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Musaica Chamber Ensemble

Musaica Chamber Ensemble
Alli Bullach
Musaica Chamber Ensemble

Crescent Classical proudly presents selections from Musaica - a New Orleans-based Chamber Ensemble that was founded in the Fall of 2006 by a group of New Orleans professional musicians, many of whom play in the LPO and teach at the local universities. The program features two Nonets-musical compositions for nine instruments.

Musaica's mission is to promote and foster chamber music performance, to encourage the composition of new music, and to increase the awareness and appreciation of chamber music.

Listeners will have three opportunities to hear the program:

  • Wednesday, January 24th at 9pm on 89.9FM
  • Friday, January 26th at 7pm on 104.9FM | WWNO HD2
  • Monday, January 29th at 12pm on 104.9FM | WWNO HD2


Nonet (2021) David Anderson (1962-)
1. Allegro
2. Funk
3. Elegy (In Memory of all Covid victims)
4. Rondo

Yuki Tanaka and Gabrielle Fischler, violin
Bruce Owen, viola
Stefan Koch, cello
Dave Anderson, bass
Cathy Anderson, harp
Sarah Schettler, flute/piccolo
Jane Gabka, oboe
Daniel Parrette, clarinet

Dave Anderson describes his Nonet: "Writing this work during the pandemic has impacted every aspect of my composition. In creating the music, I wanted to have each of my esteemed Musaica colleagues soloistically featured while allowing for the interplay of the unusual variety of instrumental colors. This piece follows forms established for many centuries but contains modern tonality and rhythm, and includes quotes from several earlier pieces of mine, and passages influenced by my favorite composers. The first movement is in traditional sonata form, and contains references to Stravinsky's neo-classic pieces. The coda is stark and cold in the spirit of our current conditions. The second movement, Funk, is based on a type of music I have experienced here in New Orleans. There is even a direct quote of the bass line from Billy Cobham's song, Stratus, from his fantastic "Spectrum" album that I love, and my Bass Quartet 1987 is quoted in this movement as well. The Elegy provides a place to find comfort from the grief of the tragic events of COVID-19 and to bring hope for a solution. The loss of the father of New Orleans jazz culture, Ellis Marsalis, has had a profound effect on me. This music is dedicated to all the lives lost in this terrible time. The Rondo follows an A-B-A-C-A-D form where each A section has a slight variation. There are Shostakovich, Ginastera, and Hindemith influences, and a quote from my Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Double Bass, bringing the Nonet to a triumphant ending."

This was piece was recorded February 2021 from the UNO Performing Arts Center.

Nonet in F minor, op. 2 (1894) Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
1. Allegro moderato
2. Andante con moto
3. Scherzo - Allegro
4. Finale - Allegro vivace

Yuki Tanaka, violin
Bruce Owen, viola
David Rosen, cello
Dave Anderson, bass
Jane Gabka, oboe
Stephanie Thompson, clarinet
Amelia del Caño, bassoon
Josiah Bullach, french horn
Diana Thacher, piano

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was from London, England. His father was a medical student from Sierra Leone and his mother an Englishwoman. He started violin lessons at a young age and began his studies at the Royal College of Music when he was only 15. He later switched to composition. The Nonet in F minor, Op. 2, was written in 1894, when Coleridge-Taylor was just 18. Scored for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano, it is the same instrumentation as the Schubert Octet minus one violin, but with the addition of oboe and piano. Its first performance (and apparently the only one until recently) was on a student concert at the Royal College of Music in 1894. The Nonet is in four movements, and its scoring makes it almost orchestral in sound. There are many sections where three or four instruments are playing the same melody. The work shows the influence of Dvořák, whom Coleridge-Taylor admired greatly, especially notable in the opening theme of the first movement.

This piece was recorded April 2023, from the Saint Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Program notes provided by Musaica

Many thanks to Bruce Owen and Musaica for their collaboration on this radio program. Musaica's 2023-2024 season continues on January 29th, at 7:30pm at St. Martin's Episcopal Church and January 30th at 7:30 pm at Saint Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church. The concert, Fantasia Romantica, will feature the Nino Rota Nonet as well as the George Enesco Piano Quartet.

Visit Musaica for more information about their upcoming performances.

Crescent Classical is made possible thanks to the generous support of local classical music lovers Ann and Dr. Richard Strub and Dr. Bob Watzke.