I. Daniel Dow (1732–1783)
II. Abraham Caceres (1718–1740)
III. Blind John Parry (1710–1782)
Written by Max Wolpert
Performed by Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra
Cynthia Katsarelis, conductor
Jory Vinikour, harpsichord | Miriam Kapner, oboe
Recorded live at Stewart Auditorium, Longmont, CO, February 24, 2019
As I am both a fiddle player and a "classical" composer, I find it fascinating that many of our titans in the traditional music world were contemporaries of the likes of Bach, Handel, and Haydn. The outer movements of this piece pay homage to some of these musical icons, showing their traditional styles reflected in the Baroque form and instrumentation of a concerto grosso. Daniel Dow of Perthshire (1732–1783) was a brilliant fiddler and tunewriter; the first movement of this concerto sets two Scottish dances, a fast, driving reel and a jaunty, bouncy strathspey, up against a Baroque fugue. Blind John Parry of Gwynedd (1710–1782) was a master of the Welsh harp and a composer and collector of tunes (including that old chestnut, “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly”). In the movement in his honor, the spacious lyricism of a harp air is followed by a cheerfully asymmetric Welsh pipe tune.
The middle movement of this piece was conceived in homage to Abraham Caceres of Amsterdam (1718–1740), one of the few Jewish composers from the Baroque whose work we retain. It was written in memory and mourning for the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre; October 27, 2018.