Program Notes for 2 Jaffes Performing at Bokisch Vineyards


Manuel de Falla
(1876–1946)
arr. Maurice Maréchal
after Paweł Kochański

Suite populaire espagnole
Le paño moruno
Nana
Canción
Polo
Asturiana
Jota


Giuseppe Verdi
(1813–1901)
arr. James and Peter Jaffe

Libiamo, ne’ lieti calice (Brindisi) from La traviata


Gabriel Fauré
(1845–1924)
transcr. Pablo Casals

Après un rêve


David Popper
(1843–1913)

Hungarian Rhapsody, op. 68


Program Notes by Jane Vial Jaffe

Manuel De Falla Con Bastón

Manuel de Falla, photographer unknown

Suite populaire espagnole after the Siete canciones populares españolas
Manuel de Falla
Born in Cadiz, November 23, 1876; died in Alta Gracia, Argentina, November 14, 1946
arr. Maurice Maréchal after Paweł Kochański

At the time of the Paris production of Falla’s opera La vida breve in the winter of 1913–14, a Spanish singer in the cast asked him for advice about Spanish songs to include on a Paris recital. He decided to arrange some himself using his own system of harmony, which he had just tried out for the harmonization of a Greek folk song.

Falla completed the Siete canciones populares españolas (Seven popular Spanish songs)in Paris before the outbreak of WWI forced his return to Madrid in 1914. He accompanied the first performance on January 14, 1915, not in Paris with the originating cast member but with Luisa Vela, who had just sung in the Madrid premiere of La vida breve.

The seven songs (six in many popular arrangements) stem from folk songs of various regions of Spain. Falla followed some of the tunes faithfully but took liberties with others to suit his own creativity. El paño moruno (The Moorish Cloth) comes from the province of Murcia—Falla later referenced it for his Murcian miller in his opera The Three-cornered Hat—and Nana from Andalusia. This lullaby, Falla said, he heard from “his mother’s lips before he was old enough to think.” The geographical origin of the popular theme for Canción (Song) is uncertain. Toward the end Falla creates interest with a canon (round) between the voice (cello) and the accompaniment.

Polo, of Andalusian origin, reflects the flamenco world. Its piano accompaniment evokes the guitar’s punteado (plucked string) style and the accents represent palmadas (hand clapping) of the spectators. Asturiana moves the listener to the north of Spain for a peaceful lament. The Jota, one of the most widely known Spanish dances, is associated with the northeastern region of Aragon. The alternation of sections rapid and slow sections is highly characteristic.

The songs have been performed far and wide in all manner of arrangements. The present arrangement was adapted by cellist Maurice Maréchal from the well-known version for violin and piano by famous Polish violinist Paweł Kochański.

Verdi In 1859

Giuseppe Verdi in 1859

Libiamo, ne’ lieti calice (Brindisi) from La traviata
Giuseppe Verdi
Born in Roncole, near Busseto, October 9 or 10, 1813; died in Milan, January 27, 1901
arr. James and Peter Jaffe

One of the world’s most famous operas, La traviata (The fallen woman) premiered in Venice in 1853 after many trials and tribulations in its creation, not the least of which was the worry over censorship for its subject matter about a high-priced courtesan named Violetta. In this romantic tragedy she is dying of consumption and is forced to give up Alfredo—the only man she ever loved—to marry Baron Douphol. In the first act they are at a party where she asks for a toast, a request that the baron refuses but Alfredo happily accepts.

In the famous “Libiamo ne’ lieti calice” (Let’s drink from the chalice of joy) Alfredo praises the joys of wine, love, and youth. It’s known as a brindisi—an invitation to a company to raise their glasses and drink. Quite appropriate, for this occasion!

Après un rêve
Gabriel Fauré
Born in Pamiers, Ariège, May 12, 1845; died in Paris, November 4, 1924

John Singer Sargent Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré, painting by John Singer Sargent, 1889

Fauré wrote songs or, in French, mélodies from his earliest composition as a sixteen-year-old student in 1861 through his last set in 1922. He progressed from writing primarily romances to working in a mature style influenced by poet Paul Verlaine to writing song cycles. Often considered the master of French song composers, Fauré left his mark on all who followed, including Debussy, Ravel, and Roussel.

He loved texts that permitted him to create a mood or set a scene rather than those that restricted him to illustrative details. “Après un rêve” (After a dream), probably composed in 1878, falls into a group of songs exhibiting Fauré’s Italianate leanings. Its text, a translation by Romain Bussine of an anonymous Italian poem, evoked one of Fauré’s most inspired early period settings. Its agitated repeated chords and slow-moving sonorous bass line bring to mind Schumann’s famous “Ich grolle nicht” from his famous Dichterliebe (Poet’s love) cycle.

Hungarian Rhapsody, op. 68
David Popper
Born in Prague, June 18, 1843; died in Baden, near Vienna, August 7, 1913

David Popper 1843–1913 Um 1904 By E. Bieber

David Popper, photogram by the E. Bieber studio, shown in a 1904 museum exhibit

David Popper was one of the most influential cellists of the nineteenth century, greatly respected by Liszt, Wagner, and Brahms. He became principal cellist of the Vienna Hofoper (Court Opera) in 1868, later premiered several of Brahms’s works as cellist of the renowned Hellmesberger Quartet, and spent many years teaching at the Budapest Conservatory, in addition to joining the Hubay Quartet for a time. Popper wrote over eighty compositions, mostly for his own instrument, which include four concertos, the three-cello Requiem, and many character pieces. They’re highly valued for their idiomatic writing and melodic warmth.

Composed in 1893, the Hungarian Rhapsody was dedicated to Belgian cellist Jean Gérardy. The composer himself gave the first performance, however, on April 4 that year in Budapest.The dazzling showpiece for the cello follows in the footsteps of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies by borrowing Hungarian or Gypsy folk tunes and also their style, contrasting slow, declamatory sections (lassú) with fast, energetic sections (friss). Popper, in fact, employs some of the same tunes—from Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, 8, and 12. In stringing together eight such sections to create his Rhapsody, Popper exploited the capabilities of the cello to the full. Singing and soulful qualities in various registers, double-stops, harmonics, and bowing articulations at lightning speed all contribute to the work’s appeal.