Friday, June 12, 2015

Clapp Recital Hall

Sunday, February 13, 2005, 8:00 p.m.


Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera (1952)
    I. Simbolo
    II. Accenti
    III. Contrapunctus Primus
    IV. Linee
    V. Contrapunctus Secundus
    VI. Fregi
    VII. Andantino Amoroso e Contrapunctus Tertius
    VIII. Ritmi
    IX. Colore
    X. Ombre
    XI. Quartina
  Patricia von Blumröder,  piano  
Praeludium   John BERNERS
  Abbey Kegel,   flute/piccolo
Carl Collins,   clarinet
Pam Weest-Carrasco,   harp
Katie Fang,   piano
Janani Sreenivasan,   violin I
Armine Chamasyan,   violin II
Julia Immel,   viola
Ursula Dial,   violoncello
Joseph Dangerfield,   conductor
Lines of Life II: Voices/Kinderscenen   Jeremy Dale ROBERTS
  Christine Rutledge*,   viola

Tamara Thweatt*, flute
Mark Weiger*,   oboe
Christine Bellomy,   clarinet
Benjamin Coelho*,   bassoon
Patrick Creel,   horn
David Greenhoe*,   trumpet
David Gier*,   trombone
Kazuo Murakami,   piano/celeste
Pam Weest-Carrasco,   harp
Ginny Armstrong,   percussion I
Michael Moehlmann,   percussion II
Alla Cross,   violin I
Janani Sreenivasan,   violin II
Ken Ishi,   violoncello
Volkan Orhon*,   double bass

David Gompper*,   conductor
  * = School of Music faculty  


Notes & Bios


Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera (1952)

Luigi Dallapiccola (Pisino, Istria, Feb. 3, 1904 - Florence, Italy, Feb. 19, 1975) composed A Musical Notebook for Annalibera for the 1952 Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival, where the American composer Vincent Persichetti gave the first performance. The published score incorporates extensive revisions Dallapiccola made in 1953. The eleven short pieces served also as preliminary studies of the musical possibilities of the twelve-tone series that Dallapiccola used for Canti di Liberazione (Songs of Liberation) for chorus and large orchestra, completed in 1955. (Dallapiccola also made an orchestral version of the Quaderno musicale entitled Variazioni per Orchestra in 1954 in fulfillment of a commission from the Louisville Orchestra.)

The title and the composer's dedication of the piano score to his daughter Anna Libera on her eighth birthday (Dec. 1, 1952) do not, has some have supposed, mean that the music is for a child to play: Anna Libera was not a pianist, and indeed grew up to become an eminent historian of Indian art. Rather, "quaderno" recalls the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach; other references to J. S. Bach are the contrapunctus subtitles for movements in strict canon, as in Bach's Art of Fugue; the interpolation of canons in a series of keyboard variations, as in the Goldberg Variations; and, in the initial piece, the four-note musical motive B-flat, A, C, B-natural, BACH in German note names. In the Contrapunctus tertius Dallapiccola even notated the retrograde canon first in an enigmatic form on a single staff, in the manner of the puzzle canons in Bach's Musical Offering; fortunately for pianists, a fully notated resolution follows.

The movement titles translate as Symbol; Accents; First Counterpoint; Lines; Second Counterpoint (Canon in contrary motion); Friezes; Andantino amoroso and Third Counterpoint (Canon cancrizans); Rhythms; Colors; Shadows; Quatrain. The revised Contrapunctus primus is an early uncomplicated instance of serialization of rhythmic values, a technique Dallapiccola developed further in later works. The Contrapunctus secundus carries the indications "alla Serenata" ("in the manner of a serenade") and Dallapiccola instructs the performer to play one phrase near the end "quasi pizzicato," as if the notes are being plucked--perhaps on a mandolin? The witty final chords are marked "scomparendo": "disappearing," like an opera buffa character making a hurried exit. The Quartina has four musical phrases, each with a melody based on one of the four forms of the twelve-note series (inversion, retrograde, retrograde-inversion, original).     Michael Eckert

The pianist and composer Luigi Dallapiccola also known as the "Italian dodecaphonist" is one of the most important composers of the 20th century. Born in Pisino, Istria, a former part of the Austrian empire, he was confronted as a child with the injustices and repressions caused by political disputes. This awakened in him a deep concern for liberty, which is reflected throughout his compositional works. Culminating this yearning for freedom were the injustices done to his Jewish wife, Laura Coen Luzzato, who lost her job when Mussolini came to power. The Dallapiccolas fled Florence when the Nazis entered the city in 1943 and remained in hiding until the end of WWII. His piano piece Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera was composed for his daughter Annalibera (and named so because of the liberation of Florence in 1944, the year she was born).

The other major influence on Dallapiccola's compositional development was his acquaintance with Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire which he heard performed for the first time in 1924 in Florence. He proceeded to study intensely the works of the second Viennese school and developed his own highly original 12- tone compositional technique. "The twelve-tone method", he said, "must not be so tyrannical as to exclude a priori both expression and humanity." The 11 miniatures of his Quaderno represent Dallapiccola's ability to be profoundly expressive, yet intricately organized.     Patricia von Blumröder

Patricia von Blumröder, born in Oakland, California, studied piano at the University of Idaho, the University of Iowa and the Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik in Freiburg, Germany. Concerts, radio broadcasts and television appearances in Europe and America have given her a reputation as an artist who does not confine herself to the traditional piano literature, but has a keen interest in the new music of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Her contemporary repertoire ranges from the piano music of the New Viennese School (Schoenberg, Webern, Berg) by way of French modern music (Debussy, Messiaen) to the key works in the post-war serial and experimental music (Stockhausen, Boulez, Berio, Cage). She has been acclaimed in performances of Stockhausen's Klavierstücke, Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux, the piano works of Boulez, and Cage's Sonatas Interludes; she has performed these and other compositions as a guest artist at music festivals in Paris, Lille, Leipzig, Hamburg, Salzburg, Fribourg and Zagreb, at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt am Main and at the Berliner Festwochen.



Praeludium was composed for the new music ensemble, Brave New Works, to be among a group of new pieces inspired by J.S. Bach's "Art of Fugue." As a companion for a set of fugues, a prelude seemed to be in order. This piece begins with a texture of flowing arpeggios like many of Bach's preludes. As it continues, Praeludium makes free reference to other music by Bach, including suggestions of the Brandenburg concertos and a brief quote from Contrapunctus IX.

However, unlike Bach's movements, the mood of this piece soon takes a definite turn for the worse. The agreeable surface of the opening gives way to a harsher musical environment, where fragments of Baroque-style melodies struggle to continue their tunes in bleak surroundings. After some violent protestation by the solo violin, the solo piccolo ends the piece with a wandering, fragmented tune containing the last hints of Baroque figures.

Anyone who studies Bach, or writes a neo-Baroque piece like this, has to have a little sense of sadness that the Baroque style of music making has passed away for good. The power to make great contemporary art in that language is gone, never to be regained, and our modern ears can no longer be moved by the old music as the original listeners' were. The distortion of Baroque style in this piece laments, in a way, our inevitable loss of contact with a beautiful and expressive era in music.

John Berners began composing at an early age and studied trombone at Northwestern University, earning a B.M in performance and a B.A. in Mathematics. Composition studies began privately with C. Curtis-Smith in Kalamazoo, MI and continued at the University of Michigan under William Albright, Evan Chambers, Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty and William Bolcom. There he earned an M.M. in Composition and a Ph.D. in Composition & Music Theory. His works have been played by the Detroit Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, Boston Symphony brass section, Tanglewood Festival Brass, Kalamazoo Symphony, Brave New Works, and many university ensembles. His music has been recorded by the Millar Brass Ensemble, Boston's Old South Brass, and pianist Alan Huckleberry. John Berners has taught composition and music theory at the Interlochen Arts Camp, Kalamazoo College, the Colburn School for the Arts in Los Angeles, Cal State Fullerton, and American University in Washington, D.C. He currently lives in Iowa City, IA, where he is Adjunct Assistant Professor at The University of Iowa.


Lines of Life II: Voice/Kinderscenen (1988; revised 1995)

The title of my work - actually the second in a sequence - comes from one of Hoelderlin's poetic fragments: a passage that conveys with great simplicity the healing enlightenment that he still felt able to affirm, even when he was already overshadowed by madness.

'The lines of life are various, as roads are, and the mountains' boundaries. What here we are, yonder a god can complete with harmonies, eternal recompense, and peace.'

The narrative, or reverie, unfolds in a succession of lyric episodes, most of them reflective, which are harshly obtruded upon, with increasing force, by four chorale-like ritornelli. Also interleaved are two more densely crowded developments for the ensemble, as well as more playful material. Although the musical strands in this piece are variegated - some indeed are recalled from twenty years ago - there is, I hope, a secure 'family resemblance' enshrined in the feature of a major third.

Cavafy's poem is essential:

      Ideal and dearly beloved voices
      Of those who are dead, or of those
      Who are lost to us like the dead.

      Sometimes they speak to us in our dreams;
      Sometimes in thought the mind hears them.

      And for a moment with their echo other echoes
      Return from the first poetry of our lives -
      Like distant music fading away at night.

Jeremy Dale Roberts (b. 1934, Gloucestershire, England), who recently retired as Head of Composition at the Royal College of Music, London, was a Visiting Professor of Composition at the University of Iowa for the 1999 - 2000 academic year.

He studied with William Alwyn and Priaulx Rainier at the Royal Academy of Music, London. His compositions have been performed worldwide at the Edinburgh and Aldeburgh Festivals, the Venice Biennale, the Diorama de Geneve, and the festivals of Avignon and Paris.

They include the Cello Concerto Deathwatch written for Rohan de Saram; Tombeau for Stephen Kovacevich; Croquis for string trio, written for members of the Arditti Quartet (BBC commission); In the Same Space, nine poems of Constantin Cavafy, written for Stephen Varcoe; Lines of Life, lyric episodes for ensemble, written for Lontano (BBC commission); and Casidas y Sonetos - del amor oscuro, for solo guitar (Arts Council commission) for Charles Ramirez.

Recent commissions include Hamadryad for alto flute, viola and guitar; Stelae, a work for gamelan; and Nightpiece for soprano and two bass viols.