Women’s History Music Moment: Mary Terey-Smith
The conductor Mary Terey-Smith made music history here in the Pacific Northwest, as a result of a political revolution half a world away. This Hungarian-born music talent, student of Kodaly at the legendary Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, hadn’t been out in the working world very long when the 1956 Hungarian Revolution turned her into a refugee.
The career she was making–conducting small orchestras, serving as vocal coach at the Hungarian State Opera—would pick up again in Bellingham, where she settled, teaching and conducting at Western Washington University for over 30 years. She founded Western’s Collegium Musicum, and presented them to great acclaim, on multiple concert tours throughout Canada and Europe.
As a scholar, she focused on Baroque and Early Classical operas, especially the work of Jean-Philippe Rameau, whose music comes alive in her recordings with the Hungarian period instrument ensemble, Capella Savaria. Students remembered Mary-Terey Smith’s “energized easy smile and great passion for music.” Said one, “She had a magic about her.”
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was approached by The editor of a Russian music magazine known as the Nouvellist with a commission – write one piece a month for a year and give our listeners something to look forward to. Continue Reading Spring Music Moment: Tchaikovsky’s ‘April’
Vivaldi’s Spring – one of the most recognizable, best loved works in the world and one of the best ways to celebrate the season.
Vivaldi penned his famous quartet of concertos, The Four Seasons or Le quattro stagioni, between the late 1710’s and early 1720s. Each concerto includes an accompanying sonnet of unknown origin (a classic case of “which came first – the sonnets of the concertos?”). The first lines of Spring perfectly encapsulate what’s ahead, musically speaking: “Springtime is upon us. The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.” The first of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos not only invites us to imagine birds singing in a crisp, clear morning, but depicts a rolling spring thunderstorm and a festive dance in the country. Continue Reading Spring Music Moment: Vivaldi
Unlike his contemporaries, Britten did not devote much of his time to writing symphonies. It’s no wonder that when he *did* sit down to write his Spring Symphony, it resulted in a grand journey in 4 parts and 12 movements, harnessing the power of mixed chorus, boys’ choir, soprano, alto and tenor soloists and a massive orchestra including harp, tambourine and cow horn. Britten’s Spring Symphony takes us through the changing of the seasons and the power of that transition – both as a time of the year and a stage of life. Continue Reading Spring Music Moment: Britten’s Spring Symphony