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Symphonies of Josef Haydn on 3 December 2016

Saturday Evening, December 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm – Church of the Incarnation

THE DALLAS BACH SOCIETY | James Richman, Artistic Director

SYMPHONIES OF JOSEF HAYDN

Symphony #6 in D Major “Le Matin”
Symphony #7 in C Major “Le Midi”
Symphony # 8 in G Major “Le Soir”

About the Program:

Joseph Haydn was of course one of the most important composers of the Classical era, and was known as the “Father of the Symphony”, having composed 104 of them! The set given this evening was the first group he wrote in his new position as Vice-Kapellmeister to Prince Paul Anton (Pál Antal) of Esterházy, in the year 1761. He was already 29 years old, and the times were changing as the Baroque era had run its course with the fashion for a simpler and more “Classic” style becoming predominant. While these symphonies owe a great deal to the Baroque concerto grosso format in a certain sense, what is different is the emphasis on solo instruments as opposed to pairs of instruments.

The large amount of solo writing in these works could just as well be thought of as an hommage by Haydn to the excellent players hired by Prince Paul Anton at the same time he was engaged by the Esterházy family. The Prince’s grandfather had been a poet, harpsichordist and composer, as well as a military leader who helped raise the siege of Vienna in 1683. Paul Anton was himself also a very musical man, playing the violin, flute, and lute, as well as being an important collector of manuscripts. With Haydn and the newly enhanced orchestra he had instantly made Esterházy an important venue, but alas he would not enjoy it for long as he himself died in 1762. Luckily for Haydn and the musical establishent (he would become Kapellmeister himself upon the death of the aged Gregor Werner) the new Prince Nikolaus (Miklos) the Magnificent also loved music and kept Haydn and the musical establishment for the rest of his life (until 1790).

Haydn’s early years were marked by trying apprenticeships and boy-choir placements, including at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, which nonetheless often left him literally hungry. He soon learned to crave free-lance singing where refreshments were often served by the hosts! When his voice changed at the age of 17 and he was no longer suitable for church singing he was forced to find his own way, but he was able to survive as a music teacher, street musician, and when he was 20, as the valet-accompanist to the important Italian composer Nicola Porpora, whom he later credited with teaching him the basics of composition. He also studied the Gradus ad Parnassum of Fux, and the works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach for inspiration. He wrote his first opera at the age of 21, free-lanced for the palace in Vienna, and at the houses of Countess Thun and Baron Fürnberg, and finally got full-time employment with Count Morzin, in what is now the Czech Republic.

When the latter fell upon hard times and disbanded his orchestra, Haydn was picked up in 1761 by Prince Paul Anton and became a fixture at Esterházy for three decades. In a way it was lucky that in 1790 he was more or less let go by the new Prince Anton as the musical life of the castle was curtailed. Haydn was free to travel freely, as he had long realized the irony that even though he was the most famous composer in Europe, he was yet a duty-bound Kapellmeister in the remote Hungarian countryside. Haydn was fortunate to live long enough to be the toast of London and Paris, the mentor of Mozart and teacher of Beethoven! His first set of symphonies, fresh, lively and inventive, provide a lovely window into the world of his youth, and his own optimistic, lively, and endearing compositional style.

 


Since its founding in 1982 the Dallas Bach Society has been the primary resource in the Southwest for Baroque and Classic music on original instruments. Under the musical direction of James Richman, the Society unites the finest vocalists and instrumentalists from the Metroplex, all over the United States, and from abroad, in lively and informed performances of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Monteverdi, Couperin, Schütz and other period composers. Every season the Dallas Bach Society presents a full program of Baroque and Classic music on original instruments, featuring performances of favorites like Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Passions,  Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as well as little known works of great music which would otherwise be heard only rarely, if at all. Significant recent performances include staged presentations of Monteverdi’s Ballo delle Ingrate and Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and the modern staged premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Zéphyre, both with the New York Baroque Dance Company; the Dublin and Mozart versions of Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Saint John Passion and Saint Matthew Passion, French cantatas with Bernard Deletré and Ann Monoyios from the Paris Opera, CPE Bach’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Fortepiano with fortepianist Christoph Hammer, and recordings for CD of Messiah and Bach solo Cantatas. Our performance of Messiah was chosen for broadcast nationwide by Public Radio International in 2012. The Board of Directors has defined the mission of the Dallas Bach Society as follows: to present in public performances of the highest quality music composed before 1800, especially the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, to encourage the development of this musical repertoire in the Dallas area for both performers and audience, and to promote and encourage public education and awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the musical art of the Baroque and earlier periods in our own time. Funding for the DBS includes grants from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Texas Commission of the Arts, the Dallas Foundation, TACA, and private donations.  The DBS is a member of the Association of Professional Vocal Ensembles, the Neue Bach Gesellschaft, and is a founding member of Early Music America.

James Richman, Artistic Director of the Dallas Bach Society, is a prominent harpsichordist and fortepianist, as well as one of today’s leading conductors of Baroque music and opera. The first musician since Leonard Bernstein to graduate Harvard, Juilliard, and the Curtis Institute of Music, James Richman studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Herbert Blomstedt, piano with Rosina Lhevinne and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and harpsichord with Albert Fuller and Kenneth Gilbert.  He holds a degree in the History of Science magna cum laude from Harvard College.  A recipient of the prestigious United States-FranceExchange Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, he was made a chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995, in recognition of his contributions to the field of music. James Richman has been a prizewinner in four international competitions for early keyboard instruments, including first prize in the Bodky Competition of the Cambridge Society of Early Music, laureate of the Bruges Harpsichord Competition, and bronze medal in the Paris Harpsichord Competition of the Festival Estival and in the First International Fortepiano Competition (Paris). In appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, the E. Nakamichi Baroque Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival, as well as in regular series in New York, he has organized and conducted revivals of stage works by Handel, Gluck, Purcell, J.C. Bach, Monteverdi, and seven operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau. He has recorded for Nonesuch, Newport Classic, Centaur, Vox and New World records, and his live performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #6 is featured on National Public Radio’s Bach CD, along with recordings of James Galway, Yo-Yo Ma and Christopher Hogwood.  He is also Artistic Director of New York’s Concert Royal ensemble, which appears annually with the Choir of Men & Boys at St. Thomas Church on 5th Avenue in performances of Messiah and the great works of Bach & Purcell.

James Andrewes performs with many North American period instrument ensembles including the Dallas Bach Society, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Bach Society Houston, Ars Lyrica Houston, and the Orchestra of New Spain. As a member of the early music group ¡Sacabuche! he has performed in China and Macau as well as throughout the U.S. and Canada, and can be heard on its recent recording of 17th Century Italian Motets on the ATMA Classique label (2015). He has directed and performed in several cantatas for the ongoing Bloomington Bach Cantata Series in Bloomington, Indiana.

James grew up in Dunedin, New Zealand, where he began violin lessons at the age of five. He attained a Bachelor of Music (University of Otago), Master of Music (University of Oregon), and a Post-Masters Certificate in String Quartet Performance (University of Colorado) under the mentorship of the Takács Quartet. In 2011 he graduated with a second Masters degree at Indiana University, where he studied Early Music and Baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie. As a student he attended various festivals and workshops including the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and the San Francisco Early Music Society summer workshops. In 2010 he was one of a select group of young musicians invited to participate in a national tour of New Zealand as part of the Wallfisch Band directed by baroque violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch.

Dallas Bach Orchestra:

James Andrewes, Concertmster

Marie-Elise MacNeely, Principal Second Violin

Thane Isaac, Michelle Hanlon, Helen Shore, Sarah Marshall, Violins

Miguel Cantu, Viola

Eric Smith, Cello

Randy Inman, Bass

Tamara Meredith, Janelle West, Flauto traverso

Mariana Riva, Sung Lee, Classical Oboe

Stephanie Corwin, Classical Bassoon

James Hampson, Burke Anderson, Natural Horn

The “Goldberg” Variations

The Dallas Bach Society
7 May 2016

J.S. Bach – Klavierübung Teil IV: “The Goldberg Variations” BWV 988
James Richman, Harpsichord

About the Program:

The Air with Diverse Variations which make up the fourth and final section of Bach’s encyclopedic Klavierübung are widely conceded to be his ultimate keyboard work. None of his other works exploit the harpsichord so perfectly, and this is one case where the piano fails most thoroughly at providing either the distinctive coloration which is at the heart of the piece, or the technical means for its realization. While the variations are indeed “profound”, complicated, and in general “learned”, as the 18th century would have put it, they are also a work of enormous lyricism and sensual beauty, as well as great playfulness.

The most interesting development in modern times concerning the Bach repertoire is surely the discovery in the early 1970’s of Bach’s own annotated copy of the printed edition of the Goldberg Variations. Appearing in one of three piles of music sold to settle the estate of a music professor in Alsace in the 1930’s, this first edition with its red ink markings was widely known, and sat on the music desk of its owner Prof. Paul Blümenroeder for over forty years before he took it to be rebound. Then a page containing fourteen canons on the Goldberg bass line in an all too familiar hand fell out of the tattered leather binding, and when the red- ink corrections in the printed copy were examined more closely, they too were found to be Bach’s own.

In addition to correcting various wrong notes, Bach clarifies our understanding of the work with his annotations in this copy, which of course became immediately the unique source for the work. He adds Adagio to the famous 25th “Black Pearl” variation, which was no surprise, although the verification of the disputed appogiaturas which smooth out the dramatic jumps in its opening were probably a disappointment to those looking for the equivalent of verismo drama in eighteenth-century keyboard music. The 7th variation is now officially a tempo di giga, and in general there are numerous ornaments which were omitted in the printed version, or perhaps added by Bach later – most striking of all are the appogiaturas in virtually every bar of the 26th variation, which was already so florid that no one today would have ever dreamed of enriching it further.

Finally, it seems that the lovely story related by Spitta about Count Keyserling and his goblet with a hundred louis d’or must suffer serious doubt. Aside from the obvious fact that a printed score would surely have borne a dedication in recognition of such a fabulous commission, we are now faced with the discovery that Goldberg the harpsichordist, who supposedly lulled the count to sleep with this work, was baptized in 1727, which would have made him twelve or thirteen when it was composed and fourteen when it was published. It may be quite true that he played Keyserling to sleep with this music, but it is far more likely to have been in the late 1740’s at the earliest and, sadly, probably from a copy purchased for a very much less princely sum.

Bach’s Saint John Passion program

19 March 2016 8:00 p.m. at Church of the Incarnation

The Dallas Bach Society
James Richman, Artistic Director

THE PASSION ACCORDING TO SAINT JOHN
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
BWV 245 (LEIPZIG 1723)

Dann Coakwell, Evangelist
David Grogan, Jesus
Nicholas Garza, Servus
Audrey Brown, Ancilla
Charles Moore, Pilatus
Jason Awbrey, Petrus
Claire Daniels, Soprano
Agnes Vojtko, Alto
Nicholas Garza, Tenor
Patrick Gnage, Bass

About the Program:

To herald his arrival in Leipzig in 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a dramatic setting of the story of Christ’s final hours which he called his Johannes-Passion, or Passion According to Saint John. No doubt anxious to establish from the outset his complete mastery of church music, he made the work an outpouring of human emotions surrounding the sacred story, depicting in lively settings the voice of Christ, the message of the Evangelist, as well as the human feelings of the chorus, who from time to time represent the pious Christian congregation, the forces of the Roman Empire, and the angry crowd of Jews desperate to have Christ crucified.

This multiplicity of roles for the chorus is entirely in keeping with he practice in Baroque opera, where the chorus as a rule took on whatever identity of massed characters was called for, turning from courtiers to soldiers, peasants, or exotic nations, without so much as a costume change! The illustration of character and emotion took precedence, and standard stage dress would be altered usually by no more than a character symbol held by each chorister. As Bach wrote no opera, having made the decision to devote himself to the perfection of church music, his two great passions in effect represent this genre for us in his complete works. It is in these compositions that his most telling examples of Baroque characterization are found, and they are indeed powerful.

The obvious problem with such dramatic works was that everyone already knew the story, and how it would end. Thus the elements of suspense and surprise are not available, and indeed Bach opens the second half of Saint John with a Chorale which tells virtually the entire plot in a few bars. It is a sign of his consummate power as a composer that it matters not at all that we know what will happen, as his illustration of it in sound is so moving that it draws our attention in and of itself.

Bach uses the devices of the opera to teach this holy lesson, with the addition of the unusual character of the apostle himself telling the story, as in the Bible. This role of the Evangelist, however, derives directly from the “Mercury” characters in other operas, always a high tenor, a messenger telling us a narrative, only here made into the most important character aside from Jesus himself. Jesus is represented by the bass voice, in keeping with the Baroque norm for all gods, sorcerers and the like (through Mozart’s Sarastro in the Magic Flute), but especially meaningful for Bach as the fundamental bass, from which grows all music like an overtone series. When the bass is missing in Bach, and the high overtone chromatics dominate, we are usually far from the Lord!

The arias are also employed as in opera, taking time out from the action to give us a picture of the state of mind and emotions of the solo singer, here representing a member of the Christian people. In Saint John, these are mostly contemplative on the part of various Christian people affected by aspects of the story, and range from the naive apostle singing “I follow you with joyous steps” with the sound of innocent flutes, to the extremely sad “It is fulfilled” when the death of Jesus is at hand, accompanied by a mournful solo gamba. In the end, however, Bach transcends opera to produce a moving rendition of Biblical Truth, confined by no particular form, but rather using every possible means to transmit the Word in music.

About the Artists:

DANN COAKWELL, Evangelist, tenor, is sought after as a performer of Bach, Handel, and their contemporaries, who specializes in J.S. Bach’s Evangelist and the tenor roles of Benjamin Britten. He can be heard as a soloist on the Grammy-winning Conspirare: The Sacred Spirit of Russia, 2014 (Harmonia Mundi) and Grammy-nominated Conspirare: A Company of Voices, 2009. Coakwell has performed as a soloist internationally and nationally under such acclaimed conductors as Helmuth Rilling, Masaaki Suzuki, William Christie, Nicholas McGegan, Matthew Halls, John Scott, and Craig Hella Johnson. Coakwell has performed multiple times in New York’s Carnegie Hall, and he made his Lincoln Center New York solo debuts at both Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall to critical acclaim in 2014. He has appeared as a soloist with organizations such as Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart in Germany, Bach Collegium Japan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, Oregon Bach Festival, and Conspirare.

DAVID GROGAN, Christus, bass, has performed extensively throughout the southwest, having appeared as a soloist with Dallas-Fort Worth area arts groups such as the Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Bach Society, Plano Civic Chorus, Denton Bach Society, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Texas Camerata, Fort Worth Baroque Society, and several Texas universities. Recent performances include the Handel’s Messiah with Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys in NYC, Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Mountainside Baroque in Maryland, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Bass Hall in Fort Worth, TX. The Dallas Morning News hailed Dr. Grogan as the “perfect Christus” after a performance of the Saint Matthew Passion with the Dallas Bach Society. The Albuquerque Tribune, in reference to a performance of Messiah with the New Mexico Symphony, said, “David Grogan had all the range and power required of the part, sounding like the voice of doom in “The people that walked in darkness” and the light of revelation in “The trumpet shall sound.” A performance of Elijah had critics praising his ability to “move easily from stentorian declamation to lyrical aria.” Another critic said that he “….brought an impressive vocal power to the lead role of Elijah, and his rich emotive gift set the level for the other chief performers.” The Dallas Morning News said “His meaty bass shook the heavens and the earth and sounded the trumpet with imposing conviction.”

CLAIRE DANIELS, soprano, is equally at home performing as a soloist, chamber musician, and choral singer. At the 2014 Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, she performed with Arethusa Musica in the Young Performer’s Festival, Battle of the Early Bands, and the Fringe. Recently relocated to Dallas, she was soon asked to join the Orpheus Chamber Singers. She has also performed with Ensemble VIII, Texas Early Music Project, ¡Sacabuche!, Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, the University of Texas Chamber Singers, Concentus, Pro Arte Singers, and also portrayed the role of Cupid in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis with the Indiana University Baroque Orchestra. She was a featured soloist on Glad Tidings of Great Joy, a Christmas special aired by Public Radio International. While pursuing a master’s degree in early music performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, she studied with Paul Elliott and Mary Ann Hart. She received her undergraduate degree in Choral Music Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

AGNES VOJTKO, Hungarian mezzo-soprano, has established herself as a versatile and genuine artist both on the operatic and concert stage. Currently she is teaching at Southwestern University while frequently engaged as a concert soloist. Recent appearances include Mahler’s Messiah, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with American Bach Soloists, Mass in B Minor and St. Matthew Passion with Dallas Bach Society and concerts with Houston Baroque. Last June she performed Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (Schoenberg version) at UC Davis. Agnes has appeared with Austin Lyric Opera, Opera in the Heights and in Hungary with Ars Classica Chamber Opera and Budapest Chamber Opera. After she completed a bachelor’s degree at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, she moved to the United States as a Fulbright fellow to attend The University of Texas at Austin, where she obtained the Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the guidance of Darlene Wiley.

NICHOLAS GARZA, tenor, studied at University of Texas at Arlington as a Vocal Performance major with Jing Ling-Tam and David Grogan. Originally from Harlingen, Texas, Nicholas was a four-year Texas All-State Mixed Choir member, an Outstanding Soloist for Texas State Solo Ensemble, and a Competition winner in Classical Voice/Tenor at the 2010 NFAA YoungARTS. He has performed with Mountainside Baroque in Maryland as the Tenor soloist for the Telemann oratorio Der Tod Jesu and also was alto soloist for the Big Moose Bach Festival in New Hampshire. He worked with noted singer and conductor Simon Carrington as a singing fellow at the 2011 and 2012 Norfolk Chamber Music Festival of Yale University. He performs with many professional groups around the Metroplex including the Dallas Bach Society, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Orchestra of New Spain, the Fort Worth Opera Chorus and Christ the King Catholic Church. He has been called a “stand-out soloist” by the Dallas Morning News and has been hailed for his “appealing tenor, sinewy in the lower register, sweetly soft-edged on high.”

PATRICK J. GNAGE, baritone, studied voice at the Eastman School of Music and holds two degrees in Voice Performance and Literature. Mr. Gnage has been featured as soloist in all of the major oratorios of J.S. Bach, as well as the oratorios and choral works of Handel, Monteverdi, Carissimi, Mozart, Vaughan Williams, and Duruflé, performing with such ensembles as The Publick Musick, Orchestra of New Spain, Rochester Bach Festival Chorus, Concert Royal and the Dallas Bach Society. A new addition to his repertoire this season is the role of Jesus in Bob Chilcott’s version of the St John Passion, heard at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Dallas. Patrick also appears on recordings released by Naxos American Classics and Sonabilis.

Le Mozart Noir: Program

Friday evening, February 26 and Saturday Evening February 27, 8:00 p.m.
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts

The Dallas Bach Society James Richman, Artistic Director with
Yatande Boko, Haitian Drums Joanna Lynn-Jacobs, Mezzo-Soprano James Andrewes, Violin Soloist Quartet Galant and
Contemporary Ballet Dallas Valerie Shelton Tabor, Artistic Director and Choreographer

Present: Le Mozart Noir: The Untold Story

Narrator: Brandon Chase McGee
Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Terrance Johnson
Marie Joseph, Love Interest: Addison Holmes
Father of the Chevalier: Bryan Cunningham
Mother of the Chevalier: Kirsten Hamm
Soul of the Slave: Darrell Cleveland
Fencing Instructor: Trevor Wright
Dancers: Colby Calhoun, Marielle McGregor, Stephen McMaryion, Laura Pearson, Sophi Siragusa, Lea Zablocki
Music by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de St. George, except as noted

I. Youth

Drums of the Indies
Yatande Boko, Drummer
Dancers: Colby Calhoun, Darrell Cleveland, Kirsten Hamm, Terrance Johnson, Marielle McGregor, Stephen McMaryion, Laura Pearson & Sophi Siragusa

The Opera House
“Son amour, sa constance extrême” from L’Amant anonyme, Chevalier de St-George
Joanna Lynn-Jacobs, Soprano

Trio of Mother, Son, Daughter Quartet in C minor – Allegro

Contredanse: “Le Saint-Georges”
(named for the Chevalier, composer unknown)

Reconstructed from period notation by Catherine Turocy
Dancers: Addison Holmes, Bryan Cunningham, Terrance Johnson, Marielle McGregor, Laura Pearson, Trevor Wright, and Lea Zablocki

II. Investment

Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord

Learning to Fence
Quartet in G Minor – Allegro

III. Ego

Dance of Swooning Ladies
Quartet in C Major – Allegro assai

INTERMISSION

Aria: “Son amour, sa constance extrême” from L’Amant anonyme, Chevalier de St-George

IV. Identity

Rondeau
Pas de Deux of the Chevalier & Marie Minuet & Interruption
The Struggle/Call to Action

Music composed by Mark Landson (2016) Dance of the Brigade

V. Humility

Betrayed
Violin Concerto in D, Opus 3 #1, Adagio

Finale
Violin Concerto in D, Opus 3 #1, Rondo

This production made possible in part with a generous grant from the Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund of TACA.

Stage Manager: Natalie Young
Set Design: Scott Tatum
Technical Director: Carlos Castillo
Lighting Design: Suzanne Lavender
Costume Design: Fernando Hernandez
Dance of the Brigade: Stephen McMaryion
Project Dance Consultants: Catherine Turocy and Marcea Daiter
Production Coordinator for Booker T. Washington HS: Paul Bain

About the Program:

The story of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges is unique. The support of the New Works Fund has allowed us to attempt something more than just of concert of his music. Instead we have decided to present a more involved new creation with the hope of recreating the context of his life and times. Given the nature of eighteenth-century theater and dance, it would be extraordinarily difficult to tell his story through period forms – the narrative ballet was only being invented at this time, and its subject matter was not realistic or historical in any event.

Thus comes our decision to use a “modern” ballet in order to relate the Chevalier’s story for today’s audience, and its desire to go beyond the formalities of the Classic period in music history. In such a context it also necessary to go beyond the music of the period, and thus the decision to commission some new music from a composer who has worked with the choreographer, for the conflict sections of the ballet where Classic period music would seem too formal for today.

A final consideration is that it is most difficult even to produce a concert of music entirely by Classic period composers unless they happen to be named Mozart or Haydn, or happen to be sons of Sebastian Bach. It is so very odd that the Classical style, inspired by the rediscovery of Roman forms with the excavation of Pompeii in 1767, led to a total revolution in music which today is exemplified by two great geniuses, Haydn and Mozart, almost to the exclusion of their peers. While occasionally operas by Gluck, Cimarosa, and even Hasse, are performed, it is exceedingly rare for a symphony of Cannabich, Saint-Georges, or even Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to be played in concert in our time!

Our ballet as imagined by Ms. Shelton Tabor is designed to illustrate the rich fabric of the Chevalier’s life and times, and its meaning for today’s artistic world, using today’s dance forms, and employing music of the Chevalier and his era, as well as some new music by Mark Landson based on historical models. Our profound thanks go to the Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund of TACA for their generous support of this project.

DBS_CBD LeMozartNoir Marketing Photo_3

Le Mozart Noir, adored by women, was a consumate musician and conductor, master swordsman, and fighter during the French Revolution

Le Mozart Noir: Historical Background

Joseph Bologne, known as the Chevalier de St. Georges, was born in 1745, the son of a French planter in the West Indies and an African servant. Taken to Paris at age seven by his father to be educated, he became an excellent violinist and a swordsman of the highest caliber, and was a noted personality in Paris for a long time. Having been a star student starting at age thirteen at the Academie royale polytechnique des armes et de l’equitation, he defeated at the age of seventeen the head of a rival academy, thus making his reputation. On the other hand, we know nothing precise about his musical education, although it is clear he must have studied the violin assiduously. In 1764, the composer Antonio Lolli composed two violin concertos for him, and in 1766 the renowned Francois-Joseph Gossec dedicated a set of six Trios to him, so clearly his talents were developed early and blossomed alongside his military prowess.

When his father returned to Guadaloupe in 1764 after the Seven Years War, he left Joseph and his mother well set up in Paris with a large annuity. When he graduated the Academie royale in 1766 he was made a Gendarme du roi and a Chevalier, took his father’s Saint-Georges (actually the name of one of his plantations settled on him when he was made a Gentleman of the King’s Chamber in 1757), and thenceforth was known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

In 1769 he joined Gossec’s newly-formed orchestra Le concert des amateurs, and by 1771 was the concertmaster. The following year he performed his first two concertos, with Gossec conducting, to great applause. In the following eight years, he composed three sets of six string quartets (the first such composed in France), fourteen violin concertos, two symphonies, eight sinfonia concertantes, followed by six operas comiques, a truly prodigious amount of music considering the extent of his other activities. In 1773 Gossec took over the troubled Concert spirituel, and named the Chevalier as his successor at the Amateurs. In less than two years under his direction, this orchestra became the most disciplined group in Paris since Lully’s time, with a reputation all over Europe. Queen Marie-Antoinette attended their concerts at the Palais de Soubise, and as she sometimes appeared without warning, the musicians took to wearing court attire at all times. As a contemporary source reported: “Dressed in rich velvet or damask with gold or silver braid and fine lace on their cuffs and collars and with their parade swords and plumed hats placed next to them on their benches, the combined effect was as pleasing to the eye as it was flattering to the ear.”

When his father, who had returned to Guadaloupe, died in 1774, the annuity he had bestowed on the Chevalier was assigned to his legitimate half-sister, and he had to cease donating his services to the Amateurs, who commenced paying him generously, based on how the orchestra had become the largest and most prestigious ensemble in Europe.

In 1781, the Amateurs were disbanded for financial reasons, but the Chevalier appealed to his friend and fencing partner the Duke of Chartres, who had recently united the Masonic organizations in France, and the Duke revived the orchestra as part of la Loge Olympique, an exclusive Freemason lodge. As Le Concert Olympique, it performed in the grand salon of the Palais Royal, with essentially the same musicians. In 1785 the Count D’Ogny, grandmaster of the lodge and member of the cello section, authorized the Chevalier to commission a set of symphonies from Franz Josef Haydn, his Paris Symphonies, which were premiered in a large hall with the Chevalier conducting before the large public interested in Haydn’s work. The Chevalier also negotiated with Haydn for his commission, which was quite generous, and included an extra sum for residuals – normally composers got nothing once their pieces were out in the world.

The one instance where racial discrimination affected the career of the Chevalier occurred when his name was put forward by a “consortium of capitalists” (according to Baron Grimm) to take over the trouble Academie royal de musique (the Paris Opera). It seems that three of the sopranos, perhaps alarmed by the discipline the Chevalier imposed on his ensembles, petitioned the Queen to the effect that they could not be expected to take direction from a black man. The Chevalier immediately withdrew his name from consideration to avoid embarrassing the Queen, but the fallout from the affair led Louis XVI to take back the institution from the city of Paris (it had been given to the city by Louis XIV almost a century before), and led the Queen to have her musicales in the privacy of her chambers at Versailles, where the audience was her private circle and only a few musicians were invited to play. She probably played piano with the Chevalier playing the violin in his sonatas.

In 1785 the Duke of Orleans died, and the Chevalier’s friend the Duke of Chartres acceded to this title. With his old circle unable to help him, the Chevalier was once again saved by his friend, who set him up in an apartment in the Palais Royal, where he inevitably was drawn into the plots to make France a constitutional monarchy under the Duke, a path seen by the Orleanist side as the only way to avoid a bloody revolution. The story of the Chevalier becomes very complicated politically at this point, as he became an important player, sent to London, and eventually returning to France to lead what became known as the Legion Saint-Georges, the regiment of blacks fighting for the Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, starting in 1792.

Joseph Boulogne

Dallas Bach Society’s new balletic work Le Mozart Noir: the Untold Story

Dallas Bach Society (DBS) announces a new ballet, Le Mozart Noir: The Untold Story, to premiere February 26-27, 2016, 8:00pm, at the Montgomery Arts Theater of The Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSVA).

DBS_CBD LeMozartNoir Marketing Photo_3

Le Mozart Noir, adored by women, was a consumate musician and conductor, master swordsman, and fighter during the French Revolution

Dallas Bach Society presents Le Mozart Noir in collaboration with Contemporary Ballet Dallas (CBD) in a special evening on the life and times of the illustrious Joseph Boulogne. The concert features live music, including both period music led by DBS Director James Richman and original composition by Mark Landson of Open Classical. Valerie Tabor of CBD is chief choreographer, while period social dance has been restaged by New York Baroque Dance Company Director Catherine Turocy. Consulting for the project is Haitian dance expert Marcea Daiter.

Artistic Director James Richman says, “Though the story is individual to the Chevalier, the ballet explores in vignettes the universal struggle to find oneself. It is a story we can all appreciate.” This unique evening, funded by a grant from the Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund of TACA, will be performed on February 26-27, 2016 at the BTHSPVA in their fabulous Montgomery Arts Theater.

The Chevalier’s life story and work are rich indeed, but not often written about in the books. Later famously known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Boulogne was the son of a French planter of the nobility in the Caribbean and a woman of African heritage. The Chevalier’s talent and intelligence led to his advancement, where he was an important musical figure. He became a champion fencer, skillful equestrian, virtuoso violinist, and conductor of the leading symphony in Paris in the 18th century. The Chevalier was composing contemporaneous with Mozart and became known as Le Mozart Noir among the French bourgeoisie. He conducted the premieres of Franz Josef Haydn’s Paris Symphonies with his Orchestre de la Loge Olympique. Women swooned for his exotic features and superb talent. During the French Revolution, he became a colonel of the Legion St. Georges, the first all-black regiment in Europe, fighting on the side of the Republic.

Tickets are currently on sale to the general public at http://www.dallasbach.org.

About the Dallas Bach Society
The Dallas Bach Society was formed in 1982 to promote and encourage instrumental, choral, vocal, operatic, chamber, and keyboard music composed before 1800 through live performances in Dallas and its vicinity. Since its founding, the Society has been the city’s primary resource for early music performances by professional musicians. Instrumentalists perform on replicas of instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Chorus is trained in the vocal style and performance practice of the period. National and international soloists specializing in the interpretation of Baroque join musicians to present the highest level of choral, chamber, and orchestral productions each season. The Dallas Bach Society’s season consists of ten traditional concerts and more intimate chamber concerts are offered in private homes. The Dallas Bach Society is a member of the Association of Professional Vocal Ensembles, The Neue Bach Gesellschaft, and was a founding member of Early Music America. Learn more at dallasbach.org

About Contemporary Ballet Dallas
Contemporary Ballet Dallas, CBD, is a unique dance company for a unique city and was founded in 2000 by SMU dance alumnae. CBD performs a diverse repertoire of modern, ballet, and jazz influenced works that inspire the North Texas community. The company’s progressive, diverse & contemporary style combines with a variety of musical genres, in turn, engaging a broader audience. Utilizing professional dancers and recent college graduates, concerts are billed for the everyday man, as well as dance enthusiasts interested in a full spectrum of dance styles. CBD has received favorable reviews from dance critics throughout the area and continues to be recognized throughout the local dance scene. CBD provides a platform for emerging artists to set works at no cost to them, performs at local community performances and art festivals, serves as entertainment for charity events, and continues to present community outreach programs to underserved students through our Chance to Dance educational initiatives. Learn more at http://www.contemporaryballetdallas.com

About Catherine Turocy of New York Baroque Dance Company
Catherine Turocy, recognized as one of today’s leading choreographer, re-constructors and stage directors in 17th and 18th century period performance, has over 60 Baroque operas to her credit. She co-founded New York Baroque Dance Company in 1976 and continues as the Artistic Director today. She has been decorated by the French Republic as a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters. She received the prestigious BESSIE Award in New York City for sustained achievement in choreography as well as the Natalie Skelton Award for Artistic Excellence. NEA International Exchange Fellowships supported extended visits where she lived in London and Paris, conducting research and interacting with other artists. Ms. Turocy began her studies of historical dance as a freshman with Dr. Shirley Wynne at Ohio State University where she graduated magna cum laude. A founding member of the Society for Dance History Scholars, she has lectured on period performance practices around the world. As a writer she has contributed chapters to dance history text books, articles to Opera News, Early Music America and Dance Magazine, many which have been translated into French, German, Japanese and Korean. Learn more at http://www.nybaroquedance.org

About Marcea Daiter
Ms. Daiter is a choreographer, performing artist, dance educator and artistic director of New York-based dance theater company Kaleidoscope of Kultures DanceTheater. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor in the Dance Education Program at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, teaching African Dance and Intercultural Studies. Ms. Daiter received an M.F.A. degree in Dance from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 1992 and her B.A. degree in Sociology from Loyola University of Chicago in 1975. Her field-study trips to Africa, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti – and nationally at the Katherine Dunham Institute of Intercultural Studies (1995-2006) and Jacob’s Pillow (1996/1999) – have influenced her methodology. Ms. Daiter is a licensed Teacher of Dance in New York State and has taught contemporary (modern/jazz), classical ballet, and Afro-Caribbean for the New York City Department of Education public school system (5th-12th grade), Borough of Manhattan City College, City College, Long Island University, Hofstra University, and Movement for Actors in the Graduate Acting Department at Tisch School of the Arts. She is certified to teach the Zena Rommett Floor Barre Technique, the Method and Mat work of Joseph Pilates, and the technique of Katherine Dunham. Learn more at http:// steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/dance

About Mark Landson
Based in Dallas, TX, Mark Landson’s passion is in the ongoing flourishing community of supporters, fans, and performers which has enabled the organization Open Classical to fulfill its mission of putting classical music into the heart of everyday popular culture. A lifetime commitment to classical music combined with an entrepreneurial drive, Mark has brought a dream to life with Open Classical. His vision is to provide an opportunity for musicians to hone their skills while simultaneously creating a new experience for fans and performers. His creativity, leadership and love for story-telling is central to the spirit of the organization. Mr. Landson attended Eastman School of Music and works as composer and violinist at Neo Camerata. Learn more at http://www.openclassical.org

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Hillary Coyle
The Dallas Bach Society

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Bach Favorites on New Year’s Eve program

31 December, 2015 at 7:00 pm – Church of the Incarnation

 

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH on NEW YEAR’S EVE

 

Cantata 150: Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich

 

 

Ouverture #2 in B Minor for Flute and Strings

 

Cantata 55: Ich armer Mensch, ich Sundenknecht

Aria (Soprano): Schafe können sicher weiden (Sheep may safely graze) (Cantata 208)

Duet (Soprano, Alto): Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten (Cantata 78)

Chorale: Jesus bleibet meine Freude (Jesu, joy of man’s desiring) (Cantata 147)

The Dallas Bach Society wishes one and all a Happy and prosperous New Year!

About the Program:

This evening’s program features a variety of Johann Sebastian Bach’s works including both vocal and instrumental music. The opening piece, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich is an early cantata which for a time was considered a dubious work. More recently it has been finally accepted as authentic, with a date of composition around 1707, making it one of the very earliest cantatas extant. There has even been speculation that the final ciaccona, resembling a work of Buxtehude’s, might mark this work as a tombeau or remembrance piece dedicated to the memory of the great North German composer Dietrich Buxtehude, organist at Lübeck, where Bach walked 200 miles to visit the great man and indeed overstayed the leave he had permission for, being so anxious to drink up every possible idea and experience from his trip.

In any event, the cantata numbered as 150 by the original Bach Gesellschaft edition published in 1884 is clearly grounded in earlier, seventeenth-century, works and has little in common with the form of the Leipzig series of cantatas from the 1720’s. There is no chorale, and indeed there is no obvious occasion in the church calendar for the work, making it in ogni tempo as is said of pieces that are good for any time. It starts with an introductory Sinfonia which was set off as a separate movement by the BG, but is really just an introduction to the first, fugal choral movement, whose downward chromatic scale is a typical Baroque statement of grief. This is followed by a number of episodic sections, each on a different phrase of the text, much in the earlier style. Unusual also, but typical of Bach, is the chorus with an upward scale on the words “Leite mich” (lead me), forming a “Leiter” (ladder) from the bass through all four parts into the two violins. There is also a trio movement featuring an obligato bassoon, again cleverly worked out, as well as the aforementioned chaconne, a final plea to God to help us keep striving.

The Ouverture #2 for Flute and Strings is the second of four pieces ofter referred to as Bach’s Orchestral Suites, but which Bach himself called Ouvertüren. This is truly a better description, as a Baroque suite is normally composed of an Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue, with extra “optional” dances like minuets and gavottes, and possibly a prelude of some sort. Indeed, in his harpsichord Partitas, which were published as a kind of “Last Word” on the Suite form, Bach includes just about every possible “optional” dance and prelude, along with the variations on the allemande, courante, etc. as they were to be found in his day. Nowhere, however, does the basic underlying structure of Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue go away, even though he is consciously exploring every possible variant of the form.

The answer is to be found precisely in the Baroque Overture form! Opera (and oratorio) overtures were more than just the two-part form consisting of a slower introduction, often with dotted rhythms giving rise to the “French Overture” definition, and the faster, usually fugal second section. Sometimes this was the extent of the Overture, but a quick glance at Handel’s opera overtures, for instance, reveals many examples of extra, seemingly random, dance movements added in, perhaps to allow more patrons to find their seats. In Il Pastor Fido, for instance, there is a rondeau in concerto grosso form with double reed concertino, followed by a bourrée. The record for extra movements is held by the overture to Rodrigo, where the usual slow-fast overture movement is succeeded by a gigue, a sarabande, matelot, menuet, bourrée, a second bourrée, a second minuet, and finally a passacaglia. Only then does the opera get underway!

This is the form Bach is imitating with his collection of seemingly unconnected movements following the overture movement. Again, there is no allemande or courante, so no traditional suite, but Bach provides a typical collection for this kind of overture, with a pair of rather unusual movements in the polonaise and the badinerie, a kind of gossipy conversation. The featured flute has several extended solos, although sometimes it simply joins the string group, providing an unusual and pleasing timbre.

Cantata 55 is for a solo tenor, although it does have a chorale at the end. It was written in 1726 for Trinity Time, in which period Bach wrote cantatas featuring all four solo voices in the six available cantata “slots”. It is also interesting that all of the other Bach cantatas for solo tenor have in the end turned out not to be by Bach – these include Cantata 160, which turns out to be by Telemann, Cantata 189, by Melchior Hoffmann, as well as Cantata 53 also by Hoffmann. Our cantata consists of two arias and two recitatives, plus the chorus finale; the flute plays an important part in both, with an especially virtuosic obligato line in the second aria. The text once again speaks of a man who is a “slave to sin” and must find his way, imploring God’s mercy.

Our finale this evening consists of three famous vocal works, which will surely be familiar to all, and with which we bid farewell to a fruitful year 2015, with hopes and prayers that 2016 will be similarly blessed.

Messiah program notes

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm – Meyerson Symphony Center

THE DALLAS BACH SOCIETY

James Richman, Artistic Director

MESSIAH

A Sacred Oratorio
by George Frideric Handel
Words selected from Holy Scripture by Charles Jennens

Anna Fredericka Popova, Soprano | Nicholas Garza, Countertenor | Derek Chester, Tenor | Curtis Streetman, Bass

† In memoriam Jack Carney

 

About the Program:

Handel’s Messiah is called “A Grand Musical Entertainment” in the catalogue of the Charitable Musical Society of Dublin, where it is the most treasured entry, despite Handel’s description of it on the cover page of his manuscript as “An Oratorio.” The first perfor- mance was given in the city of Dublin on April 13, 1742, although the work was written in London in August/September of 1741. Charles Jennens, who provided the words, wrote a friend (on 10 July, 1741) “Handel says he will do nothing next winter, but I hope I shall perswade him to set another Scripture Collection I have made for him, & perform it for his own Benefit in Passion Week. I hope he will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition may excell all his former Compositions, as the subject excells every other subject. The Subject is Messiah.” Handel must have indeed been inspired, as he seems to have composed Messiah in white heat directly upon receiving Jennens’s “Collection” – what is interesting is why he made no immediate plans for performance. Perhaps the idea that Handel gave the premiere in Dublin because he feared the reaction of the more strin- gent Protestant clergy of London may have some truth to it, but before long the work was beloved there and was given many a performance, including annual benefits for the Found- ling Hospital, Handel’s favorite charity. On the 25th anniversary of Handel’s death, in 1784, a grand Handel festival was organized in Westminster Abbey, which featured a total of 275 choristers and an orchestra of 250 players. The numerical notion of greatness only gathered momentum during the nineteenth century, leading up to an 1859 performance at the Crystal Palace under the baton of Sir Michael Costa which featured a total of 3,225 musicians. At this point a music critic by the name of George Bernard Shaw (writing under the pen name Corno di Bassetto) raised the salient point in response to the ever more gargantuan presentations of the work. “Why doesn’t somebody set up a thoroughly rehearsed and exhaustively studied performance of Messiah in St. James’s Hall with a chorus of twenty capable artists? Most of us would be glad to hear the work seriously performed once before we die.”

Informed by the “historically-informed performance movement,” this goal is now a reality, which is as it should be, for this was the greatest of men and of composers, whose facility and genius have rarely if ever been equaled. The full extent of his work, in the shadows until the last few decades, has now begun to be enjoyed, once again mostly because of the “movement.” Nowadays Handel is indeed known for more than Messiah and a few other oratorios and instrumental pieces, and the true extent of his universality is more and better felt in our time.

The thumbnail biography by Sir Charles Beecham, written for a post card of Handel’s portrait at the National Gallery, gives the idea most succinctly:

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759). Born in Halle and died in London, a naturalized Englishman. Greatest of the international composers, he wrote with equal success in the styles of France, Germany, Italy and England. His career, like his personality, was stormy and brilliant. The downfall of Italian opera led him to English oratorio and his masterpiece, Messiah. He loved pictures, and children, endowing liberally the Foundling Hospital. Afflicted with paralyses and blindness, he died wealthy and the idol of the nation. Buried in Westminster Abbey.

The connection of Handel’s oratorios with his operatic style is obvious, for while he did indeed change his focus after “the downfall of Italian opera” in London, he never aban- doned the dramatic sense that informed his operas, particularly the later ones where the seemingly endless stream of da capo arias gives way to greater variety in composition.

The structure of Messiah is quite operatic, and much of the work is easy to imagine staged. Handel begins with a most unusual overture, in the unheard of (for overtures) key of E minor, characterized in the various lists of affects at the time as a key of uncertainty and gloom, with relief possible but not obvious. Of course this is a drama where the story is known to everyone in advance, which leads to a different order of events than any opera would have, and indeed we find that the uncertainty in the overture is immediately dispelled with a tenor recitative in the key of E major, at once a special and brilliant tonali- ty, on the words “Comfort ye, my people” from the Book of Isaiah.

As “librettist,” Jennens pieces together verses from scripture which provide connection and movement not only from one aria or chorus to the next, but also in the grand scheme of the composition where the large divisions (corresponding to operatic acts) are united by theme and also provided with division into “scenes” by the connection and separation of Biblical quotations. The first “scene” in Part the First (Act One) thus consists of the recitative and aria for tenor and the first chorus, set to consecutive verses from Isaiah. The second “scene” is from Malachi, consisting of the stormy bass recitative Thus saith the Lord, followed by the aria But Who May Abide the Day of his Coming and the chorus And He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi. The third of these scenes is a pastiche of Isaiah vii, xl, and ix, ending with the proclamation of the birth of the Messiah. Then there is a brief instrumental interlude (pifa) which introduces the pastoral theme for the second part of “Act One” where the arrival of the newborn Jesus is portrayed in a scene which is easily imagined on stage – a soprano soloist appears along with angels placed in cloud machines while shep- herds sing “And peace on Earth” standing around the crèche on ground level. At the end of this miniature drama, the angel chorus Glory to God ends with the disappearance of the staged angels as the orchestra evanesces into nothingness. Only the soprano soloist remains, to sing Rejoice Greatly (Book of Zachariah), joined then by the Alto for He Shall Feed his Flock, leading to the choral Finale His Yoke is Easy. By this time the tonal center has shifted to Bb Major for the close of the “Act”, which is as far away from the opening key of E Minor as is possible in Western music.

These final pieces introduce another characteristic of Jennens’s genius, which is the juxta- position of the promise of the Messiah found in the Old Testament with the actual arrival of the Messiah in the New. Here this is illustrated with verses from Isaiah xxxv and Matthew xi. It is more than a little astonishing that well over half the text for Messiah is in fact from the Old Testament! The most stunning use of this device will come in Part the Third in the chorus Since by Man Came Death, where alternating sections of slow, dark, a capella singing from Old Testament texts alternate with brilliant choral sections with orchestra on the subject of the Messiah’s appearance from the New, just as the Old Testament figures usually found on the gloomy north sides of the eastward-facing great cathedrals contrast with the sunny brilliance of the New Testament windows and sculpture found on the southern walls.

That there was probably no intermission per se after Part the First is indicated by the progression from Bb to G minor at the beginning of Part the Second, and then to Eb for the great aria He was despised. (There is a symmetry with Part the Third if one considers Parts One and Two together, as both start in E and conclude in D.) In any event, Part the Second is divided similarly to Part the First into two great sections – the first telling the story of the human suffering of Christ, interestingly set to words entirely from the Old Testament after the brief operatic entry music (not an overture) Behold the Lamb of God from Saint John; and the second celebrating His divine aspect suffusing the world and causing torment to the wicked with a virtual crescendo of glorious righteousness: Why do the Nations so Furious- ly Rage Together?, Let us Break Their Bonds Asunder, He That Dwelleth in Heaven Shall Laugh Them to Scorn, Thou Shalt Break Them Like a Potter’s Vessel, Hallelujah!

Part the Third, the shortest, deals with the End of Days and the Last Trumpet, again combining the Messiah’s assurance of everlasting life (I Know that my Redeemer Liveth, once again in the magical key of E Major) with the promise of death overcome (The Trumpet Shall Sound and Death, Where is Thy Sting). The great finale Worthy is the Lamb that was Slain contains a majestic Amen for which we find numerous counterpoint studies in Han- del’s notebooks, and which carries us majestically upwards as if in a great Baroque cathe- dral with a high oval of sky or paradise surrounded by swirling angels. And yet, at the very moment of triumph at the end of this signal composition, there is a surprising grand pause on an inverted dominant seventh chord begging for resolution, which seems to stop every- thing for supernatural reasons, exactly as when the fantastic forward energy of the Hallelu- jah Chorus comes to a crashing halt just before the end, at the height of its rapture. The Rev. Bishop Mark Herbener of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America points out to us that these two movements are the only pieces in Messiah with texts from the apocalyptic Book of Revelation, where indeed just before the end of the world there comes a great silence of half an hour. It appears that George Frederic Handel knew his Bible, and responded to it, on a very high level!

About the Dallas Bach Society and James Richman

Since its founding in 1982 the Dallas Bach Society has been the primary resource in the Southwest for Baroque and Classic music on original instruments. Under the musical direction of James Richman, the Society unites the finest vocalists and instrumentalists fromthe Metroplex, all over the United States, and from abroad, in lively and informed performances of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Monteverdi, Couperin, Schütz and other period composers. Every season the Dallas Bach Society presents a full program of Baroque and Classic music on original instruments, featuring performances of favorites like Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Passions, Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as well as little known works of great music which would otherwise be heard only rarely, if at all. Significant recent performances include staged presentations of Monteverdi’s Ballo delle Ingrate and Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and the modern staged premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Zéphyre, both with the New York Baroque Dance Company; the Dublin and Mozart versions of Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Saint John Passion and Saint Matthew Passion, French cantatas with Bernard Deletré and Ann Monoyios from the Paris Opera, CPE Bach’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Fortepia- no with fortepianist Christoph Hammer, and recordings for CD of Messiah and Bach solo cantatas. Our performance of Messiah was chosen for broadcast nationwide by Public Radio International in 2012. The Board of Directors has defined the mission of the Dallas Bach Society as follows: to present in public performances of the highest quality music composed before 1800, especially the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, to encourage the development of this musical repertoire in the Dallas area for both performers and audience, and to promote and encourage public education and awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the musical art of the Baroque and earlier periods in our own time. Funding for the DBS includes grants from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Texas Commission of the Arts, the Dallas Foundation, TACA, and private donations. The DBS is a member of the Association of Professional Vocal Ensembles, the Neue Bach Gesellschaft, and is a founding member of Early Music America.

James Richman, Artistic Director of the Dallas Bach Society, is a prominent harpsi- chordist and fortepianist, as well as one of today’s leading conductors of Baroque music and opera. The first musician since Leonard Bernstein to graduate Harvard, Juilliard, and the Curtis Institute of Music, James Richman studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Herbert Blomstedt, piano with Rosina Lhevinne and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, and harpsichord with Albert Fuller and Kenneth Gilbert. He holds a degree in the History of Science magna cum laude from Harvard College. A recipient of the prestigious United States-France Exchange Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, he was made a chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1995, in recognition of his contributions to the field of music. James Richman has been a prizewin- ner in four international competitions for early keyboard instruments, including first prize in the Bodky Competition of the Cambridge Society of Early Music, laureate of the Bruges Harpsichord Competition and bronze medal in the Paris Harpsichord Competition of the Festival Estival and in the First International Fortepiano Competition (Paris). In appearanc- es at the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, the E. Nakamichi Baroque Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival, as well as in regular series in New York, he has organized and conducted revivals of stage works by Handel, Gluck, Purcell, J.C. Bach, Monteverdi, and seven operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau. He has recorded for Nonesuch, Newport Classic, Centaur, Vox and New World records, and his live performance of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #6 is featured on National Public Radio’s Bach CD, along with recordings of James Galway, Yo-Yo Ma and Christopher Hogwood. He is also Artis- tic Director of New York’s Concert Royal ensemble, which appears annually with the Choir of Men and Boys at Saint Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue in the performances of Messiah and the great works of Bach and Purcell.

A Tale of Two Cities: Baroque Music and Dance in Paris and London

The Dallas Bach Society

On Baroque Dance

The forerunner of ballet, Baroque Dance has its own vocabulary of movements and expressivity.  Among its characteristics are a relaxed foot, 90-degree turnout of the legs, ornamental hand gestures, vertical carriage of the body, close interplay between music and movement, and the use of symmetrical, complex floor patterns in choreographies.  Whereas the elements of this dance technique were common to both ballroom and theater dances, theatrical choreographies demand a much greater technical ability and expressive range, from the noble style appropriate to gods and pastoral characters to the burlesque movements of peasants and commedia dell’arte characters.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Paris was the dance capital of Europe.  In the style of opera created at the court of Louis XIV by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), dancing was incorporated into each of the five acts as a part of the drama.  Pierre Beauchamps, the choreographer at the Opéra de Paris during Lully’s lifetime, is credited with codifying many of the features of baroque ballet, including the five basic positions of the feet.  The career of his successor, Guillaume Louis Pécour, coincided with the development of a system of dance notation that was exploited commercially by Raoul Auger Feuillet; as a result, approximately 350 dances from the first quarter of the 18th century have been preserved, many of them choreographed by Pécour.

The chief sources of notation for tonight’s concert are the collections of dances published by Raoul-Auger Feuillet in 1700-1709 and Gaudrau in 1713 as well as Mr. Isaac’s dances published in London and Edmund Pemberton’s Essay for the Further Improvement of Dancing, also published in London in 1711. The notation system records the step units, floor patterns, and correlation between music and dance measures.  Although a notation and description of the hand gestures exists, the dances are rarely notated with their corresponding hand gestures. Consequently, the reconstructor must choreograph these gestures into the dances. Theatrical dances which employ contrasts in dynamics and phrasing, and stylized gestures in the development of a character, call even more directly upon the reconstructor’s talents, both as a choreographer and dramatist.

Notes on the Dances

First published in 1704, La Bretagne, consisting of a passepied and a rigaudon, honors the birth of the Duc de Bretagne in 1704 (sadly, he died in 1705).  It was choreographed by Guillaume Louis Pécour for his mother the Duchesse of Bourgogne, Marie-Adélaide, who was also Princess of Savoy and wife of the eldest grandson of Louis XIV.  Pécour was her dancing master, as well as the principal choreographer for the Opera.  The duchess was quite lively, a beautiful dancer and a favorite of Louis XIV. La Bretagne was re-published in many collections and was included as “The French Bretagne” by Mr. Siris in his translation of Chorégraphie by R. A. Feuillet. La Bretagne was danced throughout Europe and the North American and Caribbean colonies, and circulated in the United States through the 1790’s where it was danced in New York, Philadelphia and other major cities. La Royalle, consisting of a sarabande and a bourrée, was also choreographed by Pécour and included in the published collection of Gaudrau (1713).  The sarabande is to the renowned melody Dieu des Enfers of Lully.

About the Artists:

The New York Baroque Dance Company was founded in 1976 by its Artistic Director, Catherine Turocy, and Ann Jacoby. The company specializes in producing seventeenth and eighteenth century programs ranging from street performances to fully staged operas, and has performed over 55 operas as well as hundreds of reconstructed dances and ballets choreographed in period style. Through residencies at educational institutions serving grades K-12 as well as at colleges and universities, the New York Baroque Dance Company instructs both professionals and the general public, thus preserving a unique aspect of our cultural heritage.

The Company has toured North America, Europe and Japan with conductors John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood, James Richman, Nicholas McGegan and Wolfgang Katschner. In its home base of New York City, the company produces concerts annually with Concert Royal directed by James Richman, and it also performs regularly around the United States with Opera Lafayette, The Dallas Bach Society, Mercury Baroque, Apollo’s Fire and Philharmonia Baroque.

Groundbreaking productions over the past three decades include the world premiere of Jean Philippe Rameau’s Les Boréades (left unperformed in the eighteenth century after Rameau’s untimely death) and Hippolyte et Aricie,  both at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and the Opéra de Lyon;  Henry Purcell’s Indian Queen performed at the Barbican in London; the award winning Scylla et Glaucus by Jean Marie Leclair performed at the Opéra de Lyon, as well as over 100 performances of a double bill of Rameau’s Pygmalion and George Frederick Handel’s Terpsicore. The company is very proud to have performed in Handel’s Terpsicore, Ariodante, Arianna, Alcina, Atalanta and this spring, Orlando, at the Handel Festival in Goettingen , Germany.

Training professional artists has been an important part of the New York Baroque Dance Company’s activities, and former members Ken Pierce, Thomas Baird, Paige Whitley Bauguess and Carlos Fittante, have all gone on both to start their own companies and to enjoy careers as freelance historical choreographers. The Company is very appreciative of ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts and its individual contributors. The New York Baroque Dance Company is being archived by the Performing Arts Divison of the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, and many archival videos of past performances are on file in the Dance Collection and available for scholarly research.

Catherine Turocy, recognized as today’s leading choreographer/reconstructor in the field of 18th century dance, has been decorated by the French Republic as a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters and has received the prestigious Bessie Award from Dance Theater Workshop in New York City for Sustained Achievement in Choreography. National Endowment for the Arts Exchange Fellowships have supported extended visits abroad where she lived in London and Paris, conducting research and interacting with other artists. A founding member of the Society for Dance History Scholars, Ms. Turocy lectures on period performance practices and has contributed chapters to dance history text books and articles for Opera News and Dance Magazine, several of which have been translated into French, German, Japanese, and Korean.  A chapter in Janet Roseman’s book, Dance Masters: Interviews with Legends of Dance, published by Routledge, is devoted to her work.

As a sought-after period stage director, Ms. Turocy has worked with singers Jessye Norman, Bryn Terfel, Christine Brandes, Howard Crook, Ann Monoyios, Julianne Baird and Drew Minter  She has appeared seven times at the Handel Festival in Goettingen, Germany, and will be staging their production of Orlando this spring.  In New York,  Ms. Turocy has choreographed and directed works including Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Handel’s Ariodante, Terpsicore and Il Pastor Fido, Rameau’s Pygmalion, Les Indes Galantes, Le Temple de la Gloire and Les Fêtes d’Hébé, among others.

Catherine Turocy began her studies of historical dance as a freshman at Ohio State University with Dr. Shirley Wynne. She is grateful to Lynn Dally, Peter Saul, Kathryn Karipedes and Ruth Currier, Lucy Venable and Alex Martin for their instruction and guidance. Currently Ms. Turocy is artistic director of The Historical Dance Workshop at Goucher College and is a member of the Society of Dance History Scholars, Committee on Research in Dance, CORPS de Ballet International, the Dance Council, and Dance Theater Workshop.

Alexis Silver was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and spent her formative years in Berkeley, CA.  Her serious ballet training and performance experience was nurtured by Ronn Guidi, at Oakland Ballet.  As a teenager Alexis moved to Massachusetts, shifted her focus to include contemporary dance, and advanced this training with Marcus Schulkind. Alexis joined The New York Baroque Dance Company in the summer of 2010.  With NYBDC, she recently performed in the International Händel Festival in Göttingen, Germany.  She has also performed with the Boston Early Music Festival in their production of Dido and Aeneas.  Alexis has performed work by Trisha Brown in “Dance & Art in Dialogue” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, an original piece by John Jasperse at The Kennedy Center, and a site-specific 9/11 Memorial piece by Sarah Skaggs Dance.  Additionally, she dances with Rebecca Warner, Gregory Nuber Dance, Becky Radway Dance Projects, Enrico Wey, among others.  Alexis contributes writing to Dance and Dance Spirit Magazines and is an accomplished photographer www.asilverphotography.com.  She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Certificate of Higher Education from London Contemporary Dance School.

Carly Fox Horton is a New York City based dancer and choreographer who is known for her versatility across movement vocabularies. She has performed Baroque dance in concerts, operas, and theatrical works choreographed and directed by Catherine Turocy, Sean Curran, Thomas Baird, Anuradha Nehru, Ken Pierce, Patricia Forelle, and Caroline Copeland. Carly has collaborated with early music ensembles as part of the NYBDC, such as Opera Lafayette, Anthony Newman, Concert Royal, Dallas Bach Society, and the Gotham Early Music Scene.  She has presented her own work with Aston Magna. She has been a soloist with the New York Baroque Dance Company since 2010. Carly’s choreography has been showcased on film and stage. She reads and reconstructs dances from baroque period notation. She recently collaborated with Catherine Turocy on a solo that she performed in Les Fetes de L’Hymen et l’Amourby Jean Philippe Rameau  at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center. She is originally from Missouri City, TX and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kansas with a BFA in dance where she received the Phillips-Stone Award for excellence in dance.

Brynt Beitman, a native of Dallas, Texas, earned his BFA from The Juilliard School. He has worked with Metropolitan Classical Ballet, New York Baroque Dance Company, Contemporary Ballet Dallas, and Bruce Wood Dance Project. Brynt was recently featured in a workshop showing of “49th Street and Other Stories” by Bronwen Carson at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. His own work has been shown in New York City, Montreal, Dallas, and Varna, Bulgaria. Brynt recently premiered his newest work as a part of “With or Without Me”, curated by Jack Ferver at Dance New Amsterdam.

Andrew Trego is currently living in New York City, and is a native Texan. At fourteen, he began his dance training at Houston’s High School for Performing & Visual Arts and Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy. While completing a BFA from The Boston Conservatory, Andrew performed lead roles in works by Jose Limon, Alwin Nikolais, Anna Sokolow, and Anthony Tudor. In Boston, he performed with notable opera companies Opera Boston and Boston Early Music Festival. Andrew came to New York City in 2011 to take a spot in the newly founded Peridance Contemporary Dance Company. In 2012, Andrew had the privilege to perform alongside the Paris Opera Ballet in Bejart’s “Bolero” during their summer season at Lincoln Center. Andrew now performs for The Metropolitan Opera, The People Movers Contemporary Dance Company, New York Baroque Dance Company, and made his debut in the repertoire of BALAM Dance Theatre with this “Icarus” solo.

On the Music

The music for this Saturday’s program is derived primarily, although not exclusively, from dance sources.  It is interesting to note how much Italian music was favored in London, due to the fad for opera which induced Handel to remain in London permanently.  Opera singers were so highly prized (and paid!) that the great Farinelli had the cornerstone of his Venetian mansion engraved “Built by the Folly of the English”.  French music was also in style, having been reintroduced with the Restoration of Charles II, who spent his exile under the Commonwealth as a guest at the French court, in 1660.  It surely represented to the English the kind of license for which the Restoration is in general is renowned.  Henry Purcell, shortly before his death, described how England owed much to both countries – primarily to Italy (“her best master”) but also to France for its stylishness. Paris was of course the most important city in all of Europe at the time, and indeed it was the wealth and political importance of the two cities (abetted by the destruction of most of central Europe in the Thirty Years’ War) that made them such important cultural centers.

The sonatas of Handel and Couperin are very appropriate for this concert, as is the music of Jean Marie Leclair, one of the great but lesser-known composers of the French eighteenth century.  His Trio in D is a lovely piece found among his four books of Violin Sonatas containing 48 very attractive and amazing pieces reflecting his time in Italy. Francois Couperin, known as “Le Grand” (The Great) even during his lifetime, taught harpsichord to the King’s children and was Organist at the church of Saint Gervais, a kind of family position the lasted well into the eighteenth century. He was fascinated by the Italian trio sonata style of the seventeenth century, with many short movements played as one extended piece. He even printed his sonatas under the anagrammatic pseudonym Pernucio, to avoid offending his patriotic patrons! La Sultane, perhaps written upon the visit of the Ottoman envoy Suleiman Agha to the court of Louis XIV (pieces of music are always feminine, as in “La piece intitule Sultan”), exists in a single copy from the library in Lyons. Finally, the important German composer Telemann made two trips to Paris in the 1730’s which he considered to be the highlight of his career, for which he wrote quartets which he played with the very best French musicians, who on their part clearly esteemed the venerable German. You will hear at this concert two exquisite movements from the second volume of quartets.

 

The Historical Cello in Germany

Join DBS for our first house concert of the season on Friday/Saturday night November 7/8!  Our principal cellist, Eric Smith plays a Bach suite for solo cello and Beethoven’s Sonata in G minor, plus a splendid Adagio from Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach. Hear for yourself how Bach’s amazing solo suites sound on an instrument from his time, and how the change of style and of the cello bow led to a different kind of music in the early Beethoven sonatas for cello.

The menu for the Casa M (Flower Mound) event is set and attached here for your review!

 

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