The Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra, under the direction of John Yankee, will present its Spring Musicale on Sunday, May 21, at 3 PM at John Wesley United Methodist Church, 270 Gifford Street, Falmouth.
Members and friends of the orchestra will present a variety of short classical and contemporary chamber music works. All accomplished musicians, the performers also hold down demanding jobs in the sciences, technology, and the arts.
Violinist Kirstin Meyer, a marine biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, began studying the violin at an early age. She minored in music in college, and performed with a chamber orchestra in Bremerhaven, Germany, during the year she lived there. She recently received her Ph.D. in biology and moved to Falmouth about six months ago, where she was “delighted to find a robust chamber music community on the Cape.”
In her first performance at an FCPO Musicale, Meyer will perform the first movement of Bach’s Partita in D Minor. “It’s one of my favorite pieces because it conveys a lot of emotion in a very simple musical structure—it is composed almost entirely of 16th notes, so every note is the same length. There are many low phrases answered by a high-note response. It’s an exercise in contrasts.”
Meyer will also perform Bach’s Violin Sonata in B Minor, accompanied by Fritz Sonnichsen on harpsichord. Sonnichsen is the president of the FCPO and a scientist at Onset Computer Corp.
Violinist Carol Rizzoli and pianist Debbe Carlisle will perform Sonatina by Bohuslav Martinu, a Czech composer and violinist. “We chose this work for its playful melodies and harmonies, especially appropriate for a springtime musicale,” said Rizzoli, who is the author of several nonfiction books.
Martinu composed over 400 chamber and symphonic works. He was living in Paris when the Nazis arrived and he fled to the US, where his music was widely performed by leading orchestras.
Rizzoli will be joined by Deborah Bradley, a violinist with the Cape Symphony, who will play viola and cellist Winn Johnson, to perform Franz Schubert’s String Trio in B Flat Major. An unfinished work, the trio consists of just one movement, a joyful allegro with intricate interplay among the three instruments.
Cellist Brian Kruse and harpsichordist Sonnichsen will perform the first two movements of J.S. Bach’s D Major Gamba Sonata. The viola da gamba is a five-stringed fretted instrument used throughout the Renaissance period until around 1750, when it was generally replaced by the cello.
Kruse, a capacity planner at IBM, studied music in college and graduate school and played cello with the Alabama Symphony, but soon realized he couldn’t support his family on a musician’s salary. He became a computer programmer and put the cello down for 25 years. He began playing again eight years ago and now performs with three orchestras and several chamber groups, including the Brockton Cello Quartet.
Melanie Hayn, oboe, Lorrie Hassan, flute, Allison Heleen, clarinet, and Emma O’Neil, bassoon, will perform “Four Old Tunes,” Gordon Jacob’s 1975 arrangement of four English and Scottish folk tunes for wind quartet. The tunes include “Bobbie Shafto,” Golden Slumbers,” Tell Me, Daphne,” and “Charlie is My Darling.”
“I really enjoy Jacob’s music,” said Hayn, an ecosystem scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory who is very active in the local music community. “He is a modern composer, but his works have a lot in common with baroque and classical compositions, and they have delightful and memorable melodies. Jacob really understood how to compose to the strengths of the individual instruments, which makes it as enjoyable to play as to listen to.”
Betsey Edwards will perform “Danse des Pierrots” by Ernesto Kohler on piccolo with Sonnichsen on piano. “The piece very expressively depicts a dance between two sad-faced clowns,” said Edwards. “It is very engaging and fun to listen to—which is not always true of solo piccolo pieces,” she said. The piece was originally written for flute, but adapted for piccolo by acclaimed flutist Paula Robison.
Edwards, a psychotherapist, studied the flute from fifth grade through college. She took up the flute again about five years ago when a friend asked her to play at her husband’s funeral. Her own husband was not impressed with her playing and gave her the gift of a complete flute overhaul. “He spent so much money on the overhaul that I had to continue playing,” said Edwards, “and I am glad I did. It is a pleasure to play this piece with Fritz.”
Stephanie Weaver, pianist and director of Cape Conservatory, will play Three Preludes by George Gershwin. The preludes, examples of 20th-century American classical music as influenced by jazz, were premiered by the composer in New York in 1926.
Sarah Sadler, a vocalist and manager of the Falmouth Chorale, will sing Bach’s “Bist du bei mir,” accompanied by Weaver.
Admission is by donation and the suggested donation is $15 for adults and $5 for students.