GAMBISTS, CELLISTS, AND THEIR COMPOSITIONS FROM THE BAROQUE TO THE MODERN ERA: A CASE FOR CONTINUING THIS TRADITION TODAY
Castleton, Seth Thomas
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This project aims to demonstrate the rich tradition of gambist and cellist composers from the Baroque to the modern era through the performance of selected works in a series of three recitals, a discussion of these performer-composers and their works in this document, and by engaging in this tradition through the creation of an original work to be premiered in the third and final recital. Simply stated, the purpose of this project is to illuminate a rich heritage that is fading out of our modern practice and to argue the relevance of perpetuating this tradition in our time. The first recital features works by gambist-composers representing a variety of styles prominent in various music centers in Europe from1650-c.1800. Three selections by the English gambist Christopher Simpson, a Suite in A minor by French gambist Marin Marais, three unaccompanied pieces by Carl Friedrich Abel, and the Sonata in A minor for Three Bass Viols and Continuo by Johann Nicolai, demonstrate the vibrancy of the gambist-composer tradition. The second recital pivots to the nineteenth century cellist-composer tradition, beginning with Bernhard Romberg’s Trio in E minor for Cello, Viola, and Bass, and continuing with Jean Stiastny’s Cello Duo in F Major. A modern performance edition of the Stiastny has been created for this performance (See Appendix A). Four of Dotzauer’s Six Pieces for Three Cellos, come next in the program, followed by a Tyrolienne by Grützmacher and a Notturno by Alfredo Piatti. The Recital closes with Popper’s unique Requiem for Three Cellos and Piano. The final recital celebrates the works of cellist-composers active in the twentieth century. The program begins with Mark Summer’s lively Julio-O and Variations: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming. A Romance by the German Bertold Hummel and a Notturno by the Italian Enrico Mainardi follow. Two showpieces, La Pendule, la Fileuse et le Galant and Danse du Diable Vert, by the Spanish virtuoso Gaspar Cassadó conclude the first half. My original composition, Laura-Lu, for Viola, Cello, and Piano, begins the second half, with Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto in E minor closing the program.