Bruges Places of Interest

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the ninth of the series, is on places of interest in Bruges.


Canals, and 13th century Belfry tower

Canals, and 13th century Belfry tower

The third concert of the tour will be in Bruges, Belgium — one of the most delightful cities in Europe. I first visited at age 13 on a school trip, and later on numerous occasions as a musician performing in the Flanders Festival as a member of The English Concert, and Academy of Ancient Music. The MAfestival Brugge, hosts an internationally renowned festival of early music and historically informed performances each summer, which includes a three-year cycle of competitions for harpsichord, organ, pianoforte and other period instruments, vocals, and baroque ensembles.

The medieval center of the city, sometimes known as ‘Venice of the North’, is compact, and it is very easy to stroll through the squares, along the canals, and over the many bridges, to places of interest. A boat trip along the canals would also be a great experience. Bruges is less than 1 hour by train from Brussels, and 25 minutes from the coastal towns Blankenberge, Knokke, and Zeebrugge.

Market Square - Markt

Market Square – Markt

Market Square – Markt, is in the historic centre of Bruges and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At one end of the Markt is the city’s most famous landmark – the 13th century Belfry – Belfort van Brugge, which has a 47-bell carillon at the top of the 272ft. tower. The city still employs a full-time carillonneur, who gives free concerts on a regular basis.

Madonna & Child, Michelangelo

Madonna & Child, Michelangelo

The Church of Our Lady – Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, contains Michelangelo’s Madonna & Child, c.1504, which shares similarities with his earlier ‘Pieta’ in St. Peter’s, Rome. Jesus stands upright only loosely restrained by Mary’s left hand, and appears to be about to step away from his mother. Mary does not cling to her son or even look at him, but gazes down and away. The work is notable in that it was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime.

Beguinage - Begijnhof Brugge

Beguinage – Begijnhof Brugge

The Beguinage – Begijnhof Brugge, founded c.1244, was originally a convent, later becoming a home for lay religious women who lived in community without taking vows or retiring from the world. The complex includes a gothic beguinage church, and thirty white painted houses dating from the late 16th century. The first Beguine house, next to the entrance, is furnished as a museum, and the exhibition includes paintings, 17th and 18th century furniture, and lacework – for which the city is famous.

Other Places of Interest:

  • Groeninge Museum has an important collection of Flemish art, including 15th century paintings by Jan Van Eyck, and Hans Memling.
  • Gruuthuse Museum — the early 15th century building includes a display of both the interior of a house of a rich family as it would have been in the late Middle Ages, and a collection of everyday tools and utensils. On display are furniture, bobbin lace, objects in gold and silver, weapons, musical instruments, and ceramics.
  • Folklore Museum — Museum voor Volkskunde.A collection of renovated 17th century, single room dwellings. Displays include a classroom, millinery, pharmacy, confectionery shop, grocery shop, and bedroom interior; with a collection of Bruges lace on the upper floor.
  • Old Saint John’s Hospital — Sint Jansspitaal, is located next to the Church of Our Lady and the Bonifacius Bridge, and contains some of Europe’s oldest surviving hospital buildings. The hospital grew during the Middle Ages and was a place where sick pilgrims and travellers were cared for. The site was later expanded with the building of a monastery and convent.
  • Holy Savior Cathedral — Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. The construction of the present Gothic church started in 1250, and took nearly a century to complete. The neo-Romanesque tower was added c.1840. The pipe organ of the cathedral was originally built in the early 18th century, and subsequently expanded in the 20th century.
  • Choco-Story — Chocolate Museum is located in the sixteenth-century “Huis de Crone” building in central Bruges. Visitors can watch chocolate being made, and there is a section of the museum is dedicated to the health benefits of chocolate – considered by many to be the best chocolate in the world.
  • Bruges Beer Experience — Beer Museum – visitors learn about beer history, sample ingredients, & taste brews of varied styles.
  • Diksmuids Boterhuis — Excellent cheese shop & Deli, Geldmuntstraat 23
  • Walking tour of Bruges — Self guided: https://theportablewife.com/travel/destinations/one-day-in-bruges-walking-tour/
(best to cut the sound)

History of Cambridge

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the eighth of the series, is on the history of Cambridge.


Map of Cambridge 1575

Map of Cambridge, 1575

The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

What was to become the city of Cambridge  became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town Charter was granted in the 12th century.

Cambridge is located on the River Cam approximately 50 miles north of London. The city is located in an area of level and relatively low-lying terrain just south of  the Fens which varies between only 20 – 79 ft above sea level.The town was thus historically surrounded by low lying wetlands that have been drained as the town has expanded. The University of Cambridge, of which Trinity College is part, was founded in 1209, and now consists of 31 colleges.

Cambridge aerial view

Aerial view of modern Cambridge

Cambridge University famous alumni/alumna include: Monty Python members: Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, & John Cleese; Olivia Colman (The Favorite, & Fleabag), Julian Fellows (Downton Abbey), Stephen Fry (Jeeves & Wooster), Hugh Laurie (House), and Emma Thompson (Love Actually, & Sense & Sensibility).

Sir Isaac Newton, FRS – mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, alchemist, author, Fellow of Trinity College and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, is the most famous college alumni. In his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1687, Newton formulated the Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until it was superseded by the Theory of Relativity, and shares credit with Leibniz for developing calculus.

Cambridge Market

Cambridge Market

There has been a market in a square close by the colleges since 6th century established by Saxons. The present-day market takes place Monday-Saturday 10:00am –  4:00pm.Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope in 1668, and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism separates white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. Surprisingly, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study to the pseudo-science of alchemy.

Cambridge Botanical Gardens

Cambridge Botanical Gardens

Rivalry between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge is a phenomenon going back many centuries. One of the continuing manifestations of this rivalry is the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (rowing), which has taken place annually on the river Thames in London since the mid-19th century. Cambridge, in light blue, has won the men’s race 84 times and Oxford, in dark blue, 80 times. The annual Oxford and Cambridge Women’s Boat Race dates from 1964, with Cambridge winning 44 races, and Oxford 30.

 

Baroque Music in Cambridge

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the seventh of the series, is on Baroque music in Cambridge.


The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

King's College Chapel ChoirMany of the Cambridge University Colleges have a long history of choral singing, with King’s College Choir probably being the best known. Founded by Henry VI in 1441, it was his intention that a choir would provide music for the daily offices and celebrations of the Mass. The College Statutes of 1453 stipulate that the choir would consist of ten secular chaplains, six stipendiary lay clerks (or ‘singing-men’) and sixteen choristers. Henry VI specified that the choristers were to be poor boys, of strong constitution and of ‘honest conversation’. They had to be under twelve years of age when admitted, and able to read and sing. In addition to their choral duties, singing daily Matins, Mass and Vespers, they were to wait at table in Hall. The boys were provided with meals and clothing, and eight pence a week for their board. They were not allowed to wander beyond the College grounds without permission from their Master or the Provost. Except for a few years in the 1550s under Edward VI, and during the period of the Commonwealth (Civil War) in the 1650s when choral services in the Chapel were suppressed, the Choir has been singing services continuously for over 500 years.

Allegri was a late Renaissance/early Baroque Italian composer who worked at the Sistine Chapel in Rome. His Miserere is his best known composition, and has been frequently recorded. In 1770, 14-year-old Mozart, on a trip to Rome with his father, heard the Miserere only twice and transcribed it faithfully from memory, thus creating the first known unauthorised copy. Roy Goodman, a former colleague in the Academy of Ancient Music in 1980’s, was a boy chorister, age 12, in Kings College Chapel choir. He was one of four boys specially prepared to sing the very demanding treble solo in the Miserere in 1963 for a recording. The chorus-master had told the four boys that only immediately prior to the start of the recording would he say which one of them would sing the solo. Roy, covered in mud after playing rugby, arrived at the chapel just in time to put on his cassock and join the other boys in the choir. He was chosen to sing the solo which continues to be one of the most remarkable performance of the piece:

Many of the Cambridge colleges also have ‘organ scholars’ – a part time student assistant to the principal organist. The students are provided with playing, and music directing experience, and work under the direction of the college chapel Director of Music. Organ scholar, Trinity College Chapel:

 

Cambridge – Concert Venue

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the sixth of the series, is on the concert venue in Cambridge.


The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

Trinity College Chapel

Trinity College Chapel

Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII in 1546. At the time, Henry had begun seizing lands from Catholic abbeys and monasteries (Henry had become the self-appointed head of his Church of England in 1534). The university of Cambridge, being both a religious institution and quite wealthy feared that it to be next in line to be closed. The King passed an Act of Parliament that allowed him to suppress and confiscate the property of any college he wished.

Trinity College Great Court

Trinity College Great Court

The university authorities pleaded with Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, who persuaded Henry not to close any of the Cambridge colleges, rather to consolidate and merge some of them to form the new Trinity College. Most of the Trinity’s major buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Women were not admitted to Trinity College until 1975, and disappointingly wikipedia lists not a single alumna!

Trinity College Dining Hall

Trinity College Dining Hall

Trinity College Dining Hall

The Dining Hall hammer-beam roof dates from c.1350. The ‘hammer-beam’ is one of the most complex timber frame roof structures, and allows a span greater than the length of any individual piece of timber. In place of the normal wall-to-wall tie beam spanning the entire width of the roof, short beams – ‘hammer- beams’ are supported by curved braces from the wall, and further structure is built on top of the hammer beams.

 

Christopher Wren Library, 1695

Christopher Wren Library, 1695

The Wren Library

The Wren Library,1695, contains many notable rare books and manuscripts, many bequeathed by past members of the college. Included in the collection are a first edition of Newton’s Principia, A A Milne’s manuscript for Winnie the Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner, several works printed by William Caxton, including the first book in English produced in England, and handwritten notes by Robert Oppenheimer describing the ‘Trinity’ atomic bomb test in New Mexico.

Famous Alumni include: Isaac Newton; Charles Babbage, inventor of the ‘Difference Engine (an early mechanical computer); poets Lord Byron, Alfred Tennyson, and A E Housman; William Fox Talbot, inventor of photography; authors A A Milne & Vladimir Nabokov; and Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr.

 

Cambridge – Trinity College Chapel

 

 

Cambridge Places of Interest

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the fifth of the series, is on places of interest in Cambridge.


The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

Places of Interest

cambridge-kings_chapel

King’s College chapel with its ‘fan-vaulted’ ceiling

In addition to Trinity College, adjacent King’s College is of great architectural interest. Founded in 1441 by Henry VI and the earliest of the royal foundations, King’s College is worth visiting for the huge expanse of lawn extending down to the river and King’s Bridge. King’s College Chapel, is renowned for its 12-bay perpendicular-style interior and impressive ‘fan vaulting’ (1515). The chapel has 16th-century stained glass windows; a lavishly carved 16th-century wooden organ screen and choir stalls; and the altarpiece is the painting, ‘Adoration of the Magi’ (1634) by the Dutch artist, Rubens. There are regular choral services (Evensong), organ recitals, and concerts in the chapel.

 

 

the-backs-cambridge

Punts on The Backs – Cambridge

‘The Backs’ is a the picturesque area, where several colleges of the University of Cambridge, including Trinity College and adjacent King’s College, back on to the River Cam. There is public access to their grounds on both banks of the river.

The flat-bottomed boats in the above photo are punts – popular with students and visitors. They can be rented from several places along the river. ‘Punting’ with a pole is fun, and not difficult to do after a little practice. One of the favorite extended outings along the river in a punt is to the nearby village of Grantchester (2.5 miles/75 minutes ‘punting’ each way + a well earned rest and afternoon-tea at the Orchard Tea Rooms, before the return trip). The Vicarage – Grantchester is a well-known poem by Rupert Brooke reflecting on being homesick for England and his sometime Cambridgeshire home and countyside: “…yet stands the church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?” Brooke died in 1915 on active service in WWI.

 

bridge-of-sighs-cambridge

The Bridge of Sighs

The ‘Bridge of Sighs’ is a covered bridge at St John’s College, Cambridge University. It was built in 1831 and crosses the River Cam between the college’s Third Court and New Court. The bridge is a copy of  Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, 1600, that connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.

 

 

Additional Places of Interest include:

Kettle’s Yard (housed in converted cottages) contains a very fine collection of mostly mid 20thc. art, notably by English artists Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Ben Nicholson.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Museum

The Fitzwilliam Museum contains an extensive collection of English pottery and china, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, and illuminated manuscripts. The collection of paintings includes works by Hogarth, Gainsborough, and Turner, as well as Impressionists and Dutch Masters of the Baroque including Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Rubens.

In addition to the Fitzwilliam there are several other interesting museums in Cambridge including:

The Whipple Museum of the History of Science collection includes material dating from the medieval period – 19th century, including instruments of astronomy, navigation, surveying, drawing and calculating, sundials, mathematical instruments, and early electrical apparatus.

University Botanical Gardens - Cambridge

University Botanical Gardens – Cambridge

Center for Computing History acts as a repository for vintage computers and related artefacts. On display are key items from the early era of computers, and also holds vintage games consoles, peripherals, software, and an extensive collection of computer manuals, magazines and other literature.

Polar Museum – This Museum explores Earth’s coldest, driest, windiest, highest and deadliest places, from heroes to modern climate science. It is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute, established in 1920 to study the Arctic and Antarctic.

The University Botanical Gardens, established in 1831, covers an area of 40 acres, and showcases an impressive collection of more than 8,000 species of plants from all over the world.

Exploring Cambridge:

London Places of Interest

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the first of the series, is on places of interest in London.


The 'London Eye' with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background

The ‘London Eye’ with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background

London has a many important cultural sites including:

  • The Tower of London
  • St. Paul’s  Cathedral
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Palace of Westminster
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Trafalgar Square
  • National Gallery and adjacent National Portrait Gallery
  • Science Museum, and nearby Victoria & Albert Museum
  • The London Museum
  • Handel & Jimi Hendrix House Museum
  • ‘London Eye’
  • Covent Garden market
  • Boat trips on the Thames

Transportation in central London is easy by the ‘Tube’, and many sights are close enough to walk between them (e.g., St Paul’s, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, & Tate Modern; London Eye, Houses of Parliament, & Westminster Abbey). Oxford Street, Regent’s Street, Bond Street, & Covent Garden Market are popular areas for shopping. The historic sites – Hampton Court Palace, and Greenwich are further afield.

2020 Tour Blog Introduction

louvre museumDavis Senior High School has the distinction of having a really excellent music program directed by Angelo Moreno. The Baroque Ensemble, founded by Mr Moreno, was the first in a public school in US, and even now there are very few public schools with a program focused on historically informed performance of baroque music, and only one other that uses period instruments.
The goal of the DHS Baroque Ensemble in 2019-2020 is to prepare to perform a repertoire of music from the baroque period in cities in England, Belgium, & France next summer, in addition to regular school and community performances using instruments of the type used during the baroque period. The European tour also provides an exciting opportunity for students & family to see major European cultural sites, to have the opportunity to speak ‘British’, French, and Flemish? Like the DHSBE tour in 2017, the tour next summer will be a formative experience, one to be cherished by students and families for years to come.
You can watch a performance of a Vivaldi concerto by the Davis Senior High School Baroque Ensemble on its 2017 Tour:

BEEP 25

Warning!!!!!! Flashing Lights
2CELLOS – Vivaldi – ‘Storm’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUBQPIk9Wh8

The Beatles: A Musical Appreciation and Analysis:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQS91wVdvYc

PARIS – April 15th, 2019
Although the 7,900 organ pipes of the Des Grande Orgue du Notre Dame de Paris (Cavaille-Coll -1868) survived the fire largely unscathed (some pipes date back to the 15thc.), the organ is still in need of extensive restoration. Recordings made before the fire:

Bach: Sinfonia, Cantata BWV 29
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3IjKUH3z3M

Bach:Agnus Dei, Mass in B minor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSjKJ9Hs84U

Charles-Marie WidorToccata (1879):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwbxpdAnkK8

Fire:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQrmJqt8mlM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeodyCUKDYg

Violincopter:
https://theviolinchannel.com/violin-copter-alejo-pesce-photographer-flying-violin/

 

Julliard Historical Performance Program

Introduction:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GwW9XCbmNA

A Day in the Life:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoUAX7aKljQ

‘Baroque’ as a Second Language:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KLoidhONSw

Julliard 415 -Terpsichore with Historical Performance and Dance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLJUS1zezAM

 

Alana Youssefian, baroque violin, is an recent alumna of the Julliard Historical Performance Program:

Vivaldi – Violin Concerto, RV 212
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V6HpGCmId0

La Follia – Improvisation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI0S-qUS5pw

Bach – Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWCkLkWV2Jk

Vitorio Monti – Czardis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2bDnQ5pJCs

FINAL QUIZ:

  • In what way(s) did the late 19thc. Pleyel harpsichord differ from an original 17thc/18thc harpsichord?
  • Name two of the early 20thc. pioneers of harpsichord performance.
  • What is a Zuckermann ‘Z box’?
  • Choose one of the 4 contemporary pieces for harpsichord listed in BEEP 21Describe the piece, and offer a critique – likes/dislikes/reasons.
  • A baroque keyboard instrument can be tuned to a number of different ‘temperaments’ e.g, ‘Werkmeister’, or Valotti’. What are the advantages/disadvantages compared to using ‘equal temperament’?
  • Describe one example of the traditional European folk instruments listed in BEEP 22.
  • Describe one example of the non-European string instruments listed in BEEP 23.
  • Describe each of the ‘Four Humours’ described by the Greek physician, Galen c. 200 AD.
  • What were willow leaves and bark used for in traditional medicine in the baroque era (and during the previous 2000 years)? What is the chemical substance in willow, and other genus Salix trees & shrubs, that in a synthesized form was used to make a well known and effective medication named …………………………….. in 1899? This medication is on the World Health  Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines.
  • Summarize the Evolution of the Violin Bow, 1540-2019. e.g. shape, makers, materials, hair tension, bow-hold etc.

Richard Webb 

 

 

BEEP 24

Folías de España
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI0S-qUS5pw&list=PLpQR-EF8W5IcdEl94cJcDoQMPQ6zIzrTj

Less Well Known Baroque Stringed Instruments

The Evolution of the Violin Bow:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU48vc25vF0

17th century MEDICINE

In 17th-century Europe people were not aware that disease was spread by germs, and did not think of washing their hands before eating so diseases could spread quickly. People dreaded catching malaria, and cholera (both prevalent in parts of Europe in 17thc. and beyond), which they thought came from a poisonous gas called ‘miasma’ from sewers and cesspits. Doctors still believed the ideas of a Greek physician called Galen. He thought that the body was ruled by four humours, or fluids, which determined what your personality was and how you reacted to various diseases. The four humours were :

  • Blood/Sanguine – hot: fiery personality
  • Phlegm – cold: calm personality
  • Yellow bile – dry: bad-tempered personality
  • Black bile – moist: melancholy personality

In China, plants have been used for medicinal purposes for 4,500 years and some of these were brought to Europe. Many European plants, such as foxglove and marshmallow, were also used to treat illnesses. As well as these, doctors believed in the power of powders said to be made from strange ingredients such as horn from the mythical unicorn, and bezoar stone (made famous again in J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter books), which was claimed to be the tears of a stag turned to stone. Live worms, fox lungs (for asthma), spiders’ webs, swallows’ nests and the skulls of executed criminals were also highly sought-after ingredients.

Leeches are a type of slug-like worm, used for thousands of years to reduce blood pressure and cleanse the blood. A leech placed on the skin will consume four times its own weight in blood, and with the blood the toxins that produce diseases. While the leech is sucking it releases a chemical called hirudin, which prevents coagulation, or clotting of the blood. Fevers were thought to be the result of too much blood in the body: doctors deliberately cut veins or used leeches to release this ‘bad’ blood.

A Frenchman named Ambroise Pare discovered that the best way to treat a wound was not to put boiling oil on it, as had previously been the practice, but instead to apply a cold lotion made of egg yolk, oil of roses and turpentine. William Harvey published De Motu Cordis in 1628, determining the function of the heart & circulation of blood, using dissections and other experimental techniques – a great step forward in the understanding of working of the human body. New medications which became popular included tobacco, coffee, tea, and chocolate: all of them were first used as medicines!

In England, herbal treatment reached its peak of popularity with the publication of the Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper: The English Phystian, 1652. He described and illustrated many plants, and suggested medicinal uses for each plant. One such was the herb Wintergreen, which contains salicin, a natural form of the painkiller. Some advances in medicine came about through treating soldiers and sailors on the battlefield.

By the end of the 17th century, a more clinical and scientific approach to health, based on actual observation, gradually began to appear. This laid the foundations for the much greater medical progress in the 18thc. century and 19thc.

Wintergreen, The English Physitian, Culpeper:
“…Wintergreen is a singularly good wound herb, and an especial remedy for healing green wounds speedily; the green leaves being bruised and applied, or the juice of them. A salve made of the green herb stamped, or the juice boiled with hog’s lard, or with salad oil and wax, and some turpentine added to it, is a sovereign salve, and highly esteemed by the Germans who use it to heal all manner of wounds and sores. The herb boiled in wine and water, and given to drink to them that have any inward ulcers in their kidneys, or neck of the bladder, doth wonderfully help them. It stays all fluxes, and may take away any inflammation rising upon pains of the heart”.

Richard Webb

BEEP 23

Spontaneous synchronization

64 metronomes are started at different times, but all of them amazingly synchronise themselves together. How can this be possible? The phenomenon was first observed by Christian Huygens,  17thc. Dutch scientist & horologist.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov3aeqjeih0&t=124s

Virtual History of Château de Versailles 1634 – 1774

Virtual Baroque Dance:

Virtual Baroque Organ:

Virtual Dutch Baroque Architecture:

Examples of Non-European Bowed String Instruments

 

India

 

Mongolia 

 

Central Asia

 

Cambodia

 

Korea

 

China

 

North Africa

 

West Africa

 

Indonesia

 

Persia – Iran

 

Turkey

 

https://sciencedemonstrations.fas.harvard.edu/presentations/synchronization-metronomes
http://go.owu.edu/~physics/StudentResearch/2005/BryanDaniels/kuramoto_paper.pdf

History of the mechanical Metronome:
https://www.thepiano.sg/piano/read/history-metronome

Richard Webb

BEEP 22

The Spirit of Baroque Dance

Breakdancing:

Masquerade Ball scene from Sofia Coppola’s 2006 movie – Marie Antoinette:

 

Examples of Traditional European Folk String Instruments:

Finland

Kantele: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xstVEE2FxY4

Norway 

Hardanger Fiddle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYSVDG8ZFNw

Langeleik: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUnpNTPjZcI

Sweden:

Nycklharpa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7sK5OiJHHQ

Drejelire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7EbIUkx-Sw

Estonia – Sweden

Talharpa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MknJwtmF60

Croatia

Gusle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPXvnmLqmQc

Bulgaria

Gadulka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up9COVI-bEo

Hungary 

Cimbalom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qffzYeDfGQE

Utogardon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jnS8ODP3FU

Latvia

Kokle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfHdn_VxfZc

Ukraine

Bandura: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fC7v7E_EvA

France

Hurdy-Gurdy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-kRHwVWTR4

Ireland-Wales

Celtic Harp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnkfK8ZESk4

Wales

Crwth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBWpB5zlerI

Crete

Lyra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZnfyXHy5kc

Portugal

Guitarra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWo7MCYxGlA&list=PLi9OA39OO5A26xC1c_Z5HJcFi0w9x4uRu

Greece

Bouzouki: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmE1H8bshzM

 

Richard Webb

Congratulations Disneyland Tour Success!

I would like to congratulate everyone on an incredibly successful tour together to Disneyland. It was great to be a part of such a positive group and so fulfilling to see everyone having such a great a time together. I appreciate all the students following instruction so well and doing your best to represent your school in a positive way the entire trip. I am blessed to have so many dedicated and committed students in the DHS Orchestra Program.  

Musically you should all be very proud of yourselves. You all did a wonderful job in your festival performances and recording sessions. Festival results are below and I will share your recording studio videos with you when we return to school as well as the festival judges recorded audio comments. 

Symphony Orchestra- Won “Best Overall Orchestra” with a rating of Superior and a perfect score from both judges (which I have never seen happen at a festival). One of the judges said it was the best high school performance he has ever witnessed in his 20 years of doing festival adjudications!

Baroque Ensemble- Won “1st Place” with a rating of Superior. The entire festival staff said they stopped to listen to this group and the judges were so impressed that we have such a unique group in our program. 

Chamber Orchestra- Won “5th place” with a rating of Superior. I am very proud of you all! Bravo!

The judges said it is very unusual for them have so many orchestras participating in one festival from multiple schools and for all of them to be rated Superior. 

Huge thanks to our Trip Coordinator, Jill Bonner: Jill, you did such an expert job organize the logistics so our tour ran smoothly from beginning to end. The entire program thanks you for for dedication and commitment to helping to make the trip a memorable experience for all! 

Thank you as well to all of our fearless chaperones who gave of their time and resource to share this experience with the program and help us all stay happy, healthy, and organized the entire tour. We appreciate all of you very much!

 

  • Catherine Allday- Davis (Trip Doctor) 
  • Judy Catambay- Snack Coordinator
  • Andy Fell -Bus B Lead Chaperone
  • Hiram Jackson- Director’s Assistant
  • Stephanie Manansala- Snack Coordinator
  • Danny Maurantonio- Bus A Lead Chaperone
  • John Tyner – Super Dad of the Year
  • Stasia Tikkanen- Trip Photographer
  • Ethan Walsh- Super Dad of the Year

We also thank our Principal Tom McHale for agreeing to travel with us and the Band Program. He told me at 3:30 am when I dropped him off at his home, to tell you all he had an excellent time and was so proud and excited to share in the Orchestra Program’s success musically and organizationally. 

Lastly, I’d like to thank all the students and parents on Bus A for your patience last night. We had one of our bus drivers complain of feeling ill and was forced to pull over on the side of the road because he was nauseous so we made the decision to call for a replacement driver for him so that students were not at risk. Thank you to all the Bus B students who came to pick up their luggage this morning due to the delayed bus arrival. Everyone handled this unforeseeable issue very well and we all appreciate that everyone got home safe. 

BEEP 21

A fine example of stylish baroque continuo playing – accompanying an aria from a Vivaldi opera on a non-baroque instrument:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF4YXv6ZIuE

Viola da Gamba (Bass Viol)

The Contemporary Harpsichord

The first examples of the harpsichord date from early 16thc., and the instrument was obsolete by 1800. The harpsichord built by Pleyel in Paris in 1891 was the first harpsichord made since the 18thc. It was not a copy of an original instrument, instead it had a heavy metal frame like a piano, with a modern plucking action. The revival of interest in the harpsichord started with Arnold Dolmetsch in England, and the Polish-French harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, in the early 20thc.

Wolfgang Zuckermann invented the first self-build DIY harpsichord ‘kit’ in early 1960’s in New York. It was a very basic inexpensive 5 foot long design without a bentside, and a soundboard made from plywood – affectionately known as the ‘Z Box’. Zuckermann reported that before he made the kits available for sale, he gave a few of his friends all the raw parts necessary to make a harpsichord, and some rudimentary directions. “…These were people who wanted an instrument but couldn’t afford one, and they seized on this chance. Even the less mechanical ones were thrilled with the prospect, and their sheer will to possess such an instrument made them better craftsmen than experienced cabinet makers”. Several thousand of his harpsichord kits were sold before he closed the business in 1970. Since that time many makers worldwide, have made copies of historic instruments, including John Phillips, San Francisco, the maker of the DHSBE harpsichord.

Since the late 20th century, electronically synthesized (faux) harpsichord sounds have been incorporated into some electronic keyboards. More recently, digitally recorded period-harpsichord sounds have been incorporated into electronic keyboards producing a much more authentic sound; and the instrument does not need to be tuned. These recent keyboards often a have the option to change pitch A-440, A-415 etc., and a number of different tuning ‘temperaments’ such as ‘Werkmeister’, or ‘Valotti’ – a good temperament for tuning baroque string instruments – in addition to standard ‘equal temperament’.

In addition to the extensive use of the harpsichord as a solo instrument and basso continuo in ensembles in Renaissance, Baroque & early classical music, a number of 20th & 21st century composers have written works for solo harpsichord, or included harpsichord in compositions for modern orchestra, or chamber ensemble, including: Francis Poulenc, Manuel de Falla, Phillip Glass, Elliot Carter, György Ligeti, Bella Bartok, Benjamin Britten, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, & Simon & Garfunkel.

Electronic Baroque

-Richard Webb

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QUIZ DUE FRIDAY MARCH 8th

  1. In a review of the première of Rameau’s opera ‘Hippolyte et Aricie’ in 1733, a critic writing in Mercure de France, complained that the opera “…lacked coherent melody, was unsparing with dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device”. The term he used to disparage Rameau’s opera is described in the contemporary ‘Urban Dictionary’ as: “anything amazingly cool, so cool that indeed no other word will do- it overwhelms the senses in its awesomeness”
    • What is the term, and what does it now most usually describe?
  2. Syntagma Musicum is a treatise by which German composer? Volume II contains woodcuts of families of  musical instruments. He is best known for Terpsichore, a collection of over 300 instrumental dances.
    • Which composer did Bach visit in Lübeck in 1705? What was the purpose of Bach’s visit?
  3. What was the purpose of Biber’s use of Scordatura?
    • What other innovative instrumental techniques did he use?
    • Pachelbel’s most well known composition is Kanon und Gigue für 3     Violinen mit generalbasse.  Describe a musical ‘canon.’
    • Bach did not compose any operas. Which of his compositions is written in an operatic style, and what is the subject of the work?
  4. In 1741 Bach composed: Clavier Ubung bestehend in einer ARIA mit verschiedenen Verænderungen vors Clavicimbal mit 2 Manualen, named for which fellow composer and harpsichordist?
  5. Why did Bach compose the 6 Brandenburg Concertos, and when were they first published?
  6. Which composer is considered to be the most prolific in the baroque, or any other era?
  7. Which composer & flute maker at the Berlin court of Frederick (the Great), King of Prussia wrote the treatise: Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen?
  8. Spanish composer Martín y Coll’s 4 volume collection named: Flores de Musica contains………………………..?
  9. Baroque music in Nueva España and Brasil Colonial was frequently a fusion of………………………….and    …………………………………..?
  10. Describe the musical form: Folias de España
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI0S-qUS5pw
  11. Name and describe the musical instrument, made by the Flemish maker Hans Ruckers in 1581, which was  discovered in a hacienda chapel in Cuzco, Peru in the early 20th century. What is the current location of  the  instrument?

-Richard Webb

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Virginals – rectangular harpsichord (Muselaar version – keyboard on the right-hand side).

The collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, includes a Virginals, dated 1581, by Hans Ruckers – the first of several generations of Flemish harpsichord makers in Antwerp (Belgium). The instrument had been exported to Peru (Nueva España) in the late 16thc; likely specially commissioned by/for a musician in colonial service. It was discovered in a hacienda chapel in Cuzco, Peru in the early 20th century in remarkably good condition considering its age and the effects of the tropical climate.

Baroque Music in SPAIN & PORTUGAL

Spain and Portugal introduced European music into their respective South American colonies starting in 16thc. for primarily liturgical use. Later, the European style became blended with indigenous music, language, and instrumentation. 

Martín y Coll, composer and organist, his modern fame rests on four volumes of the Flores de Musica (Musical flowers), a compilation of hundreds of keyboard pieces, nearly all of them without an author. 

Gaspar Sanz, 1640 -1710, composer, guitarist, organist and priest. He wrote three volumes of pedagogical works for the baroque guitar that form an important part of today’s classical guitar repertory, and have informed modern scholars in the techniques of baroque guitar playing. Sanz’s manuscripts for baroque guitar are written as tablature.

Baroque Music in Nueva España 

Baroque Music in Portugal

Baroque Music in Brasil Colonial 

-Richard Webb

BEEP 18

Exotic Gardening
By the late 17th century, ordinary people in N Europe, rather than just the aristocracy, had the opportunity to design and plant gardens with newly imported plants from Turkey, Americas, India, South Africa etc. The tulip from Turkey was one such import – and has remained very popular, especially in Holland, to this day. Formal landscape/garden designs in France were developed by Le Notre (3 snails & a cabbage?) in mid 17thc. at Versailles. These designs, simplified, and on a much reduced scale, formed the basis of Dutch garden design in the baroque period. Dutch interest in formal landscape design on a domestic scale, and their expertise as gardeners, influenced horticulture and garden design throughout Europe, especially in England & Germany.

Both Handel and Telemann became interested in gardening. Handel established a formal garden behind his large town-house in London, in 1740’s, and planted with new ‘exotic’ species from around the world. Telemann also became interested in cultivating exotic plants; something of a fad in Hamburg at that time. Although they presumably each made decisions as to the choice of plants and the design of the garden, lowly gardeners would have done the actual work.

18thc. Music in GERMANY

Although born in Germany, Handel composed the majority of his music in London, and is considered by many to be an ‘English’ composer.
Johann Sebastian Bach, organist, viola player, and prolific composer of liturgical, chamber, orchestral, & keyboard music needs little introduction. Many of his compositions are widely known, including the following:

Georg Philipp Telemann is considered to be the most prolific composer in the baroque, or any other era with over 3000  works, including music for orchestra & chamber ensembles, keyboard, solo sonatas, church music, & operas – many of the compositions are now lost.

Sylvius Leopold Weiss, although now less well known that the more famous German baroque composers, was one of the most important and most prolific composers of lute music in history, and one of the best-known and most technically accomplished lutenists of his day. He wrote more than 1000 pieces for lute, of which about 850 attributed pieces have survived.

Johann Joachim Quantz was a German flutist, flute maker and baroque music composer. He composed hundreds of flute sonatas and concertos, and wrote On Playing the Flute, a treatise on flute performance. The treatise is an excellent guide to modern day performers of baroque music, especially with regard to ornamentation – trills etc. Although the treatise is mainly concerned with the flute, there are chapters on other instruments, including strings, and one on how to play continuo. For many years Quantz was flute teacher, flute maker, and composer at the Berlin court of Frederick II (the Great), King of Prussia.

-Richard Webb

BEEP 17

Music in 17thc. GERMANY 

Michael PRAETORIUS, 1571-1621, organist, composer of church music, and Terpsichore – a collection of over 300 instrumental dances – his most widely known secular work. Praetorius worked primarily at the court in Dresden, where he was declared Kapellmeister von Haus aus, and worked with his younger contemporary, Heinrich Schutz. The expansive treatise, Syntagma Musicum by Praetorius appeared in three volumes between 1614 and 1620. The second volume De Organographia, 1618, includes woodcuts depicting instruments of the early 17th century, all grouped in families and shown to scale.

Dances from Terpsichore, 1612: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JWYIY3icUg

=Heinrich SCHUTZ, 1585 -1672, composer & organist, is generally regarded as one of the the most important composers of the 17th century. He was a student of Gabrielli in Italy, and is credited with bringing the Italian style to Germany and continuing its evolution from the Renaissance into the Early Baroque. He wrote what is traditionally considered to be the first German opera Dafne, 1627, the music of which has since been lost, along with nearly all of his ceremonial and theatrical scores and instrumental music.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE, 1637-1707, Danish-German organist & composer of a wide variety of vocal and instrumental idioms, especially works for organ. His style strongly influenced many composers, including J S Bach who, in 1705, famously walked some 250 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck to meet Buxtehude, hear him play, and, as Bach explained, “to comprehend one thing and another about his art”. 

Toccata in F major

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnQ6are1Ju0

Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER, 1644 -1704, violinist, and one of the most important composers for the violin in the baroque period. His technique allowed him to easily reach the 6th and 7th positions, employ multiple stops in intricate polyphonic passages, and explore the various possibilities of *scordatura tunings. He also wrote one of the earliest known pieces for solo violin, the monumentalPassacaglia from his Mysteries of the Rosary sonatas for violin & continuo, 1676. In Battalia, Biber uses a number of innovative instrumental techniques to depict aspects of the battle – pulling the strings of cello & bass away from the fingerboard and allowing them to slap back against the fingerboard to depict cannon fire, and placing paper between double bass strings and fingerboard, and hitting a string with the bow stick to depict a military side-drum.

Johann PACHELBEL,1653-1706, composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the  choral prelude, and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era. Like Buxtehude, Pachelbel experimented with different ensembles and instrumental combinations in his chamber and vocal music.Today he is best known for his  Canon and Gigue in D for 3 violins & basso continuo. Pachelbels’s son, Theodore, organist, harpsichordist, & composer, emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1733 and settled in Charleston, North Carolina in 1736 – one of the first European composers to take up residence in the American Colonies. 

17th c. German Inventions & Discoveries 

The first newspaper: Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien – was published by Johann Carolus in Strasbourg, 1605. 

Hans Lippershey, spectacle maker, patented the refracting telescope,1608.

Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, based on his treatise Astronomia Nova, 1609.

Invention of tinsel made from shredded strips of silver, c. 1610. 

The decahydrate of sodium sulfate, known as Glauber’s salt, was discovered it in 1625. 

Otto von Guericke, scientist, inventor, and politician, invented the first vacuum pump,1654, an electrostatic generator, 1660. In 1663 he pieced     together bones from different species in a valiant effort to make a fossil ‘unicorn’

The first cuckoo clocks were made in Furtwangen, Germany, in the Black Forest region, in 1660.

Jan Baptist van Helmont, in his treatise Oriatrike or Physick Refined,1662, determined that the digestion of food was aided by a     chemical reagent, or ‘ferment’ (enzyme) within the body, such as inside the stomach – not by body heat as previously believed.

According to a folklore, the candy cane was invented by the choirmaster of Cologne cathedral, 1670.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, mathematician, philosopher, & polymath, invented a calculating machine, 1674, and calculus, & integral symbol, 1675.

The Easter Bunny (Easter Hare) originated in Germany, 1682. Its original role (Lutheran church) was to judge whether children were good or     disobedient in behavior at the start of the season of Eastertide.

Scordatura: tuning of a stringed instrument different from the normal, standard tuning. It typically allows special effects or unusual chords or timbre, or makes certain passages easier to play. Biber made use of scordatura tuning in his Rosary Sonatas, and Pachelbel used several different scordatura tunings in his Musical Entertainment consisting of Six Suites for Mistuned Violins, 1691.

-Richard Webb

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‘BAROQUE’ – an ornate and often flamboyant style of music, and other arts, that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. The original Portuguese word ‘barroco’ related to jewelry – describing flawed pearls. The word was subsequently adopted in France as ‘baroque’ in the early 18thc. to describe music – and was not initially considered a flattering term. In a review of the première of Rameau’s opera ‘Hippolyte et Aricie’ in 1733, a critic writing in Mercure de France, complained that the opera was “…du barocque”, in that it “…lacked coherent melody, was unsparing with dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device”. The term ‘Baroque Music’, did not become common in Europe until 1920’s, and the first use of the term in English was in an article published in 1940 by the German-American ethno-musicologist, & professor at UC Berkeley, Manfred Bukofzer.

Baroque: “something baroque is overly ornate, like a red velvet jacket with tassels, or music that has a lot going on and might include a harpsichord”.
vocabulary.com:

Baroque: “anything amazingly cool, so cool that indeed no other word will do – it overwhelms the senses in its awesomeness”.
urbandictionary.com

Recently, the word baroque has been adopted by the fashion industry. The contemporary clothing company BAROQUE “…offers an exclusive range of pure and high quality lawn, chiffon, embroidered collection and trendy bottoms which leaves the wearer in awe of the design”. Dolce & Gabbana, & Versace (among others) have produced collections of neo-baroque fashions.

-Richard Webb

Sign Up for 2019-20 Placement Auditions

Attention all 9th, 10, 11th grade students,

I will be posting the sign up schedule for the 2019-20 DHS Placement Auditions this week in your classrooms.  The sign up deadline is set for Friday, February 8th so please sign up for a time ASAP.  Please  write clearly so I can create the final schedule accurately, which I will post in your classroom the week of February 18th. Once the schedule is posted please check your final posted time to make sure it is accurate and there is not a conflict for you. 

Also, below is the registration form that each student is required to fill out and turn in when they arrive for their audition. Please print and fill it out to turn in when you check in for your audition warm up time.  

I look forward to listening to all of your hard work,

Mr. Moreno

 

Contact Mr. Moreno if you have any questions.

Davis High School Orchestra Program
Audition Requirements
2019-2020
Symphony Orchestra and Baroque Ensemble

All DHS Orchestra Auditions will be held at Davis High  in the Music Building room PA-3 from February 25th – March 1st.  Check your school music room for the DHS Orchestras Open Audition sign-up sheets starting in January. Auditions are for all in coming 10th grade students, continuing 11th grade students, and 12th grade students not currently in an audition group.

Sign-up Deadline is Friday, February 8th

Contact Mr. Moreno if you have any questions or need a sign-up extension. The final audition schedule will be posted Tuesday, February 21st, which will include your individual audition day and time. Your requested times may change to fit the final schedule, so make sure and check the schedule carefully. If you have a major conflict with your scheduled time email Mr. Moreno ASAP to work it out.

Audition Dates and Times by Instrument:

  • Violins: Monday, February 25th, 3:50PM – 8:00PM
                  Tuesday, February 26th, 3:50PM – 8:00PM
  • Violas: Thursday, February 28th, 3:40PM – 6:00PM
  • Cellos/Basses:  Friday, March 1st, 3:50PM – 8:00PM
  • Key Board Players Auditioning for a Harpsichord position in the Baroque Ensemble: Contact Mr. Moreno directly to set an audition time. If you are a string player who also plays keyboard and would like to audition for harpsichord sign up for two time slots back to back.

Please Note: All Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students who are interested in auditioning for the DHS Symphony Orchestra see audition requirements online at: dhsbandboosters.com. Information will be posted soon. All Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion students interested in participating in the DHS Symphony Orchestra must be members of the DHS Symphonic Band.

If none of these audition times work for your schedule and you need assistance contact Mr. Moreno

Description of The Davis High School Symphony Orchestra:

The Davis High Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Angelo Moreno, is an advanced full symphony orchestra including strings, winds, brass and percussion. The group will study and perform music for symphony orchestra from the classical to modern eras. In recent years, the Symphony Orchestra has performed Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, Dvorak’s Eighth and Ninth Symphonies and Elgar’s Nimrod, amongst many other pieces of music from Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Schumann, Haydn, Brahms and many other composers.

Description of The Davis High School Baroque Ensemble:

The Davis High Baroque Ensemble, under the direction of Angelo Moreno is a unique string orchestra which includes the following instruments: violin, viola, cello, bass, and Key Board players who are interested in learning to play the Harpsichord. Students will perform on Baroque instruments, which include string instruments converted to Baroque style with gut strings and Baroque style bows. The group will study and perform music from the Baroque Era, including composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli, Telemann, and Handel.

Audition Requirements:

Strings – Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass:

  • 3 octaves of any major scale in quarter notes, at a tempo of 144
           (Basses 2 octaves)
  • 3 octaves of any melodic minor scale in quarter notes at a tempo of 120
           (Basses 2 octaves)
  • 3-4 minute excerpt of an unaccompanied solo (skip over long rests) that demonstrates your ability.

Key Board Players Auditioning for Harpsichord:

  • 3 octaves of any major scale in two hands- in quarter notes, at a tempo of 144
  • 3 octaves of any melodic minor scale in two hands-  in quarter notes at a tempo of 120
  • 3-4 minute excerpt of an unaccompanied solo (skip over long rests) that demonstrates your ability.

Note: All players will be asked to sight read

Note: All instruments- when deciding on solo literature consult your private instructor or school music teacher.

REQUIRED
Please provide a copy of your solo music the day of your audition for the adjudicator.

Contact Mr. Moreno if you have any questions at (530) 400-7614 (cell) or by email

Download a registration form here:

BEEP 14

Happy New Year

Alma Deutscher

The musical training of the remarkable Alma Deutscher, violinist, pianist, & (self-taught) composer, has included work on baroque figured bass (partimenti) with a focus on developing her understanding of harmony.

Alma, age 12, performing her own Violin concerto in Vienna in 2017. She also performed her own piano concerto in the same concert.

Starting with melodies composed from the age of 8, Alma wrote her own operatic version of the of the Cinderella story. She revised, enlarged and re-orchestrated the opera into its final 4-act, 2 1/2 hour form at age 12 – here performed by San Jose Opera, 2017.

Alma Deutscher is inspired by *Marianne ‘Nannerl’ Mozart, the older sister of  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
When Nannerl was seven years old her father, Leopold Mozart, started teaching her to play the harpsichord. Although as a child she was considered one of the most skillful keyboard players in Europe, her parents considered that as she grew older it was socially inappropriate for her to continue her career any further. From 1769, Nannerl, age 18, was no longer permitted to show her artistic talent on travels with her brother, as she had reached a marriageable age. Wolfgang went on during the 1770s to many artistic triumphs while traveling in Italy with Leopold, but Marianne had to stay at home in Salzburg. There is evidence that Nannerl wrote musical compositions, as there are letters from Wolfgang praising her work but, sadly, none of her music has survived. Alma Deutscher is fortunately not constrained by such conventions and is free to compose and perform, with the wholehearted support of her parents.

Music in 18thc. England
Handel & his contemporaries

The Anglo-German composer and organist, G F Handel, was born in Halle, Germany in 1685, some 50 miles from where
J S Bach was born in the same year. Handel’s most well known composition is the Oratorio Messiah. He also composed extensively for keyboard, orchestra, chamber ensembles, and 42 operas. Other well known works include The Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. He became a British Subject in 1727, and lived the remainder of his life in London.

On the occasion of the 1st performance of Music for the Royal Fireworks, the stand on which the fireworks were mounted caught fire with dramatic results; fortunately rain followed and further disaster was averted. The performance took place on the evening of April 27th, 1749 in London to celebrate the end of the *War of the Austrian Succession, and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

Handel’s house, restored to its original condition, is now a museum and a venue for small-scale baroque chamber music concerts. In late 1960’s, the American rock guitarist & song writer Jimi Hendrix lived for a year in an apartment on the top floor of the house.

Quotes regarding Handel:

Johann Sebastian Bach is attributed with the following remark:
“Handel is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach”.

The English late-baroque composer William Boyce is said to have remarked that Handel “…takes other men’s pebbles and polishes them into diamonds”

Upon hearing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Messiah, Joseph Haydn is said to have “…wept like a child” and exclaimed:
“…He is the master of us all”.

Beethoven is said to have exclaimed:
“Handel is the greatest composer that ever lived… I would uncover my head and kneel down on his tomb”.

However, Berlioz was not impressed: “… a tub of pork and beer”.

The English composer Charles Avison based his set of 12 Concerti Grossi on keyboard works by Scarlatti (including No. 5 played by DHSBE). In ‘An Essay on Musical Expression’, 1752, the composer expressed some disdain for Handel’s music (while acknowledging the composer’s genius), and expressed a strong preference for the work of his former teacher Geminiani.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GHnpNJ61Do&list=PLsiqWndRiIAcK3rWqyNnZZFdrh3m8MX31&index=6

William Boyce, composer &organist, is best known today for his set of 8 symphonies:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65_4Xw_DSVU

The English composer Thomas Arne, composed extensively for the stage, and is best known as the composer of the British gingoistic/patriotic song Rule Britannia,1740; and for God Save the King – which subsequently became our British National Anthem.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB5Nbp_gmgQ

In 1749, the English composer and provincial clergyman, with the memorable name – Rev. Richard Mudge, published a set of six ‘Concertos in Seven Parts’ (in Handelian style):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr1osWM6R7k

Social History
Many countries in Europe were at war during much of the baroque period, 1600-1750.

One of the most serious 18thc. conflicts was the War of the Austrian Succession which started in 1740 – the same year that Handel composed Concerti Grossi Op. 6;  Rameau composed Pieces de clavicin en concerts; and Emile du Chatelet published Institutions de Physique, which included a demonstration that the energy of a moving object is proportional to the square of its velocity (Ek = ​1⁄2mv²). The war involved most of the powers of Europe over the issue of the succession of Archduchess Maria Theresa to the Habsburg Monarchy. The cause of the war resulted from Maria Theresa’s alleged ineligibility to succeed to her father, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, because of a law that precluded royal inheritance by a woman; although another law did allow royal inheritance by a woman and Marie Theresa (later mother of Marie Antoinette), was confirmed as Holy Roman Empress, Archduchess of Austria, and Queen of Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia. Commercial & political issues regarding the inheritance/distribution of Habsburg lands in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, The Netherlands, Bohemia & Italy were also important issues. The war ended in 1748, with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle celebrated with a firework display in London with music by Handel.

However, the war did not settle the commercial & political issues, and in 1756, the Seven Years War again split Europe into two coalitions: Great Britain, Prussia, Portugal, Hanover & other small German States on one side, and France, Austria/Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Spain, & Sweden on the other. The Seven Years War could be considered the first of the ‘world wars’ as it spanned Europe, Russia, the Americas, West Africa, India, and the Philippines.

The Seven Years War ended in 1763 – the same year Haydn composed his Op. 2 String Quartets & Symphony No. 13. It was also the start of a 3 1/2 year tour of Europe by Amadeus Mozart (age 7), his older sister *Nannerl, and their father Leopold Mozart. Having left their home in Salzburg, the young Mozart & Nannerl first played at the Imperial Court in Vienna, and in Prague, and subsequently traveled to play for the courts in cities across Europe including Munich, Mannheim, Cologne, Paris/Versailles, London, The Hague, and back to Salzburg via Paris, Lyon, Geneva, Zurich, and Munich. Very little was settled politically in Europe at the end of the Seven Years War, and there were a further 180 conflicts in Europe before the start of WWII in 1939.

-Richard Webb