Francesco Milioto, Music Director and Conductor
Sunday, October 28, 2012 3:00 PM North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 (1878).............................. Johannes Brahms I Allegro non troppo (1833 –1897) Cadenza by Jascha Heifetz II Adagio III Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace Gallia Kastner, Violin First Place Winner of the 32nd Young Artist Competition INTERMISSION Symphony No. 4, in F minor, Op. 36 (1877)................Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky I Andante sostenuto – Moderato con anima – (1840 – 1893) Moderato assai, quasi Andante – Allegro – con anima II Andantino in modo di canzona III Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato – Allegro IV Finale: Allegro con fuoco This concert is supported in part by The Pauls Foundation. The Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra gratefully acknowledges the Village of Skokie, Niles Township, and The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation.
The Russian Symphonists
PROGR A M NOTES Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 During the Romantic era the concerto was transformed from a carefully crafted, highly organized musical form into a vehicle for virtuosic display. As musical substance gave way to sheer brilliance and dazzling effects, the concerto came to be viewed not so much as a serious type of composition but merely a crowd-pleaser or show piece. Thus, the genre which had been central to the output of Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven was given far less attention by most 19th century masters. Brahms, for example, wrote only four concertos: two for piano, one for violin, and one for the unusual combination of violin and cello. However, given his penchant towards Classical style and sensibilities, it is not surprising that Brahms’ contributions to the concerto repertoire are marked by a unique synthesis of Romantic virtuosity and Classical restraint. It is not known when Brahms decided to write a violin concerto, but it is known that the work was intended for his friend, Joseph Joachim, one of the most celebrated violinists of the day. Upon completion of the initial draft in the summer of 1878, Brahms sent a copy of the first movement to Joachim for approval and comment. Not being a violinist himself, Brahms sought his friend’s advice on technical matters; in particular, he wanted to know if the work contained any passages that were “difficult, awkward, or impossible to play.” With Joachim’s guidance, the work was completed in December and first performed in Leipzig in early 1879. Joachim gave several additional performances in England before the concerto was published later that year. Despite its current popularity and its firm position in the concerto repertory, the D-major Concerto was not always so well received, particularly during Brahms’ own time. Audiences and critics alike were baffled by the new work, which lacked the expected sparkle of virtuosity, and in which the prevailing somber moods were seldom relieved, except in the finale. In short, the work was not the show-stopping barn-burner audiences had come to expect of the concerto. However, upon close examination, it is revealed that the work is, in fact, extremely taxing for the soloist. Exceptional demands are made of the violinist, particularly in regards to technique, yet virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity is entirely excluded. For Brahms, artistic considerations were of supreme importance, trumping any desire for brilliant display. Just as in his orchestral compositions, he was not particularly interested in writing gratifying parts for soloists simply to impress an audience. In crafting the D major Concerto Brahms reverted, as he often did, to Classical design, thus producing a work that is carefully constructed and intricately worked out in regards to its architecture and form. In such a tightly controlled sound environment, strictly bravura solo parts, as conceived by the likes of Liszt and Paganini, would have been out of place. Brahms, taking his cue from Mozart, viewed the soloist as an integral part of the overall constructive framework of the concerto, not as standing apart from it. At the same time, it was crucial the solo parts be demanding and intricate enough to match the overall complexity of the larger work. The result is solo writing of tremendous difficulty, but writing that does not immediately impress. Brahms presents the soloist with numerous technical challenges that stretch the limits of his/her technique without resorting to hollow virtuosity. This duality of purpose may also be observed in the way Brahms reconciled two other disparate elements in the concerto: the simple lyricism of the song and the complexities of large scale constructions. Brahms loved songs and their simplicity, particularly folk melodies. His melodic lines were often born of such influence. Yet, here in the concerto idiom he was also challenged by the task of constructing complex and intricate formal designs appropriate to his classically influenced conception of the genre. In D major concerto he managed to ally the two. The themes are vey lyrical – almost song-like – yet the overall construction moves to a higher level. This has led the concerto to be described as a song for violin on a symphonic scale.
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PROGR A M NOTES
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The first movement is arranged in a typical concerto-sonata form, in which themes are typically introduced, or at least foreshadowed, in the full orchestra before being expanded upon by the soloist. This format allows for the thorough integration of the soloist into the overall fabric of the concerto that Brahms preferred; Solo sections are not simply virtuosic passages interspersed between orchestral themes; instead they are structurally important statements derived from the orchestra’s thematic material. The majestically sweeping gestures of the opening theme are, at once, both lyrical and impressively grand, lending the movement an imposing quality and seriousness of purpose far removed from the typical Romantic concerto with its emphasis on ostentatious virtuosity. In typical Brahmsian fashion the initial theme continues to unfold into new material without the conscious division of the movement into distinct sections. Furthermore, the restatement of the original theme only occurs twice in the expansive movement. The second movement is a lovely, melancholy adagio that features the violin in a rhapsodic role. The melodic material is almost folk-like in its simplicity. Despite its charming, unassuming elegance, Brahms reworked the movement numerous times before it satisfied him. The aggressive finale is cast as a rondo form in which the spirited, rhythmically charged melody continually returns after being interrupted by contrasting musical ideas. Brahms, ever the song lover, has created a theme reminiscent of Hungarian folk song as the main idea. The Hungarian flavor of the finale is certainly a bow to Joachim, who not only was of Hungarian background but had himself written a “Hungarian Concerto” and dedicated it to Brahms.
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The Russian Symphonists
PROGR A M NOTES
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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893) Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 As a composer, Tchaikovsky’s central pursuit was the composition of opera. However important those ten works may have been to him and to audiences in his native Russia, he is best known elsewhere by his orchestral music, particularly the concertos for violin and piano, and the six symphonies. Work on the symphonies was spread evenly throughout his career, from 1866 – 1893. In these compositions he struggled ceaselessly, as did Brahms, with the opposed demands of the formal traditions he had learned in the conservatory and his own predilection for an emotional and expressive progression of events unfolding in an unconventionally free, rhapsodic manner. The first three symphonies are, in essence, youthful works, dutifully structured in traditional symphonic fashion. Those remaining are far more individualistic, representative of Tchaikovsky’s unique – almost autobiographical – approach to the form. His Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth symphonies may be viewed as forming something of a cycle, in which three differing aspects of the composer’s dark and mysterious personality are presented. Tchaikovsky was a man of morbid sensitivity, with pronounced leanings toward melancholy and a habit of intense introspection which contributed heavily to his rather gloomy and pessimistic outlook on life. The Fourth Symphony, begun during the winter of 1876-77, was born amidst an extraordinary chain of events in the composer’s life. In December of 1876 he received his first letter from a wealthy widow, Nadezhda von Meck, and was soon discharging small commissions for the woman who was to become his lifelong patron and confidant. Several months into their relationship she settled a regular allowance on him and their frequent correspondence became a channel for very intimate, intense exchanges, though they agreed never to meet. It was to von Meck that Tchaikovsky revealed his innermost thoughts, including those related to his own homosexuality and the torment it caused. Possibly in an attempt to turn his back on this, his “moral agony,” he declared:“I have decided to marry. I cannot avoid this.” Thus, when, in early 1877, a young conservatory student, Antonia Milyukova, wrote to Tchaikovsky to declare she had been secretly in love with him for years, he agreed to marry her. Less than three months later he attempted suicide and separated from her. The turmoil of this marriage and its aftermath made composition almost impossible and the new symphony, begun months earlier, was not completed until 1878 while the composer recuperated in Western Europe. Wishing to dedicate it to his new secret patroness while concealing her identity, he inscribed it simply “to my best friend.” Tchaikovsky saw within all these recent events the workings of Fate, which he believed controlled his destiny. It is this immoveable force – “the fatal power which prevents one from attaining the goal of happiness. There is nothing to be done but to submit to it and lament in vain” – that is at the heart of the Fourth Symphony. As he explained to von Meck when he outlined its program for her: “all life is an unbroken alternation of hard reality with swiftly passing dreams and visions of happiness... No haven exists. Drift upon that sea until it engulfs and submerges you in its depths.” Fate is introduced immediately in the brass fanfare that serves as an introduction to the first movement. According to Tchaikovsky, this gesture represents “the kernel, the quintessence, the chief thought of the whole symphony.” Following this opening statement, the movement unfolds as a hybrid; a cross between the loosely organized symphonic poem type of structure pioneered by Liszt, with its emphasis on emotional and expressive elements, and the more strictly architectural form of the traditional Classical symphony. Tchaikovsky adheres to the broad outlines of symphonic form but treats the details much more freely. The lengthy movement is an amalgam of ideas and themes; the contrast between them often sounding stark, even violent. The result is an unfolding drama captured within a single movement, the breadth and scope of which was typically heard only over the space of an entire symphony. According to one scholar, this movement takes its place as “one of the most towering symphonic structures in our whole literature.” 4
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PROGR A M NOTES
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The second movement, Andantino in modo di canzona, is of a reflective, sorrowful nature. The composer wrote,“Here is that melancholy feeling that enwraps one when he sits alone at night in the house exhausted by work; a swarm of reminiscences arises. It is sad, yet sweet, to lose one’s self in the past.” For the melodic material of this movement Tchaikovsky turned to folk song. Though the themes are, in fact, original, the influence of Russian folk music is obvious in the elegantly simple, plaintive character of the melodies. The atmosphere of gloom is dispelled by a playful scherzo, where the strings play pizzicato from first bar to last.“Here are capricious arabesques, vague figures which slip into the imagination when one has taken wine and is slightly intoxicated,” according to Tchaikovsky. In the middle section, oboes and bassoons give out a rustic dance tune, while brass and piccolo offer a humorous imitation of military band music. A brilliant flourish for full orchestra opens the finale. “If within yourself you find no reasons for joy, then look at others. Go among the people. See how they can enjoy themselves, surrendering themselves wholeheartedly to joyful feelings. Picture the festive merriment of ordinary people”, explains Tchaikovsky to von Meck. The main theme, a Russian folk song called In the Meadow There Stands a Birch Tree, is introduced by the winds, and is then contrasted with a confident, march-like tune. After this sequence is repeated, the atmosphere gradually loses its sense of well being until the Fate theme makes a catastrophic reappearance, bringing the festivities to a grinding halt. However, a dazzling coda revives the festive mood and brings the symphony to a thrilling climax. By Michael Vaughn, Ph.D *If you use any of these program notes, please give attribution to Dr. Vaughn.
F R A N C E S C O M I L I O TO, M U S I C D I R E C TO R The Chicago Tribune names Francesco Milioto “one of the best young conductors working in the Chicago area.” Since his debut in the Chicago area just over a decade ago he now balances a busy career conducting a wide range of orchestral and operatic repertoire while maintaining a full schedule as a pianist and vocal coach. He currently holds the positions of Co-founder/ Conductor of the New Millennium Orchestra, Music Director of the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Highland Park Strings and Artistic Director/Conductor of Access Contemporary Music. Mr. Milioto is also an assistant conductor/ rehearsal pianist/prompter for the Ravinia Festival, where he works closely with Maestro James Conlon. This season Mr. Milioto will make his debut with Opera Santa Barbara conducting a production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. He also visits Portland Opera as Assistant Conductor/Chorus Master for Tosca. Mr. Milioto has guest conducted for Opera Southwest, and Opera on the James, as well as working as an assistant conductor for both Los Angeles Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. 6
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Now in his sixth season as Music Director of the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Milioto is excited to open a new series exploring the music of both American and Russian symphonists over the next four seasons. The SVSO will tackle the music of Borodin and Ives, as well as a list of significant works that include the Enigma Variations, and the Nutcracker suite. The orchestra’s Young Artist Competition has garnered much praise and this season has produced two excellent young violinists that will perform the Brahms concerto, and Prokofiev’s second violin concerto.This season also contains a pops concert called Space Cowboys, in which we will play both classical and popular pieces inspired by space and the wild west. Mr. Milioto is always pleased to perform opera in concert, and this season will lead one of Verdi’s best, La Traviata. In addition to building on the history of high quality performances, Mr. Milioto is proud to continue offering free concerts to school children in the Skokie area.
La Traviata A Magnificant Benefit Concert May 5, 2013 The SVSO has a wonderful history of presenting operas in concert featuring some of the best vocal talent Chicago has to offer. Verdi’s score brings this tragic drama to life with some of the most beautiful and moving music ever written. La Traviata is a treasure trove of famous melodies including Brindisi, Sempre Libera, De’ miei bollenti spiriti and Addio del passato. This heartbreaking story follows Violetta as she leaves behind her courtesan life for a fresh start with Alfredo Germont. Once they are happily together, she is asked by his father to make the ultimate sacriﬁce of leaving Alfredo for the sake of his family’s honor. She ﬁnally agrees and leaves to join friends in Paris. Alfredo, believing a former lover is the reason for her leaving, goes to comfort her. In a jealous rage, he throws his gambling winnings at her. But of course the truth comes to light! Father and son ask for forgiveness... but it is too little too late. Her body, too sick to continue, collapses after her ﬁnal outburst of joy. Please help us to reach our goal of 500 tickets sold and to secure the SVSO performance of La Traviata. We appreciate your commitment to the SVSO and our ability to bring you memorable performances right here in Skokie!
GALLIA K ASTNER , VIOLINIST Gallia Kastner is a 15-year-old merit scholarship student of The Susan and Richard Kiphart Academy Fellowship. She studies with Almita and Roland Vamos at The Music Institute of Chicago. She commenced her private violin study at five and a half with Betty Haag-Kuhnke at The Betty Haag Academy of Music. In the course of her accomplishments, Gallia has won numerous competitions locally and internationally both as a soloist and a chamber musician. She is the winner of the Triennial 2012 Johansen International Competition in Washington DC, the 2012 Skokie Valley Concerto Competition, the Society of American Musicians Competition, the overall open division at the Walgreens National Concerto Competition, the Sejong Cultural Society, the Chinese Fine Arts Society, and the District 214 High School Concerto Aria Competition. Gallia’s broadcast performances include appearances on WFMT 98.7/Introductions, WTTW Channel 11, WGN Channel 9, and a Today Show appearance with Rachel Barton Pine. Other stage appearances
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include concerts in Millenium Park, Lincoln Center, Kloster Schontal and Schwabish Hall Kulturstiftung in Germany, Music in the Loft, The Pilgrim Chamber Players Concert Series in Highland Park, Young Steinway Concert Series and more. Some of Gallia’s performances with orchestras include the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra, the Highland Park Strings, the Northshore Chamber Orchestra, the Midwest Young Artist Orchestra, and many other venues locally and across the country. She has had the privilege to take master classes with Rachel Barton Pine, Vadim Gluzman, Arkady Fomin, Joseph Silverstein, Ida Kavafian, Milan Vitek, Ivry Gitlis, and Sherry Kloss. She is a sophomore at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL, and participates in the school orchestra and the youth music ministry at St James Parish as a choir member and instrumentalist. Gallia performs on a copy of the “ExSoldat” Guarneri del Gesu, by Peter Seman, 2008, on generous loan from the Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation and was also selected to receive a Career Grant from The REB Foundation.
S K O K I E VA L L E Y S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A 1st Violin Jeff Yang, Concertmaster Margarita Solomensky, Assistant Concertmaster Anne Hartzen Olena Hirna Milan Miskovic Iris Seitz Violetta Todorova Wally Pok Hon Yu
Flute Karen Frost, Principal Barb Austin Angela Reynolds
2nd Violin Michael Kleinerman, Principal Julia Birnbaum Warren Grabner Alysa Isaacson Stephanie Lane David Ratner Fran Sherman Mary Stoltz
Clarinet Walter Grabner, Principal Irwin Heller
Viola Rick Neff, Principal, Dr. Lee Malmed Chair Mittenthal String Chair Lee Malmed Jason Rosen Michael Rozental Sid Samberg Desi Tanchev Phillip Triggs Rebecca Wilcox Cello Emily Hu, Principal Marcia Chessick Hilary Clark Lucy Colman Dan Klingler Howard Miller Mike Taber Tess Van Wagner Bass Brett Benteler, Principal Bev Schiltz Nick Steffan
Piccolo Angela Reynolds Oboe Jennifer Stucki, Principal
Bassoon Elizabeth Heller, Principal Jen Speer Trumpet Kyle Upton, Principal Paul Gilkerson French Horn Matthew Oliphant, Principal, Jack Shankman Chair Dafydd Bevil Erika Hollenback Laurel Lovestrom Trombone Adina Salmahnson Tom Park Bass Trombone John Alberts Tuba Josh Wirt Timpani Jay Renstrom Percussion Barry Grossman Emily Saltz
The Russian Symphonists
C H A I R E N D OWM E N T A N D S P O N S O R S H I P S Kathryn J. Canny, Chair Endowment – Concertmaster Chair The Leo Krakow Community Endowment Fund – Concert Elizabeth and E. Harris Krawitz Endowment – Concert Harvey E. Mittenthal Scholarship Fund – Mittenthal String Chair Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation – Young Artist Competition Charles and Cyd Sandleman Chair Endowment – Assistant Concertmaster Chair
2 012 - 2 013 S V S O D O N AT I O N S Sustaining: $2500+ Kathryn Canny Dr. Lee & Bonnie Malmed Niles Township The Pauls Foundation Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation Rice Young People’s Endowment Fund/ North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie Foundation Village of Skokie Benefactor: $1,000 - $2,499 Patron: $500 - $999 Steven Jay Blutza, Ph.D. Mrs. Jason Sharps Cliff and Robin Wolf Sponsors: $250 - $499 John Alberts David Eccles Pamela Grad Carol & Roger Hirsch Ethel Mittenthal Thomas E. Rice Michael Vaughn
Donors: $100 - $249 Mark Barats Louis & Loretta Becker Annette & Sydney Caron Dr. & Mrs. Richard Chessick Maurice & Ruth Ettleson Bernard & Marilyn Friedman Milton & Miriam Levin Edward S. & Phyllis E. Merkin Ronald & Shirley Pregozen Mr. & Mrs. Henry Rosenbaum Harold & Rita Selz Thelma Skaletsky Janet Thau & Howard Reisman, in honor of Barry Grossman Peter Thomas Mrs. Henry Wolf Friends: $25 - $99 Ruth Barrash Frank Boudart Sherwin Chapman Mr. & Mrs. Robert Echales, in memory of Edith Via
Elizabeth Gomorczak, in memory of Edith Via Patricia Gottschalk Alysa Isaacson Terese Klinger Jane Kornblith Joseph Kramer Sima Miller Sima Miller & Sidney Simons Arthur & Lois Mills Michael Modica Sheldon Mostovoy Joseph Ott Susan & Pat Pastin Saul Patt Judy Rosenbaum Michael Roth Milton Salmansohn Rhoda & Larry Schuman Harold C. Silverman Warner & Dolores Strauss Florence T. Stein Dr. Sylvia Stuart George Vass Sandra Lynn Weiss Ms. Char Wiss Janice Ross & Martin Zabin
Supporting the Symphony The concert you hear today was made possible by the generous donors you see listed in our program. To find out how you can contribute, please contact the SVSO office or go to our website at www.svso.org
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2 012 - 2 013 B OA R D O F D I R E C TO R S Kathryn J. Canny, President Karen L. Frost, Artistic Vice President ♪ David F. Eccles, Administrative Vice President ♪ Steven Jay Blutza, Ph.D., Treasurer John Alberts, Secretary ♪ Heather Hill Roger Hirsch Bonnie Malmed ♪ Lee Malmed, M.D. ♪ Ethel Mittenthal James K. O’Neal Michael Vaughn, Ph.D. Honorary Board Members Barbara Brown Lucinda Kasperson Thomas Rosenwein, J.D. Jack Shankman, J.D. Francesco Milioto, Conductor and Music Director Valerie Simosko, Office Manager Office address: 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL 60077 Phone: 847-679-9501 x3014 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.svso.org
♪ Symbol denotes members of the orchestra
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