Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
CAMERATA MUSICA BERLIN
Susanne Ehrhardt, Soprano Blockflute
Wolf-Dieter Batzdorf, Violin Axel Wilczok, Violin
Andreas Greger, Violoncello Manfred Herzog, Violoncello
Wednesday Evening, January 30, 1991, at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Concerto grosso in D minor, Op. 6, No. 10..............Handel
Air Allegro moderato
Divertimento No. 3 in F major, K. 138................Mozart
Concerto in C major for Soprano Blockflute,
Strings and Continuo, RV 444 ...................Vivaldi
Allegro non molto
Concerto grosso No. 3 in F major for
Strings and Continuo ..................Alessandro Scarlatti
Allegro ma non troppo
Concerto in G minor for Two Violins, Violoncello,
Strings, and Continuo, Op. 3, No. 2.................Vivaldi
Adagio e spiccato Larghetto
Simple Symphony, Op. 4......................Britten
Boisterous Bourree Sentimental Sarabande
Playful Pizzicato Frolicsome Finale
Camerata Musica Berlin is represented by Columbia Artists Management Inc., New York City.
Nineteenth Concert of the 112th Season Twenty-eighth Annual Chamber Arts Series
Concerto grosso in D minor,
Op. 6, No. 10
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
During the Baroque period, the concerto grosso form occupied a position similar to that of the symphony in Classical times. This essentially Italian compo?sitional form, with its emphasis on pure string tone, was taken by Handel as a model for his twelve concerti grossi, Opus 6.
Handel, with astonishing facility, began to compose these works on September 29, 1739, and completed the opus on the last day of the following month. All of the concertos feature a concertino of two violins and one cello in contrast with the full string ripieno. They are filled with the freshness and spontaneity that marked so much of his music, but differ essentially among them?selves only in melodic content.
In the Concerto grosso in D minor, the tenth of the group, the first movement is written in the manner of a French overture, as is the case in many of the concertos within this opus. Following that is a lively fugue marked Allegro and a slow, languid Air, con?taining broad melodic phrases. The two Alle?gros and the Allegro moderato are graceful and sprightly.
Divertimento No. 3
in F major, K. 138
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
The term "divertimento" was used in the late eighteenth century to describe a suite of movements for small orchestra or chamber en?semble, designed primarily for entertainment. Mozart often applied such terms as "divertimento," "serenade," "cassa?tion," and "notturno" quite indiscriminately to the vast quantities of lightweight "social music" that he turned out on demand for aristocratic festivities and entertainments. In the case of the Divertimento in F major, K. 138, this so-called Divertimento (it might be noted that the title on the autograph score is not in the composer's hand) suggests that Mozart may have intended this work as a symphony for strings, to which wind parts
could be added later according to need and feasibility.
This Divertimento, along with the Di?vertimento in D major, K. 136 and Diverti?mento in B-flat major, K. 137, was composed in 1772 in Salzburg, and they are often referred to as "The Salzburg Symphonies." Mozart had just turned sixteen and was be?tween two Italian journeys. In the first Italian tour, accompanied by his father, Mozart had won glowing acclaim and had been commis?sioned to write an opera for Milan. In the second trip, starting in October 1772 and following the completion of the divertimenti, Mozart went to Milan to complete his opera Lucio Silla and hear it performed.
The Divertimento in F major, K. 138, contains motives which are reminiscent of those heard in later Mozart, simply without the broader development that would come later. The opening movement, Allegro, is in a succinct sonata form; the second move?ment, Andante, is in the spirit of a dramatic aria; and the final movement, Presto, with an episode in a minor key, in cast in rondo form.
Concerto in C major for Soprano Blockflute and Orchestra, RV 444 Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
During Vivaldi's working lifetime (the first four decades of the eighteenth century), the trans?verse flute evolved, which all but replaced the end-blown flute, or recorder. Before this occurrence, Vivaldi composed three concertos for an instrument he called flautino (RV 443, 444, and 445), which is believed to be a sopranino recorder, or soprano blockflute. This instru?ment, pitched an octave above the alto instrument, is transposed much in the same manner as the piccolo.
The Concerto in C major is cast in the typically Vivaldian three-movement form. The fast outer movements are in ritomedo form, a structure based on the alternation of fully scored sections using the same material, with more sparsely scored passages, free in their thematic derivation, where the soloist is showcased.
Concerto grosso No. 3 in F major for Strings and Continuo
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)
Best known for his numerous operas and secular cantatas, Alessandro Scarlatti was a master of the Nea?politan school. Spending his youth in Rome, from 1672 to 1683, Scarlatti learned of a new composi?tional form, the concerto grosso, from his contemporary Arcangelo Corelli. This ap?proach involved the use of a "concertino" of solo strings (two violins and cello), played in alternation with a four-part tutti in various ways. The form was later utilized and devel?oped further by such composers as Albinoni, Torelli, and Vivaldi, as well as many others. Although Scarlatti's concertos were written only on the fringes of his comprehen?sive vocal output, their independence, wealth of invention, and compactness of writing show an artistic profile so distinct that they may be counted among the most significant concertos of the early eighteenth century.
Concerto in G minor for Two Violins, Violoncello, Strings, and Continuo, Op. 3, No. 2 Antonio Vivaldi
Vivaldi was among the most suc?cessful and influential compos?ers of the Baroque era, yet he died in poverty; although he wrote more than 700 composi?tions, only a few dozen are performed today. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was discov?ered that many scores in the hand of J. S. Bach were, in fact, copies of pieces written by Vivaldi. This started a reappraisal of Vi?valdi, who by that time had almost faded into obscurity. In fact, not until the 1970s were the exact dates of his birth and death known. Vivaldi, the son of a respected musician who was probably his only teacher, became a brilliant violinist. He was ordained a priest in 1703 and was known as II prete rosso (The red priest) for his red hair. He rarely said Mass, however, due to a lifelong affliction believed to be asthma or angina pectoris that impaired his speaking ability.
Vivaldi worked intermittently from 1703 to 1740 as director of instrumental music, staff composer, and violinist at a
church-sponsored home in Venice for found?ling girls. The home was called the Con-servatorio dell'ospedale della Pieta, and it was because of the intense musical education provided there that the meaning "school of music" was given to the word "conservatory." His contract required him to write two new concertos per month for the girls. By the time of his death, he had written more than 500, for virtually every combination of instruments then in existence, as well as dozens of operas, oratorios, and cantatas.
The 12 concertos that make up Vivaldi's Opus 3 were published in Amster?dam, circa 1715, under the title L'estro armonico (The Harmonic Inspiration). These pieces were responsible for spreading Vivaldi's fame beyond Italy. Their favorable response led to a reprint by John Walsh in London under the title Vivaldi's Most Celebrated Con?certos, and also in Paris by Le Clerc with the mistranslated title Les Trohamonico.
The Concerto in G minor, Op. 3, No. 2 is in the typical Baroque form of slow-fast-slow-fast. The first movement, Adagio e spic-cato, begins dramatically and sounds very much like the opening of the "Winter" sec?tion of The Four Seasons. The contasting Allegro movement is followed by a Larghetto. The piece closes with another Allegro, which is as light as the expository movement was serious.
After Corelli's Concerti grossi, Opus 6, L'estro armonico was the most popular set of concertos of the eighteenth century.
Simple Symphony, Op. 4 Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Britten, whose mother was an ama?teur singer, began his music stud?ies at home and composed his first works at the age of five. At eleven, he attracted the attention of the composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941), with whom he studied for six years.
The title Simple Symphony may suggest that it is a trivial piece, but there is a complexity in the execution of it that belies the declared simplicity. It was published in 1934, but was probably written earlier. A note by the composer in the score indicates that the Simple Symphony "is based entirely on material for works that the composer wrote between the ages of nine and twelve. Al?though the development of these themes is
in many places quite new, there are large stretches of the work that are taken bodily from the early pieces -save for the scoring for strings." The first and third movements in particular employ compositional devices that Britten was to retain well into his com?positional maturity.
The alliterative movement titles give an indication of the good humor of the Simple Symphony. The piece opens with a Boisterous Bourrie that is marked Allegro ritmico. It is contrapuntal with two alternating themes, one playful, the other lyrical. There is a spareness to the counterpoint that would come to characterize Britten's later works.
Playful Pizzicato, the second move?ment, is based on a scherzo for piano com-
posed in 1924. The tempo is indicated as being Presto possibile (as fast as possible), and this movement is often performed as a sepa?rate piece in its own right. It is a brilliantly effective movement that demands much from the players.
The slower Sentimental Sarabande fea?tures a compositional technique that would long be associated with Britten, that of post?poning the expected harmonic changes. The brisk Frolicsome Finale begins with a power?fully introduced unison motive, which is based on a theme that was first used in a 1925 song, then incorporated in the Piano Sonata No. 9 (1926) before inclusion in the Simple Symphony.
About the Artists
Known as Camerata Musica of the DDR until the recent unification of Germany, Camerata Musica-Berlin is one of the leading cham?ber orchestras of that country. It is a string ensemble of outstanding soloists and specialists in eighteenth-century music, its members drawn from the Berlin State Orches?tra, the Orchestra of the Komische Oper, and the Radio Symphony of Berlin.
Camerata Musica was founded in 1973 by the Yugoslav conductor Zeljko Straka, who appeared with the group in its 1988 Ann Arbor concert. Due to the sudden and rapid decline of his health, Maestro Straka has been forced to resign his position as principal conductor of the ensemble. It has recently been led, with great success, by Wolf-Dieter Batzdorf, first concertmaster of the Berlin State Orchestra and a driving force of Camerata Musica for many years.
With a reputation as a first class cham?ber group, Camerata Musica presents music mostly from the Baroque and Classical periods in the original instrumentation and authentic rendering. The string ensemble forms the core of the orchestra, and, according to repertoire requirements, other instruments are added. The group gives about 50 concerts a year and has a standing repertoire of about 120 com?positions. Concert performances of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, the "Foundling Hospital Anthem" by Handel, Vivaldi's The Four Sea?sons, and other pieces from the Baroque period are highlights of the annual Berlin
concert seasons. Often, unknown composi?tions or music performed again for the first time after many decades are included in the concerts.
Camerata Musica-Berlin has toured through almost all European countries (East and West), Mexico, Cuba, South America, Finland, Japan, China, India, and now makes its second North American tour. This time, in addition to Ann Arbor, the group will spend two weeks on the West Coast with concerts for the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, El Camino College, the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and the University of California at Davis, with re-engagements by several presenters of the 1988 tour. The ensemble's first North Amer?ican tour included performances at several universities, the St. Louis Conservatory, Washington's Kennedy Center, and in To?ronto and New York.
Talented young members of the group often appear as soloists in its concerts. Two of those who have made names for themselves are Susanne Ehrhardt, heard this evening, and trumpeter Matthias Schmutzler, who per?formed as soloist in Ann Arbor in 1988. Leading guest artists, such as the famous Russian violinist Vladimir Spivakov, also per?form with the ensemble.
Camerata Musica has been awarded many high prizes for its outstanding achieve?ments, including the National Order of Merit in 1983 and, in 1985, the first prize of the National Order of Art.