Sunday, August 6, 3:00 pm
Nelson Congregational Church ~ 830 Nelson Rd, Nelson, NH 03457
The Nelson Village Concert and Picnic is a Kick-off to Old Home Week as Nelson celebrates their Sestercentennial - 250th Anniversary of the founding of Nelson in 1767.
Monadnock Music String Quartet Performers:
Charles Dimmick and Gabriela Diaz, violins
Noriko Futagami, viola
Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello
Henry Purcell: 3 Fantasias
Terry Riley: Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector
Thomas Adès: Four Quarters
Serenade: Morning Dew
The Twenty-Fifth Hour
Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet in a minor, op. 13
Adagio - Allegro vivace
Adagio non lento
Intermezzo. Allegretto con moto - Allegro di molto
Presto - Adagio non lento
Henry Purcell: 3 Fantasias (12')
Henry Purcell (1659-1695), was an English Baroque composer regarded for his originality and ability to incorporate elements of the past and present into his work. As a child, Purcell was a member of his local choir and later worked as an instrument caretaker. Purcell played and tuned the organ at Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal while he continued to compose. Of Purcell’s many works, the most notable are his incidental theater scores, including music for The Fairy-Queen (1692) derived from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. While Purcell completed various chamber, symphonic, and orchestral works, many of his instrumental compositions were left unpublished until after his death.
Purcell’s Fantasias VII à 4 in c minor, VIII à 4 in d minor, and IX à 4 in a minor were composed in 1680. These three Fantasias were selected from Purcell’s group of Fantasias Z. 730 – Z. 745 originally scored for viol ensemble. Various string ensembles now play this repertoire. Aptly named, Purcell’s Fantasias are musically imaginative and fantasy-filled. VII à 4 in c minor begins with a lamenting tune before blossoming into an energetic theme with a brief heartfelt reflection of the original melancholy in the last moments. The ensemble makes a stately entrance in Fantasia VIII à 4 in d minor. Rich harmony and occasional dissonances create an intense yet still welcoming Fantasia. The final work performed today, IX à 4 in a minor, seems to intertwine the lamenting and stately natures of the previous two Fantasias.
Terrence “Terry” Riley (b. 1935) is an American composer based in California. Riley was a crucial figure in the development and exposure of minimalism in Western music. Along with composers Steve Reich, La Monte Young, and Philip Glass, Riley uses compositional techniques including drones, pulse, repetition, and consonant harmony to produce minimalist music. Riley studied at the University of California, Berkeley, then traveled to Europe, New York, Philadelphia, and India for temporary positions and studies before returning to California to teach. During his travels, Riley performed, conducted, and composed for ensembles of all genres, including La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music, the Kronos Quartet, and Indian Classical Music and raga singing performances and seminars. Riley’s work has been commissioned by and performed at music festivals world-wide.
Riley composed Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector (1980) for the Kronos Quartet. The influence of Western classical music is intertwined with Riley’s innovation in minimalism in this interpretive and dynamic composition. The modal figures and brief segments of melody rely on the quartet’s interpretation and creativity in dynamics and phrasing. The fragmented melodies and rhythms sound convoluted and frenzied at times, but the underlying metric structure gives the improvisational qualities a defined form in which to explore the composition.
Thomas Adès (b. 1971) is a British composer, conductor, and pianist. It was Adès’ skill in piano performance that brought initial attention to him, and by the time Adès began composing he was already established in the music culture. Adès’ best-known compositions are primarily operas and solo and chamber works. His distinct story-telling ability is showcased by his controversial and thought-provoking operas. Adès has served as a board member or artistic director of a number of music groups and festivals, including the European Academy of Music Theatre, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and the Aldeburgh Festival. Adès continues to play piano in both public performance and competitive settings; he was the runner-up in the BBC’s 1990 Young Musician of the Year competition. In addition to performance and composition, Adès is a sought-after conductor and has directed the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian National Academy of Music, among others.
Adès’ Four Quarters (2010) was commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation for the Emerson Quartet. As implied by its title, Four Quarters consists of four movements. Nightfalls starts the work off in a foreboding mood, its development accented by gentle and high lines in the violin. The strings pluck their way through the second movement, Serenade: Morning Dew, breaking into a section of bowing before the pizzicato gradually returns. Days begins with a quiet motif slowly developed into a unison climax. In the final movement, The Twenty-Fifth Hour, the quartet navigates through unconventional 25/16 time and escalates into a majestic climax, which flows through the remainder of the movement.
German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) excelled as a composer and pianist as a child, learning music from his parents. He later studied music with Ludwig Berger and Carl Friedrich Zelter. The opportunity to travel as presented by Mendelssohn’s talents provided establishment as a composer, performer, conductor, and teacher across Europe. A strong influence of Classical music is apparent in Mendelssohn’s work, but he also incorporated the original aspects of Romanticism and initiated the advance into that era. Mendelssohn’s intelligent, innovative, and elegant style of composition remains a timeless influence in Classical music.
String Quartet No. 2 in a minor, Op. 13 (1827), was composed shortly after the death of Ludwig van Beethoven. In homage to Beethoven, Mendelssohn incorporated the cyclic form developed in Beethoven’s posthumously published compositions. Mendelssohn adds to his musical remembrance of Beethoven the first movement, Adagio – Allegro vivace, in which the form of Beethoven’s 1825 String Quartet No. 13 is reflected. Mendelssohn’s mastery of melody is showcased by Adagio non lento, in which a Beethoven quartet is again stylistically referenced. Intermezzo: Allegretto con moto – Allegro di molto follows in a style more distinct to Mendelssohn before the final movement, Presto – Adagio non lento, brings the homage to Beethoven full circle.