Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Charles Ives: Pieces for Chamber Orchestra and Songs

From an early age, Charles Ives learned about musical experimentation from his father, George Ives, who was the bandmaster in Danbury, CT. His father often experimented with sound and included Charles in his experiments. For instance, his father would ask him to sing a song in one key while it was being played in a different key on the piano. A fun interactive website that demonstrates some of George Ives' musical experimentation can be found here

Charles took the musical experiences of his childhood and incorporated them into his own compositions, creating a unique (albeit oft-considered strange) musical voice. He worked predominantly as an insurance salesman and composed on the side. His efforts won him the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1947.

This album features works that are far less familiar than pieces such as "Three Places in New England," his "Variations on America" for organ, or "The Unanswered Question." It includes performances of smaller chamber works, songs for voice, and a piano sonata.  I recommend this album for when you need to feel highly uncomfortable.

Sources:
J. Peter Burkholder, et al. "Ives, Charles." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University PressWeb4 Oct. 2016.<http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/ grove/music/A2252967>.

Ives, Charles, Harold Farberman, Corinne Curry, Luise Vosgerchian, and Bentley Layton. Chamber Pieces: Songs ; Piano Sonata. Wellesley, Mass: Cambridge, 1963. Sound recording.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Antonio Vivaldi

October 3, 2016. Today's @NashLibrary vinyl is a recording of some of Antonio Vivaldi's works performed by the Austrian Tonk√ľnstler Orchestra of Vienna (now known as the Tonk√ľnstler Orchestra of Lower Austria).



Vivaldi is a master of the concerto (a work for one solo instrument and orchestra) and the concerto grosso (a work for several soloist instruments and orchestra). The selections on this album were chosen for their unorthodox use of instruments. There is a concerto grosso for two lutes, a concerto for guitar, a concerto grosso for "diverse instruments" (2 flutes, oboe, English horn, 2 trumpets, 2 violas, violin and 2 harpsichords), and a concerto grosso for two oboes and two clarinets.

The concerto grosso for two lutes is brilliant. Since most of the music on the album is in the major mode, it is a welcome, and spirited way to begin the day or to enjoy with a learned cup of tea in the afternoon.

One interesting fact is that the Concerto grosso that features two oboes and two clarinets would have been one of the first pieces ever composed that specifically called for use of the clarinet in a solo and virtuoso manner. Other composers at the time were still unwilling to accept it.


Sources:

Janet K. Page, et al. "Clarinet." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University Press.Web3 Oct. 2016. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/52768>

Michael Talbot"Vivaldi, Antonio." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University PressWeb3 Oct. 2016.<http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/40120>.

Antonia Vivaldi, Edgar Seipenbusch, Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio Vivaldi, and Antonio Vivaldi. Concerti for Lutes, Guitar, and Diverse Instruments. New York, N.Y: Musical Heritage Society, 1967. Sound recording.

About Me

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Since earning her Ph.D. in music theory and history from the University of Connecticut in 2014, Dr. Sekula has been a full-time faculty member with the department of music at USAO where she teaches the music theory curriculum and conducts the concert band. Sekula also serves as the coordinator for the department of music. She has previously earned Bachelor’s degrees in music education and flute performance from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s of Music in flute performance from George Mason University. Sekula has studied flute with Barbara Divine, Dr. Theresa Bowers, Judith Lapple, and Dr. Barbara Hopkins.