Listening Notes: El Sistema Aeolian Chamber Music


 

El Sistema Aeolian is proud to present a concert comprised of chamber music.  For the past month, our participants have been working in groups of 3 to 8 members.  For many, the opportunity to prepare a work without a conductor is new, and they have certainly risen to the occasion!  The concert will feature various chamber works by string, woodwind, and brass players, as well as a culminating choral performance.

 

Many of the pieces performed have been specially prepared for and by the El Sistema Aeolian participants.  That said, listen for a number of renowned classical works, such as:

 

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

 

Composed in 1787 for chamber ensemble, Mozart’s Serenade No, 13 for Strings in G Major, or affectionately, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) is among the most famous of Mozart’s repertoire. Composed while Mozart was deep into writing the second act of his opera Don Giovanni, it was not published until 1827, after his death.

 

Listen for the Mannheim Rocket theme, opening with ascension in the first movement. The Mannheim Rocket is a rapidly ascending broken chord from the lowest range of the bass line to the very top of the soprano line, as pictured below from the 4th movement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.


 

Minuet in G Major from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach/Christian Petzold

 

The notebooks are known by their title page dates of 1722 and 1725. The Minuet is from the later 1725 edition. Both were presented to Bach’s wife Anna and include keyboard music, vocal arias and tidbits which provide a glimpse into the domestic music of the 18th century and the musical tastes of the Bach family.

The Minuet in G Major first appeared with its companion piece – Minuet in G Minor in Bach’s 1725 notebook. Listen for the primary melody – it is also the main theme behind the song “Lover’s Concerto” written by Linzer and Randell and recorded by the American girl group The Toys.  In 1965, it hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold more than two million copies. Incidentally, the 1725 version of the composition was later attributed to harpsichord composer and Dresden organist Christian Petzold. So in love was Bach with the music – and his wife Anna – that he transcribed it for her in the notebook.

 

Listen toThe Toys version, “Lover’s Concerto” here: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGDZc9bdUZM


 

La Folia

Antonio Vivaldi

 

Based on one of the oldest known Renaissance and Baroque musical chords. Over the course of three centuries, hundreds of composers have used it in their works. The “folia” is a standard chord progression, featuring a “stock” melody line, s slow sarabande in triple meter, as its initial theme.  The folia traditionally served as bookends to a set of variations or to improvisation. Though the theme predated Vivaldi and originated in Spain or Portugal, he was the first to introduce it into the Sonata form.


Theme from Star Wars

John Williams

 

Also called “Luke’s Theme,” written in 1977 this instrumental hit is among the most well-known pieces of composition for the theatre of all time. Written by John Williams, it is part of the magical repertoire of astonishing film score which also includes Jaws, Superman, E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List to name a few. Winner of 24 Grammy Awards and 5 Academy Awards, Williams continues to compose. His most recent film score? Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017.