This preview has been provided by the Mallarmé Chamber Players.
The Mallarmé Chamber Players are presenting a concert on Sunday, March 2, at 3:00 pm at the Reynolds Industries Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke’s West Campus. The concert, Curious Commissions, features three works of music all relating in some way to unusual commissioning circumstances. The concert is a collaboration of three North Carolina arts organizations: Mallarmé, Helen Simoneau Danse and the Choral Society of Durham.
J.S. Bach’s glorious G major Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord provides an interesting backdrop for a modern pas de deux. Helen Simoneau, dancer and choreographer, and Suzanne Rousso, the artistic director of Mallarmé, decided to collaborate to create a work of modern dance to the Bach sonata. They were both interested in the juxtaposition of 17th century music with contemporary dance, and playing with the contrast of the two genres was a choreographic challenge Simoneau was excited to undertake. The resulting commission is a duo danced by Ariel Freedman and Burr Johnson with music performed by Jacqueline Carrasco on violin and Elaine Funaro on harpsichord. The new piece will also be performed by Helen Simoneau Danse on their annual production in Winston-Salem at the Hanesbrand Theater, February 27 and 28.
Manuel de Falla wrote his Harpsichord Concerto for Wanda Landowska, the pioneering Polish-French harpsichordist who had been urging her composer contemporaries to write new music for the instrument. Landowska gave the première conducted by de Falla in Barcelona in November of 1926. This première was apparently under-rehearsed (the piece is quite difficult) with musical parts that had many copying mistakes in them. Consequently, the première was not well-received, and Landowska declined further performance of this work dedicated to her. A troubled première was perhaps to be expected, for at the time, this was unusual, radical music which really was not a concerto at all, but a work of chamber music in the form of a sextet. Harpsichordist Elaine Funaro will perform this edgy work on March 2nd with flutist Carla Copeland-Burns, oboist Bo Newsome, clarinetist Kevin Streich, violinist Jacqueline Carrasco and cellist Marc Moskovitz.
The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore, or the Three Sundays of a Poet was commissioned in 1958 by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation and calls for chorus, dancers and nine instrumentalists. Gian Carlo Menotti set a libretto, translated into English from Latin by W. H. White, about the medieval supernatural bestiary and called the work a “madrigal fable.” The text focuses on a well-to-do but eccentric man in a castle and presents his life in three stages: youth, middle age and old age. Three unusual pets symbolize these stages—a unicorn, a gorgon and a manticore. The structure of the work consists of a prologue and 12 madrigals which tell the story. They are sung (most of them a cappella) by a small SATB chorus and are interspersed with six musical interludes. The work is orchestrated for a chamber ensemble consisting of flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, cello, double bass, harp, and percussion. This work stands alone as a musical presentation, which is how Mallarmé and the Choral Society of Durham will present it on March 2nd.
Sunday, March 2, 3:00 pm | Curious Commissions
Reynolds Industries Theater, Bryan Center, Duke University West Campus, Durham
$20 in advance | $25 at the door | $5 students
Tickets available at the door and from the Duke University Box Office
tickets.duke.edu | 919/684-4444
MALLARMÉ CHAMBER PLAYERS 30TH SEASON – Co-produced by George Chandler
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS
The Choral Society of Durham has a long-standing reputation for excellence in performing great choral literature with professional orchestra and regionally and nationally known soloists. Rodney Wynkoop has served as the organization’s conductor and artistic director since 1986
With an adventurous and varied repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century, the Choral Society has attracted enthusiastic audiences since 1949.
The Choral Society typically does three performances per season. Christmas concerts feature classical works for the season and arrangements of traditional carols. The spring concerts and our collaborations with the North Carolina Symphony, Duke Chapel Choir, and Duke Chorale have featured such choral masterworks as the Requiem masses of Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Berlioz, Britten and Fauré, Bach’s B-minor Mass and St. Matthew Passion, Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem and Philip Glass’s Itaipú.
The 32-voice chamber choir, drawn from Choral Society members, also performs annually, is often featured in Choral Society concerts and makes guest appearances in the community. choral-society.org
Based in both North Carolina and New York City, Helen Simoneau Danse is committed to presenting innovative dance works by choreographer and founder Helen Simoneau. In addition to an annual company season in Winston-Salem, Simoneau’s works have been presented in Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Italy and Switzerland and have toured throughout Germany, Asia and the United States. As a dance maker, she is interested in the intricacies of human relationships and explores the ways we, as individuals, interact and relate to the larger group. Her work has been described as vibrant, intricate and “a treat of choreographic craft and imagery.” For more information, visit the company’s website: helensimoneau.com
The Mallarmé Chamber Players are a flexible ensemble of professional musicians based in Durham, North Carolina, whose mission is to enrich the lives of their community through outstanding chamber music. The ensemble distinguishes itself by its innovative educational programs, its commitment to creative collaboration with other organizations, its creation of significant new work and its dedication to serve a diverse population.
Mallarmé annually presents a series of five concerts that features great, diverse, and multidisciplinary chamber music. Mallarmé performs everything from Bach with period instruments to brand new works. In this past year alone, Mallarmé has presented two world premières by composers Gwyneth Walker and Katrina Wreede. In 2010, Mallarmé released a CD on Albany/Videmus records of chamber music by African American composers to great acclaim.
Mallarmé is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization. The 2013-14 concert season is made possible in part by grants from the Durham Arts Council’s Annual Arts Fund, the North Carolina Arts Council and Target. mallarmemusic.org