rAy chen, In recITAl Julio elizalde, piano Sonata for Piano and Wolfgang Amadeus MozArT Violin in B-flat, K. 454 (1756-1791) largo - Allegro Andante Allegretto
Ray Chen (photo: Chris Dunlop)
Violin Sonata no. 3 in D minor, op. 108
Johannes BrAhMS (1833-1897)
Allegro Adagio Un poco presto e con sentimento Presto agitato
InTerMISSIon Sonata no. 2 for Solo Violin
eugène ÿSAÿe (1858-1931)
obsession; Prelude Malinconia Danse des ombres; Sarabande les furies
Havanaise, op. 83
camille SAInT-SAënS (1835-1921)
Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso, op. 28 EXCLUSIVE MANAGEMENT Columbia Artists Music, LLC 5 Columbus Circle @ 1790 Broadway 16 Fl, New York, NY 10019 | www.camimusic.com
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MOzART: SONATA FOR PIANO AND VIOLIN IN B-FLAT, K. 454 Throughout his short career, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) produced more than thirty sonatas for violin and piano. The first ones were published when he was eight, the last at thirty-two, three years before his death. These sonatas—especially the later ones, by which time he had honed his craft— show Mozart at his best: charming, disarming, and abounding with verve and inspiration. He moves effortlessly from one melodic idea to the next, never giving his audience time to tire of any single element. In fact, if one were to be so presumptuous as to offer a criticism, it would be that the melodies pass too quickly, that one wishes to hear them again, to savor them once more. Mozart was, however, a consummate performer who surely understood the principle of leaving his audience wishing for more, rather than less. This particular sonata was one of the later additions to the sequence, written in Vienna, and, by the composer’s own dating of the manuscript, completed April 21, 1784. Only days earlier, he had finished his Piano Concerto No. 17, and soon would be at work on his next piano concerto. It was, however, not a year in which he was occupied with operas, symphonies, and other grand scale works. Being very busy with public concerts himself, Mozart needed music that he could include on these concerts, which usually meant the piano.
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He was also a fine violinist, and in his adolescence had been encouraged to specialize in that instrument. The fact that he came to prefer having the piano under his hands did not prevent him from understanding and appreciating the fine qualities of the violin’s voice, and here he manages to balance the interests of two instruments, both of which he knew intimately. BRAHMS: VIOLIN SONATA NO. 3 IN D MINOR, OP. 108 In the summer of 1886, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was spending the summer at the mountain resort of Hofstetten on Switzerland’s Lake Thun. It would be the first of three summers in this resort community near the Eiger and Jungfrau peaks, times that many travelers would spend gazing at the peaks and wondering at their majesty. However, Brahms apparently preferred to put his time to good use. This initial visit he devoted to chamber music, producing the Piano Trio in C minor, the Second Cello Sonata, and two violin sonatas, his second and third in the genre. A gifted pianist, Brahms was no violinist, but that fact gave him no difficulties when it came to writing for the instrument. His good friend and long-time colleague Joseph Joachim was considered by many to be the finest violinist in Europe, and his advice was often at Brahms’ disposal. Thus, his violin writing is ideally suited to the instrument. Yet, in Sonata No. 3, Brahms may have allowed his personal leanings a bit of free rein, for demands on the pianist are determinedly virtuosic, calling more attention to that instrument than might have been expected in a sonata for two players. The Violin Sonata No. 3 premiered in Budapest on December 20, 1888, and was published the following year with a dedication to Hans von Bülow. A prominent pianist, conductor and devoted supporter of Brahms’ compositions, Bülow had offered his famed Meiningen Court orchestra to the composer in 1881 as what was essentially a rehearsal orchestra, available for playing through his orchestral works-inprogress. It was a gift of inestimable value: how
better to sense if a new composition is taking flight than to hear fine players set it to wing? Brahms accepted the offer gratefully and would make many visits to Meiningen in the years that followed. With this sonata, he offered his thanks to the man who had helped him to bring his symphonies to first light. ÿSAÿE: SONATA NO. 2 FOR SOLO VIOLIN Belgian-born Eugene Ysaÿe (1858–1931) was one of the greatest violinists of the day. Master composers of his time wrote for him—the famed Violin Sonata of César Franck was a wedding present to Ysaÿe—but he also composed music himself, always placing the violin in the spotlight. This is nowhere clearer than in his sonatas for solo violin, without even a piano as accompanist. They are, indeed, utterly solo works; Ysaÿe completed the set of six sonatas in 1924. The Sonata No. 2 is almost Baroque-like, with intricately interwoven simultaneous melodies, a technique strongly identified with Bach, for the violinist to whom it was dedicated, Jacques Thibaud, was a specialist in that area. The work’s prelude directly quotes Bach's Partita in E. The subtitles of the four movements hint at the moods and atmospheres that Ysaÿe. “Malinconia” means “melancholy,” “ombre” is “shadows,” and
the Furies are the Greek goddesses of vengeance. Clearly, the moods are highly varied, though there is only a single instrument on stage. Ysaÿe, assisted by the fact that he knew the violin’s capabilities intimately, managed to make the most of his single performer. SAINT-SAëNS: Havanaise, OP. 83, AND introduction and rondo capriccioso, OP. 28 Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) was not only a supremely talented composer, he was also a gifted pianist, who had memorized all of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas by the age of ten. As one might expect, he produced a large quantity of chamber music for his own instrument, but also found time to shine the spotlight on others. His catalog includes several short pieces for violin and piano. Some of these he later transcribed for violin and orchestra, though the original versions were for chamber performance. The Havanaise dates from 1887, shortly after the premiere of his famed Organ Symphony. The work began as a chamber piece for violin and piano based upon the rhythms of the habañera, a flowing dance of Cuban origin. Some may recall that, in the opera Carmen, the title character’s first aria is a habañera, and here, one finds those same sultry rhythms. The Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso was written in 1863 for the composer’s friend and colleague, the Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate, who performed the piece widely, helping to spread Saint-Saëns’ name throughout the continent. At the time, the composer was not yet thirty and still on his way up in the music world. At other times in his career, the composer would complete three violin concerti, in multiple movements and with orchestral accompaniment. Here, however, the young Saint-Saëns seems determined to show what can be said on a smaller scale. It is a lesson that some other composers might have benefited from learning: that longer is not always better. - Program notes by Betsy Schwarm, author of “Classical Music Insights” and “Operatic Insights”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS RAY CHEN, VIOLIN Winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition (2009) and the Yehudi Menuhin Competition (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 his friend and mentor Maxim Vengerov. Mr. Chen’s premiere album, Virtuoso, released worldwide on Sony Classical in January 2011, received glowing reviews from a range of major publications, including The Times and Chicago Tribune, which named it the “CD of the week.” Following the success of this recording, Ray Chen was profiled by The Strad and Gramophone magazines as “the one to watch.” His 2011 recital tour featuring virtuoso repertoire brought him to Tokyo, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, and Dresden. Ray Chen continues to win the admiration of fans and fellow musicians worldwide. In December 2012, he became the youngest soloist ever to perform in the televised Nobel Prize Concert for the Nobel Laureates and the Swedish Royal Family, with Christoph Eschenbach and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. His Verbier Festival and Filarmonica de la Scala debuts resulted in immediate re-engagements. He received standing ovations at the Ravinia and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals, where he was featured by the Munich Philharmonic. Ray Chen is looking forward to his debut performances at Carnegie Hall, Musikverein, Wigmore Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Lucerne Festival. Other highlights of the current season include his collaboration with Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and an all-Mozart recording with Christoph Eschenbach and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, featuring Ray’s own cadenzas. Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray Chen was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 15, where he studied with Aaron Rosand and was supported by Young Concert
JULIO ELIzALDE, PIANO Praised by the New York Times for his “catlike ease” at the keyboard, American pianist Julio Elizalde is gaining widespread recognition for his musical depth and creative insight. He has given performances at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., and Jordan Hall in Boston. He made his New York City concerto debut performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503, with the Juilliard Orchestra under the baton of Anne Manson. Mr. Elizalde is equally active as soloist, recital partner and chamber musician. Mr. Elizalde is the pianist of the New York City-based New Trio, with violinist Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and cellist Patrick Jee, acting principal cellist of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra. The New Trio emerged as one of the nation’s most promising young ensembles after winning the grand prizes at the 2008 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the 2007 Coleman National Chamber Music Competition. In 2010, the trio was awarded the Harvard Musical Association’s prestigious Arthur W. Foote Prize for outstanding young musicians and ensembles. Mr. Elizalde has collaborated with violinists Pamela Frank, Donald Weilerstein, Robert Mann, Curtis Macomber, cellist Bonnie Hampton, baritone William Sharp, and soprano Susan Narucki, among others. This season, he appears as the U.S. recital partner to violinist Ray Chen, winner of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels, Belgium, and Juilliard cello faculty member Bonnie Hampton. Dedicated to the music of our time, Mr. Elizalde has worked with composers Stephen Hough, Michael Brown, Mario Davidovsky and Osvaldo Golijov. He has participated at numerous music festivals, including the Music Acad-
emy of the West, Kneisel Hall, Taos, Yellow Barn, the Olympic Music Festival, and Caramoor. As an educator, Mr. Elizalde has given piano and chamber music master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s college and preparatory divisions, and served on the faculties of the Yellow Barn Young Artist Program in Putney, Vermont, and the Manchester Music Festival in Manchester, Vermont. At the Juilliard School, he has taught classes and currently assists violin faculty member Lewis Kaplan. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Elizalde earned his Bachelor of Music degree with honors at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a student of violist and pianist Paul Hersh. In May of 2007, Mr. Elizalde graduated with a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York City, studying piano with Jerome Lowenthal and Joseph Kalichstein. He has studied chamber music with Emanuel Ax, Seymour Lipkin, and Charles Neidich at Juilliard, Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and the Weilerstein Trio at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Juilliard and completed his piano studies with Robert McDonald.
about the artists
Artists. He plays the 1702 “Lord Newlands” Stradivarius violin on generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
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