2007/2008CHAMELEON SERIES at the Leiser Opera Center

SEXTET... program

Johan Sebastian Bach 1685-1750, Suite in G Major

Michael Klotz, viola

Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuet 1 & 2, Gigue

The Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johan Sebastian Bach were most likely composed during the period 1717-1723, when Bach served as Kapellmeister in Cothen. Before the 1900s the suites were not widely known and for a long time it was thought that the pieces were intended to be etudes. There were even attempts to compose piano accompaniments to them, most notably by the composer Robert Schumann.
Cellist, Pablo Casals however began studying and performing the works after he discovered Grutzmacher's edition in a thrift shop; It was 35 years before recording the pieces. Their popularity soared soon after, and Casals' original recording is still widely available today. The suites are among some of Bach's most popular works, resulting in a wide variety of recordings and interpretations. Also, because of their popularity, the suites have been transcribed for numerous instruments, including violin, viola, double bass, saxophone and guitar..
I had heard Micheal Klotz perform one of Bachs suites a couple of years back and thought he sounded absolutely exquisite. This is why I asked him to perform one of them on today’s concert. Today, you will hear the Suite No. 1 in G major. The Prelude of this suite mostly consists of arpeggiated chords and is probably the best known movement from the entire set of suites; it is regularly heard on television and also in movies and documentaries as background music. The second Minuet is one of only two movements in the six suites that does not contain any chords
Bach's music of course is phenomenal and unique. Many composers have tried to imitate his musical style and others have used his themes as an inspiration for their own works. The variety of his music, in term of melodies, harmonies, textures and rhythms, is endless

Mozart (1756-1791)
Divertimento in Eb major, K 563

Misha Vitenson, violin
Michael Klotz, viola
Iris van Eck, cello

Allegro, Adagio, Menuetto(Allegretto), Andante, Menuetto(Allegretto),Allegro

Mozart’s Divertimento in e-flat (k.563) is surprisingly infrequently played and little known, despite its towering stature as one of Mozart’s greatest masterpieces. It was dedicated to Mason Michael Puchberg who was kind enough to lend him some much needed money. Mozart composed this trio for violin, viola and cello in 1788 when he was 32 year old, only about 3 years before his death. In that same year he had also completed the last three great symphonies and the “coronation” concerto. In Viena, his opera, Don Giovanni premiered, apparently rather unsuccessful at that time.
There are not many string trios in the literature, but this work is in a class by itself within the string repertoire. The weight of interest is spread evenly among the three instruments, which also puts this work in a class by itself for that time period and certainly distinguishing it from most of Mozart's quartets (and everyone else's) The divertimento distinguishes itself also as Mozart's longest chamber music work and among his longest for any configuration excluding voice. In fact, I find many similarities to Mozart’s Operas.
Like Bach's suites, its gravity is front-loaded: the first two movements take up almost half of the performing time. After these more serious movements, we're treated to four very charming ones. There is a Menuet, an andante, another Menuet and then the finale. The andante’s theme-and-variations bring you to a different dimension, becoming more and more interwoven until a “homage a Bach” in the “minore“ section. After that, there is an opera-like section majore) in which all the instruments go wild and exchange very virtuosic passages until the ending comes, suddenly, as a coda, remembering the theme. The melody of the finale, which returns several times, must be one of the most beautiful melodies ever written… so simple, yet so heavenly.

 

Johannes Brahms 1833-1897
Sextet in Bb major, opus 18

Misha Vitenson, violin
Marcia Littley, violin
Michael Klotz, viola
Chauncey Patterson, viola
Javier Arias, cello
Iris van Eck, cello

Allegro, ma non troppo
Andante, ma moderato
SCHERZO Allegro molto
RONDO Poco Allegretto e grazioso

For the B-flat major sextet, The Amernet quartet and Iris van Eck will be joined by our wonderful friend and colleague, violist Chauncey Patterson. Chauncey was the violist of the Miami String Quartet from 1990 until recently. They were the quartet in residence at Florida International University prior to the Amernet.
Before joining the quartet, Chauncey had held the post of Principal Viola with the Denver Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. As a soloist he has appeared with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra, the Eastern Philharmonic, the Blossom Festival Orchestra, and the Colorado Philharmonic. He attended both the Curtis Institute of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Michael Tree, Karen Tuttle, and Robert Vernon. We are very happy to have Chauncey back in South Florida, at least part-time. Today he travels the World as a visiting chamber musician and soloist.

Brahms most likely began composing this magmificent sextet in the late 1850s to be completed in 1860, since his lifelong habit of revising and keeping a work to himself until he was satisfied meant that many compositions were written long before they were published. It was Brahms’s first composition for strings alone, it was given its first performance in Hanover on October 20, 1860, with Joseph Joachim leading the ensemble. The Sextet received its fist complete performance in Carnegie Recital Hall (now Weill Recital Hall) on March 6, 1960, with the New York String Sextet, Renato Bonacini and Allan Schiller, violin; Paul Doktor and Clifford Richter, viola; and Benar Heifetz and Janos Scholz, cello.

Brahms’s opening theme is in a dark, deep sonority that would be unobtainable from a string quartet: the first cello starts the melody, while the 2nd cello provides the bass and a viola sandwiched between them provides the accompaniment. After a single phrase the two violins enter; now there are five instruments playing, and before long the second viola joins in...