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Vista Philharmonic Chamber Players

Friday, October 21, 2022 at 8:00pm
Sunday, October 23 at 3:00pm

Meadow Hall at Groton Hill

PROGRAM

Introduction and Allegro
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Li Shan Tan, harp

Siegfried Idyll
Richard Wagner  (1813-1883)

INTERMISSION

Appalachian Spring Suite
Aaron Copland  (1900-1990)

Four Hungarian Dances
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Arr. Martin Amlin
No. 1 Allegro molto
No. 2 Allegro non assai
No. 3 Allegretto
No. 5 Allegro

Vista Philharmonic Chamber Players

Bruce Hangen, Artistic Director
Stone Family Endowed Music Director’s Chair

 Guest Conductor: Steve Lipsitt

Violin I
Alice Hallstrom, Concertmaster
Li Mei Liang, Associate Concertmaster

Violin II
Stanley Silverman
Lynn Basila

Viola
Peter Sulski
Amelia Hollander Ames

Cello
Young Sook Lee
Susan Randazzo

Bass
Kevin Ann Green

Flute
Melissa Mielens

Oboe
Mary Cicconetti

Clarinet
Hunter Bennett
Sandra Halberstadt

Bassoon
Rachel Juszczak

Horn
Michael Bellofatto
Nancy Hudgins

Trumpet
Mary-Lynne Bohn

Piano
Bonnie Anderson

Librarian
Kate Weiss

PROGRAM NOTES by Maestro Bruce Hangen

Here’s an example of something good that came about as a result of corporate competition.  In Paris in the very early 1900s there were two instrument-making companies.  Harp manufacturer Pleyel commissioned the composer Debussy to write a piece featuring its chromatic harp. Not to be outdone, the Erard company commissioned Maurice Ravel to feature its pedal action harp, and this piece, Introduction and Allegro (1907) is the fantastic result.  Actually, both the Debussy and the Ravel have become standards in the repertory.  Composed for harp solo with an accompaniment of just string quartet plus flute and clarinet, this brief work amazingly demonstrates the awesome coloristic and musical potential of the instrument.

Webster defines an idyll as “a simple descriptive work in poetry or prose that suggests a mood of peace and contentment.” Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll (1870) is a clear musical example of idyll-ness.  While his over-inflated operas (“music-dramas”) featuring ancient Germanic mythology are incredibly complex, this piece is anything but.  Named for his newborn son, who in turn was named after the leading character, Siegfried, in his current opera project, the piece was designed as a birthday gift for his wife, Cosima.  Composed and rehearsed in secrecy, the first performance occurred on the central staircase of their villa in Lucerne.  Remarkably tender, featuring birdcalls and a musical sunrise, Cosima was awakened by the gentle sounds marking the work’s beginning.

Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring (1944) has remained in the repertory since its premiere, and is a favorite among musicians and audiences worldwide.  Originally a ballet commissioned by none other than Martha Graham, Copland received from her the directive that “this is a legend of American living. It is like the bone structure, the inner frame that holds together a people.” Further, in her notes at the premiere performance, Graham noted that “Spring was celebrated by a man and woman building a house with joy and love and prayer; by a revivalist and his followers in their shouts of exaltation; by a pioneering woman with her dreams of the Promised Land.” Certainly, Copland’s music, and the incorporation of the Shaker tune, Simple Gifts, supports the gentle, down-home nature of Appalachian America.

We complete tonight’s performance with an upbeat arrangement of four of the most popular Hungarian Dances (1879) by Johannes Brahms, as arranged by composer-pianist Martin Amlin. Commissioned by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, these four dances are lively, tender, melancholic and uplifting in their various moods, and are our musical offering to you in a fun, even folksy, way to wrap up the program. Perhaps we’ll even have you humming the tunes on your way out of Meadow Hall in the brand new, exciting, hallways of the Groton Hill Music Center!

Li Shan Tan, guest harpist

Singapore native Li Shan Tan, harp, enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer, arranger, writer, and teacher. Most notably, she has collaborated with the Silk Road Ensemble and appeared as a soloist with Boston Conservatory’s Conductor’s Orchestra. She was recently the 2022 Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist and received the Excellence in Performance Award for “Crossing” by Phang Kok Jun at the 2021 RH Prestige Awards. As a founding member and resident arranger of Singapore’s premier harp quartet The Harp Quarterly, Li Shan aims to push the boundaries of her instrument through her arrangements. Her arrangements range from Metallica to Debussy and her music has garnered millions of views online. She also conducts Writing for the Harp workshops for composers to premiere and record new harp works. Currently, Li Shan is a freelance writer for the international harp magazine HarpColumn and principal harpist of the New England Philharmonic. She holds a BMus from Royal College of Music, MM from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts at the New England Conservatory with Jessica Zhou, where she is the first harpist to be admitted to the doctoral program. When not thinking about music, Li Shan can be found sipping coffee, reading, or boxing.

THIS CONCERT IS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS:

Fred and Joan Reynolds and Family

Bruce and Sue Bonner
Barbara and John Chickosky
Priscilla Endicott
Phil and Carolyn Francisco
David Gaynor and Bernice Goldman
Mary Jennings and Jim Simko
Simon Jones and Richard Gioiosa
Bob and Sue Lotz
Carole and Art Prest
Pam and Griff Resor
The Riggert Family
Phil and Dorothy Robbins
David and Bobbie Spiegelman
Randy Steere and Paul Landry
 

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