April 27th, 7:00pm - Garrett Hall
First Sonata for Flute and Piano
I. Allegro moderato
III. Allegro poco moderato
Sonata for flute Solo, Op. 24
John La Montaine
Impressions Exotiques, Op. 134
I. Idylle champetre (Rustic Idyll)
II. Danse pittoresque (Picturesque Dance)
III. Colibri (Hummingbird)
V. Evocation a Brahma
Fantaisie Brillante on Bizet's Carmen
Born in Policka, Czechoslovakia, a town bordering Bohemia and Moravia,
Bohuslav Martinu (18901959) spent most of his life away from his
homeland. Even so, Czech tradition and folklore deeply influenced
his music, and his style is undisputedly representative of musical
nationalism. The inspiration of Debussy and Albert Roussel, with whom
he studied composition privately, also are apparent in some of Martinu’s
work. From 1923 to 1940, Martinu lived in Paris, with frequent visits
to Prague. However, the rise of fascism and the war forced him to
permanently sever ties with his native country. He sought exile in
the United States in 1941 and settled in New York until 1953, when
he moved to Nice, France. Throughout his creative life, he remained
committed to chamber music composition, producing approximately 90
works in the genre.
The First Sonata for Flute and Piano dates from 1945 and was the last work Martinu composed during his wartime exile in the United States. The title implies that a second sonata was expected, but such a work never came to fruition. The outer movements feature quick and spontaneous motor rhythms characteristic of Martinu, while the middle movement reveals intensity through a lyrical counterpoint. Composed in South Orleans on Cape Cod, the sonata is dedicated to Georges Laurent, then principal flutist of the Boston Symphony. Outside the home in which Martinu was staying on the Cape, the composer found an injured whippoorwill. While he nursed the bird back to health, he enjoyed its song, which is recalled in the final movement of the sonata. Like many of his chamber works, the sonata balances a lyricism that expresses joyful exuberance, with an occasional hint of melancholy, driving rhythmic figures, and technical brilliance.
The compositional style of American composer Samuel Barber(19101981) represents a conscious diversion from that of his contemporaries. While other composers were enthralled with sophistication through unresolved dissonances in a clearly contemporary idiom, Barber remained retrospectively lyrical and romantic, while occasionally experimenting with modern resources. His musical training included study in piano, composition, singing, and conducting at the Curtis Institute. In 1935 he received a Pulitzer traveling scholarship, and subsequently, the American Prix de Rome. He held three Guggenheim fellowships and earned two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his opera, Vanessa (1957), the other for his Piano Concerto (1962). Ever devoted to theatre, his output includes several operas and ballets, as well as significant orchestral works, chamber music, and numerous vocal pieces. Much of his music is expressively melodic, perhaps influenced by his early vocal study, and is uniquely idiomatic for the instruments for which he wrote, all the while requiring virtuoso technique.
Canzone for Flute and Piano is Barber’s own adaptation of the middle movement of his Piano Concerto. In the full orchestral score, the flute introduces the songlike theme; hence, it readily lends itself to an obvious reworking for flute and piano. The lyrical work epitomizes the expressive qualities of Barber’s twentieth-century romanticism.
A native of Oak Park, Illinois, John La Montaine (b. 1920)
studied compoition at the Eastman School of Music with Bernard Rogers
and Howard Hanson, then continued his education at the Juilliard School
and in Paris as a student of Nadia Boulanger. He also enjoyed a career
as a touring concert pianist, performing with the NBC Symphony under
Arturo Toscanini. After his studies in Paris, he devoted his efforts
primarily to composition until his late 30s, when he began a career
as a stockbroker. He had all but given up composition when, in 1959,
he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his Piano Concerto, Op. 9. Since
then he has composed full-time, receiving numerous commissions and
enjoying performances of his works by the New York Philharmonic, The
Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles
Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The Sonata for Flute Solo, Op. 24, demonstrates a contemporary but accessible idiom, with clear formal structures, melodic expressiveness, and appealing contrasts. The descriptive movement titles capture the essence of each movement’s character, from the exploratory “Questioning” of the first movement, to the “Jaunty” 3/8 meter of the second. The third movement, “Introspective,” returns to a more placid aesthetic, followed by the accented and driving rhythms of the final “Rakish.” The work effectively exhibits the timbral and expressive capabilities of the flute through a wide range of dynamics and tempos, while exploiting the technical prowess of the performer through varying articulation styles, meter changes, and the utilization of the full range of the instrument.
German Sigfrid Karg-Elert (18771933) not only enjoyed an active compositional life, but he also was a distinguished performer of the organ and a similar instrument, the Kunstharmonium. He developed an original compositional style influenced by Baroque music, but with significant embellishment utilizing impressionistic devices. His music is brilliant and virtuosic, much of it unknown to modern audiences. He is perhaps best known to flutists for his 30 Caprices, Op. 107, a series of etudes he created to fulfill the need to connect existing educational literature with the complexity of modern orchestral music.
The Impressions Exotiques, Op. 134, written during the First World War and after Karg-Elert’s self-described “Spiritual Collapse,” are comprised of five character pieces foreshadowing Roussel’s Joueurs de Flûte, composed ten years later. The variety within these pieces is vast, from French impressionism to German expressionism. The relative melodic simplicity of the “Idylle champêtre” is balanced by the modalism of the “Danse pittoresque.” The frenetic energy of “Colibri,” scored for piccolo, well represents the hummingbird in Karg-Elert’s unique idiom. The Asian references to “Lotus” and “Evocation à Brahma” in the last two movements are typical of exoticism in art and music of the time. The score provides additional clues to the work’s influences: the fourth movement indicates that “The lotus-eater is described in the Odyssey as one who lived on the lotus plant in a drugged, indolent state,” while the fifth movement examines the “Calling forth the divine reality of the universe who was a member of the highest caste, originally composed of priests. The personification of divine reality in its creative aspect as a member of the Hindu triad.”
François Borne (18401920) was the Professeur de Flûte at the Conservatoire in Toulouse at the end of the nineteenth century. He was well known in the early twentieth century as an essayist on flute design and is credited in part with the invention of many devices to improve the Boehm-system flute still in use today, including the split-E mechanism found on many modern flutes. A composer of many virtuoso showpieces for the instrument, Borne wrote the Fantaisie Brilliante on Bizet’s Carmen in 1900, his only flute work that survives today. Although the piece is quite liberal in its adaptation of Bizet’s material, it features many of its beloved themes, including the familiar Habanera, which is followed by variations, the Gypsy song from Act II, and late in the work but not forgotten, the Toreador March. This rousing work highlights both the flute and piano as virtuosi partners.
Beth Chandler, Assistant Professor of Flute at James Madison University, enjoys an active career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and teacher. As a soloist, she was the top prizewinner of the 1999 Flute Talk Competition, for which she was featured on the cover and in an interview in the July/August 1999 issue of Flute Talk Magazine. She was also the winner of the 1999 Myrna Brown Artist Competition. Ms. Chandler has been a semifinalist in the Concert Artists Guild 2001 International Competition in New York City, 2000 National Flute Association (NFA) Piccolo Artist Competition, and the 1998 NFA Young Artist Competition, in addition to being a prizewinner in the NFA Orchestral Audition and Masterclass Performers Competitions. She has performed at the NFA Conventions in Washington, D.C., Columbus, Phoenix, Orlando, Boston, and Los Angeles. She has won numerous other awards and honors and has performed throughout the United States and Europe. As a Fulbright Scholar in 1993-94, Ms. Chandler studied with Trevor Wye in Kent, England as one of six students selected internationally. Solo performances have included appearances as soloist with the James Madison University Wind Symphony, as Guest Artist at the 2003 Tennessee Tech Flute Day, 2001 Florida Flute Fair, and the 2000 Texas Flute Festival, as well as concerto performances with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra. She has also presented masterclasses and workshops throughout the United States.
Ms. Chandler performs frequently as a member of the Montpelier Wind Quintet, the faculty woodwind quintet in-residence at James Madison University. The ensemble presents both on- and off-campus concerts several times annually. Recent performances include clinics at the 2003 Midwest Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago and the 2003 Virginia Music Educators’ Association, and featured concerts at the 2002 NFA Convention in Washington, D.C. and for the Thursday Morning Music Club in Roanoke, Virginia.
Ms. Chandler was previously on the faculty of the University of Florida as Visiting Assistant Professor of Flute. She also has held positions as a teaching assistant at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, as well as faculty positions at the New England Conservatory Extension Division and the Boston Music Education Collaborative. Ms. Chandler has maintained active private studios in Cincinnati, Boston, Waco, and Austin, Texas.
A native Texan, Ms. Chandler is currently completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Flute Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, with a cognate area in Arts Administration. She received a Master of Music with Academic Honors from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music magna cum laude from Baylor University. She was also the 1998-99 Mary Louise Remy Endowed P.E.O. Scholar. She is an active member of the NFA and the Flute Society of Washington, for which she served as Program Chair of the 2004 Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair.
Her principal teachers include Bradley Garner, Jack Wellbaum (piccolo), Paula Robison, Trevor Wye, and Helen Ann Shanley.
Gabriel Dobner, professor of piano, accompanying and chamber music at James Madison University, received his Bachelors Degree in piano performance from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, where he studied with Ludmilla Lazar. He then went on to earn his Masters and Doctoral Degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington, where he worked with Leonard Hokanson, eventually becoming his teaching assistant.
Dr. Dobner’s first trip to Germany in 1991 included chamber music concerts with various members of the Villa Musica Chamber Music Ensemble. 1993 marked the beginning of his eight years in Germany, after having been awarded a German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD) to study lied accompanying in Munich with Professor Helmut Deutsch. The following year Mr. Dobner won the special accompanying prize in the International Hans Pfitzner Lieder Competition in Munich.
While living in Augsburg, Gabriel Dobner quickly established himself as one of Germany’s most sought after collaborative pianists performing regularly with such singers as Cornelia Kallisch, René Kollo, Kevin McMillan, John Wesley Wright, Alan Bennett, and Uta Buchheister. These collaborations led to performances in many of the major concert venues in Europe, including Munich, Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Cologne, Vienna and Zürich. Dr. Dobner has also performed extensively in the United States, Canada and Japan.
Gabriel Dobner has recorded for both the Ottavo and MGD labels. His first recording for MDG, consisting of songs of Liszt, Dvorák and Mahler with Cornelia Kallisch, won high praise from BBC Music Magazine, Fono Forum, as well as the West German Radio in Cologne, who referred to Gabriel Dobner as a “master among Lieder pianists”.
Dr. Dobner joined the faculty at James Madison University in the fall of 2001. Previous teaching engagements include Indiana University and the Nürnberg/Augsburg Hochschule für Musik in Germany. He has also conducted master classes in chamber music and song repertoire at universities in Munich, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Karlsruhe, as well as in Chicago.
For more information contact Marcy Day at
phone: (434) 924-6492