So, “What could be more beautiful than listening to old Mozart after dinner?”
By the way: “A few hours after lunch, why not a Bunch lesson?”
And: “With Mozart and Bunch, Martinů (on) Avenue.”
That’s not all: “For a contemporary twist, Rice’s Professor Webster…would certainly be nice.”
readers of The Oklahoma City Sentinel are encouraged to attend “A Night of Early Music” on Tuesday, April 19 at the First Baptist Church in downtown Oklahoma City.
The talented Brightmusic Chamber Music Ensemble will present “A Night of Old Music”.
According to board member Sara Grossman’s big program notes, things start with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Quartet for flute and strings in C major, K. 285b:
“The Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived only 35 years, but he produced more than 800 compositions and ranks with Bach and Beethoven among the greatest composers in the world. Haydn, the leading composer of the day, acknowledged his extraordinary talent when he told his father, “Before God and as an honest man, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer I know. The older composer even went so far as to prophesy that the world would not see his like again for a hundred years. Mozart was a child prodigy like no other. By the age of six, he was entertaining monarchs. He will write his first symphony at the age of eight and more than half of his operas before his 20th birthday.
“Mozart is famous for having despised the flute. His father was on his son’s case for his slowness in completing a lucrative commission. In an apparent srit, the bubbly youngster wrote, “I get quite inhibited when I have to compose for an instrument I can’t stand.” Yet some of his most cherished music is written for the flute, including his Quartet for flute and strings in C, written between 1781 and 1782. The piece bears all the hallmarks of Mozart’s pen: clarity and elegance with lines graceful melodies and playful interaction. between instruments. It was adapted from the sixth movement of his Serenade No. 10 in B flat major, more commonly known as the Grande Partita.
Mozart’s middle name was “Amadeus” – meaning “Beloved of God”.
The Brightmusic evening includes Michael Webster (born 1944), Sonata Cho-Cho San for flute, clarinet and piano.
Continuing Grossman’s account: “Michael Webster is a composer and clarinetist who is a professor of music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He is also artistic director of the Houston Youth Symphony.
“His concert trio Sonata Cho-Cho San is named after the tragic heroine of Madama Butterfly and is based on popular themes from Puccini’s opera. It’s not the typical ‘virtuoso operatic medley. Rather, it follows the story, resembling a sonata reflecting Puccini’s use of recurring and developing themes,” writes the publisher. Cho-Cho San, a 15-year-old Japanese girl, is sold in marriage to an American naval officer, Pinkerton, with whom she falls in love. His ship sets sail shortly after the wedding. Meanwhile, Cho-Cho San gives birth to their child and patiently awaits her husband’s return. After three years, Pinkerton finally returns with his American wife, who intends to raise the boy as her own child. Eventually, Cho-Cho San commits seppuku with his father’s knife. Following the opera’s dramatic plot, Webster skillfully casts the winds as versatile performers equally adept at delivering Puccini’s beautiful, expansive vocal lines.
Lovers of music will also embrace Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959), Quartet for oboe, violin, cello and piano, H. 315 .
Ms. Grossman explains why:
“The prolific Czech composer and violinist Bohuslav Jan Martinů entered the Prague Conservatory at the age of 16, where he was later expelled for “incorrigible negligence”. He rejected the rigidity of the formal curriculum, preferring instead to learn on his own. He moved to Paris, abandoned the romantic style and began experimenting with modern French stylistic developments and jazz idioms. In the early 1930s, he chose his main style of composition: neoclassicism.
“ ‘In pure chamber music, I am always more myself”, wrote a friend Martinů in 1947. “I cannot tell you with what happiness I begin to compose chamber music”.
“That same year he wrote his deeply personal and expressive Quartet for oboe, violin, cello and piano, and his love affair with the form became evident. The quartet is written in the graceful neo-classical style, a tribute to Mozart, while also containing elements of old Czech folk tunes, to which he would turn frequently throughout his career.
Rounding out the evening of stellar music will be Kenji Bunch (b. 1973), Ralph’s Old Records for violin/viola, cello, flute, clarinet and piano.
Sara Grossman once again takes us into the spirit of the evening:
“American composer Kenji Bunch, originally from Portland, Oregon, is the artistic director of Fear No Music of Portland, which promotes the advancement of new music. He also teaches at Portland State University and Reed College. The critically acclaimed Juilliard graduate fuses traditional American and European music with elements of hip hop, jazz, bluegrass and funk with light and delicious results.
“Based on a collection of his father’s old 78 rpm records, Bunch’s “Ralph’s Old Records” is a fresh take on the old Depression-era tunes Kenji grew up with. “My dad’s name is Ralph Bunch. He has a bunch of records,” he wrote on his Facebook page. Some of the tunes may be familiar, but all will have an engaging familiarity in style, full of jazz, whimsy and humor Bunch earned “a reputation as one of the nation’s finest and friendliest songwriters of his generation,” writes The Oregonian.
Discover this moment of Joy in the season after Easter. Brightmusic’s “home team” of musicians will include: Gregory Lee, violin; Samuel Formicola, violin and viola; Mark Neumann, viola; Meredith Blecha-Wells, cello; Parthena Owens, flute; Lisa Harvey-Reed, oboe; Chad Burrow, clarinet; and Amy I-Lin Cheng, piano.
For more information visit:
It is “A night of old tunes», Tuesday, April 19, 2022 – 7:30 p.m. Brightmusic performs at First Baptist Church, 1201 N. Robinson Ave., Oklahoma City. The beautiful space of this beloved facility provides room for social distancing.
Note: Patrick B. McGuigan of The Oklahoma City Sentinel contributed to this story. He is a board member of Brightmusic.