David Finckel and Wu Han, Artistic Directors
THE ART OF THE RECITAL IDA KAVAFIAN & PETER SERKIN Thursday Evening, April 24, 2014 at 7:30 Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio 3,317th Concert
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 10th Floor New York, NY 10023 212-875-5788 www.chambermusicsociety.org
This concert is made possible, in part, by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation.
THE ART OF THE RECITAL Thursday Evening, April 24, 2014 at 7:30
IDA KAVAFIAN, violin PETER SERKIN, piano
GIUSEPPE TARTINI “Adagio” from Sonata in G major for (1692-1770) Violin and Continuo, Op. 2, No. 12, B. G19 (published 1745) (arr. Adolf Busch) STEFAN WOLPE Sonata for Violin and Piano, C. 117 (1949) (1902-1972) Un poco allegro Andante appassionato Lento—Scherzo Allegretto deciso
FRANZ SCHUBERT Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano, (1797-1828) D. 574, Op. 162 (1817) Allegro moderato Scherzo: Presto Andantino Allegro vivace
—INTERMISSION— CARL NIELSEN Prelude and Theme with Variations for (1865-1931) Violin, Op. 48 (1923) Poco adagio e con fantasia Thema: Andante Variation 1: Più mosso Variation 2: Andantino quasi Allegretto Variation 3: Andante espressivo Variation 4: Poco allegro, molto ritmico Variation 5: Più mosso Variation 6: Tempo giusto Variation 7: Presto Variation 8: Poco adagio—Tempo di Thema
ROBERT SCHUMANN Sonata No. 2 in D minor for Violin and (1810-1856) Piano, Op. 121 (1851) Ziemlich langsamâ€”Lebhaft Sehr lebhaft Leise, einfach Bewegt
Please turn off cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices. Photographing, sound recording, or videotaping this performance is prohibited.
notes on the
When I was asked to play on “The Art of the Recital” series and the concept was described to me, I jumped at the wonderful opportunity to create an event that was artistically all my very own. Before even thinking about the music, my first thought was a desire to play with my friend and colleague of over 40 years, Peter Serkin. To my delight, he agreed, and we started talking about repertoire. We both wanted to recreate a performance we did in the 70s of the incredibly masterful Sonata by Stefan Wolpe and it quickly became the centerpiece of the recital. I remember when we first played it, that we started rehearsing two years before the first performance at one quarter of the tempo! Not surprisingly, it’s not any easier 40 years later. The sublime Schubert A major Duo seemed to provide a perfect segue after the Wolpe. Peter encouraged me to play a solo violin piece and years ago had given me the score of the rarely played Nielsen work. I had never played it, due to its extreme difficulty. In trying to dispel the notion that an old dog can’t learn new tricks (and I should know about dogs!), I decided to attempt it. I’ve been cursing Peter ever since I made that decision…but what a piece! I have always loved the Schumann D minor Sonata and taught it many times, but never performed it. It seemed like an ideal passionate closer. Finally, realizing that we needed something before the Wolpe, Peter gave me a recording of and a handwritten score by his grandfather, the great violinist Adolf Busch, of a beautiful Adagio from a Tartini Sonata. The program was complete and all that was left was the sheer joy of rehearsing and performing. And what a joy it has been! -Ida Kavafian
“Adagio” from Sonata in G major for Violin and Continuo, Op. 2, No. 12, B. G19 Giuseppe TARTINI Born April 8, 1692 in Pirano, Istria, Italy. Died February 26, 1770 in Padua. Published in 1745. Arranged by Adolf Busch Tonight is the first CMS performance of this piece. Duration: 3 minutes For a man whose letters reveal him to be a person of great warmth, tenderness, sensibility, fastidiousness, and personal
modesty, Giuseppe Tartini led a rather checkered life. Born in 1692 in Pirano, Italy, Tartini was destined by his parents for a clerical career, but he fled the cloister in 1708 and traveled to Padua without formally renouncing his candidacy for the priesthood. The following year his name appeared among the law students of Padua, though his greatest local reputation was for his prowess as a swordsman. In 1710, he obtained permission to marry by apparently concealing his clerical status, and found himself in enough trouble that he had to leave his new wife to take up
secret asylum at a monastery in Assisi. Tartini is said to have studied music in Assisi, and by 1714, he had found employment as a violinist in the opera orchestra at Ancona. A year later he was pardoned by the Paduan authorities and reunited with his wife, but left her again only months later when he determined to perfect his violin technique in selfexile after hearing a performance by the virtuoso Francesco Veracini. By 1720, Tartini had established a considerable reputation as a performer, and he returned to Padua to take up a position at St. Anthony’s Basilica. His contract allowed him to accept outside engagements, the most extended of which was a three-year residency in the distant city of Prague (1723-26) that may have been prompted by the paternity suit of a Venetian noblewoman. Returned to Padua, Tartini wrote a violin tutor and established a school of violin instruction in 1727 or 1728 that counted among its pupils such prominent musicians as
Nardini and Paganelli. An arm injury of unknown cause forced Tartini to abandon the violin in 1740, and thereafter he was absorbed with composition and the study of the acoustical bases of musical theory, which he expounded in flawed treatises published in 1754 and 1767. He died in Padua of gangrene in 1770, only a year after his childless wife had passed away. It is said that Tartini wrote some 200 concertos for violin and an equal number of solo sonatas, many of which were published during his lifetime. About 130 of each are extant, as are a number of trio sonatas, concertos for other instruments, and small sacred works for voices. The set of twelve Violin Sonatas, Op. 2, published in Rome in 1745, concludes with a work whose opening movement, an Adagio of plangent lyricism, makes clear the requests of Tartini’s contemporaries for him to compose an opera; he never did.
Sonata for Violin and Piano, C. 117 Stefan WOLPE Born August 25, 1902 in Berlin. Died April 4, 1972 in New York City. Composed in 1949. Premiered on November 16, 1949 at Carnegie Hall in New York City by violinist Frances Magnes and pianist David Tudor. Tonight is the first CMS performance of this piece. Duration: 27 minutes Stefan Wolpe, one of the most respected composers and teachers of the middle
decades of the 20th century, was born to a Jewish family in Berlin on August 25, 1902. Though he started to compose as a young teenager, his parents did not encourage his musical interests, and he only began formal training in theory and harmony when he was 15. He left home the following year and followed a Bohemian existence in the company of such artistic avant-gardists as the Berlin dadaists and a group known as the “Melos Circle,” headed by the modernist conductor and journal editor Hermann Scherchen. Between 1919 and 1924, Wolpe attended the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where he studied
with Franz Schreker and Ferruccio Busoni while participating as a pianist and composer in contemporary music concerts in Berlin and Weimar. During the following years, he wrote a great amount of music in styles ranging from Hindemithian Gebrauchsmusik and Busonian post-Romanticism to Bergian Expressionism and jazz, some of it to fuel such revolutionary political vehicles as the radical plays of Bertolt Brecht. With the rise of the Nazis in 1933, Wolpe fled first to Vienna, learning there the intricacies of the 12-tone system from Anton Webern, and a year later to Palestine, where he taught theory and composition at the Jerusalem Conservatory. In 1938, Wolpe emigrated to the United States; he became a naturalized citizen six years later. He composed abundantly in this country and also taught at the Philadelphia Settlement School (193942), Brooklyn Free Music Society (1945-48), Contemporary Music School in New York (1948-52), Philadelphia Academy of Music (1949-52), and iconoclastic Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1952-56). He was appointed chairman of the music department at C.W. Post College on Long Island in 1957, in which position he served until 1968 despite having been diagnosed with Parkinsonism four years before. Though the disease increasingly debilitated him, he continued to compose until just a year before his death, in New York in 1972. Wolpe’s honors included awards, grants, and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fromm Music Foundation, Brandeis University, Fulbright, Guggenheim, and Koussevitzky foundations, New York Music Critics Circle, American
Academy of Arts and Letters, and National Institute of Arts and Letters. Wolpe composed his Sonata for Violin and Piano in 1949 for violinist Frances Magnes, who premiered the work at Carnegie Hall in November 1949 with David Tudor. Violin and piano occupy complementary but separate layers in the sonata, sharing mood and general style but not (obviously, at least) motives and rhythms—the score has no time-signatures and the constantly shifting measure lines of the two parts (and occasionally even of the piano’s two hands) are often not aligned so as to better delineate the independence of the contrapuntal lines. The first movement is largely assertive, melodically angular, and strongly rhythmic, with an expressive and stylistic foil provided by a contrasting passage of smoother motion, relaxed momentum, and hesitant nature. Whereas the opening movement is about fragmentation, the second is about continuity, as indicated by the lyrical, winding phrases intoned by the violin at the outset. The movement passes through moments of greater and lesser intensity as it unfolds, a reminder that its performance marking— Andante appassionato—means not just “romantic” but also “impassioned.” The third movement has the curious effect of a soliloquy for two, with violin and piano meditating simultaneously on their own thoughts. The music is interrupted by a quick, scherzo-like episode, one of the few passages in the sonata where the two instruments are in agreement, but then each again goes its way before the movement concludes with an abbreviated reprise of the opening pages. The finale is a remarkable balance of muscularity and playfulness whose impetuous
motion is countered by passages of almost Brahmsian lyricism. Canadian musicologist Austin Carlson, director of the Stefan Wolpe Archive at York University in Toronto, offered a biographical insight that may (or may not) bear on the symbiotic duality
at the heart of this work: “At the time of writing the Sonata, Wolpe had fallen in love with the young poet Hilda Auerbach Morley, whom he married in 1952. It is tempting to view the Sonata as a double portrait that celebrated their relationship, a pledge to the Beloved.”
Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano, D. 574, Op. 162 Franz SCHUBERT Born January 31, 1797 in Vienna. Died November 19, 1828 in Vienna. Composed in 1817. First CMS performance on November 4, 1983. Duration: 22 minutes In June 1816, when he was 19, Schubert received his first fee for one of his compositions (a now-lost cantata for the name-day of his teacher, Heinrich Watteroth), and decided that he had sufficient reason to leave his irksome teaching post at his father’s suburban school in order to follow the life of an artist. He moved into the Viennese apartments of his devoted friend Franz von Schober, an Austrian civil servant who was then running the state lottery, and celebrated his new freedom by composing incessantly, rising shortly after dawn (sometimes he slept with his glasses on so as not to waste time getting started in the morning), pouring out music until early afternoon, and then spending the evening haunting the cafés of Grinzing or making music with friends. These convivial soirées became
more frequent and drew increasing notice during the following months, and they were the principal means by which Schubert’s works became known to the city’s music lovers. During the summer of 1817, he completed six sonatinas for violin and piano for these “Schubertiads” and to play at the homes of wealthy patrons (whose fine pianos he loved to try out). Contemporary with the sextuplet of sonatas of 1817 was the Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano, which was probably intended for Schubert’s brother and frequent chamber music partner Ferdinand, an organist, teacher, and violinist, for whom the Concertstück for Violin and Orchestra in D major (D. 345) had been composed the year before. The sonata was published by Diabelli in 1851 as the “Duo, Op. 162,” too diminutive a title for Schubert’s most ambitious creation for this pairing of instruments. Though the A major Sonata for Violin and Piano displays a scale and solidity of form that may well have been influenced by Beethoven’s ten examples of the genre (the last of which was completed in 1812, five years before Schubert’s composition), the violin’s arching, melodious opening theme, limpidly
accompanied by the piano, could have come from no one but Franz Schubert, the incomparable composer of songs. The second subject is similar in character to the main theme but somewhat more animated and more subtly shaded as to harmonic color. A third thematic idea is provided by vaulting arpeggios traded between the participants before the exposition comes to a quiet, teasing close. The brief development section, using the dotted rhythms of the piano’s limpid accompaniment and a triplet figure first heard as a tag to the main theme, is hardly more than a leisurely modulation back to the home tonality for the start of the recapitulation and
the recall of the exposition’s themes to round out the movement. The Scherzo, a playful affair with unexpected changes in dynamics and convivial exchange of musical information between the partners, is contrasted by the sweet, sinuous chromaticism of the central trio. The Andantino is a Schubertian “Song without Words,” whose gentle lyricism gains expressive depth from its moments of instrumental embroidery and its wide-ranging (and typically Schubertian) harmonic richness. The sonata-form finale, a pleasing blend of vigor and tunefulness, grows from the thematic seeds earlier planted in the Scherzo.
Prelude and Theme with Variations for Violin, Op. 48 Carl NIELSEN Born June 9, 1865 in Norre-Lyndelse, Denmark. Died October 2, 1931 in Copenhagen. Composed in 1923. Premiered on June 27, 1923 at Aeolian Hall in London by Emil Telmányi. Tonight is the first CMS performance of this piece. Duration: 15 minutes The Hungarian violinist Emil Telmányi made his debut at age ten, studied performance and composition at the Budapest Academy, and first attracted international attention when he gave the German premiere of Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto in Berlin in 1911. Telmányi made his Copenhagen debut the following year and while there met Carl Nielsen, who had conducted
the premiere of his Violin Concerto with Peder Møller, concertmaster of the Royal Danish Orchestra, shortly before the Hungarian virtuoso arrived. Telmányi immediately expressed an interest in the new concerto, but he had to wait to take it into his repertory until Møller had fulfilled commitments to introduce the work to Oslo, Berlin, and Paris. Telmányi kept in touch with Nielsen during those years, and in 1917 he began writing to the composer’s younger daughter, Anne Marie, whom he had met on his first visit to Copenhagen and never forgotten. She responded favorably to his attention and agreed to meet him secretly in Malmö, just across the Øresund from Copenhagen. He soon proposed to her (by telegraph while on tour) and they were married on February 6, 1918; Nielsen presented the newlyweds with the score of his new tone poem Pan and Syrinx as a wedding
gift. Telmányi settled in Copenhagen, where he made his debut as a conductor in 1919 and formed a chamber orchestra while continuing to tour as a violinist. Early in 1923, the London Symphony Orchestra invited Nielsen to make his conducting debut in that city on June 22nd with a program of his music that would include the Violin Concerto with Telmányi as soloist. The concert was a triumph, and five days later Telmányi gave a recital at Aeolian Hall featuring his father-in-law’s works for which Nielsen wrote the Prelude and Theme with Variations for Violin, traditional in form and flamboyantly virtuosic in technique. (Nielsen was a skilled violinist who played for many years in the Royal Danish Orchestra before being able to support himself as a composer.) The Prelude, with its serious demeanor, elaborate cross-string figurations, and free rhythm, is Nielsen’s modern analogue
to the improvisation-like opening movements of Bach’s solo sonatas and partitas. The Theme, in contrast, is almost folk-like in its simplicity and tunefulness. Variation 1 is an exercise in spiccato—lightly bouncing the bow on the string—alternating with wide, fast leaps and left-hand pizzicato. The insouciantly whistling harmonics and blustery bass notes of Variation 2 are meant to evoke “Arlequino” (“Harlequin” in English), the libidinous buffoon of the Italian commedia dell’arte whose stage role traditionally called for feats of acrobatic agility. Variation 3 is expressive, Variation 4 is nimble, and Variation 5 has the fiery brio of a Gypsy fiddler. Variation 6 is a showy combination of bowed and plucked notes. Variation 7 is a dazzling moto perpetuo that races across the violin’s full compass. The meditative Variation 8 bridges to the reprise of the Theme in complex double-stops that provides the work’s dignified epilogue.
Sonata No. 2 in D minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 121 Robert SCHUMANN Born June 8, 1810 in Zwickau, Germany. Died July 29, 1856 in Endenich, near Bonn. Composed in 1851. Premiered in October 29, 1853 in Düsseldorf by pianist Clara Schumann and violinist Joseph Joachim. Tonight is the first CMS performance of this piece. Duration: 32 minutes
In September 1850, the Schumanns left Dresden to take up residence in Düsseldorf, where Robert assumed the post of municipal music director. He was welcomed to the city with a serenade, a concert of his works, a supper, and a ball. Though he had been cautioned a few years before by his friend Felix Mendelssohn that the local musicians were a shoddy bunch, he was eager to take on the variety of duties that awaited him in the Rhenish city, including conducting the orchestra’s subscription
concerts, leading performances of church music, giving private music lessons, organizing a chamber music society, and composing as time allowed. Despite Schumann’s promising entry into the musical life of Düsseldorf, it was not long before things turned sour. His fragile mental health, his ineptitude as a conductor, and his frequent irritability created a rift with the musicians, and the orchestra’s governing body presented him with the suggestion that, perhaps, his time would be better devoted entirely to composition. Schumann, increasingly unstable though at first determined to stay, complained to his wife, Clara, that he was being cruelly treated. Proceedings were begun by the orchestra committee to relieve him of his position, but his resignation in 1853 ended the matter. By early the next year, Schumann’s reason had completely given way. On February 27th, he tried to drown himself in the Rhine and a week later he was committed to the asylum in Endenich, where he lingered with fleeting moments of sanity for nearly two-and-a-half years. His faithful Clara was there with him when he died on July 29, 1856, at the age of 46. Though Schumann’s tenure in Düsseldorf proved difficult and ended sadly, he enjoyed there one of his greatest outbursts of creativity—nearly onethird of his compositions were written in the city, including his two Sonatas for Violin and Piano (A minor and
D minor), which were composed in a rush during the autumn of 1851 (September 12-16 and October 26-November 2). A slow introduction juxtaposing bold, declamatory chords and short, quiet phrases opens the D minor Sonata. The principal theme of the first movement comprises a broad strain in widely spaced intervals and a short rising arpeggio that are traded conversationally between the participants. Contrast of mood and thematic material is provided by the subsidiary subject, a long, lyrical, arching melody. The main theme is recalled to close the exposition. The expansive and dramatic central section shows that Schumann in his later years had evolved into a fine craftsman of thematic development while retaining the Romantic passion of his youth. A full recapitulation of the exposition’s themes and a feverish coda close the movement. The scherzo is dynamic and fully scored for the piano; its impetuous progress is twice interrupted by trios of more subdued nature. The third movement is a set of richly textured variations on a simple, chorale-like tune presented by the pizzicato violin at the outset. A variation in quicker tempo recalls the theme of the scherzo to lend unity to the work’s overall structure. The expressive urgency of the opening movement returns with the finale, a tightly reasoned sonata form, which turns from the anxious region of D minor to end the sonata in the triumphant parallel major key. © 2014 Dr. Richard E. Rodda
Violinist/violist Ida Kavafian just completed her 29th successful year as artistic director of Music from Angel Fire, the renowned festival in New Mexico. Her close association with The Curtis Institute continues with her large and superb class, the recent endowment of her faculty chair by Nina von Maltzahn, her service on the Curtis Board of Directors and most recently, the awarding of the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is presented in recognition of outstanding service in stimulating and guiding Curtis students. In addition to her solo engagements, she continues to perform with her piano quartet, OPUS ONE, and her newest ensemble, Trio Valtorna. She is the co-founder of those ensembles as well as Tashi and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (which she ran for ten years). Ms. Kavafian has toured and recorded with the Guarneri, Orion, Shanghai, and American string quartets; the Beaux Arts Trio; and with such artists as Chick Corea, Mark O’Connor, and Wynton Marsalis. A graduate of The Juilliard School, where she studied with Oscar Shumsky, she was presented in her debut by Young Concert Artists. In addition to Curtis, she teaches at The Juilliard School and the Bard College Conservatory. Ms. Kavafian and her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom, have also found success outside of music in the breeding, training, and showing of champion Vizsla dogs, including the 2003 Number One Vizsla All Systems in the US and the 2007 National Champion. She has been an Artist of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1989. Recognized as an artist of passion and integrity, the distinguished American
pianist Peter Serkin is one of the most thoughtful and individualistic musicians appearing before the public today. His wide-ranging musical curiosity has continually led to eclectic and intriguing concert programs; his distinctive interpretations have inspired audiences, composers, and critics alike. His rich musical heritage extends back several generations: his grandfather was violinist and composer Adolf Busch, and his father was pianist Rudolf Serkin. He has performed with the world’s major symphony orchestras with such eminent conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Alexander Schneider, Daniel Barenboim, George Szell, Claudio Abbado, Eugene Ormandy, Simon Rattle, James Levine, and Robert Spano. Also a dedicated chamber musician, Mr. Serkin has collaborated with Alexander Schneider; Pamela Frank; Yo-Yo Ma; the Budapest, Guarneri, and Orion string quartets; and TASHI, of which he was a founding member. An avid exponent of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, he has been instrumental in bringing to life works of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Wolpe, Messiaen, Henze, Berio, and Wuorinen in concert and on CD. A Grammy Award winner and three-time nominee, he has performed and recorded many important world premieres which were written specifically for him by such composers as Takemitsu, Lieberson, Knussen, Goehr, and particularly Wuorinen. Mr. Serkin currently teaches at Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Longy School of Music. He resides in Massachusetts with his wife, Regina, and is the father of five children.