Showing posts with label Sergio Roberto de Oliveira. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sergio Roberto de Oliveira. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mélomanie Opens with Two World Premieres & One Breathtaking "Stage"

By Guest Blogger, Christine Facciolo
Christine holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music and continues to apply her voice to all genres of music. An arts lover since childhood, she currently works as a freelance writer.

Mélomanie opened its 2015-2016 season at The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts on Sunday, September 13, with a celebration of the artistry of flutist Kimberly Reighley. The concert was held in the DCCA's Carol Bieber and Marc Ham Gallery, where the musicians performed directly underneath artist Amie Potsic's beautifully flowing piece, Endangered Seasons.

Reighley  co-artistic director (along with Tracy Richardson) of the ensemble known for its provocative pairings of baroque and contemporary music  was this year’s recipient of the coveted Masters Award for Solo Recital from the Delaware Division of the Arts. The award required her to perform a solo concert.

I once asked a flutist friend if the instrument was tough to play. She responded by saying it was easy to learn but hard to master. Anyone who hears Reighley’s incredibly beautiful playing will soon realize that she is a complete master of the flute.

The program featured various flutes — the piccolo, baroque, modern and alto —demonstrating the range of expression the instrument possesses and the skill Reighley brings to each.

The program was a mostly contemporary one, including the World Premieres of two works composed especially for the occasion: Two Moods by Chuck Holdeman and The Four Gifts of God by the Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira.

Holdeman is one of an increasing number of composers writing for solo piccolo. As its name suggests, Two Moods explores the acoustic possibilities of the instrument. The first employs the “whistle” tones demonstrating how an almost inaudible instrument can still make music. The second returns the instrument to its familiar sprightly self.

Reighley handled this often unpredictable little instrument with precision and grace. Especially impressive were her high notes, which can be difficult for the average flutist to sustain given the need for greater wind speed.

The Four Gifts of God paired Reighley on baroque flute with Richardson on harpsichord. Composer de Oliveira got the idea to identify four elements: common to all religions. He came up with the gifts of Breath, Light, Creation and Action. Reighley mined the instrument’s capacity for otherworldly tones in the primal character of the first section, quickly switching gears for the brighter musical ideas of Light and Action. Of special interest was the Creation movement, where the composer paid tribute to seven of his favorite composers, including Richardson’s husband, composer Mark Hagerty.

Speaking of Hagerty, his contribution to the program was a work titled Sea Level. Written especially for Reighley, the piece offers a soundscape of the burgeoning plant and animal life in and around the canals of the Dutch countryside during an unusually warm April. This work showcased Reighley’s mastery of the alto flute whose mysterious, picturesque tones ably conveyed the score’s changing colors and textures.

Reighley took up the standard concert flute accompanied by Richardson on harpsichord for Jennifer Margaret Barker’s Dumgoyne and Ingrid Arauco’s Florescence. Both demand the soloist to delineate the sharply contrasting musical ideas. Dumgoyne describes Barker’s childhood memories of the sights and sounds of her native Scotland’s most famous hill. Reighley’s playing effectively conveyed the experience of a climb culminating with the calm and peace of a lyrical Scottish song.

Arauco’s work is more abstract than Dumgoyne but nevertheless requires the flutist to engage some pretty aggressive rhythmic patterns as in the second movement which the composer describes as flowing in “an energetic stream of steady sixteenths punctuated by occasionally by assertive, rhythmically jagged figures.”

It wouldn’t be a 
Mélomanie concert without a Baroque offering, and Reighley and Richardson paired to offer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier’s Sonata II in G Minor.

The concert concluded with an encore performance by Richardson and Reighley of Hagerty’s Contexts, a short piece that looks at what can happen to a simple repeating motif when the harmony and other musical elements change around it.

The full ensemble returns to the DCCA for their next performance on October 18, where they will premiere a piece by guitarist and composer, Kevin J. Cope.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Album Review: Excursions A Musical Trip with Mélomanie

By Guest Blogger, Christine Facciolo
Christine holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music and continues to apply her voice to all genres of music. An arts lover since childhood, she currently works as a freelance writer.

Never underestimate the power of music to transport an audience to other states of mind and place. Mélomanie explores this potential with the release of its latest CD, Excursions.

As its name suggests, Excursions takes the listener on a journey through a variety of musical terrains and recollections via an eclectic range of compositions written for and performed by Mélomanie. 

For example, Jennifer Margaret Barker’s Dumgoyne (2012) evokes the sights and sounds a native Scot would experience during a climb of the hill for which the composition is named. In Angico (2009), Sergio Roberto de Oliveira celebrates the fulfillment of his mother’s lifelong dream: The construction of a family vacation home in the Brazilian mountains and the successful effort to save a cherished tree on the property. Mélomanie has built its reputation on its striking and evocative pairings of early and contemporary music. 

And while this collection features contemporary works by living composers, that mission continues. Both the title track by Roberto Pace (2009) and Ingrid Arauco’s Pavane-Variations (2009) combine 16th Century forms with modern tonalities, rhythms and melodic structures. Kile Smith also applies modern compositional language to Renaissance and Baroque dance forms as the sarabande, allemande, branle, musette and canario in his eight-movement suite, The Nobility of Women (2012). 

Mélomanie (L-R): Tracy Richardson, Christof Richter,
Doug McNames, Kimberly Reighley & Donna Fournier
Photo by David Norbut Photography
There are other “provocative pairings” as well. Two selections — Angico and The Nobility of Women — are scored for Baroque instruments, while the other three works feature the modern and Baroque playing side by side. These hybrid groupings feature guest artists Eve Friedman on the modern flute and Priscilla Herreid on oboe.

If you’ve heard Mélomanie perform, then you know the caliber of artistry and skill they bring to their music. If not, this recording provides a superb entrée and will no doubt whet your musical appetite for more!

Excursions is available for purchase at or your favorite online music resource. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Mélomanie Releases CD, Performs in Rio in November

Photo by David Norbut
Mélomanie, the five-piece chamber ensemble known for provocative pairings of early and contemporary works, celebrated the release of Excursions, their newest new CD — and takes an excursion of their own in November with a performance in Rio de Janeiro. They have been invited to perform at international the four-day festival, Compositores de Hoje (Composers of Today), November 20 through 23, 2014.

Excursions features pieces written for and premiered by the ensemble: Excursions: Fantasie Mélomanie (2009) by Roberto Pace; Pavane-Variations (2009) by Ingrid Arauco; Dumgoyne (2012) by Jennifer Margaret Barker; The Nobility of Women (2011) by Philadelphia-area composer Kile Smith and Angico (2009) by Brazilian composer, Sergio Roberto de Oliveira.

"We chose the title Excursions because the pieces take the listener on different journeys," says Mélomanie Co-Artistic Director Tracy Richardson. Barker's Dumgoyne describes her childhood memories of Scotland. Pace's Excursions explores multiple moods and musical terrain. Arauco's Pavane-Variations and Smith's The Nobility of Women give us a fresh visit to old dance forms, and de Oliveira's Angico tells the story of his family's home in the Brazilian countryside. 

"This trip is an exciting landmark for our ensemble!" Richardson says. "We're thrilled for the opportunity to share our music and serve as Delaware's 'musical ambassadors.'"

Mélomanie is: Donna Fournier, viola da gamba, Douglas McNames, cellos, Kimberly Reighley, flutes, Christof Richter, violins and Tracy Richardson, harpsichords.

The CD, Excursions, and other Mélomanie recordings are available for download at or your favorite online music outlet.

Mélomanie's participation in Compositores de Hoje is supported by of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Delaware State International Trade Commission; Delaware Division of the Arts; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Music School of Delaware; and A Casa Produções.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Visit with Brazilian Composer, Sergio Roberto de Oliveira

Composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira

On Sunday, May 19, Wilmington ensemble Mélomanie joins Philadelphia jazz duo Minas in a collaborative concert exploring the diverse landscape of Brazilian music, from classical to pop to jazz, with compositions by Orlando Haddad of Minas and Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira, who has traveled from Rio to be here for the performance. Delaware Arts Info visited with Sergio this week to talk about the performance and his works.

You wrote the piece, Incelença de Domingos, in homage to beloved Brazilian popular musician, Dominguinhos. Why did you choose to honor him in this music?
Dominguinhos is revered as one of the great musicians of Brazil.  He hails from the interior of northeast Brazil; he became a very sophisticated musician, yet makes very traditionally simple yet broadly appealing songs. Sadly, he has been in gravely ill for some time.  I think it's important to honor him and his accomplishments; I have such great admiration and respect for him, although I have never met him in person.

My piece is reminiscent of music that is traditionally sung at a viewing or a funeral, asking God to send angels to guide the soul to its proper place, wherever that may be. I intended the piece as a request for God to release Dominguinhos from his pain and guide him on his journey, to be either with the angels or among us again.

Did your writing process for this piece differ because it brings together two very different ensembles? How did you approach writing with that in mind?
Yes, this was a very different process, although I've written arrangements many times for popular music. The writing process for a popular piece is very different from a classical piece.

For this work, I was thinking about how all the musicians could feel comfortable with the material. Artists of different genres often process things in different ways. For example, classically trained musicians can understand the music straight from the text; popular musicians need to feel the music they are playing.

This piece, it's really simply "a song" but with classically written elements. And, each ensemble brought something that the other perhaps could not.

What do you think of the collaboration between Melomanie and Minas? How does each ensemble complement the other?
Some parts of the piece were very natural for Minas, while others were very natural for Mélomanie. It's an ideal blend of Brazilian language and classic contemporary language. Each ensemble brings a musical sensibility to the performance that the other doesn't.

I believe that a good artistic collaboration comes when you have to change the way you view art.

In this concert, Mélomanie will also perform another of your compositions, Angico, which is a very personal piece for you. Tell us about that piece. This is very emotional piece for me. Angico itself is a tree on the property of my family's summer home. This place—a lifelong dream of my mother's—is my personal paradise: where I go to relax, recharge, to create and just enjoy my family. This piece is the story of the tree and house, in four movements; the Angico has a spiritual presence throughout the piece.

The First movement is about the tree itself—the first thing to appear in creation. It's about perfection in nature. The Second movement is about the construction of the house and arrival of the family (more broadly the arrival of man). It is very happy and bright. The Third movement depicts the fight against the removal of the tree in the way of modern needs. We felt there were good spirits around our home that would protect the tree and all of us. The music embodies the spirits that protected the tree. The final movement is a musical party—celebrating the tree, our family and the entire journey.

Another piece on the program is actually a Dominguinhos song, correct?
Yes. This last piece is my arrangement of a song by Dominguinhos called I Just Want a Sweetheart. This is his most well-known piece.  It was written about a person saying how longs for a sweetheart; a feeling that everyone can understand and share.

You'll also be in the studio with Mélomanie to record Angico for their next CD. How do you view the recording process as the composer? Recording is about making your work eternal; it's about having these musicians be my voice and perpetuate my feelings and ideas through the music.

You've written for Mélomanie several times over the years. What draws you to the ensemble?
It's great to write for this caliber of musicians. This idea of 'provocative pairings' I think is brilliant. It's good to think about Bach or Telemann as colleagues, and not just shadows of the past. Bach is the guy, you know, but I like [contemporary composer] Mark Hagerty as well.  Mark and I have worked together on two CDs now.  Mark thinks about music in a way no one else does. And he does so very kindly; he doesn't impose his music on listeners, but rather seduces listeners with the music. I feel we're so similar yet our music is so different.

What's next on your calendar?
In September, I'll launch a CD of my music performed by the Brazilian ensemble GNU. In the same month, I'll attend an Italian festival of jazz and Brazilian music; one concert will specifically feature my music. In November, I'll celebrate the launch of my new festival, Composers of Today, which will feature composers from Rio and all over the world. Mark Hagerty will be one of the guest composers, and this will be the opportunity to unveil our new CD.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Two world premieres

Mélomanie played two new works on January 30! To think that a small local group can commission works in these hard times is nothing short of great – and they used a little inventive cooperation to do so. Elaine Funaro, harpsichordist who also heads up a non-profit organization in Durham, North Carolina, which promotes new music for harpsichord (, joined forces with Mélomanie to commission a new work by Sergio Roberto de Oliveira.

Oliveira’ s work, Angico, was a vivid descriptive piece of the acacia tree which survived a threatened felling. The story gives a vehicle for Oliveira to evoke Brazil with bird songs, angry workers, and traditional rhythms. He skillfully orchestrated his motives on cello, harpsichord, violin and flute. My favorite movement was The construction into which he snuck a few habañera rhythms.

Mark Hagerty’s piece, After Duchamp, was a provocation in keeping with the provocative pairings Mélomanie strives to achieve. He tackled the spirit of Marcel Duchamp’s statement: “I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” Hagerty decided to go against his natural tendency to write long and serious pieces. For Duchamp, he wrote a frivolous and jocular set of vignettes for harpsichord. His program notes set up the facetious objectives: ‘bird/anger: Two totally unrelated ideas that do not interact musically’ and ‘Werk ohne Opus’ where he takes on the established music world’s pretensions. But how do you praise a composer who is working against his own taste? Do you tell him he achieved the bad taste he was seeking?

And paired with the exciting new pieces were six fugues from Bach’s Art of the Fugue played with subtle dynamics and intonations. The group also played four movements from Louis de Caix d’Hervelois’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for flute and continuo in which they allowed themselves a joyous mood of the dances. Their next performance will be March 13, 2010 at Grace United Methodist Church.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brazilian Composer Makes Visit to Delaware Very Personal

Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira travels to Delaware to join the classical/contemporary music ensemble Mélomanie this Saturday evening for the premiere of his work, Angico. Written in fall of 2009, this work is a collaborative commission with Aliénor (of Durham, North Carolina), whose ensemble will perform the piece later in the season. This piece is an intensely personal one, inspired by de Oliveira’s family vacation home in the Brazilian mountains, built as a fulfillment of his mother’s lifelong dream.

The composition pays tribute to the magical house he calls Angico, in honor of the Brazilian acacia tree, the Angico, which graces the property. Just after the house was built, the electrical company threatened to fell the tree. Ultimately, however, the tree sacrificed only one of its branches. It lives on as a witness to the family retreat, Angico, which the composer calls “a place full of peace and joy.”

In four movements, the music engages the audience in a fascinating story: the creation of the universe, the building of his family home, the triumph of the Angico tree over man’s threat, and, finally a celebration of the magical place called Angico.

de Oliveira and second guest composer Mark Hagerty (who will also premiere a piece entitled After Duchamp) will be on hand for Mélomanie's program this Saturday, January 30, at 8:00 pm at Grace Church in Wilmington. A post-concert meet-and-greet will be held at The Maraschino Room, on the 2nd floor of the Washington Street Ale House, just a few short blocks away. Tickets are $20; $15 for student and seniors. Youth under age 15 are free. To reserve, call 302.764.6338.