The choice of repertoire for our second CD seeks to highlight and represent the variety of styles the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra regularly performs throughout the year, and includes pieces performed recently during the season.
Gabriel Faure's Masques and Bergamasques, completed in 1919, was originally a "choreographic divertissement" of eight movements, from which he later extracted this four-movement suite. The overture and gavotte were written some fifty years previously, and are nostalgic of his earlier classical style. As Faure wrote in 1896 at the age of 51, "Music moves me all the more when the methods used are clear, precise, and even concise." This discipline is apparent in his own compositions, where brightness and vivacity often combine effortlessly with the thoughtful and provocative.
The six Concerti Grossi that form George Frederic Handel's Opus 3, were published in 1733. Concerto No.4 in the key of F features two oboes, two bassoons, continuo and strings. The opening Italian-style overture is grand and lively, and is followed by an elegant Andante and an energetic Allegro. The closing Minuet is reminiscent in style of his famous Water Music.
Einojuhani Rautavaara is well-known across Europe, and particularly in Finland, where he is frequently regarded as the successor to Sibelius in terms of his musical tradition. His Divertimento dates from 1953, and is one of a series of string pieces he wrote during the decade of the 1950's. Based upon Ostrobothnian folksong, it is simple and elegant, with some quirky dissonances that add to its charm and energy. The opening theme is heard again throughout all movements in various guises, providing a strong sense of unity.
Included in the works of Richard Strauss are a number of salon-type pieces for chamber orchestra, represented in this final item by a suite of rather complex, yet entertaining short movements of great variety. The work reaches a climax in the form of a spectacular culinary display, entitled "The Dinner." Every musician has the opportunity to shine in this suite scored for six violins, four violas, four cellos, two contrabasses, solo winds, piano and percussion.
I hope you enjoy this fine "menu" as a complement to our first CD.
About the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, led by Maestro Andrew Sewell, is a vibrant and thriving professional chamber orchestra dedicated to providing high-quality musical performances designed to entertain and enrich the quality of life of diverse audiences. The WCO performs nearly 30 concerts per year, including Concerts on the SquareÂ®, Masterworks, Sing-Out Messiah, Halloween, Middleton Holiday Pops, Concert in the Woods, youth concerts and concerts around Wisconsin. With a core orchestra of 34 musicians, a newly established $10 million endowment, and a new home in Overture Center for the Arts' magnificent Capitol Theater, the WCO is poised to heighten its profile as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the country. The title of this CD, Momentum, reflects the spirit within WCO during this exciting time of artistic growth and organizational success.
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's Mission
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's mission is to provide programs of the highest artistic quality for its audiences. WCO performances should entertain, inform and enrich the quality of life of diverse local and regional audiences.
Andrew Sewell, Music Director
Since becoming music director of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in 2000, Maestro Andrew Sewell "has improved the quality of [the] chamber orchestra in every aspect" (Wisconsin State Journal).
A native of New Zealand, Maestro Sewell received his music training on the violin and piano and began conducting at an early age of 16. Six years later, he made his professional opera debut with the Mercury Opera and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and he was awarded the Australian Guarantee Corporation's Young Achiever's Award in 1987, which allowed him to bring his studies abroad.
Sewell earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan and graduated with honors. His previous appointments include music director and conductor for the Mansfield Symphony (Ohio), resident conductor for the Toledo Symphony, assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony, and assistant conductor with Mercury Opera in Auckland. Currently, he is also music director of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.
As a guest conductor he has led orchestras both in the US and abroad including the Toronto, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Columbus Symphony Orchestras, Kyushu Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, National Symphony of Mexico, and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. New Zealand honored him in 1997 as the first recipient of the Aotea Performing Arts Trust's "Star" Award.
Suzanne Beia, Concertmaster
Leanne League, Assistant Concertmaster
Gerald Loughney, Principal
Nora R. Frisk, Principal
Robin Hasenpflug, Principal
Kathryn Nettleman, Principal
Mary Ann Harr
Robin Fellows, Principal
Melissa Ngan Snoza
Melissa Ngan Snoza
Naomi Bensdorf, Principal
Nancy Mackenzie, Principal
Todd Jelen, Principal
Linda Kimball, Principal
Frank Hanson, Principal
Kent Barnhart, Principal
Lana D. Wordel, Principal
With Special Thanks
The Mitby Theater and staff generously donated the use of their hall for the recording of this disc.
The piano, a Shigeru Kawai VII, Serial #2469070, was provided courtesy of Farley's House of Pianos, www.farleyspianos.com.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Faure: Masques et Bergamasques, Op. 112; Overture
2. Faure: Masques et Bergamasques, Op. 112; Menuet
3. Faure: Masques et Bergamasques, Op. 112; Gavotte
4. Faure: Masques et Bergamasques, Op. 112; Pastorale
5. Handel: Concerto Grosso, Op. 3, No. 4 in F Major; Andante-Allegr
6. Handel: Concerto Grosso, Op. 3, No. 4 in F Major; Andante
7. Handel: Concerto Grosso, Op. 3, No. 4 in F Major; Allegro
8. Handel: Concerto Grosso, Op. 3, No. 4 in F Major; Minuetto Alter
9. Rautavaara: Divertimento (1953); Allegro
10. Rautavaara: Divertimento (1953); Adagio
11. Rautavaara: Divertimento (1953); Allegretto ma energico
12. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; Overtur
13. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; Menuett
14. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; The Fen
15. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; Entranc
16. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; Lully's
17. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; Courant
18. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; Entranc
19. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; Prelude
20. R. Strauss: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60; The Din