Friday, June 11, 2021 at 8 pm
Download a copy of the program here.
close & personal | chamber music among friends & generations
Monica Scott, cello
Matt Ingalls, clarinets
Hadley McCarroll, piano
Magali Pelletey, violin
Raquel Matthews, cello
Estella Zhou, piano
George Antheil (1900–1959)
Printemps for violin “A little piece for Olga, London, April 1924”
Magali Pelletey, violin
Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959)
Duo No. 1 (1927)
I. Preludium – Andante moderato
II. Rondo – Allegro con brio
Magali Pelletey, violin; Raquel Matthews, cello
Matt Ingalls (b. 1970)
Duo n.2 v.2 (2021)
Elliott Carter (1908–2012)
Monica Scott (b. 1965)
17 Generations (2021) for bass clarinet and cello
Matt Ingalls, clarinets
Monica Scott, cello
Paul Dresher (b. 1951)
Family Matters (2014)
I. Close and Personal
III. Mood Swings
Monica Scott, cello; Hadley McCarroll, piano
Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) arr., Matt Ingalls
Ebony Concerto (1945)
I. Allegro moderato
III. Moderato, Con moto, Moderato, Vivo
Matt Ingalls, clarinet and bass clarinet
Hadley McCarroll, piano
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975)
Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 67 (1944)
I. Allegro con brio
Magali Pelletey, violin
Raquel Matthews, cello
Estella Zhou, piano
About the music
George Antheil Printemps for Violin
George Antheil was a child prodigy on the piano and took Europe by storm when he moved there at age 21. At the suggestion of Stravinsky, he moved from Berlin to Paris, where he surrounded himself with many famous artists, musicians and writers, including Satie, Pound, and Hemingway. He loved futurist music and exploring new sounds, using mechanical instruments and even machinery in his compositions. Later, his music became more tonal as he worked almost exclusively for film and television in Hollywood.
Printemps is a miniature composed for violinist Olga Rudge. Ezra Pound had commissioned Antheil to compose three violin sonatas for Olga (his mistress). This haunting little melody is like a musical postcard. -note by Magali Pelletey
Bohuslav Martinů Duo no. 1
Bohuslav Martinů was born in the bell tower of the St. Jakub Church in Polička, Bohemia. His music has been compared to Prokofiev and Bartók for its innovative incorporation of folk music. As a young man Martinů was not a good student; however, he was obsessed with analyzing new music, attending concerts, and absorbing everything around him. He was particularly fascinated by French Impressionism, ancient choral hymns, jazz, neo-classicism and surrealism, and was a great fan of Stravinsky’s music. During World War II, Martinů was able to leave France and settle in the US.
Duo no. 1, written while a student in Paris under Albert Roussel, incorporates many of these elements. The opening Praeludium is quietly introspective and is followed by a contrasting spirited Rondo. His intertwining chromatic lines throughout create a distinct color. Although this is an early work, we can see Martinů developing his use of rhythm, which will later define his artistic style. -note by Magali Pelletey
Matt Ingalls Duo #2, v.2 (2021)
Duo #2, v.2 is a structured improvisation created specifically for this concert.
Elliott Carter Rigmarole
Elliott Carter is internationally recognized as one of the most influential American voices in classical music, and a leading figure of modernism in the 20th and 21st centuries. He was hailed as “America’s great musical poet” by Andrew Porter and noted as “one of America’s most distinguished creative artists in any field” by his friend Aaron Copland. Carter’s prolific career spanned over 75 years, with more than 150 pieces, ranging from chamber music to orchestral works to opera, often marked with a sense of wit and humor. He received numerous honors and accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize on two occasions, Germany’s Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize and the Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award. Carter was the first composer to receive the United States National Medal of Arts, and is one of a handful of composers inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Born in New York City, Elliott Carter was encouraged towards a career in classical music by his friend and mentor Charles Ives. He studied under composers Walter Piston and Gustav Holst while attending Harvard University, and later traveled to Paris, studying with Nadia Boulanger. Following his studies in France, he returned to New York and devoted his time to composing and teaching, holding posts over the years at St. John’s College, the Peabody Conservatory, Yale University, Cornell University, and The Juilliard School, among others. Carter had a signature rhythmic and harmonic language, which he continued to refine to the very end of his life. Igor Stravinsky hailed his Double Concerto for harpsichord, piano, and two chamber orchestras (1961) and Piano Concerto (1967) as “masterpieces.” A creative burst of imagination began in earnest during the 1980s, and continued at an astonishing rate—he composed more than sixty works after the age of ninety. His final work, Epigrams (2012) for piano trio, premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival. -notes from the Amphion Foundation page on Elliott Carter
Rigmarole was composed in 2011 for bass clarinetist Virgil Blackwell and cellist Fred Sherry to play at a concert celebrating Carter’s 103rd Birthday. The piece is made up of four contrasting sections – each one longer than the last – that unfold in a continuous sweep. -EC
Monica Scott 17 Generations
While cooped up during the pandemic, I began cursorily delving into family history. An email exchange with a 5th cousin revealed that on my mother’s side, we are directly related to the Rabbi Loew, MaHaRal of Prague (1520–1609). Besides being credited with the invention of the Golem, he appears to have been a remarkable and influential scholar. Using the family tree, I came up with an idea based on the harmonic series, using B flat as the fundamental—that is the lowest note on the bass clarinet, and also the lowest note on the cello … when you tune the C string down to B flat. Interwoven into the dense, layered texture are snippets of a Czech folksong that was popular at the turn of the sixteenth century, and some phrases by Salamone Rossi, a well-known Italian Jewish composer of the late Renaissance, whose music was widely played throughout Europe. -note by Monica Scott
Paul Dresher Family Matters
Paul Dresher is an internationally active composer noted for his ability to integrate diverse musical influences into his own coherent and unique personal style. He pursues many forms of musical expression including experimental opera/music theater, chamber and orchestral composition, live instrumental electro-acoustic music, musical instrument invention, and scores for theater and dance. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition in 2006-07, he has received commissions from the Library of Congress, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA, the Kronos Quartet, the San Francisco Symphony, Zeitgeist, San Francisco Ballet, Seattle Chamber Players, Present Music, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, and Chamber Music America. He has performed or had his works performed throughout the world at venues including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Festival d’Automne in Paris, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and the Minnesota Opera. A major focus of Dresher’s work has been the Paul Dresher Ensemble. Formed in 1984, this group commissions, performs and tours a diverse repertory of new chamber works from a wide range of contemporary composers, it produces and tours new opera/music theater productions; it collaborates with a broad range of dance and theater artists and organizations to create and perform new work based in contemporary music. The group has commissioned and/or premiered works by 45 different composers, including four (John Adams, John Luther Adams, Anthony Davis and David Lang) who subsequently went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. Recordings of works by Dresher and the Dresher Ensemble are available at https://minmax.bandcamp.com/ Web site: www.dresherensemble.org
Family Matters was commissioned and composed for TwoSense, the amazing duo of cellist Ashley Bathgate and pianist Lisa Moore, with the support of New Music USA/Meet the Composer. Each of the three movements was composed in a different period of work. The second movement – Close & Personal – was composed first, in the summer of 2011 and was in this first iteration the second movement of Low, Close, Vast, with collaboration with architect Michael Benedikt that was produced at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2011. The first movement – Catch & Release – started as a short section of the score for Times Bones (2013), an evening-length collaboration with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. In the summer of 2014, this movement was greatly expanded and the final movement – Mood Swings – was composed in its entirety. The complete three movement work was premiered by Lisa and Ashley at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, NY on October 26th, 2014. -Paul Dresher
Igor Stravinsky Ebony Concerto
Igor Stravinsky is not only one of the twentieth century’s greatest composers, but also certainly one of its most many-sided. His work touched on every significant tendency in the century’s music, from the vibrant neo-nationalism of his early ballets, through the more abrasive, experimental nationalism of the First World War years, the neo-classicism of the twenties, thirties and forties, and the studies of old music which produced masterpieces like Agon in the fifties and led on to a highly personal reinterpretation of the serial method of Schoenberg. Along the way, Stravinsky came into contact with every kind of mainstream and fringe tendency, from the noisy Futurism of pre-Mussolini Italy, to the popular music of forties Hollywood and the spiky avant-gardism of Boulez and Stockhausen: and he took something, however obliquely and transformed, from all of them. But, though a mirror of his age, he never let it dictate his way of writing. Stravinsky established himself from the start not just as an innovator, but as one for whom clarity, directness and listenability were prime virtues.
Composed for Woody Herman and his band, whose recordings of Bijou, Goosey Gander, and Caledonia Stravinsky especially admired, the vividly characterful Ebony Concerto is by turns bluesy and rambunctious. The composer Alexandre Tansman, upon observing Stravinsky simultaneously at work on the Ebony Concerto and Symphony in Three Movements, wrote: “It was with surprise as well as intense admiration that I saw the greatest composer of our age, and one of the greatest of all times, put himself to school like a student to study this new problem, trying to extract all the latent possibilities from this new combination of instruments, working away at it with the same conscientious concentration that he had applied a few months previously to his great Symphony.” -notes by Stephen Walsh and Hadley McCarroll
Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Trio in E minor
Dmitri Shostakovich was a leading composer of the 20th century and Soviet Russia’s most important symphonist. His adult life was lived entirely inside the USSR, and his music was deeply affected by political events there—especially under Stalin. He studied at Petrograd Conservatoire under Glazunov, graduating as a brilliant pianist and composer. His early works, including the first four symphonies, are dissonant, colorful, satirical, and theatrical, reflecting his enthusiasm for 1920s modernism. During World War II, his 7th Symphony, the ‘Leningrad’, became an emblem all over the allied world for the struggle against Fascist Germany. In 1948 he was subjected to a humiliating campaign of official persecution and vilification by the Soviet Government, which continued up to and beyond the death of Stalin in 1953. In 1960 he was persuaded, against his wishes, to join the Communist Party–a low point in his life marked by his composition of the 8th Quartet as ‘an obituary for myself.’ Continual illness in his last years is reflected in a preoccupation with death, shown in pieces like 14th Symphony and Michelangelo Suite for voice and orchestra. 15 symphonies and string quartets are the peaks of his output, but his violin, cello and piano concertos are much admired and performed. His music characterized by a powerful sense of mockery and irony mixed with grandeur and despair, and absolute mastery of large-scale forms.
The magnificent Piano Trio in E minor was written in memory of Ivan Ivanovich Sollertinsky, who died in 1944, at the age of only forty-one, of a heart attack while in evacuation in Siberia with the Leningrad Philharmonic, which he was then serving as artistic director. Sollertinsky was a brilliant musicologist, music critic, linguist, professor (at Leningrad University), and administrator who was close friends with Shostakovich, and had stood by him through the darkest days. “I cannot express in words all of the grief I felt when I received the news of the death of Ivan Ivanovich … who was my closest friend,” Shostakovich wrote to Sollertinsky’s widow. “I owe all my education to him.” Shostakovich had already begun thinking about writing a piano trio, but Sollertinsky’s death seems to have focused his commitment to the project. The death camps of Majdanek and Treblinka had recently been discovered in the wake of the Nazis’ retreat from the eastern front—and its macabre aspects surely evoke the extremes of joy and bitterness that must have been juxtaposed in daily life at such a time. The music flits between moments of transparent neo-Baroque happiness, folk-like depictions of Russian life, muted reflection, and even angry defiance. Ian MacDonald, writing in The New Shostakovich, says that “horrified by stories that SS guards had made their victims dance beside their own graves, Shostakovich created a directly programmatic image of it.” Written as a memorial in part for Sollertinsky, in part for all the oppressed of the world Shostakovich mourned, this trio would eventually be pressed into service for the composer’s own obsequies. When Shostakovich died and his body was honored by the public which lined up to pay tribute in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the slow movement of the E minor Piano Trio was one of the works played to accompany the sad proceedings. —notes by James M. Keller, Gerard McBurney/Boosey & Hawkes and Hadley McCarroll
About the musicians
Monica Scott has performed throughout the United States, in almost every European country, Argentina, Canada and South Korea, engaging audiences with her energetic, eloquent playing. After an artist residency at the Banff Centre (Canada) in 1994, Monica performed for four seasons with the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa in Portugal, with whom she also appeared as concerto soloist. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1998, Monica has been actively promoting new music, as a member of the composer/improviser collective sfSoundGroup, and performing with Composers’ Inc., the Composers Alliance, and in numerous chamber music groups; she was the cellist of the award-winning San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet from 2001–2005. In 2006 Monica formed the cello-piano duo martha & monica with pianist Hadley McCarroll. They have recorded music from Beethoven to Carter and presented many concerts at Old First Concerts pairing challenging contemporary works with classical masterpieces. Monica’s compositions have been performed both by martha & monica and sfSound; her aesthetic is to draw the listener into an intimate sound-world, where the act of listening brings performer and audience together. Monica is also a devoted teacher, with a busy private studio alongside music history and ensemble classes at the Crowden School in Berkeley.
Reviled for his “shapeless sonic tinkering” by the Los Angeles Times, Oakland musician Matt Ingalls (b. 1970) is a composer, clarinetist, concert producer, and computer music programmer. Ingalls is most active as a clarinetist, specializing in contemporary and experimental music. He is a prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay Area Improv Scene, and is known for his “composerly” solo improvisations that explore extended techniques on his instrument that interact with the acoustic space, often as combination tones. Ingalls has worked with a diverse range of composers such as Mark Applebaum, Anthony Braxton, John Butcher, Helmut Lachenmann, George Lewis, Miya Masaoka, Meredith Monk, Hyo-shin Na, Pauline Oliveros, Stefano Scodanibbio, Chinary Ung, and numerous Bay Area composers. Ingalls has written compositions for acoustic instruments, voices, computer generated tape, interactive electronics, dance, theater, and freely improvising big band. His compositions have been recorded and performed in the United States and abroad, receiving many awards and recognitions. In 1994, he received 1st Finalist in the Bourges Concours International de Musique Electronique Electroacoustic (Categorie Humor – Puy). The following year, Ingalls was awarded the very first ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Commission Prize. Ingalls has also received New Langton Art’s “Bay Area Award,” two California Artist Honorary Fellowship Residency at the Djerassi Artist Program, two A.H. Miller prizes, and numerous Meet The Composer Fund/Creative Connections Grants. Ingalls is the founder and co-director of sfSound, a new music series, ensemble, and internet radio station devoted to new ideas and traditions of experimental music, performance art, live electronic music, Bay Area composition, and the various facets of contemporary improvisation. sfSound produces an average of ten concerts a year, mostly taking place at the ODC Theater in the Mission District of San Francisco. In 2008, sfSound received an “ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming” from Chamber Music America.
Pianist Hadley McCarroll, hailed for her “… lively and exhilarating …” pianism (San Francisco Classical Voice), is a well-known San Francisco Bay Area-based collaborative and solo pianist. She has performed in the United States and internationally with, among others: Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet at the Chaillot Theater, Paris and the Joyce Theater in New York City, the Royal Danish Opera, and San Francisco Opera. She has enjoyed appearances with the Festival del Sole in Napa Valley, the Santa Rosa Symphony, and Composer’s Inc. She has frequently performed with sfSound, most recently in works of modern Italian masters, featuring Ravinia Festival conductor John Kennedy. As the pianist of the cello/piano duo martha & monica, she recorded a CD at Skywalker Ranch, and produced two 3-concert festivals in San Francisco: one entitled Out of The Box, featuring several premieres, and a second year-long residency here at Old First Concerts entitled Turns of Centuries. Equally at home as a soloist, Hadley has given performances ranging from Sonatas and Interludes by John Cage at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – as part of sfSoundSeries’ Cage Festival – recitals of Beethoven, Ligeti, Liszt and Schumann, to a recital of contemporary viola works with Kronos violist Hank Dutt. Ms. McCarroll received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and maintains an active teaching and coaching studio in Oakland, where she resides with her husband and son.
The Nautilus Trio formed at the Crowden Summer Chamber Workshop in 2018. They enjoyed working together so much that they decided to stay together. Since then, they have worked on Schubert’s B-flat trio, Beethoven’ ‘Ghost’ trio, Turina’s Piano Trio no. 1, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio no. 2, Brahms’ Piano Trio no.1, and Smetana’s Trio in G minor with James Jaffe and Eugene Sor. They also have had masterclasses and coachings with Bonnie Hampton, Jeff LaDeur, and Eric Chin. They have performed at Chaparral House, the Berkeley Piano Club, and various Crowden events. Magali Pelletey has studied with Heghine Boloyan for the past nine years, and this coming fall will head off to the University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music for biology and violin with Juliana Athayde. Both Raquel Matthews and Estella Zhou will be seniors at Berkeley High School. Estella began her piano studies with Susanne Stolcke and is now a student of John McCarthy in San Francisco; she will be joining him at a music festival in Italy this summer. Raquel has studied with Cathy Allen and is currently working with Poppea Dorsam.