Making Plans For Concerts In 2020

We just started getting notices about the grants  that we applied for for supporting our concerts for  2020… We haven’t heard from all of them yet… and usually the rejections get sent out first, so  hopefully  by not having heard yet  that means we’ll get most of them.   The first town to tell us we got our grant was Watertown MA..   We still hope to do some septets again  for some of our concerts , but in Watertown one of the pieces we hope to play there is the Mendlessohn Octet..   yes .  for four violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos.  it is a wonderful piece that Mendlessohn composed when he was  only 16 . years old in 1825.

Another nice piece for that combination that we may include in that program are Ludwig Spohr’s double quartet  opus 65 for  the same instrumentation in the Mendlessohn octet.  Spohr compsed this in 1823, at the age of 39,  2 years before Mendlessohn composed his octet, but Spohr didn’t publish his double quartet until 1825  at the same time  as Mendlessohn published his octet.  That was an exciting year for octets.

There is a . wonderful Octet by George Enesco opus 7 written  when he was 19 years old  in 1900. Now George Enesco’s music is quite a contrast to the Mendelssohn and Spohr for it was composed  75 years  later than the Mendlessohn octet and Enesco was from Romania, quite a different place than Germany as one can tell from the music.  Enesco’s  octet opus 7 is also quite a remarkable piece.

Niels Wilhelm Gade  also composed a nice octet opus 17 in 1849  shortly after Mendlessohn’s death.  Even though Gade was Danish and not German and he was twice the age  that  Mendlessohn had been when  he wrote his octet, this octet Gade composed  at the age of  32  does have many similarities to the Mendlessohn octet . It  is also quite charming.   It was out of print for many years. but  in the last few decades it is among several great pieces brought back to life.

Now  a few months ago in September 2019,  and  in 2018 we performed the  wonderful septet by . Adolphe Blanc  both years in several concerts.   In 2018 we also performed it with the Beethoven Septet opus 20, and in 2019 we played   the Blanc septet with the  one by Franz Berwald.  Those pieces were for the great combination of   violin/viola/cello/bass/clarinet/frenchhorn/bassoon.     We hope to perform some more septets this year too for that same combination possibly including  one by Conradin Kreutzer (1780-1849) opus 62, a septet in F  by Carl Amand Mangold(1813-1889),  and if we can find the music possibly quitea charming one by Erzherzog Rudolph von Osterreich  in E minor written in 1830  at the age of 42 one year before he died. He lived quite a royal life in Austria but managed to compose some wonderful pieces including this septet.







Franz Berwald

Franz Berwald was a Swedish composer born in Stockholm in 1796.  His father was a German born violinist, and Franz, although he got some advice from his father, was mostly self taught..  At 16 he joined the Royal Opera Orchestra and started to compose.  His Septet for violin , viola, cello, bass, clarinet, horn and bassoon he wrote  in 1828  at the age of 32.

His music was met with no great reception, and he travelled to Paris where he also had no success getting his music performed.. When he went to Vienna,  a couple times,  he did have some success there,  especially with his operas, and he married when he was living there, but when he returned to Stockholm  the people  still seemed to have no interest in his music. In Sweden he had to make his living by glass blowing  running a sawmill, orthopedics and physical therapy.

He continued to compose chamber music, operas, and symphonies, although his music did not start to really get performed much until many years after he died in 1868.   He met Liszt  when he was in his 40s and they . made good friends, Liszt admired his music very much, but warned him not to expect it to become popular in Sweden while he was alive.  He did get  respect for his non musical endeavors at least while he was alive, and appreciation and respect  for his music has  finally started to rise considerably in the past few decades.

Northborough Applefest Concert– September 21, 2019

Our concert of the septets by Franz Berwald and Adolphe Blanc will be performed again at 4pm  at the Applefest in  Northborough MA at the Trinity Church, 23 Main Street, Northborough MA on 9/21/19.

There is free Admission to  this concert, it is open to the public, and we thank the local cultural councils for helping support this concert.


Our August 27th Chamber Music Concert in Plymouth MA

With the grant we got from the Plymouth MA Local Cultural Council we’ll be performing at the Plymouth Library on August 27 2019 at 7pm. In our program we’ll be playing some of the Telemann Paris Quartets for flute, violin , cello and Double Bass and much more.  We greatly thank the Plymouth Local Cultural Council for helping make this concert possible.   We are still waiting to hear about a date when this program may be repeated in the Millis Library, or some place in Millis MA in August this summer. I hope after hearing these Paris Quartets  that were composed  around 1730, that people  come up with some ideas on how to make Paris today more like it was back then.  I’m sure if any similar Paris Quartets were written today . they’d  be quite different.  In any case the  Paris Quartets are beautiful music and we hope you can come hear our performances  of them this year.



Our Septet performance in September

With the grants we got from several cultural councils we’ll be performing The Adolphe Blanc Septet, that we did for the Northborough Applefest last year, again this year and more. That Blanc Septet that is practically unheard of, was so nicely received that we decided we need to let the people in Northborough hear it again. We’ll be deciding what the 2nd septet will be soon. It might be one by Franz Berwald. The Applefest concert will be September 21st at 4pm and we’ll be repeating the program in Hamilton MA at their Community House at 2pm on 9/8/19 and in the Millis Public library in Millis MA at 7pm on 9/12/19 and in Methuen Concert Hall in Methuen MA at 2:30pm on 9/15/19. We greatly thank the Local Cultural Councils from each town for helping make these concerts possible.

Adolphe Blanc-A composer whose music should be heard more often.

These last couple weeks the Charles River Sinfonietta found out that the grants we applied for from the Local Cultural Councils in severalMassachusetts towns  for supporting our chamber music concerts in 2019, in their towns, have been approved. Not only did we get the grant in Plymouth  for doing the Telemann Paris Quartets, but also  our LCC applications were approved in Northborough, Millis,  Methuen, and Hamilton.  Last year in Northborough for their Applefest in September we performed the Beethoven and Blanc septets.   the Blanc Septet was so nicely received we hope to put it in our program again this year and repeat it in  several other towns as well.  Probably all the concerts will be in September.

This Septet by Adolph Blanc really deserves to be heard much more.   It is a pleasure to play and it brought many nice comments from our audience at the 2018 Applefest in Northborough.

Adolph Blanc lived from June 24, 1828 till May 1885.   He was born in ManosqueAlpes-de-Haute-Provence and he  composed lots of chamber music.  He started violin and at the age of 13   he went to the Paris Conservatoire for his violin lessons.  He studied composition there also under Jacques-François-Fromental-Élie Halévy, usually known as Fromental Halévy, known mostly for his operas, who had studied with Cherubini,  and Blanc also composed a one act comic opera Les Deux Billets performed in 1868, but the grand majority of his music was in the Romantic Viennese  tradition of  house  music, or  chamber music, for private performances. His compositions include three string trios, four string quartets, seven string quintets of various configurations, 15 piano trios, piano quartets and quintets, his septet,  as well as settings and arrangements, songs, pieces for piano and violin, choral works and some orchestral works.  His septet opus 40 is one of the only ones that has been performed recently, but it still remains relatively unknown.  His septet opus 40, as well as a sonatine concertante  for two pianos opus 64, a quintet for piano, flute, clarinet, bassoon and   horn opus 37, and a trio for piano, clarinet and cello opus 23, are the only four compositions of his that have been recorded.

He was conductor at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris, 1855 – 1860, and he died in Paris in 1885.

In 2018 we played the Beethoven opus 20 septet along with the Blanc opus 40 Septet at the Northborough Applefest.  In 2019 we hope to do the Blanc opus 40 Septet again with either a septet by  Franz Berwald or one by Carl Amand Mangold,  both composers who lived around the same time as Adolph Blanc.


The Paris Quartets

The Charles River Sinfonietta just got their grant proposals approved for performing a chamber music concert in Plymouth MA later this year,  and included in our program will be some of Telemann’s Paris Quartets for flute, violin, cello(or viola da gamba) and Bass (b.c.)

Telemann started composing music for this combination of instruments about 1730,  about 8 years before he composed the Paris Quartets.  His  first 6 quartets for this combination of instruments were greatly appreciated and he traveled to Paris in 1738  at the invitation of “several virtuosi of that  city”  who, he reported “had developed a taste for several of my printed works” .   He didn’t say  particularly  which works but most likely was referring to  the 6  quartets written in 1730  that had been greatly appreciated in France and had given him a good reputation even before he arrived in 1738.  The premiere performance of these quartets was done in France with the virtuoso flautist Michel Blavet, along with Jean Pierre Guignon, on violin Jean Baptiste Antoine Forqueray on gamba and Edouard on cello. These 4 musicians were among the best in Paris and  had great musical positions and influence  in the city’s musical life.

This combination of instruments, flute, violin, cello and bass was Telemann’s own creation. And for the next  six quartets composed for this combination, the Paris Quartets,  he wrote them for the musicians in Paris and  tried to have the music fit the French style with emphasis on naturalness , vivacity, merriment and brevity and “fleeing all far-fetched and pompous excesses”.  The French music of that time according to Quantz contained ” many ingratiating and agreeable ideas”  especially due to its “continuous and concertante melody”.  These Paris Quartets certainly fit that description.  The concertante style is always there but without bursting the French inspired form of the movements.  The dance style,  like rondeaus, is felt in the music quite a bit, and as Finscher remarked “the dance types per se are always in evidence.”  The wonderful performance done by these musicians in Paris at the time helped make these pieces become popular but  also the high standards that Telemann imposed on himself, his deep knowledge of French  music, his refined taste, and  his nature as an homme d’esprit.

These Paris quartets were certainly greatly enjoyed in Paris starting in 1738, and we hope they can be enjoyed to a  similar level in 2019 in Plymouth MA.  We certainly look forward to performing them.

The Powers of Music

Music is something that all kids should get a chance to learn in school regardless of how wealthy a town they live in. Music is a great tool for developing the brain as a child matures. Those who have played musical instruments through high school, even if they never play again, will have developed the right half of the brain so that their creativity and imagination is far wider than those who never played an instrument. In a business meeting if a challenging problem arises those who have played music in their childhood will come up with much wider variety of answers, with much more creativity than those who never had music education. Tests done showed that when a child who played music reached their mid twenties the right half of the brain was much bigger than that of anyone who had never played an instrument in their youth.

When children are growing up the right half of the brain is the dominant half, It usually remains the dominant half until they get to their mid twenties and have a full time job. That means they have . a vast amount of creativity in their youth. When schools have wonderful music and art programs it gives children a chance to explore wonderful ways to use their creativity. When they do not have this opportunity their creativity , yes that strong creative half of their brain, can end up being used in very bad ways, Crimes and murders and much more, a child with no form of music or arts education , is much more likely to become involved in, for no good ways to use their creativity were offered to them. So if we cut the music and arts programs in our schools, like has been going on in the USA for about 40 years now… well the crime will increase, and more money will be spent on juvenile detention centers rather than on the arts and music education in our schools. We have seen more violence with guns in our country than in almost any other country on the planet. Policemen murder more people in the USA than anywhere else with guns.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gaetano Brunetti

One composer who we will be performing some compositions of in 2019 is Gaetano Brunetti(1744-1798). He wrote an amazing amount of music and more if it deserves to be heard today. From information included on some of the music it says how chamber music accounts for more than 75% of Gaetano Brunetti’s total output since,, for most of his life, Brunetti was at the service of Charles IV, a keen violinist, who performed all of these works. There is evidence that the Prince of Asturias received lessons from Gaetano Brunetti himself, so it is likely that these compositions were performed at one time by Brunetti on 1st violin, Carlos IV on 2nd violin along with another musician to occupy the cellist’s chair at the Royal Chapel. This could have been Domingo Porreti, Antonio Villazon, or even the composer’s son Franciso Brunetti. The fact that he composed for his ‘protector’ who himself took part in musical performances was a common occurrence of the period. Compositions acted as entertainment for royalty and nobility at events organized in their various residences with performers also being the recipients of works.

With regard to the style of Gaetano Brunetti, his work undeniably falls within the aesthetic postulates of Classicism, with typical structures such as the sonata form, or the rondo, while other characteristics of preceding styles – Rococo and / or galant style, also feature in some of his compositions. Within the bounds of what we deem to be Classicism, and in the work on which we are focussed , that is , chamber music, the melodic lines of his compositions are of a remarkable simplicity constructed with short motifs that are significantly enriched through modulations and chromaticism. Brunetti treats each instrument in an exemplary fashion, displaying a sound knowledge of instrumentation along with a firm grasp of the possibilities inherent to each instrument, all of which he acquired during his time as a performer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Contractor, the Conductor

It’s finally the right time to do a massive renovation of your house, to turn it into the home you’ve always dreamed of. You’ve always wanted to do it—had the perfect piece of property staked out to build on, known exactly the way you wanted it to look: two stories, a spacious and finished basement, nice attic, enough bedrooms for the kids and any guests, a lofted living room attached to the kitchen, and a wrap-around porch. It’s just what you’ve wanted since you were a kid. But how do you make it happen? Who to hire, and from where, and for what? Exactly how much is it going to cost, and exactly how is this all going to come together? These are very real questions and to be expected with any major architectural planning. To avoid becoming overwhelmed with the weight of the project, remember that when you hire a contractor all those questions and concerns are left to the professional.

There are countless people that will be involved with your renovation, everyone from architects to landscapers to plumbers to electricians to a myriad of other professionals working toward building the home you want. It’s predictably not always easy to have all these people on the same page, however, which is exactly what a contractor is for. Think of their job as that of the orchestra conductor’s. In an orchestra, of course, you have your strings and your woodwinds, your brass and your keyboards, and finally your percussion. Now, within each of these sections there are obviously numerous different instruments, each of which has a different role both within their section and within the orchestra as a whole. But what would happen to an orchestra in which the violinist had no idea what the tuba player was doing? Or what if the pianist was simply playing an entirely different song than the rest of the group, and the gong player was indiscriminately smashing at his gong while the flautist was supposed to be playing a soft and melodic melody? Well, it would be a disaster. Everyone in the orchestra needs to know what everyone else is doing, which is why there must be a conductor, and why that conductor must prepare detailed sheet music and hold rehearsals to ensure that everyone is literally on the same page.
Read the rest of this entry »