Classical Winds showcases faculty musicians
Experience the rich elegance of Bohemian Europe on Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. in the University Recital Hall as the Faculty Artists and Friends series celebrates the sounds of 18th Century Vienna with Classical Winds.
The performances come alive as music faculty Deanna Oye (piano), Margaret Mezei (clarinet) and Dr. Thomas Staples (horn) are joined onstage by special guests Matthew Howatt (bassoon) and Matt Jaffray (oboe), both from Edmonton.
Among the chamber offerings on the program are Beethoven’s Sonata for Horn and Piano Op. 17 and Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds K 452, which highlight the dramatic compositions of high classical Viennese tradition.
“This was a rich period for wind music writing in Vienna, largely because there was a concentration of virtuoso wind players who came to the city in the late 18th century – many of them Bohemian,” says Oye. “Among these virtuosi was Giovanni Punto, the most famous horn player of his day, for whom Beethoven wrote the Sonata for Piano and French Horn, Op. 17 in 1800.”
The Quintet for Piano and Winds combines the talents of all the evening’s performers. “Much of the Viennese nobility of the day hired wind players in their courts to provide entertainment and dinner music. As a result, wind octets were written in abundance, largely arrangements of popular operatic tunes,” explains Oye. “Mozart takes this octet model and innovates by using only one of each instrument and adding piano.”
Mozart famously wrote to his father in 1784 that, “I composed two grand concertos and then a quintet, which called forth the very greatest applause: I myself consider it to be the best work I have ever composed.”
In addition to being a professor of music, Oye maintains an active career as a solo and collaborative pianist. Recent performances include chamber recitals in southern Germany with Chicago-based violinist, Jasmine Lin, and a series of concerts and master classes in Manitoba in spring 2010.
Mezei, a U of L studio instructor and Music Conservatory Coordinator, is an active clarinetist, clinician, examiner and adjudicator. She is principal clarinet for the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra and principal second clarinet with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra.
A professor of music, Staples maintains an active career performing, teaching and conducting. He is the director of the University of Lethbridge Wind Orchestra, Chamber Band, Brass Choir and coach for the Horn Quartet, Horn Choir and University Student Brass Quintets. He is principal horn in the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra and a former member of Bridge Brass.
Tickets for the Jan. 22 performance of Classical Winds are available at the University Box Office, Monday through Friday, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., or by calling 403-329-2616. Tickets are $15 for regular admission and $10 for seniors and students.