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Past LARO Concerts
"The French Connection"
Conductor: Thomas Axworthy

Sunday, June 18, 2006 -- 2:00 pm
St. Bede's Episcopal Church
3590 Grand View Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Admission is free. Donations accepted

1. Marseillaise
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869); edited by Thomas Axworthy
Gloria Ramsey, solo soprano recorder
Marianne Martin, solo alto recorder
Bruce Teter, solo tenor recorder
Nathan Barrows, solo bass recorder
2. Pavane, Op. 50
Gabriel Faure (1845-1924); arranged by Brian Davey
3. Bolero
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937); arranged by Stan Davis
4. Pavane pour une infante defunte
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937); arranged by Brian Bonsor
5. Cakewalk
Claude Debussy (1862-1918); arranged by Annette Mondrup

Short Intermission

6. Petite Symphonie
Charles Gounod (1818-1893); edited by Thomas Axworthy
Adagio & Allegretto
7. Serenade from "Harold in Italy"
Hector Berlioz; arranged by Chris May
8. Gnossienne No. 3
Erik Satie (1866-1925); arranged by Christian Mondrup
9. Can Can
Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880); arranged by Richard Geisler


Berlioz spent the last two weeks of July 1830 shut up in the Paris Conservatoire writing, under strict supervision, a cantata (Sardanapale) with which he hoped to snare the Prix de Rome. (It was his fifth and, he vowed, final attempt; he won.) "I was finishing my cantata when the Revolution broke out," he recorded in his Memoirs. "I dashed off the final pages of my orchestral score to the sound of stray bullets coming over the roofs and pattering on the wall outside my window. On the 29th I had finished, and was free to go out and roam about Paris til morning, pistol in hand. A day or two later I was crossing the courtyard of the Palais Royal when I heard a tune I knew well -- a dozen or so young men singing a battle hymn of my composition [one of the Neuf Melodies on texts of Thomas Moore]. Unused as I was to this kind of popularity, the discovery delighted me and I pushed my way through to the circle of singers and requested permission to join them. The audience grew steadily and the space round the little patriotic band got smaller and smaller. We barely escaped, and fled with the crowd streaming behind us til we reached the Galerie Colbert. There a haberdasher asked us up to a second-floor balcony, where we could 'rain down our music on our admirers' without the risk of being suffocated.

"We struck up the Marseillaise. Almost at once a holy stillness fell upon the seething mass at our feet. After each refrain there was a profound silence. This is not at all what I had expected. On beholding that vast concourse of people I recalled that I had just arranged Rouget de Lisle's song for double chorus and full orchestra, and that where one normally writes 'tenors and basses' I had written instead 'everyone with a voice, a soul and blood in his veins.' After the fourth verse I could contain myself no longer, and I yelled, 'Confound it all -- sing!' The great crowd roared out its Aux armes citoyens! with the power and precision of a trained choir."

Berlioz dedicated his setting of the Marseillaise to the anthem's author, Rouget de Lisle, who, by 1830, was living in indigent retirement in Choisy, on the southern fringes of Paris. The rise in popular democratic zeal surrounding the 1830 Revolt caused a renewed interest in his patriotic hymn, and King Louis-Philippe granted the poet an annual pension of 1500 francs. De Lisle wrote Berlioz a letter of appreciation on December 30, 1830, inviting Berlioz to visit him in Choisy to discuss an unnamed proposal. "I heard later," Berlioz continued in his Memoirs, "that de Lisle -- who incidentally wrote many fine songs besides the Marseillaise -- had an unpublished libretto on Othello that he wished to offer me. Being obliged to leave Paris on the day after I received this letter [for Rome as prize winner], I sent my aplogies and explained that my visit would have to wait until after my return from Italy. The poor man died in the interval. I never met him."

More information on LARO (especially concert directions) may be found on our website

    Lia Starer Levin* -- Founder
    Thomas Axworthy* -- Director and co-founder
Nathan Barrows
Barbara Beebe*
Moshe Ben-Yeoshua
Ricardo Beron
Brenda Bittner
Barbara Blinderman*
Nancy Cochran
Anna Conley
Jerry Cotts
Stuart Elliott
Suellen Eslinger
Juanita Heyerman*
Charlie Jackson
Anita Klebanoff
Libby Klugman
Connie Koenenn*
Lee Lassetter
Mauri Lathouwers
Nadia Lawrence*
Lia Starer Levin*
Catherine Makoul
Miranda Manners
Marianne Martin
George Noller
Debby Patterson
Gloria Ramsey
Sally Rentschler
John L. Robinson*
Matt Ross
Abe Santiago
Cyril Shepro
Bruce Teter
Nancy Timmons
John Tyson
Mark Walter
David Whitley
Dieneke Kalsbeek
    Piano -- Lee Lassetter

    *Board of LARO