Notes

 

About the album

Dancing has always been a natural human response to music. And with their specific traits, dances are important symbols of identity and culture. Composers have long stylized these dances to bring not only the idiosyncrasies of far away lands without leaving the concert hall. Some of them represent our very own land, while some represent foreign landscapes and languages. All of the composers on this album have written dances in their very own styles, and while they are very different from each other, they are effective in communicating cultures and experiences, old and new, far and near.

 

Thanks to everyone who has supported the Lowell Chamber Orchestra since before its inception: the donors, performers, composers, partners, and everyone who helped us get off the ground and help us to keep going. Thanks to Em Russell for the hard work she does behind the scenes. Thanks to you for listening, and for going beyond these tracks and hearing more music by our two wonderful living composers, featured here. And finally, and most importantly, thanks to my parents for all the support that they have always given me through my musical life. This album is dedicated to the memory of Angel Cardiel whose love for music was inevitably contagious.

 

 

Georg Philipp Telemann

Overture Suite in e minor, TWV 55:e10

Today, there are 135 known overture-suites written by Georg Philipp Telemann. According to scholars, these represent only a fraction of the ones he wrote. Not surprising for the composer who holds the Guinness World Record of most pieces written! Many times, the works were repurposed, like the Overture-Suite in this album, which can be played on the oboe as well as flute, but seems to have been intended for recorder. Nevertheless, all of them show Telemann’s undeniable genius and creativity. This suite, in the key of E minor, starts with an E major chord, which then resolves into A minor, and from there, modulates to the key we expect from the title—a very unusual trait that we won’t see until the beginning of Beethoven’s First Symphony. Telemann chose French dances for this suite, as evidenced by the inclusion of a “carillon” in this composition—probably inspired from his time in Paris in the 1730s.

 

 

 

Johann Sebastian Bach

Orchestral Suite No. 2 in b minor, BWV 1067

Nobody knows for sure when the four Orchestral Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach were written, but scholars agree that it would have been during the time that Bach was directing Leipzig’s Collegium Musicum. Some might have been written earlier in the city of Cöthen, while others were written almost ten years after Bach began his post with the Collegium. The Orchestral Suite No. 2 has the least orchestration of the others, and it seems to be a patchwork of other works written for other instruments—there are parts that were possibly written for violin, in A minor—and newer works. The “Polonaise” could be an homage to Augustus II, King of Poland, who gave Bach an honorary kapellmeister position.

 

 

 

 

José Elizondo

Recuerdos Estivos (Summer Memories)

The pieces in this suite were written for three extraordinary musicians who have been very important in my life: Carlos Prieto, Sefika Kutluer, and Orlando Cela. They have been an inspiration because of their artistic excellence. They have encouraged me to go beyond what I believed was possible and they have asked me to create new music that helped me grow as a composer. It is a privilege to be their friend. Writing the orchestra version of these compositions was also an opportunity to work together with another great musician that has also been a key figure in my life—maestro Wayne Toews—as an inspiration, a mentor and one of my closest friends. The advice of maestros Toews and Cela was invaluable during various phases of the creative process that resulted in the orchestra version of these compositions. I’m deeply grateful to them.

 

I. Limoncello is a light-hearted composition that was inspired by the beauty of a simple sunny moment that warms up our hearts and makes us smile. This piece is very lyrical, light, sweet, and playful, as the reference in the title to the Italian liquor of the same name indicates. The composer’s love for the cello is another reason for the title. This piece was written for and dedicated to Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto. The composer created a special version of this piece for Orlando Cela and the Lowell Chamber Orchestra.

 

II. Crepúsculos Alpinos (Alpine Twilight) draws inspiration from the feeling of peace and serenity that is experienced when observing the beautiful type of twilight called Alpenglow. Alpenglow is an optical phenomenon that can typically be experienced in the summit of high mountains and consists of pinkish, reddish, violet light. This piece is very sweet but a little bit melancholic. The piano plays a “moto perpetuo” for most of the piece that sometimes includes references to the Gregorian Chant Dies Irae to signify life, death and the inexorable passing of time. The ethereal melodic line of the flute floats above the texture created by the piano and the orchestra, like a bird that gently flies over a river following its course. The character of this melody is warm and uplifting to signify optimism and hope in spite of life’s ups and downs. The strings play various roles throughout the piece: sometimes they support the melodies of the flute while providing textural interest, sometimes they join the perpetual motion of the piano complementing its sense of flow, like a light breeze or gentle waves in a river, and sometimes they present a warm and lush countermelody to the piano’s Dies Irae. This piece was written for and dedicated to Şefika Kutluer, and the version featured in this recording was transcribed specially by the composer for Orlando Cela and the Lowell Chamber Orchestra.

 

III. Despapaye is a very playful and colorful word used in Mexican Spanish to refer to something that is a bit messy but in a fun and endearing sort of way. This composition is intended to be lighthearted and fun. With this piece, the composer wanted to celebrate the virtuosic performances and the wonderful sense of humor of maestro Orlando Cela, to whom this piece is dedicated. The composer took elements from an earlier work, his Baroque Dance #2, and transformed it into a new composition that begins as what seems to be a simple and straight-forward Baroque piece for flute, string orchestra, and piano. However, after the first theme is presented, the piece introduces some slightly less standardly-Baroque elements (seemingly out-of-place glissandos, pizzicatos, etc) that announce the introduction of Latin elements into the mix. Gradually, this piece transforms itself into a playful and joyful blend of Baroque music with Latin American salsa music. — José Elizondo

 

The composer would like to acknowledge and thank Orlando Cela, Wayne Toews, and Şefika Kutluer for their valuable advice that made the creation of the orchestra version of these compositions possible.

 

 

Anthony R. Green

The Green Double: a historical dance suite

Drawing on Black history, Massachusetts history, and western classical music history, The Green Double: a historical dance suite is a musical expression of my love of history, culture, flute music, and dancing. The first two movements are re-workings of pieces commissioned by Castle of our Skins and Celebrity Series Boston. Protest Dancing is inspired by Octavius Valentine Catto (1839 – 1871), an educator, intellectual, and civil rights activist. Having participated in protests myself, I was pleasantly surprised and comforted by the sense of community and the impromptu dancing that occurs ... at least in the protests in which I was involved. I imagined Catto dancing in the midst of his activism, and used contemporary and historical musical vernaculars to draw together his world and mine. Dance Reflections is inspired by Phillis Wheatley (1753 – 1784), Harriet Jacobs (1813 – 1897), and Mum Bett (c. 1742 – 1829). All three of these women have connections to Massachusetts; Wheatley was purchased in Boston, Jacobs escaped enslavement in North Carolina and eventually reached Cambridge, and Mum Bett sued for her freedom in Sheffield. While this slow movement does not necessarily immediately invoke dance, it is a reflection of the trials and the successes of these three women, and how they must have danced when they all became free and completed incredible feats: Wheatley was the first Black woman to have a book published in history, Jacobs survived for 7 years in her mother’s garret before connecting with William Lloyd Garrison and writing for The Liberator, and Mum Bett was the first enslaved Black person to sue for freedom and win! And lastly, A Little Lite Music is a musical expression of my love of flute music through nerdy quotation and a dance atmosphere. The musical environment is partly inspired by early hip-hop and classic gospel rhythms, and the flute (and non-flute) pieces that are quoted are all works that—in some way or another—have shaped my musical and social development. When I composed this work, I tried to imagine a double flute concerto that Quantz would compose if he were alive today ... and were a Black man. ­— Anthony R. Green

 

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