Grand Harmonie—Performing Historically Informed Music of the 18th and 19th Centuries—Presents
Featuring the rarely heard virtuosic Grand Quartet for natural horns by J.F. Gallay
May 26 & 27, 2016, 7:30pm
Grand Harmonie—a period music ensemble hailed as “tight and energetic” by The Boston Globe—will present Brass Menagerie featuring music for 18th and 19th century brasswinds. The program includes the rarely performed Grand Quartet of Jacques-Francois Gallay, a natural horn virtuoso from 19th century France; Beethoven’s Drei Equali for four trombones; two of Mozart’s popular Divertimenti; and fanfares by C.P.E. Bach, and Salieri.
Founded just four years ago, Grand Harmonie has quickly established a reputation for uniting scholarship and musicianship. Praised by The New York Times for their “alert lyricism,” Grand Harmonie carefully curates concerts which often include works that have received limited attention from the historic performance community in the United States for small ensembles and full orchestra. By performing on instruments from the period, 21st Century audiences can experience the same sounds experienced by listeners of the original 18th and 19th Century music.
The pinnacle of virtuosic horn writing, Gallay’s Grand Quartet is scored for four natural horns. In order to explore the rage of musical harmonies and range desired, Gallay composed the Quartet with each horn pitched in a different key. Written in four movements, the Quartet is dedicated to Rossini, with its soaring lines and intense musical phrases.
Beethoven holds an honored place in the history of the trombone and was one of the first composers to utilize the instrument prominently in his symphonies and smaller works. The Drei Equali was written for instruments of a similar range for the Linz Cathedral in Austria on All Soul’s Day 1812. It employs two alto trombones, tenor trombone, and bass trombone in three short movements. The somber work was eventually rearranged as a choral anthem for Beethoven’s own funeral.
Of particular interest to this program are the two Divertimenti composed and arranged by Mozart. Often heard in the 18th Century as lighthearted background music, Mozart elevated the Divertimento to a higher art form with intricate melodic and harmonic interactions. In K. 187 & 188, Mozart brings together the unusual combination of five trumpets, two flutes, and timpani. He utilizes trumpets in both D and C to allow for more adventurous harmonic forays then in typical writing for natural trumpet.
The concerts will take place on Thursday, May 26 at 7:30pm at The Second Church in Newton, 60 Highland St., Newton, MA 02465; and Friday, May 27 at 7:30pm at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 838 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139. Tickets are general admission and are $20; student and senior tickets are available for $12. Tickets may be purchased online at grandharmonie.org.
About Grand Harmonie:
Grand Harmonie brings vibrant, historically-informed, period-instrument performances of Classical and Romantic music to audiences across the Northeast. Founded in 2012 by a group of wind players interested in exploring the repertoire of Harmonie bands of the 18th century, the scope of the ensemble includes Harmoniemusik, salon concerts, mixed chamber music, full symphony orchestra, and both concert and fully-staged opera.
A key player in the arts community, Grand Harmonie enjoys collaborations with numerous organizations and universities, and appears on multiple concert series in both Boston and New York. Recent collaborations include performances with Harvard University Choir, Boston Opera Collaborative, Lorelei Ensemble, Bach Vespers NYC, GEMS Midtown Concerts, Met Museum Gallery Concerts and more. The ensemble, a proven educational resource, has been invited to give performances and master classes in historical performance practice at Harvard University, The Longy School of Music of Bard College, NYU, the University of Washington, and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Grand Harmonie is supported by a George Henschel Community Award grant from the Harvard Musical Association, Princeton Friends of Opera, Princeton Department of German, and the Lewis Center for the Arts.