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Music by Members - Jan 11, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 10:00am
Music by Members
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford, CT
Deborah Robin

For the Musical Club of Hartford’s first music-by-members program in 2018, we will be treated to a wide-ranging program to delight and amuse you.

Sylvia Goldstein will perform two movements from the Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major by Ludwig van Beethoven, composed in 1809-1810. Beethoven called it “Les Adieux,” and added a dedication reading "On the departure of his Imperial Highness, for the Archduke Rudolph in admiration." The French attack on Vienna, led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1809, forced Beethoven's patron, Archduke Rudolph, to flee the city, to which this dedication - and the titles of the movements and the sonata overall - may refer. Sylvia will play the movement II - “Andante espressivo” (The Absence) and movement III – “Vivacissimamente “ (The Return).

Next on the program, Lean-Cheng Tan and Ellen Ma will sing two duets. The first duet will be “Jasmine Flower,” a traditional Jiangsu Folk song. One of the first Chinese folk songs to attain international popularity, the song describes young girls marveling at the loveliness and fragrance of the white jasmine flower. Giacomo Puccini, in his opera Turandot, might have taken the melody of “La Sui monti dell’Est” (The Mountain of the East) from this Chinese folk song. The second duet will be “Sull’aria,” a duettino from Act 3 of The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In this short duet, Countess Almaviva dictates to Susanna an invitation to a tryst addressed to the countess' husband in a plot to expose his infidelity.

Next, Lean-Cheng Tan and Gail Tanguay will perform two pieces from the Dolly Suite, Opus 56, a piano duet by Gabriel Fauré. The duet is a collection of pieces for one piano, four hands, written or revised between 1893 and 1896 to mark the birthdays and other events in the life of Hélène Bardac, aka Dolly, daughter of Fauré’s mistress. The performers will play pieces III “Le jardin de Dolly” and VI “Le pas espagnol.”

Following that, Karen Robinson, soprano, will be accompanied by Diane Day, piano, in the performance of four songs from Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which was first produced Off-Broadway in 1968 and has given rise to many international and regional productions, revivals, and a film adaptation. Jacques Brel (1929-1978) was a Belgian singer, songwriter, actor and director of many thoughtful and provocative songs. He had a large following – first in Belgium and France and later throughout the world. Most of his songs were written with French lyrics. Occasionally he composed in Flemish, the other language of Belgium. The four songs that will be performed on January 11 are “Marieke,” “I Loved,” “Sons of” and “If We Only Have Love.” For the production, Brel’s lyrics were translated into English by Eric Blau and Mort Schuman. They also provided a story to link together the twenty-three songs included in the revue.

Deborah Robin, recorder, and Sylvia Goldstein, piano, will perform Divertimento for Treble Recorder and Piano (1964) by John Graves. With the title “Divertimento”, the composer suggests a link to 18th century music history, when the divertimento was a popular form of composition, generally of a light vein, consisting of 3-10 movements, composed for a small instrumental ensemble. This Divertimento for recorder and piano has five movements: Prelude, Air, Festivo, Soliloquy, and Finale. The recorder, whose typical classical repertoire draws from the Baroque or earlier, is most often paired with a period keyboard like harpsichord. In this contemporary work written specifically for piano accompaniment, both the recorder and keyboard are challenged with popular techniques of the day, such as tone clusters, abrupt meter and key changes, clashing harmonies, and unpredictable syncopation.

The program will close with the Meeting House Trio - Walter Mayo, bass, David Sergio, piano, David Woodard, drums - performing a sampling of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century. It includes the most popular and enduring songs from the 1920s to the 1950s that were created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical film. The jazz trio will be joined for a few tunes by soprano Karen Robinson and baritone John Church.


Sylvia Goldstein (piano) is a pianist, teacher and composer. She has served as chairperson of the Piano Department of the Hartford Conservatory, adjunct professor of music at Capital Community-Technical College, and music director of Temple B’Nai Israel. Several of Sylvia’s liturgical and secular compositions for voice and piano have been published, and her Chanukah Oratorio “Who Can Retell?” has aired annually for over 30 years during the holiday season on West Hartford Community Television. Sylvia studied music at the Mannes School of Music, the Juilliard School of Music Preparatory Division, and the Longy School of Music, then continued her studies at Cornell University, Brandeis University, and the University of CA at Berkeley. Sylvia has both a B.A. and an M.A. in Music, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Sylvia is also a member of The Women Cantors Network and the Guild of Temple Musicians, as well as the Musical Club of Hartford.

Sylvia Goldstein

Lean-Cheng Tan (voice, piano) was born in Penang, Malaysia. She began her piano studies at age eleven with the Royal School of Music of England, and was a school music teacher before she moved to the United States. In 2006-2008, Lean-Cheng served as the Co-President of the Hartford Chapter, Connecticut State Music Teacher Association. Her vocal teachers included Professor Danna Su, Chai-Lun Yueh, Joan Glazier and Dr. Susan Mardingly. Lean-Cheng sings in the Musical Club’s Vocal Ensemble and she is also an active performer in an 8-hands piano ensemble. She has taught piano for over 30 years and accompanied school choirs as well as the Chinese Community Choirs.

Ellen Ma (voice) is a retired teacher, Musical Club of Hartford member since 2003, and all-around music lover.

Gail Tanguay (piano) holds a B.M. in piano from Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music, and a Master Degree in Music Education from the Hartt School. She was a Choral Director for 35 years with the Wethersfield school system and is an active accompanist with soloists, choirs and musical theatre presentations. She is also a member of the hand-bell choir of Westminster Church and often accompanies their vocal choirs. 

Karen de Bergh Robinson (voice) graduated from Sarah Lawrence as a Performing Arts Major.  In New York City, she performed the soprano lead in numerous Gilbert and Sullivan productions, including the role of Princess Ida with the Village Light Opera Company.  After moving to Connecticut, Karen sang for 15 years with the Connecticut Opera Company as a member of their AGMA chorus.  She has been a soloist in Hartford-area churches, and performed in numerous duo concert performances with the pianist Paul Bisaccia in such venues as the Wadsworth Athenaeum and the Wood Memorial Library.  She recently recorded a CD entitled “Songs I Have Loved.”

Karen de Bergh Robinson and Diane Day

Diane Day (piano), a native of Simsbury, started studying piano at age 7, and teaching at age 11! She completed the 4-year program at the Hartford Conservatory with an Artist’s Diploma in Piano, with a minor in Theory & Composition.  Diane studied with Juan Nazarian, Maria Luisa Faini, and Howard Parsons.  In addition to teaching piano privately for over 40 years, Diane has also been a frequent piano soloist, accompanist for vocal, instrumental and dance performers, and pianist in chamber music ensembles including the Quindec Piano Quintet and the Duffy-Day Duo. Currently Diane performs two-piano works with Stacy Cahoon.

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).

John Church (voice) received his B.A. in music and studied composition as a post-graduate.   He sings with St. John’s Episcopal Church (West Hartford) choir, MadSingers, and CitySingers of Hartford.  John has also sung with Trinity Episcopal’s Compline Schola, and The Festival Singers (in performances of Neely Bruce’s Bill of Rights), and joins friends regularly to entertain at Avery Heights.

The Meeting House Trio consists of:

Walter Mayo (bass), retired attorney. Walter made his opera debut as a (tacit) tusk-bearer in the CT Opera arena production of Aida in 1981.

Dave Sergio (piano), retired teacher. David is a classically trained pianist and has participated in the Musical Club’s Piano Ensemble Day with Jane Bugbee.

Dave Sergio and Walter Mayo

David Woodard (drums), retired architect. David recently joined his wife, Carolyn, as a performing member of the Musical Club of Hartford.