The Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra, under the direction of John Yankee, will present its spring concerts on Saturday, March 30, at 4 PM, and Sunday, March 31, at 3 PM at John Wesley United Methodist Church, 270 Gifford Street, Falmouth.
The featured soloist is Brett Deubner, who will perform Concerto for Viola in D Major by Stamitz. Also on the program is Respighi’s “The Birds,” Haydn’s Symphony No. 103, and Brahms’s “Hungarian Dance No. 5.”
Brett Deubner is one of the country’s most accomplished and sought-after violists. He has released numerous CDs of both classical and contemporary music and has been praised by Gramophone for his “strong tone, especially in the thin upper register…. but it is the warmth and body of texture he draws from his instrument makes compelling listening of whatever he is playing.”
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, he has performed with over 70 orchestras in 11 countries on five continents. His commitment to extending the viola repertoire has led to collaborations with many contemporary composers, including Samuel Adler, Richard Danielpour, Lalo Schifrin, and Andrea Morricone. More than 85 works, including more than 30 viola concerti and numerous solo and chamber works for viola, have been dedicated to, and premiered by, the artist.
Deubner received the Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his “commitment to cultural and musical exchange.” He teaches at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in New York.
“Brett is a talented and exciting performer—he really puts himself into the music, and you can see this in his expression when he is playing,” said Laura Sonnichsen, violinist and vice-president of the FCPO. “He is also a delightful person to work with–cheerful and exuberant. We are thrilled that he is performing with us.”
Carl Stamitz (1745-1801) of Mannheim, Germany wrote 50 symphonies, 38 symphonies concertantes (a symphony hybrid form), and 60 concertos, of which his Viola Concerto in D, published in 1774, is one of the best known and most highly regarded. The concerto is joyful, light, and melodic, but challenging for the violist, with its abundant use of chords, pedal notes, harmonics, different tonal colors, and left-hand pizzicato. Stamitz may have written it to display his own virtuosity on the instrument.
Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) wrote “Gli Uccelli” (“The Birds”) in 1928, inspired by keyboard music from the 17th and 18th centuries. Each of the movements features different solo instruments or combinations of instruments that represent bird song or actions, such as the fluttering of wings or the scratching of feet. “It’s a lovely piece,” said Sonnichsen. “The musicians use uncommon rhythms, a variety of bowing techniques, and different dynamics to produce the bird sound effects.”
Symphony No. 103 in E flat Major (“The Drum Roll”) is the 11th of Joseph Haydn’s (1732-1809) 12 London Symphonies and his penultimate symphony, written in 1795 during his second stay in London. It is nicknamed “The Drumroll” because of the long timpani roll which begins the work.
The reviews were ecstatic: “Another new [symphony] by the fertile and enchanting Haydn was performed, which, as usual, had continual strokes of genius, both in air and harmony. The introduction excited deepest attention, the Allegro charmed, and the Andante was encored, the Minuets, especially the trio, were playful and sweet, and the last movement was equal, if not superior, to the preceding.”
The symphony has remained a favorite, from its commanding opening on timpani and low strings through its incorporation of lively Croatian folk song melodies and its vibrant finale. “It’s a dynamic and complicated piece,” said Sonnichsen. “It requires a great deal of concentration to play, but it is a great piece of music and well worth the work that the orchestra members have put into it.”
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) had a special love for Central European folk music, particularly Hungarian-style gypsy fiddling. When he was 17, Brahms heard Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi in concert, and three years later became his piano accompanist. Eventually, Brahms wrote his own set of 21 lively Hungarian dances for piano four-hands (two pianists at a single piano), which were later transcribed for orchestra and other ensembles.
No. 5 in G Minor, considered the most popular of the dances, was based on what Brahms thought was a traditional folksong, but was, in fact, a tune by Hungarian composer Béla Kéler.
Admission is by donation at the door; the suggested donation is $20 for adults and $5 for students.
For more information about the concert and other activities of the Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra, visit www.famouthchamberplayers.org, email FCPO@falmouthchamberplayers.org, or call Fritz Sonnichsen at 508-274-2632.