Friday, April 28, 2017, 8 pm, Emmanuel Church, Boston
Sunday, April 30, 2017, 4 pm, Worcester Historical Museum, Worcester
Terzetto no. 9 in D Minor for two violins and cello Johann Daniel Grimm (1719-1760)
Grand Trio in D Major, op. 29 Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831)
Trio in A Major for two violins and cello “Der Nachtwächter” Johann Christian Bechler (1784-1857)
Quintet in G Major for flute, violin, two violas, and cello, op. 5, no. 3 Andreas Lidl (d. before 1789)
Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Rondo (Allegro moderato)
Suzanne Stumpf, flute; Sarah Darling, violin and viola
Jesse Irons, violin, Marcia Cassidy, viola
Daniel Ryan, cello; Michael Bahmann, fortepiano
Classical flute by Martin Wenner 2013, after A. Grenser
violins attributed to Edward Pamphilon, 1677, restored by Andrew Dipper, and by Victor LeCavalle, c. 1800
viola by T. Andreas Johnson, 1994, after P. G. Mentegazza, c. 1780
cello by an anonymous Belgian maker, c. 1700; fortepiano by Jacob Kaeser, 1992, after Walter
The Worcester concert is co-presented by the Worcester Historical Museum.
This final program of our “Musical Migrations” season explores the instrumental music that was an important part of the extraordinary musical culture of the 18th-century Moravian immigrants, who came to the United States in the mid-eighteenth century seeking religious freedom. They brought with them a wealth of scores of compositions by European composers along with their own finely wrought musical skills.
Music held a central role in the life of the 18th-century Moravian church communities and was considered not an ornament but a necessity of life. In this communal society, opportunities were given for all to learn music and to contribute to the music of the worship services according to ability. In addition to its importance in worship, music was a frequent component of daily life. The nearly universal level of musical literacy of its members is an extraordinary aspect of this society, and their level of musical participation, both in quality and quantity of the early American Moravian communities is astonishing. Soon after their founding, all Moravian communities established collegia musica, weekly gatherings dedicated to the informal performance of instrumental music. This program focuses on the repertoire performed by the Collegium Musicum of Nazareth, Pennsylvania between c. 1790 and 1813.
Johann Daniel Grimm was a pioneering composer of the Moravian church who wrote some of the earliest Moravian cantatas, helped to compile an important hymnal, and wrote many instrumental works. Although he was based at the Herrnhut community in Germany, his works were widely disseminated in America. The U. S. Moravian archives preserve several of his string trios including the Terzetto in D Minor, a work that displays beautiful, lyrical writing and clarity of form.
Ignaz Pleyel was a student of Haydn who achieved great renown during his lifetime. His music was distributed and performed throughout Europe and in early America. His opus 29 trio, published in 1795/96, was written with impressive scope, given that it was composed in the 1790s. The work was preformed by the Nazareth Collegium Musicum in 1813. The form of its Sonata Allegro first movement is extended by motivic explorations after the recapitulation. Moreover, its Rondo innovatively concludes with an entirely new melody and meter. There are also some departures from the typical roles that the three instruments carry throughout the work, including the flute sharing in an ongoing melodic dialogue with the piano in the first movement, and in the second movement where the cello is liberated from supporting the bass line to join the flute in a cantabile duet through much of the movement.
Johann Christian Bechler was born on the remote Baltic island of Oesel (now Saaremaa). He was educated in Moravian schools in Germany, ordained a minister and, in 1800 immigrated to America. Music was his favorite subject and in his memoir he stated that he “devoted every moment of time left by other duties, to the acquisition of the various branches of this charming art with the greatest delight, learning to sing, to play various stringed instruments, but more particularly the piano and the organ.” The majority of his compositions are for the Moravian liturgy, with only a few instrumental works surviving, including his brief trio titled “The Night Watchman.” This work is a series of variations on the German chorale “O Welt, ich muß dich lassen” and contains some charming pizzicato effects. It concludes with a stately harmonization of the chorale. This piece is a rare combining of the sacred and secular in a Moravian instrumental work.
Little-known today, Andreas Lidl was an acclaimed player of the viola da gamba and the baryton in his day. From 1769-1774 he was employed by Prince Nicholas at the Esterhazy court. He later immigrated to London where he spent the last decade of his life. His set of three flute quintets was written in 1780, just after his arrival there. The 1783 edition of this work, published by J. J. Hummel, made its way to the Nazareth Moravian community and became part of its Collegium Musicum repertory. Written for the unusual instrumentation of flute, violin, two violas, and cello, Lidl makes effective use of this rich palate of colors in his beautiful writing for the lower strings which are often paired with each other or with the treble instruments. There is much engaging banter and virtuosic exchange in the conversational passing of motivic material among all the instruments. Our performance is quite possibly a regional premiere.
Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G Minor was first performed in America by the Nazareth Collegium Musicum in 1806. Although in 1782 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart asserted that his music was designed to please both learned and naive listeners, the increasing complexities of his music and his flights of genius were such that it took years for audiences to catch up, tragically past the point when he could derive any career or financial benefit. His two piano quartets of 1785-86 were composed in response to a commission for three quartets by the publisher Hoffmeister, but after the G Minor quartet was issued, Hoffmeister withdrew from the venture because the public found the music too difficult. The piano quartet is a form virtually invented by Mozart. While piano trio texture essentially amounts to a piano sonata with accompaniment and interjections by violin or flute and cello, the addition of a viola adds myriad compositional possibilities for exploration. In this dark and dramatic work, Mozart takes full advantage of these varied textures, sometimes alternating the solo piano with the string trio (most powerfully in the first movement), sometimes using the piano to provide textural contributions to the unified string texture.
—Daniel Ryan and Suzanne Stumpf