On the Upbeat NOVEMBER 2011 • VOLUME 5, EDITION 2
Nir’s Notes Dear Music Lovers, Fresh from our season opening concert of Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique, we offer in this set of concerts an all Beethoven program, featuring two of his most beloved pieces. Like Symphony Fantastique, Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony (the composer’s full title is “Pastoral Symphony or Recollections of Country Life”), is written in five movements, and belongs to the program music genre. While Beethoven indicates specific titles for each of the movements, he doesn’t want to mislead the audience with realistic capturing of nature and states that this symphony is “More an Expression of Feeling, Than Painting.” There are, though, some moments of realistic nature: using musical imitation, Beethoven creates the sound of birds singing and of a thunderstorm. But there is also a spiritual dimension to this symphony. The piece begins with calm and soft music, continues with powerful storms and then ends in a solemn and peaceful Finale — reflecting the life of a person who, after fights and struggles, finally finds peace within himself. Is that an autobiography of Beethoven? Of us all? This question will remain forever a mystery. As an absolute contrast to the “Pastoral” Symphony I programmed the Piano Concerto Number 5. The power of the work led to the name “Emperor” for this concerto, but this time the title wasn’t given by Beethoven, and also doesn’t refer to Emperor Napoleon. Rather, it refers to the majestic character of the composition. I am very happy to welcome pianist Hong Xu on his debut with our Santa Barbara Symphony, and wish you all a pleasant hearing.
The Santa Barbara Symphony
November 19 & 20, 2011 Nir Kabaretti, Conductor Hong Xu, Piano BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, “Pastoral” (1770-1827) Allegro ma non troppo: The Awakening of Cheerful Feelings at the Arrival in the Country Andante molto mosso: Scene at the Brook Allegro: A Merry Gathering of the Peasants – Allegro: Storm – Allegretto: Shepherd’s Song: Joyful, Thankful Feelings after the Storm
— I N TE R M I S S I O N — BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, “Emperor” Allegro Adagio un poco mosso Rondo: Allegro
DR. ROBERT W. WEINMAN
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Hong Xu piano “…a pianist to watch out for” — Sunday Telegraph, March 2010 Hong Xu’s career began when he made his concerto debut in China at just 16 years old, playing Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. He studied at Wuhan Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and the Juilliard School (where he recently graduated from the much prized Artist Diploma course), under teachers including Liping Jiang, Douglas Humpherys, Jerome Lowenthal and Robert McDonald. Competition successes include Third Prize in the Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Competition (at the age of just 17), Second Prize at the 2004 Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the Mozart Prize at the 2005 Cleveland International Piano Competition. Xu is a Laureate of Canada’s 2006 Honens International Piano Competition. Hong Xu has given recitals at Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. He also gave a ten-city recital tour in Germany, recorded his first CD at the Banff Centre and appeared as soloist with the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Juilliard Orchestra, under such conductors as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Roberto Minczuk and Vladimir Ashkenazy. In 2008 Xu represented the Juilliard School at the Beijing Cultural Olympiad. He has been re-invited to the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and made a highly successful debut with the Hallé. He will return to the Wigmore Hall in 2012 for a recital to be recorded on the Wigmore Live label and will return for a series of concerts with their Principal Guest Conductor, Markus Stenz. As a result of the travel chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano in 2010 Hong Xu undertook highly acclaimed last minute replacements in the prestigious recital series in both Vancouver and Middlebury VT, to both of which he was immediately re-invited. Hong Xu will tour China with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the beginning of 2012 and make his Royal Festival Hall debut with them later in the year. He will also appear with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Hong Xu is a member of the piano faculty at Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China.
OTES LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770 -1827)
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, “Pastoral” Composed in 1807-1808. Premiered on December 22, 1808 in Vienna, conducted by the composer. Woodwinds in pairs plus piccolo, two each of horns, trumpets and trombones, timpani and strings. Approximately 44 minutes. As Beethoven grew increasingly alienated from the world of men by his deafness, he sought and found refuge in Nature. “How happy I am to be able to wander among the bushes and grass, under trees and over rocks; no man can love the country as I love it,” he rejoiced. During the summer of 1807 he began a symphony in which he sought to express the solace and joy that he found in the countryside around Vienna, incorporating into the music his evocations of birdcalls and horncalls, thunder, wind and rain, peasant dances and babbling brooks to suggest the profound relationship between man and environment.
He gave each of the five movements of his “Pastoral” Symphony a title describing its general character: The Awakening of Cheerful Feelings at the Arrival in the Country; Scene at the Brook; Merry Gathering of the Peasants; Storm; Shepherd’s Song: Joyful, Thankful Feelings after the Storm. The “Pastoral” Symphony, the most gentle and child-like work that Beethoven ever composed, grants not only a deeper understanding of the great composer, but also, through his vision, a heightened awareness of the world around us.
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, “Emperor” Composed in 1809. Premiered on November 11, 1811 in Leipzig, conducted by Johann Philipp Schulz with Friedrich Schneider as soloist. Woodwinds in pairs, four horns, two trumpets, timpani, strings. Approximately 40 minutes. The year 1809 was a difficult one for Vienna and for Beethoven. In May, Napoleon invaded the city with enough firepower to send the residents scurrying and Beethoven into the basement of his brother’s house. The bombardment was close enough that he covered his sensitive ears with pillows to protect them from the concussion of the blasts. On July 29th, he wrote to the publisher Breitkopf und Härtel, “We have passed through a great deal of misery. I tell you that since May 4th, I have brought into the world little that is connected; only here and there a fragment. The whole course of events has affected me body and soul…. What a disturbing, wild life around me; nothing but drums, cannons, men, misery of all sorts.” He bellowed his frustration at a French officer he chanced to meet: “If I were a general and knew as much about strategy as I do about counterpoint, I’d give you fellows something to think about.” Austria’s finances were in shambles, and the annual stipend Beethoven had been promised by several noblemen who supported his work was considerably reduced in value, placing him in a precarious pecuniary predicament. As a sturdy tree can root in flinty soil, however, a great musical work grew from these unpromising circumstances; by the end of that year, 1809, Beethoven had completed his “Emperor” Concerto. The sobriquet “Emperor” attached itself to the E-flat Concerto very early, though it was not of Beethoven’s doing. If anything, he would have objected to the name. “Emperor” equaled “Napoleon” for Beethoven, as for most Europeans of the time, and anyone familiar with the story of the “Eroica” Symphony will remember how that particular ruler had tumbled from the great composer’s esteem. “This man will trample the rights of men underfoot and become a greater tyrant than any other,” he rumbled to his young friend and pupil Ferdinand Ries. The Concerto’s name may have been tacked on by an early publisher or pianist because of the grand character of the work, or it may have originated with the purported exclamation during the premiere in Leipzig in November 1811 by a French officer at one particularly noble passage, “C’est l’Empereur!” The most likely explanation, however, is given by Anton Schindler, longtime friend and early biographer of Beethoven. The first Viennese performance, it seems, took place at a celebration of the Emperor’s birthday. © 2011 Dr. Richard E. Rodda
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From Bach to Ravel “playing that flows from the heart” The New York Times
Mela Dailey, Soprano
Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin Nir Kabaretti, Conductor Bloch: Concerto Grosso No. 1 Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 Haydn: Symphony No. 83 ”The Hen” Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending Ravel: Tzigane
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©On the Upbeat, NOVEMBER 2011 VOL. 5, EDITION 2. 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.
Published on Nov 10, 2011
November 19 & 20, 2011 at The Granada Theatre featuring pianist Hong Xu. Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 "Pastoral" Beethoven: Piano Concerto No....