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One of the standard works for our instrumental combination is the Trio (1944) by Czech-born composer, Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959). Martinu studied with Albert Roussel in Paris where he lived until 1940 when he fled the Nazis. Arriving in the United States, he was spurred into a long creative run by a commission from Serge Koussevitzky. The Trio is one of the compositions from that period. Known for his melodious style and use of modern counterpoint, the Trio has rich harmonies with hints of his Czech origins throughout the three movements. It's easy to see why this work has endured in the chamber music repertoire.
With the composition, In This World (2000), we embarking in a new direction with the use of voice. The song cycle for soprano/flute, cello and piano by Paul Hoffman is inspired by the best-selling novel Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman.The book presents a series of thirty dreams which Einstein might have had during the time he developed his theory of relativity, each depicting a world and its inhabitants governed by the peculiarities of their time. "The book is almost operatic in form," says Mr. Hoffman, who set text from six of the dreams for the Songs, "and the text is ripe with poetic imagery." Mr. Lightman has been delighted with the finished work and comments, "The music is beautiful and captures a quality of sadness in the book."
Flutists are forever grateful for the 20th century French composers who loved the tonal qualities of the flute and composed many solo and chamber works for it. Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937) wrote the Sonata da Camera in 1927. Titled after the Baroque era chamber sonatas, Pierné's work has three movements: a Prélude, Sarabande and Finale. Dedicated to the flutist, Louis Fleury, the slow, lyrical Sarabande has the name inscribed under the opening notes almost as if they were lyrics. As is typical of the French music of the time, the Sonata is light and airy in sound and draws on pastoral themes. A quote from Virgil in the score suggests the use of the flute and cello as individual and intertwining voices. Indeed, the Prélude and the Finale use aspects of a fugue form with a melody and countermelody intertwining and being passed among all of the instruments.
|Puisque nous nous rencontrons ici, Mopsus,
habiles tous les deux,
toi dans l'art d'aimer la flûte champêtre,
moi dans celui de chanter des vers,
que ne nous asseyons-nous à l'ombre de ces ormes et de ces coudriers qui confondent leur feuillage?
Eglogue V- Virgile
|For, Mopsus, together having gathered here,
You whose breath inspirits hollow reeds to sing,
I who transform silent word into song,
why do we not settle within
the half light of the elm and hazel,
whose leaves have intertwined?
Eclogue V - Virgil
Paul Hoffman's first composition for us is titled Ostinaughty. An ostinato is a musical phrase that is continuously repeated. According to Mr. Hoffman, Ostinaughty is several ostinati that have been very bad! Jazzy in feel, the piece starts with a flute cadenza stating the principal thematic material, characterized by two upward arpeggios played in quick, syncopated bursts. The cello joins in, playing pizzacato, only to be interrupted by the piano with the first of several ostinati (this one in 7/16 time). Listen for fun special effects played by the cello (glissandi and double stops), a quiet waltz for the middle section, a flute cadenza and a be-bop section where the flutist sings and plays simultaneously. Mr. Hoffman dedicated the work to Cindy & Walter and it was premiered in November 1996.
Flutist/soprano, Cindy Woolley has been a soloist with the MIT Chamber Orchestra and has played with the MIT Chamber Players, the Osmium Wind Quintet, the New Bedford Symphony, the North Shore Philharmonic and the International Trio. She has given several solo and chamber recitals in the Boston/Cambridge area inclduing two funded, in part, by the Council for the Arts at MIT. Ms. Woolley received her M.M. Degree from the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied with Lois Schaefer. She is currently studying voice with Jean Danton.
Cellist, Walter Halvorsen is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Paul Tobias, and studied at the New School of Music in Philadelphia, under the tutelage of Orlando Cole of the Curtis String Quartet. Mr. Halvorsen has performed with the Trillium Flute Trio, the Philadelphia Chamber Soloists and the Les Mistral Oboe Quartet. He is a former member of the Chataugua Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and a professional section coach for the Newton Symphony.
Pianist/composer, Paul Hoffman received his M.M. Degree in Piano Performance at the New England Conservatory studying with Patricia Zander. He has performed throughout the Boston area both as soloist and as chamber musician. Mr. Hoffman has earned numerous performance awards, including Third Prize in the 1992 Bartok/Kabelevsky International Piano Competition. He is currently on the piano faculty of the South Shore Conservatory in Hingham. His compositions include: Songs from 'Einstein's Dreams' for flute/soprano, cello and piano and Ostinaughty for flute, cello and piano (both written for and premiered by the Silverwood Trio); Memoires of the Roman Zoo for flute, clarinet and bassoon; several piano pieces; and a setting of the Easter Proclamation for chorus.
Alan Lightman is a novelist, essayist, physicist, and educator. Currently, he is John Burchard Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His novel Einstein's Dreams was the March 1998 selection for National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" Book Club. His novel The Diagnosis was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award in fiction, a selection of Book Sense 76, and a Barnes and Noble national college bestseller.
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