Almost-Symphonies

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Johann Christian Bach settled in London in the early 1760′s. Eventually called John Bach, the son of Johann Sebastian dominated the English music scene for the next 20 years. During the 1770′s the Symphonie Concertante was a popular musical form. Not quite a symphony, the form gave prominent roles to 2 or more instruments. Bach’s Sinfonia Concertante in C had solo parts for flute, oboe, violin and cello.

The Sinfonietta by E J Moeran (photo) was commissioned by the BBC in 1944. It was written for a Mozart-sized orchestra. The work was also laid out in a classical form. It became a favorite of conductor Sir Thomas Beecham who gave it several performances. Many consider the Sinfonietta to be Moeran’s masterpiece.

If people know Bruce Montgomery’s music, it’s probably from his work for the “Carry On” films in Great Britain. His Concertino for String Orchestra has echoes of the English tradition of the previous fifty years, but is also tinged with a new modernism. The work was written in 1950.

We’ll hear these works on An English Pastorale Sunday morning at 9.

JC Bach – Symphonie concertante in C Major
E J Moeran – Sinfonietta
Bruce Montgomery – Concertino for String Orchestra

Bourbon Baroque

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Our Lunchtime Classics series returns August 27. Until then we’re featuring some artists who have performed on past episodes.

Bourbon Baroque, a local historically-informed performance (HIP) group, has just announced its new season. Founded in 2007 by harpsichordist John Austin Clark and baroque violinist Nicolas Fortin (photo), Bourbon Baroque: Louisville’s Period Instrument Ensemble specializes in music from the 17th and 18th centuries. Inspired by the art and culture of the House of Bourbon, Bourbon Baroque connects Louisville’s namesake, Louis XVI, through the music of his time. The ensemble often collaborates with other performance groups such as Moving Collective, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Youth Choir, and recently the Squallis Puppeteers.

Lunchtime Classics Returns: LONGLEASH Piano Trio

LONGLEASH

Lunchtime Classics returns next Wednesday (August 27th) with LONGLEASH, a piano trio based in New York. Louisville-native John Popham (LYO alum) is the cellist, along with violinist Pala Garcia and pianist Renata Rohlfing. Details here for reserving a seat and lunch.

Kentucky Opera

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Our Lunchtime Classics series returns in September. Until then, we’re featuring some artists who have performed on past episodes.

Kentucky Opera was founded in 1952 by Moritz von Bomhard. Its first productions were presented in the Columbia Auditorium until 1964 when they moved to the Brown Theatre. The company later moved some performances to Whitney Hall in the Kentucky Center for the Arts in 1984 and moved all productions there in 2000. Kentucky Opera currently presents most of its performances in the Brown Theatre.

Under Bomhard’s direction, Kentucky Opera grew to become a respected regional company. The Bomhard Theater at the Kentucky Center for the Arts is named in his honor. After 30 years of tenure, Bomhard retired in 1982.

Thomson Smillie became the company’s next General Director. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Smillie had worked for the Scottish National Opera for twelve years in addition to being the Artistic Director of the Wexford Festival of Ireland. In the United States, Smillie led the Opera Company of Boston before coming to Louisville. Smillie served 16 seasons with Kentucky Opera before leaving in 1997.

In 1998, Deborah Sandler became the third General Director of Kentucky Opera. She came to Louisville from the Opera Festival of New Jersey where she had been on staff as Executive Director since 1985 and later as General Director. During her tenure at the Opera Festival of New Jersey, the company grew under her tenure to be a major national force in American Opera.

In January 2006, David Roth was announced as the new general director of Kentucky Opera, succeeding Ms. Sandler. Roth had been with Fort Worth Opera since 2000 where he balanced the artistic and fiscal responsibilities as both Director of Production and Director of Finance.

Kentucky Opera begins its 2014-2015 season with Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven in mid-September.

Featured Album: Mozart Dedicated to Haydn

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Mozart acknowledged how difficult writing for string quartet could be when he dedicated a set to the father of the nascent genre, Joseph Haydn, saying “They are…the fruit of a long and laborious study.” Haydn had created the “string quartet” about 30 years before Mozart’s work in the genre, and others (including Ignaz Pleyel in 1784) had paid similar homage to Papa Haydn.

Our Featured Album this week is Cuarteto Casals playing three of the six quartets dedicated to Haydn, by Mozart. casals quartet cover Sample some of Cuarteto Casals’ earlier recordings of Mozart here: