Please note: all concerts in the main series are held at Memorial Hall and the repertoire is subject to change.
Friday, August 12, 2022 – 7:30PM
Canzone – Lento
Minuetto – Presto
Allegro alla Polacca
Allegro con fuoco
Composers and Compositions
Domenico Scarlatti was born in 1685, the same year as J.S. Bach, and only lived to be 7 years older than Bach,. They were direct contemporaries, both classified as Baroque composers, and both were very prolific in their output, particularly for the keyboard, in its various forms. As such they are often lumped together more than they ought to be.
Sonata, C Minor, L.10
Scarlatti’s one-movement sonatas are recognized as cornerstones of the keyboard repertoire, a bridge between the Baroque and the galant styles of keyboard writing. The three you will hear this evening are early works which show his enthusiasm and the unique inventiveness of keyboard writing that differs from Bach’s style. These pieces explore virtuosity and keyboard writing in ways Bach never did.
Gaetano Donizetti is well-known as an opera composer, but he did write a fair amount of chamber music: 18 string quartets, some string quintets, piano trios, and an octet for winds and strings, along with several other instrumental works.
String Quartet, D major, No. 4
This D major quartet is a youthful work, written in 1818 when the composer was still studying. Four movements, well crafted if short, and the third movement, titled Minuetto Presto, is far too quick to be a dance. It is really a Scherzo in tone. The second movement deserves special note for its lyrical singing quality, and the piece as a whole is a good example of early Italian romantic style.
Alessandro Rolla was an incredible virtuoso violist, and could be called the “Paganini of the Viola”… except that he was one of Paganini’s teachers! As a composer, he was more well known for a long time due to his ballet music, but his chamber music deserves more attention.
Divertimento for in F Major for Viola and String Quartet, BI 330
This Divertimento is often played with full string orchestra accompaniment, but the quartet version is a better balance. The first movement is full of lyrical, almost operatic lines for the viola; the polacca is self-explanatory. A lovely piece that should be played more often.
Piano Quintet, Op. 3
Alessandro Longo’s Piano Quintet in E major, opus 3, came out in 1897. It shows a composer completely at ease with the piano quintet as an ensemble; which is as it should be, given the amount of playing he had done in just such a combination. The writing flows seamlessly from one voice to another, and is by turns melodic or dramatic, allowing each instrument to shine. There are hints in Longo’s style of Mendelssohn, Schumann, or even Tchaikovsky, and even a section in the Andante where the pianist sits quietly while the strings play alone.