evan Goldsborough, Victor Guerrero, JoeBoy Kitzerow, John Pettlon, Raul Yepez. Dylan Kinser, Jason Hall, Edrees Nassir and Jeremy Rodda.


 Mad River Transit (not in order pictured; click image to enlarge):Hannah Fels, Trina Garrett, Sandy Lindop, Laura Doughty, Kelsey Goldstein, Danielle Murray, Lorena Tamayo, Olivia Bright, Jo Kuzelka, Jessie Rawson, Michelle Green, Kenneth Bridges, Steven Eitzen, Jason Garza, Kyle McInnis, Kobe Thompson, Raymond Alvarez, Dolan Leckliter, Christopher Parreira, Alberto Rodriguez, Corey Tamondong and Braxton Corbin.

Saturday, May 03, 2014


Calypso Band and Percussion Ensemble Present Rhythmic Premieres

 The Humboldt State Calypso Band has been around for 28 years, but has never performed a full-length panorama piece composed by one of its own members. At least not until Saturday May 3 at the Van Duzer Theatre. 

 Matt Norman’s “Pandemic,” composed in the classic Panorama style, will premiere that night. That’s in addition to the usual high-energy dance music the Calypso Band always provides. 

 Earlier in the evening, the HSU Percussion Ensemble performs another world premiere: a work by HSU alum Dante De Silva called “Engine Room,” commissioned to celebrate the HSU centennial.

 Director of both ensembles Eugene Novotney calls it “an epic work. Almost every percussion instrument that HSU has in its inventory will be on stage for this performance.” 

 “The piece is both beautiful in its melodic approach, and at times, barbaric in its rhythmic interplay,” Novotney said. “It is a true masterwork for percussion instruments in both its concept and in its vast scope, and it is destined to be a major addition to the repertoire for percussion.”

 The Ensemble also performs “Piru Bole,” a classic composition by John Bergamo, the American percussionist and composer from California Institute of the Arts who died in October. In 1987 he performed this piece on the Fulkerson Recital Hall stage with the HSU Percussion Ensemble. 

 A suite of traditional Mandeng drumming from West Africa and a special presentation of Brazilian samba by the HSU World Percussion Group completes the first half of the concert. 

 In addition to “Pandemic,” the Calypso Band selections in the second half include “Fire Down Below” by Boogsie Sharpe and two pieces by steelband legend Ray Holman: “If We Really Want” and “We Just Can’t Go On Like This.”

 Humboldt State Calypso Band and Percussion Ensemble perform on Saturday May 3 at 8 p.m. in the Van Duzer Theatre on HSU campus. Tickets are $10/$8 seniors and students, $3 HSU students, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Directed by Eugene Novotney and Howard Kaufman, produced by the HSU Music Department.

Friday, May 02, 2014

From the Renaissance to the Blues with the Symphonic Band

 The HSU Symphonic Band follows the centuries from the Renaissance to the blues in its spring concert on Friday May 2 in Fulkerson Recital Hall. 

 “This program is designed to show the full breadth and depth of the wind band,” said Symphonic Band director Kenneth Ayoob.

 It begins with a Renaissance keyboard piece (“Ballo de Granducca” by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck) given the wind band treatment, and makes it way to “Blue Shades” by contemporary American composer Frank Ticheli. “While not a strict blues, this work is heavily influenced by the blues in harmony and melody,” Ayoob said. “Many shades of blue are depicted as well—from bright blue, to dark, to dirty, to hot blue.”

 In between are works by John Phillip Sousa (“Fairest of the Fair”), Percy Grainger (“Children’s March”) and Richard Strauss (“Allerseelen.”) 

 The centerpiece is the Morceau Symphonique by 19th century French composer Alexandre Guilmant which features trombone soloist and HSU music major Craig Hull, winner of this year’s wind instrument concerto competition. 

 The Symphonic Band performs on Friday May 2 in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. An HSU Music Department production.

Symphonic Band Concert Additional Notes


Felix Alexandre Guilmant (1837- 1911)
According to a website dedicated to his memory which includes a list of recordings, he was "one of the greatest organists in the late nineteenth century...  Guilmant was world famous in his day and made three concert trips to the United States of America... Guilmant was a great improviser and a well-known teacher. .. His own oeuvre [as a composer] is large: 94 opus numbers and many unpublished or unnumbered works."





Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562 -1621)
According to Classical Net, "he is widely considered to be the greatest of Dutch composers" and "one of the major figures in the transition from Renaissance to Baroque compositional styles."   "Sweelinck was one of the great transitional figures in Western music, known for his formal rigor and theoretical knowledge of the most influential compositional schools of the time."

The piece "Ballo del granduca" refers to an Italian dance composed by Emilio de Cavalieri to be performed at the marriage of Grand Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany.  Other composers did their versions of this dance.


Percy Grainger (1882 –1961)
Grainger was a composer, arranger and a popular pianist of his day.  Born in Australia, he relocated to the United States in 1914.

"Children's March (Over the Hills and Far Away)"demonstrates Grainger's"thorough understanding and effective scoring for wind band... obviously influenced by his period of service in the U.S. Army between 1917/19, having enlisted as a bandsman (2nd Class) in the Coast Artillery Band. A brilliant and extravagant example of this ability is embodied in the Children's March 'especially written to use all the forces of the Coast Artillery Band which I was serving in 1918.' This is one of his earliest wind compositions which required a piano as a n integral part of the ensemble."--Eric Banks. "Children's March is considered to be one of Grainger's most memorable contributions to the band literature."--Dana Perna.

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) 
While Sousa "wrote an incredible number of marches, the one I love is The Fairest of the Fair. He wrote it in 1908 – the only work he composed that year. He wrote this for the Boston Food Fair, and the story goes that he was inspired by a lovely lass he saw, but never met."--Lori Sutherland



Richard Strauss (June 1864 – 1949)

Strauss is considered a leading exponent of late German Romanticism.  In 1962 pianist Glenn Gould called him "the greatest musical figure who has lived in this century."  "Allerseelen " is a love song he composed in 1885, which remains "among the most popular he wrote."

Friday, April 25, 2014


Composers Centennial Concert Celebrates Century of Creativity

 HSU Music Department celebrates 100 years of the university as crucible of creativity with compositions by HSU faculty, staff and alumni in the Composers Centennial Concert on Friday April 25. 

 The premiere of Reflections In Time combines the words of HSU poets Jim Dodge, Eric Barker, Jorie Grahm and Reg White with the music of HSU composition professor Brian Post. It is performed by soprano Elisabeth Harrington and pianist John Chernoff.

 Daniela Mineva performs another Post piece written specifically for a miniature carillon built by HSU music technicians according to a design by John Cage.

 The Vipisa Trio (Cindy Moyer on violin, John Chernoff on piano and Virginia Ryder on saxophone and clarinet) perform music by HSU staff pianist Chernoff and HSU alumni Halim Beere and Dante De Silva.

 Alumnus Ryan MacEvoy-McCullough contributes a four-channel recorded piece called Crossing. Members of the Humboldt Bay Brass Band perform two pieces by its director and HSU professor Gil Cline, including Three Dot Flourish.

 Music professor Eugene Novotny’s Intentions for Percussion Trio is performed by HSU students Neil Bost, Tyler Burkhart and Hector Diaz. 

 Composers Centennial Concert is performed on Friday April 25 at 8 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus. Tickets are $10, $5 seniors and students from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Produced by HSU Music department.

Media: Mad River Union, Humboldt State Now

Composers Centennial Concert: Program Notes

The following are notes on some of the selections.

Crossing by Ryan MacEvoy-McCullough
Ryan MacEvoy-McCullough
A 4-channel piece utilizing sounds that are either pre-recorded samples from a piano (playing anything but the keys), a mason jar, a mason jar used on the piano, and a simulated analog synthesizer. All the material has been digitally edited as if I were writing this using tape reels.

Reflections in Time (2013/14) by Brian Post
performed by Elisabeth Harrington (voice) and John Chernoff (piano.)

 1. Trees - Poetry by Eric Barker
 2. Blue Heron - Poetry by Reg White
 3. Revenant – Poetry by Reg White
 4. A Firmer Grasp Of The Obvious - Poetry by Jim Dodge
 5. The Way Things Work - Poetry by Jorie Graham

Composed to commemorate the Humboldt State Centennial. The poems were chosen to reflect elements of Humboldt State University and Humboldt County that were important to many people who have lived here for the last century and will continue to be drawn here in the future.

Caged Bells #2 (2013/14) by J. Brian Post
performed by Daniela Mineva (carillon)
 Written specifically for a miniature carillon designed by John Cage and built by HSU music technicians, this piece is performed with an electronically enhanced recording of chanting Tibetan monks. The recordings represent the pursuit of enlightenment and the carillon represents the achievement of enlightenment.

Piano Rhubarb for violin, alto saxophone and piano by Halim Beere
Mr. Distinguished for violin, alto saxophone, piano and pre-recorded electronics by Dante De Silva
Nocturne by John Chernoff. 

Vipisa Trio
These three pieces will be performed by the Vipisa Trio: Cindy Moyers (violin), Virginia Ryder (saxophone and clarinet) and John Chernoff (piano.)

Halim Beere is an HSU graduate in violin performance and composition.  He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois.
John Chernoff is the staff accompanist at HSU.
Dante De Silva studied composition at HSU for his B.A., UC Santa Cruz for his M.A. and UCLA for his Ph.D. He was the composer-in-residence with the Definiens Project (2005-2007) and the Tonoi Ensemble (2006-2007).

Three Dot Flourish (2002) by Gil Cline
performed by members of the Humboldt Bay Brass Band.
 “Everyone knows the genre “fanfare” so I’ve had some fun devising my own “mini-genre,” the “Flourish.” Whereas a fanfare usually kicks off some event, a flourish has potential not only for that but also for ending some segment, or even as an encore. The short, snappy Three Dot Flourish was written and performed by Brass Consort von Humboldt in 2003 in San Francisco at Grace Cathedral for Herb Caen Days. BCvH specialized in the early brass, including the true natural trumpet of the baroque. We have acquired a set of copies of the 1667 London trumpet by Simon Beale, which we use tonight. Using modern quartal/quintal tones, the music includes a three-dot motif inspired by Caen’s musings in his weekly columns.

 Clok Tok (2007) by Gil Cline
 “Clok Tok” was written for The HSU Commencement Brass Choir, responding to the need for “stretch / filler” while waiting to play the processional Pomp & Circumstance. We accomplish that via improvised, jazz soloing over a straight-beat groove, while using the performance technique, so well-suited to brass, called “bell tones.” The clock reference is partly to passing the time, and also to the talking of the crowd; but mainly to the HSU Quad clock chimes. Everyone on campus knows the hourly clock bell tower theme, that of Big Ben, sounded throughout the day!

INTENTIONS for Percussion Trio (1983/1990) by Eugene Novotney
 Mvt. I. Assumption
 Mvt. II. Proposal
 Mvt. III. Function
Mvt. IV. Design
Performed by Neil Bost, Tyler Burkhart, Hector Diaz.

Composed in 1983 at the University of Illinois while I was a composition student of Ben Johnston, and dedicated to the Percussion Group of Cincinnati. The skills demanded by this composition require the performers to spend many hours expanding their technique on auxiliary percussion instruments that are often considered to be only instruments of coloration. The composition was intended to defy the pre-conceived limits and expose the extended techniques and timbral possibilities of three of my favorite instruments - the triangle, the tambourine, and the piatti.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

   Quintet Tarantino: Ian Taylor, Aaron Laughlin, Thatcher Norton, Alex Espe

Jazz Combos: Traditional and Unusual 

 With instrumental lineups both traditional and unusual, four HSU Jazz Combos perform classic and contemporary tunes plus their own originals on Saturday April 19 at the earlier time of 7 p.m. 

 Quintet Tarantino has a weird name (especially since there are four of them) but a normal combo instrumental array: Aaron Laughlin on guitar, Alex Espy on keyboards, Ian Taylor on bass and and Thatcher Norton on drums. Among their offerings are “Actual Proof” by Herbie Hancock, “Stadium Jazz” by Donny McCaslin and “Space Revealed,” an original tune by Espe. 
Jessica Lurie

But with a unique all-reed instrument lineup, the Meantones do “La Lucce Azura” by Jessica Lurie, “Bugalu Monko” by Enrique Fernandez and Duke Ellington’s classic “Mood Indigo.” The Meantones are Kyle McInnis (alto sax), Abraham Loaiza (alto and tenor saxes), Nick Durant (tenor sax and clarinet) and Lauren Strella (baritone sax.) Kelsey Goldstein is guest vocalist. 

 Five Way Street is Alan Spencer (tenor sax), Josh Foster (trombone), Ryan Woempner (bass) and Kevin Amos (drums.) They play Stevie Wonder’s “Superstititon,” a tune by Alan Spencer and an original by bassist Woempner called “Fire Crayon Drawing.” 
Cab Calloway

 The Jazzmanian Devils play Cab Calloway’s most famous tune, “Minnie the Moocher,” as well as “Mr. PC” by John Coltrane, “Hold On Me” by Esperanza Spalding and “Zoot’s Ms. Manifesto (A Medley.)” The group’s lineup is Jessie Burns on trumpet, Craig Hull on trombone, Colten Sanchez on guitar, Bret Johnson on bass and Forrest Smith on drums. Once again Kelsey Goldstein does guest vocals. 

 HSU Jazz Combos perform Saturday April 19 at 7 p.m. in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  Directed by Dan Aldag, produced by HSU Music Department.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Guitar Ensemble Stringing the Continents Together 

 HSU Guitar Ensemble continues its world music tour with tunes from all seven continents (sort of) in their spring concert on Friday April 18 in Fulkerson Recital Hall.

 “We will perform famous compositions, modern works by living composers, arrangements of folk music, and do a little improvising as well,” said Guitar Ensemble director and HSU Music professor Nicholas Lambson. “Students took the initiative to put together several of the pieces, including arrangements of jazz, blues and metal pieces.” 

 In various combinations, members of the Guitar Ensemble perform two pieces representing North America (a blues and a Broadway tune), three from South America (from Brazil, Peru and Argentina), and five pieces from western and eastern Europe (including dances from Ireland, Spain and Romania.) 

Philip Houghton’s “Lament” represents Australia, while works from Japan and Indonesia illustrate different styles of Asian music. “An African Puzzle” from Dusan Bogdanovic’s World Music Primer represents that continent. As for the seventh... “To Live is to Die” is a tune by Metallica, an American band that played a concert in Antarctica.

 One piece (“Cote Sud” by contemporary French composer Roland Dyens) features eight guitarists. “This is one of the largest groups we have had involved in one piece,” notes Lambson. “Putting it all together with the big group has been challenging but also a lot of fun. This may also be the last concert for this talented group of guitarists, since several will be graduating, and a few of the alumni performing with us may be moving on as well. I think this piece is a great way to culminate their time here as a part of the HSU Guitar Ensemble and studio, and I am really looking forward to sharing the stage with them for that.” 

The Guitar Ensemble includes Kenneth Bozanich, Sandee Castaneda, Alex Diaz, Jason Hall, Nick Hart, Allen Hernandez, Bryant Kellison, Nicholas Lambson, Kris Lang, Alex Lopez, Jake Masterson, Leo Plummer, Justin Santos, Leonardo Simmons, Charlie Sleep, Rory Urquhart and Greg Willis. 

The HSU Guitar Ensemble performs on Friday April 18 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  An HSU Music Department production.

Guitar Ensemble: Director's Preview

This year, the HSU Guitar Ensemble has been focusing on world music. The guitar is a main element in so many musical styles and cultures, and we will actually be representing all seven continents in this concert in one way or another (the pieces representing Antarctica were actually written by a famous American band who played a concert there, but it’s as close as we’re going to get!) We will perform famous compositions, modern works by living composers, arrangements of folk music, and do a little improvising as well.

Students took the initiative to put together a few of the pieces on their own, including arrangements of Jazz, Blues, and Metal pieces. The concert will also feature an octet by the contemporary French composer, Roland Dyens, which incorporates a wide range of styles. This is one of the largest groups we have had involved in one piece, and it has been a major undertaking; each player’s part is on the technical and musical level of a big solo piece, and putting it all together with the big group has been challenging but also a lot of fun. This may also be the last concert for this talented group of guitarists since several will be graduating, and a few of the alumni performing with us may be moving on as well. I think this piece is a great way to culminate their time here as a part of the HSU Guitar Ensemble and studio, and I am really looking forward to sharing the stage with them for that.

There are also a few “non-Western” pieces on the program. The piece based on African music was written by an Eastern European composer who is heavily involved with World Music; he is also one of my old guitar teachers from my years at the SF Conservatory of Music. There are two pieces from Asia – one is a fusion of Japanese folk songs and Western compositional practices, and the other imitates Indonesian Gamelan percussion orchestras both in terms of the actual music and by creating a surprisingly similar timbre using prepared guitar techniques.

--Nicholas Lambson

Guitar Ensemble: Program and Notes

[Names of performers are in bold]
NORTH AMERICA 

 My Favorite Things – Rogers and Hammerstein, Arranged by Jason Hall
Jason Hall, Kris Lang, Rory Urquhart, Kenneth Bozanich

 
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Blues
– Jelly Roll Morton, Arranged by Greg Willis
 Blues Medley – Arranged by Greg Willis
Greg Willis, Leonardo Simmons, Alex Diaz 

SOUTH AMERICA

 Brazil: Agua y Vinho by Egberto Gismonti
 Alex Diaz and Jake Masterson
 Xote – Celso Machado
Greg Willis, Leo Plummer, Bryant Kellison, Leonardo Simmons 

Astor Piazzolla
Argentina Tango Suite – Astor Piazzolla
 Justin Santos and Charlie Sleep 

Peru:  Two Andean Folk Songs, Arranged by Maldonado
 Leo Plummer, Sandee Castaneda, Kenneth Bozanich, Alex Lopez, Nick Hart

WESTERN EUROPE

 Ireland:  Irish Dance – Arranged by Jeremy Sparks
 Kris Lang, Rory Urquhart, Jason Hall, Jake Masterson 

Spain:  Miller’s Dance – Manuel de Falla
 Kris Lang and Jason Hall
Roland Dyens

France:  Cote Sud – Roland Dyens
Nick Lambson, Justin Santos, Jason Hall, Kris Lang, Charlie Sleep, Rory Urquhart, Alex Diaz, Jake Mast 

EASTERN EUROPE

 Russia:  Andante and Allegro – Igor Stravinsky, Arranged by Theodore Norman Greg Willis and Bryant Kellison

Romania: Romanian Dance – Anton Dvorak, Arranged by Jeremy Sparks
 Kris Lang, Justin Santos, Rory Urquhart, Jason Hall

 AUSTRALIA

Lament – Philip Houghton
Jake Masterson and Alex Diaz

ASIA


 Rhapsody Japan – Shingo Fujii
Shingo Fujii
Japan:
 Jason Hall and Kris Lang

Indonesia:  Gongan by Bill Kanengiser
 Charlie Sleep, Justin Santos, Jason Hall and Kris Lang

AFRICA 

World Music Primer:An African Puzzle by Dusan Bogdanovic
  Justin Santos, Kris Lang, Rory Urquhart

ANTARCTICA

 To Live is to Die – Metallica, Arranged by Jake Masterson
 Bryant Kellison, Jake Masterson, Allen Hernandez



Notes

William Kanengiser is an extraordinary guitar soloist, member of the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, pedagogue, and professor at the Thornton School of Music at USC. While he is not known for his compositions, these works are sophisticated, highly effective, and exciting pieces. Gongan utilizes prepared guitar techniques, requiring us to alter the sound of the instrument by placing foreign objects on the strings. We are using screws, bolts, washers, foam, and alligator clips for this one, and the effect is truly amazing! Musically, the pentatonic pitch collection is a clear representation of gamelan, and the rhythmic organization does this as well. Different “instruments” will be playing rhythmic cycles of various lengths, and gongs mark important moments where everything aligns. Kanengiser’s work is extremely unique, and a major contribution to the guitar repertoire.

Dusan Bogdanovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1955. He completed his studies in composition and orchestration at the Geneva Conservatory with Pierre Wissmer and Alberto Ginastera, and in guitar performance with Maria Livia São Marcos. Early in his career, he received the only First Prize at the Geneva Competition, and gave a highly acclaimed debut recital in Carnegie Hall in 1977. He has taught at the University of Southern California, San Francisco Conservatory and is currently at the Geneva Conservatory. His performing and recording activities include work with chamber ensembles of diverse stylistic orientations: the De Falla Guitar Trio; a harpsichord and guitar duo with Elaine Comparone; and jazz collaborations with Anthony Cox, Charlie Haden, Milcho Leviev, James Newton, Arto Tuncbayaci, and others.

 Dusan Bogdanovic has recorded nearly 20 albums, and over 70 works have been published. His theoretical work includes polyrhythmic and polymetric studies, as well as a bilingual publication covering three-voice counterpoint and Renaissance improvisation for guitar and Ex Ovo: a guide for perplexed composers and improvisers. He has also collaborated on multi-disciplinary projects involving music, psychology, philosophy and fine arts. World Music Primer clearly displays Bogdanovic’s connection with world music in general. The African Puzzle utilizes three against two cross rhythms, heavy syncopations, and an improvisatory feel, which are all regularly used in that culture. The piece is arranged in small repeated sections which the performers are playing as written all the way through before jumbling the puzzle by improvising which cells they play next.

 Jeremy Sparks was born in London, England. He began his guitar studies under Oswald Rantucci at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Upon receiving his performance degree in 1976 he formed the Buffalo Guitar Quartet. At that time, published music for four guitars was virtually non-existent. To help fill this void, Jeremy Sparks has composed pieces for guitar quartet and has transcribed more than fifty works. He was also mentor to several highly successful guitarists including Jason Vieaux who heads the Cleveland Institute of Music, has toured to world, has recorded multiple albums, and has won extremely competitive competitions including the Guitar Foundation of America Competition. Irish Medley is perhaps his most performed work, which is popular due to the very colorful and effective arrangement. Sparks employs harmonics and percussive effects along with thoughtful placement of voices in terms of range and color; and he does so in service to the music and not for its own sake which makes it all the more effective.

Egberto Amin Gismonti began his formal music studies at the age of six on piano. After studying classical music for 15 years, he went to Paris to study orchestration and analysis with Nadia Boulanger and the composer Jean Barraqué, a disciple of Schoenberg and Webern. After his return to Brazil, Gismonti began to explore other musical genres. He was attracted by Ravel's approach to orchestration and chord voicings, as well as by "choro", a Brazilian instrumental popular music featuring various types of guitars. In order to play this music he learned to play guitar, beginning on the 6-string classical instrument and switching to a ten-stringed guitar in 1973. He spent two years experimenting with different tunings and searching for new sounds. This exploration of timbre is further reflected in his use of kalimbas, Shō, voice, bells, etc.

 By the early '70s, he had laid the groundwork for his current style which incorporated elements drawn from musicians as wide-ranging as Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix. Agua y Vinho translates to “Water and Wine.” It features some very interesting harmonies with an extremely expressive melody, which also ends in an unorthodox whole-tone scale. The arrangement of this work was done for two guitars by Spanish guitar professor, Jesus Saiz-Huedo.

Regarded as the greatest Spanish composer of the twentieth century, Manuel de Falla developed an interest in native Spanish music - in particular Andalusian flamenco - while studying with Felipe Pedrell in Madrid in the late 1890s. From 1907 to 1914 he lived in Paris where he met, and was influenced by, Ravel, Debussy and Dukas. Works such as the ballet El amor brujo and the one-act opera La vida breve are notably nationalistic in character, though a Stravinskian neo-classicism can be heard in works such as the Harpsichord Concerto, composed when he lived in Granada from 1921 to 1939.

Homenaje is his only original guitar work and it is a landmark of 20th century guitar repertoire. However, his works are very frequently performed as arrangements on the guitar. The music is so inspired by the instrument, and by the flamenco tradition, that even his orchestral works suggest strumming, and the voicings of chords are similar to how they would be playing on guitar. In fact, Falla later arranged Homenaje for orchestra and he needed to change very little. The transference or these ballets to the guitar is so easily done, and so convincing, that it is hard to imagine the originals. The Miller’s Dance is from his ballet, The Three Cornered Hat, which features typical Spanish traits such as hemiola, the use of Phrygian and Phrygian Dominant modes, and a heavy emphasis on rhythm. However, Falla blends these traditional traits with contemporary harmonies. The Miller’s Dance is also notable for its clear references to flamenco guitar, and the use of rasgueado strumming techniques.


Melbourne-born composer Phillip Houghton was a relative latecomer to classical music. He spent a year studying painting at Prahran Technical College in 1972, breaking off his fine arts studies to concentrate on music. Houghton studied guitar at the Melba Conservatorium of Music for a year, then privately with noted classical guitarist and teacher Sebastian Jorgenson at the Montsalvat Artists Colony in Eltham, Victoria. Houghton’s compositions reflect the influence of many styles: classical, jazz, rock, ambient and world music, and his work continues to reflect a strong interest in art, mythology and the environment.

Phillip Houghton has written music for both acoustic and electronic media, for theatre, film and dance. He was appointed artist-in-residence at Montsalvat in 1977 and retained that appointment until 1981, the year in which he gave up his career as a guitar recitalist to concentrate on composition. Lament is the second of three pieces for two guitars. Houghton has synesthesia, a condition where sight and sound are intertwined. His scores often have interesting indications, such as including “green” and in this piece, “begin like firmly but gently pushing big doors open, into a world of light.”

Monday, April 07, 2014

  San Francisco Rising Stars at HSU 

 San Francisco’s popular Farallon Quintet showcases the clarinet of rising star Natalie Parker in concert at HSU on Monday April 7. 

 Principal clarinet with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and performer with the San Francisco Symphony, Natalie Parker co-founded the Farallon Quintet in 2012. “Come hear one of the Bay Area's most sought after musicians,” counsels one of the Quintet’s violinists, Matthew Oshida. “ She’s an up-and-coming clarinetist who may not be local to California for much longer.” 

 The other members of the Quintet are Elizabeth Prior (viola), Jonah Kim (cello) and Dan Flanagan (violin.) Appearing at HSU will be guest first violinist Emanuela Nikiforova. 

 The program to be performed at HSU called "The Virtuosic Clarinet" includes works by Mozart and Carl von Weber, plus some lesser known pieces written for this unique combination of instruments: a string quartet plus virtuoso clarinet.

 These include works by 19th century virtuoso clarinetist and composer Heinrich Baermann and 19th century conductor and composer Louis Spohr. Baermann, Spohr and von Weber are all known for their clarinet compositions. 

The Farallon Quintet website contains videos and more information on the ensemble.

 The Farallon Quintet performs a Guest Artists concert on Monday April 7 in the Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU. Tickets are $10/$5 students and seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Produced by HSU Music department.

Farallon Quintet: Biographies

A native of South Carolina, NATALIE PARKER is currently the Principal Clarinet of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. She joined the Ballet Orchestra in January 2012 and received her M.M. degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music the following May. In 2010 she won second prize in the International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition and performed in recital at their annual ClarinetFest. Since arriving in San Francisco, Natalie has played frequently with the San Francisco Symphony as well as with several regional orchestras and enjoys performing chamber music throughout the Bay Area.

 DAN FLANAGAN currently serves as Concertmaster of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, the Modesto Symphony, Lecturer of Violin at U.C. Davis, and Instructor of Violin at U.C. Berkeley. Described as a “stellar musician” (Nevada Reviews), he has been praised for his “exquisite tone” and “forthright brio” (Sacramento Bee). A dedicated orchestral player, he has performed as concertmaster with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the California Symphony, California Musical Theater, the Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, and Symphony Silicon Valley. Dan has played as soloist and chamber musician with many orchestras and ensembles. Born in New Jersey and trained in New York and Michigan, he holds a B.M. from the Cleveland Institute of Music and M.M. from the University of Oregon, where he was a graduate teaching fellow.

 Violinist and San Jose native MATTHEW OSHIDA has performed with orchestras throughout the country including the San Jose Symphony, Utah Symphony, Huntsville Symphony, Sarasota Opera, and Tulsa Symphony, Opera, and Ballet. He has appeared in principal positions with the orchestras in Berkeley, Fremont, Sacramento, San Jose, and Modesto, recorded with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and accompanied such popular artists as Sarah Brightman, Michael Bolton, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller, and Harry Connick, Jr. As a chamber musician, he studied with members of the Cleveland and Juilliard Quartets, performed with members of the Emerson Quartet, and participated in live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3. He received a B.M. from Indiana University and M.M. from SUNY Stony Brook.

 An active Bay Area violist, ELIZABETH PRIOR is Principal Violist with the Santa Rosa Symphony and is a season substitute with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. She is also associate principal with the Marin Symphony and performs regularly with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. A native of South Africa, she was a prizewinner in the International String Competition in Pretoria and gave her debut at Carnegie Hall with the Russian Chamber Orchestra. She tours regularly as a soloist with the Chamber Ensemble of Cologne in France and has done two recent tours with the New Century Chamber Orchestra.

 Cellist JONAH KIM made his solo debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003. The same year, he also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra in DC where the Washington Post called him simply, “the next Yo-Yo Ma.” He graduated from the prestigious Curtis Institute in the spring of 2006 while only 17 years old, and has soloed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia, Symphony of the Americas, Orquestra Sinfônica Nacional and many others. Mr. Kim’s recitals at venues like the Kimmel Center, Kravis Center, Kennedy Center, the Phillips Collections and the Arsht Center have been streamed live and re-aired on podcasts, radio and TV programs for WETA, WHYY, WITF, MPBN, WXEL, NPR, NBC, CBS and PBS. Currently he is Associate Principal Cello of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, of which he is also the youngest member.

 Educated in Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the United States, Bulgarian violinist EMANUELA NIKIFOROVA has performed professionally as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra member since age 13. Emanuela has performed as a soloist at the International Menuhin Music Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland, Festival Lysy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and as a member of the Nikiforova-Pilibossian duo at Sofia and Varna Summer Festivals. She has recorded as a soloist for Bulgarian Radio and TV, as a member of Camerata Bariloche, and as Principal Second Violin of Camerata Lysy for Revista Classica and Claves. Currently, she is a freelance musician in the Bay Area and Artistic Co-director of The Annual May Celebration of Bulgarian Arts & Culture in San Francisco.

Farallon Quintet: The Program

The Virtuosic Clarinet


Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in Bb Major by Carl Maria von Weber
            I.  Allegro 
            II. Fantasia:  Adagio
III. Menuetto

IV.  Rondo:  Allegro

Intermission
  
Allegro in Bb, KAnh. 91 (516c) (Quintet Fragment) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 

Adagio in Db Major by Heinrich Baermann
      
Fantasy and Variations, Op. 81 by Louis Spohr
   
 Introduction, Theme and Variations Carl Maria von Weber
    


Saturday, April 05, 2014

         Humboldt Bay Brass Band Cornet section.
Legends of Brass with the Humboldt Bay Brass Band 

 With the brass band classic “California Legends” as its centerpiece, the Humboldt Bay Brass Band’s April 5 concert continues its romp through musical history during Humboldt State’s centennial year. 

 This time five separate brass quintets awaken musical nostalgia with radio hits of the 1920s through the 1960s. In addition to familiar tunes from Hoagy Carmichael to Dave Brubeck and the Beatles, there’s a song by Humboldt County composer Joseph Byrd about “Cockeyed Florence,” a town character in Trinidad. 

 Then the full 25-member brass band plus three percussionists perform Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture,” which he wrote to acknowledge an honorary degree from the University of Breslau. “We like to start with an overture,” HBBB director Gil Cline said. “We very much like that Brahms wrote this music for a University, and that it was first performed in that setting.” 


 The band continues with the Scottish tune “John Peel” (It’s just simply a beautiful song” Cline commented) and the second local work on the program, “Redwood Highway,” written by Professor Frank Flowers and arranged by Cline. “It was an effort deciphering Flower’s handwritten manuscript,” he said. “We have new percussion parts and basslines, and polished counterpoint by internal instruments. But we preserve the beautiful cornet solos in the trio, and the bass solo. The bass and baritone instruments play the melody, a la Johann Sebastian Bach. The final result is a very, very good march.”

 “California Legends” by Bruce Broughton the major work on the program, is conducted by Audrey McCombs, a recent HSU graduate just returned from a year studying in England. “She was able to immerse herself in the highly competitive but also highly social world of UK brass bands,” Cline said. “She performed with a number of top bands in the west of England which during her time won contests.”

According to Broughton’s dedication, this piece was inspired by a literary work published in Spain in 1510. It recounts fictional adventures in the New World that included visiting a “Terrestrial Paradise.”

"Broughton was a highly successful American composer who wrote this for the standard Brass Band found in the UK,” Cline said. “HBBB follows that standard instrumentation, so we can tackle works like this one.” 

 Rounding out a reflective evening is “25 or 6 to 4,” a tune recorded by the legendary 1970s jazz-rock group, Chicago. “I enjoyed arranging it, “Cline admitted. “It reminds me of playing all around Humboldt County in a cover band in the 70s called Open Road. We did lots of hits by Chicago, Tower of Power and Blood, Sweat & Tears.” 

 The Humboldt Bay Brass Band performs on Saturday April 5 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.  An HSU Music Department production.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Opera Workshop's Musical Discoveries

 Audiences for this spring’s HSU Opera Workshop concerts on March 28 and 29 will be among the first to experience recently rediscovered music from Portugal, including excerpts from a satirical opera never before heard on the West Coast. 

“Every second spring the Opera Workshop explores a special topic within the genre of dramatic vocal music,” explained director and HSU Music professor Elisabeth Harrington. This year’s concert results from the work of music scholar Dr. Ricardo Bernardes, who has “unearthed and edited selections of Portuguese vocal music and agreed to make them available for our performance.” 

Among his discoveries is an 18th century operatic farce that he found in a Washington archive. He provided his edited excerpts to the Opera Workshop for this work's West Coast premiere. 

Entitled "A Saloia Namorada," it’s about “a country girl in love,” Harrington said. “Themes include patriotism and the perennial ‘neutral ground’ for all operas: love triangles!” 

 This opera by Antonio Leal Moreira (music) and Domingos Caldas Barbosa (libretto) is historically significant as “the only known Portuguese opera from the 18th century that included composed recitative, rather than spoken dialogue. Several of our students have been working on short sections of the recitatives to include between their arias and duets.” 
Chris Parreira and Sean Laughlin review diction
with soprano and native of Portugal Ana Cruz 

Aiding the authenticity is soprano Ana Cruz, who is completing her HSU degree in Vocal Performance. “A native of Portugal, Ana has been the diction coach for the opera class this semester,” Harrington said. 

The concert features music from medieval to modern, including a liturgical piece in Latin ("Dixit Dominus") and an Italian aria ("Aria Alcione"), both also edited by Ricardo Bernardes. “They reflect the deep influence of European style on Portuguese music.” 

 Harrington will be among the 13 singers in the concert. John Chernoff accompanies on harpsichord, with Kinu Manabe on bass. 

 Humboldt County brass player Gregg Moore, who taught music in Portugal for ten years, performs with Ana Cruz on two pieces in the genre called Fado. With origins in the 19th century or earlier, Fado (“fate” or “destiny”) is a popular Portuguese song style, recently added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 

HSU Opera Workshop performs on Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29 at 8 p.m. in Gist Hall Theatre on the HSU campus. Tickets are $10, $5 seniors and children, and $3 HSU students, from the HSU Ticket Office (926-3928) or at the door. Produced by the HSU Music Department.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

All This Jazz: HSU Battle of the Orchestras

 The Humboldt Symphony plays jazz, the HSU Jazz Orchestra plays classical, and together they play an orchestral work by Duke Ellington: is it blurring musical boundaries or HSU’s orchestra slam? You be the judge at Fulkerson Recital Hall on Saturday March 8. 

 The HSU Symphony under the direction of Kenneth Ayoob performs Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to West Side Story, which melds classical, jazz and popular music elements. A major hit as a stage show, this concert version was adapted from the landmark 1961 film by Maurice Peress, New York Philharmonic assistant conductor to Bernstein.

 “Our part of the concert features pieces with a jazz feel and background,” Ayoob noted. The Symphony gets more specifically jazzy with Calvin Custer’s Salute to the Big Bands, which incorporates melodies made famous by Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and other 1940s bands, including excerpts from “Pennsylvania 6-5000” and “Sing Sing Sing.”

 “When Ken Ayoob told me that the Symphony was going to encroach on the Jazz Orchestra's territory with this piece,” said Jazz Orchestra conductor Dan Aldag, “I decided to return the favor by programming a piece of classical music arranged for big band.”

 So the Jazz Orchestra will perform a jazz band version of a song by 19th century French composer Leo Delibes, “The Maids of Cadiz.” Though the song was recorded by Benny Goodman and Miles Davis, this 1950 band arrangement by Gil Evans was only recently rediscovered.


The two orchestras combine for the evening’s centerpiece, Duke Ellington’s Harlem, conducted by Aldag. “This is generally acknowledged as one of Ellington's finest extended works,” he said. 

 The Jazz Orchestra gets back to jazz roots with the raucous “Better Git It In Your Soul” by Charles Mingus. 

 The Humboldt Symphony and HSU Jazz Orchestra concert is on Saturday March 8 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8/$5, free to HSU students with ID, from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. An HSU Music Department production.