|5 Concerts - Series Tickets|
|Fri May 5||7PM||WYO Honors String Quartet (Young Artists Showcase)|
|Sat May 6||7PM||40-Fingers Twin Steinway Extravaganza (Duo-piano concert)
Celebrating 20 Years of Twin Steinway Grand Pianos
(unique combinations with pipe organ)
artists: Olga Rogach, Malcolm Halliday, Will Sherwood, James Haupt
|Sun May 7||10:25AM||Missa Gaia Earth Mass (First Unitarian morning service)||No Ticket Needed|
|Sun May 7||7PM||Coriolis Winds in Concert|
|Fri May 12||7PM||Katelyn Emerson, organist, in Concert (Young Artists Showcase)
Co-sponsored by Worcester American Guild of Organists
|Sat May 13||7PM||Seele Musicale in Concert|
|Sun May 14||3PM||Imperio in Stereo – duo-piano Imperio Father-Son team:
Roy & Kristjon Imperio in concert
TICKETS ordered online are will-call at the door. We will have you on our roster.
TICKETS: $5 ONE CONCERT - Each concert has separate tickets, please click above. (No ticket needed for May 5 & Missa Gaia)
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon HWV 67 George Frideric Handel(1865-1759) arr. Easdale
Egmont Overture Op. 84 Ludwig van Beethoven(1770-1827) arr. Herbert
Prelude #1 in C Major BWV 846 J S Bach(1685-1750) arr. Sherwood
Daniel Kang, violin; Patrick Chatham, cello
Liberty Bell March John Philip Sousa(1854-1932) arr. Campiglio
Danse Macabre Op. 40 Camille Saint Saens(1835-1921) arr. Guiraud
Joplin Rag Rhapsody Scott Joplin(1868-1917), arr. Kevin Olson
Fantaisie - Double Piano Concerto in C Clifford Demarest(1874-1946)
"Sento in seno" (Rain of Tears) RV 737 Antonio Vivaldi(1678-1741) arr. Anderson
Dizzy Fingers Zez Confrey(1895-1971)
Hungarian Rhapsody #2 S244.2 Franz Liszt(1811-1886) arr. Walden Hughes
Selections from West Side Story Leonard Bernstein(1918-1990) arr. Klose, Ferrante&Teicher
Assisting: Patrick Chatham, Daniel Joh Kang, and Robin Dinda
Daniel Joh Kang is a violist in Shrewsbury, currently a concertmaster of one of New England Conservatory prep orchestra as well as the leader of Worcester Youth Honors Quartet, also enrolled in WYSO. He takes private lesson from Dr. Nayeong Cho.
Patrick Chatham has been playing in the Worcester Symphony Orchestra now for two years as well as the Worcester Youth Honors String Quartet. He studies privately with Betsy Bronstein at the Worcester Academy of Music.
Handel had hoped to make a career as an opera composer in London, but it was not to be. Changing popular tastes cut seriously into the audience for the sort of Italian opera seria Handel wrote, and in 1737 the composer suffered a debilitating stroke. When he was able to resume work, he turned to the oratorio and infused that old form with vitality and new dramatic possibilities. His oratorio Messiah (1742) remains his most famous, but through the decade of the 1740s he produced a steady procession of great oratorios, including Samson, Semele, Belshazzar, Judas Maccabeus, Joshua, and Solomon. Solomon, written in the spring of 1748, was premiered in London on March 17, 1749. Its three acts tell of various incidents in Solomon’s life, the third being a depiction based on the Biblical account (1 Kings 10) of the visit of the Ethiopian ruler Queen of Sheba to his court. He shows her his temple and palace and puts on a series of entertainment events, while she in turn gives him gifts and pays tribute to his accomplishments. The three-minute Sinfonia that introduces the third act has become famous under the title Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, a title that did not originate with Handel. In the oratorio this music functions simply as an overture–its energy and good spirits provide the lead-in for the Queen of Sheba’s entrance and first aria, “From Arabia’s spicy shores.” On its own, however, the Sinfonia enjoys a well-deserved life in the concert hall, where it has become a popular opening work. Handel alternates two themes: a bustling idea for strings built on a steady patter of sixteenth-notes and a slightly-syncopated second idea. So infectious is the energetic main theme that it remains to charm the memory long after the music itself has ended. This vibrant music does brilliantly what all overtures ought to do: arouse our expectations for more great music to follow—whether it is the rest of Handel’s oratorio or something entirely different.
As the musicologist Paul Mies has remarked, heroism was close to Beethoven’s own personality and it was a major concern of his times. It is not surprising then, that in his comparatively rare forays into music for the theater Beethoven proved most attracted to protagonists who dared much against repressive forces. Egmont would certainly be a case in point. In 1809 Beethoven was commissioned to compose incidental music for the belated Vienna premiere of a play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1754-1832). This was Goethe’s free interpretation of the titular Count Egmont’s 16th-century struggle for Dutch liberty against the autocratic imperial rule of Spain. Egmont is imprisoned and sentenced to death, and when Klärchen, his mistress, fails to free him, she commits suicide. Before his own death, Egmont delivers a rousing speech and his execution becomes a victorious martyrdom in a fight against oppression. Beethoven’s incidental music begins with a powerful, strikingly original overture that summarizes the course of the drama, from its ominous slow introduction (suggesting the oppressive tread of Spain with the rhythm of the sarabande) to the manic transformation of tragedy into triumph in a brilliant coda, which Beethoven echoed at the end of the play as a Victory Symphony.
The Prelude that opens the first collection of Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier is therefore the first step in a harmonic journey that was relatively new at the time; and since, from a technical standpoint, it is easier to play than anything else in either collection, it became very famous. Charles Gounod — whose arrangement of that C-major Prelude, titled “Ave Maria,” is performed here — is remembered largely for his operas (most famously Faust and Roméo et Juliette), but he was also active in the field of sacred music. For a while he contemplated entering the priesthood. In the end he decided against a religious vocation, although he maintained a deep sense of faith and a somewhat mystical outlook throughout his life. His transformation of Bach’s piece, written 137 years earlier, began with an improvised instrumental piece titled Méditation surle 1er Prélude de Piano de S. Bach that his future father-in-law Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmermann transcribed, for piano and violin or cello solo, with an accompaniment of organ (harmonium), a setting published in 1853. Finally Gounod’s blockbuster version appeared in 1859 under the name “Ave Maria,” using the familiar prayer uttered in the Gospel of Luke by the Angel Gabriel. Will Sherwood has taken the basic Bach composition and original Gounod melody, and re-applied the instrumentation offered in 1853 (adding organ, violin, cello), but with a modern twist: an intertwining of violin and cello duet accompanied by a second piano using somewhat of a new-age style.
John Philip Sousa hardly needs an introduction. The Norman Rockwell of American music, he is known to (or at least his music is recognized by) all Americans. He was born, appropriately, in Washington, D.C., the son of a Spanish trombonist in the Marine Band. His father, though born in Spain, was of Portuguese origin. "Sousa" is a town in Portugal. Legend has it that his name originally was Antonio So, and that he added the "usa" to the name as a tribute to his adopted country. Sousa denies this, but if this story is not true, it ought to be, for as musicologist Wilfrid Mellers says, "...it is truer than fact." Mellers, a British expert in American music, says that Sousa is to the march as Strauss is to the waltz. Sousa, himself, declared that his music was not for the head... it was for the feet! It "...should make a man with a wooden leg step out." He wrote a dozen operettas, six full-length operas, and over 100 marches, earning the title “March King”. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at an early age and went on to become the conductor of the President’s Own Marine Band at age 26. In 1892 he formed “Sousa and his Band”, which toured the United States and the world under his directorship for the next forty years to great acclaim. Not only was Sousa’s band hugely popular, but it also exposed audiences all over the world to the latest, cutting-edge music, bringing excerpts of Wagner’s Parsifal to New York a decade before the Metropolitan Opera staged it, and introducing ragtime to Europe, helping to spark many a composer’s interest in American music.
By the time he reached his 20th birthday, Camille Saint-Saëns was already known internationally as a composer and pianist to be reckoned with. Not only was he a precocious talent, but during the first half of his 84-year life he was also a champion of new musical forms. A friend and disciple of Franz Liszt, Saint-Saëns adapted many of the Hungarian trailblazer’s new ideas to his own compositional voice. One such innovation was the symphonic poem — a form in which musical ideas followed a narrative, emotional structure rather than traditional patterned musical constructs. Between his mid-30s and mid-40s, Saint-Saëns penned four symphonic poems. The third of these, written in 1874, would become the most famous: the short, lively “Danse Macabre.” In this case, the composer was working from an actual poem, by Henri Cazalis.
Scott Joplin is regarded by most as the "King" of Ragtime Composers, in part due to his early success with the best-selling Maple Leaf Rag, but more importantly due to the enduring nature and quality of his ragtime compositions. As popular as it is today, it seems almost impossible that anyone in the western world could never have heard Joplin’s magnificent classic rag The Entertainer (c. 1900). This perfect little piece of music is both jazzy and classical, upbeat and melancholy, and features that rarest of all musical occurrences — an almost instantly memorable main theme. It is as melodiously perfect as a Sousa March or a Rossini Overture. Such is the genius of America’s greatest ragtime composer, Scott Joplin, but his fame only really began a half century after his death when his rags were featured in the 1973 classic film The Sting (starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford). In his own lifetime, Joplin’s popularity was sporadic, ending in poverty and an early death. He was buried in an unmarked grave in 1917 at the age of 49, and by the 1920’s he was all but forgotten.
Humans hear music and can recognize the “tune” through the use of (or in spite of) one or more identification factors: the exact melody, the pattern of the melody (intervallic distortions), re-harmonizations, rhythmic quotes or variations, or instrumentation. Four of Joplin’s most famous pieces (The Entertainer, Easy Winners, Maple Leaf Rag, Solace) are cleverly arranged by Kevin Olson using all of these musical composition devices. Certainly Olson’s instrumentation (piano) is authentic to Joplin’s original composition, but you’ll recognize (at least subconsciously) the themes even though they’ve been “tampered with” and craftily woven together - it’s an enjoyable 6 minutes to hear this overture-like Rhapsody down memory lane of these time-honored pieces.
The American organist and composer Clifford Demarest was born and educated in New Jersey, and from 1911 he was the organist at Church of the Messiah, New York City. He was a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists and was its president from 1917 to 1920. Demarest wrote a number of anthems, songs, and part-songs, but is best known for his music for the combination of organ and piano. Organ and piano duos are still an important part of musical life in American Churches, since a great deal of them have pianos and organs in the sanctuary, which are used for concerts and during services. Demarest's most popular work is the Fantaisie (or Fantasy) for piano and organ written in 1917 for a concert celebrating his inauguration as President of the American Guild of Organists, a position he held until 1922. Fantaisie is in a very clear A-B-A form, and the majestic opening introduction states the theme on the organ accompanied by quasi-Tchaikovsky piano-concerto chords. This theme is developed in a brisk allegro, before abruptly giving way to a lilting pastoral middle section. The opening allegro returns, leading to a coda which brings the work to a grand close. We offer tonight’s performance in an augmented Double-Concerto arrangement, which highlights the beauty of each piano.
The aria " Sento in Seno ch'in pioggia di lagrime" ( "I feel within a rain of tears") is written for a countertenor and is from an unfinished opera seria Tieteberga. Vivaldi musically depicts rain as a metaphor for tears. Exterior and internal worlds collide in a pointillistic deluge: the dark skies weep as we are submerged in sorrow. Arranger Greg Anderson has cleverly scored the tears as staccato notes on one piano which is “prepared” with a felt mute (carefully) placed on the piano’s strings.
In 1921 Jack Mills (the founder of what today is known as Belwin Mills Publishing Corporation) offered Confrey a publishing contract that yielded Kitten on the Keys, Dizzy Fingers, and many other piano successes. Dizzy Fingers is a "speed demon" ingenious étude written for piano virtuosi that envelopes memorable melodic inventiveness, stereo arpeggios, and cascading & swirling rhythms that immediately win the heart of the public.
Certainly one of the most recognizable pieces written for the piano, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 has remained within popular culture in one way or another since he first penned the work in 1847. As composer, pianist, and teacher Liszt encapsulated the musical ideals and passions of his time more than any other musician. He was known for his dazzling virtuosity at the piano and his daring explorations of new musical techniques and forms. His performances enthralled the public with their technical difficulty and his dramatic stage presence. After his death many of his works, such as the second Hungarian Rhapsody, have become mountains which all pianists wanting to prove their technical prowess must summit. The work has a life outside of the concert hall as well. Countless films, both animated shorts and feature-length, have used the Rhapsody. Its first silver screen appearance was a performance by Mickey Mouse in the 1929 short The Opry House, in which he struggles with a piano that has a mind of its own. It then appeared in many other animated shorts such as William Hannna and Joe Barbera's Academy Award-winning 1946 short The Cat Concerto, featuring Tom and Jerry. Other film appearances range from Marx Brothers films to Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Leonard Bernstein was the first American composer to achieve not only fame, but a measure of superstardom generally accorded only to pop or rock stars and movie icons. As a conductor, he was known for a dramatic, flamboyant manner that scandalized his detractors, and he championed composers like Mahler who were seen as 'too difficult' for the public to comprehend. As an educator, he brought classical music to a whole new generation through his televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic, beginning in 1958. As a composer, he made his mark in the concert and ballet halls (1944 saw the premieres of both his Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah," and the ballet Fancy Free), in movies (1954's On the Waterfront), and on stage. His West Side Story (1957) is one of the landmark achievements of American musical theater.
West Side Story, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that plays out in the 1950s New York slums, was called a "social music drama" by its creators, composer Bernstein, lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and choreographer Jerome Robbins. The musical added a whole new layer of meaning to the Bard's tale of tragic lovers with its portrayal of the rival gangs the Jets (streetwise white New York teens) and the Sharks (tough Puerto Rican immigrants).
Variations on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56b Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Chorale St. Antoni- Andante
Var. 1- Andante con moto
Var. 2- Vivace
Var. 3- Con moto
Var. 4- Andante
Var. 5- Poco presto
Var. 6- Vivace
Var. 7- Grazioso
Var. 8- Poco presto
Brahms was fond of collecting outstanding music masterpieces of the 16th to the 18th century for study purposes. The theme “St. Antoni Chorale” from Haydn's second movement of a divertimento for wind instruments is the basis of this work. Also called the Saint Anthony Variations, it was first written in 1873 for two pianos and later for orchestra which is the better known version. Brahms thought the theme as beautiful and provocative. Here the melodic prevalent use of two descending notes inflects something of the “amen” cadence. This theme is followed by eight variations portraying his talent for motivic, rhythmic, melodic and harmonic development. In the finale, the quiet reiteration of the theme in the bass leading to a joyful triumphant climax made use of the passacaglia, a set of variations over a repeated bass, thus creating as set of variations-within variations.
Scaramouche, Op, 165b Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
Brazileira. Mouvement de samba
Twentieth century French composer Darius Milhaud's Scaramouche takes its name after the Theatre Scaramouche that specialized in productions aimed at children. It was composed in 1937 for two pianos under pressure for the Paris International Exposition that Milhaud included here cues from his composition for one of the theater's productions, Charles Vildrac's adaptation of Moliérè's Le medécin volant (The Flying Doctor). The original two piano version became very popular that other arrangements for other instruments also exists. Even the last movement Brazileira with its folk idiom from Brazil, the samba was converted into a pop song complete with lyrics.
Les Preludes Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Composed in 1854, this is the earliest example of an orchestral work the “symphonic poem” which Liszt invented to express his strong convictions on program music where a given story as a symbol of an idea is achieved by transformations in melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, tempo, and so on. Thus in a way Les Preludes, the third and most popular of Liszt's thirteen symphonic poems is the composer's prelude of a new way of writing music, the start of a completely new style of orchestral music. This two piano version is arranged by Liszt himself as he does with most of his orchestral scores. In the dramatic text to commence the piece, Liszt wrote: "What else is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown Hymn, the first and solemn note of which is intoned by Death?" But on a more positive note this work is also partly based on his 1844/5 choral cycle Les Quatre elemens (The Four Elements) comprising the following five sections which ends on a glorious finish: Question, Love, Storm, Bucolic calm, Battle and Victory.
About the Artists
Roy Imperio has performed internationally and in the United States as a soloist, accompanist, collaborative pianist, and chamber musician. A versatile pianist, he co- founded various ensembles such as the Windhammer Chamber Players, the Bulfinch Players, and continues to perform with the Nashaway Trio, and Trio Orione. He holds music degrees from the University of the Philippines and Andrews University and has also taken masterclasses with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University. He has released two CDs: “Music of Frederic Chopin: a Life of Passion” for solo piano and “Holiday Music in New England” with the Bulfinch Players. A dedicated music teacher he continues to serve as an adjunct faculty at Atlantic Union College and teaches piano at the Thayer Performing Arts Center, 77 Arts Academy in So. Acton, and Fitchburg State University. He is one of the collaborative pianists at Boston Conservatory and currently the Director of Music at the Faith United Parish in Fitchburg, MA.
Kristjon Imperio B.M.Ed, (keyboard) graduated from Atlantic Union College, studying piano with his father Roy Imperio and organ with William Ness. He has since remained active as a pianist, organist, and clinician throughout New England, most recently as Choral Clinician for the AUC Music Clinic in Hartford, CT (2011, 2015) and Piano Clinician for the NNEC Music Clinic in Freeport, ME (2005-2014). In 2008, he founded Nashaway Chorus, Inc., and served as Music Director of the organization. Kristjon is also Minister of Music at First Congregational Church of West Boylston MA, Organist at the College Church of SDA in Lancaster MA, Adjunct Faculty at Anna Maria College in Paxton MA, and is a Founding Member of the New England Piano Trio and Seele Musicale Chamber Ensemble.
Father and son have appeared in concert together and continue to collaborate in an extraordinary musical relationship---Roy performing as soloist and Kristjon as conductor for the Chopin First Piano Concerto with the Nashaway Philharmonic String Ensemble, playing one piano four-hands at the Natick Steinway Showcase Room, performing many duets for organ and piano, Roy singing in the Nashaway Chorus with Kristjon as Music Director, and playing in their premiere performance as duo piano virtuosos at Thayer Performing Arts Center last year. Today's final piece, Les Preludes by Liszt is aptly descriptive of what is more to come and not the end. The music collaboration will go on.
About Seele Musicale - The name means “musical souls”. We gather for the joy of music and have a calling to share this wonderful music wherever we can. We celebrate classical choral/instrumental works from throughout the ages and select the finest gems to lovingly prepare and perform. We choose the music, rehearse it in our unique way, and seek the soul of the music in every moment.
Organist Katelyn Emerson, praised for her "great sensitivity" and "exciting artistry" (The American Organist), showcases repertoire from the 14th-21st centuries in performances throughout the United States and Europe. She has performed in numerous esteemed venues, notably including the Hallgrímskirkja (Iceland), Cathédrale Saint-Omer (France), Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic Hall (Russia), Cathédrale St-Quentin (Hasselt, Belgium), the Hauptkirche St. Petri (Hamburg, Germany), on the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ of Merrill Auditorium (Portland, ME, U.S.A.), Severance Hall (Cleveland, OH, U.S.A.), Reith Recital Hall at Goshen College (IN, U.S.A.), and others.
Unique textures and a flora of sound imagery is presented by this small but innovative wind ensemble.