On Sunday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m., ensembles from “The President’s Own” will present an all-German program featuring Georg Philipp Telemann’s Trio Sonata in G minor TWV 42: g5; Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat, Opus 74, Harp, and Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll. The concert will take place at the Marine Barracks Annex in Washington, D.C. and is free, with no tickets required.
When building the program, coordinator trumpeter/cornetist Staff Sgt. Brandon Eubank opted to open with Telemann’s Trio Sonata, which features oboe, violin, cello, and harpsichord.
“I enjoy examining the progression through the musical periods and I wanted to start the program with Baroque, the root upon which everything is built,” explained Eubank. “The Trio in G minor is a beautiful work and shows off a lively bass line, something that was not the norm during this era. It begins with its first movement marked Mesto (Sad), another departure from typical music of this period. The three movements that follow are labeled more in line with the tempo markings we have come to expect in Baroque music.”
The second piece, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 10, comes from what musicologists refer to as his “Middle Period,” a fruitful era that was characterized by structurally challenging and emotional writing. The quartet was given the nickname Harp by Beethoven’s publishers because of his use of thematic pizzicato in the first movement, traded back and forth between the members of the string quartet. This was the only quartet that was published with its own opus, which indicated that Beethoven and his publishers felt it was a significant individual work.
The entire second half of the program will be dedicated to Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, a piece that according to Eubank is known for its tenderness and sensitivity, which are not typical descriptors for Wagner. On the morning of Dec. 25, 1870, 13 musicians quietly assembled on the stairway of Wagner’s home Tribschen, in Luzern, Switzerland. Christmas Day was the twenty-fifth birthday of Cosima Wagner, Richard’s wife. As a birthday gift from her husband, she gently awoke to the opening lines of Siegfried Idyll.
“This is some of the most beautiful music ever written and demonstrates the inner joy that Wagner was experiencing in his domestic life at the time,” notes Eubank. “He never intended to publish the intimate work, but did later in his life because he needed the funds.”
While Siegfried Idyll is usually performed by a chamber orchestra, Eubank decided to use the same 13 instruments that appeared on the staircase of Tribschen on Christmas Day 1870. This performance will include flute, oboe, two clarinets, bassoon, two French horns, trumpet, two violins, viola, cello and double bass, with Gunnery Sgt. Robert Singer conducting.