Monday, April 21, 2014

April 27th Concert Preview - The Distinctive Music of Astor Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla (1921 – 1992) was a twentieth century composer who combined the elements of traditional tango, jazz and classical music to create a distinctive style that is unmistakable.  

We will get a fair sampling of his beautiful music at the Toot and Twang concert on April 27 when Phil Weaver and Rosa Richardson play two pieces from Piazzolla’s Histoire de Tango, originally written for flute and guitar, and then Libertango arranged for flute and guitar.  As Phil Weaver indicates in his notes for the program, the selections will nicely demonstrate Piazzolla’s energetic and percussive rhythms as well as his emotional and sometimes haunting melodies.

You will not want to miss the concert! It is this Sunday, April 27th at 4:00 p.m. at Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, AL  The concert is free and a light reception will follow.


Piazzolla was born in Argentina, but then moved at the age of 4 with his Italian immigrant parents to Greenwich Village in New York.  His father bought him a bandoneon that he found in a pawn shop, and Astor began playing a wide range of music inspired by the many recordings that this father played for him.  The bandoneon, Piazzolla’s signature instrument for his entire life, is similar to an accordion.  It was  invented in Germany in the 1800’s by Heinrich Band to serve as a compact organ for religious music in small churches.  German and Italian sailors found it especially convenient to take on board ship, and it migrated with them to South America, where it became an essential part of Argentinian tango ensembles.   
Here is a beautiful video recording of Piazzolla performing the bandoneon in a live 1986 performance in Utrecht. 


Astor’s love for traditional tango and classical music developed rapidly.  He composed his first tango at 11, then started classical piano lessons at 12 in New York with Hungarian Pianist Bela Wilda, a student of Rachmaninoff.  His skill on the bandoneon was recognized by tango composer Carlos Gardel who invited 13 year old Astor to joint him on tour.  Fortunately his father did not grant him permission to leave home, since Gardel and his group were killed in a plane crash soon afterwards.  Piazzolla later joked that if his father had not been so wise, he would be playing harp, instead of the bandoneon. 

Piazzola lived in New York and Italy with his family until at 17 when he moved to Buenos Aires where he made a living playing bandoneon in tango orchestras.  At this time he met Artur Rubenstein who encouraged him to study with the Argentinian composer Ginastera.  Piazzolla continued to perform and arrange for tango orchestras through the 1940’s and early 1950’s, when he decided to give up tango and began studying Stravinsky, Bartok and Ravel.  It was over the next few years that Piazzolla began to develop a distinct style of his own.  In 1953 he won the Savitsky composition award in Buenos Aires after a performance of his work for bandoneon and orchestra, an unusual work that led to fighting in the audience.  The award included a grant to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, who immediately realized his talent and encouraged him to never leave the tango.

Back in Argentina Piazzola continued to compose by working with small groups, quintets and octets, and composing essentially instrumental tangos that combined traditional elements of the tango with jazz and chamber music.  This he called the Nuevo Tango.  It continued to be too avante guarde for Argentina, but became more widely appreciated in Europe and North America.

Over the next 30 years he traveled with a number of small groups that he organized and conducted to showcase his music, including Conjunto 9, the first Quintet (1960), Conjunto Electronico, and the second Quintet (1978).  Many recordings were made during this time, including the famous recording with his Quintet at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1984 and the New York Central Park concert in 1987 with vibraphonist Gary Burton.  The Utrect video from 1986 is with the Nuevo Tango Quintet, including some beautiful playing by violinist Fernando Suarez Paz, first violinist for the Buenos Aires Philharmonic. 

Piazzolla wrote on the order of 3000 pieces.  His music has been embraced by a large number of musicians, ranging from jazz artists such as Al Dimeola to classical performers including Gidon Kremer.  The impeccable technique of Kremer and his friends in his “Hommage a Piazzolla” CD is a real treat. 

When a six-year old girl was once asked “How do you like this music?”  she responded “This music comes from angels”.  Who could ask for more?

“Anything that interrupts music, I hate.”  - Astor Piazzolla between songs at the Central Park Concert.  

--- Submitted by John Shriver for Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Poster for April 27th Concert

Phil Weaver and Rosa Vidro Richardson

Longing for sunshine and warmth? Our April 27th Concert will feature the musical flavors of Latin America.  "Sambas, Tangos and Dances" will be performed by 'Toot & Twang,' the performance duo of floutist Rosa Vidro Richardson and innovative classical guitarist Phil Weaver.

The concert takes place at Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, AL.
Concert begins at 4 pm.  A light reception will follow the concert.
Concert is Free.  Donations will be collected to support the Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series.

Thank you for supporting Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sambas, Tangos and Latin American Flavors Highlight Third Concert

Third Concert to Feature Duo of Phil Weaver, Rosa Vidro Richardson



Please consider supporting the Music at Messiah Concert Series as an advertiser or donor. 

Preparations are underway for the third concert of Music at Messiah's inaugural concert season. The concert will take place on Sunday April 27th at 4:00 p.m.

"Toot and Twang" is the musical duo of classical guitarist Phil Weaver and flautist, Rosa Vidro Richardson. They are preparing a program filled with the lively rhythms and textures of Latin and South American music and dance.  (Given the extended chilly weather we've been experiencing, a trip  "South of the Border," even if carried out via music, is a welcome thought to the author)

Phil Weaver is, as his Web site says, "an innovative classical guitarist.  He has a strong local following in Huntsville through the several ensembles he is party to. One is Consonare, a performance duo with pianist wife Ingrid von Spakovsky (she performed with Oboist Gary Parks in our second concert).  Weaver strives to make classical music interesting and accessible to an ever-widening audience.   




Rosa Vidro Richardson is an accomplished and dynamic musician as well.  A quote on her Facebook page provides a hint of the bright personality she brings to the musical mix.  "Half of the world claims they are musicians because they can "jam" on an instrument...I'm one of them."   Her performance duo with Phil Weaver is a recent collaboration. They chose "Toot & Twang"  in contrast to the commonly held belief that serious classical music must be stiff, humorless and performed only in reputable concert halls! 

While  MAMCCS  will maintain itself as a reputable concert venue, these two talented musicians bring serious classical music to the Tennessee Valley area in a fresh and approachable way which is truly  at the heart of the Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series!    The concert is April 27th at 4:00 PM.   

Written by Meredith Kilby for the Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series.

For more information on Phil Weaver,  visit his Web site 
http://www.philweaverguitar.com/index.html









 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Michael Head Concert Sunday - Next Concert Announced for April 27th

Parks - von Spakoksvy Concert Sunday at 4 pm

Gary Parks and Ingrid von Spakovsky are set to perform this Sunday at Messiah Lutheran Church.  The concert begins at 4 pm. The concert will feature pieces for Oboe and Piano composed by the English Composer Michael Head, Claude Debussy and others. Solo piano pieces by Ingrid von Spakovsky will include Peter Maxwell Davies' Farewell to Stromnes and George Gershwin's Three Preludes.

This will be the premier performance of the concert. "Oboe Music of Michael Head."  This is the second concert in the newly formed  concert series. 

Admission is free.  Donations will be taken on the door to support the Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series.  Thank you for your patronage and support.


Gary Parks, Ingrid von Spakovsky rehearse their
program "Oboe Music of Michael Head" in the sanctuay
of  Messiah Lutheran Church where the concert will
take place on Sunday.

Phil Weaver, Rosa set for April 27th Concert Date

"Phil Weaver and Rosa Vidro Richardson"
Sunday,  April 27th, 2014 - 4:00 p.m. 

Toot and Twang is classical guitarist Phil Weaver and flutist Rosa Vidro Richardson. They are on the music faculty at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and have performed live on WLRH public radio, Moonfolk Festival, Berkeley Bob's Coffeehouse, City Lights and Stars Concert Series, and the Flying Monkey Arts Center. This season they performed at the Kentuck Festival's main stage and Tangled String Studios at Lowe Mill. Rosa has a Master's in flute performance from Austin Peay University and has performed with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and Gateway Chamber Ensemble. Phil Weaver was the first guitarist to be awarded an individual artist's fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and he performed the guitar part for Gustav Mahler's 7th Symphony with both the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic. His music video Danza with filmmaker Jon Sawa has been very well received with acclaim from the composer himself, two-time Grammy winner Edin Solis and Bill Kanengiser of LAGQ.

The program for April will include sambas by Celso Machado, tangos by Astor Piazzolla, Jose Luis Merlin's Progresiones para Pauline, as well as guitar solos by Edin Solis.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Publicity Efforts in Full Swing for Feb 16th "Michael Head" Concert

Gary Parks, Ingrid von Spakovsky to be interviewed on WLRH Feb 13th

(Update 2/13/2014 - the interview scheduled on WLRH has been cancelled due to weather / road conditions) We're pleased to announce that Gary Parks and Ingrid von Spakovsky are scheduled to be interviewed on air, at approximately 11:05 am, Thursday, Feb 13th on WLRH (89.3FM and online www.wlrh.org) by radio host Judy Watters.   In addition to the interview, MAMCCS will be recording a short Public Service Announcement with WLRH to run periodically prior to the February 16th Concert. Please tune in and if you are able, support our local Public Radio Station WLRH. We are grateful for their presence in the Tennessee River Valley.

Announcing a Facebook Page for Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series! 

We have recently created a Facebook Page for the Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series.  The ability for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and You-Tube to extend the reach of traditional advertising is immense.  Please visit the page and "Like" it and "Share Posts"  with your users.  Here's the address:   https://www.facebook.com/musicatmessiah

Posters and Poster Cards Available at Messiah Lutheran Church!

A limited supply of posters and an ample supply of "Concert Cards" will be set out at the Welcome Center of Messiah Lutheran Church from now until February 16th.   Please take the concert cards and use them to invite co-workers or friends and place on your workplace lunch room bulletin board. The cards feature a handy "QR" code that allows the person to save the date to their smart phone calendars.




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gary Parks, Ingrid von Spakovsky prepare for Feb 16th Messiah Concert

Journey into the romantic, lyrical music of British composer Michael Head on February 16th.  Concert begins at 4 pm.

  

Oboist Gary Parks and pianist Ingrid von Spakovsky are set to perform the "Oboe Music of Michael Head." The concert will feature several delightfully pleasant and lyrical compositions by Head including Rondo, Siciliana, and the Suite for Oboe and Piano.  Also to be featured on the program will be several piano pieces of Claude Debussy, beautifully transcribed for oboe and piano by  oboist, Humbert Lucarelli. Additional works by Gershwin, Sayre and Davies will round out the performance. 

Michael Head was a 20th century British composer  well known as a singer and pianist who composed many art songs and pieces of choral literature. The oboe music featured  in this program is mostly a result of his collaboration with Lady Evelyn Rothwell Barbarolli, the first lady of the oboe in England.


Admission to the concert is free. Donations to support the Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series are greatly appreciated.   Please visit our sponsorship page for advertising and sponsorship information. 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Cure for the Christmas Frenzy

The Advent Season is here. The sights and sounds of Christmas are all around us.  This wonderful video from the United States Air Force Band came to my attention this morning and I thought I would share it. It is wonderful.  Uplifting.  Happy.



Like the folks bustling around the Air and Space Museum, the days of Christmas are filled with frenetic,yet joyous activity. There's shopping to do, travel plans to make, parties to attend, and obligations and expectations to fulfill.  It can be so overwhelming. What on earth can restore the right spirit of Christmas?

It is doubtful that listening to "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" has ever brought anyone closer to Christ, but God does work in mysterious ways.

First, take a deep breath. Relax, release and listen to classical music!  If you are looking for Christmas spirit, may I first suggest adding "Handel's Messiah" to your media playlist or CD rotation.  When Christmas starts driving you crazy, listen to it. You will be enveloped in God's wonderful gift of music. He gave it Handel, and Handel has given it to the world.  When the traffic is crazy, grab that CD of classical music or tune into your classical radio station.

The mission of the Classical Musical Music Series is to share God's wondrous gift of music with our friends in the Madison, Alabama area.

Merry Christmas!