On The Upbeat February 2015 • Volume 8, Edition 4
2014-2015 Subscription Series FEBRUARY 14 & 15, 2015
From the Board President
Steven Sloane, Guest Conductor Natasha Kislenko, Piano Peter Strauss, Actor
Dear Friends, Thank you so much for choosing to share your night out with your symphony family! This season we are proud to welcome the remarkable guest conductor Steven Sloane in a celebration of one of classical music’s most famous love triangles, Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. The story of their lives together was among the most talked about of their day, and much of their relationship was captured by the letters they wrote to each other. this evening we’re being treated to an appearance by veteran television actor Peter Strauss, in collaboration with the Ensemble Theatre Company, to read their letters live. Interwoven with the music, these letters will provide us with a romantic new understanding of their lives together and the music they composed. In your Symphony’s mission to bring the classics to life, this evening’s performances will give us all a greater appreciation and love for this very special art form.
R. SCHUMANN Overture to Manfred, Op. 115 C. SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 7 Allegro maestoso Romanze: Andante non troppo con grazia Finale: Allegro non troppo Played without pause
— INTERMISSION —
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 Un poco sostenuto — Allegro Andante sostenuto Un poco allegretto e grazioso Adagio — Allegro non troppo, ma con brio
It is only through your passion and support for live classical music that we are able to continue bringing you such rich programming. By combining our subscription concert season with a vigorous suite of education programs, the Santa Barbara Symphony is leading the way in assuring that classical music continues to be a part of our lives and the fabric of our community. Beginning in March we’ll be announcing our next exciting season. Continuing our commitment to this community, you’re sure to be delighted by the programming and special events we have planned. We encourage you to subscribe early for the greatest benefits. On behalf of the orchestra, the management and the board of directors, I look forward to the next amazing season and I thank you for joining us.
sponsored by IN REMEMBRANCE OF LÉNI FÉ BLAND AND SPONSORED IN PART BY SARA MILLER MCCUNE Principal Concert Sponsors
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Arthur Swalley President, Santa Barbara Symphony Board of Directors
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Steven Sloane guest conductor American-Israeli conductor Steven Sloane, originally from Los Angeles, is an internationally renowned musician. A student of Eugene Ormandy, Franco Ferrara and Gary Bertini, he served as music director of the Spoleto Festival and was artistic director of Opera North in Leeds. He has also been music director of the American Composers Orchestra and principal conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra (2007-2013). Steven Sloane has guest conducted many prestigious orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, hrSinfonieorchester, Philharmonia Orchestra London, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Natasha Kislenko piano In addition to serving as Principal Keyboard for the Santa Barbara Symphony, Natasha Kislenko has performed extensively in Russia and the former USSR, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States. A collaborative faculty member at the Music Academy of the West, Ms. Kislenko also serves on the faculty at University of California, Santa Barbara. Born in Moscow, Natasha holds graduate degrees in piano from the famed Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. And a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from Stony Brook University, NY.
Peter Strauss actor Peter Strauss is well known for his long list of starring roles in motion pictures-for-television, including “The Jericho Mile” for which he won the Emmy Award. He also received Emmy Award nominations for “Rich Man, Poor Man” and “Masada” as well as five Golden Globe Nominations. He recently performed the role of Leonardo da Vinci in “Divine Rivalry” at Hartford Stage, Ben Bradlee in “Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers” for the New York Theater Workshop, Sigmund Freud in “Sabina” for Primary Stages and in “The Outgoing Tide” as an Alzheimer’s patient for Primary Stages in NY. He is married to actress Rachel Ticotin and lives in Ojai, California where he also operates a commercial citrus enterprise that produces 440 tons of citrus per year.
Notes on the Program by Dr. Richard E. Rodda
Overture to Manfred, Op. 115 (1848)
that follows seems to convey the hero’s troubled nature. The main body of the Overture is occupied with a large sonata form whose tempestuous, syncopated main theme evokes Manfred’s struggle within himself, while the more lyrical subsidiary melody conjures a vision of his sister. The development reflects the mounting intensity of Manfred’s unrest. After an altered recapitulation of the earlier themes, the coda, which recalls the unsettled mood and music of the introduction, suggests the death of Manfred at the close of Byron’s poem.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
It is not surprising that a man of Schumann’s deep sensibilities and refined literary tastes (his father was a bookseller) would be irresistibly drawn to the writings of that quintessential figure of English Romanticism, George Gordon — Lord Byron. The work of Byron that most affected Schumann was the verse drama of 1817, Manfred. His wife, Clara, noted in her diary that her husband was “stirred to an extraordinary degree” by what she called Byron’s “witch drama.” In his study of Schumann, André Boucourechliev described the plot, such as it is, of Byron’s phantasmagoric epic: “Manfred [a Swiss nobleman] had loved his sister, Astarte, and after her death sought by magic means to forget her, while at the same time wishing to evoke her spirit. Being unable to appease his torment, he attempted to die and Astarte appeared before him to prophesy his end. He died surrounded by the genies he had conjured up, defying them and refusing the help of a holy man.” Byron himself described Manfred to his publisher as being “of a very wild, metaphysical and inexplicable kind. Almost all of the persons — but two or three — are spirits of the earth and air, or the waters; the scene is in the Alps; the hero is a kind of magician, who is dominated by a species of remorse, the cause of which is left half-explained. He wanders about, invoking these spirits, which appear to him and are of no use; at last he goes to the very abode of the Evil Principle to evoke a ghost, which appears and gives him an ambiguous and disagreeable answer; and in the third act he is found by an attendant, dying in a tower, where he has studied his art.”
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 7 (1833, 1835) Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
Goethe called her “a noble phenomenon”; Franz Grillparzer, Austria’s greatest poet and a sensitive musician, was inspired to write a poem titled When She Played Beethoven’s F minor Sonata; the prestigious journal Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (“New Journal for Music”) ranked her as the third greatest pianist of the day, behind only Franz Liszt and Sigismond Thalberg. The object of these encomia was a teenage girl from Leipzig, a dazzling Wunderkind who possessed not only flawless keyboard technique but also extraordinary artistic sensitivity and unswerving dedication to the most elevated principles of the musical art — Clara Wieck. Clara’s father, Friedrich, a noted teacher of piano and voice, operator of a music-lending library and a piano store, and a former preacher, vowed even before the girl was born that he would develop her into a consummate artist, and he showed considerable restraint by not beginning her lessons until she was five. His instruction fell upon a fertile talent — Clara made her public debut at the Leipzig Gewandhaus on October 20, 1828 (she was nine-and-quarter years old), gave her first complete recital two years later, and made her debut international tour the following season. By 1835, she was acclaimed throughout Europe as a child prodigy.
Though Schumann left no specific “program” for his Manfred Overture, it seems likely that he intended the music to mirror the progression of the poem. The dramatic opening gesture, three stabbing chords, may represent the mysterious “crime” that haunts Manfred. The brooding slow introduction 3
In 1829, the nineteen-year-old Robert Schumann met Friedrich Wieck and he was accepted by the pedagogue as a student; the following year, Robert moved into the Wieck household. He was at first amused by his teacher’s gifted daughter, but during the following years the couple’s relationship developed into true love (“Clara grows more charming, inwardly, outwardly, every day, every hour,” Robert wrote in 1835) and became one of the great romances of the 19th century. That story — Papa Wieck’s nearly irrational resistance to the union, the lovers’ court battle to receive legal permission to marry, their passionate devotion to each other during their sixteen years of wedded life, Robert’s mental collapse and untimely death in 1856 — is carefully chronicled and well-known. Clara put her domestic duties before her professional ambitions during those years (she gave birth to eight children between 1841 and 1854), concertizing only occasionally and composing just a piano trio and a handful of songs and solo piano pieces, including her Variations on a Theme of Robert Schumann in 1853. Following her husband’s death in 1856, she resumed touring and teaching but never composed again.
the introduction that opened the Concerto. The return of the lovely Romanze melody, entrusted to the solo cello, gives way to a short, mysterious bridge into the finale, a movement based on the first of the earlier introduction motives spun into an invigorating rondo theme.
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (1855-1876) Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
In 1853, when Brahms was only twenty, Robert Schumann wrote an article for the widely distributed Neue Zeitschrift für Musik hailing his young colleague as the savior of German music, the rightful heir to the mantle of Beethoven. Encouraged by Schumann to undertake a symphony, Brahms made some attempts in 1854, but he was unsatisfied with the symphonic potential of the sketches and diverted them into the First Piano Concerto and German Requiem. He began again a year later and set down a first movement, but that music he kept to himself. Seven years passed before he sent that movement to Clara, Schumann’s widow, to seek her opinion. She was pleased with the sketch and encouraged him to finish the rest so that it could be performed. Brahms, however, was not to be rushed. Eager inquiries from conductors in 1863, 1864 and 1866 went unanswered. It was not until 1870 that he hinted about any progress at all beyond the first movement. The success of the superb Haydn Variations for orchestra of 1873 seemed to convince him that he could complete his initial symphony, and in the summer of 1874, Brahms began two years of labor — revising, correcting, perfecting — before he signed and dated the score of the First Symphony in September 1876.
The Piano Concerto in A minor, Clara’s most ambitious work, was begun in January 1833, when she was thirteen (!), but not finished until autumn 1835. Schumann praised the new piece enthusiastically in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, and, living then on his own, came to express his delight in person to the work’s composer, under the stern regard, of course, of Papa Wieck. As she lighted his way to the door for his departure, he turned, and kissed her for the first time. “I though I would faint,” Clara told him years later. “The lamp nearly dropped from my hand.” Though the Concerto received only modest praise beyond that from Schumann, it was published in Leipzig, Paris and Hamburg the following year, and performed by Clara on several occasions during her subsequent tours, always with good success.
The first movement begins with a slow introduction energized by the heartbeat of the timpani. The violins announce the upward-bounding main theme in the faster tempo that launches a magnificent, seamless sonata form. The second movement starts with a placid, melancholy song led by the violins. After a mildly syncopated middle section, the bittersweet melody returns. The third movement, with its prevailing woodwind colors, is reminiscent of the pastoral serenity of Brahms’ earlier Serenades. The finale begins with an extended slow introduction based on several pregnant thematic ideas, and concludes with a noble chorale intoned by trombones and bassoons. The finale proper starts with a new tempo and a broad hymnal theme, and progresses in sonata form, but without a development section. The work closes with a majestic coda in the brilliant key of C major featuring the trombone chorale of the introduction in its full splendor.
Clara originally conceived the Concerto as a onemovement Concertsatz, composed between January and November 1833; the opening Allegro and the Romanze were added in 1835. Clara premiered her Concerto at the Leipzig Gewandhaus on November 9, 1835; Mendelssohn conducted. The first movement opens with an orchestral introduction launched by a rising motive, which is answered by two complementary ascending, scalar phrases from the soloist. The music proceeds as the exposition of a traditional sonata form, with the piano providing a contrasting theme in octaves above an arpeggiated accompaniment. Just as the movement begins what would be its development section, however, it slips into a brief transitional passage, which leads directly to the slow movement. The Romanze uses as its thematic material the second of the piano’s answering phrases from
©2014 Dr. Richard E. Rodda
The classics you love. A great night out. Terrific Granada seats start at just $25! MARCH 14-15, 2015
Impressions of Spain
Elissa Lee Koljonen, violin Massenet • Rimsky-Korsakov APRIL 11-12, 2015
The New World Philippe Quint, violin Tanaka • Korngold • Dvorˇák
MAY 16-17, 2015
Porgy and Bess
Laquita Mitchell, soprano Michael Sumuel, bass-baritone Santa Barbara Choral Society
Dan Redfeld • Howard Hanson • Gershwin
For Tickets, Call (805) 898-9426 or Visit www.thesymphony.org ©On the Upbeat, FEBRUARY 2015 VOL. 8, EDITION 4. Published for Symphony Series concert subscribers by the Santa Barbara Symphony, 1330 State Street, Suite 102, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, (805) 898-9386 — A non-profit organization.