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Concert 1 - August 4, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Program Notes
Festival Booklet
with complete notes (pdf)
J.S. Bach Partita in A minor BWV 1013 (1723) John McMurtery, flute
Johann Sebastian Bach wrote this Partita for Solo Flute while he was the Kapellmeister at the Calvinist court in C÷then, under Prince Leopold. The Prince had great enthusiasm for the arts, but Calvinist ideology forbade extravagant music as a part of religion and worship. As a result, Bach was commissioned to compose many secular works during his time there. During the 18th century, the flute saw a rapid rise in popularity among virtuosos as well as amateurs. With very little tradition of works for the flute to which Bach could refer, and with no personal experience playing the instrument, Bach was left with only his own inventiveness, and his Partita in A Minor was unprecedented for its time. Today it remains a musically and technically challenging piece for the flute. ­–Emily DePalma
Lasse Thoresen: Quietly Turning, Op. 56A (2020)
Premiere Performance
Gregory Maytan, violin

Quietly Turning take a particular type of Norwegian fiddle music (listening tunes as opposed to dancing tunes) as its point of departure. These tunes have a particular quiet, peaceful and sunny atmosphere. The timbre of the violin should be silvery, i.e. with light bowing and normally without vibrato. The tuning of the music is not tempered; it approximates just intonation. The piece uses a scordatura: the third string is tuned up a major second, forming a pure fourth with the second string and an octave with the first string. The fourth string may be tuned slightly high so as to produce a pure major sixth with the third string. The rhythm of the piece can be characterized as mildly uneven. The note values are generally chosen from the Fibonacci sequence–2:3:5:8–proportions which converge to the golden ratio. This piece is dedicated to the violinist Gregory Maytan.–– Lasse Thoresen, 2020 
Florence Price Songs: Fantasy in Purple, Hold Fast to Dreams, Songs of the Dark Virgin (1945)
Sabrina Warren, soprano; Adam Bowles, piano

Florence Beatrice Price (née Smith 1887–1953) was an American classical composer, pianist, organist and music teacher. Price is noted as the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra. Price composed numerous works: four symphonies, four concertos, as well as choral works, plus art songs, and music for chamber and solo instruments. Even though her training was steeped in European tradition, Price's music consists of mostly the American idiom and reveals her Southern roots. She wrote with a vernacular style, using sounds and ideas that fit the reality of urban society. – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Price ­
Claude Debussy: Violin Sonata (1917)
Daniel Gilbert, violin; Brian Ray, piano

Towards the end of his life – and in the full knowledge that the end was not far – Debussy planned a group of six sonatas for different instruments. He lived to complete only three, of which the Cello Sonata, the first, was written in 1915, followed by the Sonata for flute, viola, and harp, and the Violin Sonata, completed in April 1917. The Sonata is in G major and minor, the first movement firmly in minor. Neither themes, keys, nor tempos remain established for long, particularly in the middle of the movement when a certain dreaminess invades the predominantly vigorous pulse. As the conclusion approaches, the violin’s open G becomes a more magnetic tonic and the piece ends abruptly on it.The Intermède is all caprice and impulse, starting, it seems, right in the middle. There is an impish mood here, with sudden sentimental moments of ironic passion. G minor gradually gives way to a tranquil, wispy G major. The Finale (in the major) gives the piano a bravura opening to which the violin responds with the first movement’s theme, although apart from some wild figuration at the end this is its only appearance in the movement. The main impulse comes from a constant surge of notes, interrupted by a kind of drunken waltz in the middle. The final build-up surely reflects Debussy’s determination not to let his energies sag, whatever his bodily weakness. As Martin Cooper has written: “there is a certain breathlessness, an inability to rise to the old flights, as of a mortally wounded bird, which has a beauty and pathos of its own.” –www.hollywoodbowl.com/musicdb/pieces/4593/violin-sonata-in-g-minor
Ludomir Rozycki: Balladyna (1909)
Tomasz Robak, piano

Born in Warsaw, Ludomir Rozycki (1883–1953) studied with Noskowski in Warsaw and Humperdinck in Berlin and was artistically active as a composer, conductor, and pianist. Notably, Rozycki was a classmate and sometime rival of his now more famous compatriot Karol Szymanowski; together they attempted to modernize Polish music in the first decades of the twentieth century. Szymanowski eventually focused on absolute music and turned away from German models, while Ró?ycki occupied the programmatic side of music and remained a neo-Romantic through and through, highly influenced by the New German School of Liszt, Wagner, and Strauss. In addition to numerous operas and symphonic poems, Rozycki wrote the first Polish national ballet Pan Twardowski and a considerable body of interesting (if “merely” Romantic) piano music. Once incredibly popular, Rozycki's music is virtually unknown outside of Poland where it is only recently receiving renewed attention. Rozycki’s Balladyna, op. 25 is a virtuosic tone poem for piano built on several leitmotifs. The piece was composed in 1909 while Rozycki worked a double stint in Lviv as the artistic director of the city’s opera house and professor of piano at the conservatory. The music is inspired by the 1834 drama Balladyna by Polish Romantic poet Juliusz Slowacki.

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The mission of the Belvedere Chamber Music Festival is to perform masterpieces of 20th and 21st century music as well as new works by emerging composers. In addition to performances, the festival also offers educational opportunities for young composers and performers through lectures, masterclasses, and private instruction.