-There are no solos in the scores for audience members. Please silence your cell phones, larynxes, and Occupy Lowell Lecture Hall protesters.
Mozart- Divertimento in D Major, K. 136
A direct translation of the title of this piece into English proves somewhat elusive, but most Mozart scholars agree that given the essential temperament of this and other works of the Divertimento family, the most accurate rendition is "bass riff" (from the Latin roots divertus, meaning "low voice," and means, meaning "extended solo line"). Indeed, the numerous passages showcasing technical mastery in the cello and bass sections were often considered too difficult by players of Mozart's era, and many renditions included a revised bass line that was less taxing.
We have chosen not to use any such reconstruction in tonight's performance, and so discerning audience members can expect to hear florid and virtuosic lines from the lower strings, especially in the first, second, and third movements. Various passages also include short motifs passed from one section to another, although this is limited to the first violins, second violins, violas, celli, and bass. At very particular times in the first movement (notably, the parts before the second theme, the second theme, and the parts after the second theme) there is a charming yet insistent rhythmic accompaniment. Can you tell which section is playing this accompaniment? To claim a prize for the correct answer, simply inscribe it on the back of a $100 bill or round trip ticket to the Grand Bahama and slip it under the door of Vanderbilt Hall 405, Longwood, MA.
Finally, here is a series of anagrams for Divertimento: Red Nite Vomit, Remitted Vino, Not Ever Timid, Ivied Torment, Motet Diviner.
Coincidence? You decide.
Nick “Nick” Bodnar, M.D. Ph.D., is in his fourth year of fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He enjoys musicals from the 1950s and long walks on the beach.
Beethoven- String Quartet No. 13 in B Flat Major, Op. 130
The Cavatina was named after the local bar in Bonn that Beethoven loved so much. The innkeeper there, Uncle Franklin they called him, would serve Ludwig delicious beverages for free because the composer would sing his new compositions at the piano when he got a little shnazzy with the boys. Keep in mind the dude was deaf. The town thought it was hilarious. Uncle Franklin would get crowds of dudes every time Beethoven got hammered. Things got a little rowdy. Beethoven's drunken antics reached a point of such popularity that one day, one fat Bonn-man too many flabbed his way into the Cavatina bar and dudes got a little claustrophobic. Every townsperson in the village was inside the same 40-by-40 square and things did not smell good. In the midst of the drink spillage and the knifing threats every five seconds, Beethoven noticed that no one was listening to him and so decided to play a little something that would calm these little piggies down. On the spot, armed with nothing but the black-and-white ivory of destiny, Beethoven came up with the musical embodiment of the scene in Lord of the Rings where Boromir gets shot 3 times in the chest with Uruk-hai arrows… 176 years before the movie came out! This is why this man is the greatest composer of all time. Needless to say, the listeners cried me a river, a river that lifted Beethoven up on its salty tear-waves and over the Bonn hill, never to be seen again. 3 days later, a young African tortoise carried a wrapped package to the entrance of Uncle Franklin's bar and exchanged it for his shell, which Uncle Franklin had been keeping hostage. Uncle Franklin opened the package and lo and behold, there was a honeyed chestnut cake at the bottom. Unfortunately, Uncle Franklin assumed that the sheet music entitled “Cavatina for String Quartet” below the cake was a napkin, and to this day, there is a section in the Cavatina that scholars maintain is made up of not notes but just a lot of cake stains. You'll hear it.
Mendelssohn: Octet for Strings in E Flat Major, Op. 20
Jakob Ludwig Shack Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy wrote the Mendelssohn Octet in May 1809, at the tender of age of 4 months. The piece clearly reflects the youthful energy and spontaneity of character only present in a fetus. Reports from his childhood say he had a hard time holding the pen, but that his father, Abraham, devised a system of “Kinder Nomenklatur,” in which young Felix’s gestures and babblings were notated musically. It is said that the key signature of E flat was determined by waking him up from a nap and seeing what note he cried at, and that he indicated the time signature and tempo of each movement by the frequency and vigor with which he sucked his thumb. The first rushing eighth note line in the presto was a transcription of young Felix’s instruction: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!” His sister called the piece “Ball dropping fun.”
To be read aloud during the piece: Sons of Scotland, I am William Wallace. (Boy: William Wallace is 7 feet tall.) Yes, I've heard. Kills men by the hundreds, and if he were here he'd consume the English with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his ass. I am William Wallace, and I see before me an army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight? (Man: Fight against that? No, we will run, and we will live.) Ay, fight and you may die, run and you'll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom. SHAHEED!
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48
In his day, Pyotr Shaquille Tchaikovsky was considered to be an excessively conservative composer, especially by his bestest friend, Johannes Brahms, his far more boisterous contemporary. Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto in B-flat minor was panned as “far too introverted and passionless. No pianist will want to play this thing, ever.” (Rolling Stone Magazine, November edition, 1874).
The Tchaik String Serenade stands as a pinnacle of pan-Tahitian nationalism. Marked triple-pianissississimo, the opening of the first movement draws the audience in--literally, because they can’t hear anything. This introduction is generally thought to be the sparsest introduction in the Western canon, with an extremely minimalist chord structure. The rest of the movement takes like 7 seconds.
The second movement, titled Movement B, is Tchaikovsky’s famous waltz in five-eight time. Although the movement is originally scored for string ensemble and ballet troupe, the choreographical steps were copyrighted by Sammy Davis Jr., and it is illegal to perform any of them to this day. The main theme will be stuck in your head for at least a week, guaranteed.
The third movement begins extremely violently, and is not for the faint-of-heart. The second theme is scientifically proven to soothe crying babies to sleep.
The fourth movement also begins with gusto, charging forward like a rabid Dargason. At the climax of the movement, Tchaikovsky gives us a serene and un-dramatic return to the dry opening theme of the first movement. The piece closes magnificently, so much so that Lady Gaga and Kanye West agreed it is quote: “dope.”
Praise for The Brattle Street Chamber Players:
“Breathtaking in every aspect from their showmanship to their musicality. [The Brattle Street Chamber Players] deserve the highest accolades strung from the harps of muses” –Harvard Arts Review
“It’s a Brattlefield!” –Jordin Sparks
"The Brattle Street Chamber Orchestra does it again… They have swept the audience off of their feet as they have swept the series 4-0 over the defending champions, the L.A. Lakers.” –Charles Barkley
In their youth, Renato Pasolini and Adelina Moretti fall desperately in love despite their difference in social standings – Renato, the son of a miller and Adelina, daughter of the provincial magistrate – at the premiere of Giusepee Verdi’s La Forza del Destino. They found each other talented musicians; they cultivate their love through secret rehearsals under the noses of their overbearing parents. When Lawrencia comes of age and is beset on all sides by gentlemen callers, James vows to escape from his impoverished class through the formation of an elite musical society. An adventure through the turbulent socio-political landscape of post-unification Italy, The Brattle Street Chamber Players is also a story about love of music and love in the midst of travesty.
Now a major motion picture.