BRATTLEBORO -- On Sunday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m., the Brattleboro Music Center presents faculty members Junko Watanabe, soprano, Dan Farina, trumpet, and Susan Dedell, piano, in a collaboration that opens the door to a wide variety of musical expression and range of styles. The program includes works by Bach, Handel, Barat, Goedicke, Stephenson, Barber and Dedell.
"Works for Soprano, Trumpet & Piano" begins and ends with music from the Baroque period, starting with Handel’s famous arias "Eternal Source of Light" and "Let the Bright Seraphim." Here the trumpet echoes the soprano voice, in typical Handel style, showing the musicians’ skills to their fullest. By contrast, the Bach aria "Jauchzett Gott" that ends the program allows the musicians to interact in a more integrated manner, demanding an equal measure of collaboration and dexterity.
Trumpeter Farina is joined by pianist Dedell in three tour-de-forces of the trumpet literature -- the boldly romantic "Concert Etude" of Alexander Goedicke, the virtuosic Andante and Scherzo from French trumpet master J.E.Barat, and James Stephenson’s supple, mysteriously light Largo and Waltz.
The names of Barat, Goedicke, and Stephenson are certainly less famous in the wider world, but to trumpet players, they are readily recognizable. Both Barat and Goedicke wrote music specifically designed to showcase the ability and range of the trumpeter, specifically for competitions
Watanabe and Dedell present Samuel Barber’s monumental "Knoxville, Summer of 1915," a musical setting of the prologue from James Agee’s autobiographical novel, "A Death in the Family," based on events that occurred in 1915 when Agee’s father was killed in a car accident. Told from the viewpoint of a child, the piece has elements of both a drowsy comfortable dream and the frightened specter of nightmare. Barber chose to compose in a style of spontaneous improvisation, fueled by a moving nostalgia. According to Barber himself, he wrote the 15-minute piece rapidly, with no revisions, in about an hour and a half.
The program also includes the premier of a new piece written specifically for them by Paul Dedell, "Summer on the Lakes," based on a text drawn from Margaret Fuller’s 1844 book of the same title. Fuller, a writer, reformer and teacher born in 1810, was a close colleague of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Fuller wrote "Summer on the Lakes" after spending the summer of 1843 traveling mostly on water from Niagara Falls through the Great Lakes. Fuller reflects on her response to the landscape, women and Native Americans, all of whom she observed being used as exploitable commodities.
Dedell selected a portion of the text describing a canoe ride Fuller took with several Native Americans down rapids in the wilds of Michigan. Drawn to the water, like Fuller, Dedell explains, "I tried to bring my experience of listening to rivers -- the monotony of the sound of rapids on the one hand and the endless variation of water cascading over rocks and trees, the sense of loneliness and completion in these sounds as well as a sense of longing for human contact and true connection to the troubling world."
"Works for Soprano, Trumpet and Piano" will be presented at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St. Tickets, $15, $8 for students, and free to BMC students under 21, are available by calling the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523. For more information, visit www.bmcvt.org.