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A Musical Promenade 4


Saturday, June 1, 6:30 PM

First Presbyterian Church

72 Kensington Road

San Anselmo CA 94960


Program Notes


Domenico Zipoli: Elevazione


Margot Golding, oboe

Joel Cohen, Cello


Born: October 17, 1688, Prato, Italy

Died: January 2, 1726 (age 37 years), Córdoba, Argentina

 Very little is known about the Italian Baroque composer Domenico Zipoli, whose stately Elevazione became something of a classical music hit in the 1990s. He was born in Italy but towards the end of his life he emigrated to Argentina where he became far more famous in South America than in his native Italy. 

In 1709, he moved to Naples from his birth city of Prato, to study with Scarlatti, but they quarreled and so he moved on to Bologna and then Rome. In 1715, Zipoli became the sole organist at the Jesuit church in Rome where he also studied to become a Catholic priest.   Zipoli joined the Society of Jesus in 1716, and sailed to Argentina with 53 other prospective Jesuit missionaries in 1717.  Zipoli, tragically, died from tuberculosis before he could become ordained. 


By the time he died, Zipoli's music was much in demand for use in the Jesuits' missionary work in South America.  He had gained a considerable following in South American countries, where his choral music – all but forgotten now – was regularly performed. In the 1970s, around 20 previously unknown works by Zipoli turned up in Bolivia; he must have composed them while serving as a Jesuit missionary in Paraguay.


Elevazione is one of his most famous pieces but little is known about it.  Scored for oboe, cello, organ and strings, its sedate pace and stately sound have guaranteed its use in both weddings and funerals in recent years. Though it has gained popularity in the last 35 years, it remains something of an enigma. 

(Notes by Margot Golding)



Ottorino Respighi: The Birds 

The Birds (Italian: Gli uccelli) is a suite for small orchestra by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (9 July 1879 – 18 April 1936). Dating from 1928, the work is based on music from the 17th and 18th century and represents an attempt to transcribe birdsong into musical notation, and illustrate bird actions, such as fluttering wings, or scratching feet. 


The suite was used for the ballet of the same name, with choreography by Cia Fornaroli, first performed at Sanremo Casinò Municipale on 19 February 1933. Subsequently with choreography by Margarita Wallmann at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, on 27 February 1940; and by Robert Helpmann, with design by Chiang Yee, by the Sadler's Wells Ballet at the New Theatre, London on 24 November 1942. 




Emmanuel Chabrier: Habanera

for piano (1885) orchestrated by the composer (1888)


Alexis Emmanuel Chabrier (January 18, 1841 – September 13, 1894) was a French Romantic composer and pianist. While studying law in Paris from 1858 to 1862, he also studied the piano, harmony, and counterpoint. His technical training, however, was limited, and in the art of composition he was self-taught. Known primarily his orchestral works, España and Joyeuse marche, he left an important body of operas, songs, and piano music. 


Chabrier’s music, frequently based on irregular rhythmic patterns or on rapidly repeated figures derived from the bourrée (a dance of his native Auvergne), was inspired by broad humor and a sense of caricature. His melodic gifts were honed by performances of popular songs in Paris cafés-concerts. In his piano and orchestral works he developed a sophisticated Parisian style that was a model for the 20th-century composers Francis Poulenc and Georges Auric. 


Stravinsky alluded to España in his ballet Petrushka; Gustav Mahler called España "the beginnings of modern music" and alluded to the "Dance Villageoise" in the Rondo Burleske movement of his Ninth Symphony. 

(Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica)

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