Vista Philharmonic Chamber Players

Bruce Hangen, Conductor & Artistic Director

Sat., September 9, 2023
2:00pm & 7:30pm

Meadow Hall at Groton Hill


The Sword in the Stone
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

Introduction and Boys’ Tunes
Merlyn’s Tune and Tree Music
Merlyn’s Spell and Witch Tune
Bird Music
Water Theme and End Music

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor BWV 1052
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Guest Artist: Jenny Tang, piano



Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Arr. Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)

Four Episodes
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)

No. 1. Humoresque Macabre
No. 2. Obsession
No. 3. Calm
No. 4. Chinese

The Entertainer
Scott Joplin (1868-1917)

Vista Philharmonic Chamber Players

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

Violin I
Alice Hallstrom, Concertmaster
Anabelle Hangen

Violin II
Stanley Silverman
Lynn Basila

Peter Sulski
Lauren Nelson

Young Sook Lee
Susan Randazzo

Kevin Ann Green

Melissa Mielens

Nancy Dimock

Kelli O’Connor

Isaac Erb

Michael Bellofatto

Mary-Lynne Bohn

Peter Cirelli

Takatsugu Hagiwara

Michael Ambroszewski

Maria Rindenello Spraker

Librarian: Kate Weiss

PROGRAM NOTES by Maestro Bruce Hangen

Benjamin Britten’s (1913-1976) little suite for small ensemble, The Sword in the Stone (1939), is derived from 10 separate small scale pieces composed for a BBC Radio Hour production of T.H. White’s story of the same name. The story concerns Arthur’s boyhood, his friendship with Kay, his education under Merlyn’s guidance, and the eventual revelation that he is, in fact, King Arthur. In 1983, composer Oliver Knussen compiled the incidental music into this thoroughly delightful six movement suite: 1) Introduction and Boys Tune; 2) Merlyn’s Tune and Tree Music; 3) Merlyn’s Spell and Witch Tune; 4) Bird Music; 5) Lullaby; 6) Water Theme and End Music.

Like so many other works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and other composers of 300 years ago, the true provenance and origins of the Keyboard Concerto No. 1, BWV 1052 (1723) are rather fuzzy and uncertain. In both recent as well as past musicology, connections have been made to Bach’s organ concertos and cantatas, and the exact location and date of any premier performance are details that remain uncertain. 

What’s true, however, is that this is one of Bach’s most often performed concertos for the keyboard (probably harpsichord originally), and is a favorite the world over with pianists and audiences. Composed in the prototypical 3 movements (fast-slow-fast), the work is a true tour de force for the soloist, and gives the orchestral musicians an opportunity to play extraordinary chamber music accompanying the piano. We are really excited to bring back to the Vista Philharmonic stage, friend and keyboard artist, Jenny Tang.

The Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun (1894) of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) is a significant pivotal point in classical music history, and is the first example of music impressionism. Nothing had ever been composed like this before — a relatively programmatic composition with vague harmonies, no real “tunes” to speak of, but remarkably changing colors (timbres) and moods. This also is probably the most important work on this program. Originally orchestrated by the composer himself, the composer Arnold Schoenberg arranged it for the smaller ensemble you see in today’s program.

Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) is one of those composers deserving of so many more performances than one sees in present day programming. Born in Geneva of Jewish parents and educated in Belgium, Bloch immigrated to the USA in 1916 and became a US citizen in 1924. His compositions include opera, symphonic and chamber music, much of which is infused with reflections of his Jewish heritage, and all of which is of an extremely high quality. The Four Episodes (1926) is a thoroughly delightful four-movement chamber orchestra work: Humoresque Macabre, Obsession, Calm and Chinese.

It was 50 years ago that the music of Scott Joplin (1868-1918) took the musical and entertainment world by storm. The Entertainer (1902) was released in its original solo piano version in 1970 by pianist Joshua Rifkin. Two years later, Gunther Schuller, then president of the New England Conservatory, released an album of ensemble arrangements of many of Joplin’s works under the title, The Red Back Book. And a year after that, Marvin Hamlisch arranged The Entertainer as a sound-track for the movie, The Sting. The piece and its arrangements instantly became standard repertoire for keyboardists and small ensembles like ours. We’re happy to finish this concert program with this light-hearted composition.


Jenny Tang, pianist, regularly performs in solo and chamber music recitals. Her engagements have included such venues as Jordan Hall, Sanders Theatre, Symphony Hall, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Berklee College of Music, and Wellesley College. Her recent engagements feature a lecture/solo recital, “A Coincidence of Chaos and Order: Works of Schumann, Ligeti and Barber,” for the New England Piano Teacher’s Association, and duo piano recitals with her colleague Eliko Akahori. Jenny frequently collaborates with the Wellesley College Theatre Department as music director and conductor as well, and in December 2022 conducted and performed six sold-out performances of the musical Cabaret.

Jenny was born in Hong Kong and began her musical studies at three with her mother. Awarded the Licentiate Diploma from the Royal Schools of Music (UK) in piano performance, she was also honored as a Fellow of the Trinity College of Music in London. Jenny received her Master of Music degree with academic honors and distinction in piano performance from the New England Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Veronica Jochum. She studied conducting with Tamara Brooks and Frank Battisti, and chamber music with Leonard Shure and Bernard Greenhouse. She was a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in piano performance with Randall Hodgkinson at NEC. Jenny is the Co-Director of the Chamber Music Society at Wellesley College, teaching piano, chamber music, and music theory. She is also on the piano faculty at Groton Hill Music School.


Fred and Joan Reynolds and Family

Camilla Blackman
Bruce and Sue Bonner
Peter and Karen Burk
Barbara and John Chickosky
Priscilla Endicott
Matt and Judy Fichtenbaum and family
Phil and Carolyn Francisco
David Gaynor and Bernice Goldman
Bruce Hauben and Joyce Brinton/The Helen G. Hauben Foundation
Mark and Jeanne Hubelbank
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
Shepherd’s of Townsend
David and Bobbie Spiegelman
Randy Steere and Paul Landry