The best visual for any piece of music, in my opinion, is the sight of the musicians making the music. That’s one of the main reasons I go to concerts.
Our local music organizations are doing their bit to make that experience possible while we wait out the current emergency. One of Philadelphia’s most popular chamber music series, 1807 & Friends, is presenting a short live concert at 7:30pm every Monday on Facebook. They can do this because two of their leading members, violinist Nancy Bean and cellist Lloyd Smith, happen to be married.
For their first offering, on March 30, they performed a duo for violin and cello by the 18th-century composer Tommaso Giordani. The second concert on April 6 will be a bit offbeat. The main item is another duet for violin and cello but it will be coupled with a cello piece for four hands composed by Lloyd Smith.
Sit by my side
Piano duets for two players seated at one piano are a standard feature of the piano repertoire. The repertoire for duets for one cello and two musicians is somewhat sparser. Lloyd Smith says his entry was inspired by a Scottish Baroque piece he encountered over 50 years ago. That piece was composed for the viola da gamba, the older cousin of the cello, so Smith may have created the only four-handed work for his instrument. His duet is “quite silly,” Smith says, “but so is playing cello four hands. So there.”
The serious duet on the program was composed by Carl Stamitz, the leading composer of the group of musicians who pioneered the German tradition that gave us Mozart, Haydn, and all the great German composers who followed them.
1807 & Friends has been presenting several yearly chamber concerts for the last 39 years. Its musicians are avid chamber players with long term associations with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Nancy Bean retired from the Orchestra after a long career as the Assistant Principal of the first violin section, Smith retired as the Assistant Principal of the cello section.
What, When, Where:
1807 & Friends will present their next online “mini-duo” concert on Monday, April 6th at 7:30 pm on Facebook.
Nancy Bean offers the following instructions: “Once you’re online, type in 1807 & Friends Facebook and click on the link. Once you’re on the Facebook page, the live stream video should appear (unless we haven’t gone live yet — we’ll try to start right at 7:30). You may need to click on the little red ‘live’ button which should appear somewhere on the page, and then click on the video picture to enlarge it. If you have trouble accessing the video, click on ‘Posts.’ If you still can’t access the video, leave ‘Posts’ by clicking on ‘Community.’ Then return to ‘Posts’ and hopefully the video will be there, assuming we have gone live by then.”
Each concert will begin with a short talk, so you have time to catch the music if you have a problem joining the live-stream.