About Us  |  Events  |  Instrument Rentals  |  Recordings  |  Contact Us

Double Entendre On the Town 2020

Herr Christ, der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn, BWV 601

Johann Sebastian Bach; arr. by Gilbert Dejean

Elisabeth Kreuziger, a friend of Martin Luther, composed this original Lutheran hymn. Many famous composers wrote musical settings to this hymn, including Hans Leo Hassler, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Friedrich Telemann. Bach wrote this piece as part of his Orgelbuchlein, a collection of chorale preludes for the organ. Most of these pieces were composed between 1708 and 1717, when Bach worked as an organist in Weimar.

Consider that Trinity School in NYC was founded in 1709. Trinity School, one of our country's finest K-12 institutions, was the only school to continue functioning in the city during the Revolutionary War because it received funding from Britain. After the war, the school lost British funding and so Trinity Church helped make up the difference. Trinity School is even older than Columbia University, originally King's College, which was founded in 1754.

We can't think of a better ensemble than a bassoon band to perform a Bach chorale prelude.

Trio No. 1, Op. 86

Friedrich Kuhlau

Born in Germany, Friedrich Kuhlau moved to Copenhagen in 1810 to escape conscription into Napoleon's army. Kuhlau composed lots and lots of flute music (perhaps because his father, uncle, and grandfather all played the oboe?). We performed this flute trio as written, which means some sections go way up into the highest registers of the oboe.

Think about New York City during the time of Kuhlau. The year he was born, 1786, the political organization Tammany Hall was founded. The year this trio was published, 1827, the July 4th parade marked the end of slavery and full emancipation in New York. That same year Delmonico's opened for business. The year of Kuhlau's death, 1832, is the year horse-drawn streetcars first appeared.

This sweet trio is a virtuosic showpiece. Hang on and have fun!

Divertimento in B-flat Major, K. 270

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Divertimento in B-flat Major was the last in a set of five, all composed as dining music for the Salzburg court. This piece was composed in early 1777. Consider New York City; by 1776 the British had defeated George Washington's Continental Army and remained in control of the city for seven years. Their goal was to be in control of the Hudson River, thereby dividing the colonies. In 1777, the British flag was flying over New York City and the Salzburg court was enjoying this Mozart divertimento and eating schnitzel! George Washington didn't return until 1783, when a Continental Army veteran climbed up the flagpole to remove the British flag and replace it with our Stars and Stripes.

If you look on the interwebs to learn more about this piece, you may or may not land on a Wikipedia page on which author Erik Smith is quoted from his book The Compleat Mozart: "The Presto is an uncompromising 3/8 gigue featuring a brief moment of glory for the first bassoon in the coda." Don't we all wish we could write about music like that?

Fugue No. 6, BWV 875

Johann Sebastian Bach; arr. by Malcolm Spector

This fugue is found in Book Two of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. What is a clavier? That term refers to any type of keyboard. During Bach's time it would have included harpsichords, clavichords, and organs. The Well Tempered Clavier is a collection of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys. Book One was written in 1722 and Book Two was written about twenty years later.

Let's think about New York City during this time. Bach lived in Leipzig when he composed this fugue, around 1742. Since we weren't yet a country, it might be easier to think in terms of architecture. In 1752, St. George's Chapel was built by Trinity Church on Chapel Street in Lower Manhattan, now known as Beekman Street. Eventually, St. George's Episcopal Church moved to East 16th Street, where it is today.

Confession - it's not in the right key! The original is in D minor but we are playing it in G minor so that we don't have to play English horns way up high in the screech register. This is beautiful and you will love it!

Selections from The Fairy-Queen

Henry Purcell

English composer and organist Henry Purcell was born in London in 1639. In 1692 he wrote music to The Fairy-Queen, an adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (composed right around 1596). Most people know about Felix Mendelssohn's overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, composed in 1826. Purcell's version is also beautiful and a perceptive presentation of the spirit of Shakespeare's comedy.

What can we tell you about about New York City around the time of Shakespeare's play? Not too much. The Dutch settled in Manhattan around 1614. How about during the time of Purcell's Fairy-Queen? Well, the Kings Arms Coffee House opened in 1696, and Trinity Church was first erected in 1697. By the time Mendelssohn composed his overture, over a hundred years later, Lord & Taylor had opened up for business!

Have fun with these selections from Henry Purcell's A Fairy-Queen.

Divertimento in F Major, K. 253

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Many of us remember the Oscar-winning movie, Amadeus, from 1984. Of course the film score was spectacular. If you have delved into Mozart's music, you might know that the serenade for woodwinds, also known as the Gran Partita, was featured in the film. Mozart wrote wonderful music for wind instruments, including five divertimentos - divertimenti - for 2 oboes, 2 French horns, and 2 bassoons. Of course we want to perform them all the time, playing the horn parts with English horns.

These five pieces were a series of works for the Salzburg court, basically dinner music, or Tafelmusik. Can you imagine dining while wonderful musicians are playing this music live near your table (outside, six feet apart)?

This piece, composed in 1776, was the music of the day in Europe while George Washington was busy founding a country. In July, 1776, the statue of King George III was demolished and melted down at Bowling Green. The famed Battle of Brooklyn took place in August. British troops captured Lower Manhattan in September. That same month, American troops stood off against British troops in the Battle of Harlem Heights in Northern Manhattan. The Battle of Fort Washington occurred in November. And all this was happening when Salzburg court members were dining to a Mozart divertimento in F major.

This program was engineered by Keisuke Ikuma.


Double Entendre On the Town is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This program was also supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

NYSCA      DCA     

Donate to Double Entendre

Copyright 2006-2020 @ Double Entendre Music Ensemble
Website hosting provided by Dinkum Interactive