Happy Birthday Mr Bernstein
Thursday 1 Nov, 7pm
Raffles Hotel - Le Royal

Thursday 1st November
Raffles Hotel - Le Royal - Grand Ballroom

7pm - Happy Birthday Mr. Bernstein



Ikeda Bonsamnag- clarinet
Anton Isselhardt- flute
Etienne Chennevier- piano


Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Sonata for clarinet and piano

The sonata is now a part of the standard repertoire for clarinet and others outside of the clarinet world have embraced the piece. In 1994 it was orchestrated by Sid Ramin so that it can be played by a solo clarinet with orchestral accompaniment.

The piece is about ten minutes in length and consists of two consecutive movements. The first movement is a lyrical grazioso, opening with a musical line reminiscent of Hindemith, who was the composer-in-residence at Tanglewood in 1941, and hinting at the influence of Copland and the idyllic Tanglewood atmosphere. The second movement begins andantino (time signature 3/8) and moves into a fast Vivace a leggiero after a tranquil opening. This movement is predominantly in 5/8 but also changes between 3/8, 4/8 & 7/8 throughout the piece and foreshadows Bernstein's work in West Side Story, with a walking bass line and syncopations. Later the more reflective mood of the first movement recurs, with a Latin-infused bridge passage that reflected the time Bernstein spent in Key West in the early compositional stages, before finishing in a flourish.

"Four Anniversaries"

Four Anniversaries consists of four movements, each written for a different person in Bernstein’s life. Leonard Bernstein composed four works using the same concept: Seven Anniversaries (1943), Four Anniversaries (1948), Five Anniversaries (1949–1951), and 13 Anniversaries (completed 1988). Each movement celebrates the birthday of a different individual, such as Serge Koussevitzky, Paul Bowles, William Schuman, Stephen Sondheim, and Aaron Copland. The Four Anniversaries are dedicated to Felicia Montealegre, Johnny Mehegan, David Diamond, and Helen Coates.

The first written with restraint and cultivated lyricism, is serene and song-like. There follows a short waspish scherzo, interesting principally for the rhythmic surprises; a slow elegiac piece freely contrapuntal in structure: and a vigorous finale, also predominately contrapuntal, involving sudden extreme dynamic changes.


George Gershwin ( 1898-1937)
Three Preludes /1926

Three Preludes are short piano pieces by George Gershwin, which were first performed by the composer at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1926. Each prelude is a well-known example of early-20th-century American classical music, as influenced by jazz.

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
"Vocalise" Op.34 No.14 /1915
(alto saxophone & piano)

Vocalise" is a song by Sergei Rachmaninoff, composed and published in 1915 as the last of his 14 Songs or 14 Romances, Op. 34. Written for high voice (soprano or tenor) with piano accompaniment, it contains no words, but is sung using any one vowel of the singer's choosing . It was dedicated to soprano Antonina Nezhdanova.


Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Canzone flute & piano /1961

Remembered as one of the most unabashedly Romantic composers of the twentieth century, Samuel Barber occasionally developed personal attachments to certain melodies -- sometimes so intense, in fact, that he would revisit certain melodies throughout his career. Such is the case with his Canzone for flute (or violin) and piano (1961). This work was originally a gift for Manfred Ibel, an amateur German flautist whom Barber met and befriended in the summer of 1959. At the time, it was simply given the title Elegy, though it was never published or catalogued as such. Two years later, Barber changed the title in his own records to Canzone for Manfred. The tune reappeared in 1962 as the basis of the second movement of the composer's Piano Concerto, Op. 38, in which the flute retains a dominant role. The positive response to the Concerto prompted Barber to rededicate this work as his Op. 38a in the same year. The piece itself is a perfect portrait of Barber's bittersweet sense of nostalgia, the elegiac main narrative interrupted throughout by episodes of discomfort and uncertainty. At the end, these elements come to a peaceful, if not altogether fulfilling, resolution.


Darius Milhaud ( 1892-1974)
Introduction& Finale Op.157b /1936

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the musical oeuvre of Darius Milhaud is its sheer breadth: he composed for just about every imaginable combination of Western instruments and his sometimes transgressive attitudes toward musical tradition and stylistic boundaries produce works in which feigned Baroque elegance might be juxtaposed with crass jazz send-ups. In this regard, Milhaud's Suite for violin, clarinet, and piano stands as a prime example. Relying, somewhat ironically, on the concept of the traditional instrumental suite, with its multiple movements of contrasting topics or moods, Milhaud elaborates on several distinct musical ideas and draws on his wide-ranging stylistic interests along the way. The first movement, bearing the title "Ouverture," immediately establishes a piquant Latin feel (reflecting, as do other of his pieces, the influence of Milhaud's two years' residence in Brazil several years earlier).