Program – January 31, 2016

Mother Lode Friends of Music

P.O. Box 1362 Jackson, CA 95642

January 12, 2016

Dear Friends of Music:

Our first concert of the new year takes place on Sunday, January 31, starting at 3 pm. The concert will be held at the Sutter Creek Theatre, at 44 Main Street in downtown Sutter Creek.

For the first time in MLFM’s history, we are presenting music for piano sextet: piano, string quartet and bass. This allows us to hear some extraordinary but rarely performed music. The concert’s showpiece is the Sextet by Sergei Lyapunov, a wonderful Romantic work that recalls Tchaikovsky, Lyapunov’s contemporary. Hearing this large-scale work is like discovering a new Tchaikovsky symphony, only played by six performers! In the second half, we have three lighter and very entertaining selections: the rollicking Peacock Pie by British composer C. Armstrong Gibbs, the fetching Bolero Recuerdos de Andalucia of Spanish composer Eduardo Ocón, and the justly popular Pantomime and Ritual Fire Dance from de Falla’s El Amor Brujo, in an arrangement for piano sextet by the composer himself.

Leading the forces is the incomparable Corina Stoian, joined by pianist Ron Brickman and five first-class string players from the Bay Area: Heather Katz, Ted Seitz, Alexandru Dumitrache and James Coyne. This promises to be one of our best concerts ever, and you won’t want to miss it.

The Sutter Creek Theatre does not have the facility for us to offer our traditional refreshments during intermission. But the theatre management will be offering refreshments for sale.

Our next event will be our symphony concert on March 6 at the Church of the Nazarene. Tickets will go on sale around February 15.

SPECIAL EVENT: Professional pianist Anne Rainwater from the Bay Area will do a performance of the complete Goldberg Variations of J.S. Bach at my home in West Point on Saturday, February 20, starting at 4 pm. The concert will be followed by a reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as non-alcoholic drinks for those who prefer. The cost is $15 per person, with proceeds going to the artist. Advance reservations are required; pay at the door. Please call (209) 293-4227 or email me at to reserve your place, as seating is limited.

Yours sincerely,

Ron Brickman, President


January 31, 2016

Corina Stoian, violin

Heather Katz, violin

Ted Seitz, viola

Alexandru Dumitrache, cello

James Coyne, bass

Ron Brickman, piano

Sergei Lyapunov (1859-1924). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sextet for piano and strings, op. 63

  1. Allegro maestoso

  2. Scherzo: allegro vivace

  3. Nocturne: lento ma non troppo

  4. Finale: allegro risoluto


C. Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Peacock Pie

  1. The Huntsmen: Allegro

  2. The Sunken Garden: Tranquillo ma non troppo lento

  3. The Ride-by-Nights: Con brio

Eduardo Ocón (1833-1901). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Recuerdos de Andalucía, Bolero de Concierto

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946). . . . . . Pantomime and Ritual Fire Dance, from El Amor Brujo

  1. Pantomima: Allegro

  2. Danza Ritual del Fuego: Allegro ma non troppo e pesante

Program Notes

The Program—Sergei Lyapunov was born in Yaroslav in 1859. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory from 1878 to 1883, where Sergei Taneyev was his mentor in composition. Subsequently, he settled in St. Petersburg where he became part of “the Mighty Handful,” the group of Russian nationalist composers led by Balakirev. He pursued a successful career as conductor, virtuoso pianist and composer, and his legacy includes an extensive compilation of Russian folksongs. He composed copious amounts of piano music, where the influence of Liszt is most notable, as well as two symphonies, two piano concertos, a violin concerto, an exotic oriental tone-poem and numerous songs. His only significant chamber music work is the Sextet for piano and strings, performed in this concert. It was composed in 1915. By the standards of the early 20th century, Lyapunov’s idiom remains quite conservative, following in the vein established by Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev. The overall architecture is in the classical four movements, the Scherzo coming second and the slow movement third. The presence of the bass is by no means confined to reinforcing the cello; instead it liberates the cello so that it can take part in contrapuntal work and solo passages with the other strings.

A somber theme with more than a hint of Russian folksong opens the first movement, soon developing into a passionate Allegro maestoso. The second theme has a decided flavor of Orthodox chant. The scintillating Scherzo is powered by the toccata-like repeated notes of the viola. The rhythm recalls some wild Caucasian dance with the orchestration offering a crystalline clarity. The more elegiac trio section offers some moments of calm, but soon the composer subtly superimposes over the melody the agile motifs of the opening. The Nocturne is the most unabashedly romantic of the four movements. An extended introduction of scene-painting by piano and strings leads into a meltingly beautiful melody by the cello, soon joined by the first violin. The mood darkens in the middle section as the ideas are given a sumptuous treatment in deep timbres, until the love duet between cello and violin returns. The Finale has a driven, galloping quality, interrupted by a more lyrical second theme. An extended fugato section displays the composer’s mastery of counterpoint, the heritage of his teacher Taneyev. A dramatic build-up leads in great waves of sound to the recapitulation.

C. Armstrong Gibbs is one of several British composers of the early 20 century who knew how to combine sophisticated classical music compositional style with the good-cheer of the music hall. His Peacock Pie was composed in 1933 and can be performed either by piano and string orchestra or by piano sextet. The work, in three movements, is inspired by the children’s rhymes of Walter de la Mare, which appeared in 1913. Each movement takes its title and mood from a de la Mare poem. The happy-go-lucky first movement, “The Huntsmen” is based on the text “Three jolly gentlemen, In coats of red, Rode their horses, Up to bed.” The somber second movement, “The Sunken Garden” uses muted strings throughout, inspired by the text “Speak not—whisper not; Here bloweth thyme and bergamot.” The galloping third movement, “The Ride-by-Nights,” in 6/8 time follows the text “Up on their brooms their Witches stream, Crooked and black in the crescent’s gleam, One foot high, and one foot low, Bearded, cloaked, and cowled, they go.”

Eduardo Ocón was born in a family of humble origin in the Spanish town of Benamocarra. He

began his musical career in the Cathedral of Malaga, where he spent the bulk of his career. From

1867 to 1870 he lived in Paris where he frequented Francois-Joseph Fétis and Charles Gounod.

He returned to Malaga and became a founder of the city’s music conservatory. Much of his

musical output is religious in nature, with the Andalusian Rhapsody one of his most popular

secular works. The Bolero Recuerdos de Andalucia is a very stylish and crowd-pleasing

homage to his native region. The original orchestration is not known—modern versions can be

found for piano solo and orchestra, in addition to the piano sextet performed here. The work is a

showpiece for solo violin, but the cello has its fair share of starring moments.

El Amor Brujo (The Bewitched Love) is a ballet from 1915 of Manuel de Falla telling the story

of a young Andalusian gypsy girl haunted be the ghost of her dead husband. The composer himself made the arrangement for piano sextet, taking two of the ballet’s most familiar excerpts, the Pantomima and the Ritual Fire Dance. In the justly famous Fire Dance, all the gypsies make a large circle around the campfire at midnight. The heroine engages in a frenzied dance, which causes the ghost of her dead husband to appear. They whirl around faster and faster until the ghost is drawn into the fire, to vanish forever.

The Performers—Violinist Corina Stoian is no stranger to Friends of Music audiences.

Since arriving in the United States in 2005 (her first stop Camanche, no less!) she has been a

frequent and popular performer in our concerts, and always to tremendous effect. Trained in her

native Romania, she spent several years in Germany, serving as concertmaster of the Essen

Chamber Orchestra and performing frequently on radio and on tour. She now lives in Hayward.

Violinist Heather Katz lives in Oakland and is concertmaster of the Redwood Symphony. A graduate of Mills College, she has studied chamber music with members of the Alexander String Quartet and the Miro Quartet. Heather performed the piano trio of Faure with pianist Joanne de Phillips and cellist Amy Anderson in our series several years ago. She will be assistant concertmaster in the Orchestra’s upcoming symphony program.

Violist Ted Seitz, originally from New York, attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Daniel Kolbialka and Objorn Finesse. He has played and continues to play with several orchestras in the Bay Area, including San Jose Symphony, Opera San Jose, and Symphony Silicon Valley. He currently resides in Hayward. Cellist Alexandru Dumitrache has performed many times with the Friends of Music, as a chamber musician (most recently a performance of Dvorak’s piano quintet), orchestra member and soloist with orchestra, with the Brahms Double Concerto. He was trained in his native Romania and the University of

Illinois-Urbana and is former principal cellist with the Chicago Lyric Orchestra.

A fifth generation San Franciscan, bassist James Coyne started his musical career as a hard rock

and rockabilly musician. After taking an interest in classical music, James received a B.A. from

Dominican University in San Rafael and a Master’s in double bass performance from the New

England Conservatory of Music. James has performed in China, Spain and across the US with

the Berkeley Symphony, the New World Symphony, San Francisco Academy Orchestra and

Merced Symphony.