Maelzel Woodwind Quintet to present “Music from the Age of Invention”

MaelzelQuintetFour Marshall University music faculty members, flutist Dr. Wendell Dobbs, hornist Dr. Stephen Lawson, bassoonist Kay Lawson and oboist Dr. Richard Kravchak, will be joined by guest clarinetist Dr. Richard Spece for a program titled “Music from the Age of Invention,” which will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, in Smith Recital Hall.

The five chose to call themselves the Maelzel Woodwind Quintet, as their “Age of Invention” program nods to the early 19th century – a time when inventions such as Maelzel’s time-keeping contraption and musical and technical innovations marked the artistic landscape in Europe.

“Though woodwind quintet music has been well represented at Marshall, this particular program will be different since all involved will not perform on modern instruments, but on historical reproductions of instruments that existed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries,” Dobbs said. “The instruments vary considerably from their modern counterparts. They naturally sound differently and they require a whole new technique when playing.”

“Music from the Age of Invention” will feature works by Reicha and Danzi, as well as by Peter Müller.

“One might ask: Why go to the trouble to learn a new technique and perform on instruments that are often more difficult technically than the modern counterparts?” Dobbs said. “Exploring this music on the original instruments provides musicians the opportunity to fully understand the intrinsic problems of blend, balance and intonation, and most importantly, the interpretation, oftentimes inspired by these instruments.

“In essence, we hear the same sounds as the composers and musicians from the era and this informs our decisions on numerous aspects of the music and indeed permits us and our audience to understand the music in ways that may be obscured by the louder, more homogenized sounds of modern instruments.”

Spece has taught at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus, and performs regularly with a host of groups including Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Ama Deus Ensemble, California Bach Society, Magnificat, Classical Consort, Concert Spirituel, and Opera Lafayette. He is also a founding member of Circa 1800 Chamber Winds. His newest adventure in his new home in Richmond, Virginia, is to establish a period instrument orchestra that will be called the Mannheim Rocket. Spece’s appearance is sponsored by a contribution from Dr. Alan Gould, director of the John Deaver Drinko Academy.

The Sept. 11 program is free and open to the public. Call ext.6-3117 for more information.

The program will be repeated at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, as part of the Ariel Chamber Theatre Series at the Historic Ariel-Dater Hall in Gallipolis, Ohio. Admission for the repeat performance is $5; call 740-446-ARTS for more information on that performance.