nov 8 & 9
Claire Brazeau on Sonatas for Oboe
Sonata in G Major
Trio for Violin, Horn and Bassoon
Trio No. 3
Sonata da Caccia
Sonata for oboe
Paris Quartet No.6
Zipper Concert Hall
200 S Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012
St. Monica Catholic Church
725 California Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403, USA
Explore the genesis of orchestral repertoire from early baroque through the pre-classical period with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and principal oboe (Allan Vogel Chair) Claire Brazeau.
Claire kicks off the 2018-19 Baroque Conversations, LACO’s signature baroque series, on November 8 at Zipper Concert Hall.
Baroque Conversations has expanded to Santa Monica this season, and the program will also be performed on November 9 at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica.
Claire has performed concertos with Redlands Symphony Orchestra and Culver City Symphony and the West Coast premiere of Ken Ueno’s “Sawdust,” a pocket concerto for oboe and ensemble with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players led by Steve Schick. Claire was a finalist in the 2017 International Gillet-Fox Oboe Competition.
Claire enjoys performing baroque and classical period oboes and has played with such period instrument ensembles as Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra in Los Angeles and Grand Harmonie in Boston and New York.
Most of the composers on this evening’s concert straddled the line between the end of the Baroque period and the beginning of the Classical. To even say there is a line is a bit deceiving, as the evolution happened in different times in different places, and there was not a wholesale changeover of musical practices. With this program, the Orchestra explores the changing musical landscape through the lens of trios and quartets through a transitional moment, and through one piece that looks back to this time from the vantage point of the 1990s.
Giuseppe Sammartini (1695-1750) was an oboe virtuoso, and his compositions were widely recognized only after his death. Musical Director of the Chamber Concerts to Frederick, Prince of Wales, he wrote many works for organ, violin, harpsichord, and flute. A close collaborator with Haydn, he played a great part in the development of Haydn’s classical style and also in the development of the symphony as a classical form.
German composer Johann Gottleib Graun (1703-1771) studied in both Germany and Italy. In addition to composing, he also played the violin and taught JS Bach’s son Wilhelm Friedemann. In the 1730s, Graun worked at the court of the Prussian Prince (who would go on to be Frederick the Great), and took over the Berlin Opera in 1740. He was known for instrumental works, like the Trio for Violin, Horn, and Bassoon on this concert, although he did write a significant amount of vocal music, including songs and operas.
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) was an incredibly successful, self-taught musician and composer. Extremely influential, he held various positions in Germany before landing a prestigious job in Hamburg in 1721. He was the musical director of the five main churches there, where he composed prodigiously. He knew many of the important composers of the time, such as Bach and Handel. He was even the godfather of Bach’s son Carl Phillip Emanuel. Telemann’s style shows the hallmarks of the music of different countries, as he gathered them through his travels. This openness to musical ideas and influences allowed him to be both au courant and forward-looking.
François Couperin (1668-1733) was known for his keyboard works and his skill on the organ and harpsichord. A member of a family full of musicians, François was known as Couperin le Grand. He was likely given his first music instruction by his father Charles, who was the organist at Paris’ Church Saint-Gervais. After the untimely death of his father, François was taught by the organist Jacques-Denis Thomelin, who groomed young Couperin to take over for his father. His considerable talent and a dose of good luck put him in contact with influential colleagues and prospective employers. His most important contributions to music were his collections of harpsichord music, Pièces de clavecin. In addition, Couperin composed some chamber music, an example of which you will hear tonight. The four movements show great interplay between the two instruments of this duet. It begins with a sprightly Vivement followed by a lyrical Air. The third movement borrows the dance form, the Sarabande, and a contrapuntal Chaconne provides the final word.
Thomas Adès composed his Sonata da Caccia in 1993. It was written for oboe, horn and harpsichord; this was an ensemble Debussy intended for an instrumental sonata that he never got to compose. Adès’ piece was also influenced by Couperin. The tradition of musical homages of this type is not new, and in fact, Couperin himself wrote musical homages to Corelli and Lully. Adès endeavors in this work to write in a Baroque style, while addressing the passage of time and the centuries of development between Couperin and Debussy and between those composers and himself. The harmonic language will definitely sound a bit different from the other pieces on the program, but the structures and ornaments—especially those of the first movement—mimic those of Couperin. The second movement, Gayëment, suggests something else, perhaps even nods to the jazz developing during Debussy’s time. The third movement changes mood again, and Couperin-like gestures in the keyboard are balanced by a single-note drone in the horn. The final movement is rhythmically complex with a fascinating texture.
The Pla family produced three musical brothers. Joan (c. 1720-1773) was a successful oboist and bassoonist who played in ensembles all over Europe, eventually settling in Lisbon. Manuel (c. 1725-1766) was a violinist and harpsichordist who worked in Madrid. Josep (c. 1728-1762), the youngest, was primarily a composer. Joan and Josep often composed together, and they produced a large body of work, including numerous trio sonatas and flute concertos. The Sonata for Oboe, Violin and Basso Continuo is a three-movement work that demonstrates the focus on counterpoint of the late Baroque and the emphasis on structure of the early Classical period.
This series is generously sponsored by Carol & Warner Henry, a Friend of LACO and the Ronus Foundation.
Claire Brazeau holds the Allan Vogel Chair, endowed by the Henry family.
Our thanks to the many patrons who contributed to the Carol & Warner Henry Challenge.