April 29 – Bay State Winds


 

Works for Double Wind Quintet by
Gounod, Schubert, Grainger, Enescu, Piazzolla, and Bernard

and the world premiere of Jake Gunnar-Walsh’s TOWER OF THE WINDS

 

Bay State Winds is a chamber wind ensemble comprised of Massachusetts musicians dedicated to a common goal, performing works of the greatest composers at the highest level of artistry. Founded in 2015 by Artistic Director and Conductor Peter B. Lewis, BSW includes elite musicians who come from traditions of excellent music making with Harmonie Transverse, New England Conservatory Metropolitan Flute Festival Orchestra, Valley Winds, Thayer Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Wind Symphony, Massachusetts Wind Orchestra, Charles River Wind Ensemble, Cambridge Symphony, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and are former students of the Hartt School of Music, Ithaca College, UMass Amherst, Kent State University, University of Northern Colorado, as well as fellowships with the Cortona Sessions for New Music.

At the center of BSW is the sheer joy that each member has for performing music composed for the chamber wind ensemble. This allows the ensemble to approach both standard and contemporary repertoire with enthusiasm while looking forward to each opportunity to come together and share in the collaborative spirit. With the release of their first recording on Soundcloud, Bay State Winds has been able to share their love of chamber music with a wider audience and keep music for the double wind quintet alive in the wider musical landscape.

 

PROGRAM

 

Petite Symphonie (1885)

Charles Gounod: b. June 17, 1818 – d. October 18th, 1893

No. 1: Adagio et Allegretto

No. 2: Andante Cantabile

No. 3: Scherzo

No. 4: Finale

 

Most known for his compositions Faust (1859) and his Ave Maria (1853), Charles Gounod’s life as a musician nearly never came to fruition as he was on his way to joining the priesthood. However, shortly before he was to receive his holy orders he changed his mind to follow his dreams of becoming a composer. Gounod’s Petite Symphonie was written for his dear friend and flautist, Paul Taffanel, and received its premiere performance on April 30th, 1885. Some of Gounod’s most notable works include the Pontifical Anthem (1869), which later became the official anthem of the Vatican City, and Funeral March of a Marionette (1872), used as the theme song for the TV series, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”.

 

 

Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon (1932)

Percy Aldridge Grainger: b. July 8, 1882 – d. February 20, 1961

Born in Melbourne, Austrailia, Percy Grainger was well known for his piano virtuosity, strange personal habits, colorful prose, and equally unusual music – many Grainger fans recognize him as having “the supreme virtue of never being dull”.  He came to the United States at the outbreak of World War I and enlisted as an Army bandsman, becoming an American citizen in 1918.

Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon is one of Grainger’s many folk song settings. He first set it for “chorus and whistlers” in 1903 and created the band setting in 1932. The folk song comes from Scotland and first appeared in print in 1788 as The Caledonia Hunts Delight. The melody was later paired with a poem by Robert Burns in 1792, The Banks of Doon, which describes a love story around the river Doon, which flows through Ayrshire from Loch Doon in Scotland.

 

 

Divertissment, Op. 36 (1894)

Emile Bernard: b. November 28, 1843 – d. September 11, 1902

Mvt. I – Andante Sostenuto et Allegro molto moderato

Mvt. II – Allegro Vivace

Mvt. III – Andante et Allegro non Troppo

Born in Marseille, France, Emile Bernard received his musical training by studying organ at the Paris Conservatory. His Opus 36 was composed for the Societe De Musique De Chambre Pour Instruments A Vent, which was the very same ensemble which premiered Gounod’s Petite Symphonie some ten-years previous. The title “Divertissment” was used during the Romantic Era to indicate music composed for entertainment purposes. Bernard served as church organist at Notre Dame des Champs from 1885 until his death. His compositions represent some of the truest examples of music composed during the Romantic Era with his use of rich tone color, chromatic harmony, wider range of pitch, dynamics and tempo than those used in the Classic Period.

 

 

 

 

Dixtour, Op. 14 (1906)

George Enescu: b. August 19, 1881 – d. May 4, 1955

Mvt. III – Allegrement, mais pas trop vif

Born in Romania, George Enescu was a child prodigy on both violin and piano and accepted at the Vienna Conservatory at the age of seven. Given that their policy was to not accept any students under the age of fourteen, Enescu became the youngest student ever accepted at the conservatory. This remains true to this day. Upon graduation, he continued his studies at the Paris Conservatory from 1895 – 1899 honing his skills as a composer. Dixtour was composed in the first months of 1906 and received its premiere performance in Paris on June 12, 1906 by the Societe Moderne d’Instruments a Vent. To this day George Enescu is considered Romania’s most important composers with the village in which he was born, Liveni, was renamed in his honor.

 

 

 

Tower of the Winds (2018)

World Premiere – Composed for the Bay State Winds

Jake Gunnar-Walsh: b. May 24, 1993

Mvt. I –  Boreas

Mvt. II – Eurus

Mvt. III – Notos

Mvt. IV – Zephyrus

 

Much of the mythology of Ancient Greece can be seen as explanations for natural phenomena, which cannot be seen. Perhaps one of the most powerful, yet invisible forces of nature are the Greek Anemoi, or the four Wind gods: Boreas, Eurus, Notos, and Zephyrus. Each of these Anemoi is associated with a particular directional wind, season, and thus, imbued with certain individual personalities and characteristics.

 

The Tower of the Winds is a 40-foot-tall clock tower that was constructed in Athens in approximately 50 B.C. Still standing today, it is considered the oldest meteorological station in the world. Supposedly, the four Wind Gods would have met here in the Tower of the Winds and interacted, which is the concept that my piece desires to explore. Each of the four movements can be seen as representing the different qualities of each of the four Wind Gods, and the way each of the movements is connected to one another makes the work as a whole represent their interaction high atop the Tower in Athens.

 

Boreas, the North Wind, is the bringer of Winter. He is said to be temperamental, bringing harsh weather conditions and violent storms. With a biting, icy, opening in the high winds followed by a low grumble in the horns and bassoons, Boreas’ iconic temper permeates this opening movement. Boreas is often depicted as holding a conch shell, probably to represent the howling of the winter wind.

 

Eurus, the East Wind, is the bringer of Autumn. Eurus opens with a foggy Autumnal haze, and a series of freely unmetered sections, representing the gradual taming of the harsh Winter. With the least known stories remaining about him, Eurus’ second movement is a bridge between the reckless Boreas, and the more effervescent Notos.

 

Notos, the South Wind, is the bringer of Summer. He brings warm Summer rains and plentiful flowers. The third movement can be seen as a reaction to the outbursts in the first two, as the regression through the seasons from Winter to Spring becomes more apparent. Notos is described as having quick, lightly leaping feet, which can be heard in the flourishes and swells throughout Movement III.

 

 Zephyrus, the West Wind, is the bringer of Spring. Seen as the most gentle, Zephyrus is often described as a mediator between the other three Anemoi. With a vernal, grassy energy, quiet Zephyrus is a series of alternating hymns and bird calls. Each of the other three winds comes back in this fourth movement, all having their own individual “last word” before Zephyrus’s ultimate radiant peak. The piece ends with a gentle breeze, a reminder of the journey from Winter, to Autumn, to Summer, with a final prayer for Spring.

 

 

Libertango (1973); arr. Scott

Astor Piazzolla: b. March 11, 1921 – d. July 4, 1992

 

Born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Astor Piazzolla began his musical journey by studying the bandeon (a smaller version of the accordion) at the age of eight after his family relocates to New York City as a way to carry on the musical traditions of his native Argentina. Piazzolla becomes a dedicated student of the tango and composes music for a variety of ensembles for the next twenty years. During this time, he studies with prominent Arentinian composer Alberto Ginestera, but in 1949 he abandons the art of the tango and the bandeon to explore other musical possibilities. After a move to Paris to study with renowned teacher, Nadia Boulanger, he returns to the bandeon and the tango per her advice.  Piazzolla struggles to achieve his life goal of national fame as a respected composer. His frustrations multiply which manifest in rapidly hiring and firing of musicians and undulating changes in his ensembles. Finally, with his composing of Libertango in 1973 while in Italy, his goals are realized. By far, Libertango remains his most popular and well-known compositions. His music has become known worldwide for its wonderful blend of Argentinian tango and Western art music.

 

Bay State Winds

Peter Lewis – Conductor

Kristen Dye & Meridith Lord – flute/piccolo

Jeff Porzio & Nicole Goguen – oboe/English horn

Toni Brown & Sara Aremburg – clarinet

Glenn Godfrey & Laura Guilbault – bassoon

Lucy Caldwell, Cailan McClure & Virginia Bailey – French horn

 

The concert is free; all are welcome; an offering will be received to benefit the Music at Trinity series.