Sweet Sounds

Saturday, October 19, 2013 | 5:00pm

Wickenden Chapel, Tabor Academy
Marion, MA

Carlo Farina: Capriccio Stravagante

Carlos de Seixas: Sinfonia in B-Flat

Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto in E Major for Violin

Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 87 in A Major

Guest Artist:

Ariadne Daskalakis, Violin | website

Dinner with the Symphony at the Kittansett Club
immediately following the concert │ more info

These four pieces show the extraordinary development of music-making that took place over a period of about one hundred years and the international breadth of it—the composers are Portuguese, German, Italian and Austrian. The style of the pieces varies considerably, but they all share an energy and sweetness of sound that makes them speak to audiences today.

Carlo Farina: Capriccio Stravagante

Carlo Farina, was one of the greatest violin virtuosos of the early 17th century. He is credited with inventing many new techniques on the violin, which he put to good use in the brilliant Capriccio stravagante. Using unusual techniques such as ponticello, col legno, and pizzicato, this brilliant and sometimes hilarious tour-de-force of programmatic music calls upon the first violin to imitate the sounds of a hurdy-gurdy, fifes and drums, trumpets, cackling hens, barking dogs, and even a cat fight!

Carlos de Seixas: Sinfonia in B-Flat

José António Carlos de Seixas (1704-1742) was a prominent Portuguese composer who composed more than 700 sonatas and numerous sacred choral works in his short lifetime. However, much of his work was destroyed when a devastating earthquake hit Lisbon in 1755. Fewer than 100 keyboard sonatas and only three orchestral works survived (among them Sinfonia in B-Flat), along with a handful of choral pieces.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto in E Major for Violin

Featuring Ariadne Daskalakis

One of two surviving Bach violin concertos, Bach's original biographer, J.N. Forkel, describes the concerto as being "full of an unconquerable joy of life, that sings in the triumph of the first and last movements." Bach was heavily influenced by the Italian concerto design: three movements, fast-slow-fast, with frequent use of the ritornello, highly reminiscent of Vivaldi (who was only a few years older than Bach).

Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 87 in A Major

Symphony No. 87 is the last of the six so-called Paris Symphonies (numbers 82 through 87), which were composed by Haydn for a large Parisian orchestra called Le Concert de la loge Olympique. Consisting of professionals and skilled amateurs, the orchestra was exceptionally large for that time, comprising 40 violins and 10 double basses. The Paris Symphonies performances were extremely popular with royalty, including Marie Antoinette.

Notes from Maestro MacKenzie

I am very excited about this concert! Ariadne is an amazing, charismatic performer. We are also doing something new here--we are inviting her to come in early and act as a coach for our string players on the performance of "early music," as that is her specialty.

Everyone is familiar with the names of Bach and Haydn, but less so Farina or Seixas. Yet in their times and places they were as famous as either Bach or Haydn. Farina’s virtuosic violin works created a rage in Germany for the violin in the second quarter of the 1600s, and his dramatic use of “special effects” and startling dissonances opened the door for later generations of composers to develop their own musical gestures for depicting such programmatic elements as the cries of birds and beast, and even the sounds of battle.

Did you know? Seixas was born in Coimbra, Portugal, then moved to Lisbon to study with the great Domenico Scarlatti. When Scarlatti got a look at some of Seixas’ work he said, “This guy shouldn’t be studying with me, I should be studying with him!” He is recognized as one of the greatest Portuguese composers.