Music Web Page





Art - Philosophy

Favorite Tunes





 Davide Verotta, Ricercando IV, 2006
David Graves, Regret, 2005
John Bilotta, Medison Sketchbook II, 2003
Giacinto Scelsi, Piano Suite No 10 "Ka" (selection), 1953
Claude Debussy, Arabesque No 2,1888-91
Reflets dans l'eau (Images book I), 1904
Franz Liszt, Nuages Gris, 1882; Hungarian Rapsody No.6, 1850
Antonio Vivaldi, Concerto in G for Violin, 1710 (Transcription by D. Verotta)
Ludwig van Beethoven. Sonata Op 53 "Waldstein", 1803-4
Martha Horst, Juxtapose (2005)
David Graves, For unmedicated Italian Pianist (Spoken Voice and Piano), 2005


Davide Verotta, Ricercando IV (2006). Ricercando IV is part of a set of pieces which are so named for a couple of reasons. There is a bow to tradition, an homage to the baroque era "Ricercare", which means "to seek again". The Ricercari were instrumental pieces which tried to solve one of the main problems associated with instrumental, as opposed to vocal, music: the variety, and meaning, provided by the text is not present, thus new ways of extension and development of the music is needed. A Ricercare, was often of imitative texture, they are considered the precursors of the fugue, and was often organized around modified recurrences of the theme of the piece. Similarly, but connection with the original Ricercari in very lax, my Ricercandi struggle with the problem of "meaning" in an instrumental piece. The second, simpler, reason is that in Italian "Ricercando" delivers the idea of searching, exploring, finding ways: both compositionally and expressively. Ricercando IV touches on certain emotional regions which might be apparent, or not, upon hearing the piece.

David Graves (2005). For unmedicated Italian Pianist, Regret, 2005. "David A. Graves initially studied electronic music composition at the University of Nebraska. He has composed music for multiple genres, including ambient, jazz, and rock. He has also scored music for film and theatre, including A Period Piece, a play by Rachael Kerr, performed in San Francisco and New York (1995-1998) and ICON: The Photography of Gordon Parks (2003), a movie by PCTV. In 2003, he was the resident composer at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program where he was awarded the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellowship. In the past three years, he has focused on scoring music for "new classical" works, especially in conjunction with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra and the composer collective Irregular Resolutions. He is currently studying composition with Alexis Alrich at the SF Conservatory of Music. This are the first pieces he has scored for solo piano."
In For unmedicated Italian Pianist the spoken word "Aiuto" means "Help", "infatti" translates into "indeed".

John Bilotta, Madison Sketchbook, Set II (2003). "Madison Sketchbook is an open, evolving work to which I add new sections periodically. The Sketchbook is divided into sets, each set containing several interrelated movements. At the very least, all the movements within a set are based on the same twelve-tone row with the intent that they be played as a unit, while the sets themselves may be played independently of each other. I started the sketchbook as a way to extend my keyboard-writing skills by creating brief works focused on specific expressive or technical ideas. This is not an academic exercise, however. Each set is constructed to be musically consistent, complete, and concert-worthy. It is my hope that music in Madison Sketchbook is as enjoyable for the audience as they are challenging for the pianist. Set II: Grave, ma con semplicità; Andantino; and Allegretto, ma non troppo."
John Bilotta was born in Connecticut but has lived most his life in the San Francisco Bay Area where, after graduating from Berkeley, he studied composition, theory, and orchestration with Frederick Saunders. A recipient of commissions, grants, and awards, he has focused in recent years on music for chamber ensembles and orchestra. His works have been performed at concerts and festivals around the world by outstanding soloists and ensembles including Rarescale, the Kiev Philharmonic, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, the Oakland Civic Orchestra, the Bakersfield Symphony, the Thunder Bay Symphony, and the Oklahoma City University Wind Philharmonic, among others. His most recent works include the Divertimento for Orchestra, the Madison Sketchbook, and a series of chamber works for winds which includes Gen’ei no Mai for flute and clarinet, Entr’acte for solo clarinet, Shadow Tree for alto flute and guitar, and Fire in Spring for flute and oboe. In 2005, his Concerto for Wind Quartet and Orchestra was premiered by the Oakland Civic Orchestra under the direction of Martha Stoddard and subsequently recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic for commercial release in 2006."

Martha Callison Horst began her formal composition studies at Stanford University (BA Composition) and at UC Davis (PhD Theory/Composition) where she studied with Ross Bauer, David Rakowski, and John Chowning at CCRMA. She has attended several national and international festivals where she has studied with composers such as Milton Babbitt, Mario Davidovsky, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and Oliver Knussen.In recent years, Ms. Horst's music has received performances throughout the United States and Europe. She has received commissions from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Earplay, Empyrean Ensemble, the Dartington International Festival, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the Left Coast Ensemble. Her music has also been performed by such notable groups as the Fromm Players, members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Eighth Blackbird, The Women's Philharmonic, the New England Reed Trio, and at the Wellesley Composers Conference. In addition to her compositional activities, she is also a professional singer, performing regularly with the Grammy-award winning San Francisco Symphony. She taught music theory and composition at San Francisco State University, University of California, Davis, and she is currently professor at the East Caroline University. In addition, Ms. Horst serves on the Board of Director of Earplay, a San Francisco based contemporary music ensemble. Juxtapose is part of the set of three studies J'études.

Giacinto Scelsi, Piano Suite No 10 Ka (Selection), 1953. Born in Italy from an aristocratic family in 1905, the reclusive Italian composer was in contact with much of the intellighensia of his times (among others he was friend with Jean Cocteau and Virginia Wolf). Married twice, received at Buckingham Palace, travelled widely in north Africa, the middle east and India, and eventually settled in Rome. He was one of the first outside the Viennese circle to explore serialism (learned from a student of Shoenberg, Walter Klein), which he soon discarded, and studied the theories of Scriabin, as well as reading Steiner (of the theosophical society) ans his thery about the centrality of single notes in future music. He was influenced by Oriental thought and music and became preoccupied with exploring micro-intervals around single notes, (he built and used instruments for quarters and eights tones, as well as writing music for instrument mis-tuned by fraction of tones), and composed whole pieces for "single notes". He composed prolifically for large and smaller scale combinations of voices and orchestra, as well as for unaccompanied solo singers and instrumentalists and of course piano. A large number of his compositions are transcriptions of improvisations recorded on magnetic tape. The transcription were obtained with the aid of a number of "translatori" (transcribers) working with him. The Suite Ka is a late piano work, and only three movements will be presented. The title is a reference the fourth level of manifestation of the Buddha (the indivisible essence which manifests itself in the three levels of Buddhahood, truth-, bliss- and activity-), although it could also refer to the ancient Egyptian Ka: the individual's "vital force" or "spiritual twin."

Claude Debussy, Arabesque No 2,1888-91. Reflets dans l'eau from Images book I (1904). Of the great French composer I present a very early work, the bright, cheerful Arabesque No.2, and one of his more mature works from the first series of Images. Where the Arabesque is just a little daring in its exploration of novel armonic vocabularies, the Image is quite revolutionary, for the time. It is characterized by an extreme care to detail, reflected in the complex and very specific score, and exploits the capability of the different registers of the piano in ways that still surprise after a hundred (and two) years. The registers are often heard overlapped simultaneously and create a dense fabric of sound. The first image played tonight (Reflets dans l'eau) might suggest a programmatic piece, although piece titles in Debussy are often hints rather than attempts to precisely define the piece.

Franz Liszt, Nuages Gris, Hungarian Rapsody No.6, 1850-1881. Liszt is considered one of the greatest pianist of all times, and he certanly changed the way we look at the piano like no other before or after his times. Often maligned for the ebullient and occasionally easy virtuosity present in his pieces, he explored the piano and the capabilities of the hands and the ten fingers to an almost inimmaginable extent. Liszt had an enormous influence on the musical world of his times. He was champion of Beethoven, supporter of Wagner as well as many other musicians, a musical revolutionary who established the synphonic poem, experimented with tonality and unconvential instrumentation, and can be considered precursor of impressionism and atonal music. We listen tonight to one of his latest, harmonically most daring, pieces, Nuages Gris, as well as one of his virtuosic Hungarian Rapsodies.

Antonio Vivaldi. Concerto in G, 1710 (arranged by D. Verotta). Born in Venice the son of a violinist who played at St. Mark's duomo, Vivaldi was trained for the priesthood and ordained in 1703. Soon after his ordination he ceased to say Mass and for all practical purposes, including a long sentimental relationsip with the singer Anna Giraud, he operated outside active preisthood. In 1703 he was appointed maestro di violino at the Ospedale della Pietà, one of the Venetian girls' orphanages. He remained associated with the Ospedale all his life. Vivaldi's reputation begun to grow almost immediately with his first publications: trio sonate (probably 1703-5), violin sonate (1709) and especially his 12 concerti L'estro armonico op.3 (1711). Published in Amsterdam and widely circulated in northern Europe they established him as a leading composers of his time, prompting visiting musicians to seek him out in Venice and the commission of compositions. Vivaldi's chief importance lies in the concerto. He was the first composer to use ritornello form regularly in fast movements, and his use of it became a model; the same is true of his three-movement plan (fast-slow-fast, as in the concert presented tonight), and elements of his style (vigorous rhythmic pattems, soloist figurations, use of sequences) were also much imitated (Bach transcribed some of his concerts to Keyboard). Of his 550 plus concertos (in addition to a large operatic production), 350 are for solo instrument (more than 230 for violin); there are about 40 double concertos, more than 30 for multiple soloists, concertos for bassoon, cello, oboe and flute, and nearly 60 for orchestra without solo, while more than 20 are chamber concertos for a small group of solo instruments without orchestra. From the Italian Master of the Baroque, I present a new arrangement for piano of one of his Violin Concerti.

Ludwig van Beethoven,  Op 53 "Waldstein", 1803-4. Ludwig van Beethoven is perhaphs the "greatest" composer, in the sense that his writing somehow never fails to reach what is most human and at the same time noble in us. In the musical idiom of the nineteen century he represents a bridge between the later romantic generations (Beethoven was only 22 when Franz Schubert was born and 29 to 31 when Felix Mendelssohn, Frederick Chopin, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt arrived in the world) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn. Born in Bonn, Beethoven flourished in Vienna, despite the fact that he was frequently at odds with its society. His manner was often less than courteous and his rages were notorious. Perhaps a measure of his character was shaped by his teacher in Bonn, Christian Gottlob Neefe, who wrote in his autobiography that he was, “no friend of ceremony and of etiquette,” and he “detested creeps and gossips.” Beethoven wrote 32 piano sonatas over a period of 27 years and they represent one of the treasures of classical music. They vary widely in form, number of movements, performance times, emotional range, and difficulty. During his lifetime, the Viennese public rarely heard the sonatas in concert; they were the domain of private and semi-private gatherings under the title house music. The “Waldstein”, in three movements (Allegro con brio, Adagio Molto-Introduction, Rondo) is a monumental piano work, which joins a largeness of vision and structural and harmonic darings unprecedented in the piano literature, with a sunny demeanor which is only briefly shadowed by the Adagio. The first movement has some seeds of the 9-th synphony in it, the Adagio is a tiny marvel of expectation and tension, the final Rondo a celebration of beauty that tries to leap out of human limitations in the Presto finale.


Program notes by Davide Verotta



Site Designed by
Click on Images for Surprise Links