September 26, 2013
Weill Hall Artists-in-Residence to Debut
The Trio Ariadne will give their debut performance as Artists in Residence at Sonoma State University’s Weill Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 11 in a free concert of music by Beethoven, Muczynski and Brahms. Members of the trio are Carol McGonnell, clarinet; Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello; and Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano. They will play three chamber works composed for clarinet, cello and piano - a less-common ensemble than the standard piano trio instrumentation of violin, cello and piano.
"We wanted to bring some classics - Beethoven and Brahms - then add something that people might not have heard of with the Muczynski. That kind of programming is what our collective esthetic is about," said Roe. The neo-romantic Fantasy Trio by American composer Robert Muczynski (1929-2010) was composed in 1969.
The concert, including parking, is free. To reserve your tickets, click here.
Trio Ariadne will present a second free performance in the spring on April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Hall, to include trios by Beethoven (opus 38) and Zemlinsky.
Weill Hall at the Green Music Center is located near the intersection of Rohnert Park Expressway and Petaluma Hill Road. Enter campus from Rohnert Park Expressway and park in Lot O.
For information call (707) 664-2324.
Beethoven: Piano Trio in E-flat Op. 11
Robert Muczynski: Fantasy Trio Op. 26
Brahms: Trio in A Minor Op. 114
Trio in E-Flat, Op. 11
Allegro con brio
Tema: Pria ch'io l'impegno. Allegretto – Var. I-IX
Composed in Vienna in 1798, the op. 11 Trio is Beethoven’s fourth piano trio, a genre that usually includes violin, cello and piano. This work is actually composed for the clarinet, cello, and piano, but is also published, with little modification, in a transcription for the typical ensemble featuring the violin as the treble instrument. This work’s nickname “Gassenhauer” (popular song) alludes to the theme of the first movement which is based on a well-known operatic aria, “Pria ch’io l’impegno” from Weigl’s The Corsair. The movement is indicated to be played at a very brisk 176 beats to the minute. According to Anton Schindler (1795-1864), Beethoven’s first biographer, “When a work by Beethoven had been performed, his first question was always, ‘How were the tempi?’ Every other consideration seemed to be of secondary importance to him.” Written only six years after Mozart’s death, when Beethoven was just 27 years old, the op. 11 Trio is more a part of the Classical period than the Romantic period, albeit with the jarring and unmistakably powerful characteristics of Beethoven throughout.
— Excerpted from a blog by clarinetist Jonathan Cohler
Fantasy Trio, Op. 26 for Clarinet, Cello and Piano (1969)
Premiere: Samuel Fain, clarinet, Gordon Epperson, cello, and Muczynski, piano, University of Arizona, Tucson, March 18, 1970
Robert Muczynski (1929-2010) has been described by Fanfare as one of our country’s best composers. Indeed, his works have travelled the globe with performances in the major cities of Europe, Australia, and the Orient. His orchestral and chamber music has been featured at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Wigmore Hall in London, and many other significant venues.
Muczynski studied composition with Alexander Tcherepnin at DePaul University, Chicago during the late 1940s. His principal piano teacher during his undergraduate and graduate years at DePaul was Walter Knupfer. At age 29 Muczynski made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall, performing a program of his own compositions for piano. At this time he was head of the piano department at Loras College in Iowa.
Meanwhile, Muczynski’s compositions were beginning to attract an international following. His Sonata for Flute and Piano received the Concours International Prize in Nice, France, in 1961 and is now unanimously regarded by audiences, critics, and performers as an important addition to the flute repertoire.
Considered one of America’s most distinguished contemporary composers, Muczynski retired as Professor Emeritus from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1988 after serving as head of the composition department and composer-in-residence for 23 years. During these years he was the recipient of many honors, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 41. Other awards include two Ford Foundation fellowships and more than thirty ASCAP creative merit awards. His works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments and chorus are now familiar throughout the world. Muczynski was also honored when his Second Piano Sonata was awarded first prize at the Fifth International Piano Competition in Sydney Australia, in 1992.
Robert Muczynski passed away on May 25, 2010.
Trio in A Minor, Op. 114
The year 1891 finds the 58-year-old Johannes Brahms in a state of contented semi-retirement. With the completion of his fourth and final symphony and the Double Concerto, he had used up his imagination for large-scale works, confessing as much in a letter to a friend: In the last few years I began various things, symphonies and other works, but nothing came out quite right; it made me think I might already be too old, and decided energetically to write nothing more. I thought to myself that perhaps I had been industrious enough all my life, had achieved enough, could have a carefree old age and could now enjoy it in piece. And that made me so happy, so satisfied, so pleased, that the writing started up once again.
Brahms’ muse this time was the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld who had played in the premieres of many of Brahms’ orchestral works. A clarinetist of matchless beauty and musicality, Mühlfeld was affectionately nicknamed ‘nightingale’ by the composer. Clarinetists to this day are indebted to Mühlfeld for Brahms’ last instrumental works ¬ – the two clarinet sonatas, the quintet for clarinet and string quartet, and the clarinet trio.
The Clarinet Trio op. 114 received its premiere in Berlin in December 1891, performed by Mühlfeld with Robert Hausmann, cello, and Brahms, piano. Its compact, organized structure is rooted in Brahms’ love of classical form, while the rich harmonies and dark tone colors evoke feelings of contentment and serenity – a far cry from the fiery passion of his earlier works.
Ruth E. Wilson
Lecturer in Horn
Music Department Publicity
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928