Walden
Chamber
Players


 

 

May 21, 2017, 4pm

Walden Chamber Players

Founded in 1997, the Boston-based Walden Chamber Players has garnered a reputation for being one of the most exciting and versatile chamber groups performing today. In various combinations of flute, viola, cello and harp, they return to our series to perform works by Bax, Yun, Debussy, Jongen and Ravel.

Artist Website: http://www.waldenchamberplayers.org

 

Program

Marianne Gedigian, flute
Christof Huebner, viola
Ashima Scripp, cello
Charles Overton, harp

Elegiac Trio for flute, viola and harp                                      ARNOLD BAX          
                                                                                                       (1883-1953)

                                      
Duo for cello and harp                                                                ISANG YUN
                                                                                                       (1917-1995)

                                       

Concert No 5. for flute, viola and harp              JEAN-PHILLIPPE RAMEAU                                                                                                                    (1683-1764)   

 

                                                   INTERMISSION
                                   

Sonata for flute, viola and harp                                       CLAUDE DEBUSSY                               Pastorale                                                                                  (1862-1918)
      Interlude
      Final   

 

Sonata en Trio in f sharp minor op. 30,                             RAVEL / SALZEDO
for flute, cello and harp                                                              (1875 - 1937)
      Modéré
      Mouvement de menuet                               Animé                                                                                   


Program Notes

(Michael Lebovitch) 

BAX:                Elegiac Trio for flute, viola and harp (1916)

Sir Arnold Bax was a member of the British musical establishment, receiving many honors including the title of Master of the Queen’s Music (roughly the equal of Poet Laureate).  All of his life, he was strongly attracted to all things Irish, including political ideals, literature and poetry, and of course, music.  The Irish influence never left him, and he is often thought of, mistakenly so, as an Irish composer.  Among other things, he was fascinated by the Irish harp, a smaller instrument than its mainland European cousin and has its own shape, tradition and tone quality. While Bax did not use the Irish harp in his own music, he wrote nine works involving the conventional harp to convey an Irish pastoral atmosphere.

The Elegiac trio was composed in 1916.  Bax was deeply affected by the Eastern Rebellion in Ireland, a tragic event in which the British army brutally suppressed the uprising and executed its leaders.  The public outcry eventually lead to forming of the Irish Free State in 1921.  Bax poured his feelings into this single-movement work, one of deeply moving eloquence.

Isang Yun: Duo for cello and harp (1984)

Korean born Isang Yun, studied Western music in Korea and in Japan, and after World War II, in Germany.  His career was dramatically interrupted when on June 17, 1967, he and his wife were brutally abducted from West Berlin by the secret police agents of South Korea, and forced to board a plane for Seoul, where they were brought to trial for sedition. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. West Germany threatened to cut off its substantial economic aid to South Korea and 23 celebrated musicians, including Igor Stravinsky, issued a vigorous letter of protest.  As a result of this moral and economic pressure, South Korea released Yun and his wife in 1969, after nearly two years of detention. They were allowed to return to Germany as political refugees where he was able to settle down as a professor of composition.

Yun did much to encourage contemporary music in North and South Korea.  His aim as a composer was to provide synthesis of East and West, developing essential Korean ideas through Western instruments and avant-garde techniques.  He developed a system of composition based on oriental heterophony (a type of musical texture characterized by the simultaneous variation or a complex monophonic rendering of a single melodic line).  His work was influenced by his political ideals and desire for Korean unification, and by elements of Korean and Chinese culture and Taoist philosophy. His many compositions include four operas, the first two based on the work of the 12th-century Yuan dynasty poet and playwright Ma Chi Yuan.

RAMEAU:                         Concert No 5. for flute, viola and harp (1741)

The great French Baroque composer Jean-Phillipe Rameau, best-known for his solo harpsichord music, as well as for his operas, composed only one work of chamber music, the “Pieces De Clavecin En Concerts.” The “Pieces” consists of six separate works, or Concerts. Concert No. 5 was originally scored for harpsichord, violin, and viola da gamba. Rameau worked on the Pieces de Clavecin from 1737-1741, while he had already begun composing the operas that would make him famous. The work revolutionized instrumental chamber music – it gave equal roles to all three instruments. Rameau also gave the harpsichord (or harp) greater importance which in earlier ensembles tended to be limited to an accompaniment role.  Concert No. 5 works beautifully in the flute, viola and harp arrangement with each of the three instruments having solo moments as well as moments of intricate group playing.

DEBUSSY:                       Sonata for flute, viola and harp (1915)

The ensemble art form of flute, viola and harp is a 20th century creation, invented by Debussy for this very Sonata.  The Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp was the second of a projected series of “Six Sonatas for Various Instruments”.  By the time of his death in 1918, only half of the project was completed, including the Sonata for Violin and Piano and the Sonata for Cello and Piano.  He clearly was experimenting with sonorities of various instrumental combinations: his fourth sonata would have been for oboe, horn and harpsichord; the fifth for clarinet, bassoon, trumpet and piano, and, finally, in the sixth sonata would have combined instruments from all preceding works together with a double-bass.

The Sonata is a great example of Debussy’s late compositional style – leanness and clarity of sound, a close alignment with the music in France in the 18th century.  The plucking sound of the harp give a particular affinity with the harpsichord music of Couperin, as well as utilizing the minuet-like tempos in some movements.  The most remarkable feature of the entire work is the evenness of its flow, from section to section and movement to movement – Debussy clearly decided that strong contrasts were unnecessary. The Sonata closes with a brief return of the “Pastorale” and a dazzling coda.

This is a wartime composition.  As World War I raged around him, he wanted to express his intense patriotic feeling and as a contribution to the war effort. “I want to work," he wrote to his publisher, "not so much for myself but to give proof, no matter how small, that if there were 30 million Boches, they would not be able to destroy French thought, even though they tried to degrade it before annihilating it."

RAVEL / SALZEDO:   Sonata en Trio in f sharp minor op. 30, for flute, cello and harp

This is an arrangement of Ravel’s piano Sonatine composed in 1903-05 and transcribed for flute, cello and harp by the great French-born harpist Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961), who settled in the United States in 1909 to serve in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, became an influential harp teacher at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, at Juilliard, and at his own harp colony in Camden, Maine. He was a prolific producer of original music and transcriptions for the harp.  This transcription was approved by Ravel.

In the Sonatine, Ravel emphasized his desire to revive the elegance and structural clarity of late 18th century French music.  Initially, Ravel composed a one-movement work for a contest sponsored by an arts magazine. The contest was then canceled because Ravel was the only entrant and the magazine was on the verge of bankruptcy. Ravel later added two additional movements to form the current work.  The Sonatine's three short movements are marked by an austerity of textures and clarity of musical lines. The first movement, Modéré, is in a close-knit sonata form with two contrasting themes, the first presented against a murmuring accompaniment and the second, graver and structured on static chords. The movement is dominated by the interval of a descending fourth, which then appears in the two subsequent movements. The second movement, Mouvement de menuet, has the embellishments and modal inflections of an antique dance or processional. The third movement, Animé, is in perpetual motion with agitated passages and ornamented with figurations and trills.

It is fascinating to hear these two works back to back.  It will present us an opportunity to examine how these two masters approach rather identical material.

 

About the Artists

Marianne Gedigian, flute
Charles Overton, harp
Christof Huebner, viola
Ashima Scripp, cello

Founded in 1997, the Boston-based Walden Chamber Players has garnered a reputation for being one of the most exciting and versatile chamber groups performing today. Critics have hailed its performances of everything from Bach to Schoenberg, and Chamber Music America Magazine raves: “A season spent with the Walden Chamber Players is a time for discovery." The success of its performances, recordings and educational curricula has earned it a place as one of the most sought-after chamber ensembles in the United States.

Walden Chamber Players is comprised of twelve dynamic artists in various combinations of string, piano, and wind ensembles. The wide variety of instrumental groupings possible with this ensemble allows for great versatility and eclectic programming, a hallmark of the Walden Chamber Players. Members of the ensemble are versatile chamber artists and soloists who often perform at leading festivals throughout the United States and abroad. They are also sought-after teachers and lecturers and serve on the faculty of some of the country’s premier musical teaching institutions, such as the New England Conservatory of Music, University of Texas - Austin, Boston University, University of Maryland, the Boston Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School.

Walden presents a new concept of a classical concert both in content and presentation. Drawing from a rich palette of sources and styles, it mixes and matches the works of both classical and contemporary composers with an eye to new understandings and discoveries. Concerts often feature the use of multi-media and dialogue, giving the audience a broader appreciation of a certain time period and enabling the listener to make a connection between the artist, the creative process and society at-large–often mutually influencing forces–thereby creating a richer context.

The Walden Chamber Players is recognized for its strong advocacy of new music by composers such as Augusta Read Thomas, Alvin Singleton, Pierre Jalbert, Stephen Paulus, Gerhard Schedl, and Kaja Saariaho, among others. The ensemble has an ongoing commitment to commissioning, performing and recording new music. Walden Chamber Players also believes strongly in presenting unique educational curricula in a format that highlights the belief that music is the human experience translated into sound. The popularity of its educational programs has led to the development of several long-term residencies and partnerships at schools and universities across the country.

 

Marianne Gedigian, flute

Marianne Gedigian, flute, Professor of Flute and holder of the Butler Professorship in Music at The University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music, was a regular performer with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for over a decade, including several seasons as Acting Principal Flute under Seiji Ozawa. As Principal Flute with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and Acting Principal Flute with the Boston Pops, Ms. Gedigian has been heard on dozens of recordings and Evening at Pops television broadcasts as well as the nationally broadcast Fourth of July specials. She has also been heard on several John Williams’ movie scores, including Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. In the 2000 - 2001 season, Ms. Gedigian was invited by Mariss Jansons to perform as Acting Principal Flute with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Her solo performances have taken her around the world, including recitals in Japan, Australia, England, and Armenia and she has appeared as concerto soloist numerous times with the Boston Pops Orchestra and with the Armenian Philharmonic performing her own transcription of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto.  She was featured with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame in a performance at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.  Ms. Gedigian has been a featured soloist and teacher at numerous National Flute Association conventions across the country, and is a frequent recitalist and teacher for flute clubs in the United States, Australia, Japan, and England. Ms. Gedigian has been first prizewinner in the National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, and the James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition. She keeps an active schedule as a chamber musician as a founding member of the Boston-based Walden Chamber Players and was formerly a member of the Dorian Wind Quintet.  Her solo recordings include Voice of the Flute and Revolution, both with pianist Rick Rowley. Ms. Gedigian is on the summer faculty at the Brevard Music Center, and has served on the faculties of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, The Boston Conservatory, the Round Top International Institute, and the Tanglewood Music Center.  Ms. Gedigian’s teachers include Leone Buyse, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, Clement Barone, and Donna Olkowski.


Charles Overton, harp

Charles Overton is a Boston-based harpist and performer of classical, jazz and world music. He began his harp studies at the age of ten under the direction of Lynelle Ediger, where as a member of her "American Youth Harp Ensemble" he was afforded the opportunity at an early age to perform internationally in notable venues such as the Salle Gaveaux in Paris and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. In 2009 Charles went on to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy to further his musical development under the direction of Joan Raeburn Holland during which time he was a prizewinner in the Young Artist Harp Competition and was twice a finalist for the Interlochen Arts Academy Concerto Competition.

In 2012 Charles moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music, where while
continuing to study classical music under the direction of BSO principal harpist, Jessica Zhou, he also began to explore the world of jazz and other improvised musics more seriously. During his time at Berklee, he competed in the 2013 American Harp Society National Competition where he was a finalist, and became the first harp student to be admitted to the Berklee Global Jazz Institute - a prestigious and highly specialized program at the school in which students are able to learn from and work intimately with master jazz artists such as Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, and Terri-Lynn Carrington.

Over the course of his musical career, Charles has attended several summer music
festivals such as the Tanglewood Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, and the Castleton Festival where he has performed under the batons of conductors such as Stéphane Denève, Jun Markl, Stefan Asbury, and the late Lorin Maazel. Additionally he has performed with various ensembles in some of the world's greatest concert halls including Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston's Symphony Hall and the KKL Luzern Concert Hall.

Currently, Charles resides in Boston where he maintains an active performance schedule as a performer of classical, jazz and contemporary music. Recent engagements include an appearance at Scullers Jazz Club with his jazz ensemble: the Charles Overton Group, regular performances with the Boston Philharmonic, an appearance as a featured artist at the Dutch Harp Festival in concert with the Dutch National Youth Jazz Orchestra, as well as a performance tour of Spain performing Ginastera's Harp Concerto with Benjamin Zander's Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

 

Christof Huebner, viola

Christof Huebner, viola, Artistic Director Emeritus of the Walden Chamber Players and a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra was born in Vienna, where he attended the Vienna Conservatory and subsequently the Wiener Musikhochschule. Mr. Huebner studied with Hatto Beyerle, violist of the Alban Berg Quartet, and was the recipient of a grant by the Alban Berg Foundation. Continuing his studies with Michael Tree at the Saint Louis Conservatory as a Fulbright Scholar, he received his artist diploma. Before coming to the US, he played with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. He is a frequent performer at music festivals such as Marlboro Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Salzburg Festival, Wiener Festwochen and he is on the faculty of the Foulger International Music Festival. Mr. Huebner has performed with members of the Guarneri Quartet, Alban Berg Quartet and the Boston Chamber Music Society. He has appeared as a guest artist with the American String Quartet and the New World String Quartet and frequently tours with Musicians from Marlboro. He has recorded for BMG/Harmonia Mundi, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Koch International and Nonesuch Recording Co. Mr. Huebner is also the former Director of Chamber Music for the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center at Wellesley College. H is currently a member of the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra and has performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Concert Royal and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra of Canada. Christof Huebner is a founding member of the Walden Chamber Players.


Ashima Scripp, cello

Cellist Ashima Scripp has toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician. She has appeared at New York's Carnegie Hall, Tokyo’s Opera City, Boston's Symphony Hall, Chicago's Symphony Center and Boston's Jordan Hall. Ms. Scripp’s performances have been described as “expressive and nuanced” and she is considered one of the nation’s most versatile chamber artists. She has been invited to perform live on Los Angeles' KMozart, Boston's WGBH, Chicago’s WFMT and Texas Public Radio and given recitals at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, the Fazioli Salon Series in Chicago and at Highfield Hall.

A dedicated and sought-after chamber music collaborator, Ms. Scripp has performed hundreds of works from Bach to Schoenberg for audiences around the country and been invited to perform as part of the New Hampshire, North Country Chamber Players, VentiCordi, Hot Springs and Kneisel Hall chamber music festivals. In 2004 she was invited to join the critically acclaimed Walden Chamber Players, and became the ensemble’s Artistic Director in 2012. With Walden Ms. Scripp performs a variety of classical and contemporary works on chamber music series nationwide. Walden is also well known for their work in chamber music education and Ms. Scripp has been central to the creation of many of the ensemble’s successful chamber music residency programs.

Ms. Scripp has served on the cello and chamber music faculty of the Longy School of Music and Concord Academy as well as the Killington Music Festival, the Chamber Music Conference and Composer’s Forum of the East, and the International Summer Music Academy in Regensberg, Germany. Passionate about creating unique learning opportunities for musicians of all ages she is the co-founder of the “Cellobration Festival” in Cambridge, MA, now in its 5th year and “Music at the Lake”, a workshop for amateur adult cellists in Meredith, NH. She has also been invited to give master classes at the Killington Music Festival, the University of Idaho, Longy School of Music and Bowdoin College.

Ms. Scripp has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships including a Presidential Scholarship, an Ekenstein Fund Grant, the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Scholarship, the Mittenthal Scholarship and the Eleanor Thaviu String Scholarship. Ms. Scripp received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music as a student of Alan Stepansky and her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University as a student of Hans Jensen.