"BY THE SEA" CONCERT TO
TAKE PLACE IN JAMESTOWN
Music Inspired by the Ocean to feature members of
Jamestown Chamber Music Series
o "By the Sea," a program of music showcasing
the Jamestown Community Piano with songs inspired by
the sea takes place Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
o Featured artists are tenor Eric Bronner and pianist
Nancy Nicholson in a program of songs by Britten, Debussy,
Kohn, Quilter, and Offenbach, and solo piano music by
Chopin and Debussy.
o The concert takes place at St. Matthew’s Church,
87 Narragansett Ave. in Jamestown. Free will donations
accepted at the door.
RI), April 2, 2006 -- "By the Sea,"
a program of music inspired by the sea takes place Friday,
April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church,
87 Narragansett Avenue in Jamestown. The program, sponsored
by the Jamestown Community Piano Group, features Eric
Bronner, tenor and Nancy Nicholson, pianist, well-known
to Jamestown audiences as members of Music for a While,
who, along with soprano Julibeth Andrews, founded and
directed the Jamestown Chamber Music Series for six
seasons, a production of the Flickers Arts Collaborative.
"Living in Rhode Island, it's easy to understand
why the sea has been an inspiration to so many composers,"
says tenor Eric Bronner. "The songs we have selected
depict the many emotional impressions of the sea. The
audience will love the robust and rugged settings of
traditional sea chanties by American composer Stephen
Mark Kohn. Other moods are expressed in gorgeous art
songs by Roger Quilter.
Particularly interesting are the sea effects composed
into the piano parts of songs by Debussy and Britten,
in which you can hear the surf rolling to shore and
waves breaking over rocky beaches. There is such a great
variety of feelings and energies in these songs that
the audience will find appealing and entertaining."
"To show off the Jamestown Community Piano, I have
chosen piano works by Frederic Chopin and Claude Debussy,
says pianist Nancy Nicholson. "These two composers
understood how to create magic on the piano through
revolutionary new harmonies, innovative pedal effects,
and striking use of consonance and dissonance."
Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise reveals the soul
of this "poet of the piano." Although Chopin
found his musical home in Paris, his Polish heritage
greatly influenced his compositions. His mazurkas and
polonaises resonate with the spirit of Polish nationalism.
According to French musicologist Louis Aguettant, Chopin’s
music "has a double essence: it is the outpouring
of a poetic sensitivity which is profound, rich in meditation,
caprice and passion — and it is also the expression
of a race, the Polish race so nervous and so naturally
refined and chivalric, with its élans of heroism,
of sudden violence, and of wild melancholy." The
Andante Spianato with its dreamy lyricism, is a splendid
foil to the proud rhythms and highly ornate melodies
of the polonaise.
Debussy’s suite Pour le Piano, published in 1901,
stands in strong contrast to his more evocative later
piano suites. The simple title, "For the Piano",
hints that the suite has no programmatic content, and
the three movements — Prelude, Sarabande and Toccata
— draw inspiration from 17th and 18th century
harpsichord and organ traditions.
In the Prelude can be heard an extension of the Baroque
master J.S. Bach’s contrapuntal virtuosity. Here
is all the bravura of an organ toccata: the freedom
of harmonic progressions over a static pedal-point in
the bass, and the opposition of extremes in themes,
dynamics and coloring.
The Sarabande is based on a Baroque dance of grave character.
Debussy’s Sarabande suggests the passage of a
solemn cortege — stately and elegant. The musical
texture is at times imposing in its simplicity and antique
character, at other times rich in scoring and sophisticated
harmonies. "It is one of Debussy’s most ravishingly
beautiful pieces," says Nicholson.
In the Toccata, Debussy creates an ideal musical texture
through the meticulous balancing of melody, harmony,
contrapuntal concepts, and instrumental color, while
preserving an architectural sense of form. An intense
rhythmic spirit animates all the musical elements. Ending
in victorious trumpet-like fanfares, the Debussy’s
Toccata is a modern offspring of the brilliant showpieces
that toccatas have been through the ages.
The Jamestown Community Piano Group was organized to
raise funds to buy a piano for use by the community.
A fine Schimmel instrument was purchased four years
ago. Free will donations may be given at the concert
or at any time to continue proper care of this excellent
addition to the music scene of Jamestown.
The Artist Biographies
Eric R. Bronner, tenor, of Bristol,
RI, has performed as a soloist at the Aldeburgh Music
Festival in England, and roles nationally at the Napa
(CA) Zarzuela Festival, Townsend Opera (Modesto, CA),
First Coast Opera (St. Augustine, FL), and as a guest
soloist at several mid-western colleges. His performances
have aired on NPR, PBS, and the BBC. He performs regularly
with American Classics (Boston), Opera Providence (RI),
and has sung many roles with Longwood Opera (Boston),
and Ocean State Light Opera (Providence), and as a soloist
with the Newport Baroque Orchestra, the Oratorio Singers,
and the Providence Singers. He was noted in the Boston
Globe for "deft comic acting," and in the
Providence Journal for "a clear tenor voice [that]
beautifully sailed with ease." Favorite roles include
Tamino (Flute), Pedrillo (Seraglio), Alfred (Fledermaus),
Basilio (Figaro), Ralph (Pinafore), Fairfax (Yeomen),
among others. He teaches at Salve Regina University
and Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. He is
a two-time recipient of the Rhode Island Foundation
Arts Education Award. He served as musical director
of Flickers Arts Collaborative in Newport for many years.
Nancy Nicholson, piano, has appeared
as piano soloist regionally, nationally, and abroad
at the Salle Cortot and Schola Cantorum (Paris) and
Royal Festival Hall’s Purcell Room (London). A
specialist in French music, she was twice a featured
performer at the prestigious French Piano Institute
in Paris. She appears in chamber music performances
with singers and instrumental musicians throughout Southern
New England. Her latest passion, the organ works of
J.S. Bach, has led her to formal organ study with David
Clyle Morse. She has served on the music faculties of
Notre Dame University (Philippines), Cape Cod Conservatory,
Cape Cod Community College, the Wheeler School in Providence,
and operates her own thriving music studio in Providence.
Nancy Nicholson and Eric Bronner, along with Jamestown
soprano Julibeth Andrews, performed with the trio "Music
for a While" for 11 years, and founded and directed
the Jamestown Chamber Music Series for six seasons.