Current FCO Season

2013 – 2014

Saturday, September 24, 2016, 1-3 pm
Old South Church, Boston, MA

Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor, Op. 3, No. 10

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin

Verdi Operatic Arias 
Steven D. Myles, Tenor
Peter Freisinger, Piano

Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C Major, “Jupiter,” K. 551

2016 – 2017

Our next concert:

Saturday, September 24, 2016, 1-3 PM, Old South Church at Copley Square (Boston, MA).

Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor by
Antonio Vivaldi

Le Tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel

Operatic Arias by Giuseppe Verdi,
sung by Tenor
Steven D. Myles

Symphony No. 41 in C , K 551 by Wolfgang Amadee Mozart

Details about our ONLY concert for the 2016-17 season:

Suggested admission: $13 adults/$8 students
Music students FREE

Antonio Vivaldi:

I. Allegro
II. Largo-Larghetto
III. Allegro

The B Minor Concerto for Four Violins (op. 3, No. 10, RV 580) is from a collection of works by Vivaldi known as L’estro armonico (Harmonic Inspiration), which was printed in 1711.  This is a collection of concertos (sometimes labelled concerti grossi) for one, two, or four violins. A solo violoncello is often featured.  The piece was also transcribed by Bach as “Concerto in A Minor for Four Harpsichords,” BWV 1065.

The red-haired Vivaldi, who was ordained in 1703, was known as Il Prete Rosso, the “Red Priest.”  Born in Venice, he was the son of a violinist who played at St. Mark’s. Unfortunately, asthma kept Antonio from celebrating mass, so he became a chorus master at L’ospedale della Pieta, an orphanage for girls, and later violin teacher and music director. Many of these girls were young virtuosi, and Vivaldi wrote music that exhibited their talent.  His most famous work is “The Four Seasons” for solo violin. The Gloria is his most popular vocal/instrumental piece.

Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin

I. Prelude
II. Forlane
III. Minuet
IV. Rigaudon

Originally written for solo piano, Le tombeau de Couperin was originally composed for piano from 1914-17. The six movements are each dedicated to Ravel’s friends who died in the first World War. The orchestral version of these neoclassical baroque-style movements followed in 1919, though the composer omitted the fugue and  toccata.

Cover of the first printed edition designed by Ravel

Born 1875 in Ciboure, France (in a beautiful house that still stands, near a small port), Ravel died in Paris in 1937, ten days after a brain operation.  He was the son of a Swiss engineer and a Basque mother. The family moved to Paris when Ravel was three months old. He eventually studied at the Conservatoire with Gabriel Faure, and was never awarded the Prix de Rome, an award that helps many young composers. Nevertheless, Ravel is one of the greatest French composers. His works, which have become standard repertoire, include much piano music (Gaspard de la nuit), orchestral gems (including Daphnis et Chloe and La Valse), and operas (including L’enfant et les sortileges).

Giuseppe Verdi:

“Questa o quella” from Rigoletto
“Dal labbro” from Falstaff
“Ingemisco” from Requiem
“La Donna e mobile”
from Rigoletto

Steven Myles, Tenor
Peter Freisinger, Piano

Originally from Oklahoma City, Steven received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a Graduate Performance Diploma in Opera from the Boston Conservatory. He has sung with the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, and Opera in the Ozarks.

“Questa o quella” (This Girl or That One) is the Duke’s aria in Act I of Rigoletto (1851). It’s buoyant 6/8 meter lends a bouncy feel to the carefree duke’s foray. Like Don Giovanni, it doesn’t matter to him that the countess is married...

“Dal labbro il canto estasiato” (From my Lips an Ecstatic Song) is one of Fenton’s two arias in Falstaff. (1892).  He is deeply in love with Nanetta and his music expresses this beautifully in Act III.

“Ingemisco” is the tenor’s plea for God’s mercy in the Requiem, which Verdi (a non-religious man) wrote at age 60. It was dedicated to Alessandro Manzoni, whom Verdi greatly admired.  The 1874 premiere was a great success. The style is operatic, yet it is one of the most famous requiems ever written.

“La Donna e mobile” (Women are Capricious) is famous for its melody even among non-opera buffs. It is sung in Rigoletto toward the beginning of Act III by the Duke. It became so popular that even the Venetian gondoliers sang it.

Giuseppe Verdi was born in Busseto, Italy in 1813 and died in Milan in 1901.  As a boy, he played organ at church.  At first rejected as a student at the Milan Conservatory, Verdi became famous for operas including Nabucco, Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore, Aida, Falstaff, Otello (the last two based on Verdi’s beloved Shakespeare), and many others. His oeuvre totals 29 operas, and of course the famous Requiem.  Verdi revered Mozart...

Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C, “Jupiter,” K. 551
I.   Allegro vivace
II.  Andante cantabile
III. Menuetto: Allegretto
IV. Molto allegro

Composed in 1788, Symphony No. 41 is Mozart’s last masterpiece in the genre. His longest symphony, it is known as the “Jupiter,” however the name may have come from the impresario Salomon. Part of a trilogy which includes the Eb Major and G Minor symphonies (numbers 39 and 40), this C Major symphony is especially noteworthy for the five-voice fugal section toward the end of the last movement.

Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756 and died in Vienna in 1791. He excelled as a composer in every genre.  In 1781, he was acknowledged as the finest pianist in Europe.  In addition to his 41 symphonies, many masses, concertos, sonatas, and chamber music, he composed operas, including The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Future readings may include works by Scriabin, Schumann, and Mahler.

”A crowded and appreciative sanctuary welcomed the ensemble for a concert of mostly staid programming: Mozart, Beethoven, and arias by Thomas, Donizetti, and Leoncavallo. But, it also featured the world premiere of an FCO commission, Aaron Rosenberg’s “To Finish the Moment.”

Staid is not the right word for the execution of Mozart’s Symphony No. 29. Vividly articulated, the performance fully exploited the ensemble’s range and color...” 

—  The Boston Musical Intelligencer (review of our 2013 concert)

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