Music Department launches Autumn Quarter concert series
The Music Department's autumn concert series kicks off Friday, Sept. 27, with an oldie but a goodie.
The Stanford Early Music Singers will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the publication of Josquin des Prez's First Book of Masses with a free performance of the composer's most famous Mass, Missa l'homme armé super voces musicales, and selections from the book's other four Masses at 8 p.m. in Memorial Church.
"Josquin is the finest and most interesting and most beautiful composer of the period," said William Mahrt, associate professor of music and longtime director of the choral group. "Our experience in exploring the repertory of very many composers of this period leaves him standing above the rest."
Born in the Franco-Flemish region of northern France in the mid-1450s (his birth date is a matter of some controversy), Josquin is considered the most important composer of the High Renaissance. Most scholars maintain that he was a genius -- a musical counterpart to his well-known contemporaries Leonardo da Vinci (who is credited with having drawn his portrait) and Michelangelo.
During his life, Josquin composed 19 Masses, some 100 motets and 70 French chansons. His influence was enormous. L'homme armé proved so popular with Renaissance composers that at least 31 other Masses were created from its melody.
Even with his death in 1521, Josquin's popularity didn't skip a beat -- in fact, it grew during the next several decades. His name and reputation became legendary, and popular anecdotes about him (many fictional) circulated widely. Among his many high-profile fans were Martin Luther, Pope Alexander VI and Louis XII.
In addition to composing, Josquin worked as a singer for the papal chapel in Rome and was choral director for the Court of Ferrara. His Masses demonstrate a substantial technical mastery, particularly of cantus firmi -- the use of an existing tune as the basis for a new composition -- rooted in secular popular music, which he evidently found more interesting than sacred music.
The Early Music Singers, which has been under the direction of Mahrt for 30 years, specializes in the performance of choral music from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras.
The Chamber Music LIVE! series continues this fall on Oct. 11, 12 and 14. Launched in 2001, the initiative aims to raise the profile of chamber music on campus through a combination of concerts and outreach. Music Department emissaries are available to be dispatched to classes, residence gatherings and other academic events to complement, say, a course on medieval history or modern literature by performing music of the time and place in question. (To arrange a Chamber Music LIVE! performance, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the web at http://music.stanford.edu/Events/CMLIVE.html.)
The following Chamber Music LIVE! concerts are scheduled for Autumn Quarter:
(sum) The rock-star-coifed Mark Applebaum, assistant professor of music, will be joined by an all-star ensemble of improvisers and a "performance florist" (that's got to be unique) for the California premiere of Applebaum's Concerto for Florist and Ensemble at 8 p.m. Oct. 11 in Campbell Recital Hall. The concert also will feature other musical improvisations.
(sum) Soprano Jennifer Lane, senior lecturer in music, will join violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, viola da gambist Steven Lehning and harpsichordist Elaine Thornburgh for a concert titled "Musical Images from Nature" at 8 p.m. Oct. 12 in Campbell Recital Hall. The group will perform works by Purcell, Byrd, Couperin, Lambert, Rameau and Montéclair.
(sum) The Harmida Piano Trio will present Brahms' Piano Trio in B Major, Shostakovich's Piano Trio and Beethoven's settings of Scottish, Irish and English folk tunes with tenor Gregory Wait, senior lecturer in music. The concert is set for 8 p.m. Oct. 14 in Dinkelspiel Auditorium.
The Noon Concert Series, featuring a diverse set of student soloists and ensembles, also continues this quarter beginning Oct. 2. Concerts start at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesdays (and occasionally Fridays) in Campbell Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public, and lunches may be eaten in the recital hall. For a concert schedule, visit http://music.stanford.edu/Events/Noons.html. Dates may be added as the quarter progresses.
The Autumn Quarter season also includes performances by the Stanford Wind Ensemble; the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Stanford's ensemble-in-residence; University Organist Robert Huw Morgan; flutist Alexandra Hawley and guitarist Ricardo Cobo, who will play Latin-flavored works; the Stanford Chamber Chorale; and graduate students.
For a full schedule of Music Department performances, visit http://music.stanford.edu and click on "Events." Or call the concert hotline at (650) 723-2720. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Stanford Ticket Office or by phone at (650) 725-2787.
Please note these changes and additions to the concert schedule: On Oct. 8, San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will perform works by Mozart, Dittersdorf, Boccherini and Haydn at 8 p.m. in Memorial Church. On Nov. 13, John Faddis, lead trumpeter for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, will replace David Trigg of the Natalie Cole Band during the Stanford Jazz Orchestra's concert in Dinkelspiel Auditorium.
By John Sanford