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"BY THE SEA" CONCERT TO

TAKE PLACE IN JAMESTOWN

Music Inspired by the Ocean to feature members of the
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.


(JAMESTOWN, 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."


Chopin’s 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.