Performing this Week
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Summer 2010 — Week 2
You could say our second 2010 broadcast from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is all about the idea of Songs Without Words, or how different composers express feelings, experience, patriotism, or even animals through music. Beginning with Anne Marie McDermott's performance of "Spinning Song" from Mendelssohn's beloved cycle Songs Without Words, the program also includes Janáček's Concertino, in which the composer recalls some adventures of his boyhood, and Dvořák's celebration of Czech dance music, the String Sextet in A Major.
Scroll below to explore excerpts from Kerry Frumkin and Marc Neikrug's conversation about this week's program, as well as remarks from some of the musicians about their experience at this Festival and the music they play here. And in case you're wondering what some of the artists like to do when they're not rehearsing or playing concerts, here's an example: Benny Kim has shared his favorite recipe for roast chicken...
So, welcome to the home of items rescued from the "cutting room floor," and many other related tangents found along the way to creating the radio programs. These pages will be updated each week, so I hope you'll come back again.
Thanks for stopping by,
"Spinning Song" Op. 67, No. 4 (1845)
Anne-Marie McDermott, piano
"Music begins where words end..." So declared Goethe, linchpin of the German Romantic literary movement. Felix Mendelssohn took the concept to heart in his cycle, Songs without Words, eloquently summing up the idea behind these works when he wrote, "People usually complain that music is so ambiguous; that they are doubtful as to what they should think when they hear it, whereas everyone understands words. For me, it is just the reverse... Words seem to me so ambiguous, so indefinite, so open to misunderstanding in comparison with real music which fills one's soul with a thousand better things than words."
William Preucil, violin; Benny Kim, violin; Ida Kavafian, viola; Todd Levy, clarinet; Theodore Soluri, bassoon; Julie Landsman, horn; Anne-Marie McDermott, piano
According to Leos Janáček, his Concertino is an intimate expression of reminiscences of his own youth.
It was in the spring, when we once blocked the entrance of a hedge-hog's house in a linden tree. The hedge-hog had lined its nest softly in that old tree. It was beside itself with anger! It just could not understand it... Should the hedge-hog stand on its hind-legs and burst into an elegy? No sooner had he put his snout out, than he had to roll up again [first movement (prelude), 4/4, 6/4: piano/horn]. The squirrel chattered away, as it jumped from the top of one tree to another. Later, it moaned in a cage like my clarinet, but turned around and danced to amuse the children [second movement (scherzo) 6/8, 2/4, 6/16: piano E flat clarinet]. The wide-open eyes of little owls and big owls stared insolently out from the strings of the piano, as did those of the remaining critical night-folk [third movement, 4/4]. In the fourth movement [2/4, 5/8] everything seems like the penny that one quarrels about in fairy-tales. And the piano? Someone must, surely, be in command. I believe that every movement has three motifs.
Here's another example of music being inspired by something non-musical. In this case, Marc tells Kerry that Janáček's Concertino recalls youth from the perspective of someone looking back on younger days in a charming and complex way.
Janáček's Concertino expresses some unusual programmatic stories, for example, the second movement is about a hedgehog which is being trapped by Janáček and some friends of his. And Marc wonders, what exactly does a hedgehog sound like?
String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48 (1878)
William Preucil, violin; Benny Kim, violin; Steven Tenenbom, viola; Ida Kavafian, viola; Eric Kim, cello; Timothy Eddy, cello
Benny Kim's Roast Chicken
Wash the entire bird. Pat it dry. Pull all the innards out. Pat seasoning salt around the outside and inside. Add some thyme, lemon, pepper, garlic, onions, and "whatever you want to put in it – just stuff that puppy." Cook the bird in a hot oven at "like 400 for...maybe half an hour and then finish it at like 500 for the last 10 minutes. So that skin gets super crispy and most of the fat is rendered so you don't blow the oven apart. And then what you get is just incredibly moist bird with incredibly crisp skin."
Ida Kavafian and her husband Steve Tenenbom have a kennel named OPUS ONE where they raise beautiful, spirited, Hungarian Vizslas. Ida writes, "the photo is of me with my big Vizsla star Billie (as in Billie Holiday), who was the #1 Vizsla in the entire country in 2003 and the National Champion in 2007." Billie also won Best of Opposite Sex at the 2002 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival enjoys a great reputation. As long time Artistic Director of Music from Angel Fire in northern New Mexico Ida appreciates what it takes to program a festival, and how tricky it can be "to put people in the right repertoire so that they can shine."