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Master and Commander: Chamber Music on the High Seas
Sunday, October 25, 2020

Artwork by John Ott, Sr.

Here’s the program! Available as a full booklet or 1-page PDF:

We will be performing our sixth monthly livestream concert on Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 4PM Pacific/7PM Eastern.

• 4pm Pacific/7pm Eastern, Sunday October 25, Live on YouTube

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Our next monthly livestream visits the cabin of Captain Jack Aubrey, where he and his friend Stephen Maturin play duets on violin and cello in the famous Aubrey/Maturin novels of Patrick O’Brian (adapted for film in the 2003 movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World).

The Aubrey/Maturin Series of novels, written by Patrick O’Brian 1969-2000, follow the fictional career of Captain Jack Aubrey, a captain in His Majesty’s Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and his friend Dr. Stephen Maturin, a ship’s doctor, naturalist and spy working for the English. In between their adventures, the two play duets on violin and cello, respectively, in the captain’s cabin. This aspect of their friendship was portrayed very well in the 2003 movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. We thought it would be fun to play a concert of music they would have enjoyed.

Our program opens with a sonata by Corelli, who was one of Jack’s favorite composers. Corelli is mentioned several times in the books, though in particular Jack liked playing an arrangement he had made of a Corelli piece (perhaps a Concerto Grosso) for violin and cello. But Jack also liked his sonatas, and we have selected an appropriate one.

The very first scene in the first novel has Jack and Stephen watching a concert of a quartet (possibly trio sonata?) by Locatelli. Jack is entranced by the performance, while Stephen is annoyed at Jack’s humming and gesturing during the concert. However, this is the start of their iconic friendship. Locatelli is later mentioned as one of their favorite composers. We are presenting a sorrowful sonata by Locatelli, to show that they played together sometimes in sadness as well as in joy.

Of course, the pair knew and enjoyed the music of Haydn. The great master of music (in real life, too) had visited London twice in the 1790’s, and his music was well-received and popular throughout England. We are playing a duet by Haydn in which the two parts are mostly equal, rather than having the violin dominate.

O’Brian lists a number of lesser-known composers who the pair enjoyed, and from this list we have selected the A Major sonata of Fasch, which is brilliant and sparkling with joy.

The movie adaption only shows them playing a single work, which has since become associated with the Aubrey/Maturin story. Boccherini’s Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid (Night Music from the Streets of Madrid) was originally scored for string quintet, but most of the important parts are in either the first violin or first cello part. It was not difficult to arrange it for violin and cello duet.


Arcangelo Corelli: Violin Sonata in D Minor, op. 5 no. 7
Pietro Antonio Locatelli: Violin Sonata in G Minor, op. 8 no. 3
Franz Joseph Haydn: String Duo in D Major Hob. VI:D1
Johann Friedrich Fasch: Violin Sonata in A Major
Luigi Boccherini: Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid (arr. for violin/cello)

Weekly Works in Progress (#RoughGuts)

In setting up monthly subscription access to our work in exchange for steadily supporting all the time that goes into preparing performances, part of our aim is to welcome you into our process, sharing early videos of new works as we explore them and start to prepare them for private concerts, public videos, and polished albums. We have a great time sight-reading new pieces and deciding how and when to group them into compelling programs, and we hope to share some of that fun with you.

These #RoughGuts videos can be accessed through Patreon with a monthly subscription of $5 or more, and are released weekly on Wednesdays.

Videos on YouTube

We also plan to post videos periodically on YouTube, freely accessible, a combination of videos from our live performance archive (oh how wistful we are hearing live audiences and acoustics different from our living room as we listen to and prepare these videos!) and new works that we just have to share with you outside of a formal concert. These will appear as the muse strikes, so the best way to not miss anything is to subscribe to our new channel on YouTube (the link takes you to our channel page; look for the red Subscribe button).

We look forward to sharing music with you in all these new ways!

Sylvia & John

Under normal circumstances, we are pleased to offer house concerts through Groupmuse. Check out their website to learn more about their new livestream format, creating community through long-distance Zoom gatherings with friends near and far bookending a livestreamed concert! Click here to see our performer page.