"Whether you are a fan of the summer Concerts on the Square or the winter classical concerts, you will find this to be exceptional listening at home, in the car or on your personal CD player while you exercise." Jacob Stockinger, Capital Newspapers, www.madison.com
ABOUT THIS CD
Deciding on repertoire for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's debut CD was not an easy task. We wanted the repertoire to be an extension of the WCO's mission: "to be of the highest artistic quality and to entertain, inform and enrich the quality of life for our diverse audiences." I also wanted the repertoire to reflect the unique profile of the WCO. Over the past four seasons, we have performed each of these works, and I am delighted to revisit them for this recording.
We begin with a well-known work by J.S. Bach, his Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. It is one of his finest examples of the baroque concerto grosso, a genre of music that is uniquely suited to a chamber orchestra. For this performance, we have enhanced the violins with three per part in the "tutti" sections. The outer two Allegro movements are separated by a brief cadenza in the Adagio by Suzanne Beia.
Of Mozart's mature symphonies, his Symphony No. 35, "Haffner," is considered among his finest. It was commissioned by Sigmund Haffner, the son of the late Mayor of Salzburg, for the occasion of his ennoblement. Mozart's music has a youthful, lively spirit, which comes through in the WCO's rendering.
Honegger's Pastorale D'été is a slow moving and passive work, a fine example of the French impressionist style of the 1920's. It reflects the programmatic title and provides just the right tonic to follow Mozart's spirited symphony.
Douglas Lilburn, one of New Zealand's foremost composers, arranged his Four Canzonas for strings in 1980. Originally written as incidental music for the Ngaio Marsh theatre productions during the 1940's and 50's, they offer a calm and thoughtful prelude to one of Stravinsky's masterworks.
Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite enables every member of the chamber orchestra to shine. A suite of eleven movements, based on music attributed to the Baroque Italian composer Pergolesi, it was originally scored for ballet. Employing elements of the concerto grosso, it is a fine example of Stravinsky's "neoclassic" style. His energetic and blazen finale is the perfect ending for our debut CD.
I hope you find as much enjoyment listening to these pieces as we have had preparing and recording them.
Andrew Sewell, Music Director
ABOUT THE WISCONSIN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (WCO) was founded in 1960 by Gordon B. Wright. After an initial summer concert series at the Eastside Businessman's Association, the Orchestra established a summer series at Madison's Edgewood College, where it remained for 10 years. In 1970, Gordon Wright transferred leadership of the WCO to David Lewis Crosby, who remained with the Orchestra until his death in 1998. During this period, the WCO established a full indoor subscription season, began touring around the state and established Concerts on the Square®. In 2000, Maestro Andrew Sewell was appointed to the podium. Under his artistic leadership, the WCO has moved into an exciting new era.
Today, the WCO is a vibrant and thriving arts institution with a solid blueprint for becoming a leading chamber orchestra of national acclaim. The WCO's programming has expanded to include nearly 30 performances each year, including Concerts on the Square®, Masterworks, Sing-Out Messiah, Halloween, Middleton Holiday Pops, Concert in the Woods, youth concerts and concerts around Wisconsin. With a core orchestra of 34 musicians, WCO's current initiatives include raising $10 million in resources for an endowment, establishing a statewide WCO Advisory Board, building a home in Overture Center and developing a regional and national profile.
ANDREW SEWELL, MUSIC DIRECTOR
Maestro Andrew Sewell became music director of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in 2000. He is also music director of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Kansas.
A native of New Zealand, Maestro Sewell received his music training on the violin and piano and began conducting at an early age of 16. Six years later, he made his professional opera debut with the Mercury Opera and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and he was awarded the Australian Guarantee Corporation's Young Achiever's Award in 1987, which allowed him to bring his studies abroad.
Sewell earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan and graduated with honors. His previous appointments include music director and conductor for the Mansfield Symphony (Ohio), resident conductor for the Toledo Symphony, assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony and assistant conductor with Mercury Opera in Auckland.
As a guest conductor he has led orchestras both in the US and abroad including the Toronto, Detroit, and Columbus Symphony Orchestras, Kyushu Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, National Symphony of Mexico and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. New Zealand honored him in 1997 as the first recipient of the Aotea Performing Arts Trust's Star Award.
Suzanne Beia, Concertmaster
Leanne League, Assistant Concertmaster
Mary Anne Owen
Brian Buckstead, Principal
Nora R. Frisk, Principal
Karl Lavine, Principal
Brian Baker, Principal
Robin Fellows, Principal
Naomi Bensdorf, Principal
Nancy Mackenzie, Principal
Anthony Georgeson, Principal
Linda Kimball, Principal
Frank Hanson, Principal
Kent Barnhart, Principal