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Gerald Carpenter: Music Academy Finds Its Voice

Tuesday's concert by faculty and fellows will include two vocal works — a rare treat

The second “Tuesdays at Eight” concert by the Music Academy of the West’s faculty and fellows — at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 6 in Hahn Hall — is unusual, not just in the number of fellows (students) involved or in the rather extensive use of the harpsichord, but more particularly because of the inclusion in the program of two vocal works, one of them fairly large-scaled.

While not, perhaps, entirely unprecedented, this is certainly a rare treat.

The evening will consist of an Arie con Tromba Sola by Alessandro Scarlatti (with Paul Merkelo on trumpet, Julie Davis on soprano, Linda Jones on harpsichord and Nico Abondolo on double bass); a Sonata sopr’ il Soggetto Reale by Johann Sebastian Bach (Timothy Day on flute, Jeff Thayer on piano, Nico Abondolo on double bass and Natasha Kislenko on harpsichord); the Liebeslieder-Walzer for Vocal Quartet and Piano Four-Hands, Opus 52 by Johannes Brahms (Warren Jones and John Churchwell on pianos, sopranos Andrea Trusty and Julia Dawson, mezzo-sopranos Marina Harris and Ronnita Miller, tenors Jeffrey Hill and David Heilman, bass-baritone Brandon Cedel and bass Eui Jin Kim); and the Trio in A-Minor for Clarinet,  Cello and Piano, Opus 114 by Brahms (Richie Hawley on clarinet, Alan Stepansky on cello and Jonathan Feldman on piano).

The Scarlatti title translates as “Aria with Trumpet Solo,” which is pretty self-explanatory. The Bach selection, a trio sonata from A Musical Offering, renders into literal English as “Sonata upon a Royal Subject,” which is somewhat more mystifying until we recall that the Offering itself is a collection of canons and fugues and other pieces, based on a musical theme by Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great) and dedicated to him.

The Liebeslieder-Walzer of Brahms are, of course, “Love Song Waltzes.” Written in 1870, their performance in England marked the beginning of Brahms’ great and ever growing popularity in that country. Songs written for vocal quartet and keyboard were popular in the 18th century — Joseph Haydn wrote quite a few — but became rare as the 19th century wore on.

Of the great German art-song composers, starting with Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven and finishing up with Gustav Mahler and Christian Wolf, the contributions of Robert Schumann and Brahms have been, until recently, unjustly eclipsed by popularity of the others. Now they are getting their due.

For tickets and more information about the Music Academy, click here or call 805.969.8787.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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