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VIDEO
 
Rehearsal for the March 16, 2020 concerts

The concerts were canceled because of the coronavirus epidemic. Fortuitously, our Jupiter musicians had the good sense to record the rehearsal in an impromptu decision, literally minutes before pressing the record button on an iphone. Pianist Mackenzie Melemed (replacing Roman Rabinovich) learned the music in 2 days! Bravo to him.

John FIELD  Divertissement No. 1 H. 13
  ~ simply delicious piano quintet, alternately titled Rondeau Pastoral and better known in its version for solo piano, Twelve O’clock Rondo, on account of the 12 “chimes” at the end ~ by the creator of the Nocturne, which had a major influence on Chopin

We thank the University of Illinois (Champaign) for a copy of the Divertissement music.

Mackenzie Melemed piano
Abigel Kralik violin
Dechopol Kowintaweewat violin
Sarah Sung viola
Christine Lamprea cello

Sir Hamilton HARTY  Piano Quintet in F Major Op. 12
  ~ in a lyrical Romantic idiom, with a distinct, breezy Irish-salted voice

Andrew Clements of the Guardian proclaimed the beautiful Quintet “a real discovery: a big, bold statement full of striking melodic ideas and intriguing harmonic shifts, which adds Brahms and Dvořák into Harty’s stylistic mix, together with Tchaikovsky in some passages.” There’s folk music charm as well, reminiscent of Percy Grainger—notably in the Scherzo (Vivace) with its folksy quirks and nonchalance, and the winding, pentatonic melody in the Lento.

Our gratitude to the Queen’s University Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a copy of the autograph manuscript of the music. Much thanks, too, to Connor Brown for speedily creating a printed score and parts from Harty’s manuscript.

Mackenzie Melemed piano
Abigel Kralik violin
Dechopol Kowintaweewat violin
Sarah Sung viola
Christine Lamprea cello

Allegro 0:00
II Vivace 10:43
III Lento 14:44
IV Allegro con brio 23:59

 

 

Jupiter featured on Our Net News

American program opener on March 18, with grateful thanks to Michael Shaffer of OurNetNews.com for recording the matinee concert, and making available the Horatio Parker Suite video for our viewing pleasure.

 

 

Horatio Parker Suite in A Major, Op. 35, composed in 1893
Prelude
Stephen Beus piano, Stefan Milenkovich violin, David Requiro cello

 

 

Horatio Parker Suite in A Major, Op. 35
Tempo di menuetto
Stephen Beus piano, Stefan Milenkovich violin, David Requiro cello


 

Horatio Parker Suite in A Major, Op. 35
Finale
Stephen Beus piano, Stefan Milenkovich violin, David Requiro cello



 

If you missed Maxim Lando at Jupiter...
 

 

Maxim Lando playing the first movement of Julius RÖNTGEN’s
Trio in Eb Major, with Vadim Lando on clarinet

 

 

Maxim Lando playing the second movement of
Julius RÖNTGEN’s Trio in Eb Major

 

Maxim Lando playing the third movement of
Julius RÖNTGEN’s Trio in Eb Major

 

 

Maxim Lando playing Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu as an encore

 

 


Jupiter on YouTube
featured in a short documentary on artist Michael McNamara

NEW YORK CANVAS : The Art of Michael McNamara is a video portrait of the artist who has painted iconic images of New York City for more than a decade, capturing the changing urban landscape of his adopted city. Our Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players provide the music from Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, underscoring the inspiration the artist has drawn from Jens Nygaard and the musicians. Michael was also our Jupiter volunteer from 2002 to 2010.

Here is a video of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players performance of the Rondo alla Zingarese movement:

 

Alessio Bax piano
Dmitri Berlinsky violin
Dov Scheindlin viola
Wendy Warner cello
Lucille Chung page turner

Produced by Interaction Media
Directed by Martin Spinelli
Edited by Michael Grenadier

To view this excellent documentary in full, just click on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdmufpEtRmY

The producer-director, Martin Spinelli, also made the EMMY Award-winning “Life On Jupiter: The Story of Jens Nygaard, Musician.

To view the artwork of Michael McNamara, visit www.mcnamarapaintings.com.

 

 


Jupiter’s 2010 Naumburg performance in Central Park was featured on
Good Day New York:


you will need the adobe flash player to view the video

 

 
 

The EMMY Award-winning documentary is available on DVD with bonus music.


LIFE ON JUPITER: The Story of Jens Nygaard, Musician is a superb documentary that has won a New York Emmy and the highly respected Chris Award, as well as a nomination for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement” by the Directors Guild of America.

Awards won include:

  • 2002 Emmy Award for Programming about the Arts
  • Best Documentary Film Award at the 22nd Annual Breckenridge
    Festival of Film
    .
  • Directors Guild of America’s Nomination for Outstanding
    Achievement Award.
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Opening Night
  • Chris Statuette Award at the Columbus International
    Film & Video Festival.
  • Thunderbird International Film Festival Best Picture, Best Sound/Music, and Lisa Palattella, Editor, won the Karl Malden Award for excellence, ingenuity, and dedication to the project.   
  • Best Musical Film Award - Tiburon International Film Festival
  • The BAC 36th International Film and Video Festival screening
    at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in Manhattan.
  • The International Film Festival of Fine Arts screening in Szolnok, Hungary
  • Empire State Film Festival & Rhode Island International
    Film Festival
    & Sedona International Film Festival screenings.

Martin Spinelli began this project in January 2000 as a labor of love after attending a concert of the Jupiter Symphony. Juxtaposing a powerful biography with great music, the documentary has earned positive critical responses from publications as disparate as TV Guide and Video Librarian, while generating an enthusiastic following among music lovers and general audiences alike.  Ruth Laredo, Joel Krosnick (Juilliard String Quartet), and William Wolfram are among the soloists that appear in this inspirational film. Life on Jupiter takes us on a musical and very personal journey, enhanced by selections from critically acclaimed performances.

This superb documentary on Jens Nygaard won the highly respected Chris Award capturing all seven rating points.  Following its premiere broadcast on July 1, 2001 by WNET (Channel 13), it has been screened at film festivals, among them, Breckenridge (“Best Film of the Festival in Documentaries”), Thunderbird (4 awards, including Best Film and Best Music), Tiburon (named “Best Musical Film” it beat out Eroica, the film on the chamber group, The Eroica Trio), and Park City, Utah.  It has also been screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, broadcast on public TV by WHYY in Philadelphia, and rebroadcast by WNET in July 2002 and by WNYE in July 2004.  The documentary is now being shown on other public stations in the U.S. and internationally.

Produced by Martin Spinelli and edited by Lisa Palattella, Life on Jupiter was given top rating by Video Librarian:  “An inspiring portrait of an inspired artist, Life on Jupiter is highly recommended.” If you wish to purchase your own copy to remember Jens by, or for more information and to view video clips visit www.lifeonjupiter.com.

 

 
AUDIO
 

We bring you something a little different this time—the historical military sonata, the most popular of the genre being František Kocžwara’s “The Battle of Prague” and James Hewitt’s “The Battle of Trenton.” These are 2 examples of programmatic music depicting battles on either side of the Atlantic. The recordings are from unedited live performances.

We are also grateful to all of you who have donated your tickets and sent gifts in support of Jupiter’s musicians and music making.

František KOCŽWARA  The Battle of Prague

Frantisek Koczwara - The Battle of Prague

František Kocžwara
Cover of The Battle of Prague (Boston: Gottlieb Graupner, early 19th century)

The Battle of Prague” was written around 1788 by the Bohemian composer and vagabond of sorts. It was inspired by an episode in 1757 during the Seven Years War, when the Kingdom of Prussia fought the Habsburg Monarchy. The sonata depicts the military skirmishes and attacks, replete with cannons, artillery, trumpet calls, galloping horses, reveille, cries of the wounded, and even the anthem “God Save the Queen” and a Turkish march. It is scored for the piano with accompaniment by the violin, cello, and drum to heighten the effects.

Immensely popular in the 18th and 19thcenturies, “The Battle of Prague” was the most played piano piece. According to the New Grove Dictionary, it “had a phenomenal success and was widely reprinted in London, the U.S. and on the Continent. Nearly 40 issues can be found. First published with accompaniments, it also became a standard parlor piece for solo piano. In Boston it was ‘indispensable to climax every concert.’ Appearing shortly before widespread political upheaval in Europe, it provided the model for a host of imitations.” Jane Austen is known to have had a copy of the piano version; Thomas Hardy mentioned it in A Pair of Blue Eyes; and so did Mark Twain in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Tramp Abroad. And it was played at the Assembly Rooms, Turnham Green (west of London) in June 1792 by the prodigy, Miss Hoffman, age 6, and her brother on drums, age 3 and a half. That was when the public had a hunger for musical stunts by prodigies.

Kocžwara died under the most unusual circumstances and became infamous for the manner of his death. “He was reputed to have had unusual vices, and was accidentally hanged while conducting an experiment in a house of ill repute. [New Grove Dictionary].” Erotic asphyxiation is the modern term for the means of his demise. He must have been off his rocker! In addition to composing, Kocžwara played the viola and the double bass. The influential 19th century Belgian critic, François-Joseph Fétis, noted that he also played the piano, violin, cello, oboe, flute, bassoon, and cittern.

“The Battle of Prague” was performed at Good Shepherd Church on May 15, 2017 with pianist Alexander Kobrin, violinist Josef Špaček, cellist Christine Lamprea, and Vadim Lando playing the drum and rattle.


James HEWITT  The Battle of Trenton

James Hewitt - The Battle of Trenton Cover

The title and subtitles as spoken by Jens

“The Battle of Trenton” dedicated to George Washington
The army in motion
General orders
Acclamation of the Americans / The drums beat to arms
General Washington’s march
The army crosses the Delaware
Their ardor upon landing
Charge
Attack
Cannon
Bomb
The defeat of the Hessians
They take flight
They beg for mercy
The fight resumes
General confusion
The Hessians surrender themselves prisoners of war
The grief of the Americans over the loss of their comrades in the engagement
Yankee Doodle
A quick step for the band
Trumpets of victory
And finally, general rejoicing

In George Washington’s time, it was not uncommon for a musician to be master of several musical tasks and instruments. James Hewitt (1770‑1827) was a man of such talents. Born in 1770 in Dartmoor, England, he led the Court Orchestra of George III before immigrating to the New World in 1792, establishing himself as a successful composer, conductor, and music publisher in New York and Boston. In New York, he performed as a concert violinist, directed activities of the Park Street theatre, and ran a music store. In 1811 he moved to Boston where he played the organ at Trinity Church and led the music at Federal Street Theatre. Concurrently he composed and arranged music for local ballad operas and musical events. Among his popular works was “The Battle of Trenton” written in 1797 and dedicated to George Washington. It was first printed anonymously. The battle took place on Christmas Day, 1776—General Washington’s surprise attack was the master stroke that boosted the morale of the ragged American army and helped turn the tide of the Revolutionary War. The sonata for keyboard enjoyed considerable popularity in his day. In the 20th century, when harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick revived the piece in 1940, Time magazine observed, “Though written for the most part in the measured, tinkling idiom of the 18th century English salon music, “The Battle of Trenton” still preserved a smoldering crash and rumble reminiscent of the early works of...Beethoven.”

Jens Nygaard performed and narrated Hewitt’s sonata at the Washington Heights Y on March 25, 1973.

Other sonatas you may like to explore further include “The Siege of Quebec” by William de Krift (using assorted materials by Kocžwara), “The Siege of Tripoli” by Benjamin Carr, “Vittoria” (dedicated to Wellington) by Matthew Peter King, and “The Fourth of July” by Hewitt, to name just four.


Most of us know this is Beethoven’s 250th year of his birth. Fifty years ago Jens Nygaard celebrated Beethoven’s 200th Birthday with a “Party” at Carnegie Recital Hall (today’s Weill Hall). The printed program for that concert on 16 December 1970 is missing from the Jupiter Archive, but it has been reconstructed from the review by Donal Henahan of the New York Times. We invite you to step back half a century and listen to several lesser known works by Beethoven that were performed that evening. Jens played the piano and clarinet. This is a live unedited recording. It has some sound quality issues, and you will also hear the musicians walking on and off the stage and some mic clunking as well. Regardless, you’re welcome to gatecrash the “Party” and get a taste Jens’s programming and piano playing.

Beethoven’s 200th Birthday “Party”
Carnegie Recital Hall ~ December 16, 1970
Beethoven

March in Bb Major for wind sextet WoO 29

“Bundeslied” for women’s chorus and winds Op. 122

Variations on a Swiss Air for Harp WoO 64

Scottish Folk Song for soprano and harp

Allemande, Allegro and Minuet for 2 flutes

Scottish Folk Song for soprano, tenor and piano

Scottish Folk Song for soprano, tenor, flute, bassoon and piano

Prelude and Fugue in F Major for string quartet Hess 30

Piece for flute and piano

Adagio and Sonatina for Mandolin WoO 43

5 Scottish Folk Songs, ending with “Auld Lang Syne”
~ for chorus, piano, violin, cello

Stipple engraving by Johann Joseph Neidl, after the lost drawing by Gundolf Stainhauser-Treuberg. The portrait is of Beethoven at age 30 (circa 1801) about the time when he had finished composing chamber music with wind instruments.

“Beethoven Concert Is Really a Party”
Donal Henahan The New York Times 17 December 1970

It was not the grandest party thrown for Beethoven on his birthday, but it must have been one of the most intimate and charming. To every person’s program was attached a piece of Schmidt’s Viennese candy. As the audience of perhaps 125 people filed into Carnegie Recital Hall last night, friends greeted one another with smiles and several called out “Happy Birthday to you.” There was a kind of giddy euphoria in the air that sentimental occasions sometimes arouse.

And why not? Jens Nygaard, a dear friend of Beethoven’s, and two dozen other friendly musicians were giving a party to which some of the composer’s forgotten children had been invited. There were, for instance, a miniature march in B flat for six winds, the Variations on a Swiss Air for Harp, two Preludes and Fugues for string quartet, the “Bundeslied” for women’s chorus and winds, the Adagio and Sonatina for Mandolin, assorted Allemandes, Allegros and Minuets for flutes, and Scottish folk songs—virtually nothing you ever heard, even in his Beethoven year.

Mr. Nygaard, a violinist, conductor, pianist, and clarinetist, who looks somewhat like Gerard Hoffnung, the late English tuba virtuoso and cartoonist, explained to an intrigued visitor before the concert that his party had not been thrown together as a last-minute inspiration. “Two years ago I applied for this date at Carnegie Recital Hall, and got it. We have no financial backing, no built-in audience, no help of any sort.”

Most of the music, he said, was not available from publishers, and he had to copy out much of it himself. “I did tremendous research in Vienna and elsewhere. I didn’t want to do just another sloppy ‘Eroica’—I’m not funded for that sort of thing anyway. I jobbed around, taught, borrowed money and almost sold the clothes off my back to raise the $1,500 or $1,600 that it cost to put this concert on. Most of the soloists, who are all high quality professionals, contributed their services, and my little Westchester Chamber Chorus came free. We just put ads in the paper and hoped.”

If it happened to snow on concert night, the conductor added, he stood to lose a lot of money. (It did.) But we all adore music, that’s all,” said Mr. Nygaard, who played both piano and clarinet during the concert. “I love it all—Beethoven, Schoenberg, Stephen Foster—any honest composer.” There was a “we-happy-few” tone in his voice as he named his fellow performers: Ruth Alsop, the cellist; Leonid Bolotine, the mandolinist; Diana Halprin, the violinist; Michael Best, the tenor; Gerardo Levy, the flutist.

But why, Mr. Nygaard was asked, did he invest so much time, energy and money in his off-best little concert? “Why? Because I won’t be around for Beethoven’s 300th birthday. This was my chance to make a modest but, I hope, meaningful contribution.” And with a little help from his friends and Beethoven’s forgotten children, he did.


Some of you may not know that the Jupiter Symphony was not Jens Nygaard’s first orchestra he founded. That distinction belongs to the Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra. On 19 November 1966 Louisa Kreisberg of the Reporter Dispatch in White Plains announced the formation of “A No-Nonsense Chorus-Orchestra...to investigate discord and create harmony...under the direction of Jens Nygaard.... After weeks of rehearsal and preparation, the group’s members believe their voices will not go crying in the wilderness. ...Singing, according to Mr. Nygaard, is the most natural of all endeavors. ...We have housewives, a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, and a principal of a posh private school.... There’s a very fine engineer who...has joined us because he wants to work, not to socialize.... Many people think that if they have a beautiful voice and can sing ‘Old Man River’ they can blend into a chorus. This isn’t so.... Our members have to read the right notes, the right rhythms, must blend, and have the right attitude toward to music. ...I expect them to have the love and dedication and ability to sight read so that the rehearsals can be concerned largely with the music content.... Our members want to learn more about music. They want to sing. They should become better musicians.... The Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra has rolled up its sleeves, cleaned house, and gone to work....”

How fortunate we are to have some music from the first 2 seasons. The recording of live performances, presumably selected by Jens, is from an LP record.

Martin Bookspan, in an interview in 2002 for Life on Jupiter (the documentary on Jens), described his WCCO experience: “I went to one of the concerts and was bowled over. First of all by the musical intelligence that was manifest in that music making, secondly by the sheer exuberance and vitality of the music making. I went up to Jens after the concert and introduced myself and told him I had had a remarkable music experience. And happily we’ve been friends ever since.” Reviewers have echoed the sentiment. Muriel Brooks wrote in the Patent Trader, “No doubt about it, Jens Nygaard is turning the Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra into a first rate musical organization.” Arnold Gamson of the Westchester Tattler added, “Rarely has an evening of listening been so satisfying. Here is a conductor in perfect rapport with his singers and players. Here is an ensemble totally dedicated to giving music the very best they are capable of and in this case it is a great deal.... Last night this music came alive in every detail revealing a splendor, a refinement of expression and a humanity that was breathtaking....”

Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra ~ Music from the first two seasons
Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra

1. Monteverdi

2. Brahms

3. Fauré

4. Haydn

5. Bach Flute Suite

6. Bach Peasant Cantata

7. Handel Ode - Overture

8. Hovahness

9. Handel Ode - Aria

10. Handel - Zadock the Priest

 

MONTEVERDI  Motets [February 4, 1968]
Nisi Dominus • Laetatus Sum

BRAHMS  Lied von Shakespeare Op. 17 [May 5, 1968]

FAURÉ  Requiem: Libera Me ~ Kerry McDevitt baritone [May 5, 1968]

HAYDN  Lord Nelson Mass: Credo [May 7, 1967]

BACH  Flute Suite: Badinerie ~ Paula Sylvester flute [May 5, 1968]

BACH  Peasant Cantata [November 20, 1966]
Overture • Aria (Judy Hubbell soprano) • Finale

HANDEL  Ode to Saint Cecilia: Overture [December 3, 1967]

Alan HOVHANESS  O God Our Help in Ages Past [November 20, 1966]

HANDEL  Ode to Saint Cecilia: Aria ~ Robert Jones tenor [December 3, 1967]

HANDEL  Coronation Anthem: Zadok the Priest [May 7, 1967]


As we value our priceless freedom, albeit presently shackled, but hopefully for not much longer, here’s more American music from the second half of an unedited, live performance on September 14, 1999 at Good Shepherd Church—7 classic marches by the American March King, John Philip Sousa—El Capitan,Thunderer, Semper Fidelis, King Cotton, High School Cadets, Washington Post, and Stars and Stripes Forever All the tunes are familiar, played à la Jens Nygaard—rhythmical and with upbeat tempos. Sousa held a special place in Jens’s heart as his father played in the Sousa Band. Enjoy.
John Philip SOUSA 7 Classic Marches John Philip SOUSA

1. Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

2. El Capitan

3. Thunderer

4. Semper Fidelis

5. King Cotton

6. High School Cadets

7. Jens Nygaard’s Comments

8. Washington Post

9. Stars and Stripes Forever

10. Stars and Stripes Encore from Trio


The first half of the program comprised Jens Nygaard’s Foster Medley, which you’ll not hear anywhere else, and Deems Taylor’s most popular and now forgotten Through the Looking Glass.
Stephen Foster A Treasury of Stephen Foster

The Foster-Nygaard Medley is quintessential Jens. Based on songs by Stephen Foster, Jens weaves a tuneful ramble with imagination, interesting harmonies, seamless segues, and his own quirky and playful touches. A Treasury of Stephen Foster with a forward by Deems Taylor was the songbook that Jens read and annotated when choosing his selections for the Medley. The program’s pairing of Foster and Taylor was, incidentally, by chance, not design. The recording is from the first half of an unedited, live performance on September 14, 1999 at Good Shepherd Church.

Before writing his Medley, Jens went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in spite of pain in his leg to visit the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum and Foster’s grave in Allegheny Cemetery. Unbeknownst to anyone, including his doctor, Jens was already ill with multiple myeloma, but it was not diagnosed till his femur broke some months later in October 1999. Despite his discomfort he was charged with enthusiasm upon his return, and worked on the Medley right up through the dress rehearsal.

Don’t miss the markings in the score as you listen to the music; and have some fun, too, identifying the songs. Can you name them all? There are 15 or 16, according to Jens’s opening remarks.

Page 64 of the Autograph Manuscript Score Page 67 of the Autograph Manuscript Score

Pages 64 and 67 of the Autograph Manuscript Score, in pencil

Stephen FOSTER-Jens NYGAARD Medley Foster’s songs are, in effect, American folksongs, made memorable by his melodic genius. As Deems Taylor so aptly declared, the music “has in it the stuff of imperishability... an eternal echo in our hearts.” Born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania on the 4th of July, 1826 to a prominent Pittsburgh family, Foster was the 10th of 11 children. Self-taught, he became the first American professional songwriter. The songs were penned for the parlor and minstrel stage in a range of themes: from the love of home, river life and work, to politics, the battlefields of the Civil War, slavery, and plantation life. He had contracts with Firth, Pond & Co. and commissions for Edwin P. Christy’s minstrel show, but he lacked business savvy, which led to recurring debts. The last 4 years of his short life were spent in New York City. By then, he was an alcoholic living in a flophouse in the Bowery—penniless, sick, and alone, having sold the rights to his music for cash and even the clothes on his back for liquor. While shaving one day in January 1864, he fell and died 3 days later in Bellevue Hospital at age 37.

Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

Stephen FOSTER-Jens NYGAARD Medley


Deems Taylor

Deems Taylor’s Through the Looking Glass was composed in 1919, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s novel of the same title. Originally written for a chamber ensemble, Jens probably performed the “big version”—so marked on the title page of his score in green ink, and he drew the orchestra seating plan in red ink. However, he bowed the string parts for the “Chamber version” as well, and performed only 4 of the 5 “Pictures” as in the chamber score. The Suite is an imaginative and colorful adventure through Alice’s looking glass—a dreamy introduction to Alice, an immersion into the enchanted realm of the Jabberwock, a frolic with fantastical Insects, and a portrait of the White Knight.

Never boring, Deems Taylor (1885-1966) was one of the best-known musical figures of the first half of the 20th century—a composer, music critic, author, commentator, artist, and broadcast personality. Among his numerous accomplishments, he was the voice of the New York Philharmonic; he composed The King’s Henchman, the first American opera commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera; and as the affable master of ceremonies for Disney’s animated Fantasia he won over moviegoers to classical music.

Throught The Looking Glass by Deems Taylor Suite for Orchestra Throught The Looking Glass by Deems Taylor Chamber Version

 

Deems TAYLOR  Through the Looking Glass Op. 12

Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

I. Dedication

II. Jabberwocky

III. Looking Glass Insects

IV. The White Knight

Moments Mousical by Deems Taylor

 

If you’d like to discover yet another facet to Deems Taylor, you may enjoy reading Moments Mousical with its impossible puns and splendid illustrations by Walter Kumme. Here, the great Micetro offers readers an education, beginning with ancient history in Mousopotamia, and in dance, opera, and mousic; and ending with violinist Fritz Miceler at Carnegie Hall and composer Gustav Mauser, who studied with Moussager, Moucheles, and Mouskowski. It‘s a trip.


Ignace Pleyel engraving

Ignace Pleyel
engraving by Kupferstich von Lierd after a portrait by Jean Urbain Guèrin, circa 1840

Although almost forgotten, Pleyel was all the rage in Europe in his heyday, won the admiration of Mozart, and there was even a Pleyel Society on the island of Nantucket. Not only did he compose prolifically, he was an important music publisher and piano maker as well. His firm provided pianos used by Chopin and his concert hall, Salle Pleyel, was where Chopin performed his first and his last Paris concerts. Chopin also owned a Pleyel Grand of 1839.

Born in 1757 in Austria, Pleyel was the 24th of 38 children! (by one account). In 1772 he was sent to Eisenstadt to study with Haydn, and became his star pupil. By 1784 he was appointed assistant Kapellmeister at the Strasbourg Cathedral, succeeding as Kapellmeister in 1789 when Franz Xaver Richter died. In 1786 he also organized and conducted a series of concerts, which provided the opportunity to promote his compositions. When the French Revolution disrupted religious and cultural life in 1791, Pleyel moved to London, where his concerts and compositions were also highly praised. Upon his return to Paris in 1795, he opened a music shop and established the music publishing house, Maison Pleyel, that issued some 4000 works AND the first miniature scores! In 1807 he also founded a piano manufacturing company that, after a series of owners and mergers, was bought out by Schimmel of Brunswick in 1976. Pleyel died in 1831 after a truly illustrious career. You can visit his tomb at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Ignace PLEYEL  Symphony in C Op. 66

Jens Nygaard’s Introduction

I. Adagio—Allegro

II. Adagio

III. Menuetto

IV. Tempo giusto

Jens Nygaard’s Remarks

 

letter from Ignace Pleyel

letter from Ignace Pleyel

Pleyel’s letter, which Jens mentions in his remarks, is addressed to “Monsieur Kuhnel / Editeur de Musique” in Leipzig. It is dated in the French Republican (or Revolutionary) Calendar Paris le ii Brumaire l’an i4, i.e. November 2, 1805.

We thank Dr. Vera Junkers for dating the Pleyel letter in the Gregorian calendar, and Richard Secare for the translation into English.

My dear Mr Kühnel, Since my return it was impossible for me to take care of our business, but I would definitely provide a selection of music to reimburse you according to what we agreed in our old account, and as I could not accept your payment of 200 guilders I will send you in 8 days of getting it a payment of 100 [R]th. I hope you would accept my signature: Shortly I will fulfill your request as you did not address in Grätz, and I hope that our business will go more smoothly especially in times of peace: Goodbye, I still have not a moment more to write to you. M Matheis leaves tomorrow and it is very late. Your devoted friend, Ignace Pleyel


Frederic Chopin

Frédéric Chopin
Photo by Louis-Auguste Bisson, 1840

CHOPIN  Rondo à la Krakowiak

Written in Warsaw in 1828 in the Polish dance form, the piece is one of Chopin’s lesser known works. He played it frequently after writing it, but seems not to have returned to it after leaving Poland in 1830 at age 20.

When Chopin died in 1849, his body was also buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Curious tidbit: His heart, however, was taken to Warsaw in compliance with his request on his deathbed. The heart was sealed in what is believed to have been a jar of cognac and smuggled to Warsaw before being interred in a pillar at the Holy Cross Church. For further details see: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/chopin-s-heart and https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/chopins-heart-exhumed-for-a-top-secret-check-up


Kenneth & Jean Wentworth
Kenneth & Jean Wentworth

On February 19 and 20, 1996, Kenneth and Jean Wentworth performed the Carl CZERNY Concerto for Piano 4-Hands with the Jupiter Symphony, Jens Nygaard conducting. They played it 3 times. Back in Jens’s day, the concerts were at 2 pm and 7 pm on Mondays, and 8 pm on Tuesdays. We hope you will take to this Concerto by a composer held in high esteem by Jens. Czerny’s Overture precedes the Concerto for your added listening pleasure. Douglas Townsend (1921-2012) offered the music. Back then, it was also a challenge to find the score and parts; today, much of this obscure music is quite easily obtainable through imslp, libraries, other online resources.

Carl Czerny

Carl Czerny (1791‑1857)
portrait by Josef Lanzedelly after a lithograph

 

Carl CZERNY  Overture in E Major, Op. 142

Carl CZERNY  Concerto in C Major for Piano Four-Hands, Op. 153 [1829]

Allegro con brio

Adagio espressivo

Rondo alla Polacca

 


Czerny was a prolific Austrian composer, pianist, and teacher of Bohemian origin. He was Beethoven’s pupil for 3 years from the age of 10, and later became his assistant and lifelong friend. Among his own pupils were Franz Liszt and Beethoven’s nephew Karl. It has been said that Czerny was arguably the greatest pianist who never performed, and the most successful composer to have been consigned to oblivion; his compositions number over 800 opus numbers and mounds of unpublished manuscripts.

 

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