Stony Brook University
DMA Recital #4
Thursday, November 14th, 2013 12:00pm Staller Recital Hall
Divertissement (1942) Jean Françaix
Sarabande et Cortège (1942) Henri Dutilleux
Concerto in C major, RV 477 (c. 1717) Antonio Vivaldi
Michael Smith, Piano
Retracing for solo bassoon (2002) Elliott Carter
Octet “A huit” (1972) Jean Françaix
Moderato – Allegrissimo (1912-1997)
Andy Bhasin, Philip Carter, violin
Micaela Fruend, viola
Rebecca Proietto, cello
Zachary Hobin, bass
Carina Canonico, clarinet
Amr Selim, horn
This recital partially fulfills the requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in bassoon performance. Rachel Koeth is a student of Mr. Frank Morelli.
Jean Françaix was a French composer and pianist who was born in Le Mans and moved to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, the famous teacher of great American composers like Carter and Copland. Françaix is the most frequently performed French composer of the mid-to-late 20th century, with his signature neoclassical style of witty, light and quick melodies juxtaposed with slow, haunting melodies and harmonies. Divertissement was originally written for string quintet and bassoon, but today the arrangement will be heard with piano. The first movement is quick “à la burlesque” with a reoccurring peppy line. The second movement is heartfelt and calm, which contrasts the rhythmic hiccups and syncopations of the third movement. The beginning of the fourth movement is quite serious, until the musical jokester, the bassoon, enters and lightens up the mood. Françaix’s Octet is in four movements and reflects the traditions of Schubert’s Octet in F (which reflects Beethoven’s Septet), apart from having two fewer movements. The waltz is a Viennese remnant, but with the spice of Françaix’s personality. These singable melodies are energetic and seemingly unaware of the confounding harmonies and harmonics that are interspersed throughout the work.
Henri Dutilleux had just become Director of singing at the Paris Opèra when he wrote Sarabande et Cortège. The piece is dedicated to Gustave Dhèrin, the bassoon professor of the Conservatoire National de Paris. Sarabande is the French spelling of a baroque dance and originally described a piece in slow triple time, with an emphasis on beat two and implied a lasciviousness affect. Cortège simply means a processional, and this particular procession can be imagined as a march for marionettes or circus entertainers – a comical or lighthearted mood. There are two cadenzas in this piece, which climb up into the stratosphere of the bassoon range.
The Concerto in C major is one of Antonio Vivaldi's thirty-nine virtuosic bassoon concertos. Originally it was written for two violins, viola, and basso continuo, with the bassoon doubling the bass line when there was no solo line. Throughout Vivaldi’s life, he had connections to Pio Ospedale della Pietà, which was one of four Catholic mercy hospitals located in Vienna that cared for abandoned, illegitimate, or distressed girls. Vivaldi was paid to musically train and provide concerts to showcase these girls, and these concertos were likely written for that purpose. This concerto contains an ornate slow movement with the form of A A’ B B’ with the repeated sections embellished, which is framed between an allegro movement full of twisting, curving lines with at times two voices, and a faster, flashier furious sounding allegro movement that features a cadenza in the last solo section. While Vivaldi was born in Venice and had a successful career as a composer and violinist, he died penniless in Vienna.
Elliott Carter is acclaimed as the leading American voice of modernism in the 20th and 21st century. A native New Yorker born in the city, his first mentor was Charles Ives before he began his official studies with Walter Piston and Gustav Holst. His musical language started as neoclassical, influenced by his contemporaries Copland, Hindemith and Stravinsky. After 1950, he shifted his compositional style away from neoclassicism and developed a unique harmonic language and signature rhythmic technique. Retracing is an excerpt from the last few minutes of Carter’s Asko Concerto for chamber ensemble. Retracing was dedicated to and premiered by Peter Kolkay for Carter’s 100th birthday. The bassoon solo matches textures, trills, rhythms and motives heard earlier by other instruments, such as the marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, trumpet, and clarinet, among others. The Asko Concerto was written for the Asko Ensemble, which is a Dutch chamber orchestra formed in 1965 that specializes in contemporary classical music, multimedia projects, modern opera, and film music on a regular basis.