TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2015 8PM Pre-concert lecture by Beth Sussman, 7pm Segerstrom center for the arts Renée and henry Segerstrom concert hall
RAY CHEN, VIOLIN JULIO ELIZALDE, PIANO Rondo Brillant in B minor, D. 895 Op. 70
Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 100 in a major
SCHUBERT: Rondo BRillanT in B MinoR foR Violin and Piano, d.895
allegro amabile andante tranquillo; Vivace allegretto grazioso (quasi andante)
- INteRmISSION Fratres for violin and piano
arvo PäRt (b. 1935)
Divertimento from Igor StRaVINSky Le baiser de la fée (The Fairy's Kiss) (1882-1971) Sinfonia Danses suisses Scherzo Pas de Deux: adagio, Variation, and coda
RAY CHEN (JULIAN HARGREAVES)
maurice RaVeL (1875-1937)
Ray Chen is represented by Columbia Artists Management, LLC Personal Direction: Anastasia Boudanoque 1790 Broadway, 16th Floor | New York, NY 10019
The Philharmonic Society gratefully acknowledges the Isidore C. and Penny W. Myers Foundation Endowment Fund/ Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County for generously sponsoring the evening’s performance.
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Schubert composed the Rondo brillant in B minor for Violin and Piano in October 1826, and it was published the following year, one of his few works to appear in print during his lifetime. Schubert wrote this music for the Bohemian violinist Josef Slavik and pianist Karl von Bocklet, who were active in promoting Schubert’s music during the final years of his all-too-brief life. Schubert played both violin and piano, so the graceful and idiomatic writing for the two instruments here is no surprise, but the unusual feature of this music is its difficulty. Perhaps the knowledge that he was writing for virtuoso players encouraged Schubert to compose very demanding music, and one of the early reviewers in Vienna noted, “Both the pianoforte and the fiddle require a practiced artist, who must be prepared for passages which have not by any means attained to their right of citizenship by endless use, but betoken a succession of new and inspired ideas.” The music’s publisher also recognized its difficulty: Schubert had himself called it only Rondo, but the publisher added the adjective brillant. The Rondo brillant is in two parts: a slow introduction followed by the animated rondo. The opening Andante alternates the piano’s pounding dotted chords with fiery runs from the violin, and
BRaHMS: Violin SonaTa no. 2 in a MajoR, oPUS 100 Brahms spent the summer of 1886 at Lake Thun in Switzerland. At 53, he was at the zenith of his creative powers. The previous fall had seen the premiere of his Fourth Symphony, which he had conducted throughout Germany, and now he came to the sunny meadows of Switzerland to relax and compose. Working in a room with a view of glistening glaciers across the magnificent lake, Brahms turned to chamber music. From that summer came his Second Cello Sonata, the Piano Trio in C Minor, and the Second Violin Sonata; he returned to the same room for the next two summers, completing his Double Concerto for Violin and Cello and his Third Violin Sonata and grumbling the whole while that writing for stringed instruments should be left to “someone who understands fiddles better than I do.” The Sonata in A major is one of Brahms’ finest chamber works and one of the most good-natured pieces he ever wrote. Characterized by gracious melodies and an easy partnership between violin and piano, this genial music also offers some of Brahms’ most idiomatic writing for the violin. The score is littered with Brahms’ constant reminders to the performers: dolce, teneramente
(tenderly), espressivo, sempre dolce. Even the tempo indication for the first movement spells out clearly the mood Brahms wishes to project: Allegro amabile—“Fast, [but with] love.” The movement begins with a graceful, flowing melody for piano alone, its four-bar phrases always answered by the violin. The violin itself soon picks up this melody and later shares the equally-relaxed second subject with the piano. In the same year that he wrote this sonata, Brahms used this theme as the basis for his song Wie Melodien zieht es mir (“As Melodies a Feeling”), and it may be worth quoting the opening of the text of that song, for some of its spirit flavors this movement: “As melodies a feeling / steals softly through my mind, / as spring flowers it blooms / and as scent floats away.” The development is powerful, but the music remains amiable throughout, and an extended coda rises nobly to the dramatic close.
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this music in turn frames a haunting middle section that Schubert marks dolce. The introduction concludes with an almost timid two-note cadence: B rising to C-sharp. But this restrained figure promptly becomes the basis for the rondo itself, marked Allegro: both violin and piano hammer it out to launch the rondo, and this rising motif will figure as an important thematic element throughout. The rondo section itself combines equal parts virtuosity (busy passagework, high positions, surprising accidentals, and difficult string-crossing) with the most melting lyricism, as Schubert breaks into the bustle of this music with gentle interludes. Along the way, he brings back reminiscences of the slow introduction before a più mosso coda drives this music to its spirited close.
In the second movement, Brahms combines slow movement and scherzo. The opening Andante tranquillo soon gives way to a tautlysprung Vivace, and these sections alternate through the movement. Particularly impressive is the gentle opening theme, marked dolce on each appearance. With each repetition, it rises higher in the violin’s register until at last it soars high above the piano accompaniment. The music comes to a quiet close, and then Brahms ends with a quick joke: a seven-bar fragment of the scherzo section jumps up to bring the movement to its real close. The concluding Allegretto grazioso (Brahms’ marking is once again quite specific: “Moderately quick, [but] graceful”) is a rondo. The violin has the stirring main theme, which stays entirely on the G-string (and it remains a mystery how anyone who could write such glorious music for the violin could also complain that he felt incapable of writing for the instrument). Alternating episodes grow more impassioned as the movement proceeds, but the noble main idea dominates and carries the music to its close. 3
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PÄRT: fRaTRES Arvo Pärt endured a long and difficult path to his current prominence as a composer. Trained in Tallinn, Pärt supported himself for many years as a recording engineer for Estonian Radio and by writing film scores as he tried to make his way as a composer in a society rigidly controlled by conservative Soviet artistic dictates. Rebelling against the conformity and simplicity of that approach, Pärt began to experiment: first with serialism (at a time when that was discouraged in Soviet music), then with collage techniques, and later with the plainchant of early religious music. Without any knowledge of minimalism as it was then evolving in the United States, Pärt arrived at similar compositional procedures by himself, and his music is built on the same hypnotic repetition of simple materials, in his case often derived from early church music (a strong animating feature of Pärt’s music is his devout Orthodox faith). With his family, Pärt emigrated in 1980 and has lived in Germany since 1981. Fratres exists in several different forms. Pärt originally composed it in 1977 for the Estonian early-music group Hortus Musicus. He then received a commission from the Salzburg Festival for a work for violin and piano based on Fratres, and this version—the one heard on this concert—was premiered at Salzburg on August 17, 1980, by Gidon and Elena Kremer. Pärt subsequently arranged Fratres for the twelve cellos of the Berlin Philharmonic and then for other ensembles. Each of these versions is slightly different, fitting in a work which is itself in variation form. The violin-piano version opens with a prelude for solo violin, a string of shifting arpeggios that grow out of near-inaudibility to triple forte. Powerful piano chords interrupt this progression, and then the piano lays out the three-measure ground bass—in 7/4, 9/4, and 11/4—that will repeat sixteen times, sometimes broken by near-static interludes. Above these inexorable
chords, the violin spins out a sequence of variations in different speeds and moods. Fratres is exceptionally solemn and beautiful music: the piano’s chord progression has a cantus firmus dignity, and the violin variations complement and extend the solemnity of that line. The music remains poised—one might say serene—throughout the sixteen variations, which have a detached, almost timeless quality, and finally Fratres fades into silence on the strange sound of the violin’s col legno chords. STRaVinSKY: diVERTiMEnTo fRoM The Fairy’s Kiss As a small boy, Stravinsky was taken to see a performance of Sleeping Beauty and fell in love with the music of Tchaikovsky on the spot. In one of his autobiographies, Stravinsky recalls an even more intense memory: at a performance of Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar in 1893, the elevenyear-old Stravinsky came out of his family’s box to see a tall figure stride past. His mother leaned down and whispered: “Igor, look, there is Tchaikovsky.” Stravinsky notes: “I looked and saw a man with white hair, large shoulders, a corpulent back, and this image has remained in the retina of my memory all my life.” A love for Tchaikovsky’s music remained with Stravinsky all his life as well, and when, in 1927, the dancer Ida Rubinstein suggested that he write a ballet for her new company, Stravinsky quickly accepted her proposal that he compose a score based on themes by Tchaikovsky, much as he had written Pulcinella on themes by Pergolesi in 1920. Stravinsky based the ballet on the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Ice Maiden, in which a fairy finds a boy lost in a snowstorm and imprints a magic kiss upon him. This kiss gives her control of the boy, and twenty years later—on his wedding day—she re-appears, kisses him again, and takes eternal possession of the young man. Stravinsky drew his themes for this ballet from five of Tchaikovsky’s songs and about a dozen of his piano pieces, so that the resulting ballet is an
The ballet was in four scenes, and Stravinsky kept the order of the original pieces intact but made cuts that reduce the Divertimento to less than half of the forty-five-minute ballet. The Divertimento is in four movements, with the first two performed without pause: the serene opening Sinfonia is the ballet’s first scene, the stately Danses suisses the second. The brief Scherzo is taken from the third scene; some of this music bears a strong resemblance to Stravinsky’s Apollo, completed the same year as The Fairy’s Kiss. The final movement, characterized by great rhythmic variety, is based on three of the four sections of the original ballet’s Pas de Deux: Adagio, Variation, and Coda. As ballet or as instrumental suite, this music remains a unique tribute from one artist to another. RaVEl: TziganE In the summer of 1922, just as he began his orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Ravel visited England for several concerts of his music, and in London he heard a performance of his brand-new Sonata for Violin and Cello by Jelly d’Aranyi and Hans Kindler. Jelly d’Aranyi must have been a very impressive violinist, for every composer who heard her was
swept away by her playing—and by her personality (Bartók was one of the many who fell in love with her). Ravel was so impressed that he stayed after the concert and talked her into playing gypsy tunes from her native Hungary for him—and he kept her there until 5 a.m. the next morning, playing for him. Tzigane probably got its start that night. Inspired by both d’Aranyi’s playing and the fiery gypsy tunes, Ravel set out to write a virtuoso showpiece for the violin based on gypsy-like melodies (the title Tzigane means simply “gypsy”). Its composition was much delayed, however, and Ravel did not complete Tzigane for another two years. Trying to preserve a distinctly Hungarian flavor, he wrote Tzigane for violin with the accompaniment of lutheal, a device which—when attached to a piano—gave the piano a jangling sound typical of the Hungarian cimbalon. The first performance, by Jelly d’Aranyi with piano accompaniment, took place in London on April 26, 1924, and later that year Ravel prepared an orchestral accompaniment. In whatever form it is heard, Tzigane remains an audience favorite.
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amalgam of both composers’ styles, combining Tchaikovsky’s melodic gift with Stravinsky’s ingenious rhythmic sense. First performed in Paris on November 27, 1928, The Fairy’s Kiss (as Stravinsky called the ballet) has never enjoyed the success of his other ballets, but Stravinsky retained his fondness for the music. Several years later, in the early 1930s, when Stravinsky went on concert tours with the violinist Samuel Dushkin, he needed music for the two of them to play together. He composed the Duo Concertante for Dushkin and arranged several of his orchestral scores for violin and piano to fill out these programs. One of these scores was The Fairy’s Kiss, though when Stravinsky made the violin-piano arrangement, he changed the title to the more abstract Divertimento.
It is unusual for a French composer to be so drawn to gypsy music. Usually it was the composer from central Europe—Liszt, Brahms, Joachim, Hubay—who felt the charm of this music, but Ravel enters fully into the spirit and creates a virtuoso showpiece redolent of gypsy campfires and smoldering dance tunes. Tzigane opens with a long cadenza (nearly half the length of the entire piece) that keeps the violinist solely on the G-string across the span of the entire first page. While Tzigane seems drenched in an authentic gypsy spirit, all of its themes are Ravel’s own, composed in the spirit of the tunes he heard d’Aranyi play late that night. Gradually the accompaniment enters, and the piece takes off. Tzigane is quite episodic, and across its blazing second half Ravel demands such techniques from the violinist as artificial harmonics, left-hand pizzicatos, complex multiple-stops, and sustained octave passages. Over 5
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the final pages, the tempo gradually accelerates until Tzigane rushes to its scorching close, marked Presto. - Program notes by Eric Bromberger RaY CHEn, Violin Winner of the Queen Elisabeth (2009) and Yehudi Menuhin Competitions (2008), Ray Chen is among the most compelling young violinists today. “Ray has proven himself to be a very pure musician with great qualities such as a beautiful youthful tone, vitality and lightness. He has all the skills of a truly musical interpreter,” said the great Maxim Vengerov. Ray has released three critically acclaimed albums on Sony: a recital program Virtuoso, of works by Bach, Tartini, Franck, and Wieniawski, and the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos with Swedish Radio Orchestra and Daniel Harding. Following the success of these recordings, Ray was profiled by The Strad and Gramophone magazines as “the one to watch.” Virtuoso was distinguished with the prestigious ECHO Klassik award. His third recording, an all-Mozart album with Christoph Eschenbach and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, was released in January 2014. Ray continues to win the admiration of fans and fellow musicians worldwide. In 2012, he became the youngest soloist ever to perform in the televised Nobel Prize Concert for the Nobel Laureates and the Swedish Royal Family. His Carnegie Hall debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Sakari Oramo, as well as his sold-out Musikverein concert with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly, were met with standing ovations. Ray Chen recently completed a 16-concert national recital tour of Australia and made his
debut with the Orchestre National de France. He looks forward to an upcoming tour of China with the Gothenburg Symphony and Kent Nagano, and a European tour with the London Philharmonic and Christoph Eschenbach. Other highlights of the season include debuts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and a recital at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Followed by more then a million people on SoundCloud, Ray Chen looks to expand the classical music audience by increasing its appeal to the young generation via all available social media platforms. He is the first ever classical musician to be invited to write a regular blog about his life as a touring soloist for the largest Italian publishing house, RCS Rizzoli (Corriere della Sera, Gazzetta dello Sport, Max). In his unstinting efforts to break down barriers between classical music, fashion and pop culture, he is supported by Giorgio Armani and was recently featured in Vogue magazine. Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at age 15, where he studied with Aaron Rosand and was supported by Young Concert Artists. He plays the 1715 “Joachim” Stradivarius violin on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. This instrument is one of the five 1715 violins once owned by the famed Hungarian violinist, Joseph Joachim (1831-1907). jUlio ElizaldE, Piano Praised as a musician of “compelling artistry and power” by the Seattle Times, the gifted American pianist Julio Elizalde is one of the most soughtafter and multi-faceted artists of his generation. He has performed in many of the major music centers throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America to popular and critical acclaim. The summer of 2014 marks his third season as Co-Artistic Director of the Olympic Music Festival near Seattle, Washington.
In the same year, he performed the complete cello sonatas by Beethoven in one performance with distinguished cellist Bonnie Hampton at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Mr. Elizalde has performed under the baton of Itzhak Perlman, Teddy Abrams, and Anne Manson. He has also worked with famed artists such as Pamela Frank, Osvaldo Golijov, Stephen Hough, William Sharp, and members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Kronos, and Brentano string quartets. Mr. Elizalde is a member of the New Trio, with violinist Andrew Wan, co-concertmaster of L'Orchestre symphonique de MontrĂŠal, and Patrick Jee, cellist of the New York Philharmonic. The New Trio was the winner of both the Fischoff and Coleman National Chamber Music Competitions and is the recipient of the Harvard Musical Association's prestigious Arthur W. Foote Prize. As part of the New Trio, Mr. Elizalde has performed for distinguished American politicians such as President Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, and the late senator Ted Kennedy. He was a featured performer for the soundtrack of the 2013 film Jimmy P, composed by Howard Shore, Academy Award-winning composer of The Lord of the Rings.
about the artists
Mr. Elizalde has appeared with many of the leading artists of our time. He regularly appears as recital partner to world renowned violinists Sarah Chang and Ray Chen. In 2013, Ms. Chang and Mr. Elizalde performed at an event in New York City honoring the first official visit of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
JULIO ELIZALDE, PIANO
Caramoor, Bowdoin, Kneisel Hall, and the Music Academy of the West. Mr. Elizalde was a juror for the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition held at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Elizalde received a Bachelor of Music degree with honors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Paul Hersh. He holds Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal, Joseph Kalichstein, and Robert McDonald.
Mr. Elizalde performs with the assistance of an Apple iPad Air, forScore music reading software, and a bluetooth wireless foot pedal made Mr. Elizalde is a passionately active educator, by AirTurn. having recently served as a Visiting Professor of piano at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Since 2011, he has been a member of the faculty at the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont and has given masterclasses at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Lawrence University, and the Institute of Music of Chicago. He has also appeared at various summer music festivals including Yellow Barn, Taos, 7