Gerald Carpenter: The Academy of Music offers chamber music from fellows and professors | Culture & Leisure
The next concert in the Academy of Music’s Chamber Nights series, titled Songs & Meditations, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6 at Lehmann Hall on the Miraflores campus.
The program (and performers) for this concert are:
Nino Rota“Sonata for Flute and Harp, 1973” (Jamie Kim, flute; Kaitlin Faith Miller, harp); Maurice RavelChansons madécasses for voice, flute, cello and piano, 1925-1926″ (Danielle Casós, mezzo-soprano; Sophia Jean, flute; Noah Seng-hui Koh, cello; Adria Ye, piano); Jake Heggie“The Deepest Desire: Four Meditations on Love, 2002” (Tivoli Treloar, mezzo-soprano; Elvin Schlanger, flute; John Morefield, piano); and WolfgangMozart“Quintet in Eb major for piano and winds, K-452, 1784” (Jini Baik, oboe; Katelyn Poetker, clarinet; Julian Gonzalez, bassoon; Siri Storheim, horn; Angie Zhang, piano).
Nino Rota (1911-1979) is best known for his film scores, of which he wrote more than 150 (including “La Dolce Vita”, “8-1/2”. “Amarcord”, “The Godfather Trilogy”, “Romeo and Juliet”, and many others), working with some of the greatest filmmakers of our time, such as Luchino Visconti, Franco Zefferelli, Francis Ford Coppolaand of course, Federico Felliniwho said:
“The most valuable collaborator I have ever had, I say it right away and do not even have to hesitate, was Nino Rota – between us, right away, a complete, total harmony… He had a geometric imagination, a musical approach worthy of the celestial spheres, so he didn’t need to see the images from my films.
“When I asked him about the melodies he had in mind to comment on one sequence or another, I clearly realized that he didn’t care about images at all. His world was inside, inside of itself, and reality had no way of entering it.”
Rota’s posthumous reputation as a composer for the concert hall or opera has steadily grown. In years past, the Academy of Music has presented a splendid production of its opera, “The Italian Straw Hat.” His chamber music, in particular, has won space on programs around the world.
His music is mostly – if not hyper – romantic, and a soft, ethereal piece like the “Sonata” needs no obscure explanation from me.
It’s not at all surprising to find a mezzo-soprano singing the songs of Jake Heggie, since his muse and longtime champion was the incomparable mezzo, Frederica von Stade, but these songs are born from another of his rich friendships with women, this one with Sister Hélène Prejean.
Heggie’s opera “Dead Man Walking” was based on the book of the same title by Sister Helen, and Heggie commissioned the texts for this cycle from Sister Helen.
“I asked [Sister Helen] on his own sense of what “spirituality” means. (It’s a constant struggle for me, personally.) She replied that at some point in her life, she had to throw away all the “stuff” she was told she needed… She went in the deepest waters of her being, and there she found the heart of her spirituality: the deepest desire of her heart.
The cycle is in four sections, beginning with a flute solo, which Heggie dubbed “The Call”.
Then there is Mozart…
At 7:30 p.m. the following evening, July 7, the second in the Faculty Artists Concert Showcase Series will take the stage at Hahn (formerly Abravanel) Hall. The program will consist of three works:
Johannes Brahms‘ “Trio in A minor for piano, clarinet and cello, Opus 114, 1891” (performed by Richie Hawley, clarinet; Alan Stepansky, cello; Margaret McDonald, piano); Aaron Copland“Sonata for violin and piano, 1943” (Jorja Fleezanis, violin; Conor Hanick, piano); and Edvard Grieg“Sonata in A minor for cello and piano, Opus 36, 1883” (Alan Stepansky, cello; Jonathan Feldman, piano).
Brahms’ trio, written at the end of his life, manages to be cosmic and exquisite at the same time. I have long felt that the “real” Brahms is revealed in his wonderful chamber music, and this trio is a good example.
Copland’s sonata does not use American folk or popular tunes, but it dates from a time when he had left the austere modernism of his youth far behind him, and the sonic world it inhabits is that of nationalist composers. Roy Harris and Samuel Barbier. It is a very pleasant and well done job.
It is likely that Grieg’s cello sonata will make the strongest impression of the three works of the evening. Always melodic and agile, the work allows us to hear Scandinavia and Russia as a single sound ecosystem. The surprise is the self-confidence and virility of the work.
Regular priced tickets for both concerts are $40, community access tickets, subject to availability, are $10; and children ages 7-17 are admitted free. Tickets are available at the Summer Festival box office (Casey), in person from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, Monday, June 6 through Friday, August 6; by phone at 805-969-8787; or online at www.musicacademy.org.
– Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk Contributing Writer. He can be reached at [email protected] The opinions expressed are his own.