Performing this Week

Julie Landsman
Julie Landsman

Daniel Ching
Daniel Ching

John Largess
John Largess

Joshua Gindele
Joshua Gindele

Tereza Stanislav
Tereza Stanislav

Lynn Harrell
Lynn Harrell

Marc Neikrug
Marc Neikrug

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Summer 2010 — Week 13

Welcome to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival radio series production blog, home of program out takes, artist commentary, and other related tangents we like to call "web extras."

Our 5th season of broadcasts from Santa Fe concluded with a world premiere. In addition to celebrating the core repertoire, the Festival regularly commissions new music, and so it was that the last of our 13 weekly programs included one of a number of new works first performed in Santa Fe in 2009, Gunther Schuller's Quintet for Horn and Strings. He composed the piece for Julie Landsman who is the principal horn for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York and an integral member of the musical community here. Also on the program, celebrated American cellist Lynn Harrell collaborated with pianist, composer, and Festival Artistic Director, Marc Neikrug, for a performance of Franz Schubert's A Minor Sonata for Arpeggione & Fortepiano.

If you've ever wanted to eavesdrop while great musicians talk to each other about music, scroll down to hear Marc and Lynn talking about and playing excerpts from the Arpeggione sonata. You'll also find words from Gunther Schuller describing his composition, and a behind-the-scenes photo of Matt Snyder, the audio engineer whose Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival concert recordings are the bedrock of this radio series.

The nationally syndicated programs can be heard in the Chicago area Sunday mornings at 11am, from April through June 2010, on 98.7 WFMT. You can also listen anywhere there's Internet. WFMT provides free, live streaming at wfmt.com and via a free, downloadable app for your iPhone.

I hope you enjoy perusing these items rescued from the "cutting room floor" and the other things found along the way to creating this broadcast from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival radio programs.

Thanks for stopping by,
Louise Frank
Series Producer

Gunther Schuller (Photo Credit: Bachrach)

Gunther Schuller (Photo Credit: Bachrach; from National Endowment for the Arts

GUNTHER SCHULLER (b. 1925)
Quintet for Horn & Strings

  • Moderato (Introduction)
  • Lento
  • Rondo: Allegro vive

Julie Landsman, horn; Miró Quartet: Daniel Ching, violin; Tereza Stanislav, violin; John Largess, viola; Joshua Gindele, cello

2009 Festival co-commission with Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Music Society & The International Horn Society — World premiere: July 27, 2009

 

Marc Neikrug reads Gunther Schuller's notes for the Quintet for Horn and Strings, and advises, "If you're looking for a hook, there isn't any so close your eyes and dive in!"

 

"The best way to hear the music is to listen to it holistically. And that is to say, not for any particular melodies or familiar harmonies, but for the whole composite of the sounds made by the 5 instruments. A good idea is to close your eyes and listen undistracted by anything visual. Basically, music is a fusion of shapes, sometimes strange and new, and instrumental colors."

Gunther Schuller

 

Marc tells Kerry the back-story behind the creation of Schuller's new Quintet for Horn and Strings

 

"This seems to be a piece which was just screaming to come out..." Marc shares his impressions of the Quintet.

 

"The opening Moderato is largely for horn obbligato over busy string passagework. The Lento that follows takes the form of a quiet serenade, the horn in sotto voce. After a brief agitated section, the movement returns to music of the night. The concluding Rondo, again, gives the strings plenty to do, with interjections and distorted hunting calls from the horn. And then it's abruptly, inconclusively over."

John Stege, Santa Fe Reporter, July 2009

 

More about Gunther Schuller can be learned at the website of G. Schirmer.

Leonard Bernstein - Journey into Jazz


Gunther Schuller conducts the New York Philharmonic as Leonard Bernstein narrates Gunther Schuller's "Journey into Jazz."

 

José Limón created his iconic 1954 dance piece, "The Traitor," to music of Gunther Schuller. One of modern dance's most significant works of the 1950s, "The Traitor" was Limón's response to the McCarthy hearings and the climate of betrayal that haunted the arts and entertainment fields during this period. Limón used Sholem Asch's novel, The Nazarene, as the impetus for this re-telling of the Christ and Judas story to the music of Schuller's score. You can watch José Limón and the cast of eight men perform "The Traitor" on YouTube.

 

José Limón dancing 'The Traitor' to music by Gunther Schuller
José Limón dancing "The Traitor" to music by Gunther Schuller

 

The Miró Quartet plays 'Credo' by Kevin Puts


The Miró String Quartet performed the world premiere of 'Credo' by Kevin Puts at the Sunset Center in Carmel, California, under the auspices of Chamber Music Monterey Bay.

 

Franz Peter Schubert - Wilhelm August Rieder, Watercolour, May 1825 (Thank you, www.franzschubert.org.uk)

Franz Peter Schubert - Wilhelm August Rieder, Watercolour, May 1825 (Thank you, www.franzschubert.org.uk)

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Sonata for Arpeggione & Piano in A Minor, D. 821 (1824)

  • Allegro moderato
  • Adagio
  • Allegretto

Lynn Harrell, cello; Marc Neikrug, piano

It was in 1824 that Franz Schubert composed his Sonata A Minor, D. 821, for the arpeggione, a kind of hybrid lute and viola da gamba you don't see around much anymore except maybe in museums. The Viennese guitar maker Johann Georg Staufer had created the arpeggione the year before, much to the delight of the man who commissioned the piece — one Vincenz Schuster — but apparently few others. The fretted and bowed instrument, with its six strings and classical guitar tuning, soon fell out of vogue and subsequently the work was adapted for the cello. The folks at www.discordia-music.com have a very informative web page where you can learn more about the arpeggione.

 

Lynn Harrell and Marc Neikrug in WFMT's studios in January 2010
Lynn Harrell and Marc Neikrug in WFMT's studios in January 2010 (Photo: Drew McManus)

 

If you've ever wondered how it is that two great musicians can play as one, here is an example of how the intimacy of chamber music playing comes about. Marc Neikrug and Lynn Harrell were both in Chicago recently, and they sat down in WFMT's studios to play parts of the Arpegionne Sontata and to muse on the elusive art of musical collaboration. Turns out, it's a matter of skill, intuition, accommodation, ... and breathing together.

 

Marc Neikrug and Kerry Frumkin
Marc Neikrug and Kerry Frumkin enjoyed a warm and friendly collaboration despite the January chill. That's when Marc came to WFMT's studios in Chicago to record the conversation and commentary heard throughout this 13-week radio series. In the background is a Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival poster featuring the art of Hopi artist, Dan Namingha.

 

Since the Sonata rests, to a certain degree, in the very highest tessitura of the cello and is difficult to play, it really depends on having an instrumentalist who can make the instrument sing in that upper register – and that's not easy. Kerry and Marc explore the notion that Schubert's Arpeggione sonata is best played by a "singing" musician, and Marc explains what he means by that...

 

Picture of an arpeggione

The arpeggione enjoyed a brief vogue in Vienna in the 19th century, and is vaguely like a cello, but with six strings tuned and fretted like a guitar. (Photo pilfered with gratitude from bachtrack.com)

Schubert Arpeggione Sonata played on the arpeggione (excerpt)


Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata played on the original instruments, an arpeggione instrument with fortepiano. This video comes from a live performance in Brussels on February 15, 2008 by Nicolas Deletaille (arpeggione) and Boyan Vodenitcharov (fortepiano). This is a short excerpt from the last movement. Discover more about arpeggione.

 

Behind the scenes...

Matt Snyder

Music producer and recording engineer Matthew Snyder at work in Santa Fe. (click for larger view)

The producer interviews Yuja Wang in the elegant surroundings of the temporary 'studio' in the Lensic basement.

Series producer Louise Frank, interviews pianist Yuja Wang in the "elegant" surroundings of the temporary studio she set up in a storage room in the basement of Santa Fe's Lensic Performing Arts Center where many of the concerts take place. (click for larger view)