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Schubert's Incomparable Octet

2:30PM, Sunday, May 11, 2014
Delta Bessborough Hotel
601 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G8
$15 – $23
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Players Choice Series

Ticket prices

Players Choice Series Ticket Prices

General admission  $23.00

Prices quoted INCLUDE service charges and taxes.

General admission  $21.00

Prices quoted INCLUDE service charges and taxes.

General admission  $15.00

Prices quoted INCLUDE service charges and taxes.



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Saskatoon Symphony Chamber Players

Saskatoon Symphony Chamber Players
Top l-r: Erin Brophey, Richard Carnegie, Carol Marie Cottin, James Legge, Randi Nelson. Bottom l-r: Oxana Ossiptchouk, Lonnie Russell, Michael Swan, Stephanie Unverricht, Margaret Wilson. Photos (except Russell): Photography One 2 One.

Michael Swan concertmaster
Erin Brophey oboe
Richard Carnegie double bass
Carol Marie Cottin horn
James Legge viola
Randy Nelson flute
Oxana Ossiptchouk violin 2
Lonnie Russell cello
Margaret Wilson clarinet
Stephanie Unverricht bassoon



Andriessen Trio No. IV
PDQ Bach “Dutch” Suite in G Major
Schubert Octet in D Major, D.803

Concert notes

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The music and composers


Trio No. IV

Allegro giocoso
Lento, ma sempre rubato
Allegro scherzando

Dutch composer Jurriaan Andriessen was born in Haarlem into a musical family. His father, Hendrik, brother, Louis, and uncle Willemm were also well-known composers in the Netherlands. Jurriaan studied composition with his father at the Utrecht Conservatory and after graduation he moved to Paris to study with Olivier Messiaen. In Paris his focus was primarily film music. He also drew inspiration from American film music, Aaron Copland’s ballets, as well as folk music and other cultural influences.

From 1949 to 1951, Andriessen came to the United States on a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation and UNESCO. During this time he composed the Tanglewood Overture for Serge Koussevitsky, and Berkshire Symphonies (the first of his 12 symphonies), which was later used as ballet music for George Balanchine. Upon his return to the Netherlands he was appointed composer-in-residence at the Haagse Comedie—now the “National Theatre”. He enjoyed a very successful and prolific career, writing many orchestral works, concertos, operas, jazz combo charts, film scores and chamber music pieces.

Wind instruments in general are well represented in Andriessen’s chamber music output and this Trio No. IV for flute, oboe and bassoon, written in 1957, is a wonderful addition to the woodwind repertoire.

Program notes prepared by Margaret Wilson, Principal Clarinet, Saskatoon Symphony. © 2014

P.D.Q. Bach (1807–1752)

“Dutch” Suite in G Major (S.-16)

Mr. Minuit’s Minuet
Panther Dance
Dance of the Grand Dams
The Lowland Fling

P.D.Q. Bach is the fictitious invention of musical satarist “Professor” Peter Schickele.  Peter Schickele was born in Ames, Iowa in 1935. His early music studies led him to become an accomplished bassoonist, and he later went on to study composition at the Julliard School of Music. His serious compositions cover a wide range of genres, from orchestral, instrumental and chamber music, to film scores (Silent Running), several segments on Sesame Street, one of the composer/lyricists for Oh! Calcutta!, as well as arranging for folksingers such as Joan Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

In 1954 his alter-ego, “Professor” Peter Schickele is said to have discovered the first of many compositions by P.D.Q. Bach while rummaging around a Bavarian castle, thus launching one of the most hilarious comedy acts in music today. P.D.Q.’s music can be divided into 3 periods: the Initial Plunge, the Soused Period, and Contrition.  The “Dutch” Suite (from the last Contrition period) was originally written for bassoon and tuba, with the substitution of the double bass  also being very suitable. In Peter Schickele’s comical program notes he states that “Everything about P.D.Q. Bach’s “Dutch” Suite is nether: the country mentioned in the title, the ranges of the instuments employed [the ranges of instruments in the 18th centruy were defined in relation to Middle C: both the bassoon and tuba, therefore, were thought of as being largely below C level]……the composer did most of his writing under the piano….” Let the fun begin!

Program notes prepared by Margaret Wilson, Principal Clarinet, Saskatoon Symphony. © 2014

Franz Schubert (1797–1828)

Octet in F Major, D. 803

Adagio – Allegro
Allegro vivace – Trio
Andante con variazione
Menuetto. Allegretto – Trio
Andante molto – Allegro

Franz Schubert, a precocious and prolific composer, lived in Vienna at the same time as Ludwig van Beethoven. He was never able to secure reliable employment or have a professional orchestra available to him as Haydn had before him, or enjoy the support of rich patrons as Beethoven had. However, in 1824 he received a commission from Count Ferdinand Troyer, chief steward of Beethoven’s patron, the Archduke Rudolph.

Troyer, an accomplished amateur clarinetist, asked for a companion piece to Beethoven’s Septet in Eb Major, Op. 20, which had been written 24 years earlier. The only change Schubert made to the instrumentation of  Beethoven’s enduringly popular Septet was the addition of a second violin. Troyer held a performance of the piece in his apartment in the spring of 1824, with the first violin part played by the great Ignaz Schuppanzigh, also a friend of Beethoven.  Schuppanzigh arranged a second public performance in 1827, after which time it languished in obscurity, as did much of Schubert’s music, for most of the 19th century. The entire piece finally appeared in print in 1889, and since then has taken its place beside Beethoven’s Septet as one of the most loved and frequently performed pieces for large mixed chamber ensemble.

As with the Septet, there are six movements, and the appealing, sunny charm that characterizes Beethoven’s Septet is also present in the Octet. However, Schubert is able to weave a far richer tapestry, thereby creating a work of grand scope with many subtle mood changes which look forward to the Romantic era, and leave behind a more conservative Classical style.

Program notes prepared by Margaret Wilson, Principal Clarinet, Saskatoon Symphony. © 2014