Kluge & Favero in Concert
Presented as part of ARTSaha 2004
September 6, 2004
First Central Congregational Church
Omaha Symphony's principal violist Thomas Kluge and his wife Michelle Favero presented a wide-ranging program of works for viola and piano. Featuring the work of J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, and his tutor Frank Bridge, the concert included the world premiere of Baltasar and Blimunda III by Rudolf Kamper.
Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonata in G Major for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord, BWV 1027
Rudolf Kamper, Baltasar and Blimunda III ...they begin work on building the flying machine*
Jacob Avshalomov, Sonatine for Viola and Piano
Benjamin Britten, Lachrymae (reflections on a song of Dowland)
Frank Bridge, Four Pieces for Viola and Piano
Thomas Kluge, Viola
Michelle Favero, Piano
Baltasar and Blimunda III is part of a series of episodes based on the same book. The composer writes about his piece using the following text, borrowed from Portuguese author Jose Saramago’s book Baltasar and Blimunda:
Sometimes Blimunda rises early, and before eating her bread she examines the work that has already been completed to see if there are any flaws in the canework or construction of the machine. Impressed, the scientist Padre Bartolomeu exclaimed to Baltasar that he was Sete-Sois (seven suns) because he saw the work in the light of day, and Blimunda was Sete-Luas (seven moons) because she saw the work in the dead of night.” “That night the suns and moons slept together in each other’s embraces while the stars circled slowly in the heavens.”
Padre Bartolomeu was a dreamer of the early 1700’s who is credited with being the Portuguese father of flight. This small piece is a crystallization of characters in Saramago’s delicious story.
Composer Jacob Avshalomov writes the following about his Sonatine:
“Over the years I’ve felt glimmerings of pre-destiny in that the Sonatine, my first-published work, dedicated to my wife Doris, was somehow intended for Daniel long before he was born. He has played it now and then since he was fifteen, and one of the sweetest occasions was a surprise bon-voyage performed at Tully Hall midday recital before we sailed to Europe on sabbatical.
The piece gained a certain currency after its premiere, March 16, 1947, at a League of Composers concert in the Museum of Modern Art Auditorium -- that catacomb where many a new work was garbled by the periodic rumblings of the adjacent subway. Emmanuel Vardi was the violist and Alvin Bauman the pianist. It was reviewed by Virgil Thomson in the Herald Tribune as ‘a sweet and lyrical piece... half Jewish, half-Chinese’ (reflecting my background). Abram Loft had played it earlier, also with Bauman, at Columbia University where we were teaching colleagues. Vardi gave it again a month later at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.”