STRAUSS: DON JUAN, OP. 20
MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013, 8PM Pre-concert lecture by Christopher Russell, 7pm Segerstrom Center for the Arts Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
st. louis symphony DaviD RobeRtson, conDuctoR maRk spaRks, flute Don Juan, Op. 20 (1888-89)
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Flute Concerto (1993)
Christopher ROUSE (b. 1949)
Amhrán Alla marcia Elegia Scherzo Amhrán Mark Sparks, flute
- INTERMISSION Till Eulenspiegel’s lustige Streiche
(Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks) Op. 28 (1894-95) Symphonie Mathis der Maler
(Matthias the Painter) (1933-34)
Engelkonzert (Angelic Concert) Grablegung (Entombment) Versuchung des heiligen Antonius (Temptation of St. Anthony)
Born: June 11, 1864, in Munich Died: September 8, 1949, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria First Performance: November 11, 1889, in Weimar, conducted by the composer Scoring: 3 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, strings Performance Time: approximately 17 minutes THE LOVER AS ROMANTIC HERO Richard Strauss initially gained widespread attention in the 1880s with a series of remarkable tone poems, orchestral pieces based on dramatic or literary ideas. The first to achieve unqualified success was Don Juan. Strauss found his inspiration for the piece in a verse fragment by the Austrian writer Nikolaus Lenau. In that work, which Lenau left unfinished at his death in 1851, the poet transforms the Don Juan legend as the story of an archetypal Romantic hero. Instead of the cruel seducer we find in other versions of his story, Lenau’s Don is a dreamer driven on an impossible pursuit of ideal beauty. “That magical circle, immeasurably wide, of beautiful femininity,” he declares in Lenau’s verses, “I want to traverse in a storm of pleasure, and die of a kiss upon the lips of the last woman.” Lenau’s text inspired Strauss to a bold and original flight of musical fantasy. The composer offered no specific program, no written narrative, for Don Juan, though it is doubtful that any verbal explication could enhance the experience of the composition. It is impossible to miss the suggestions of sensuality, bravado, and delirious flight that flow from the music, and a listener needs no more than that. Don Juan is a great showpiece, a chance for any orchestra to show its virtuosity. But Strauss can be lyrical also, as in the poetic oboe solo that forms the focal point of the tone poem’s central episode. ROUSE: FLUTE CONCERTO
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Born: February 15, 1949, in Baltimore First Performance: October 27, 1994, in Detroit, Carol Wincenc was soloist, with Hans Vonk conducting the Detroit Symphony Scoring: solo flute, 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, strings Performance Time: approximately 28 minutes
CELTIC REQUIEM Rouse composed his Flute Concerto in 1993 for the stellar flutist Carol Wincenc. The composer explains that the work was inspired largely by the rich musical tradition of the British Isles. “Although both of my parents’ families immigrated to America well before the Revolutionary War,” the composer observes in a preface to his concerto, “I nonetheless still feel a deep ancestral tug of recognition whenever I am exposed to arts and traditions of the British Isles, particularly those of Celtic origin.” The concerto’s five movements form an arch design. At each end are very similar movements titled “Àmhrán,” the Gaelic word for “song.” True to that meaning, these opening and closing portions of the composition bring a serene lyricism, the solo flute singing almost in the manner of an Irish folk song over eloquent, slowmoving harmonies provided by the orchestra. The heart of the concerto, in every sense, is the third movement. Rouse conceived it as a requiem for James Bulger, a child whose abduction and murder by a pair of 10-year-old English boys shocked all of Britain and our composer, who responded with this great elegiac outpouring. On each side of that centerpiece comes lively music, a march as the second portion of the work, and, as the fourth, a scherzo with rhythms suggesting a jig. Although clearly referring to traditional kinds of music, Rouse refracts the characteristic sound of his models through the prism of his highly developed compositional technique, retaining something of their color and energy while creating out of them quite new and exhilarating musical invention.
STRAUSS: TILL EULENSPIEGEL’S LUSTIGE STREICHE (TILL EULENSPIEGEL’S MERRY PRANKS), OP. 28
DOUBLE SUCCESS The American composer Christopher Rouse has achieved the sort of double success to which many of his colleagues aspire but seldom realize, writing music that is highly respected within his profession and deeply appreciated by concert audiences. Rouse is an extremely adept composer, well schooled in the modern techniques of his craft. But communication, rather than compositional intricacy, has always been his principal concern, and he has shown little interest in experimenting with new sounds and procedures simply for the sake of novelty. “I don’t know what the avantgarde is any more,” Rouse once stated in an interview, “but I’m pretty sure I was never a part of it. The fact that I had my undergraduate training in the late ’60s meant that I willingly tried my hand at all sorts of avant-garde approaches. But I kept coming back to the notion that the technique involved was less important than my need to express, which must mean that I’ve always been a Romantic at heart.”
First Performance: November 1895, in Cologne, conducted by Franz Wüllner Scoring: 3 flutes, piccolo, 3 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, E-flat clarinet, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, strings Performance Time: approximately 15 minutes A LEGENDARY PRANKSTER Since the 16th century, accounts have circulated of the deeds and misdeeds of Till Eulenspiegel, one of the most colorful figures in German folklore. Till was a rogue, a prankster and, above all, an impudent mocker of authority. Confusion and disorder followed him everywhere. He overturned stalls in the marketplace, caricatured priests and politicians, seduced young girls and deceived old maids. His tricks usually were at the expense of the most staid members of society—the rich, the pious, the dull, and the prudish—and thus provided both entertainment and social satire. Till’s fame has spread beyond Germany largely by way of the musical portrait of him created by Richard Strauss in Till Eulenspiegel’s lustige Streiche, a title usually translated as “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.” Completed in 1895, this tone poem is unusual among Strauss’s works in this form for its brevity, humor, and lack of a detailed program—that is, an outline of the dramatic ideas embodied in the music. On this last matter, the composer wrote: “It is impossible for me to furnish a program for Till Eulenspiegel; were I to put into words the thoughts which its several incidents suggest to me, they would not suffice for the listener 3
and might even give offense. Let me therefore leave it to my hearers to crack the nut the rogue has presented them.” He went on to admit only that the final “scene” of the tone poem represents Till’s capture, trial, and hanging. A MUSICAL ROMP Till Eulenspiegel opens with five measures of prologue whose gentle musing seems to say: “Once upon a time ....” Immediately the horn intrudes with the first of two thematic ideas associated with the title character. The second, a sly motif announced by a solo clarinet, follows shortly. These two subjects appear repeatedly and in a variety of guises in the episodes that follow, as the orchestra romps with Till through his riotous adventures. But just as the proceedings reach a height of exuberance, they are halted by a chilling drum roll. Loud chords now thunder accusations at Till, which he answers with the insolent clarinet motif. This figure persists even as the rope is tightened around his neck, at last ending in a squeal as the gallows claim the prankster. Now the mild music of the prologue returns, as if to assure us that all this has been only a story. But Till may yet have the last laugh: the final moments suggest his spirit still alive and at large in the world. HINDEMITH: SYMPHONIE MATHIS DER MALER (MATTHIAS THE PAINTER) Born: November 16, 1895, in Hanau, near Frankfurt Died: December 28, 1963, in Frankfurt First Performance: March 12, 1934, in Berlin; Wilhelm Furtwängler conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Scoring: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, strings
became Chancellor of Germany, and official denunciation of “decadent” modern artists began to issue from his Ministry of Culture. Hindemith was a prime target. In these changed circumstances, the subject of “Matthias the Painter” took on entirely new meaning. In June 1933, Hindemith began writing an opera libretto that told an allegorical drama of an artist, Matthias, caught in a political maelstrom, the Peasants’ War of 1524. “He is gripped by the subject,” a friend reported, “the atmosphere in which he is steeped, the overall parallels between those former times and our own, and above all by the theme of the artist’s lonely fate.” Hindemith was still in the early stage of his work on Mathis der Maler when he received a request from Wilhelm Furtwängler, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, for a new orchestral piece. The composer had already decided to preface each of the opera’s acts with an instrumental prelude that would be a kind of musical representation of one of the panels of the Isenheim Altarpiece, Grünewald’s most famous work. Not wishing to disrupt his concentration on the opera, he adapted three of these preludes to create a symphonic score. The success of the resulting Symphonie Mathis der Maler—it was loudly applauded and favorably reviewed—persuaded Hindemith that performance of the opera would proceed routinely. This was not to be. In June 1934, the Nazis banned Hindemith’s music from radio broadcast. Permission to produce Mathis was denied soon thereafter. The opera was finally staged in 1938 in Switzerland, where Hindemith would soon be living as a refugee. MUSIC ANGELIC AND HUMAN The first of the symphony’s three movements opens with “celestial” chords and a melody, announced by the trombone, based on a folk tune whose title translates “Three Angels Sang a Sweet Song.” With this prelude concluded, Hindemith proceeds to the main portion of the movement, whose climax is marked by a return of the folk tune.
Performance Time: approximately 25 minutes A COMPOSER UNDER FIRE Paul Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) was born of a collision between artistic ideals and political reality, which describes both the work’s subject and the conditions surrounding its creation. Hindemith first considered composing a work on the life of Matthias Grünewald, the 16th-century painter, in 1932. At first, he found insufficient drama in the subject and turned to other projects. But historic events soon changed his mind. In January 1933, Hitler 4
The tone of the second movement is subdued and reverent. In the finale, Matthias relives the temptations of St. Anthony, as various characters from the opera appear in a vision and tempt him with pleasure and power. Matthias resists, and the symphony closes with a great hymn of thanksgiving. Program notes © 2012 by Paul Schiavo
abOutthEaRtists David Robertson
DAVID ROBERTSON A consummate musician, masterful programmer, and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music-making and stimulating ideas. In fall 2012, Robertson launched his eighth season as Music Director of the 133-year-old St. Louis Symphony. In January 2014, while continuing as St. Louis Symphony music director, Robertson will also assume the post of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony in Australia. In September 2012, the St. Louis Symphony and Robertson embarked on a European tour, which included appearances at London’s BBC Proms, at the Berlin and Lucerne festivals, and culminated at Paris’s Salle Pleyel. In March 2013, Robertson and his orchestra return to California for their second tour of the season, which includes an intensive three-day residency at the University of California Davis and performance at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, with violinist James Ehnes as soloist. The orchestra will also perform at venues in Costa Mesa, Palm Desert, and Santa Barbara, with St. Louis Symphony Principal Flute Mark Sparks as soloist. In addition to his current position with the St. Louis Symphony, Robertson is a frequent guest conductor
with major orchestras and opera houses around the world. During the 2012-13 season he appears with prestigious U.S. orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony, as well as internationally with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Born in Santa Monica, California, David Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. MARK SPARKS Mark Sparks was appointed Principal Flute of the St. Louis Symphony by the late Hans Vonk in 2000. He is a frequent soloist with the St. Louis Symphony and other orchestras and has performed in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, South America, and Asia. He has appeared as Guest Principal Flute with many ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and the Bergen (Norway) Philharmonic. In addition to these performances of the Rouse Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony, Sparks has recently performed the piece in Singapore and Taiwan, with plans underway for both the Chinese and Korean premiers. Prior to his appointment in St. Louis, Sparks was Associate Principal Flute with the Baltimore 5
ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY Founded in 1880, the St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest orchestra in the country and is widely considered one of the world’s finest. In September 2005, internationally acclaimed conductor David Robertson became the 12th Music Director and second American-born conductor in the orchestra’s history. In its 133rd season, the St. Louis Symphony continues to strive for artistic excellence, fiscal responsibility, and community connection.
Symphony under David Zinman, and Principal Flute of the San Antonio Symphony and the Memphis Symphony. He began his career as Principal in the Canton Ohio Symphony and in Venezuela with the Caracas Philharmonic. This summer Sparks returns to the Aspen Music Festival and School where he is an artist-faculty member and Principal Flute of the Aspen Chamber Symphony. He also will be teaching his fourth-annual master class at Missouri's Innsbrook Institute, and will join the faculty of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. Sparks is an enthusiastic teacher and maintains a private studio in St. Louis. He is a former full-time faculty member of the Peabody Institute, and frequently presents clinics and recitals in the U.S. and abroad. Sparks has recorded two solo albums, appearing on the Summit and AAM labels, and a new recording of French repertoire for flute and piano is planned for release in 2013. Sparks is also an avid writer about flute playing, and is a regular contributor to Flute Talk magazine's feature "From the Principal's Chair." Born in 1960 and raised in Cleveland and St. Louis, Mark Sparks graduated Pi Kappa Lambda from the Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Robert Willoughby, winning the 1982 Oberlin Concerto Prize.
The St. Louis Symphony is one of only a handful of major American orchestras invited to perform annually at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, with a return in November 2013 for a concert performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes in celebration of the composer’s centenary. Recordings by the Symphony have been honored with six Grammy Awards and 56 Grammy nominations over the years. The Symphony has embraced technological advances in music distribution by offering recordings over the Internet, including live performances of John Adams’s Harmonielehre, Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, with Christian Tetzlaff, and Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy available exclusively on iTunes and Amazon.com. In 2009, the Symphony’s Nonesuch recording of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony and Guide to Strange Places reached No. 2 on the Billboard rankings for classical music, and was named “Best CD of the Decade” by the Times of London. A Nonesuch recording of Adams’ City Noir and his upcoming concerto for saxophone, with Robertson and the Symphony, is planned for the near future. In September 2012, the St. Louis Symphony received acclaim for its first European tour with Music Director David Robertson. The Symphony visited international festivals in London, Berlin, and Lucerne, as well as Paris’s Salle Pleyel. In June 2008, the St. Louis Symphony launched Building Our Business, which takes a proactive, twopronged approach: build audiences and re-invigorate the St. Louis brand, making the Symphony and Powell Hall the place to be; and build the donor base for enhanced institutional commitment and donations. This is all part of a larger strategic plan adopted in May 2009 that includes new core ideology and a 10year strategic vision focusing on artistic and institutional excellence, doubling the existing audience, and revenue growth across all key operating areas.
133rdseason,2012-2013 Ned O. Lemkemeier Chairman of the Board of Trustees Fred Bronstein President and Chief Executive Officer David Robertson Music Director Amy Kaiser Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus AT&T Foundation Chair Kevin McBeth Director of the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON® Chorus FIRST VIOLIN David Halen Concertmaster Eloise and Oscar Johnson, Jr. Chair Heidi Harris Associate Concertmaster Louis D. Beaumont Chair Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair Celeste Golden Boyer Second Associate Concertmaster Erin Schreiber Assistant Concertmaster Dana Edson Myers Justice Joseph H. and Maxine Goldenhersh Chair Jessica Cheng Margaret B. Grigg Chair Charlene Clark Emily Ho Silvian Iticovici Second Associate Concertmaster Emeritus Helen Kim Jane and Whitney Harris Chair Joo Kim Manuel Ramos Xiaoxiao Qiang Angie Smart Mary and Oliver Langenberg Chair Hiroko Yoshida Ellen dePasquale** SECOND VIOLIN Alison Harney Principal Dr. Frederick Eno Woodruff Chair Kristin Ahlstrom Associate Principal Virginia V. Weldon, M.D. Chair Eva Kozma Assistant Principal Rebecca Boyer Hall Nicolae Bica Deborah Bloom Lisa Chong Elizabeth Dziekonski
Lorraine Glass-Harris Ling Ling Guan Jooyeon Kong Asako Kuboki Wendy Plank Rosen Shawn Weil VIOLA Beth Guterman Chu Principal Ben H. and Katherine G. Wells Chair Kathleen Mattis Associate Principal Christian Woehr Assistant Principal Weijing Wang*** Mike Chen*** Gerald Fleminger Susan Gordon Leonid Gotman Morris Jacob Di Shi Shannon Farrell Williams Eva Stern** Chris Tantillo** CELLO Daniel Lee Principal Frank Y. and Katherine G. Gladney Chair Melissa Brooks Associate Principal Ruth and Bernard Fischlowitz Chair Catherine Lehr Assistant Principal Anne Fagerburg James Czyzewski David Kim Alvin McCall Bjorn Ranheim Elizabeth Chung** Davin Rubicz** DOUBLE BASS Underwritten in part by a generous gift from Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Erik Harris Principal Henry Loew Chair Carolyn White Associate Principal Christopher Carson Assistant Principal David DeRiso Warren Goldberg Sarah Hogan Donald Martin Ronald Moberly HARP Principal* Elizabeth Eliot Mallinckrodt Chair Megan Stout** Acting Principal
FLUTE Mark Sparks Principal Herbert C. and Estelle Claus Chair Andrea Kaplan Associate Principal Jennifer Nitchman
Thomas Drake Acting Principal Michael Walk Acting Associate Principal David J. Hyslop Chair Joshua MacCluer*** Caroline Schafer** Kevin Cobb**
TROMBONE Timothy Myers Principal Mr. and Mrs. William R. Orthwein, Jr. Chair Associate Principal* Vanessa Fralick** Acting Associate Principal Jonathan Reycraft Gerard Pagano
OBOE Peter Bowman Principal Morton D. May Chair Barbara Orland Acting Co-Principal Philip Ross Acting Co-Principal Michelle Duskey** Cally Banham ENGLISH HORN Cally Banham CLARINET Scott Andrews Principal Walter Susskind Chair Diana Haskell Associate Principal Wilfred and Ann Lee Konneker Chair Tina Ward James Meyer E-FLAT CLARINET Diana Haskell BASS CLARINET James Meyer BASSOON Andrew Cuneo Principal Molly Sverdrup Chair Andrew Gott Associate Principal Felicia Foland Andrew Thompson CONTRABASSOON Andrew Thompson HORN Roger Kaza Principal W.L. Hadley and Phoebe P. Griffin Chair Thomas Jöstlein Associate Principal James Wehrman Tod Bowermaster Gregory Roosa*** Lawrence Strieby Julia Erdmann** TRUMPET Principal* Symphony Women’s Association Chair
BASS TROMBONE Gerard Pagano TUBA Michael Sanders Principal Lesley A. Waldheim Chair TIMPANI Principal* Symphony Women’s Association Chair Thomas Stubbs Associate Principal Paul A. and Ann S. Lux Chair PERCUSSION William James Principal St. Louis Post-Dispatch Foundation Chair John Kasica Distinguished Percussion Chair Thomas Stubbs KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS Principal* Florence G. and Morton J. May Chair MUSIC LIBRARY Elsbeth Brugger Librarian Henry Skolnick Assistant Librarian Roberta Gardner Library Assistant STAGE STAFF Bruce Mourning Stage Manager Joseph Clapper Assistant Stage Manager Joshua Riggs Stage Technician Jeffrey Stone *Chair vacant **Replacement ***Leave of Absence
St.Louis Program Notes