Friday, June 19, 2015
Tickets Adults $25, Youth 17 & Under Free
Peace Lutheran Church
Grass Valley, CA

JERRY GRANT – Jazz has long been an element in Jerry’s concert works and Interplay is a jazz infused piece using angular melodic material inspired by the style of the Be-Bop era in jazz. Prelude introduces a descending chromatic 3rd which is a basic motive of the melodic material explored and developed in the Invention. Melodically, the lines give a sense of improvisation and you may detect some Impressionist influence in the superimposed harmonies being grounded in free tonality.MIM steps out with the Nevada County Composers Cooperative in a concert of new works. 

DURWYNNE HSIEH – Four Duos for Two Violins was written quickly in the summer of 2011 after violinist Rick Shinozaki mentioned that he was going to be doing a violin duo recital with his sister, Karen. Rick, Karen, and Durwynne all drove up together on treacherous one-lane roads to a music camp deep in the woods somewhere near Sebastopol, CA, where they played these duos for a room full of enthusiastic string players. The pieces vary in mood. The first is a quirky little march that could be background music for a quirky little movie. With the musical direction Swing, the second duo uses jazz rhythms to depict two people who are having an affair. The significant other of one of them finds out about it, and angry conversation and many apologies ensue, but does this actually deter the affair? A slow, gentle duo follows. The fourth piece is a lighthearted but virtuosic finale that features a lot of trading off of musical material between the two players, often trading as little as one note at a time.

BRUCE NALEZNY – My Suite IV in A for piano is a collection of six suites, all for the piano, which were composed between 1968 and 2005, Like many in this set, it is neo-classical in nature. The first movement, Allegro, develops from the interplay between the half step A-G# and G#-A. This movement  is full of bouncy rhythms and playful scale passages all contributing to a feeling of levity and light-heatedness. The second movement, Andante Sostenuto is solemn and stately. It is a song for right hand accompanied for the most part by quarters in a constant triple pulse. The principle theme retuns with greater weight after a secondary theme that is more plaintive and delicate. The second movement ends in a series of massive bell-like chords built on a variation of the principle theme. The last movement, Molto Vivace, is a virtual tour de force of pianistic virtuosity, a toccata a la pertpetuum mobile that doesn’t let up until the closing measures where it’s modified theme returns with great energy moving up and down the entire keyboard to a grand climax on two accented chords.

ERIC ZIVIAN – Florestan and Eusebius were Schumann’s names for the two sides of his personality. Florestan was extroverted and passionate, Eusebius dreamy and inward-looking. I have based these two short pieces on two pieces of similar length, called Florestan and Eusebius, from Carnaval, Op. 9. There are no direct quotations in either piece, but they borrow Schumann’s formal structures and seek to recreate his contrasting emotional worlds. In addition, Florestan borrows intervallic material, Eusebius rhythmic material, from Schumann.

MARK VANCE – Piano Trio No. 2 was commissioned by Smith/Laub for the USC’s Pegasus Trio. Vance considers the piano trio instrumentation and the string quartet two of the most lush and engaging of all chamber ensembles. Titled Danse et Jeux, (Dance and Games), it’s meant to illustrate in a broad sense that all of life is a kind of dance or game, i.e. relationships, school, jobs, raising children even death and taxes. This trio is very rhythmically driven with many alternating time signatures. Movement 1, marked avec emotion (with emotion), is truly a game exploring sport, contest, strategies and competition. In the middle a macabre dance unfolds with an unusual melody line ranging over 2 octaves. Movement 2, marked pas de trois, is an elegant tango for three dancers (each represented by an instrument). Movement 3, marked s’amuser vous (to have fun), is an engaging, playful, little dance in 5-8 then 7-8 then 3-4, finally a series of ascending piano scales hail the return of the playful 5-8 dance.