2018/19 SEASON PRESENTING SPONSORS:
OPENING WEEKEND: RACHMANINOFF SYMPHONY NO. 2 CONDUCTED BY BRETT MITCHELL COLORADO SYMPHONY BRETT MITCHELL, conductor JEREMY DENK, piano NADYA HILL, soprano Friday, September 14, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 15, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, September 16, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. Boettcher Concert Hall
Three Wings for Orchestra with Soprano
WORLD PREMIERE COMMISSIONED BY THE COLORADO SYMPHONY
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503 Allegro maestoso Andante Allegretto — INTERMISSION —
RACHMANINOFF Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 Largo — Allegro moderato Allegro molto Adagio Allegro vivace This Weekend's Performances are Gratefully Dedicated to Mary Rossick Kern and Jerome H. Kern Friday's Concert is Gratefully Dedicated to Schmitt Music Saturday's Concert is Gratefully Dedicated to FirstBank & Harvey and Maureen Solomon Sunday's Concert is Gratefully Dedicated to Sigmund J. Rosenfeld
PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY
CLASSICS BIOGRAPHIES PHOTO: ROGER MASTROIANNI
BRETT MITCHELL, conductor Hailed for presenting engaging, in-depth explorations of thoughtfully curated programs, Brett Mitchell began his tenure as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony in July 2017. Prior to this appointment, he served as the orchestra’s Music Director Designate during the 2016/17 season. He leads the orchestra in ten classical subscription weeks per season as well as a wide variety special programs featuring such guest artists as Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman. Mr. Mitchell is also in consistent demand as a guest conductor. Highlights of his 2018-19 season include subscription debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and return appearances with the orchestras of Cleveland, Dallas, and Indianapolis. Other upcoming and recent guest engagements include the Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, National, Oregon, and San Antonio symphonies, the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Mitchell also regularly collaborates with the world’s leading soloists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Rudolf Buchbinder, Kirill Gerstein, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Leila Josefowicz, and Alisa Weilerstein. From 2013 to 2017, Mr. Mitchell served on the conducting staff of The Cleveland Orchestra. He joined the orchestra as Assistant Conductor in 2013, and was promoted to Associate Conductor in 2015, becoming the first person to hold that title in over three decades and only the fifth in the orchestra’s hundred-year history. In these roles, he led the orchestra in several dozen concerts each season at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour. From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Mitchell led over one hundred performances as Assistant Conductor of the Houston Symphony. He also held Assistant Conductor posts with the Orchestre National de France, where he worked under Kurt Masur from 2006 to 2009, and the Castleton Festival, where he worked under Lorin Maazel in 2009 and 2010. In 2015, Mr. Mitchell completed a highly successful five-year appointment as Music Director of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor, Mr. Mitchell has served as music director of nearly a dozen productions, principally at his former post as Music Director of the Moores Opera Center in Houston, where he led eight productions from 2010 to 2013. His repertoire spans the core works of Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute), Verdi (Rigoletto and Falstaff), and Stravinsky (The Rake’s Progress) to contemporary works by Adamo (Little Women), Aldridge (Elmer Gantry), Catán (Il Postino and Salsipuedes), and Hagen (Amelia). As a ballet conductor, Mr. Mitchell most recently led a production of The Nutcracker with the Pennsylvania Ballet in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra during the 2016-17 season. In addition to his work with professional orchestras, Mr. Mitchell is also well known for his affinity for working with and mentoring young musicians aspiring to be professional orchestral players. His tenure as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra from 2013 to 2017 was highly praised, and included a four-city tour of China in June 2015, marking the orchestra’s second international tour and its first to Asia. Mr. Mitchell is regularly invited to work with the PROGRAM 2 C O L O R A D O SY M P H O N Y.O R G
CLASSICS BIOGRAPHIES highly talented musicians at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the orchestras at this country’s high-level training programs, such as the National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Born in Seattle in 1979, Mr. Mitchell holds degrees in conducting from the University of Texas at Austin and composition from Western Washington University, which selected him in as its Young Alumnus of the Year in 2014. He also studied at the National Conducting Institute, and was selected by Kurt Masur as a recipient of the inaugural American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation Scholarship. Mr. Mitchell was also one of five recipients of the League of American Orchestras’ American Conducting Fellowship from 2007 to 2010. For more information, please visit www.brettmitchellconductor.com
PHOTO: MICHAEL WILSON
JEREMY DENK, pianist Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk was also recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Denk returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and has recently performed with the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Cleveland Orchestra, as well as on tour with Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Last season he undertook a recital tour of the UK. He also returned to the BBC Proms playing Bartok’s Second Piano Concerto. Denk continues to appear extensively on tour in recital throughout the US, including Chicago, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York’s Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. This season, Denk returns to the San Francisco Symphony with Tilson Thomas, and Carnegie Hall with Orchestra St. Luke’s, continues as Artistic Partner of The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has a new piano concerto written for him by Hannah Lash. He also makes his debut in Asia, including recitals in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Seoul. Future projects include re-uniting with Academy St. Martin in the Fields, and a US tour with his longtime musical partners Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis. Denk is known for his original and insightful writing on music which Alex Ross praises for its “arresting sensitivity and wit.” His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, The Guardian, and on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. He is the composer of an opera presented by Carnegie Hall, and is working on a book which will be published by Macmillan UK and Random House US. Denk’s debut with Nonesuch Record’s paired Beethoven’s Sonata, Op. 111 with Ligeti’s Études. His latest recording of the Goldberg Variations reached No. 1 in the Billboard Classical Charts.
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CLASSICS PROGRAM NOTES William Hill (born in 1954): Three Wings for Orchestra with Soprano William Hill was born January 31, 1954 in Burlington, North Carolina. Three Wings was composed in 2018. These performances are the work’s World Premiere. The score calls for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets (second doubling E-flat clarinet), bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, four trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, piano, strings and solo soprano voice. Duration is about 10 minutes. This is the premiere performance of the work. Composer and percussionist William Hill has been Principal Timpanist of the Colorado Symphony since 1980, appearing as soloist on numerous occasions, creating the orchestra’s popular Drums of the World Show, and having his works performed by the ensemble more than fifty times. Hill is also Instructor of Composition at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music and Music Director of the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra, and has served as Principal Timpanist with the Honolulu and Omaha Symphonies, Colorado Music Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. His additional conducting appearances include the Colorado Symphony, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Greeley Chamber Orchestra, Aurora Symphony and numerous Denver-area professional and amateur groups. He has won composition and performance awards from such organizations as the Percussive Arts Society, ASCAP, Colorado Music Teacher’s Association, Music Academy of the West and Ohio Collegiate Jazz Competition. William Hill holds a Bachelor of Music with High Distinction and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University, and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Hill’s chamber and orchestral works in a wide range of styles have won him an international reputation as a composer while he has immeasurably enriched the musical life of Colorado: The Raven for orchestra and chorus was commissioned by the Colorado Symphony in 2015, recorded on the Naxos label, and nominated for both a Pulitzer Prize and a Grawemeyer Award, the two most prestigious distinctions in American concert music; the Symphony No. 3 was premiered by the Colorado Symphony in 2012 and also nominated for both a Pulitzer Prize and a Grawemeyer Award; his music for the Denver street festival Oh! Heck! Yeah! in summer 2014 was premiered and recorded by the Colorado Symphony; the Colorado Symphony commissioned him to compose and record music for the opening of the renovated Union Station in July 2014; the overture A New Direction was commissioned for the Gala Opening of Denver’s Buell Theatre in 1991; and in 2007 an album of his chamber compositions featuring performers from the Colorado Symphony and Denver University faculty was released on Centaur. Hill wrote that Three Wings, commissioned by the Colorado Symphony for the first concert of the 2018-2019 season, “has aspects of a season opener, with flashy, intense, fanfare-type material, driving rhythms and virtuoso demands on the orchestra, but it also has a subtle middle and ending that give the piece, as with a good bit of my work, a somewhat hidden meaning. The pitch material for these later sections (and even some of the fanfare material) is taken from the antiphon O virtus sapientia by Hildegard von Bingen. [Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), the German abbess, visionary, prophet, poet and composer, was one of the most remarkable women of the Middle Ages. She became famous for her prophecies and miracles, and advised and corresponded with popes, emperors, clergy and prominent lay persons. In addition to her widely recognized ecclesiastical and counseling capabilities (though she has never been canonized by the Catholic Church), Hildegard also produced two books on the lives of saints, treatises on medicine and natural history, extensive records of her visions, both text and music SOUNDINGS
CLASSICS PROGRAM NOTES for a morality play (Ordo Virtutum — “Order of the Virtues” — the earliest known liturgical drama by at least a century), and 77 liturgical chants. — R.E.R.] “The soprano who intones Hildegard’s melody is used as a member of the orchestra and sings no words. Phrases are often mathematically controlled and revolve around the numbers 13 and 39 for two rather unsophisticated reasons. I’ve always thought 13 has many special qualities: it’s a prime number, it’s in the basic Fibonacci sequence, and some people (certainly the Knights Templar [the powerful Catholic order that was founded during Hildegard’s lifetime to lead the Crusades to the Holy Land]) consider it unlucky; and this is my 39th season in the Colorado Symphony. “There are two aspects of Hildegard’s music and philosophy that appeal strongly to me: her concept of viriditas, that every part of nature is sacred and should be respected and preserved; and her idea of the power of wisdom. She also thought that music had special power and that it was the best way to pray. The words and ideas from O virtus sapientia that are most important to me are: O power of wisdom You encompassed the cosmos Encircling and embracing all in one living orbit With your three wings One soars on high One distills the earth’s essence And the third hovers everywhere “I particularly like the similarity to the Native American philosophy that we are all one with the cosmos, as well as the inclusive aspects of her thinking, very unlike a lot of our current political and religious rhetoric, which tends to emphasize our differences and exclusivity. “I’ve enjoyed composing Three Wings, combining musical ideas from an inspired 12thcentury antiphon with my eclectic modern language, some neo-impressionist sounds, and the usual devices of dense and sometimes quite dissonant harmony, complex melodic and rhythmic counterpoint, modern orchestration, etc.”
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CLASSICS PROGRAM NOTES WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, and died December 5, 1791 in Vienna. He composed his C major Concerto in 1786 and probably gave its premiere on December 5, 1786 at Vienna’s Trattner Casino. The score calls for flute, pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns and trumpets, timpani and strings. Duration is about 32 minutes. The concerto was last performed on March 19, 2006, with Jeffrey Kahane in the role of both soloist and conductor. By the end of 1786, the time of the majestic C major Concerto (K. 503), Mozart had begun the decline into illness, debt and overwork that would cut his life short at the age of 35. He was beginning to dread the knock on the door for fear of finding a bill collector there; he was having difficulty meeting the rental cost of his apartment in the Schulerstrasse; his family medical bills were piling up; a new son, Johann Thomas Leopold, was born on October 18th and died less than a month later; and the revenues from The Marriage of Figaro, on which he had pinned such great hope, were disappointing, his opera virtually driven from the Viennese stage by the popularity of Martin y Soler’s Una cosa rara (which he quoted, perhaps ironically, in Don Giovanni the following year.) Mozart considered moving to England to try to better his fortunes, but he was frustrated in that venture by his tattered financial situation and the refusal of his father to take care of his son Karl in Salzburg. (Papa Leopold was still miffed at Wolfgang’s choice of a marriage partner, besides which he, a widower, was already in charge at that time of another grandchild, his daughter Nannerl’s son Leopold.) Having made a sensation when he moved to Vienna only five years before, Mozart saw much of his public slip away during the months of 1786, confused and put off by the disturbing depth of expression in his recent works. Still, Mozart persisted in writing as he wanted, perhaps escaping from the difficulties of his personal life and the demands of the fickle crowd through his compositions. Some of his greatest works date from that year: Figaro, The Impresario, K. 496 and K. 502 Piano Trios, Clarinet Trio (K. 498), Symphony No. 38 (“Prague”), and three surpassing piano concertos: K. 488, 491 and 503. The C major Concerto opens with a sense of spaciousness and grandeur unsurpassed in late-18th-century music. The bright nobility of the prevailing C major tonality is frequently clouded, however, by brief excursions into darker harmonic areas. A succinct motive of four short repeated notes appears in the violins soon after the beginning and serves as the thematic kernel from which much of the movement grows. The richly textured development section is built largely from the repeated-note motive presented in the Concerto’s opening measures. The movement’s themes are further elaborated in the recapitulation in the suave, unerring manner that vivifies Mozart’s finest works. The graceful opening theme sets the mood for the Andante, a fully worked-out sonata-concerto form. The theme of the finale is an almost literal copy of a gavotte in the ballet music of Mozart’s 1781 opera, Idomeneo, which he was considering revising in 1786. The movement retains the sparkling quality usually associated with its rondo form, while adding to it a certain seriousness of thought.
CLASSICS PROGRAM NOTES SERGEI RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943): Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 Sergei Rachmaninoff was born April 1, 1873 in Oneg (near Novgorod), Russia, and died March 28, 1943 in Beverly Hills, California. He composed his Symphony No. 2 in 1906-1907, and conducted its premiere on January 26, 1908 in St. Petersburg. The score calls for three flutes (third doubling piccolo), three oboes, (third doubling English horn), two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion and strings. Duration is about 55 minutes. The Symphony was last performed by the orchestra on November 21-23, 2014, with Andrew Litton on the podium. Early in 1906, Rachmaninoff decided to sweep away the rapidly accumulating obligations of conducting, concertizing and socializing that cluttered his life in Moscow in order to find some quiet place in which to devote himself to composition. His determination may have been strengthened by the political unrest beginning to rumble under the foundations of the aristocratic Russian political system. The uprising of 1905 was among the first signs of trouble for those of his noble class (his eventual move to the United States was a direct result of the swallowing of his family’s estate and resources by the 1917 Revolution), and he probably thought it a good time to start looking for a quiet haven. A few years before, Rachmaninoff had been overwhelmed by an inspired performance of Die Meistersinger he heard at the Dresden Opera. The memory of that evening and the aura of dignity and repose exuded by the city had remained with him, and Dresden, at that time in his life, seemed like a good place to be. The atmosphere in Dresden was so conducive to composition that within a few months of his arrival he was working on the Second Symphony, First Piano Sonata, Op. 6 Russian folk songs and symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead. The Second Symphony was unanimously cheered when it was premiered under the composer’s direction in St. Petersburg on January 26, 1908. The majestic scale of the Symphony is established by a brooding introduction. A smooth transition to a faster tempo signals the arrival of the main theme, an extended and quickened transformation of the basses’ opening motive. The expressive second theme enters in the woodwinds. The development deals with the vigorous main theme. The second movement is the most nimble essay in Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works. After two preparatory measures, the horns give forth the main theme. Eventually, the rhythmic bustle is suppressed to make way for the movement’s central section, which contains some of Rachmaninoff’s best fugal writing. The rapturous Adagio is music of heightened passion that resembles nothing so much as an ecstatic operatic love scene. The finale is an Italian tarantella. The propulsive urgency subsides to allow another of Rachmaninoff’s finest melodic inspirations to enter. A development of the tarantella motives follows, into which are embroidered thematic reminiscences from each of the three preceding movements. The several elements of the finale are gathered together in the closing pages. ©2018 Dr. Richard E. Rodda
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