The Division of Fine and Performing Arts
In memory of Paul Antoon,
long-time RMCO hornist
Homewood Public Library
Sunday afternoon, 3:00 pm
November 24, 2002
The Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra
The Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra exists to educate and give pleasure to the public by performing a repertoire of classical music not otherwise heard in Birmingham, as well as to provide a musical outlet for skilled players, conductors, and soloists, both professional and amateur, in the community. Because of our chamber orchestra size, we are able to move about the area, playing in different venues each season, thereby reaching a more diverse audience and addressing ourselves more clearly to the needs and interests of the community. Although completely independent as to policies, the RMCO has for about a decade rehearsed and performed at Birmingham-Southern College. We are proud to be an adjunct of BSC's Division of Fine and Performing Arts.
Founded 22 years ago, with the first concert on November 2, 1980, the orchestra has always been based in Birmingham, although some of the players come in from outlying communities and we perform at least once a season outside the city. With ages ranging from 15 to 80, the most veteran of us played in the Birmingham Civic Symphony, and the youngest are students. All of us are bound together by a passion that leads us to work on concert materials well before rehearsals for the sake of the music. Although we include many physicians, a dentist, a physics professor, and several band teachers, most of us studied our instruments seriously in university music departments and at conservatories before finding other sources of daily income.
We exist as a musical force because of the support of many who like what we do. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have, over the years, given us the tools we needed to survive and flourish: Birmingham-Southern College, Samford University, and the Unitarian Church, all of whom have given the orchestra a home base across the years for rehearsals and performances; the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Birmingham Regional Arts Commission, and the private donors who have provided financial support; area churches, libraries, and schools who have allowed us rehearsal and performance space, especially the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Birmingham Museum of Art; and all of the conductors, soloists, and players who have given freely of their time and talents to work with this orchestra.
THE RED MOUNTAIN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA PLAYERS
Brian Van Tine
The Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra Administration & Board
President Suzanne Beaudry
Vice President Barry Jackson
Recording Secretary Ilene Brill
Treasurer Kendall Holman
Librarian Kimberly Ferguson
Programs David Agresti
Founder Robert Markush
Stage Managers, Web Masters
Howard Goldstein is an Associate Professor of Music at Auburn University, where he teaches music history and violin, and is Music Director of the Auburn University / Community Orchestra. He is also the Assistant Conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. A native of Los Angeles, he received his early musical education there, eventually earning a degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied violin with Alexander Treger and conducting with Samuel Krachmalnick. After studies in historical musicology at Columbia University, where he served as Assistant Conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra, he studied conducting with Frederik Prausnitz at the Peabody Conservatory and served as his assistant, and received Master's and Doctoral degrees in Orchestral Conducting. Dr. Goldstein also studied with Hans Beer at the University of Southern California, Milan Horvat at the Salzburg Mozarteum Sommerakademie, and Harold Farberman at the Conductor's Institute. He has conducted orchestras in New York, Baltimore, and the Czech Republic, and is a regular guest with the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra in Birmingham, Alabama. His articles on musical theatre appear in the New Grove's Dictionary of Music, Revised Edition.
DAWN GRANT, a Registered Nurse and member of RMCO, holds a degree in violin performance from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL. She has played with various orchestras in the south, and with many ensembles performing a wide variety of music, from classical to gospel to folk to contemporary. The music of Mozart has always had a special appeal for her, and it is her greatest hope that the audience will enjoy listening to the Concertante as much as she does playing it.
Godehard Oepen works as a psychiatrist and has played the violin since age nine, having grown up in Germany listening to music of Bach and Chopin. His playing experience includes section viola in the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and solo concertos with the Brookline Symphony and Harvard Summer Orchestra. Music has always been a part Dr. Oepen's life, helping to achieve balance and serenity in difficult times. For this concert, he wants to thank Dawn Grant for suggesting to play Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra and Howard Goldstein for their enthusiasm, and Michael Fernandez (ASO) for some excellent coaching lessons.
Did you enjoy today's program?
Contributions are much needed by the Red Mountaineers for the purchase/rental of music and other expenses. A cash contribution would be appreciated. If you have questions, call Suzanne Beaudry at 254-3774. We qualify as a non-profit organization under Chapter 501-C3.
Howard Goldstein, Conductor
Pavanne pour une infante défunte (1899) Maurice Ravel
Masques et Bergamasques, Op. 112 (1918) Gabriel Fauré
I. Ouverture: Allegro molto vivo 1845-1924
II. Menuet: Allegretto moderato
III. Gavotte: Allegro vivo
IV. Pastorale: Andantino tranquillo
Sinfonia Concertante in Eb, K. 364 (1779) W. A. Mozart
Allegro Maestoso 1756-1791
Viola Soloist, Godehard Oepen
The RMCO wishes to thank the Homewood Library and particularly Dennis Nichols, head of adult services, for their gracious assistance with publicity, rehearsal and performance space for this concert.
Please sign our registration book in the foyer so that we may keep you informed of future RMCO concerts. And check out our web site at http://www.rmco.org/. Thanks.
RAVEL: Pavane for a Dead Princess
This work was commissioned by that indefatigable patron of 20th century music, the Princesse de Polignac, in 1899; originally for piano, Ravel orchestrated it in 1910. Ravel was truly dismayed by the work's success ("I no longer see its virtues . . . only its faults") as well as the number of bad performances of it he had to endure; after a particularly effortful and hopelessly slow performance by a child, Ravel is supposed to have remarked, "Listen, my child, I wrote a Pavane for a Dead Princess, not a Dead Pavane for a Princess." Ravel also insisted that there was no extramusical meaning in the title. His interest in the music of the past led him to write a pavane, a slow dance from the Renaissance, often played on the lute (suggested in the orchestral version by plucked strings); the label, pour une infante défunte, attracted him merely because of its interesting alliteration.
FAURÉ: Masques et Bergamasques
In 1918 Prince Albert I of Monaco commissioned Fauré to write a short work for the Monte Carlo theater. Instead of writing an entirely new work, he decided to rework some early compositions and combine them with some already finished songs, instrumental and choral pieces, among them the famous Pavane, Op. 50. The whole entertainment was linked by René Fauchois's text, written in the style of Verlaine's homages to the 18th century; the wafer-thin plot brings some stock commedia dell'arte characters (Harlequin, Gilles, and Colombine) to the island of Cythera, where, instead of performing for their aristocratic audience, they decide to let the audience entertain them. The first performance on April 10, 1919, featured sets inspired by paintings of Watteau and was an immediate success. The suite contains four orchestral numbers that offer a concise overview of Fauré's stylistic development. The Mozartean Overture and the sprightly Gavotte date back to the composer's twenties and are remarkably forward looking in their neoclassicism. The Menuet and Pastorale, on the other hand, are Fauré's last orchestral compositions. The Pastorale especially is vintage Fauré, with its bittersweet harmonies poised on the verge of tonal breakdown, but always brought back to earth with logic and restraint.
MOZART: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola
Despite Mozart's use of the Italian name, this musical genre, closer to concerto than symphony, was primarily a Parisian invention. Between 1770 and 1830 about 570 symphonies concertantes were written by composers working in or writing for Paris, then the center of European musical life and overflowing with talented instrumentalists. By definition, these were works for two, three, or four soloists that emphasized virtuoso display and pleasing melodies over intellectual musical development. The work for violin and viola that Mozart composed in 1779 is certainly the finest example of the genre. The emphasis is on dialogue and cooperation between the soloists, the orchestra, and even the separate orchestral sections; Mozart instructs the viola soloist to tune one half step higher in order to make the darker instrument sound more brilliant, divides the orchestral violas into two parts paralleling the first and second violins, and assigns important material to the oboes and horns as almost equal partners with the string soloists. The slow movement, in the somber key of C minor, is one of the earliest displays of that dark, elegiac depth of feeling that is uniquely Mozart's; perhaps it was inspired by the death of his mother the previous year. The final rondo is filled with rollicking good humor, however. All movements feature Mozart's own duet cadenzas, minor masterpieces all by themselves.
10 / 1922 – 11 / 2002
Paul Antoon joined the RMCO around 1983 when the original RMCO decided to begin playing music that required wind players. Before then, he had played horn with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 1950 to 1974, including serving as its principal horn. He died just a short time ago at age 80. All of us who were privileged to have played with him over the years remember his fine playing, of course, but especially his easy-going nature, his well-developed sense of humor, and strong concern for others.
Les Filmer, RMCO's music director during most of the 80's, reminds us that Paul, being an accomplished wood worker, also made batons. Many musical groups around town know about Paul's harpsichord, which he made piece by piece by hand, and how generous he was with it; of course, RMCO used it many times. But conductors are interested in batons, and Paul produced quite a collection, some silly, some very professional. In fact the best baton Les owns is one that Paul personally crafted for him.
For many years Paul was RMCO's stage manager. Every week he would come an hour early to set up, making sure everybody had a place to sit and a place to put their music, often doing this for string sectionals when he wasn't even playing. Then he would stay late afterwards and make sure everything was put away. Paul carried all the chairs and stands for many years by hand, which is no easy task, so when RMCO finally bought a set of dollies for them, he felt very personal and protective about them, naming them "Hello, Dolly," "Salvadore Dali," and other funny names. One day he came to set up for rehearsal and they were gone! So he went all over BSC looking for them, finally tracking them down in a theater on campus, carried there by someone who didn't know they were Paul's best buddies.