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Nicola Tait Baxter & Mina Miletić
Notes on the performers
Nicola Tait Baxter
Nicola’s great love of the cello led her to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Florence Hooton and Lionel Handy. Whilst there she won first prizes both for solo (Herbert Walenn Cello Prize for Bach’s 6th Suite) and chamber music (Max Pirani Piano Trio Prize) and graduated with a first class honours. Baxter has been cellist with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields for 10 years, Cellist of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet for 5 years. At 24 she gave her first solo broadcast for Radio 3 with pianist Rebecca Woolcock performing music by Beethoven, Martinu and Popper and her string trio performed at the Purcell Room to critical acclaim. Nicola is currently cello Teacher at Harrow Boys and Merchant Taylors’ Schools. She has written 4 pieces for solo cello due to be published in 2022.
Prize-winner of many awards, Mina Miletic established her career regularly appearing in recital, as a chamber musician and concerto soloist in concert halls across Europe, Asia and the USA. She completed a PhD on ‘Interpretation of Impressionistic Piano Music’ and is regularly engaged as an adjudicator for festivals and competitions. Mina is passionate about education and learning and she currently teaches piano at Eton College and Harrow School. Further details may be found on her website.
Antonín Leopold Dvořák (1841 – 1904)
Slavonic Dance in A op 46 no 3 (arr. Josef Chuchro)
Slavonic Dance in G minor op 46 no 8 (arr. Josef Chuchro)
Songs My Mother Taught Me op55 no 4 (arr. Grunfeld)
Polonaise in A op posth. (B094)
Silent Woods op 68
The Slavonic Dances are a series of 16 orchestral pieces composed by Dvořák in 1878 and 1886 and published in two sets as Op. 46 and Op. 72 respectively. Originally written for piano four hands, the Slavonic Dances were inspired by Johannes Brahms’s own Hungarian Dances and were orchestrated at the request of Dvořák’s publisher soon after composition. The pieces, lively and full of national character, were well received at the time and today are considered among the composer’s most memorable works, occasionally making appearances in popular culture. Number 3 is a polka and number 8 is a furiant.
“Songs My Mother Taught Me” was originally a song for voice and piano written in 1880 by Dvořák. It is the fourth of seven songs from his cycle Gypsy Songs Op.55. The Gypsy Songs are set to poems by Adolf Heyduk in both Czech and German. This song in particular has achieved widespread fame.
Dvorak wrote the Polonaise in A major for the cellist Alois Neruda , with whom he premiered many of his chambermusic works. The sparkling composition shows that Dvorak, who had been violist in the Prague Provisional Theatre, was intimately acquainted with the virtuoso possibilities of the string instruments.
Silent Woods is a lyrical character piece, bearing the tempo Lento e molto cantabile for the main, dreamy theme in D♭ major, which is reprised (Lento. Tempo I) after a light intermezzo (Un pochettino più mosso) in C♯ minor.
Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
Sonata No.2 in F Op.99
- Allegro Molto
The Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99, was written by Johannes Brahms in 1886, more than twenty years after completing his Sonata No. 1. It was first published in 1887. It was written for, dedicated to and first performed by Robert Hausmann, who had popularised the First Sonata, and who would the following year be given the honour of premiering the Double Concerto in A minor with Joseph Joachim. Today we hear movement four, allegro molto.
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1833 – 1897)
Spiritual – Deep River, Op.59 No.10
Coleridge-Taylor was an Anglo-African violinist, conductor, and arranger. This spiritual is from Twenty-four Negro Melodies, arranged for solo piano in 1904. He said of the collection, “What Brahms has done for the Hungarian folk music, Dvorak for the Bohemian, and Grieg for the Norwegian, I have tried to do for these Negro Melodies.”.
Antonín Leopold Dvořák (1841 – 1904)
Indian Lament from sonatina Op.100, No.2
Rondo in G minor Op.94
Indian Lament: The 2nd movement of Dvořák Violin Sonatina Op.100 Larghetto is also called Indian Lament. A motive for the slow movement Larghetto was hurriedly noted down on Dvořák’s shirt sleeve while on a visit to Minnehaha Falls, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Simrock sold this movement separately, without the composer’s permission, and Fritz Kreisler often performed it as Indian Lament.
The Rondo in G minor, Op. 94 was composed in 1891. It has been performed in recent years by the likes of cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Sol Gabetta. The Rondo’s main theme is among Dvořák’s moderately well-known melodies. The Rondo contains three themes, presented in the regular rondo form. The Rondo’s G minor key helps the main theme create a somewhat melancholy atmosphere, though it is nevertheless spirited and dance-like, like much of Dvořák’s chamber music.