FAUST PLAYS SCHUMANN 15 FEBRUARY 2022
Hello! We are the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) We play on historic instruments using techniques from the time the composer was writing. This means that every time we perform, you will see a stage of intriguing instruments and hear our passion for making the old feel new. Welcome to the third concert of our 2021-22 season, The Wilderness Pleases; exploring the Enlightenment fascination with nature and its awe-striking beauty. The title of the series, The Wilderness Pleases is inspired by a book from the Enlightenment era; Shaftesbury’s controversial 'The Moralists.' In the book, the main character, Theocles, describes the terror of encountering a group of crocodiles in an Egyptian desert. After escaping the monsters, he is overcome with a desire to admire them as wondrous creatures of the natural world.
‘let us fly to the vast deserts of these parts […] ghastly and hideous as they appear they want not their peculiar beauties. The Wilderness pleases.’ -Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury, 1709
FAUST PLAYS SCHUMANN MENDELSSOHN THE HEBRIDES OVERTURE
SCHUMANN VIOLIN CONCERTO IN D MINOR INTERVAL
SCHUMANN SYMPHONY NO.2 IN C MAJOR Conductor Antonello Manacorda Solo Violin Isabelle Faust Violin I Matthew Truscott Julia Kuhn Andrew Roberts Silvia Schweinberger Alice Evans Kinga Ujszaszi Rachel Isserlis May Kunstovny Stephen Rouse Leonie Curtin Violin II Rodolfo Richter Daniel Edgar Henry Tong Claire Holden Nia Lewis Nancy Elan Jayne Spencer Anna Curzon
Viola Benedikt Schneider Martin Kelly Annette Isserlis Kate Heller Marina Ascherson Lisa Cochrane Cello Catherine Rimer Andrew Skidmore Helen Verney Ruth Alford Penny Driver Double bass Christine Sticher Cecelia Bruggemeyer Paul Sherman Flute Lisa Beznosiuk Katy Bircher Oboe Daniel Bates Leo Duarte
This concert is supported by Mark and Rosamund Williams.
Clarinet Katherine Spencer Sarah Thurlow Bassoon Christopher Rawley Sally Jackson Horn Gavin Edwards Martin Lawrence Richard Bayliss Trumpet David Blackadder Philip Bainbridge Trombone Miguel Tantos Sevillano Charlotte van Passen Andrew Lester Timpani Adrian Bending
programme notes THE HEBRIDES OVERTURE OP.26 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Young gentlemen of the 18th century travelled to Italy to absorb the culture of classical Rome. But the age of Beethoven and Goethe had wilder tastes. And so, on 7th August 1829, the 20-year old Felix Mendelssohn urged his reluctant friend Karl Klingemann onto the paddle steamer that was to take them on a sightseeing trip to the Hebridean island of Staffa, and its great basalt sea-cave. Klingemann was right to worry; he was seasick. But if Mendelssohn suffered too, he didn't mention it in his letters home: “In order to make you understand how extraordinarily the Hebrides affected me, the following came into my head there”. There follows, hastily scribbled but otherwise exactly as we hear it today, the opening of the Hebrides overture. “You will excuse a short note, as the best I have to tell you is described exactly in the above music”, he added. So there’s not much more to say, other than that he completed the overture in Rome on
16th December 1830. That opening motif begins its wave-like swell, and Mendelssohn lays out the squalls, the vistas and the whole fresh, bracing atmosphere of one of music’s most unforgettable boat-trips. Richard Bratby
VIOLIN CONCERTO IN D MINOR WoO.23 Robert Schumann (1810-1856) In the Spring of 1853 Schumann saw the great virtuoso Joseph Joachim play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. The performance made a deep impression on the composer and prompted him to write two works for violin and orchestra with Joachim in mind. One was this concerto, started on 21 September 1853, finished on 1 October, and fully orchestrated two days later. Joachim, though, wasn’t too taken with Schumann’s efforts, which is where an extraordinary story begins. The violinist acted to stop the concerto bring published with the support of Brahms; neither believed the score worthy of Schumann’s name (a combination of Brahms’s crippling unrealistic perfectionism and Joachim’s lack of judgement). Joachim squirreled the score away in the Prussian State Library. Seven decades later, enter stage left Joachim’s great niece Jelly d’Aranyi – a London violinist with a penchant for the supernatural. According to d’Aranyi, she heard of the unknown concerto’s existence when Schumann himself spoke to her from the grave during a session using a Ouija Board. D’Aranyi spread the word of the concerto’s existence and before long the manuscript stashed by Joachim was hunted down. D’Aranyi, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Adrian Boult gave the first UK performance of the work on 16 February 1938 in London, shortly after the German premiere in Berlin a few months earlier.
Critics, eager to find reasoning for the actions of Brahms and Joachim, pointed to the work’s structural weaknesses. In a sense, they got to the bottom of it: the concerto’s relationship with traditional sonata form is uneasy and Schumann doesn’t always appear to develop his themes as a composer of his stature would have been expected to. They pointed, too, to a general lack of drama and a profusion of irritating repetition. These days, it’s easier to appreciate the piece as ‘different’ rather than simply ‘sub-standard’. The musicologist Alfred Nieman has noted Schumann’s lack of interest in pitting clashing opposites against one another, as most Romantic concertos were wont to do. Instead, writes Nieman, Schumann’s themes should be heard ‘as if characters in a play, forming new alignments in varying scenes but seldom drastically changing their basic personalities.’ In his first movement, Schumann fashions a traditional opening structure that’s eclipsed by his very different-sounding themes: two are presented by the orchestra before the soloist has played a note; towards the middle of the movement Schumann appears to deconstruct one of them as the orchestra and soloist trade short chords and delicate arpeggios in a moment of strange fragility. The theme of the slow movement in particularly touching (Brahms used it as the basis for another set of variations) not least when, towards the end of the movement, we hear it in a completely different light: shifted down a third and suddenly in a minor key. A short transition leads to the final movement,
SYMPHONY NO.2 IN C MAJOR OP.61
a cheerful Polonaise in which three themes are recalled no less than five times. But all is not jolly. At one point the music suddenly glances over its shoulder, recalling the main musical idea of the slow movement in what seems to be a moment of sudden, chilling fear. Schumann surely sensed what was coming his way.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Sostenuto assai - Un poco più vivace Allegro ma non troppo Scherzo (Allegro vivace) Adagio espressivo Allegro molto vivace In 1841, following the early piano masterpieces of the 1830s and great lyrical outpouring of his 'year of song' at the time of his marriage to Clara Wieck in 1840, Schumann turned his attention to orchestral music and especially to symphony. This was the year that saw the completion of his Symphony No. 1 in B flat, the 'Spring Symphony' (and its first performance conducted by Mendelssohn at the Gewandhaus), then a work at one point entitled 'Symphonette' that he later published as Overture, Scherzo and Finale, in May a Fantasie for piano and orchestra that was to become the first movement of his Piano Concerto, next the first version of a D minor symphony that was revised in 1851 as No. 4, and finally some more movements that were never to find a symphonic home. The symphony familiar as No. 2 in C major came in 1845, No. 3 in E flat (the 'Rhine Symphony') in 1850. This confused history reflects more than simply indecision on Schumann's part. In the wake of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in 1825, when suddenly a singer arose from among the performers, declaiming 'Friends! Not these sounds' and calling for 'a new song', composers felt the whole nature of symphony to be challenged. Berlioz set off in the direction of the dramatic symphony; Liszt composed his programmatic Faust Symphony and
developed the one-movement descriptive 'symphonic poem'; Wagner was to take the art of symphonic development into the theatre; but other composers, most important among them Mendelssohn and Schumann, were concerned to reconcile pictorial or narrative or programmatic elements within the traditional confines of the symphony. Mendelssohn's 'Italian' and 'Scottish' symphonies absorb vivid travel memories into symphonic form; Schumann's 'Spring' and 'Rhine' symphonies make use of different experiences while not breaking the symphonic mould. His Second Symphony draws on more personal and inward feeling. By 1845, the flush of enthusiasm and happiness that followed Robert's long-sought marriage to Clara had turned to a deep private depression that was perhaps an intimation of his later insanity. 'It was the resistance of the spirit here at work which helped me to combat my condition', he wrote to a friend. 'The first movement is full of this struggle, and in its character it is capricious and refractory.' He feared that his 'semi-invalid state may be divined from the music. I began to feel more myself again when I wrote the last movement, and was certainly better when I finished the whole work', though he knew that it was 'stamped with melancholy'. If there is a private programme, this is one of an artist struggling with illness and for the moment triumphing; but it is of the essence of Schumann's symphonic art that he should distil experience - even when he admitted its source - into abstract symphonic form. He begins with a brooding figure in the strings beneath a strong
brass theme that is his 'call to action' against the threatening darkness; it recurs at all the most crucial moments in the work. His main theme, when the pace quickens, is not contrasted with another theme but set in opposition to these earlier ones. The scherzo which follows is marked to be lively; but the swift pace and punching rhythms are undermined by harmony based on the most disruptive chord in Romantic harmony, the diminished seventh; there is, however, the contrast of two Trio sections, one lighter, the second marked with a lyrical elegance that looks forward to the slow movement. This is one of Schumann's most beautiful Adagios, a deeply reflective, brooding meditation suggesting the depths of his emotion at the centre of the symphonic struggle. There is a successful outcome, though despite the assertions of the opening fanfare this remains troubled. The bravura of the marching theme which it introduces contines to be afflicted by darker elements, before the work ends with an optimism that has not been easily won. Mendelssohn was again the conductor of the first performance, at the Gewandhaus on 5th November 1846.
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ISABELLE FAUST Isabelle Faust captivates her audience with her compelling interpretations. She dives deep into every piece considering the musical historical context, historically appropriate instruments and the greatest possible authenticity according to a contemporary state of knowledge. Thus, she manages to constantly illuminate and passionately perform the repertoire of a wide variety of composers. After winning the renowned Leopold Mozart Competition and the Paganini Competition at a very young age, she soon gave regular performances with the world’s major orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Baroque Orchestra Freiburg. This led to close and sustained cooperation with conductors like Claudio Abbado, Giovanni Antonini, François-Xavier Roth, Frans Brüggen, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Philippe Herreweghe, Andris Nelsons and Robin Ticciati. Isabelle Faust’s vast artistic curosity includes all eras and forms of
instrumental cooperation. Thus she never considers music as an end in itself but rather advances the piece’s essence in a devoted, subtle and conscientious way. In addition to big symphonic violin concertos this includes for instance Schubert’s octet with historical instruments as well as György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments with Anna Prohaska or Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with Dominique Horwitz. With great commitment she renders an outstanding service to the performance of contemporary music, recent world premieres include works by Péter Eötvös, Brett Dean and Ondřej Adámek. Numerous recordings have been unanimously praised by critics and awarded the Diapason d’or, the Grammophone Award, the Choc de l’année and other prizes. The most recent recordings include Arnold Schönberg’s violin concerto with Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio symphony Orchestra, published in 2020, followed in 2021 by Ludwig van Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Alexander Melnikov, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburger Barockorchester. Isabelle Faust presented further popular recordings among others of the Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as violin concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven and Alban Berg under the direction of Claudio Abbado. She shares a long-standing chamber music partnership with the pianist Alexander Melnikov. Among others, joint recordings with sonatas for piano and violin by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms have been released.
ANTONELLO MANACORDA An Italian with a strong affinity for the German repertoire. A "natural melodist" (Der Tagesspiegel), who excels at transferring the intricacy of his stylistically informed interpretations to the big orchestral apparatus. More, a true artist merging sheer creative force with a highly collaborative performance style. Antonello Manacorda’s versatility as a conductor is rooted in the richness of his musical and cultural background: born into an French-Italian family in Turin, educated in Amsterdam and a longtime Berlin resident, Manacorda was a founding member and longstanding concert master of the Claudio Abbado – initiated Mahler Chamber Ochestra before studying under legendary Finnish conductor Jorma Panula. Today Antonello Manacorda is performing at both the world’s most renowned opera houses as well as at the helm of globally renowned symphony orchestras. At the heart of his work is the Kammerakademie Potsdam – an ensemble he has shaped as its Artistic Director since 2010 and produced a series of award-winning recordings with since.
In the 2021/22 season, Antonello Manacorda will debut with Ariadne auf Naxos at the Berlin State Opera. Productions of Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly will take him to the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Furthermore, he follows re-invitations to the Vienna State Opera (Le nozze di Figaro and The Abduction from the Seraglio) and to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London (La Traviata). Highlights of his symphonic calendar in the 2021/22 season include his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. The main works on the program are Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and Mahler's Rückert-Lieder with Christian Gerhaher. Furthermore, Antonello Manacorda will perform as a guest conductor with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, as well as on tour with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment. In the past seasons, Antonello Manacorda has enjoyed success among others with debuts with the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra as well as with his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (Le nozze di Figaro) and a new production of Dmitri Tcherniakov's Der Freischütz at the Bavarian State Opera.
ABOUT THE ORCHESTRA “Not all orchestras are the same” Over three decades ago, a group of inquisitive London musicians took a long hard look at that curious institution we call the Orchestra, and decided to start again from scratch. They began by throwing out the rulebook. Put a single conductor in charge? No way. Specialise in repertoire of a particular era? Too restricting. Perfect a work and then move on? Too lazy. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was born. And as this distinctive ensemble playing on period-specific instruments began to get a foothold, it made a promise to itself. It vowed to keep questioning, adapting and inventing as long as it lived. Those original instruments became just one element of its quest for authenticity. Baroque and Classical music became just one strand of its repertoire. Every time the musical establishment thought it had a handle on what the OAE was all about, the ensemble pulled out another shocker: a Symphonie Fantastique here, some conductor-less Bach there. All the while, the Orchestra’s players called the shots. In some small way, the OAE changed the classical music world too. It challenged those distinguished partner organisations and brought the very best from them, too. Symphony and opera orchestras began to ask it for advice. Existing period instrument groups started to vary their conductors and
repertoire. New ones popped up all over Europe and America. And so the story continues, with ever more momentum and vision. The OAE’s series of nocturnal Night Shift performances have redefined concert parameters. Its association at London’s Kings Place has fostered further diversity of planning and music-making. The ensemble has formed the bedrock for some of Glyndebourne’s most ground-breaking recent productions. In keeping with its values of always questioning, challenging and trailblazing, in September 2020, the OAE became the resident orchestra of Acland Burghley School, Camden. The residency – a first for a British orchestra – allows the OAE to live, work and play amongst the students of the school. Of the instrumentalists, many remain from those brave first days; many have come since. All seem as eager and hungry as ever. They’re offered ever greater respect, but continue only to question themselves. Because still, they pride themselves on sitting ever so slightly outside the box. They wouldn’t want it any other way. ©Andrew Mellor orchestraoftheageofenlightenment theoae oae_photos YouTube.com/OrchestraEnlighten
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Operations Assistant Henry Ashmall Nathanael Jordine Orchestra Consultant Philippa Brownsword Choir Manager David Clegg Librarian Roy Mowatt Leaders Huw Daniel Kati Debretzeni Margaret Faultless Matthew Truscott Players’ Artistic Committee Adrian Bending Steven Devine Max Mandel Andrew Roberts Katharina Spreckelsen Principal Artists John Butt Sir Mark Elder Iván Fischer Vladimir Jurowski Sir Simon Rattle Sir András Schiff Emeritus Conductors William Christie Sir Roger Norrington
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APPEAL DONORS We have been overwhelmed by the support of our audiences since the beginning of the pandemic. Many of you have generously helped us tackle this challenging time by donating to our Regeneration Appeal. We gratefully acknowledge those donors below Charles and Julia Abel Smith Mark and Sue Allen Deborah Anthony Julian and Annette Armstrong Hugh and Michelle Arthur John Birks Sir Victor Blank Bob and Elisabeth Boas A & FDW Boettcher William Bordass Mr Roger Bowerman Ms Susan Bracken Neil Brock
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WE MOVED INTO A SCHOOL
A little over a year ago we took up permanent residence at Acland Burghley School in Camden, North London. The residency – a first for a British orchestra – allows us to live, work and play amongst the students of the school. Three offices have been adapted for our administration team, alongside a recording studio and library. We use the Grade II listed school assembly hall as a rehearsal space, with plans to refurbish it under the school’s ‘A Theatre for All’ project. The school isn't just our landlord or physical home. Instead, it allows us to build on twenty years of work in the borough through OAE’s long-standing partnership with Camden Music. Having already worked in eighteen of the local primary schools that feed into ABS, the plans moving forward are to support music and arts across the school into the wider community. Our move underpins our core ‘enlightenment’ mission of reaching as wide an audience as possible. A similar project was undertaken in 2015 in Bremen, Germany. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie moved into a local comprehensive school in a deprived area and the results were described as “transformational”, with improved academic performance, language skills, mental health and IQ scores; reputational benefits; greater interest in and engagement with music among pupils; strengthened links between school, orchestra and community; and even, according to some of the musicians who took part, an improvement in the Kammerphilharmonie’s playing. Margaret Faultless, OAE leader and violinist, said: “The members of the Bremen Kammerphilharmonie said their experience actually improved them as an orchestra and I think the same will happen to us over the next five or so years, and it will remind all of us of the reasons we make music, which are sometimes easy to forget, especially in our strange and troubled times.” Continues Margaret: “I am certainly looking forward to learning from the young people at Acland Burghley and in turn introducing them to the joys of our music and music-making.” The move has been made possible with a leadership grant of £120,000 from The Linbury Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts.
OAE EDUCATION A PROGRAMME TO INVOLVE, EMPOWER AND INSPIRE
Over the past twenty years OAE Education has grown in stature and reach to involve thousands of people nationwide in creative music projects. Our participants come from a wide range of backgrounds and we pride ourselves in working flexibly, adapting to the needs of local people and the places they live.
The extensive partnerships we have built up over many years help us engage fully with all the communities where we work to ensure maximum and lasting impact. We take inspiration from the OAE's repertoire, instruments and players. This makes for a vibrant, challenging and engaging programme where everyone is involved; players, animateurs, composers, participants, teachers, partners and stakeholders all have a valued voice.
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FISCHER CONDUCTS MAHLER SYMPHONY NO.4 Tuesday 8 March 2022, 7pm
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre Soprano: Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha Conductor: Ádám Fischer MAHLER Symphony no.5 - Adagietto MAHLER Des Knaben Wunderhorn -Wer hat das Liedlein erdacht? -Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen -Rheinlegendchen MAHLER Symphony No.4 Continuing the season theme of ‘Wilderness Pleases’, in this concert we turn our focus to the pleasing wilderness in heaven in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, conducted by Ádám Fischer. The lyrics of this ethereal symphony presents a child’s vision of heaven, complete with gardens brimming with fruits and vegetables and fishes swimming in a pond. At a time when our news feeds are filled with reports of disasters, disease and damage to our planet, Mahler’s symphony invites us to engage once more with our childlike joy in nature and treasure what we have.
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The OAE is a registered charity number 295329. Registered company number 2040312. Acland Burghley School, 93 Burghley Road, London NW5 1UH | 0208 159 9310 | email@example.com We are grateful for the support of our environmental partner Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum who generously allowed us to conduct our season photoshoot in their grounds. Photo credit Emma-Jane Lewis.