Saturday, September 29, 2007

Greg Granoff at the organ, with Ari Davie,
Frederick Belanger and Tristan Kadish,
baroque trumpets.
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Organ Dedication Concert

HSU Music Department dedicates its new baroque-style pipe organ with a special free concert on Saturday, September 29 at 8PM, in the Armstrong Rehearsal Hall (Music Complex Room 131) on the HSU campus in Arcata. 826-3531.

Greg Granoff, Tim Carter and Mary Wells
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The Sports Car of Organs Pipes Up at HSU

With the appropriate pomp and circumstance, the Humboldt State University Music Department will dedicate its new baroque-style pipe organ at a special free concert on Saturday, September 29. But just because it’s a period design doesn’t mean it’s not modern.

“This pipe organ is a type called a tracker instrument,” Dr. Gil Cline, Professor of Music and Project Director for this pipe organ explained. “ It has a 17th century design but it gets its air power from a high quality electric motor, rather than the old bellows system. Trackers have the reputation of being sort of like light, powerful sports cars.”

The gift of an anonymous donor, the organ was made by the German firm Bosch. It required many months of repair and miscellaneous work. The inaugural concert features a program designed to show off the organ’s capabilities and will put it through its paces.

The concert begins with a fanfare written by Gil Cline expressly for the Bosch organ, performed by Greg Granoff with Cline’s HSU Trumpet Consort von Humboldt, featuring baroque trumpets.

Terry Yard, Merry Schellinger, Helen Hui and Kristen Anderson, all local organists and members of the American Guild of Organists will continue the program. Violinist will also perform, honoring the traditional pairing of violin and organ, instruments that came of age together in the 17th century.

Organist Doug Moorehead, past Dean of the local American Guild of Organists chapter, will conclude the concert, a fitting honor for the person who began the process that resulted in this organ dedication.

Doug Moorehead

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“Doug has been a keeper of the flame,” Cline said, “and a local proponent of all things ‘pipe organ.’” It was Moorehead’s contact with Cline on behalf of the anonymous donor which provided the impetus to bring the Bosch organ to HSU.

Following in-depth discussions on campus, development officer Mary Wells orchestrated the gift arrangements needed to bring the organ out of storage.The organ was moved to the campus in hundreds of pieces. Then Tim Carter of the Wolverton Company, a Fortuna firm experienced in pipe organs, re-assembled it. Some 112 damaged pipes were also rebuilt by a Pennsylvania firm.

“Pipe organs are as varied as the most beautiful of sailing ships and other maritime craft,” Cline remarked. “Each is suited to a rather narrow range of ideal uses, and is valued for those unique purposes and qualities.”

Tim Carter and members of the
Wolverton Company.
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The Dedication Concert, scheduled to last one hour, will be held at 8PM on Saturday, September 29 in the Armstrong Rehearsal Hall, Room 131 in the Music Complex on the HSU campus. Call 826-3531 for directions and more information.

The HSU Music Department plans to hold annual organ concerts featuring faculty, students and guests. Due to the generosity of the donor, HSU will begin awarding an annual $1000 scholarship to encourage student players.

Media: Arcata Eye, Eureka Reporter.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

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Deborah Clasquin: Dances with Piano

Acclaimed pianist and HSU professor Deborah Clasquin presents a recital of 20th century dance music, including works of Ravel, Bartok and Bill Evans. This Humboldt State University Faculty Artist series concert is September 22 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8 general, $3 students and seniors from HSU Ticket Office 826-3928) or at the door.
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Dances with Piano

Whirling dervishes and sad Spanish dances, fiery Mazurkas and pulsating Argentine rhythms, all pour from the piano of one of the North Coast’s best-known performing artists, Deborah Clasquin, in a recital of dance music from the twentieth century on Saturday, September 22 at the Fulkerson Recital Hall.

The recital features modern approaches to a mix of musical dance styles from around the world, including a dance suite by Bela Bartok with eastern European and Arab influences, and waltzes by Ravel and by jazz pianist Bill Evans.

Also included are works by lesser known composers—interpretations of Mazurkas from Poland by Karol Szymanowski, dances from Argentina by Alberto Ginastera and dances from Spain by Frederico Mompou.

Deborah Clasquin is known locally for her solo recitals as well as her appearances with the Humboldt Symphony, the Eureka Symphony, the Helmholz Trio and other ensembles. She also has appeared in concert in Paris, Moscow, Kiev, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., as well as in San Francisco and throughout northern California. She has been broadcast on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, and has won numerous awards and prizes.

The recital explores how twentieth century composers brought a new approach to traditional and popular forms of music for dance. For example, in his “uninterrupted chain of seven waltzes, Ravel both enjoys the strict three-four rhythm for itself, and at the same time views it through twentieth-century eyes,” Clasquin observes. “The harmonies are those of a composer who knows all about Wagner and Schoenberg, as well as Gershwin.”

Of the Spanish composer, Frederico Mompou (a friend of the famous painter Miro), Clasquin said, “ Mompou’s music melds the sensuous coloration and nuance of French impressionistic style with an introspective and intense Spanish flavor, sometimes tinged with sadness.”

Deborah Clasquin’s solo piano recital begins at 8 PM on Saturday, September 22 in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $8 general, $3 students and seniors from HSU Ticket Office 826-3928) or at the door.

Media: Arcata Eye, Eureka Times-Standard.
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Performer’s Notes: Twentieth Century Dance Music

Dance Suite—Bartok

Commissioned in 1923 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the union of Buda and Pest, the Dance Suite reflects Bartok’s passion for musical cultures he had studied in the field. He identified the national origin of each movement. The first dance he labeled as partly Arab (he had visited North Africa in 1913), ending with a ritornello tune of Hungarian character. The second dance is a whirling Hungarian Magyar dervish, followed by the return of the ritornello.

The third dance, Bartok calls a mix of “Hungarian, Romanian and even Arab influences alternate” and is pentatonic. The fourth dance, slow and introspective, Bartok describes as being “entirely of an Oriental (Arab) character” with interesting alternating meters found in Bulgaria. The slow tempo extends in to another appearance of the ritornello, now inverted. The finale serves as a kaleidoscope of diverse folk traditions, with quotations from earlier movements. It affirms Bartok’s profound belief in both national identity and the brotherhood of nations.

Cancion Y Danza—Mompou

Born in Barcelona, Mompou left his native Spain for Paris in 1911 following an epiphytic recital by Gabriel Faure and Marguerite Long. While in Paris, Mompou became acquainted with the works of Satie and Ravel and met his compatriot, the famous pianist, Ricardo Vines. Mompou’s music melds the sensuous coloration and nuance of French impressionistic style with an introspective and intense Spanish flavor, sometimes tinged with sadness. Notable friendships include the painter, Miro, with whom Mompou shared a love of Catalan folklore. The Cancion no.6 is dedicated to Artur Rubenstein.

Valses nobles et sentimentales—Ravel

Completed in 1911, the title page offers a line from Henri de Regnier: “the delightful and ever new pleasure of a useless occupation.” In this uninterrupted chain of seven waltzes, Ravel both enjoys the strict three-four rhythm for itself, and at the same time views it through twentieth-century eyes. The harmonies are those of a composer who knows all about Wagner and Schoenberg, as well as Gershwin, and who has sensed instinctively that his aesthetic world contains the seeds of its own decay, as heard in the introspective Epilogue. Ravel himself conducted the orchestral premiere of the ballet version entitled, “Adelaide, ou Le langage des fleurs”.

Waltz for Debby-- Bill Evans

One of the most striking qualities of Bill Evans music is his ease at fusing impressionistic scales and harmonies with jazz voicings. It is interesting to note that while disc jockeying on a New York radio station, Evans’ playlist included Ravel’s Valse nobles et sentimentales.

Mazurkas, Opus 50—Szymanowski

Born in the Ukraine, Szymanowski spent much of his academic and artist life in Warsaw. After spurning the use of folk materials for much of his career, he was inspired by Stravinski’s flexible and novel application. Further, a surge of nationalism among Polish artists celebrated the return of Poland as an independent country in 1918, after more than a century with any political status. Much of Szymanowski’s output from the 1920’s was inspired by the somewhat exotic culture of the Tatra highlands, a style featuring primitive rhythmic energy. The opus 50 Mazurkas mark Szymanowksi’s response to Chopin and were dedicated to his friend Artur Rubenstein.

Three Argentine Dances—Ginastera

His first published work, these dances revel in the Argentine culture. The pulsating dance rhythms of the first and third pieces are Ginastera’s South American response to his contemporaries, Bartok and Stravinsky. The desolate middle dance is Ginastera’s portrait of the solitude found in the pampas, miles of endless grassy plains in northern Argentina. The soulful melody is accompanied by a simple guitar figure.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

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Elisabeth Harrington: Songs of Her Own

Soprano Elisabeth Harrington presents songs by women composers. This Humboldt State University Faculty Artist series concert is September 15 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. $8 general, $3 students and seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door.
Songs of Her Own: Concert of Women Composers

Soprano Elisabeth Harrington begins the HSU Music Department season with a program of vocal works by women composers.

"Most of these composers are fairly well know in academic circles," Harrington said, " but not to the general public. My goal was to highlight some of my favorite composers."

Harrington was most recently seen and heard playing the role of Alice Beane in the Humboldt Light Opera production of Titanic: A New Musical. She is Assistant Professor of Voice at HSU, and directs the Opera Workshop. In addition to her opera and classical music performances, including two seasons with the Aspen Music Festival Opera Theater, she was a singer and flute player in a blues and bluegrass band.

The program she presents in the HSU Faculty Artist Series features women composers from the 19th and 20th centuries (Alma Mahler, Pauline Viardot) as well as contemporaries (Libby Larsen, Delores White and the comedienne Anna Russell.)

She is accompanied by pianist John Chernoff. They will repeat this program the following week at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The composers

Alma Mahler was married to the famous composer and conductor, Gustave Mahler. Although she had already written music, Alma agreed to forgo a career as a composer after her marriage. However, after her serious depression and an affair with a young architect (Walter Gropius), Gustave reconsidered, and was instrumental in five of her compositions being completed and published. After his death, she married Gropius (who later achieved fame), divorced him and married novelist Franz Werfel. She came to the U.S. with him during World War II, and stayed on after his death. She was a well-known cultural figure in New York until her death in 1964.

Harrington’s program features the work of another woman famous for her romances: the Spanish-born 19th century opera singer, Pauline Viardot. Though she married Louis Viardot in 1840, her conquests included writer Ivan Turgenev and composer Hector Berlioz. But it was her voice that inspired several famous composers to write for her. Besides assisting in these compositions, she wrote three collections of music, and composed an opera after her retirement from the stage.

Also represented are contempory composers Libby Larsen, author of more than 200 works and praised by USA Today as "the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively," and Chicago-born Delores White, a composer with numerous published works, and a former teacher who lectures on women in music, Afro-Cuban music and dance, and African American arts.

Harrington’s program concludes with three humorous songs by the English-Canadian singer and comedienne, Anna Russell.

Media: Eureka Reporter.
The Program

Elisabeth Harrington, soprano
John Chernoff, piano

Composer: Maria Malibran (1808-1836):
"Il Mattino"

Teresa Senekè (1848-1875):
"S’io t’amo?"

Alma Mahler (1879-1864):

Fünf Lieder (published 1910)
Die stille Stadt
In meines Vaters Garten
Laue Sommernacht
Bei dir ist es traut
Ich wandle unter Blumen

Pauline Viardot (1821-1910):

Les Filles de Cadix
Haï luli! Canción de la Infanta


Libby Larsen (b. 1950):

Sonnets from the Portugese
I thought once how Theocritus had sung My letters!
With the same heart, I said, I’ll answer thee
If I leave all for thee
Oh, yes!
How do I love thee?

Dolores White:

That Black Reef (2003)
Nails (2003)

Anna Russell (1923-2006):

From the Anna Russell Songbook:
Old Mother Slipper Slopper
Je n’ai pas la Plume de ma Tante
I’m Only a Faded Rose