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The Dolci Show
Ted Rust and Viva Knight
A short program of live music played by Dolci, the oboe-piano duo of Viva Knight and Ted Rust, from their home in Los Angeles, California.
3 days ago
Dolci Show #19: Glinka
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) was the first Russian composer to earn international fame in the world of European classical music. His work reflected the early Romantic icons of his era – he admired Berlioz, Bellini and Mendelssohn. He traveled throughout Europe and visited Liszt. He studied Russian liturgical and folk melodies and incorporated them into his writing, beginning with his second opera, Ruslan and Ludmila (1842). Ruslan and Ludmila is based on an epic fairy tale by Pushkin. Set in medieval Kiev and mythical realms, it tells of the abduction of Ludmila and her rescue by her suitor Ruslan, with the aid of a gigantic talking head, a kindly wizard, and a great deal of stage magic. In Dolci’s performance the transcription of the opera score for oboe and piano is by G. Konrada. Ludmila’s Cavatina from Act 1 At Ruslan and Ludmila’s wedding feast, Ludmila tells her father she is afraid bad things are about to happen. She has no idea. A crash of thunder, a blinding flash, the stage goes dark, and when the lights come up she has vanished, abducted by the giant Chernomor. Ruslan sets off to rescue her. Dances from Act 3 In the mad sorceress Naina’s castle, captive maidens perform exotic dances to distract the knights who are searching for Ludmila. * I: Overture * II: March of Chernomor * III: Turkish Dance * IV: Arabic Dance * V: Lezginka (Georgian Dance) The Mariinsky Ballet has published a video of these dances, conducted by Valery Gergiev, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYqjQiFgn9g.
Jul 25, 2020
Dolci Show #18: Brahms Songs
At the age of 20, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) lived with Robert and Clara Schumann in Düsseldorf, helping to care for their children in return for lessons in composition. Brahms wrote “Mondnacht” in that year, using the same text as Schumann’s “Mondnacht,” from more than a decade earlier. Robert praised Brahms in his writing and influenced his own publisher to print the song, launching Brahms as a composer. After composing his fourth and last symphony in 1884, Brahms devoted the rest of his career mainly to solo piano pieces, chamber music and songs. *Mondnacht *(Moonlit Night, 1853)* * * Five Songs, op. 107 *(1886-1888) #1. To the Haughty Woman Your heart: do you even have one? #2. Salamander A bad girl throws a salamander into a fire. A cool devil, though, he thrives on hot love. #3. The Girl Speaks She speaks to a swallow, asking about her new husband. #4. Catkins Pussywillows welcome the springtime. I break one off and tuck it in my old hat. #5. Girl’s Song In the spinning shop, boys come to woo the girls. I weep because I was not chosen. *Gypsy Songs, op. 103 *(1888) #6 Three Little Roses in a Row
Jul 19, 2020
Dolci Show #17: In the Garden
*Green Grass Snake* (from Serpent Music, 1977) *Michael Kibbe (1945- ) *“A sunlit emerald shimmering to tease the eye; a parting of the grass—this ribbon passes by.” Kibbe wrote this music for a performance piece. “It was premiered in Los Angeles with the composer playing the oboe. A group of interpretive dances writhed, snakelike, across the floor around the two instrumentalists.” *The Grasshopper* (from Two Insect Pieces,1934) *Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) *At the age of 21, Benjamin Britten wrote Two Insect Pieces for his friend, the oboist Sylvia Spencer, and played it with her privately. Its first public performance was after both their deaths, in a memorial service for Spencer. *That Mockingbird* (from On Holt Avenue, 2006) *Jenni Brandon (1977- ) *“Written for the oboist Jennifer Mitchell, this piece portrays life ‘On Holt Avenue’ in Los Angeles, California as told by the composer.” Mockingbirds are garrulous, accurate mimics of other birds. They fool nobody, however, because they are way too loud and have no editor. Their nonstop recitals are strings of unrelated sound bites, like an iPod running amok. *Gardens* (1975) *Peter Schickele (1935- ) *1. Morning 2. Noon 3. Night Peter Schickele is a prolific composer, musician, author and satirist. He writes musical parodies in the persona of P.D.Q. Bach. For other compositions he uses his own name. In this piece he shows his reflective side and his skill as a musical colorist. All quotes are from the composers. Internet links to their biographies are: https://www.michaelkibbe.com https://www.britannica.com/biography/Benjamin-Britten https://jennibrandon.com https://www.schickele.com/psbio.htm
Jul 11, 2020
Dolci Show #16: The Bill Douglas Oboe Sonata
*Sonata for Oboe and Piano (2004) Bill Douglas (1944-)* * Cantabile * Tenderly * Singing, Playful Bill Douglas is a Canadian-born bassoonist, pianist and composer who now lives in Boulder, Colorado. He toured and recorded for thirty years with the classical clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and with his own jazz ensembles. Among the musicians he says influenced him are J. S. Bach, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Josquin Desprez, William Byrd, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Ali Akbar Khan. He wrote this sonata for the oboist Alan Vogel. He has written that “(his) basic philosophy of music is that it can be helpful to the world. It can evoke such positive emotions as compassion, tenderness, strength, nobility, upliftedness, and joy.” Bill Douglas provided this program note in the score: “The first and third movements follow the standard bebop jazz form: a somewhat complex theme played in unison, followed by an improvisation on the chord progression of the theme and then a return to the theme with variations. In this case, however, the ‘improvisation’ sections are completely written out. The third movement was influenced by West African rhythms.” Scores and recordings of Bill Douglas’ work, including a wonderful CD of vocal rhythm exercises, are available at https://billdouglas.cc. photo ©Lefteris Padavos 2016
Jul 4, 2020
Dolci Show #15: Daniel Baldwin's Prairie Sonata
*Sonata for Oboe and Piano (2009) Daniel Baldwin (1978-)* I. Prairie Song II. Trail of Tears III. Spirit of the Prairie Outside the White House this June 2020 Federal troops dispersed protesters who were attempting to topple an equestrian statue of President Andrew Jackson, a self-proclaimed “Indian Fighter” who signed and enforced the Indian Removal Act of 1830 under which Native Americans of the Southeastern states who would not end their tribal affiliations were forced to leave their ancestral homes and march over 1,000 miles to prairies west of the Mississippi River, with devastating loss of life along the way. Their route is still called “The Trail of Tears.” Daniel Baldwin was born in Blackwell, OK, a town built by Andrew Jackson Blackwell in the 1890s on land formerly part of the Cherokee Reservation. Baldwin’s program note: "The first movement conveys the image of a person standing in a wide open field of grass, staring off into the horizon at a spectacular sunrise. The movement is about the sheer beauty of the Great Plains. The second movement is from the perspective of the American Indians. Fear, doubt, uncertainty and sadness ... The final movement, a Native American dance, sweeps one back into the open field, gazing into the Oklahoma sunset."
Jun 27, 2020
Dolci Show #14: Cimarosa/Benjamin and Dring
*Concerto on Themes of Domenico Cimarosa Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960) *I. Introduzione II. Allegro III. Siciliana IV. Allegro giusto The Australian composer Arthur Benjamin compiled four of Domenico Cimarosa’s sonatas into this oboe concerto in 1942. Cimarosa, a Neapolitan contemporary of Mozart, was best known for his comic operas. He also wrote hundreds of witty single-movement harpsichord sonatas. But Cimarosa backed the losing side in a revolution against the monarchy of Naples. He was imprisoned and then exiled to Venice, where he died at the age of 51. *Italian Dance Madeleine Dring (1923-1977) *Madeleine Dring was an English actress, pianist and composer. She was fluent in the idioms of jazz, pop and musical theater. She received a privileged education and became a skilled classical composer as a student of Ralph Vaughan Williams. She was influenced by the work of Arthur Benjamin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Francis Poulenc. Her father, an amateur pianist, was a skilled improviser who encouraged her use of “wrong-note humour” in which she added unexpected notes to conventional chords. While still a student she met the soon-to-be-famous oboist Roger Lord to accompany him for an audition. They married, she wrote many pieces for him, and he in turn tirelessly promoted the publication and performance of her compositions after her early death.
Jun 21, 2020
Dolci Show #13: Bach's Oboe Sonata
*Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1030b **Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) * Andante — Siciliano — Presto Bach’s G-minor Sonata for Oboe and Keyboard was probably first performed in a coffee house for a weekly meeting around 1730 of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, a music society which Bach directed at the time. His score gives distinct personalities, dignified, flirtatious or childlike, to each musical line, one at a time for the oboe and two or three at once for the keyboard player. The Andante movement is a trio sonata with increasingly intricate counterpoint. The Siciliano movement is a slow dance in 6/8 meter, with elaborate ornamentation around a swaying melody. The Presto has two sections. It starts as a quick fugue ("chase") in which an opening theme chases after its imitations through a thicket of counter-melodies in different keys. The finale is a hopping dance in 12/8, a gigue in (of course) jig time. The jig has a rollicking bass near the end that might well have inspired “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic:” “If you go down in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise If you go down in the woods today, you'd better go in disguise For every bear that ever there was Will gather there for certain because Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic!” (lyrics ©Henry Hall, 1932)
Jun 14, 2020
Dolci Show #12: Satie's Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes
*3 Gymnopédies (1888) Erik Satie (1866-1925) 3 Gnossiennes (1890)* Satie attended the Paris Conservatoire, was expelled twice for ignoring musical rules, and thereafter went out of his way to offend the musical establishment. Following the motto of Charles Baudelaire that art should “épater (scandalize) les bourgeois”, the Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes refer to dances of naked men and boys as depicted in ancient Greek pottery and the murals of the Palace of Knossos in Crete. The Gnossiennes are written without bar lines to suggest a continuous flow of sound. Martha Graham, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Merce Cunningham and others choreographed dances based on this music. Satie was friendly with Debussy, Ravel, and the founders of Cubism and Dadaism. Hoping to call attention to Satie, Debussy orchestrated Gymnopédies #1 and #3, and Poulenc orchestrated Gnossienne #3. In all three arrangements an oboe plays the principal melodies. Photo by Soichi Sunami, 1927: Martha Graham Dancers performing Satie's Gnossienne. Source: Library of Congress
Jun 6, 2020
Dolci Show #11: Black Lives Matter - Andriessen's Ballade
Ballade (1953) by Hendrik Andriessen (1892-1981) This is our lament for our country and for the black lives we are losing. Ballade commemorates the experience of the Dutch people under German Fascist occupation in World War II, and by extension, all victims of Fascism everywhere. The Nazis murdered three quarters of all Dutch Jews, and hundreds of thousands of Dutch Gypsies, resistance fighters, journalists, artists and the ordinary citizens who tried to protect them. Ballade tells their story without words, first in a traditional Jewish lamentation, then in the sounds of marching troops, aircraft engines, falling bombs, and a funeral march. The Nazis were afraid of this music. They imprisoned its composer, Hendrik Andriessen, and prohibited performing his compositions. We must not tolerate the drift of our country towards Fascism, for this is where it leads. Viva Knight and Ted Rust add our voices to the worldwide protest against the state-sanctioned murder of black people in the United States of America. We say their names: * George Floyd * Manuel Ellis * Breonna Taylor * Ahmaud Arbery * Tony McDade * Dion Johnson. We deplore the loss of over 100,000 Americans, a disproportionate number of them black, due to our nation’s failure to contain the coronavirus pandemic and to tolerate peaceful protest. For white people asking what they can do about racism in America, here is a response from Light Watkins: https://youtu.be/sjhz594Am6g photo ©Christine Wu, 2020
May 30, 2020
Dolci Show #10: 20th Century Baroque - Morricone and Krenek
*Gabriel’s Oboe Ennio Morricone (1928 -)* Ennio Morricone is a prolific Italian composer of film scores and concert music. This piece is from a scene in *The Mission* (1968) in which the central character, a missionary priest, plays his Baroque oboe for a band of Indians who have captured him in the Amazonian forest. His music persuades them to spare his life. Some oboe playing can have the opposite effect. * Two Themes of Handel, opus 85a Ernst Krenek (1900-1991) *Andante -- Allegretto Ernst Krenek was an Austrian avant-garde composer of radically atonal music for the first half of his career. His work was denounced as “degenerate” by the Gestapo, forcing him to leave Austria. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1938. Following Stravinski’s lead, he adopted an elegant neoclassical style for these settings of themes by George Frideric Handel.
May 24, 2020
Dolci Show #9: Piano Treats - Scarlatti and Riley
*Domenico Scarlatti, Keyboard Sonata in E Major * *Domenico Scarlatti, Keyboard Sonata in E minor * *Terry Riley, “Simone’s Lullaby”* Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) was born in Naples. His father was Alessandro Scarlatti, who had composed a series of successful operas in Naples and Rome. Domenico studied in Rome with the most respected musicians of his time and was considered a brilliant harpsichordist. He worked as a composer/musician in the courts of the Vatican, Lisbon and then, for the rest of his life, in Madrid, where he became harpsichord teacher to the future Queen of Spain. The vast majority of his compositions, over 500 short harpsichord sonatas, were written in Madrid towards the end of his life and were little known elsewhere in Europe until the early 20th century. Terry Riley (1935- ) is an American composer whose works are performed worldwide. His piece “in C” (1964) launched what became known as the Minimalist movement. He is an acknowledged master in the…
May 15, 2020
Dolci Show #8: Schumann - A Poet’s Love
*1. *In beautiful May, when the buds opened, love opened up in my heart: when the birds all sang, I told you my desire and longing. *2. *Many flowers spring up from my tears, and a nightingale choir from my sighs: If you love me, I'll pick them all for you, and a nightingale will sing at your window. *3. *I used to love the rose, lily, dove and sun, joyfully: now I love only the little, the fine, the pure, the One: you are the source of them all. *4. *When I look in your eyes all my pain and woe fades: when I kiss your mouth I become whole: when I recline on your breast I am filled with heavenly joy: and when you say, 'I love you', I weep bitterly. *5. *I want to bathe my soul in the chalice of the lily, and the lily, ringing, will breathe a song of my beloved. The song will tremble and quiver, like the kiss of her mouth, which in a wondrous moment she gave me. *6. *In the Rhine, in the sacred stream, Cologne with its great cathedral is reflected. In it there is a face painted on…
May 10, 2020
Dolci Show #7: Albeniz and Guidobaldi
Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) composed Aragón (Fantasia) in 1886 as one of a series of piano solo pieces depicting the musical styles of the Spanish provinces. It is based on a popular traditional dance called the Jota. This version of Aragón was adapted for oboe and piano by David Walter. Alberto Guidobaldi (1967- ) is a professor at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico in San Juan. He composed this Sonatina for Oboe and Piano in 2004. It has three movements: * Allegro Moderato * Tempo Rubato * Vivo Vivo has a catchy Latin rhythm that alternates between 6/8 and 3/4 like the one Leonard Bernstein used in the song “America” for West Side Story: GIRLS I like to be in Ame-ri-ca Okay by me in Ame-ri-ca Everything free in Ame-ri-ca BERNARDO For a small fee in Ame-ri-ca . . .
May 1, 2020
Dolci Show #6: Mozart Violin Sonata #24
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) wrote his Violin Sonata in F major, KV 376, in 1781 as a showpiece for his student, the pianist and composer Josepha Barbara von Auernhammer (1758-1820). She performed its premiere in Vienna with Mozart playing the violin part, and later supervised its publication. In Dolci’s adaptation, the oboe rolls through the double and triple-stopped chords of the violin part, transposes a few notes up or down an octave to fit the oboe’s range, and trades brief passages with the piano. Other departures from Mozart’s score can only be attributed to human error. The three movements are marked: I. Allegro II. Andante III. Rondo: Allegretto grazioso
Apr 25, 2020
Dolci Show #5: Telemann
Partia #2 of Die Kleine Kammermusik by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767). It consists of a slow dance with six variations. The movements are * Siciliana * Allegro * Allegro * Allegro * Affetuoso * Presto * Tempo di menuetto
Apr 17, 2020
Dolci Show #4: Ravel and Villa-Lobos
In this episode Dolci plays: *Pavane for a Dead Princess *by Maurice Ravel* *arranged for English horn and piano by Carolyn Hove Ravel was born and educated in Paris. His Pavane for a Dead Princess began as a piano piece in 1900, and has become standard concert repertoire in myriad instrumentations. Ravel never intended it as funereal, but rather as a stately court dance honoring a long-ago Spanish princess. He once commented to the unlucky conductor of an orchestral performance that its title was “Pavane for a dead princess,” not “Dead pavane for a princess.” *Aria (Cantilena)** from Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 *by Heitor Villa-Lobos arranged for voice and piano by Burle Marx, adapted for oboe and piano Villa-Lobos, a Brazilian, composed Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 in 1938 for voice and six cellos. It has been arranged for countless instrumental and vocal combinations. The score directs the opening section to be sung on the syllable “ahh” and the closing section to be…
Apr 11, 2020
Dolci Show #3: Lyrical Pieces by Bill Douglas
Bill Douglas, Eight Easy Lyrical Pieces, Volume I. * Begin Sweet World * Lullaby * Sweet Rain * Return to Inishmore (an island in Galway Bay, Ireland) * Infant Dreams * The Hills of Glencar (in northwestern Ireland) * Morning Song * Karuna (the Buddhist concept of compassion) Bill Douglas' biography, published scores and recordings are at https://billdouglas.cc. His new solo piano album ‘Quiet Moon’ can be purchased at http://smarturl.it/QuietMoon.
Apr 4, 2020
Dolci Show No. 2: Poulenc's Oboe Sonata
Our second episode is Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano. * Élégie * Scherzo * Déploration Poulenc wrote this piece just before his death in 1963. He dedicated it to the memory of his dear friend Sergei Prokofieff.
Mar 28, 2020
Dolci Show No. 1: Albeniz, Debussy and Ravel
Live music performed by Dolci, the oboe-piano duo of Viva Knight and Ted Rust at home in Los Angeles, California. This episode features "Granada (Serenade)" by Isaac Albeniz, "Reverie" by Claude Debussy and "Piece en forme de Habanera" by Maurice Ravel.