November 13, 2009 – Program

November 13, 2009 Moser Performing Arts Center University of St Francis


Serenade “The Nightwatch”
H.I.F. von Biber, 1644 – 1704

Serenada/ Allamanda / Aria / Ciaconna* / Gavotte
Humor a lesson
Thomas Mace, 1612-1706

La Poule (The Chicken)
J. P. Rameau, 1683 – 1764

The Author’s Mistree /The Off-Spring / I like my Humor well / Hab-Nab
The Marriage of the Hen and The Cuckoo
Marco Uccellini, 1610 – 1680

The Frog Party
Leopold Mozart, 1719 – 1787

Menuetto from the Toy Symphony*
Leopold Mozart


The Village Musicians: A Musical Joke
W.A. Mozart, 1756 – 1791

G. P. Telemann, 1681 – 1767

Die Schnekenpost (Snail Mail) / The Gossip Aria from Pimpinone* / Menuets I et II / Bouree
The Joke
Franz Josef Haydn, 1732 – 1809

Musikalische Schlittenfahrt
Leopold Mozart

Die Schlittenfahrt / The Young Lady Shivers with Cold / The Ball Begins / The End of the Ball / The Sleigh Ride

*with Peter Van De Graaff, basso buffo


Peter Van De Graaff – basso buffo; Charles Metz – harpsichord;

William Bauer, Daniel Golleher – violins; Susan Rozendaal – viola;

Pablo Mahave-Veglia – cello Jerry Fuller – violone;

Jeff Noonan – lute and theorbo

Program notes:

H.I.F. von Biber was an Austrian composer and violinist. In 1670 he entered into service to the Archibishop of Salzburg and settled there for the rest of his life. His serenade “The Nightwatch” was most probably a post-dinner related entertainment intended to amuse the guests with its imitation of a rustic nightwatchman’s call.

Humor, a lesson comes from Thomas Mace’s three part Musick’s Monument. Mace’s tome attempted to instruct musicians in composing music for the lute and viol, producing church music and the use of humor. He makes fun of himself by making musical portraits of his own mistress, their issue and sometimes chaotic homelife.

Depiction of animals in the rarefied discipline of art music was considered very humorous in the 17th and 18th centuries. J. P. Rameau’s La Poule imitates the mating of a chicken and a rooster.

Marco Uccellini gives us the improbable pairing of a hen and a cuckoo with the comment “in the end together they make a beautiful concerto”.

Before the birth of his gifted children Leopold Mozart made a business of writing musical novelties. Here is his vignette of a Frog’s Tea Party, followed by theMenuetto from his “Toy Symphony” which employs both Nightingale and Cuckoo whistles.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is know to have loved bawdy jokes and bathroom humor. In The Village Musicians: A Musical Joke he paints a portrait of a group of poorly trained town musicians playing the work of an uninspired composer.

Georg Philippe Telemann’s Masquerade is drawn from a larger work called Die Dirne. The first movement is called Die Schneckenpost, literally “snail mail”, in which he describes the nattering gossip a group of wall flowers at a masquerade ball. We have interpolated an aria from Telemann’s comic opera Pimpinone since it also deals with gossip and a nagging wife represented by a violin imitating the bray of a mule.

The last movement of Josef Haydn’s String Quartet The Joke is famous for setting up musical expectations and not fulfilling them. These are a series of pregnant pauses intended to “pull the rug out” from underneath the listener.

Last is Leopold Mozart’s The Ice Journey which gives us in music the events of a delicate ingenue’s winter trip to a ball and the jolly sleigh ride home.