Performing this Week

Ida Kavafian
Ida Kavafian

Peter Wiley
Peter Wiley

Anne-Marie McDermott
Anne-Marie McDermott

Liang Wang, oboe
Liang Wang, oboe

L. P. How
L. P. How

Kathleen Brauer
Kathleen Brauer

Marji Danilow, bass
Marji Danilow, bass

Kathleen McIntosh, harpsichord
Kathleen McIntosh, harpsichord

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Summer 2010 — Week 7

Violinist Ida Kavafian figures prominently in week 7 of WFMT's radio concerts from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. First, she collaborates with oboe player Liang Wang and an ensemble of Festival musicians in a double concerto by Bach. Then she joins her colleagues in the piano quartet OPUS ONE for a performance of Dvorak's Piano Quartet #2 in E-Flat Major.

Scroll below to listen to excerpts from Kerry Frumkin and Marc Neikrug’s conversation about the program. You can also read the Festival's program notes about the Dvořák, hear members of OPUS ONE talk about their ensemble, and even prepare Ida Kavafian's recipe for Armenian Aromatic Eggplant.

In other words, welcome to the home of items rescued from the “cutting room floor,” and other related tangents found along the way to creating these radio programs.

Thanks for stopping by,
Louise Frank
Series Producer

Johann Sebastian Bach (aged 61) in a portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, Copy or second Version of his 1746 Canvas, private ownership of William H. Scheide, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Johann Sebastian Bach (aged 61) in a portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, Copy or second Version of his 1746 Canvas, private ownership of William H. Scheide, Princeton, New Jersey, USA (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)
Concerto in C Minor for Violin & Oboe, BWV 1060 (ca. 1736)

  • Allegro
  • Adagio
  • Allegro

Ida Kavafian, violin; Liang Wang, oboe; L. P. How, violin; Kathleen Brauer, violin; Steven Tenenbom, viola; Sophie Shao, cello; Marji Danilow, bass; Kathleen McIntosh, harpsichord

It was not uncommon for Bach to rework his own earlier compositions for different sets of orchestrations. Original manuscripts for the BWV1060 concerto have long been lost to the ages and they might have remained so had Bach not re-arranged it as a concerto for two harpsichords. By observing the tonal palette, as well as differences in ranges and figurations assigned to each part, modern musicologists managed to restore the C minor concerto to its original form -- for violin and oboe.

Kerry and Marc discuss Bach's violin and oboe concerto, and agree that "you could take almost any piece of Bach and make it for almost any other composition of instruments and it would sound wonderful."

 

Marc calls the collaboration of violinist Ida Kavafian and oboe player Liang Wang "a great fit" due to the combination of experience and freshness these virtuosic musicians bring to the performance.

 

BWV 1060 I Bach Concertos for two harpsichords and strings in C minor


Here's Bach's BWV 1060 in the harpsichord version.

Johann Sebastian Bach, oil on canvas by Johann Jakob Ihle, 1720; in the Bachhaus Eisenach, Germany. (Photo: The Granger Collection, New York / www.britannica.com)

Antonin Dvorak caricature by artist Ralph Steadman. The original artwork is on display in the Dvorak Room at the Bohemian National Hall in New York City. (Photo courtesy Traian Stanescu)

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 87 (1889)

  • Allegro con fuoco
  • Lento
  • Allegro moderato, grazioso
  • Finale: Allegro ma non troppo

OPUS ONE: Ida Kavafian, violin; Steven Tenenbom, viola; Peter Wiley, cello; Anne-Marie McDermott, piano

Dvořák was compulsive about dating his compositions. As he began work, he would note the date at the top of the blank page, and when he finished he wrote the date at the end of the manuscript. And so we know that he began the Piano Quartet in E-flat Major on July 10, 1889, and completed it six weeks later, on August 19. This was a very rich time in Dvořák’s life: surrounded by a large and happy family, he was composing steadily and was conducting and being honored throughout Europe. Earlier in 1889 he had seen his opera The Jacobin premiered in Prague, and a week after completing the Piano Quartet he would begin composing one of his finest works, the Symphony No. 8. The composition of the Piano Quartet went well, and on August 10 Dvořák wrote enthusiastically to his publisher: “I’ve now already finished three movements of a new piano quartet and the finale will be ready in a few days. As I expected, it came easily and the melodies just surged upon me. Thank God!”

The second of Dvořák’s two piano quartets, the E-flat Major has been much admired for its variety of moods, the deft fusion of piano and string instruments, and Dvořák’s easy modulation between surprising keys. Other critics have been less generous, and some have criticized this music for its quasi-orchestral writing and huge effects, one of them even going so far as to call this quartet “disagreeably melodramatic.” But one person’s disagreeable melodrama is another’s beauty, and for every critic who has complained about this music’s grand sweep, countless audiences have loved the quartet for just that excitement.

The opening Allegro con fuoco is aptly named, for there is plenty of fire here—at the very beginning the strings make a fierce declaration, only to be answered by the piano’s almost whimsical reply. Both these ideas will figure importantly in the development, and the yoking together of such dissimilar ideas is typical of the quartet. The viola, Dvořák’s own instrument, has the haunting second theme, and the movement fluctuates between the quietly lyrical and the dramatic.

In a similar way, the Lento is mercurial in its mood shifts. It is based on five different themes, and the cello’s wistful opening quickly gives way to a heated section introduced by the piano, which in turn is followed by sections of varied tonality and mood. The Allegro moderato, grazioso is in ABA form, but this is no minuet. The outer sections are based on a waltz rhythm, and some have heard Eastern influences here: the piano’s waltz tune sings languorously, and Dvořák soon has it tinkling in high registers in imitation of the Hungarian cimbalom. The trio dashes along agreeably on its omnipresent dotted rhythm.

The Finale: Allegro ma non troppo is the movement most often criticized for sounding too orchestral. A dramatic unison passage launches the movement on its vigorous way, and once again a lovely viola melody provides contrasts. Some of the most attractive music in the quartet comes in this movement’s quiet passages. The coda begins quietly but soon gathers force, and the quartet rushes to a knockout conclusion.

- Eric Bromberger for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

 

The Dvoraks lived at 327 East 17th Street, New York City from 1892-95. The building remained for almost a century until it was demolished to accomodate expansion of Beth Israel Hospital. For many years, this plaque declared the history of the famous composer who had lived there.
The Dvoraks lived at 327 East 17th Street, New York City from 1892-95. The building remained for almost a century until it was demolished to accomodate expansion of Beth Israel Hospital. For many years, this plaque declared the history of the famous composer who had lived there.

 

The variety of mood, pure abundance of thematic material, and exuberant musical textures in Dvorak's E-flat piano Quartet yield a nearly orchestral sound from the four instruments. Marc tells Kerry that to play this, you need four soloists who really know how to play chamber music. And with Opus One on stage for this performance, that's just what he got.

 

"OPUS ONE is a piano quartet ensemble that consists of Ida Kavafian, who is married to me, and Peter Wiley, who is not married to me, and the pianist Anne Marie McDermott … It's a joy to work with them." So says violist Steven Tenenbom.

 

"Everybody has the passion but I think our energy levels are a little bit different." Ida Kavafian reflects on the interpersonal dynamics in OPUS ONE. The key? Respect for one another.

 

Ida kvells, "I fortunate that at this point in my life that this is happening."

 

Cellist Peter Wiley has a great deal of appreciation for his life in music.

 

Peter Wiley plays a Venetian Matteo Gofriller cello, ca. 1700, known for it's dark, chocolately, resonant bass. In this clip, Peter confides the nickname the cello has had since its previous owner.

 

Vizsla puppies dancing for dinner from Opus One Vizslas


OPUS ONE the piano quartet was named after OPUS ONE the dog kennel where Ida Kavafian and Steve Tenenbom raise championship Hungarian Vizslas. (That’s Ida’s voice at the beginning, and Steve’s at the end.)

 

In between hiking in the mornings and cooking dinner for friends with fresh ingredients purchased at the Farmers Market, Ida Kavafian really knows how to enjoy her time in Santa Fe.

 

The Santa Fe Farmers' Market is open every Tuesday and Saturday, from 7am-Noon, in the Santa Fe Railyard.

The Santa Fe Farmers' Market is open every Tuesday and Saturday, from 7am-Noon, in the Santa Fe Railyard.

One of the great joys shared by many of the musicians is a love of good food, and quite often, a passion for cooking. Frequently this takes place during an informal gathering of friends. Ida Kavafian was kind enough to share her recipe for Armenian Aromatic Eggplant.

Armenian Aromatic Eggplant

  • 2 Medium Eggplant, firm, dark and not too heavy
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Small (8 Oz.) can Tomato Sauce or even better, 1/2 container of Parmalat chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Fresh Tomatoes
  • 2-3 Cloves chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons (or to taste) Balsamic Vinegar (Wine Vinegar is also fine)
  • 1 Small Container Plain Yogurt
  • Oregano to taste (just a bit)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Wash, then peel 3 strips lengthwise down the eggplant, creating a striped effect. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces and salt both sides, placing on paper towels to soak up moisture. Leave for about 45 minutes, turning over a few times, changing paper towels if needed.

While eggplant is "sweating", sauté garlic in olive oil in medium pan until lightly brown. Add fresh tomato, salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, bring to a boil and simmer for another 8 minutes or so. Add vinegar and let simmer for 1-2 minutes, just until flavors blend. Let cool.

Preheat broiler. Place eggplant slices in single layer in a large broiling pan or cookie sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Place under broiler and cook until evenly light to medium brown. Turn and broil other side. Although eggplant can be fried, I prefer broiling, since it absorbs less oil. Let cool slightly.

In a serving platter, place a single layer of eggplant, spoon yogurt on top to almost cover each individual piece, then tomato sauce to cover well. Layer until you have used up the eggplant. The top layer should be the sauce. Serve at room temperature. One of the advantages of this recipe is that it can be made long ahead of time and kept at room temperature, or even the day before and refrigerated. Be sure to let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour if that is the case. Enjoy!

This is a recipe that I learned, then modified myself, from my mother who was without a doubt the World's Greatest Cook. Although she never let me help her prepare dinner when I was a child (she always sent me to my room to practice), I stole some peeks while growing up, then tried to duplicate the delicious dishes when I went to live on my own. I would inevitably have to call her to consult with her, and we had some of my favorite conversations as a result!

- Ida Kavafian