SOLON– Red Cedar Chamber Music in collaboration with Sts. Peter and Paul Historical Foundation presents “Home Sweet Home” at Sts. Peter and Paul Chapel, 1165 Taft Ave., north of Solon, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Lisa Ponton, principal violist with Orchestra Iowa, joins Red Cedar Chamber Music’s flutist Jan Boland and guitarist John Dowdall to perform 19th-century American parlor music. The music of beloved 19th-century composer Stephen Collins Foster and his European contemporaries are performed on 19th-century instruments using 19th-century performance practice. “Home Sweet Home” provides a nostalgic evening that rekindles the sentiment of a bygone era.
“Home Sweet Home” is a free event. For information, call 319-377-8028.
Rural Outreach Concerts are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the James and Norman Jean Rosborough Foundation, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Alliant Energy Foundation. Additional support is provided by Sts. Peter and Paul Historical Foundation.
Music and dancing were the main 19th–century. American leisure pursuits. Performing and listening to music and joining in social dancing helped to lift the spirit, calm the soul and ease the trials and tribulations of everyday life. With no electricity and only mechanical music boxes to replicate sound, most people developed some facility at playing an instrument or singing and the parlor in the home became the gathering place to pass the time making music. “Home Sweet Home” provides a unique opportunity to recapture the contentment of this simpler time. Artistic Director, John Dowdall notes, “Audience members will hear beautiful ballads by America’s first popular composer and musical icon, Stephen Collins Foster, plus music by his American and European contemporaries and will likely feel the urge to tap their toes to an energetic schottish, scherzo or waltz.”
European classical music was a mainstay of the 19th-century American parlor-experience. A Viennese trio by Czech composer Wenceslaus Matiegka with a hypnotic scherzo and a rousing rondo finale is paired with three favorite arias from Mozart’s timeless opera “The Magic Flute.” “The Magic Flute” was premiered in Vienna in 1791 and these arias along with the opera’s overture were arranged for flute, viola and guitar in the early 19th-century.
Jan Boland and John Dowdall have been performing 19th-century music on period instruments, an 1830 wooden flute and an 1830 gut-strung guitar, for nearly 30 years. In 1997, they formed Red Cedar Chamber Music to explore chamber music for flute, guitar and other instruments. Red Cedar Chamber Music’s first recording, Czech Chamber Music, received a Critics’ Choice award from the American Record Guide, which stated, “Chamber music should be just like this– intimate, bonding, and conversational.” The artists will be performing Serenade, Op. 26 by Wenceslaus Matiegka from Czech Chamber Music for the first time since its release by Fleur de Son Classics in 1998.
Flutist Jan Boland, the executive director of Red Cedar Chamber Music, holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Iowa. Guitarist John Dowdall, the artistic director of Red Cedar Chamber Music, holds a master’s degree in musicology from the University of Iowa. They have each been awarded a Solo Recitalist Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts and together have appeared in concert at festivals in Europe, Canada and the U.S. Their concerts and ten recordings on the Fleur de Son Classics label feature musical interpretation on both modern and historic 19th-century flutes.
Violist Lisa Ponton has held the positions of Associate Principal Viola of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and Principal Viola of Sweden’s Malmö Symphony Orchestra. She is currently Principal Viola of Orchestra Iowa. She has performance degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School and the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. She is a regular guest artist with Red Cedar Chamber Music and is featured with Jan Boland and John Dowdall on Red Cedar Chamber Music’s upcoming compact disc of music by Iowa composer Harvey Sollberger, scheduled for release in 2012.
Red Cedar Chamber Music’s newest compact disc, “Gaspard Kummer– Chamber Music for flute, guitar and strings,” is distributed worldwide by Naxos on the Fleur de Son Classics label. It features music Red Cedar Chamber Music performed on the opening evening concert of the Seventh International Convention of the British Flute Society (BFS) in Manchester England in August 2010. In a review of the Kummer compact disc in Flute, The Journal of the British Flute Society (Dec. 2010), Robert Bigio notes, “Red Cedar Chamber Music is a fine collection of players of period nineteenth-century instruments who performed so successfully at the BFS convention this summer. These excellent players produce gorgeous sounds and play this delightful music with elegance, affection and great musicality. This is a wonderful CD which has given me much listening pleasure.”