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Music by Members - Apr 26, 2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 10:00am
Music by Members
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford, CT
Anne Mayo
Rameau’s five Pièces de clavecin en concerts were published in 1741, and constitute his only chamber music. Three selections from this work will be performed by Deborah Robin, recorder, Laura Mazza-Dixon, viola da gamba, Monika Kinstler, violin, and Anne Mayo, harpsichord. “Sweet Bird,” from Handel’s pastoral ode entitled L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato ("The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man" HWV 55) will be presented by Tema Silk, soprano, Mark Silk, flute, *Monika Kinstler, violin, Laura Mazza-Dixon, viola da gamba, Jennifer Mayo Curran, viola, and Anne Mayo, harpsichord. The entire ode explores in different movements the virtues both of a life of cheerfulness and one of contemplation. The Paris Quartet No. 5, Suite 1, by Telemann will be played by Monika Kinstler, violin, Deborah Robin, recorder, Laura Mazza-Dixon, viola da gamba, and Anne Mayo, harpsichord. Next, the mother-daughter team of Houry Schmeizl and *Jacqueline Schmeizl will perform three piano duets: the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata for 4 Hands in D Major, Op. 6, followed by Italian Polka by Rachmaninoff and “Waltz” (from Masquerade), by Khachaturian. Lastly, we will hear Mark Child, organ, playing “Carillon de Westminster” by Louis Vierne (from 24 pièces de fantaisie, Suite No. 3, Op. 54, No. 6). The piece was composed as a fantasia on England’s Westminster Chimes.




(1) Pièces de clavecin en concerts Vème    (1741)               Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)

            Fugue La Forqueray

            La Cupis 

            La Marais

Deborah Robin, recorder

Laura Mazza-Dixon, viola da gamba

Monika Kinstler, violin

Anne Mayo, harpsichord


(2) Sweet Bird (From the pastoral ode l’Allegro, il Pensieroso ed il Moderato)          

(Text from John Milton’s “Il Penseroso” of 1645)                        George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)


Tema Silk, soprano

Mark Silk, flute

Monika Kinstler, violin

Laura Mazza-Dixon, viola da gamba

Jennifer Mayo Curran, viola

Anne Mayo, harpsichord


(3) Paris Quartet No. 5, Suite 1, TWV 43 :e1 (1737)        Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

            Prélude. Vivement





Monika Kinstler, violin

Deborah Robin, recorder

Laura Mazza-Dixon, viola da gamba

Anne Mayo, harpsichord


(4) Music for piano 4-hands


            Sonata for Piano Four Hands in D Major, Op. 6    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

                        1.  Allegro molto                   

Italian Polka                                                               Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

            Waltz  (from Masquerade)                                        Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)


Houry Schmeizl and Jacqueline Schmeizl, piano


(5) Carillon de Westminster                                                            Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

            (from 24 pièces de fantaisie, Suite No. 3, Op. 54, No. 6)


Mark Child, organ



Text from John Milton’s il Penseroso (1645)


First and chief on golden wing, the cherub contemplation bring,

And the mute Silence hist along, less Philomel will deign a song,

In her sweetest saddest plight,

Smoothing the rugged brow of night.

Sweet bird, that shun’st the noise of Folly,

Most musical, most melancholy,

Thee, chantress of the woods among, I woo, to hear thy evensong,

Or missing thee, I walk unseen.

On the dry smooth shaven green,

To behold the wand’ring moon,

Riding near her highest noon.

Sweet bird …




(1) Rameau’s five Pièces de clavecin en concerts were published in 1741, and constitute his only chamber music. In contrast to Italian-style trio sonatas, here the harpsichord plays an obbligato part, with the other instruments acting as accompaniment.  He invited various instrument substitutions – flute for violin, additional violin instead of viola da gamba, etc. He usually gave the various movements French “character” or tribute names. In this case, La Forqueray referred to Jean-Baptiste Forqueray, a leading virtuoso viol player and composer in Paris; La Cupis, François Cupis de Renoussard (1732-1808), was a composer, cellist and music educator; La Marais is a tribute to Marin Marais, the famous French viol player whose life was depicted in the film “Tous les matins du monde.”


(2) Sweet Bird, G.F. Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato  ("The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man" HWV 55)
Handel's pastoral ode, also sometimes referred to as an oratorio, is a setting of the poetry of John Milton. Premiered in 1740, the piece explores in different movements the virtues both of a life of cheerfulness and one of contemplation. "Sweet Bird" is found in the Penseroso (contemplative) section. In it, the soprano sings of her longing to hear the melancholy song of Philomela, once a princess of Athens, who, having been raped and mutilated by her sister's husband, has been turned into a nightingale, forever lamenting her terrible fate.


(3) Telemann published six quartets in various styles in 1730, using French, German and Italian styles of the era. Four French performers/composers were so enthralled by the music that they invited him to Paris to perform the quartets with them, in 1737. He had meantime composed six further quartets, and all 12 were performed during the visit. The 12 quartets are therefore all designated Paris Quartets. Today’s quartet is included in the second group. Telemann was delighted with the concerts and the reception, and wrote upon his return to Germany, “The admirable performances of these quartets by Messrs Blavet (transverse flute), Guignon (violin), the younger Forcroy [i.e. Forqueray] (viola da gamba) and Edouard (cello) would be worth describing were it possible for words to be found to do them justice. In short, they won the attention of the ears of the court and the town, and procured for me in a very little time an almost universal renown and increased esteem.”


(4) Duets for four hands

(4a) Beethoven, Sonata for 4 Hands in D Major, Op. 6

Music for two or more players at one keyboard began to come into prominence in the generation after J.S. Bach as the piano -- with its longer keyboard -- began to displace the harpsichord as the "default" keyboard instrument in a well-equipped musical household. While J.C. Bach and Mozart wrote a substantial quantity of music for two pianists, Haydn was much less prolific and Beethoven contributed only a handful of early works to the four-hands literature. Of these, the most substantial and most performed is the two-movement Sonata in D Major, Op. 6, composed and published in 1797. By this time, Beethoven had spent five years in the big city of Vienna after pulling up stakes from his hometown of Bonn, but was still building his reputation as a virtuoso pianist and composer. There is no documentation for any public performance, and it can be assumed that the D Major Sonata was originally composed as a teaching piece. The main themes of both movements are ornamented when they reappear toward the end of the movement, rather than being played straight as Mozart and Haydn might have done.

(4b) Rachmaninoff composed his Romantic style Italian Polka for piano four-hands in 1906 and dedicated it to his cousin Sergei Siloti. The piece proved very popular and Rachmaninoff’s cousin Sergei Siloti asked permission for the Imperial Marine Guard Band to make an arrangement of the piece. 


(4c) Khachaturian, Waltz, from Masquerade

Aram Khachaturian is considered a national treasure and the most renowned Armenian composer of the 20th century. He broadly combined Russian musical traditions with Armenian and other peoples' folk music in his works. About Masquerade: Khachaturian was asked to write music for a production of Masquerade being produced by the director Ruben Simonov. The famous waltz theme in particular gave Khachaturian much trouble in its creation: moved by the words of the play's heroine, Nina – "How beautiful the new waltz is! ... something between sorrow and joy gripped my heart." – the composer struggled to "find a theme that I considered beautiful and new." Masquerade was the last production staged by the theatre before the invasion of the USSR by Germany, and the production run was cut short. Later, in 1944, Khachaturian extracted five movements to make a symphonic suite. The movements are: Waltz, Nocturne, Mazurka, Romance, and Galop.


(5) Louis Vierne composed the Carillon de Westminster as a fantasia on England’s Westminster Chimes, which were played from the clock tower at Westminster beginning in 1858. Vierne transcribed it as hummed by his friend Henry Willis, and there is a variance with the actual chimes. It is a subject of debate as to whether it was mis-hummed or altered by the composer. The piece was first performed by Vierne at Notre Dame in Paris in 1929 and was an instant success. Vierne's student, Henri Doyen, observed that "Everyone […] waited quietly until the end, and a number of people improvised a little ovation for the maître when he came down from the tribune." (Wikipedia) It is certainly a fitting end to a wonderful season at our Westminster!




Mark Child, organ, is Director of Music Ministries and organist for Grace Episcopal Church in Windsor, Connecticut. As a much-admired tenor he has been a member of Connecticut Choral Artists (CONCORA) since 2009. He also sings with the Hartford Chorale and CONCORA-To-Go, CONCORA’s educational outreach quartet. Mark holds a Master of Liturgical Music degree from Hartt College of Music as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Bucknell University. 


Jennifer Mayo Curran, viola, joins us at the request of her mother, Anne Mayo, to complete the strings complement of the Handel Sweet Bird performed today. We hope this is just the first of many collaborations. Jen is the director of Wesleyan’s Continuing Studies and Graduate Liberal Studies program.


Guest Monika Kinstler, violin and viola da gamba, studied at the University of Cincinnati, receiving a Bachelor of Music in Music History and a Master of Science in Metallurgical Engineering. She is proficient on a variety of historical instruments and has performed with early music ensembles in Cincinnati, Phoenix, Hartford and Buxtehude, Germany.  Also a modern violinist, she has performed with orchestras in Scottsdale and Huntsville, Alabama, and is currently a member of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.  As a metallurgical engineer, she has a thirty-year career in the aerospace industry, holds multiple patents, and is currently employed as a manager in Pratt & Whitney’s Materials & Processes Engineering department.  Her musical and engineering interests collide in a passion for woodworking, and she has built several historical musical instruments, including a set of virginals and two vielles.


Anne Mayo, harpsichord, assembled and finished a Zuckermann harpsichord kit with her husband in 1974. Since then she has spent all her spare time with harpsichord – studying with Nancy Curran, practicing and playing chamber music with friends. During her working life she was Membership Coordinator at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and then computer operator at the Hartford Conservatory. She has been a Musical Club member for 40 years, and since her retirement has been very active in Musical Club projects, including co-chairing the 125th Anniversary year with Ginny Allen.


Laura Mazza-Dixon - Laura Mazza-Dixon teaches classical guitar and viola da gamba at the Windy Hill Guitar Studio in Granby, CT. She holds a degree in classical guitar from Penn State University and an MFA in Early Music from Sarah Lawrence College. She has directed the Early Music Ensembles at the Hartt School of Music Community Division and performs Renaissance, Baroque and traditional folk music in venues across Connecticut.  Her first book of poetry, "Forged by Joy," was published in 2017.


Deborah Robin (recorder) is a market research consultant, but has played recorder as a serious instrument since age 7 and has always enjoyed performing with both “period” and modern instrument and vocal ensembles wherever she roams, which has included Providence, RI, New Haven, CT, Boston, MA, Lexington, KY, and now West Hartford, CT.   Deborah was featured recorder soloist (with Bernard Krainis and Stanley Ritchie) on the first American recording of Bach Brandenburg Concerto no. 4 on original instruments (Aston Magna Festival Orchestra, Smithsonian Collection, 1978).


Houry Yapoujian Schmeizl - Houry received her Master of Music in Pedagogy and Piano Performance and her Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from the Hartt School of Music. At Hartt she studied under the tutelage of Peter Pertis, Dr. Watson Morrison, and Luis de Moura Castro. She was the founding director of the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts Music School (Torrington, CT) and has served as professor of music at The University of Connecticut (Stamford, CT). Among other benefit performances, she and her daughter have recently performed in a Mother-Daughter benefit concert for Gifts of Love (Avon, CT) at Shawn’s Piano Showroom, with her daughter Jacqueline, who joins her on the bench today. Ms. Schmeizl owns and operates Piano Academy and is very excited to reestablish herself in the Farmington Valley.  Houry is the self-published author of the Armenian Songbook My Childhood Reflections, Mangootyan Hoosherus.


Jacqueline Lucine Schmeizl, age 12, is home-schooled student and attends The Master’s School part-time. She has been studying piano for 6.5 years, primarily under the tutelage of her mother, Houry Schmeizl. Jacqueline has performed in Carnegie Hall multiple times as a top-prize winner for American Protégé International Competition (2015), AADGT Passion of Music (2016, 2018), Crescendo International Competition (2014, 2017) and Rising Talents Piano Competition (2015).  She was also selected as a top winner in the Audrey Thayer Piano competition (2015). In addition, Jacqueline performed at the CT State Music Teachers Association State Conference in October of 2016. Jacqueline is an avid reader and writer in both English and Armenian. In 2018 and has won many prizes for her writing.  Jacqueline is an active member of the Junior Mensa Honors Society, and in her free time she enjoys water and snow skiing, traveling, archery, hiking and performing piano in chamber music ensembles.


Houry and Jacqueline Schmeizl


Mark Silk, flute, is Professor of the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, where he directs the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life and the Program on Public Values.


Tema Silk, soprano, has been singing continuously since elementary school. Since moving to CT in the mid-90's, in addition to participating in larger choruses, Tema has performed in vocal recitals at Trinity College, as a soloist in her synagogue, and in and many smaller chamber music ensembles, including the premiere of Elizabeth Austin's choral work, "The Road Less Traveled," commissioned by the Musical Club in 2016. She is the editor for New England Public Radio’s Commentary Series, which she’s been involved with since 2010.