20. October 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: Concert Announcements, Ramble

While I won’t be playing Quiet City next Friday after all (and no, I didn’t cancel out … someone else couldn’t make it work), I do have a UCSC faculty recital next Sunday, October 28 at 7:30. I’m looking forward to it, now that I know I don’t have cancer.

Hah! Did that make you go “HUH?!”

Okay. Maybe not. But anyway … I didn’t really think I had cancer, to be honest. But I guess the doctor did tell us (Dan and I were both in the room, but due to the anesthesia I can’t remember anything about the conversation) there were “no signs of cancer” when she did her little interior inspection of this old body. Nice, eh? I just expected to hear “ulcer” … but even that wasn’t the case. So why the low iron? Beats me!

But back to the recital … I’m in the quartet that plays the first and last works. I guess we are bookends to everyone else. I hope we are satisfying bookends. :-)

The big news is that there are refreshments after. At least that’s the way the announcement makes it appear to yours truly. I mean … do you see that exclamation point? And refreshments are the first thing mentioned. That’s okay, though. I can live with refreshments being the big deal.

The first quartet we are playing is the Stamitz, for oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. Nice little ditty. I don’t really know much about Carl (sometimes Karl) Stamitz, but I ran across this information at Naxos:

Stamitz’s compositions enjoyed great popularity in their time and circulated widely in both printed and manuscript copies. When asked by his father whether he had met the Stamitzes in Paris, Mozart replied: “Of the two Stamitz brothers only the younger one [Anton] is here, the elder [Carl] (the real composer à la Hafeneder) is in London. They are indeed two wretched scribblers, gamblers, swillers and adulterers – not the kind of people for me. The one who is here has scarcely a decent coat to his back” [Letter of 9 July 1778]. As with so many comments originating from Mozart’s illfated trip to Paris, his opinion of Carl Stamitz should be treated with some caution, particularly in the light of Gerber’s later enthusiastic appraisal published in his Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler in 1792:

“With what extraordinary art and facility he plays the viola! With what heavenly sweet tone and cantilena he enchants our ears with his viola d’amour – and with what fire and surety he plays the violin as Konzertmeister! Berlin, Dresden, many capitals and large cities are witness of his prowess! And he certainly would have been long attached to one of the German courts, if this artist’s unusual dislike for all connections of this sort had not stood in the way of his entering an orchestra. Indeed, it is a great undertaking to live in Germany as a free artist. And he who tries and wishes to succeed must not have any less art than Stamitz … in his relationships, as highly esteemed for his honorable and noble character, as for his art”. (RTWT

Heh … good old Mozart, eh? Good thing he wasn’t a gambler. I also read that Stamitz died leaving a good amount of debt. Hmmm. Must have been a musician! ;-)

The second work is by a living composer, Phil Freihofner. He wrote to me:

The Quartet was originally written as an accompaniment to a Russian Silent Film from 1926, a comedy called “The Girl with the Hat Box.” As such, the music is fairly light and lively, for the most part, and heavily influenced by Russian ballet music, in particular: Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Khachiturian and Stravinsky as well as Russian folk music (maybe a couple ideas stolen from the local vocal group Kitka). I didn’t finish scoring the film, but ended up arranging the music into this Quartet instead.

I have a copy of the video here, and we had thought to have it running in the lobby, but we were told that wouldn’t be possible. Ah well. We tried.

So after the performance there will be food but no film. Such is life. I’d love to see some readers of this blog there if you are in the area. If so, please do say “hi”! After you get something to eat, of course.

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