Erwin Schuloff Concertino for Flute, Viola, and Double Bass

Utah Symphony Flute/Piccolo Caitlyn Valovick-Moore and Principal Bassist David Yavornitzky at Abravanel Hall.

On Sunday, February 26, the Utah Viola Society is proud to present our guests Caitlyn Valovick-Moore, flute and piccolo, and David Yavornitzky, double-bass, in a performance of the Erwin Schuloff Concertino for Flute, Viola, and Double-bass.

Erwin Schuloff (1894-1942) was a Czechoslovakian composer and pianist. He showed musical talent from a young age, and at age 10 Antonin Dvorak recommended him for study at the Prague Conservatory where he studied composition and piano. He continued his musical education in Vienna, studying composition with Max Reger. (He later studied briefly with Claude Debussy, and though their teacher-student relationship was short lived, one can hear the influence of Debussy’s music in Schuloff’s style.)

Schuloff’s compositional career is generally divided into four periods. The Concertino, written in 1925, falls in the middle of his third period which is marked by the influence of Debussy, his exploration of jazz, and interest in folk music. Schuloff’s synthesis of these styles can be heard in the Concertino. It was premiered in 1926 by a group comprised of the flautist for whom the piece was written, Hermann Wilber Drauber, and the Hindemith brothers, Paul Hindemith playing viola, and his brother Rudolph Hindemith playing double bass.

Schuloff’s later compositional period is known as “Socialist Realism” and included a cantata setting of the Communist Manifesto. His compositions were labeled “degenerate” by the Nazi party, and he was no longer allowed to perform in Germany. He applied for citizenship to the Soviet Union, but before he could leave Czechoslovakia, he was arrested and sent to a concentration camp in Wülzberg, Bavaria, where he died of tuberculosis in 1942.

The Concertino is in four movements: Andante con Moto, Furiant, Andante, and Rondino. Throughout the trio one hears the influence of folk music, the freedom and counterpoint of jazz, and the textures of Debussy. The first movement opens with a viola bass ostinato under an exotic-sounding flute melody reminiscent of Debussy. The second movement is a folksy and rustic dance in 5/8 time. The third movement has some of the most interesting counter point of the piece, with each instrument getting a turn at a Ruthenian folk song, with the accompanying instruments dovetailing the melody. The final movement is another folk dance and includes a piccolo melody described by Schuloff as a “Moravian seller of shepherd’s flutes in the streets of Prague.”

We’ve enjoyed putting together the Schuloff Concertino. Caitlyn, David, and I agree that the most interesting thing about the trio is the range, reaching at times a 4-octave span between the bass and piccolo, with the viola sandwiched in between. One would think that working with such a large range would be challenging, but Schuloff’s writing for each instrument is so idiomatic that each voice works well independently and yet pairs beautifully with the others.  We love that Schuloff’s compositional voice is unique; while he’s been influenced by many types of music and compositional techniques, his synthesis of those influences creates a very personal style. We also enjoy how he writes counterpoint. The melodies are very clearly written, but the accompanying lines help take the listener in a different direction.

My favorite part about working on the trio has been getting together with my wonderful Utah Symphony and University of Utah colleagues Caitlyn and David. Playing chamber music is a highlight and delight for us, but I am deeply honored to be able to perform with such high caliber musicians as Caitlyn and David. In case you miss this performance, you can catch us again on March 26 at 7 pm in Libby Gardner Hall for a Sundays at 7 program.

Utah Viola Society Spring Recital
Sunday, February 26, 3pm
University of Utah, Dumke Recital Hall

Elizabeth Beilman on Schumann’s Fairy Tales

Elizabeth Beilman will be presenting Robert Schumann’s Märchenbilder as part of Utah Viola Society’s Spring Recital. (In case you aren’t able to attend our exceptional program, you can see Elizabeth perform this work on March 5 for the NOVA Chamber Music Series.)

“I love that the Schumann is made up of four short movements with completely different characters, so it really challenges me to expand my musical color palette.

In particular, the second movement makes me think of a hunt on horseback. I’m trying to imitate the sound of horns heralding the start of the hunt.
My teacher, Don McInnes, always looked to singers for inspiration when it comes to tone color.  For me, the last movement of the Schumann makes me think of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s rich baritone voice.”

Emily on Rebecca

Utah Viola Society member Emily Barrett Brown will be performing Rebecca Clarke’s Shorter Pieces for Viola and Piano on Sunday’s Utah Viola Society Spring Recital. 

“I love playing pieces composed by a woman and violist–you get the complete package with Rebecca Clarke.
 I appreciate Rebecca Clarke’s unique perspective on a woman’s life portrayed in her short pieces–love songs, lullabies and whimsical period pieces.
 I love the rich texture, the sonorous use of the viola and expertly balanced piano parts!”

Join us to hear Emily showcase Rebecca Clarke on Sunday as part of the Utah Viola Society Spring Recital. 

Sunday, February 26, 3pm
Dumke Recital Hall, David Gardner Hall, University of Utah

Carl talks Bax

“I enjoy how the sonata starts, as though he was improvising in the garage with his British romantic rock band. 

The harmonies are beautifully exotic, with flourishes that lead you to unexpected but incredibly beautiful places. 
It has been a fun sonata to work on, trying to develop 4 different sounds: romantic, electric, declamatory, and the final muted section where I want something that an opera singer might do with her tenor.”
Utah Symphony Violist Carl Johansen will be performing the Sonata for Viola and Piano by Arnold Bax on Sunday, February 26 as part of the Utah Viola Society’s Spring Recital.
Join us Sunday, February 26 at 3pm.
Dumke Recital Hall, David Gardner Hall, University of Utah

Brad Ottesen on the Romance by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Utah Viola Society President and Fry Street Quartet Violist Brad Ottesen will be performing the Vaughan Williams Romance as part of the UVS Spring Recital.

“I love the note from English violist Bernard Shore in the score:

“There is no information about the approximate date on which this work was written.  The manuscript was discovered with others, without any clue, among the composer’s papers after his death.  All that can be said is that it was probably intended for the great virtuoso Lionel Tertis.”
How lucky we are to have this piece! How fortunate that Vaughan Williams gave us this parting gift to accompany the legacy of his other great works for the viola. The mystery of its origins seems appropriately reflected in the character of the music – elemental, simple yet profound, and achingly beautiful.”
Join us Sunday, February 26 at 3pm for the Utah Viola Society’s Spring Recital.
Dumke Recital Hall, David Gardner Hall, University of Utah

Scott Lewis, Paul Hindemith Sonata for Solo Viola (1937)

Scott Lewis on the Paul Hindemith Sonata for Solo Viola (1937):

“It was written by a composer who understands intimately the instrument for which he is writing.
Alfred Einstein encapsulated Hindemith’s relationship to his audience thus: ”He is unwilling to exploit his feelings publicly and he keeps his two feet on the ground. He merely writes music, the best that he can produce.” There is a refreshing lack of pretense and unnecessary drama. Its beauty, for me, lies in its combination of directness of character and multiple shadings of texture and thought, which always leaves me in appreciation of its stark beauty.”

Join us to hear Scott perform the starkly beautiful 1937 Solo Sonata as part of the Utah Viola Society’s Spring Recital.

Sunday, February 26, 3pm. Dumke Recital Hall, University of Utah.

UVS Spring Recital February 26

Dear Utah Violists!
The Utah Viola Society is pleased to announce our annual Spring Recital! This year’s recital offers a rich and diverse range of musical selections from Vaughan Williams to Schumann to Bax, performed by our rich and diverse performers ranging from Ottesen to Beilman to Johansen.  We’ll have a trio that covers the range from bass to piccolo, and music that covers the emotional range from molto tranquillo to brutalmente.

Please join us Sunday, February 26 at 3pm at The University Of Utah School of Music, Dumke Recital Hall.

Brad Ottesen – Vaughan Williams Romance 
Scott Lewis – Hindemith 1937 Sonata
Carl Johansen – Bax Sonata
Emily Brown – Short Pieces by Rebecca Clarke 
Elizabeth Beilmann – Schumann Märchenbilder 
Edwards/Valovick Moore/Yavornitzky- Schulhoff Concertino

Who’s bringing the cookies?!?