Tuesday July 26 2022 • 7:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre

MOZART Flute Quartet in D Major
MOZART Clarinet Quintet in A Major
MENDELSSOHN Octet in E-Flat Major

Jacob Ashworth, violin
Thomas Carroll, clarinet
Tatiana Chulochnikova, violin
Tomà Iliev, violin
YuEun Gemma Kim, violin
Sandra Miller, flute
Ramón Negrón-Pérez, viola
Yvonne Smith, viola
Gretchen Claassen, violoncello
Kenneth Slowik, violoncello

Nothing compares to the the magical sounds that Classical period instruments bring to this tremendous music!”
Listening to superb chamber music is an exquisite experience unlike any other. Mozart's genius shines through in his Flute Quartet with refinement and grace at every turn. And one of the most alluring sounds of Classical period instruments is created by the clarinet. World-renowned clarinetist Thomas Carroll delivers the silken and velvety sonorities of Mozart's Quintet. And no work from the Classical era has ever eclipsed the sheer excitement and brilliance of Mendelssohn's breathtaking Octet.

• Highlights •

When Mozart was 20 years old, he became captivated by a Mademoiselle Gustle, the daughter of a flautist with the widely celebrated Mannheim Court Orchestra who then introduced Mozart to a patron who would commission a few simple concertos and quartets for flute. Mozart began to work on the commission, but soon lost interest, writing to his father Leopold, “I become quite powerless whenever I am forced to write for an instrument which I cannot bear.” Perhaps one reason for Mozart's disdain for the flute is the fact that — although he mastered many instruments — he never got the upper hand with the flute. But the irony is that, when he did compose for the flute, his efforts were astonishingly successful. For example, one of the most sublime moments in all of Mozart’s music is the cadenza at the end of the “Et incarnatus est” movement from the Great Mass in C Minor scored for flute, oboe, bassoon, and soprano. It is exquisite on all counts. And certainly the Flute Quartet in D Major on this program is testimony to Mozart’s extra industriousness and care on behalf of one of the most traditionally “royal” instruments.

At the end of Mozart's short life, he composed the Clarinet Quintet in A Major, a work of sublime beauty. It was one of a handful of pieces for a remarkable clarinetist named Anton Stadler. Mozart and Stadler had much in common: Both were challenged by financial matters and sufficiency, and both apparently had their conniving sides. Whereas Mozart referred to Stadler just after having met him in 1781 as a “poor beggar,” the tone of his comment seems familiar and even appreciative. The young clarinetist (three years older than Mozart) played beautifully, and the arrival in 1788 of a new clarinet — that would become known as the basset clarinet — with an extended low range was the inspiration for Mozart’s extraordinary Clarinet Quintet. Tension and contrasting hopefulness, a kind of consoling beauty, supple melodies, and the captivating set of variations on a theme in the fourth movement all reveal that very Mozartean quality of almost simplistic lightness of mood and that seemingly detached expression of happiness that might have represented more of an ideal to Mozart than a portrayal of his own earnest satisfaction.

When Mendelssohn was sixteen years old, he and his family moved into a palatial Berlin residence comprised of a mansion, courtyard, summerhouse, stables, and gardens. It became known as a meeting place for philosophers, classicists, scientists, music critics and theorists, actors, and poets including Heinrich Heine. Surrounded by such inspirations, in October of that year the young Felix completed his Octet in E-flat Major. It is true that other great composers had composed impressive amounts of music by the age of sixteen. Mozart and Schubert come to mind immediately. But none had composed a work of such undeniable maturity. Each movement holds the listener breathless from the expansive first movement to the final Presto in which, one by one, the voices enter into a frenzy of perpetual motion, sometimes handing off melodies at breakneck speed. It is astonishingly bravura. Perhaps the crown of the octet is the third movement marked Scherzo. A verse from Goethe’s Faust was its inspiration: Cloud train and fog veil, illuminate from above. Air in the leaves, and wind in the reed, and everything is scattered. Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny, wrote of Mendelssohn’s description of the importance he placed upon the Scherzo: The whole piece is to be played staccato and pianissimo, the tremulandos coming in now and then, the trills passing away with the quickness of lightning; everything new and strange, and at the same time most insinuating and pleasing, one feels so near the world of spirits, carried away in the air, half inclined to snatch up a broomstick and follow the aerial procession. At the end, the first violin takes a flight with a feather-like lightness, and — all has vanished.” And absolutely nothing compares to the the magical sounds that Classical period instruments bring to this tremendous music!
American Bach Soloists Festival
Saturday July 23 2022 • 8:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre
Bach • Handel • Telemann • Vivaldi

Sunday July 24 2022 • 4:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre
Bach • Locatelli • Telemann

Tuesday July 26 2022 • 7:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre
Mozart • Mendelssohn

Wednesday July 27 2022 • 5:00 p.m. • The Green Room
Chamber Music by Bach for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Bassoon, 'Cello & Harpsichord

Thursday July 28 2022 • 7:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre
Nimm fünf • Choro a la Bach • Don’t Stop this Train • Suite in D • Bach Bourrées

Friday July 29 2022 • 7:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre
Bach • Handel • Rameau • Vivaldi

Saturday July 30 2022 • 7:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre
Handel's dramatic oratorio "Belshazzar"

Sunday July 31 2022 • 4:00 p.m. • Herbst Theatre
Bach • Handel • Telemann
Merola 2022 Summer Festival
July 9-August 20
The historic summer kicks off with A Celebration of American Song on July 9 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall. This exuberant recital, curated by Grammy Award winner Craig Terry, celebrates the rich legacy of music by icons including Jerome Kern, Harold Alen, Jule Styne, Frank Loesser, Harry Warren, Cole Porter, Meredith Willson, Fats Waller, Hoagy Carmichael, Peggy Lee, and immortal songwriting teams such as George & Ira Gershwin and John Kander & Fred Ebb. Take a journey through the Great American Songbook with the 2022 Merola artists.

Merola will showcase lush, lyrical, and romantic works by Latin American and Spanish composers in the Schwabacher Summer Concert, July 14 and 16 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall. The young artists perform vibrant operatic scenes by distinguished composers that include Daniel Catán, Manuel de Falla, Osvaldo Golijov, and Amadeo Vives. Featuring a full orchestra, the Schwabacher Summer Concert explores the invaluable contributions that these composers have made to the world of classical music. Jorge Parodi, conducts while Jose Maria Condemi (Merola ’99/’00) directs.

The summer festival continues, August 4 and 6 at the Blue Shield of California Theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, with a full staged production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), conducted by Kelly Kuo. Taking the form of a singspiel, a comic opera with spoken dialogue, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) evokes intimacy, mysticism, and wit — with a dollop of humor — set to musical brilliance. Director Gina Lapinski helms this family friendly production, bringing the work’s colorful characters to life — from a handsome young prince to a silly bird-catching sidekick and the mysterious Queen of the Night.

The season ends on a high note wit the Merola Grand Finale, August 20, a concert featuring the 31 young artists of the 2022 program performing opera’s most thrilling arias and ensembles. This celebratory return to the War Memorial Opera House stage will highlight the dedication, passion, and extraordinary talent of opera’s exciting new voice. The performance is directed by 2022 Merola Stage Director Matthew J. Schulz and conducted by Patrick Furrer.
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