Janey Choi, left, Timothy Perry and Roberta Crawford of the Music Department will be featured in the Friedheim Recital/Lecture Series on Mozart's “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E Flat, K.364" at 8 p.m. Feb. 7, in FA-Casadesus.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Friedheim Lecture/Recital Series to examine Mozart masterpieceTweet
For Professor Timothy Perry, the Friedheim Memorial Lecture/Recital Series is like a music version of the Bravo television network’s “Inside the Actors Studio.”
“This is ‘the musician’s workshop,’” said Perry, who is chair of the Music Department, of the Friedheim series. “It brings together the various disciplines in which we learn about music, but we’re also performing the music.
“I’ve always liked the concept of uniting scholarship and performance,” he added. “They are still thought of too often as separate spheres. This is one of those places that we can talk about the craft and art of music and why they belong together.”
The first Friedheim Memorial Lecture/Recital Series event of the spring semester will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the Casadesus Recital Hall, as Perry will join with two music faculty members – violinist Janey Choi and violist Roberta Crawford – to discuss and perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E Flat, K.364.” Tickets are $6 for the general public; $3 for faculty/staff/seniors; and free for students. It is recommended that tickets are purchased in advance. Tickets are available at the Anderson Center Box Office from noon-5:30 p.m. weekdays, by calling 607-777-ARTS, online at http://anderson.binghamton.edu or at the door.
Sinfonia concertante is a musical genre that developed in the Classical period of the mid-18th century. It is a concerto for two or more solo instruments that are accompanied by an orchestra. While the soloists are front and center, they also are part of the ensemble: a true mix of symphony and concerto.
“It’s kind of an offshoot off the musical evolutionary tree,” Perry said. “In the sense of being popular, sinfonia concertante was only around for not quite 40 years. For a musical form, that’s more like a passing fad.”
Only about 600 sinfonia concertantes were written during the time period, Perry said. Perhaps the most famous was composed by Mozart in 1778, as a 22-year-old hearing the genre in places such as Paris and Vienna.
“He certainly was exposed to pieces being written,” Perry said. “Mozart had such deft feeling, he basically could imitate or copy anything he heard. His ears were that good.”
The sinfonia concertante genre would give way to a Romantic period that emphasized the individual, but Mozart’s masterwork has lived on. “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E Flat, K.364,” which is scored in three movements, will be performed at the Friedheim event by Choi, Crawford and about 20 members of the University Symphony Orchestra.
“For a Friedheim concert, this is probably the biggest group of people we’ve ever put on the Casadesus stage,” Perry said.
Perry praised the “breadth of experience” that Choi and Crawford bring to the performance. Choi has performed all over the world and on the Grammy Awards and “Saturday Night Live,” while Crawford is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble.
“They bring tremendous skill,” he said. “These are not easy pieces. Even for people of their experience and skill, this is a work of considerable difficulty.
“Our faculty have not just played their instruments in practice rooms,” he added. “They’ve been in orchestras. They’ve been in operas and worked in ballet. They do chamber music and they play solos.”
The Freidheim Memorial Lecture/Recital Series, started more than 30 years ago by professor and musicologist Philip Friedheim, was reinstituted about three years ago. The Music Department usually offers three to four events per year, with funds going to undergraduate scholarships in music. The series draws a mix of students, faculty and staff members and music fans from the community.
The format of the Mozart event will be a “three-part evening,” Perry said. He will lecture for 30-40 minutes, with a 30-minute performance and question-and-answer period to follow.
“We start with the scholar engaging the audience,” he said. “In the middle, we have the performers communicating to the audience, and we finish with the audience engaging the scholars and performers.”
Perry, who will also conduct the performance, said his lecture will focus on the history and development of sinfonia concertante, the life of Mozart surrounding the composition and an analysis of the piece.
“We’ll do a number of demonstrations from the piece to talk about stylistic elements not only of the piece, but of some things that may have been in the character of Mozart and what was in his head at the time,” Perry said. “What does music tell us about the man? What does the man tell us about the music?”
Perry hopes the lecture/recital will help audience members engage music in a different way and maybe examine the deeper levels of music.
“We often look at the surface of the sea and we don’t see any of this fabulous life underneath,” he said. “It’s the difference between really great music and music that is possibly pleasant, but lacks the depth.”