Salon Concert gala May 30th

A Salon concert, of fin de siecle French and English music, (with wine and candles) will be presented: 

May 30th at 20:00 Boerderij Landzicht, Nigtsevechtseweg 37 Vreeland.

Crissman Taylor (mezzo-soprano) joins with friends Mary Hammann (viola, MET orchestra NY), Robert Hovink, baritone, Reinnette Thiadens violin and Elizabeth Malden, piano for a concert which includes the European premier of a special salon piece by David Spear.

tickets through or at the door.

Description of the concert:

Welcome to the rich musical life of the salon concert. 

In the 19th century, the upper classes in England, France and the cities in the America were prohibited by their social rules to be seen in the bawdy environment of the music hall. For many centuries, playing and singing for each other was an integrated part of the evening’s entertainment. Ladies, who were not allowed to achieve outside the home, gained recognition in their own circle for their melodious singing or dexterity at the pianoforte.

 As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, salon evenings became more daring, as patrons and patronesses gathered popular professional musicians, and avant garde composers around them.

 In France, Satie and his circle of surrealistic artistes were the latest rage, while Ravel shocked and delighted audiences with exotic sensual music loosely based on African or Latin themes. Russian immigrant musicians confused and astonished the French public with previously unknown harmonies and intensity of expression.  Since French was the language of the upper classes in the Netherlands, Dutch composers created their own unique salon chansons, as in the sharply ironic songs of Henriëtte Bosmans.

 Meanwhile, in England a more rarified style was popular in which artists worked to “raise” folk melodies to a higher art form. This appealed to the staid upper class public, as it supported their myth that the lower classes somehow possessed earthiness and innocence, which combined to create a truly heady romance and a taste of “real” life. We hear this in Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel, which romanticizes the life a vagabond.

In America, especially in Boston and New York, salon evenings were popular. On the puritanical Eastern Seaboard, you were more likely to hear English than French strains, but with a New World twist. England’s Vaughan Williams’ sparse settings of folk songs to the accompaniment of violin alone are somber and deep felt, whereas his contemporary on the other side of the Atlantic, Rebecca Clarke in Boston, was out for a bit of fun with her arrangements of English and Irish songs. Of course, there was a lot going on outside of the stuffy English style Boston salons. Music from all parts of the world came with the immigrants who arrived on the shores via Ellis Island in New York. And an even more powerful musical influence brought by those robbed from Africa was to be heard flowing in to all corners of American musical life. As new technologies of recording and radio hit the world, the small circles of interest that nurtured salon music gave way.

 Curiously, in the new technological era, when large musical institutions are threatened by loss of funding, salon-style performances, such as this one, are on the comeback. In honor of this, we present you with a newly commissioned salon piece “Deliciously Ill-fated”, a song cycle written for us by David Spears, the well-known America film composer, based on the words of British poet Wendy Cope. We present it to you as the final piece in our program, for its European premier.