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Sonata, serenade, tango

Harpist Anne Eisfeller and flutist Rochelle Mann will give a duo recital at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 11) as part of the Unitarian Universalist Recital Series. (Courtesy of Judith Reynolds)
Flute and harp recital tonight

Timing. It’s everything for musicians, from a musical pulse to scheduling concerts.

The much-in-demand flutist Rochelle Mann agreed to an early November recital in the Unitarian Universalist series for reasons of timing: It fell after “Bolero.”

Mann is professor emerita at Fort Lewis College. She has served as professor of Music and department chairwoman as well as acting dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She’s been principal flute with the San Juan Symphony since 1983.

On the weekend of Oct. 8-9, Mann’s professionalism was sorely needed as the Symphony scheduled two works that relied on extensive flute solos: Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” and Ravel’s “Bolero.” Mann not only introduced the main theme in the Debussy, she helped drive the enigmatic Ravel work to its triumphant finish.

So important were those performances to Mann, she limited her public outings during the pandemic’s transitional period. If she appeared in public, as she did for the opening recital in the UUFD series on Sept. 30, she arrived masked, sat in the back and reluctantly waved friends away saying: “I’m being very careful. I have important musical commitments coming up, and I can’t afford to get sick.”

If you go

WHAT: Flutist Rochelle Mann and harpist Anne Eisfeller, Recital Series, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango.

WHEN: 7 p.m. today (Nov. 11).

WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 419 San Juan Drive.

ADMISSION: $20 adults, $8 students with ID and children, at the door.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit durangouu.org/recital-series; or contact Marilyn Garst: 385-8668; mmgarst1940@gmail.com.

Well, Mann didn’t get sick, and she had time to prepare for “Bolero” and the unusual duo recital tonight with harpist Anne Eisfeller.

Eisfeller is the principal harpist of three symphony orchestras: Santa Fe, San Juan and Music in the Mountains.

“Anne and I chose the program jointly,” Mann said recently. “Once we started sending suggestions to each other via email, we realized that we both loved some of the same pieces.”

The program includes French, American and Spanish works: a sonata, a serenade, several tangos and a habanera. The duo will open with an 18th-century piece by Joseph Boulogne.

“It’s a charming sonata,” Mann said. “The piece primarily features the harp with the flute serving as an obbligato instrument adding to the texture.”

A contemporary work by American composer Vincent Persichetti will follow. “His Serenade No. 10 consists of eight short movements in varied styles,” Mann said, adding that another 20th-century work by South American composer Angel Lasala will shape the center of the program.

“’Poema del Pastor Coya’ was written in 1942,” she said. “The music depicts the lifestyle of shepherds living in the Andes, and the second movement, Quena, is named after the traditional flute of the Andes.”

The music of Astor Piazzolla is often included in Mann’s recitals, and tonight, she and Eisfeller have included his “Histoire du Tango.”

“Each movement depicts a different era in the development of the Argentine tango, from a 1900 bordello to a 1930s café and a nightclub in 1960. Originally written for flute and guitar, these are often performed with harp.”

Three works by French composers will close the program, Mann said. “The famous ‘Sicilienne’ by Fauré, familiar to many; Ravel’s ‘Piéce en forme de Habanera,’ a striking example of the French interest in Spanish culture; and another French work with a Spanish flair – the exciting ‘Entr’Acte’ by Jacques Ibert.”

The recital falls one week after the San Juan Symphony’s performance of the Mozart “Requiem.” One wondered if Mann had been preoccupied with that.

“I had a bit of a break this last week since Mozart chose to omit the flute in his Requiem,” she said.

Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.