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Nobuyuki Tsujii & 與

奧 菲 斯 室 樂 團

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

13 APR 2019 |SAT |8PM

Grand Hall, Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre The University of Hong Kong 香港大學李兆基會議中心大會堂


Welcome to the Grand Hall.

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O r c h e s t r a

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Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a

CHOPIN

Theme: Moderato Var. I: Un poco piĂš mosso Var. II: Allegro non troppo Var. III: Andantino tranquillo Var. IV: Vivace Var. V: Andante Var. VI: Allegro con spirito Var. VII: Andante con moto Coda: Moderato

PROGRAMME

ARENSKY

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 (arr. Shuying Li)

Maestoso Larghetto Allegro vivace

Nobuyuki Tsujii, piano

15-minute Intermission

TCHAIKOVSKY

Chamber Symphony No. 1 in D Major (after String Quartet Op. 11, arr. by Christopher Theofanidis)

Moderato e semplice Andante Cantabile Allegro non tanto Allegro giusto

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Orpheus is represented by Dorn Music. Orpheus has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical, EMI Classics, BMG/RCA Red Seal, Decca, Nonesuch, Verve, Avex Classics, and its own label, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Records.

© ZACH ALAN

N o b u y u k i

T s u j i i

&

O r p h e u s

C h a m b e r

O r c h e s t r a

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra


In the 2018/19 season, Orpheus will perform on major stages of concert venues in the US, Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. Orpheus will present an annual concert series in New York City featuring performances at Carnegie Hall and the 92nd Street Y, as well as the intimate Twilight chamber series in the elegant instrument showroom at Tarisio Fine Instruments and Bows in midtown Manhattan. Violin

Cello

Bassoon

Ronnie Bauch

Melissa Meell

Gina Cuffari

Abigail Fayette

Jonathan Spitz

Liang-Ping How

James Wilson

Mari Lee Adelya Nartadjieva

Bass

Grace Park

Gregg August

Richard Rood

Horn David Byrd-Marrow Thomas Jostlein Timpani Maya Gunji

Miho Saegusa

Flute

Melissa White

Tanya Dusevic Witek

Viola

Oboe

Timothy Deighton

Keisuke Ikuma

General Manager Caroline Curatolo

Ayane Kozasa

Clarinet

Nardo Poy

Nuno Antunes

Tour Manager Irene Lönnblad

Christof Huebner

辻 井 伸 行 與 奧 菲 斯 室 樂 團

Committed to innovation and artistic excellence, Orpheus was founded in 1972 by a group of like-minded young musicians determined to combine the intimacy and warmth of a chamber ensemble with the richness of an orchestra. Orpheus performs without a conductor, rotating musical leadership roles for each work, with a focus on presenting diverse repertoire through collaboration and open dialogue. The ensemble has commissioned and premiered 48 original works. Orpheus' recordings include the Grammy Award-winning Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures for Deutsche Grammophon (DG), and over 70 other recordings for DG, Sony Classical, EMI Classics, BMG/RCA Red Seal, Decca, and others, including its own label, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Records.

BIOGRAPHY

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra creates extraordinary musical experiences that enrich lives and empower individuals through collaboration, innovation, education, and a passion for artistic excellence. Orpheus strives to be the world's premier chamber orchestra by performing music at the highest level without a conductor, challenging artistic boundaries, inspiring the public to think and work with new perspectives, and building a broad and active audience in New York City and around the world.

Executive Director Alexander Scheirle

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© G I O R G I A B E R TA Z Z I

N o b u y u k i

T s u j i i &

O r p h e u s

C h a m b e r

O r c h e s t r a

Nobuyuki Tsujii

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In concert, Nobu has appeared with leading orchestras worldwide including the Mariinsky Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, Filarmonica della Scala, and Sinfonieorchester Basel under the baton of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Spivakov, Juanjo Mena, and Vasily Petrenko.

In the 2018/19 season, Nobu returns to both the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. He then goes on a US East Coast and Asia tour with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In London, Nobu debuted in the International Piano Series at Southbank Centre. Other engagements this season include appearances at Rostropovich Festival and a number of recitals in Germany (such as Berliner Philharmonie and Stuttgart Liederhalle among others).

辻 井 伸 行 與 奧 菲 斯 室 樂 團

As a recitalist, Nobu has performed at major cities across North America including at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium. He regularly appears at prestigious venues in Europe such as the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Royal Albert Hall in London, Berliner Philharmonie in Berlin, and Musikverein in Vienna.

BIOGRAPHY

Described by The Observer as the "definition of virtuosity", Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii (Nobu), who has been blind from birth, won the joint Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009 and has gone on to earn an international reputation for the passion and excitement he brings to his live performances.

An exclusive recording artist for Avex Classics International, Nobu's albums include Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Deutsches SymphonieOrchester Berlin, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Yutaka Sado and the BBC Philharmonic, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and recital discs of Chopin, Mozart, Debussy, and Liszt. Last season, Nobu recorded Rachmaninov's Variations on a Theme of Paganini under Vasily Petrenko with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. A live DVD recording of Nobu's 2011 Carnegie Hall recital was named DVD of the Month by Gramophone, as was his latest DVD release, Touching the Sound - The Improbable Journey of Nobuyuki Tsujii , a documentary film by Peter Rosen. Nobu's international tours are supported by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and he gratefully acknowledges their assistance. 5


Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a ANTON STEPANOVICH ARENSKY (1861-1906)

N o b u y u k i

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Theme: Moderato Var. I: Un poco piĂš mosso Var. II: Allegro non troppo Var. III: Andantino tranquillo Var. IV: Vivace Var. V: Andante Var. VI: Allegro con spirito Var. VII: Andante con moto Coda: Moderato

After studying with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Anton Arensky joined the faculty of the Moscow Conservatory, where his students included Rachmaninov, Scriabin, and GliĂŠre (who in turn taught Prokofiev). The move to Moscow also brought Arensky into contact with Tchaikovsky, who befriended and mentored his young colleague. After Tchaikovsky's untimely death in 1893, Arensky paid tribute in his String Quartet No. 2, with its central movement constructed as variations on Tchaikovsky's song Legend from Sixteen Songs for Children. The next year, Arensky extracted that movement and arranged it for string orchestra under the title Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky. A simple presentation of the theme leads to seven short and highly inventive variations. The most expressive melody might be that of the seventh variation, in which Arensky inverted the rising and falling contours of Tchaikovsky's theme. (Taking a page from his teacher, Rachmaninov used the same trick to great effect in his Variations on a Theme of Paganini). The new material heard in the coda is adapted from Russian Orthodox chant.


(arr. Shuying Li )

Maestoso Larghetto Allegro vivace

The Composition: The few works that Chopin wrote for piano and orchestra date from his early years in Warsaw, when the most obvious career path available to him was that of the travelling virtuoso. Just out of school and barely twenty years old, Chopin debuted the earlier of his two piano concertos (the work known as the Piano Concerto No. 2 due to the order of publication). He then followed up in October with the premiere of the E-minor work printed as the Piano Concerto No. 1.

辻 井 伸 行 與 奧 菲 斯 室 樂 團

The Composer: Frédéric Chopin was a piano prodigy who published his first works at the age of seven. Though essentially self-taught as a pianist, he received training in composition at Warsaw's High School of Music. Chopin left Warsaw in late 1830 for what was meant to be his first European tour, but a populist uprising in Poland and the subsequent crackdown by Russian forces ruled out the possibility of Chopin returning to his homeland. His travels eventually brought him to Paris where he made a name for himself performing at exclusive salons (though rarely in public concerts), teaching private students and publishing a steady stream of piano music.

PROGRAMME NOTES

Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810-1849)

The Arrangement: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned the young Chinese-American composer Shuying Li to create this new arrangement for piano accompanied by a chamber orchestra of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, two horns, timpani, and strings. The Sound: Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 leans on the legacy of Mozart and Beethoven, as well as the next generation of composers (including Mozart's student Hummel) who emphasised the flash and sizzle of concerto writing. In the central slow movement, the piano's delicate flurries exemplify Chopin's supple sense of melody with as many as twenty fleeting tones squeezed into one beat. The finale adapts its brisk gait from the Mazurka, a Polish folk dance.

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Orpheus Insight Shuying Li, arranger

N o b u y u k i

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O r c h e s t r a

Arranging Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 for Orpheus was no easy job for me — I constantly found myself caught up in the dilemma of preserving Chopin's intentions shown in the score versus the temptation to give the orchestra more featured moments. While Chopin's writing puts tremendous focus on the virtuosity and beauty of the piano, the orchestra rarely has an equally important role. Often, there's only piano and strings and not as a dialogue; the string sections float like a thin and semi-transparent chiffon around the piano.

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After some struggling, I decided to set aside my composer role and focus on being the arranger. I kept most of the existing string writing in order to preserve the originalities, but occasionally I added some spice, especially in the winds, to highlight the orchestra. I hope these unusual and "naughty" moments fit well with Chopin's piano part and its absolutely indescribable beauty.


(after String Quartet Op. 11, arr. by Christopher Theofanidis)

Moderato e semplice Andante Cantabile Allegro non tanto Allegro giustoo

辻 井 伸 行 與 奧 菲 斯 室 樂 團

The Composer: Tchaikovsky's development as a composer paralleled the rise of Russia as a concert music powerhouse. After enrolling in the inaugural class of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and studying with Anton Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky graduated into a teaching job at another brand-new institution, The Moscow Conservatory, led by Anton's brother, Nikolai Rubinstein. While his contemporaries (the "Russian Five") worked outside of academia to forge a distinctly Russian sound, Tchaikovsky studiously educated himself in French, Italian, and German-Austrian traditions. Despite years of self-doubt and isolation, his hard work paid off: Tchaikovsky was the first Russian to truly integrate the formal genres of the Classical tradition.

PROGRAMME NOTES

Chamber Symphony No. 1 in D Major PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

The Composition: Tchaikovsky completed his First String Quartet in 1871, when he was a young professor in Moscow. He demonstrated a keen understanding of the Viennese quartet tradition that spanned from Haydn in the 1760s to Beethoven and Schubert in the 1820s, including Mozart, Tchaikovsky's highest idol of all. One distinctly local ingredient was folk music, specifically a tune that Tchaikovsky overheard a carpenter singing in 1869 when he was visiting his sister's estate in Ukraine. That melody became the main theme of the Andante cantabile second movement, the portion of the quartet that supposedly moved Tolstoy to tears at a performance in 1876. The Andante cantabile endured as one of Tchaikovsky's most popular excerpts, prompting him to arrange it for cello and string orchestra in 1888. The Arrangement: To reimagine Tchaikovsky's First String Quartet as a Chamber Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned Christopher Theofanidis, a distinguished composer of orchestral music and a past contributor to the Orpheus' New Brandenburg Project.

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The Sound: Tchaikovsky's language in this work is lean and rhythmic, drawing maximal impact from small cells of music — an approach modelled by Beethoven in the quartets and other works from his "middle" period. The distinguishing trait of Tchaikovsky's first movement is the persistent rhythmic motive that cuts against the grain of the underlying 9/8 meter, a graceful effect that never loses its fascination. The Scherzo offers dance-like rhythms that again defy expectations, with lively phrases contradicting the triplet pulse. Orpheus Insight

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Christopher Theofanidis, arranger

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I have always been a great admirer of Tchaikovsky's music and his brilliant orchestration, and so it was a real pleasure for me to explore this string quartet and his style of orchestration more generally. I studied many of his great works to understand certain "Tchaikovsky-isms", and I also studied works written in close proximity to the quartet to understand hallmarks of that earlier style. A transcription of this nature presents certain challenges, not the least of which is that this small orchestra was not a medium that Tchaikovsky himself worked in. The chord voicings and doublings he commonly used with a larger orchestra were a little harder to extrapolate from this ensemble. One clue for me, however, turned out to be Tchaikovsky's love of Mozart. Although Tchaikovsky didn't entirely respect the classical sound when he arranged Mozart's music in his Suite No. 4 (Mozartiana), there are enough clues to show what Tchaikovsky loved in that clean sound world, and that was an important key for me. I think this early string quartet does translate quite well into a symphonic form, and I was so delighted to be involved.

Š Aaron Grad


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