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SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2014 MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA
nov
21, 22, 23
Artists / Program Notes
J. Christopher Marshall
,
bassoon
Texas native J. Christopher Marshall,
a member of the Minnesota Orchestra
since 1999, made his debut as soloist
with the ensemble in performances of
this concert’s featured work, Dietter’s
Concerto for Two Bassoons, on a 2008
Minnesota State Tour.
Chamber music:
He played Mozart’s
Gran Partita
Serenade at Sommerfest
2014; at other Orchestra chamber
concerts he has performed works of
Beethoven, Françaix, Jolivet, Andrès,
Schubert and Villa-Lobos. He is co-artistic
director of the Colonial Chamber Series
in Edina.
Previously:
Marshall, a former member
of Florida’s New World Symphony,
has also performed with the Boston
Symphony and Pops, the Los Angeles
Philharmonic and the National
Symphony.
Of interest:
In 2009 he won a McKnight
Fellowship for Performing Musicians.
More:
minnesotaorchestra.org.
Norbert Nielubowski
, bassoon
Chicago native Norbert Nielubowski
joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1987
as second bassoon and became the
Orchestra’s contrabassoonist in 1993.
Chamber music:
He is an active
performer in the Orchestra’s Sommerfest
and MacPhail chamber music series,
is co-artistic director of the Musical
Offering and is a regular performer at the
Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd.
Previously:
He served as contrabassoon
of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra,
as well as principal bassoon of the
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Colorado
Music Festival Orchestra and
Contemporary Chamber Players at the
University of Chicago. In recent years
he has performed with the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis
Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
and Minnesota Opera Orchestra.
Educator:
He serves as adjunct faculty at
the University of Minnesota.
More:
minnesotaorchestra.org.
Giovanni Gabrieli
Born:
c. 1554-1557, Venice
Died:
August 12, 1612, Venice
Music for Double Brass Choir
hough he spent part of his career in Munich, Giovanni
Gabrieli is associated with one city— Venice—
and with one building in that city, the Basilica of
St. Mark’s. The most imposing building in Venice, it
dominates one end of St. Mark’s Square, which itself is
a longtime destination of tourists. St. Mark’s Basilica is
distinctive not just for its resonant acoustics but also for its
gallerie
, or balconies. Gabrieli, who became organist of St.
Mark’s in 1585, made full use of this unusual space in his
works composed for performance there—in fact, it might
be said that the building shaped his music.
antiphonal form
For voice, Gabrieli wrote a series of what he called
cori
spezzati
(separated choirs): groups of singers were placed
in different balconies, with the melodic line passing
from group to group. Such antiphonal writing was also
characteristic of Gabrieli’s canzone for brass.
Canzona
is
Italian for “song,” but Gabrieli annexed that term for his
instrumental compositions. In his canzone, brass players
(and other instrumentalists) were placed in the balconies,
and Gabrieli—who had available the finest performers
in Venice—wrote virtuoso music for them, characterized
by contrapuntal textures and brilliant leaps between the
different ensembles; a distinctive feature of this music is
its florid and difficult writing for trumpets.
Gabrieli based many of these pieces on the medieval
ecclesiastical modes, and the titles
duodecimi toni
and
septimi toni
indicate that these particular canzone are
in the 12th (Hypoionian) and seventh (Mixolydian)
modes. Both these canzone were first published as part
of Gabrieli’s
Sacrae symphoniae
in 1597; the Sonata No.
XIII was published posthumously in 1615 as one of his
Canzoni et Sonate
. For these performances, the brass
players of the Minnesota Orchestra are divided into
two groups and positioned opposite each other. Those
who wish may close their eyes, imagine themselves
transported back in time 400 years to St. Mark’s in Venice,
and listen to this music as Gabrieli intended it to be
heard, with the ringing sound of widely-separated brass
choirs leaping across the hall high overhead.
Instrumentation:
2 horns, 4 trumpets,
3 trombones and 2 tubas
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