Amati Quartet October Concert
Knox United Church
October 13, 2014 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Guest Artists: violin: Arthur Boan, William Boan, Austin Castle, Solveig Deason; viola: Heather Wilson; cello: Hans Deason, Zaïde Masich; harpsichord: Renée de Moissac
Bach - Concerto in C minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043
Vivaldi – Concerto in G minor for Two Cellos, RV531
Bach – Concerto in D minor for two Violins, BWV 1060
Albinoni / Giazotto – Adagio
Dvořák – Serenade for Strings in E major
Most of Bach’s concerti are believed to have been written during his days in the employment of Prince Leopold of Cohen from 1717-1723 where he had 18 very fine musicians to work with. However, Bach changed jobs about six times during his career, and frequently reworked his music into different forms. His transcriptions of concerti for one, two, three, and four harpsichords were originally concerti for strings and winds. The C minor Concerto for Oboe, Violin, and strings – also played as a concerto for two violins was actually originally scored for two harpsichords. Bach was very adept at recycling!
Vivaldi’s concertos were written for the girls who lived at Ospedalle della Pietà in Venice, an orphanage he was associated with for four decades. This virtuosic concerto is the only double cello concerto that Vivaldi wrote – but what an electrifying example of duelling cellos! The cellos play in canonic imitation, harmonize with each other, play in unison, trade melodic phrases, and sometimes accompany each other in this sizzling stand out amongst his hundreds of other concerti.
In our current world where it seems we can find a Starbucks or Tim Hortons within reach of almost every street corner, coffee houses are an accepted cultural phenomenon. However, in 18th century Germany the café was a new and fashionable destination! In 1729 despite his many duties of work and family (at least 22 children) Bach found the time to work with university students and professionals in a local Collegium Musicum that performed every Friday evening in Zimmerman’s coffee house. Bach’s programs included works by other composers, as well as his own, and also included solo and chamber music works. The D minor Concerto for Two Violins, composed during this time, is one of Bach’s greatest and most sublime creations. It is the perfect synthesis of concerto and fugue conceived in purely violinistic terms.
The easily recognizable ‘Albinoni’s Adagio’, used prolifically in films, television and popular music since the 1960’s was not actually written by Albinoni! The composer was in fact an Italian musicologist named Remo Giazotto who claimed to have discovered a tiny fragment of a manuscript by Albinoni. In 1958 he published “Adagio in G minor for Strings and Organ, on Two Thematic Ideas and on a Figured Bass by Thomaso Albinoni”. Giazotto rarely gets credit for his famous work, and Albinoni would not recognize it as his own!
The Serenade for Strings, one of Dvořák’s most popular orchestral works, was composed in just two weeks in 1875. This was a happy time for Dvořák – newly married, a new father, and a composer who was beginning to be noticed – he received a generous grant from a commission in Vienna which provided a stable income. This charming five movement work is a feel good piece for both the player and the listener, describing gracious and elegant aristocratic living.