Saturday, October 6, 2007
Surrey Mozart Players
Mozart- Overture to The Impressario
Faure- Pelleas and Melisande Suite
Saint-Saens- Cello Concerto No. 2 in D minor
Richard Strauss- Romanze for Cello and Orchestra
Parry Karp, cello
The first concert of the 2007-8 Surrey Mozart Players season is a mostly-French program full of interesting connections. In America, orchestras often begin their season with the national anthem- at SMP, our anthem is a Mozart overture.
Then it’s on to France, and two works by men who shared a sixty year friendship- Fauré and Saint-Saens. Fauré was the more forward looking composer of the two, with a musical style that teasingly foreshadowed the new worlds of Debussy and Ravel. His music to Pelleas and Melisande is evocative, lyrical and full of color. If Fauré’s music points with understated elegance to the new harmonic worlds of the 20th Century, Saint-Saens was a composer whose music remained firmly rooted in the Romantic world of the 19th. His first cello concerto, written early in his career when he was at his most famous, is one of the staples of the repertoire. When he returned to the genre much later in life, his music was becoming decidedly unfashionable, and the piece never quite caught on with the public.
One reason for the neglect of this concerto may be the exceptionally difficult solo part. Saint-Saens even went so far as to write the solo cello part on two staves. Our soloist this week is the American cellist Parry Karp, who has been the cellist of the Pro Arte Quartet since 1976 when he won the position at the age of 19. Karp also performs the music of another precocious 19-year old, Richard Strauss. Like Saint-Saens, Strauss’s long creative life gave him the chance outlive his superstardom as tastes changed and a new generation of composers emerged.
Finally, we end the evening with the rather delectable Sinfonietta by Francis Poulenc.
Cellist Parry Karp
Cellist Parry Karp is Artist-in Residence and Professor of Chamber Music and Cello, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is director of the string chamber music program. He has been cellist of the Pro Arte Quartet for the past 30 years, joining the group in 1976.
Parry Karp is a active solo artist, performing numerous recitals annually in the United States with pianists Howard and Frances Karp. Mr. Karp has played concerti throughout the United States and gave the first performance in Romania of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo with the National Radio Orchestra in Bucharest in 2002. He is active as a performer of new music and has performed in the premieres of dozens of works, many of which were written for him, including concerti, sonatas and chamber music. As a solo recording artist, he has recorded the solo cello works of Ernest Bloch, and works of Frank Bridge, Rebecca Clarke, Ernest Chausson, Edward Joseph Collins, Georges Enesco, John Ireland, Alberic Magnard, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Miklos Rosza, and Richard Strauss. Unearthing and performing unjustly neglected repertoire for cello is a passion of Mr. Karp’s. In recent years he has transcribed for cello many masterpieces written for other instruments. This project has included performances of all of the Duo Sonatas of Brahms, as well as compositions of Bach, Dvorak, Hindemith, Strauss, Stravinsky and Szymanowski. Parry Karp performs annually in summer music festivals throughout the United States.
As cellist of the Pro Arte Quartet he has performed over 1000 concerts throughout North, Central and South America, Europe, and Japan. His discography with the group has been extensive and includes the complete string quartets of Ernest Bloch, Miklos Rosza, and Karol Szymanowski . Many of these recordings received awards from Fanfare and High Fidelity Magazines. Other composers whose string quartets or string quintets the Pro Arte Quartet has recorded during his tenure include: Beethoven, Luís de Freitas Branco, Martin Boykan, Tamar Diesendruck, Dvorak, Brian Fennelly, Andrew Imbrie, Fred Lerdahl, Walter Mays, Mendelssohn, Karol Rathaus, Samuel Rhodes, Roger Sessions, and Ralph Shapey. As a member of the Pro Arte Quartet he has recorded the Piano Quintets of Ernest Bloch, Johannes Brahms and Armando José Fernandes with pianist Howard Karp. Guest artists with the Pro Arte during his years have included: the Emerson Quartet, Denes Koromzay, Leon Fleischer, Sidney Harth, Gunnar Johansen, Gilbert Kalish, Jerome Lowenthal, Robert Mann, Samuel Rhodes, Robert Silverman, Christopher Taylor, Laszlo Varga and Tamas Vasary. Gunther Schuller conducted the group in the premiere of his String Quartet Concerto which he wrote for the Pro Arte Quartet. The Pro Arte Quartet was one of five finalists (the others were the Juilliard, Tokyo, and Emerson Quartets, and the Beaux Arts Trio) for the First Annual Arturo Toscanini Award in the Chamber Music Category
Parry Karp’s chamber music discography outside of the Pro Arte Quartet includes the three piano trios of Joel Hoffman, as well as works of Britten, Fauré, Martinu, Mozart and Pierné. Mr. Karp had a visiting professorship at the University of British Columbia, and has been a visiting fellow at Princeton University. Former students of Mr. Karp’s are members of professional string quartets, major orchestras, and teachers in the United States.
Mr. Karp received early training in Vienna, Austria and studied cello with Lee Duckles, David Kadarauch, Peter Farrell, Gabriel Magyar and Gabor Rejto. Inspirational chamber music teachers included Gabriel Magyar, Howard Karp, Lorand Fenyves and Zoltan Szekely.
Click here for a review of Parry’s latest CD of Bloch’s works for cello solo and cello and piano
Click here to listen to a recent Parry Karp recital performance, including the cello and piano version of the Strauss from the UW-Madison website