ECCO

ECCO :


Gustav Holst
, (1874-1934), St. Paul’s Suite, Op. 29, No. 2,  (1922)
I. Jig: Vivace
II. Ostinato: Presto
III. Intermezzo: Andante con moto
IV. Finale (The Dargason): Allegro

Dimitri Shostakovich, (1906-75), String Quartet No 8 in C Minor, Op 110, (1960)
I. Largo
II. Allegro molto
III. Allegretto
IV. Largo
V. Largo

Johann Sebastian Bach, (1685-1750) Chorale No. 22: Schmuke dich, o liebe Seele

Intermission

Edvard Greig, (1843-1907), Holberg Suite, Op. 40, (1884)
I. Praeludium (Allegro vivace)
II. Sarabande (Andante)
III. Gavotte (Allegretto)
IV. Air (Andante religioso)
V. Rigaudon (Allegro con brio)

Johann Sebastian Bach, (1685-1750), Chorale No. 34: Erbarm’ dich mein, o Herre Gott

David Diamond, (1915-2005), Rounds, (1944)
I. Allegro molto vivace
II. Adagio
III. Allegro vigoroso


WQXR HOST:  Elliott Forrest

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ECCO  – East Coast Chamber Orchestra

The critically acclaimed East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) is a collective of dynamic like-minded artists who convene for select periods each year to explore musical works and perform concerts of the highest artistic quality. Drawing from some of the world’s finest orchestras, chamber groups, and young soloists, ECCO strives for vitality and musical integrity; a self-governing organization, each member is equal and has a voice in every step of the artistic process, from programming to performance. ECCO believes that the best musical experience can speak to all audiences regardless of age or socioeconomic background and performs accordingly across a wide range of venues.

ECCO is also firmly committed to sharing educational experiences with the communities it visits. Through interactive children’s concerts, small group master classes, and one-on-one lessons, ECCO continually seeks out opportunities to connect with young people. Doing so creates a much more engaging concert experience, illustrating through living example the ways in which classical music can be accessible to the modern listener. Performance opportunities also allow the members of ECCO to share the musical knowledge gained during their individual and unique lifetimes of music. The same energy that is contagious in ECCO’s performances is presented and shared without the boundaries of the stage to those interested in learning.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra :


Johann Sebastian Bach, (
1685-1750), Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048, (1721)
I. Allegro
II. Adagio (Cadenza)
III. Allegro

Christopher Theofanidis, (1967-), Muse, (2007)
I. brilliant, fiery
II.  with a light touch, ornate
III. willful, deliberate

 Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047, (1721)
I. [no tempo indicated]
II. Andante
III. Allegro assai
Soloists: Elizabeth Mann, flute, Roni Gal-Ed, oboe, Caleb Hudson, trumpet, Eric Wyrick, violin

Intermission

Johann Sebastian BachBrandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050, (1721)
I. Allegro
II. Affetuoso
III. Allegro
Soloists: Elizabeth Mann, flute, Areta Zhulla, violin, Paolo Bordignon, harpsichord

Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No 6 in B-flat Major, BWV 1051, (1721)
I. Allegro
II. Adagio ma non tanto
III. Allegro
Soloists: Dov Scheindlin, viola, Nardo Poy, viola

**The performance of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra has been made possible by a generous grant from a Naumburg Orchestral Concerts Board member.**

WQXR HOST: Annie Bergen

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PROGRAM NOTES:

The​ Brandenburg Concertos

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Born March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany
Died July 28, 1750 in Leipzig, Germany

There are only three instances in Bach’s life where he made special copies of his compositions to be presented to nobility. The set of six Brandenburg Concertos (1721) was the first such instance, as they were presented to the Margrave of Brandenburg along with a letter from Bach asking for employment. A true staple of the Orpheus repertoire, the concertos exude a spirit of cheerfulness and joy, showcasing the many options available within the Baroque concerto form. From the spectacular harpsichord solo of the fifth concerto to the soaring trumpet passages of the second, this is music of amazing sophistication that remains a yardstick by which all great classical concertos are measured.

Brandenburg​ Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048 [1721]
Instead of the typical​ concerto grosso​ setup of a solo group within the orchestra, the Third​ Brandenburg Concerto treats all members of the ensemble as soloists, with independent lines for three violins, three violas and three cellos supported by the basso continuo accompaniment. The equitable distribution of the material is especially clear in the first movement, in which the primary motive—a three-note figure that drops to the lower neighbor note and then returns to the starting pitch—cascades through the different voices.
The central​ Adagio movement consists simply of two linking chords, sometimes elaborated by an improvised cadenza. The concerto closes with a barreling​ Allegro finale, its tempo and character matching the reeling gigues that conclude most of Bach’s dance suites.
 
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050 [1721]
The Fifth Brandenburg Concerto features flute, violin and harpsichord as soloists. Such a trio was a common chamber music ensemble at the time, playing works known as trio sonatas. What is remarkable about this concerto is that the harpsichord functions as more than a supporting accompanist: It contributes whirlwind solo lines, and it issues a monster of a cadenza at the end of the first movement. This use of the harpsichord as a solo
instrument foreshadows the seminal keyboard concertos Bach later assembled in Leipzig.
The middle movement, labeled Affettuoso (“with feeling”), presents the soloists without the accompanying strings. Unlike a trio sonata, in which the harpsichord would typically have just a bass line with the right-hand harmonies filled in ad libitum, the harpsichordist’s right hand plays its own melodic line that intermingles with the flute and violin. In the finale, a fugue reinforces the equal footing of the voices. The violin and
flute take the first two entrances, and the harpsichord jumps in with the third and fourth voices of the fugue.
 
Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major, BWV 1051 [1721]
The Sixth​ Brandenburg Concerto limits its palette to the lower strings, including instruments from the viol family that have fallen out of fashion. With the violins absent, the two top lines go to instruments labeled viola da braccio​, or viola “on the arm”— meaning violas in the modern sense, held like violins. Joining as a third solo voice is a cello, also from the violin family.
The accompanying lines, marked​ viola da gamba and violone​, indicate bowed instruments that have frets tied to the fingerboard, and that are held upright (“da gamba” means “on the leg”). The inclusion of relatively simple viola da gamba parts may have been an attempt on Bach’s part to include his employer, Prince Leopold, who played the instrument reasonably well. In modern practice, two cellos and a contrabass substitute for
the viols.
A distinguishing aspect of the first movement is its very slow harmonic motion in the tutti​ sections, with persistent pulses holding steady while the violas add decorative filigree. If this was one way to avoid straining a less confident viol player such as the prince, the middle movement solves the problem by eliminating the viols entirely. The violas spin out long lines that rise into the violin’s usual register, supported by walking cello lines and spacious accompaniment from the basso continuo​. The finale is another festive dance in the style of a gigue, in which the soloists elaborate the main theme with
passages of flowing sixteenth-notes.
 
Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047 [1721]
For the Second Brandenburg Concerto, the distinctive solo group consists of trumpet, flute (substituting for the original recorder), oboe and violin. The trumpet Bach wrote for was a natural instrument without valves, meaning that the range was confined to the notes of the overtone series extending up from the instrument’s fundamental pitch. The low overtones are spaced widely, as in the typical intervals of bugle calls, so to play melodies with adjacent notes requires accessing the higher harmonics. Playing in this​ clarino range of the natural trumpet requires extreme control and strength, and it produces one of the most bright and penetrating of all musical colors, lending the sonic palette of the Second Brandenburg Concerto its particular brilliance.

The jubilant opening movement makes up for the mismatched strength of the solo instruments by separating the voices out for individual statements and contrapuntal sparring. The more delicate aspects of the flute, oboe and violin emerge in the middle Andante movement, in which a walking bass line supports polyphonic weavings. A heralding call from the trumpet announces the Allegro third movement, initiating a rowdy finale that serves as a bookend to the unbridled joy of the opening movement.Incidentally, the Second Brandenburg Concerto holds the unique distinction of being the work of human creation intended to demonstrate to anyone listening in deep space the presence of intelligent life on Earth. It is the first selection of music broadcasting from the Voyager Spacecraft, a vessel launched in 1977 that has since traveled beyond our solar system.

© 2017 Aaron Grad


ORPHEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
A standard-bearer of innovation and artistic excellence, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is one of the world’s foremost chamber orchestras. Julian Fifer and a group of like-minded young musicians determined to combine the intimacy and warmth of a chamber ensemble to the richness of an orchestra founded Orpheus in 1972.  With 71 albums, including the Grammy Award-winning Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures, and 42 commissioned and premiered original works, Orpheus rotates musical leadership roles for each work and strives to perform diverse repertoire through collaboration and open dialogue.

Performing without a conductor, Orpheus presents an annual series at Carnegie Hall and tours extensively to major national and international venues. For the 2017-18 Season at Carnegie Hall Orpheus welcomes back Grammy-winning pianist André Watts for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9. The Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk makes his long-awaited Orpheus debut with Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, a fascinating product of Soviet Russia that embeds a core of yearning and struggle within a facade of whimsy and humor. In February, Orpheus welcomes Norway’s young trumpet sensation Tine Thing Helseth, featuring concertos by Vivaldi and Albinoni, as well as Mozart’s popular Symphony No. 40. The season closes with Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili performing Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto, a powerful yet vulnerable work created while the composer teetered between his life of exile in Europe and a return to his transformed homeland.

Orpheus has trademarked its signature mode of operation, the Orpheus Process™, an original method that places democracy at the center of artistic execution. It has been the focus of studies at Harvard and of leadership seminars at Morgan Stanley and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, among others. Two unique education and engagement programs, Access Orpheus and Orpheus Institute, aim to bring this approach to students of all ages.

Access Orpheus, Orpheus’ educational initiative, shares the orchestra’s collaborative music-making process with public school students from all five boroughs in New York City. Because of declining resources for arts education, many public schools do not have access to fulltime arts teachers to provide music instruction and exposure to art and culture. Access Orpheus helps to bridge this gap with in-class visits, attendance at working rehearsals, and free tickets for performances at Carnegie Hall.

Orpheus Institute brings the Orpheus Process™ and the orchestra’s musicians to select colleges, universities, conservatories, and businesses to work directly with leaders of tomorrow. Corporate employees and students in all fields of study learn from Orpheus’ creative process and in areas of collaboration, communication, creative problem solving, and shared leadership. In the coming seasons, Orpheus will continue to share its leadership methods and performance practices as the ensemble provides audiences with the highest level of musicianship and programming.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Plays Bach Live From Central Park

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra resumes its concert on July 9, 2013, at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park following a rain shower. (Kim Nowacki/WQXR )

At 7:30 pm on Tuesday, July 18, the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts series in Central Park continues with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra playing an nearly all-Bach program. Performing without a conductor, Orpheus presents an annual series at Carnegie Hall and tours extensively to major national and international venues.

The Knights

The Knights

Colin & Eric Jacobsen, Artistic Directors,

Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Alex Sopp, Flute

Henry Purcell, (1659-95), Fantasia Upon One Note, (1680)

John Adams, (1947-), Common Tones in Simple Time, (1979)

Judd Greenstein, (1979-), New Work for Flute and Orchestra, (World Premiere co-commissioned by Naumburg & The Knights)
Alex Sopp, Flute

Intermission

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (1756-1791), Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550, (1788)
I. Molto allegro
II. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto – Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro assai


**
The performance of The Knights has been made possible by a generous grant from the MacDonald Peterson Foundation.**


WQXR HOST:
Terrance McKnight

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THE KNIGHTS
The Knights are a collective of adventurous musicians, dedicated to transforming the orchestral experience and eliminating barriers between audiences and music. Driven by an open-minded spirit of camaraderie and exploration, they inspire listeners with vibrant programs that encompass their roots in the classical tradition and passion for artistic discovery. The orchestra has been proud to tour and record with renowned soloists including Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Béla Fleck, and Gil Shaham, and has performed at such prestigious institutions as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, and the Vienna Musikverein. Through adventurous programming, unbridled energy, and a collaborative music-making process, The Knights bring classical music to life in a way that surprises and inspires both new and longtime listeners.

Since their inception in New York City in the early 2000s, The Knights have challenged assumptions about orchestral music. The ensemble grew out of informal chamber music readings at the home of brothers Eric and Colin Jacobsen — now the group’s Artistic Directors — and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2007. The 36 members of The Knights are graduates of the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and other leading music schools and conservatories. They are accomplished soloists, orchestral players, and chamber musicians as well as composers, singer-songwriters, and improvisers who bring a range of cultural influences to the group.

The Knights’ notable accomplishments include a 2017 Grammy Award nomination for a recording with master violinist Gil Shaham; a performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater as part of the NY Phil Biennial; The Knights’ debut at Carnegie Hall in the New York premiere of Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk’s opera The Classical Style; a U.S. tour with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck; a European tour with soprano Dawn Upshaw, including the group’s debut at Vienna’s Musikverein; residencies at Dartmouth, Penn State, and Washington, D.C.’s Dumbarton Oaks; frequent festival appearances at Ravinia, Caramoor, Big Ears, and Tanglewood; and nine years of free summer performances at Central Park’s Naumburg Orchestral Concerts, Bryant Park, and BRIC’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park.

In recent years, The Knights have collaborated and toured with world-renowned musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Lise de la Salle, Joshua Redman, Silk Road virtuoso Siamak Aghaei, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. The group has also collaborated with artists coming from a wide range of artistic disciplines including the Mark Morris Dance Group, visual artist Kevork Mourad, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. Recordings include 2015’s “instinctive and appealing” (The Times, UK) the ground beneath our feet on Warner Classics, featuring the ensemble’s first original group composition; an all-Beethoven disc on Sony Classical Records (their third project with the label); and 2012’s “smartly programmed” (NPR) A Second of Silence for Ancalagon.

Spring 2017 saw the release of The Knights’ new album Azul, featuring the world premiere recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s work Azul with soloist Yo-Yo Ma. In April, The Knights debuted at the Kennedy Center, as part of the inaugural SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras. The Knights then embarked on a European tour, beginning with a week-long residency at France’s Easter Festival in Aix-en-Provence, where they performed with renowned musicians including violinist Renaud Capuçon, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and pianist Bertrand Chamayou. The Knights were then joined by pipa virtuoso Wu Man on tour through Germany, including a performance in Hamburg’s newly opened Elbphilharmonie. The tour was met with tremendous praise from both critics and audiences. Learn more at theknightsnyc.com.

Eric Jacobsen, Artistic Director
Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative projects. Jacobsen is the founder and Artistic Director The Knights and a founding member of the genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider.  As conductor of The Knights, Jacobsen has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (New York Times) at New York venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Central Park, and at renowned international halls such as the Vienna Musikverein and Cologne Philharmonie.  In the 2015-16 season, Jacobsen celebrates his inaugural season as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic and his second season as both Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and Artistic Partner with the Northwest Sinfonietta. Also in demand as a guest conductor, Jacobsen has recently led the Camerata Bern, the Detroit Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.

Colin Jacobsen, Artistic Director
As The Washington Post observes, violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen is “one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene.” A founding member of two game-changing, audience-expanding ensembles – the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and orchestra The Knights – he is also a touring member of Yo-Yo Ma’s venerated Silk Road Project and an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winning violinist. Jacobsen’s work as a composer developed as a natural outgrowth of his chamber and orchestral collaborations. Jointly inspired by encounters with leading exponents of non-western traditions and by his own classical heritage, his most recent compositions for Brooklyn Rider include “Three Miniatures” – “vivacious, deftly drawn sketches” (New York Times) – which were written for the reopening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Islamic art galleries. Jacobsen collaborated with Iran’s Siamak Aghaei to write a Persian folk-inflected composition, “Ascending Bird,” which he performed as soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, in a concert that was streamed live by millions of viewers worldwide. His work for dance and theater includes Chalk and Soot, a collaboration with Dance Heginbotham, and music for Compagnia de’ Colombari’s theatrical production of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.

Ensemble LPR

Ensemble LPR

Ensemble LPR

David Handler, Artistic Director,

Lara St John, violin :


Jessie Montgomery
, (1981-), Starburst (2012)

Ralph Vaughan Williams, (1872-1958), The Lark Ascending (1920) arr, Arman
Lara St John, violin

Matthew Hindson, (1968-), Maralinga (US Premiere)
Lara St John, violin

INTERMISSION

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Concerto in E-flat, “Dumbarton Oaks” (1937-38)

Benjamin Britten, (1913-76), Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op.10 (1936)
I. Introduction and Theme
II. Variation 1: Adagio
III. Variation 2: March
IV. Variation 3: Romance
V. Variation 4: Aria Italiana
VI. Variation 5: Bour é e classique
VII. Variation 6: Wiener Waltz
VIII. Variation 7: Moto perpetuo
IX. Variation 8: Funeral March
X. Variation 9: Chant
XI. Variation 10: Fugue and Finale


**
The performance of Ensemble LPR has been made possible by a generous anonymous grant**


WQXR HOST: Paul Cavalconte

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Ensemble LPR

Named after and headquartered at the acclaimed New York City venue Le Poisson Rouge, Ensemble LPR is an assemblage of New York’s finest musicians. The group personifies the venue’s commitment to aesthetic diversity and artistic excellence.

Ensemble LPR performs an eclectic spectrum of music—from works by the finest living composers, to compelling interpretations of the standard repertoire—and collaborates with distinguished artists from classical and non-classical backgrounds: Timo Andres, Simone Dinnerstein, San Fermin, Daniel Hope, Taka Kigawa, Jennifer Koh, Mica Levi, David Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), John Lurie, Ursula Oppens, Max Richter, André de Ridder, Christopher Rountree and Fred Sherry, to name a few.

In January 2015, Ensemble LPR made its Deutsche Grammophon debut with Follow, Poet, featuring the music of Mohammed Fairouz and the words of Seamus Heaney and John F. Kennedy. Ensemble LPR’s acclaimed Central Park performance followed in June, part of the 110th Anniversary of the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts.

In 2008 Le Poisson Rouge changed the classical music landscape, creating a new environment in which to experience art music. In doing so, Le Poisson Rouge expanded classical music listenership. The New York Times has heralded Le Poisson Rouge as “[a] forward-thinking venue that seeks to showcase disparate musical styles under one roof” and “[the] coolest place to hear contemporary music.” The Los Angeles Times raves, “[The] place isn’t merely cool…the venue is a downright musical marvel.” Le Poisson Rouge Co-Founder David Handler brings this same ethos to Ensemble LPR, of which he is Founding Executive & Artistic Director.

Lara St. John

Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has been described as “something of a phenomenon” by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by The New York Times.

She has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and with the Boston Pops, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, Amsterdam Symphony, Brazilian Symphony, Sao Paulo Symphony, China Philharmonic, Hong Kong Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, and the orchestras of Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland among many others.

The Los Angeles Times wrote Lara St. John happens to be a volcanic violinist with a huge, fabulous tone that pours out of her like molten lava. She has technique to burn and plays at a constant high heat.”

Her world premeire recording of Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto prompted Gramophone to write: “It’s the sort of work that should get audiences running, not walking, back to concert halls on new-music nights.”

She performs on the 1779 “Salabue” Guadagnini thanks to an anonymous donor and Heinl & Co. of Toronto.


PROGRAM NOTES

The first half of the evening’s music is quintessentially programatic, taking us from the cosmos to the air to the earthly perils of human weakness and destruction, a subject all too relevant today.  The second half features two 20th century masters tipping their hat to the style and form of earlier times, with some of the most exquisitely crafted and – in the case of the Britten – too little known work in the repertoire.  [David Handler]
We’re delighted to be working with the supremely talented Lara St John who will play two pieces originally composed for violin and piano (the latter in the program, specifically for her), tonight with string orchestra.  [David Handler]


Starburst
, a brief one-movement work for string orchestra, is a play on imagery of rapidly changing musical colors. Exploding gestures are juxtaposed with gentle fleeting melodies in an attempt to create a multidimensional soundscape. – Jessie Montgomerey

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending is one of the most popular works in the classical repertoire. The piece was inspired by the 122 line poem of the same name, written by Williams’ countryman George Meredith about the song of the skylark. Originally composed for violin and piano in 1914, the piece was not premiered until 1920, the same year it was re-scored for violin and orchestra in what would become the more frequently performed version of the piece. The notoriety of the piece has far surpassed that of the poem, and the all-string version you will hear this evening was orchestrated by Nurhan Arman, Music Director of the Sinfonia Toronto. The lark’s distinctive song is represented by the solo violin, opening and closing the piece with two extended lyrical cadenzas based on the same melody over a continuous and hushed string harmony. A shorter cadenza brings on the contrasting middle section in which two British folk melodies are introduced. In the end, serenity prevails with the solo violin lifting the listener upward until its song fades into silence.

Maralinga is a place in the South Australian desert, and was the site for secret British nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s. Not a happy place in Australian history for either the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area, nor the Australian service personnel who were unwittingly used as guinea pigs for the effects of radiation. The site and its history remains a stain upon Australia’s historical record. This piece makes reference to the long Aboriginal history at Maralinga as well as more recent events and attitudes. Maralinga was written for Lara St. John, who premiered the piece on 20 March, 2009. It was commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. – Matthew Hindson

Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10, is the work that brought Benjamin Britten to international attention. The piece is dedicated “to F.B. A tribute with affection and admiration”. In 1932 Britten began writing a set of variations on a theme by Frank Bridge, with whom he studied from 1927. It wasn’t until 1937 that Boyd Neel, having been invited to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, commissioned Britten to write a piece for string orchestra. Neel had previously conducted Britten’s film score for Love From a Stranger. For a theme, Britten took the second of Bridge’s Three Idylls for string quartet, Op. 6, No. 2. Each variation is a representation of a specific quality in Bridge’s personality as understood by Britten: the Adagio represents Bridge’s “integrity”; the March, his “energy”; the Romance, his charm; the Aria Italiana, his humour; the Bourrée, his tradition; the Wiener Walzer, his enthusiasm; the Moto perpetuo, his vitality; the Funeral March, his sympathy; the Chant, his reverence; the Fugue, his skill (containing references to other works by Bridge); and their mutual affection appears in the Finale. These connections were made explicit on the score Britten presented to Bridge, but they do not appear in the printed score. Britten also imitates the styles of a number of composers such as Gioachino Rossini, Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky. Paul Kildea writes of the piece: “Though the theme is played in the opening section, it is done so rather whimsically, and it is only at the end of the piece that it is spelled out with weight and clarity. When it arrives it makes sense of everything that has gone before it, demanding that we start again from the beginning, hearing the work once more, this time with our ears alert.”

Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto in E-flat, subtitled Dumbarton Oaks 8-v-1938 (1937–38) is a chamber concerto named for the Dumbarton Oaks estate of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss in Washington, DC, who commissioned it for their 30th wedding anniversary. Composed in Stravinsky’s neo-classical period, the piece is one of Stravinsky’s two chamber concertos and is scored for a chamber orchestra of flute, B♭ clarinet, bassoon, two horns, three violins, three violas, two cellos, and two double basses. The three movements – Tempo giusto, Allegretto, and Con moto – are performed without pause. The commission was brokered by Nadia Boulanger who conducted the May 8, 1938 private premiere in the music room at Dumbarton Oaks, while the composer was hospitalized with tuberculosis. The piece was the last Stravinsky completed in Europe. The composer writes: “My Concerto in E-flat… was begun almost immediately upon my return to Europe after Jeux de cartes, in the spring of 1937. I had moved from Paris to Annemasse in the Haute Savoie to be near my daughter Mika [Ludmila] who, mortally ill with tuberculosis, was confined to a sanatorium there. Annemasse is near Geneva, and [conductor] Ernest Ansermet was therefore a neighbor and also a helpful friend at this, perhaps the most difficult time of my life. [Ludmila died in 1938.] I played Bach regularly during the composition of the Concerto, and was greatly attracted to the “Brandenburg” Concertos. Whether or not the first theme of my [first] movement is a conscious borrowing from the third Brandenburg, however, I do not know.”

 

Havana Lyceum Orchestra – Opening Concert 2017

José Antonio Méndez Padrón, Founding Music Director,

Simone Dinnerstein, piano :


Carlos Fariñas
, (1934-202), Punto y Tonadas (1980-81)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (1756-1791), Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major, K. 467 (1765) ‘Elvira Madigan’
I. Allegro maestoso
II. Andante
III. Allegro vivace assai
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

Intermission

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (1756-1791), Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488 (1786)
I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Allegro assai
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

Aaron Copland, (1900-1990), Appalachian Spring (1944)


**
The performance of the Havana Lyceum Orchestra has been made possible by a generous grant from Judith E. Naumburg.**


WQXR HOST: Jeff Spurgeon

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PROGRAM NOTES
This program is all about the joy of friendship and the possibility of communication between cultures and across time.

I spent my formative years studying in New York City with Dr. Solomon Mikowsky, a native Cuban who had emigrated to America in the 1950s. Cuba was a huge part of his life and it held such mystery for me.  Four years ago, at Solomon’s invitation, I finally visited. Imagine my joy on finding an ideal musical friendship with the young musicians of the Havana Lyceum Orchestra.

The two Mozart piano concertos that are at the core of this concert provide multiple opportunities for the expression of this friendship. They are among Mozart’s most ecstatically beautiful concertos, full of soaring melodies, but the most gorgeous moments are in the intricate dialogues between the piano, strings and woodwinds. This is also very spare music, which can move from light to dark with the change of a single tone.  Every note counts, as much in the timpani as in the piano, and this music can only live fully when each musician is listening to everyone around them.

Bookending the program are works by Fariñas and Copland. When we think of Copland we think of Appalachian Spring with its familiar mix of American folk music and the western art music tradition, but his enthusiasm for local rhythms and harmonies extended beyond the US. In 1941, Copland spent time visiting Cuba as a cultural ambassador and was captivated by traditional Cuban music, which he incorporated in the vibrant Danzon Cubano.

Carlos Fariñas was a Cuban composer who spent time studying with Copland at Tanglewood in the 1950’s.  Punto y Tonadas (Point and Tones, composed 1980-81), written for string orchestra, unmistakably evokes both the rhythm and melodies of Cuba and the influence of Copland’s open style. It is uplifting music, an overture that invites us to listen.

What is the thread running through the program?  An aesthetic that emphasizes singing melodic lines, a sense of optimism and the joy of musical dialogue woven through each. It is a perfect analog to the relationship between this particular pianist and this particular conductor and orchestra.
Simone Dinnerstein, April 2017

Simone Dinnerstein
Simone Dinnerstein is one of the most acclaimed pianists of her generation – called “an artist of true expressive force” by the Washington Post and “a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess” by Slate. The New York-based pianist gained an international following with the remarkable success of her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which she independently raised the funds to record. Released in 2007 on Telarc, it ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many “Best of 2007” lists, including those of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker.

Dinnerstein’s performance schedule has taken her around the world since her acclaimed New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2005, to venues including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Sydney Opera House, Seoul Arts Center and London’s Wigmore Hall; festivals that include the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, the Aspen, Verbier and Ravinia festivals; and performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra a Sinfonica Brasileira and the Tokyo Symphony.  She was a student of Solomon Mikowsky, Maria Curcio and Peter Serkin and was an Astral Artist.

This season, Dinnerstein will release her new album, Mozart in Havana, recorded with the Havana Lyceum Orchestra. The Orchestra will join her on tour in June, making their U.S. debut. Later this season, Dinnerstein will begin touring the premiere of a new concerto for piano and string orchestra written for her by Philip Glass. Also, in the fall of 2017, Dinnerstein will premiere and begin touring her collaboration with choreographer Pam Tanowitz, New Work for Goldberg Variations. Arriving on the 10th anniversary of Dinnerstein’s acclaimed recording, the work is a setting for piano and a septet of dancers.

José Antonio Méndez Padrón
José Antonio Méndez Padrón is the founding music director of the Havana Lyceum Orchestra. He has toured Canada, Spain, France, Austria, the U.S., Ecuador and Nicaragua, and five of his albums have received Cubadisco prizes in the past decade. Since 2011 he has been deputy director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Padrón is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Havana, Cuba, where he specialized in choral direction under María Felicia Pérez and orchestra direction under Jorge López Marín. He has taken advanced classes with important musical directors such as Jorge Rotter, Thomas Hengelbrock, Shalev Ad El and the master Ronald Zollman. In 2011, he studied at the Mozarteum University’s Summer Academy with Peter Gülke and the soloists of Salzburg Chamber Orchestra.

Havana Lyceum Orchestra
Cuba’s Havana Lyceum Orchestra was founded in 2009 in collaboration with the Lyceum Mozartiano de La Habana, an institution co-founded by the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation in Austria. It brings together students, recent graduates and professors from the University of the Arts, the National School of Music and the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory.

The Havana Lyceum Orchestra has quickly established itself as a central element of Cuba’s musical life. The Orchestra has performed extensively in Cuba and abroad to widespread critical acclaim. In 2015 the orchestra performed at Salzburg’s annual Mozart Week in collaboration with the celebrated Cuban flutist Niurka González for the first time ever in Europe. It records regularly in Cuba and has won a series of Cubadisco prizes for its work.

Simone Dinnerstein and Havana Lyceum Orchestra Perform Mozart at Naumburg Bandshell

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein. (Lisa Marie Mazzucco/Courtesy of the artist)

It wouldn’t be summer in New York without WQXR’s live broadcasts from the historic Naumburg Bandshell in the heart of Central Park. This summer’s series kicked on June 13, with the Havana Lyceum Orchestra and pianist Simone Dinnerstein performing a program of Mozart bookended by Carlos Fariñas and Aaron Copland.