FARMINGTON – On Saturday, June 18, the Arts Institute of Western Maine is sponsoring a Maine Mountain Chamber Music concert featuring flutist Lisa Hennessy and Maine Mountain Chamber Music co-directors Laurie Kennedy on viola and Yuri Funahashi on the piano.
They will perform the Sonata for Flute and Piano by Sergei Prokofiev, the Sonata for Viola and Piano by Rebecca Clarke, and works by Maurice Duruflé and Ernest Bloch for flute, viola and piano. The concert will be held in Nordica Auditorium at the University of Maine at Farmington, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Prélude, Récitatif et Variations for Flute, Viola and Piano by Maurice Duruflé opens the program, setting the mood of mystery and passion. The work is “a superbly crafted 11-minute work of tremendous grace and beauty, alluding to ancient forms and harmonies in music that overall sounds very French – a real gem.” (an on-line review)
Rebecca Clarke’s Sonata for Viola and Piano is a highly imaginative, accessible work which shifts moods quickly from impetuous to passionate to fantastical. It “caused a sensation when it tied for first place in a 1919 chamber music competition. Although an immediate success, the Sonata gradually disappeared from the repertoire, and Clarke was long forgotten. Since the rediscovery of the Sonata in 1976, it has become (according to some noted violists) the most frequently performed large work for viola and piano.” (rebeccaclark.org)
About his Sonata for Flute and Piano, “Prokofiev wrote that the flute ‘had for a long time attracted me, and it seemed to me that it had been made little use of in musical literature. I wanted this sonata to have a classical, clear, transparent sonority.’ … lyricism and tender feelings are the predominating traits of the work. The work consists of wonderful melodies, at once opening with a long, flowing line that dominates the entire first movement. The Andante is itself one of the most gentle works Prokofiev has written.” (a web page of Anne-Sophie Mutter)
Commissioned by the Juilliard School, Bloch’s Concertino for Flute, Viola and Piano (1950) was premiered there in 1950. Its three movements have great contrast. In the first movement, a mournful Jewish-style melody is sung by the viola, passed to the flute, and developed in unexpected ways before returning. For the second section, Bloch uses the Passacaglia form that Bach so often used. By the end of the last movement, “Fugue humoresque”, everyone (except the pianist who has to play the part of a whole orchestra) is laughing at this serious music, and the work dissolves in a raucous polka.
The performers are: Lisa Hennessy, principal flutist with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Portland Symphony and Boston Ballet Orchestra. She has a Master’s in Music from the New England Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Houston. She has been a featured soloist on WGBH radio’s Boston Performances and with Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Portland Symphony.
Principal Violist and frequent soloist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra since 1981, Laurie Kennedy has performed at this Festival since 1977, and served as Music Director from 2000 to 2015. Before moving to Maine, she was Principal Viola of the Vancouver Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic. She received a master’s degree and Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University School of Music.
Yuri Funahashi has been a guest at numerous chamber music festivals, and has performed in Japan, Australia, Canada, and throughout Europe. She is a performing member of the Festival Chamber Music Society in New York City, has collaborated with the Verdehr Trio, the Brentano and Cassatt String Quartets, and has recorded for Musical Heritage Society and John Marks Records. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School.
The concert is sponsored by the Arts Institute of Western Maine. Admission is $12 / free for 18 & under and for students with ID. For more information, please call 207-491-0768