This Spring, Philomusica presents:
 

40th Anniversary Concert
Philomusica
Celebrates Love


Daniel Pinkham’s Wedding Cantata, Morten Lauridsen’s Mid-Winter Songs,
Johannes Brahms,’ Liebeslieder Waltzes with 4-hand piano and more
Saturday, May 16, 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 17, 4 p.m.


Performances at Our Lady of Peace Church, 277 Washington Place, North Brunswick, NJ 08902
Click Here for Map and Directions


Pre-concert tickets $16 General/$14 Seniors & Students/$7 Children under 13
Tickets $2 additional at the door
Call 888.744.5668 or email info@philomusica.org


Celebrating Philomusica’s 40th Anniversary Season
Philomusica Spring Concert

40th Anniversary Concert
Philomusica
Celebrates Love

May 16, 8pm • May 17, 4pm

SACRED

I From “Canticum Canticorum”                                    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
     Quam pulchri sunt
     Duo ubera tua

II Wedding Cantata                                                        Daniel Pinkham
     Rise Up, My Love
     Many Waters
     Awake, O North Wind
     Epilogue: Set Me as a Seal
        Piano: Shea Velloso


SECULAR

III English Madrigals
     Have I Found Her?                                                 Francis Pilkington
     April is in my Mistress’ Face                                    Thomas Morley
     Shoot, False Love, I Care Not                                  Thomas Morley

IV Mid-Winter Songs                                                    Morten Lauridsen
     Lament for Pasiphae
     Like Snow
     She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep
     Mid-Winter Waking
     Intercession in Late October
        Piano: Shea Velloso

                                        INTERMISSION

V Liebeslieder Walzer op, 52                                        Johannes Brahms
        Piano: Shea Velloso and Brenda Day

 


Program Notes • May 2009

       I once saw a plaque which read, “Music is Love in search of a Word”. The word “amateur” comes from the Latin “amare”, which means “to love”. Two statements which sum up very well, why those of us in Philomusica spend so much time and effort to do what we do. And in this particular concert, we present to you both words and music about love, from the sacred to the secular, from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century.
       For reflections on love from the sacred perspective, Philomusica presents music of two composers separated by 400 years, but connected by the same poetic source: “The Song of Songs” (also known as “The Song of Solomon”, or in Latin “Canticum Canticorum”). Palestrina (1525-1594) issued his collection of twenty-nine motets from “The Song of Songs” in 1584 and dedicated this collection to Pope Gregory XIII. In the preface to this collection Palestrina writes, “There exist all too many poems on the theme of love far removed from the Christian faith … I have chosen “The Song of Solomon”, which expresses the divine love of Christ for his spiritual bride”; “bride” meaning the Church, the individual soul, even the Blessed Virgin Mary. The entire poem uses descriptions of courtship and marriage customs of the anonymous author’s time to portray ideal spiritual love. To set these Latin texts, Palestrina uses a typical Renaissance compositional technique known as “point of imitation”, in which each new phrase of text is set to it’s own musical subject and is then imitated in the other voice parts. Each new “point of imitation” and text phrase begins as the preceding one ends, so we hear some overlap of different words and music.
       Also using texts (in English translations) from “The Song of Songs”, the American composer Daniel Pinkham (1923-2006) wrote his “Wedding Cantata” as a present for the 1956 wedding of two friends. Through its meter, the first movement sets the text “Rise up, my love … the winter is past…” to a calm, reassuring feeling of being rocked. Movement two is a canon in unison for all voice parts. The bouncy, skipping third movement calls upon the North Wind to,”Awake”. The piece closes with a serenely beautiful slow movement.
       For some secular points of view on love, we return to the Renaissance for three English Madrigals. The madrigal was originally an Italian art form, which became popular in many European countries, including England. The three madrigals for this concert were chosen, because when we follow the texts consecutively, they seem to sum up a love affair that didn’t last. We go from having FOUND THE RIGHT ONE! (“Have I Found Her?”), to realizing in the second piece that physical beauty (“April is in my Mistress Face”) is not everything (“…in her heart, a cold December”), to finally putting away the initial object of affection (“Shoot, false love, I care not … for thou hast lost thy glory.”), all in about eight minutes!
       To close the first half of our concert, Philomusica presents Morten Lauridsen’s (b. 1943) “Mid-Winter Songs”. They were composed in 1980 to diverse poems by Robert Graves. The composer has written,” I became very much taken with the richness, elegance and extraordinary beauty of his poetry and his insights regarding the human experience.” Lauridsen chose poems inspired by Graves’ mistress and muse, Laura Riding, and also by his second wife, Beryl. The opening, dramatic fanfare for voices and piano acts as bookends for the entire cycle, appearing three times in the first movement and occurring finally in the solo piano in the last movement. The second movement is a scherzo, which uses winter as a way to describe the poet’s romantic life with Laura Riding. The third movement, which Lauridsen describes as filled with, “tenderness and warmth”, is a testimony to the poet’s second wife. Movement four is another scherzo that describes the poet’s joy at the rebirth of his inspiration, which is compared to the first thaw that predicts the end of winter. The last movement is a quiet prayer, filled with reluctance to return to the coldness of winter and the heart. An extended piano solo recapitulates many of the cycle’s musical themes before the last repetition of the prayer, “spare him”.
       As befitting a concert comprised of music about love, the second half of this concert consists of selections from the Romantic period. At that time, music-making in the home and singing in groups both large and small were valued much more than today, with our emphasis on recorded music. Simrock, the publisher of the op. 37 Waltzes for piano duet by the German composer, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), was so pleased with their success that the publisher encouraged Brahms to write more pieces in a similar vein. One of the results of this encouragement was the set of “Liebeslieder Walzer” (Lovesong Waltzes) op. 52 for four voices and piano-duet accompaniment. As his inspiration, Brahms used poems of Georg Friedrich Daumer from the collection entitled “Polydora”, which are free adaptations of Russian, Hungarian and Polish texts. The “Liebeslieder Walzer” are basically a dialogue in three-quarter time between the sexes, which are generally meant to be light-hearted and fun. They were composed in 1869 and were so successful that Brahms composed a second set a few years later, known as “Neue Liebeslieder”.


Past Performances:

Christmas through the Ages - Fall 2008
Celebrating Inspiration - Spring 2008
Awake, Awake - Fall 2007
Sounds of Devotion - Spring 2006
Echoes of Mystery and Joy - Fall 2006

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