On the Upbeat MARCH 2010 • VOLUME 3, EDITION 5
Nir’s Notes: Dear Friends: I am delighted to welcome my colleague Maestro Mark Russell Smith (Director of New Music Projects of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Minnesota) to lead our orchestra during the March concerts. Known for his consummate musicianship and innovative programming, Maestro Smith will take the stage in a challenging program of both new and familiar works. In recognition of American composer Samuel Barber’s 100th Anniversary, the program opens with his luscious and infamous Adagio for strings. This will be followed by contemporary Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Ausencia for solo cello and strings. The ﬁery, young soloist Joshua Roman will take the stage in Golijov’s work which will be complemented by Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Rococo Variations for cello and orchestra. Unlike his monumental works, Tchaikovsky’s inspiration for the Variations was Mozart, his role model. One hears Mozart’s elegance in this work through the transparency of his orchestration and the Mozartian charm found in the cello theme. Another important anniversary is celebrated on this program with the performance of Schumann’s sparkling Symphony No.2 in honor of the composer’s 200th Anniversary. Written at the end of 1845, a year during which Schumann was creatively crippled due to signs of serious mental and physical illness, it was as if his creative senses were awoken during the winter months when he began writing the sounds of “drums and trumpets in C blaring in his head;” sounds which became the premise of his fanfare-like motto found in the beginning of the opening movement and recurring in the Scherzo and Finale movements. Join us at the Granada on March 20th and 21st, as you will not want to miss this emotionally charged program. Thank you for your continued support of the Santa Barbara Symphony. Musically yours,
Saturday, Mar. 20, 8pm & Sunday, Mar. 21, 3pm THE GRANADA
Joshua Roman, Cello Mark Russell Smith, Guest Conductor BARBER : Adagio for Strings OSVALDO GOLIJOV : Ausencia for Cello and String Orchestra TCHAIKOVSKY: Variations on a Rococo Theme S CHUMANN : Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 61
Joshua Roman, cello Dubbed a “Classical Rock Star” by the press, cellist Joshua Roman has earned a national reputation for performing a wide range of repertoire with an absolute commitment to communicating the essence of the music at its most organic level. Before embarking on a solo career, he was for two seasons principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, a position he won in 2006 at the age of 22. Roman’s 2009-10 season engagements include debuts as concerto soloist with the Albany, Arkansas, and Santa Barbara Symphonies, the New Philharmonic Orchestra in Illinois, Oklahoma’s Signature Symphony, and Kentucky’s Lexington Philharmonic. In recent seasons he has performed with the Seattle Symphony, where he gave the world premiere of David Stock’s Cello Concerto, as well as with the Symphonies of Edmonton, Quad City, Spokane, and Stamford, and the Oklahoma ARTIST SPONSOR:
The Momentum Continues...
Patricia Gregory, for the Baker Foundation
Join Ramón Araiza for “Music Behind the Music” beginning one hour before each concert! Sponsored by Marlyn Bernard Bernstein
City Philharmonic, among others. In 2008, Roman performed Britten’s third Cello Suite during New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival in a pre-concert recital at Avery Fisher Hall. In April 2009, he was the only guest artist invited to play an unaccompanied solo during the YouTube Symphony Orchestra’s debut concert at Carnegie Hall. In addition to his solo work, Roman is an avid chamber music performer. He has enjoyed collaborations with veterans like Earl Carlyss and Christian Zacharias, as well as the Seattle Chamber Music Society and the International Festival of Chamber Music in Lima, Peru. He often joins forces with other dynamic young soloists and performers from New York’s contemporary music scene, including Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, and artists from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two. In spring 2007, he was named Artistic Director of TownMusic, an experimental chamber music series at Town Hall in Seattle, where he creates programs that feature new works and reﬂect the eclectic range of his musical inﬂuences and inspirations. Committed to making music accessible to a wider audience, Roman may be found anywhere from a club to a classroom, whether performing jazz, rock, chamber music, or a solo sonata by Bach or Kodály. His versatility as a performer and his ongoing exploration of new concertos, chamber music, and solo cello works have spawned projects with composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, Mason Bates, and Dan Visconti. One of Roman’s current undertakings is an online video series called “The Popper Project”: wherever the cellist and his laptop ﬁnd themselves, he performs an étude from David Popper’s “High School of Cello Playing” and uploads it, unedited, to his YouTube channel. Roman’s outreach endeavors have taken him to Uganda with his violin-playing siblings, where they played chamber music in schools, HIV/AIDS centers, and displacement camps, communicating a message of hope through music. The Oklahoma City native began playing the cello at the age of three on a quarter-size instrument, and played his ﬁrst public recital at age ten. Home-schooled until he was 16, Roman then pursued his musical studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Richard Aaron. Roman received his Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance in 2004, and his Master’s in 2005, as a student of Desmond Hoebig, principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Joshua Roman was named ““Musical America’s New Artist of the Month” in August 2009. He is grateful for the loan of an 1899 cello by Giulio Degani of Venice.
Mark Russell Smith, Guest Conductor Whether conducting contemporary masterpieces or bringing fresh insights to the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, Mark Russell Smith demonstrates consummate musicianship and enthusiastic commitment to the art of music-making—qualities that have endeared him to audiences and musicians alike. In June of 2007, Smith was appointed Director of New Music Projects of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Minnesota, a combined post that enables him to bring his commitment for excellence and passion for education to new audiences. In September of 2008, he became Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. As Music Director of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, a position he held from 1999 to 2009, Smith was praised for his innovative and approachable programming and is widely credited with fostering the orchestra’s unprecedented artistic growth. As a guest conductor, Smith enjoys a burgeoning international reputation that has already brought him engagements and re-engagements with prestigious American orchestras, including the St. Louis Symphony, the Houston Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. With the Minnesota Orchestra, he made his critically-acclaimed Sommerfest debut in 2006 and made his subscription series debut in March of 2009. In November 2007, he returned to his alma mater to lead the Symphony Orchestra of The Curtis Institute of Music in Verizon Hall. Smith’s debut at the Nomus Music Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia was met with critical and audience acclaim and led to immediate re-engagement. Other recent and upcoming appearances include Brazil’s Orquestra Sinfôniea da USP, the Hartford Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, the Phoenix Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Eugene Symphony, the Curtis Opera Theatre, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Berkshire Choral Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Tulsa Philharmonic, Orchestra London (Ontario), and the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Ghent, Belgium. A champion of the music of our time, Smith leads the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Engine 408 series, working
closely with living composers and adding his unique perspective to enhance that orchestra’s great tradition of fostering new works. He has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota in Hún Qiáo (Bridge of Souls), a concert of remembrance and reconciliation featuring world premieres by Korean, Japanese, Chinese and American composers. A ﬁrm believer in the use of technical innovation to reach world-wide audiences, he debuted in 2002 with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducting the ﬁnal round of the ﬁrst Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition, where he led six concerto performances that were streamed live over the Internet. He has led the Minnesota Orchestra in the Competition’s ﬁnal round since 2004 and returns each summer. Smith resides in Minneapolis, where his wife, Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, is a horn player with the Minnesota Orchestra. They have two sons, Alexander and Noah.
FOR MARCH 20 & 21, 2010
by Dr. Richard E. Rodda
SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981)
Adagio for Strings
Composed for string quartet in 1936; arranged for string orchestra in 1937. String orchestra version premiered on November 5, 1938, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Approximately 6 minutes.
Samuel Barber was among the many talented American musicians who lived, studied and worked in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s, not only polishing their professional skills but also proving to the world that their country had come of artistic age. Barber spent much time overseas after 1928, thanks to such emoluments as the American Prix de Rome and the Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship. In Rome, he wrote a Symphony in One Movement, which was premiered there in 1936 and given its ﬁrst American performance in Cleveland by Artur Rodzinski early the next year. Rodzinski also played the Symphony at the Salzburg Festival in 1937, making it the ﬁrst American work to be heard at that prestigious event. The chief conductor of the Salzburg Festival at that time was Arturo Toscanini, who was to begin his tenure with the NBC Symphony later that year. Toscanini asked Rodzinski if he could suggest an American composer whose work he might program during the coming season, and Rodzinski advised that his Italian colleague investigate the music of the 27-year-old Samuel Barber. By October, Barber had completed and submitted to Toscanini the Essay No. 1 for Orchestra and an arrangement for string orchestra of the slow movement from the Quartet (Op. 11, in B minor) that he had written in Rome in 1936 — the Adagio for Strings. Toscanini accepted the pieces for performance, and broadcast them on November 5, 1938 with the NBC Symphony. The Adagio for Strings, with its plaintive melody, rich modalism, austere texture and mood of reﬂective introspection, is among Samuel Barber’s greatest legacies. OSVALDO GOLIJOV (BORN IN 1960)
Ausencia (“Absence”) for Cello and Orchestra Composed in 1991, 1992 and 2007. Part I (Omaramor) premiered on November 11, 1991 in Philadelphia by Michal Schmidt; Part II (Death of the Angels) premiered on October 25, 1996 in Birmingham, England, conducted by Stefan Asbury; Ausencia premiered on December 7, 2007 in Boston, conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist. Approximately 12 minutes.
In our increasingly interconnected world, the multi-cultural music of Osvaldo Golijov speaks in a voice that is powerful yet touching, contemporary yet timeless. Golijov’s parents, a piano teacher mother and a physician father, emigrated from Russia to Argentina, where Osvaldo was born on December 5, 1960 in La Playa, thirty miles from
Buenos Aires, into a rich artistic environment in which he was exposed from infancy to such varied musical experiences as classical chamber music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the tango nuevo of Astor Piazzolla. He studied piano and composition at the local conservatory before moving in 1983 to Jerusalem, where he entered the Rubin Academy as a composition student of Mark Kopytman and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of that city. Golijov came to the United States in 1986 to do his doctoral work with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania, and spent summers at Tanglewood on fellowship studying with Lukas Foss and Oliver Knussen. In 1990, he won Tanglewood’s Fromm Commission, which resulted in Yiddishbbuk, premiered by the St. Lawrence String Quartet at Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music in July 1992 and winner the following year of the prestigious Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. Golijov came to wide public notice in 2000 with the Pasión según San Marcos (“Passion According to Saint Mark”), commissioned in remembrance of the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death by German conductor Helmut Rilling and the International Bach Academy of Stuttgart. Golijov’s works, with their syntheses of European, American and Latin secular cultures and their deep spirituality drawn from both Judaism and Christianity, have brought him international notoriety and, in 2003, a coveted MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award.” He was named Musical America’s “2005 Composer of the Year,” and in January and February 2006, Lincoln Center presented a festival called “The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov.” In 2008, he received a Vilcek Foundation Prize, which annually recognizes “foreign-born individuals for extraordinary contributions to society in the United States” in the ﬁelds of arts and biomedical research. He is currently at work on a commission for the Metropolitan Opera. Osvaldo Golijov has been on the faculty of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts since 1991; he also teaches at the Boston Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center, and has been Composer-in-Residence with the Marlboro, Ravinia, Spoleto USA and Cape and Islands music festivals, Merkin Hall, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Music Alive series. Ausencia (“Absence”), created for Yo-Yo Ma’s appearance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in December 2007, conﬂates two earlier works — Omaramor for solo cello and Death of the Angels for strings — that were inspired by two of Argentina’s most renowned and representative musicians, Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) and Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). The solo cello version of Omaramor is retained; a cello obbligato was added to Death of the Angels in Ausencia. Both incorporate Gardel’s song My Beloved Buenos Aires. Of Omaramor Omaramor, commissioned in 1991 by the Omar del Carlo Tanglewood Fellowship, Golijov wrote, “Carlos Gardel, the mythical tango singer, was young, handsome and at the pinnacle of his popularity when the plane that was carrying him to a concert crashed and he died in 1935. But for all the people on the sidewalks of Buenos Aires listening to Gardel’s songs that accident is irrelevant, because they will tell you, ‘Today Gardel is singing better than yesterday, and tomorrow he will sing better than today.’ Gardel sings: The day I’ll see you again/My Beloved Buenos Aires/Oblivion will end,/There will be no more pain. Omaramor is a fantasy on My Beloved Buenos Aires: the cello walks, melancholy at times and rough at others, over the harmonic progression of the song as if the chords were the streets of the city. In the midst of this wandering the melody of the immortal song is unveiled.” Of Death of the Angels, the composer wrote, “Astor Piazzolla, the last great tango composer, was at the peak of his creativity when a stroke killed him in 1992. He left us, in the words of one old tango, ‘without saying goodbye,’ and that day the musical face of Buenos Aires was abruptly frozen. The creation of that face had started a hundred years earlier with the unlikely combination of African rhythms underlying gauchos’ couplets, sung in the style of Sicilian canzonettas over an accompanying Andalusian guitar. As the years passed, all converged towards the bandoneón: a small accordion-like instrument with buttons rather than a keyboard that was invented in Germany in the 19th century to serve as a portable church organ and which, after ﬁnding its true home in the bordellos of Buenos Aires’ slums in the 1920s, went back to Europe to conquer Paris’ high society in the 1930s. Since then it has reigned as the essential instrument for any tango ensemble. “Piazzolla’s bandoneón was able to condense all the symbols of tango. The eroticism of legs and torsos in the dance was reduced to the intricate patterns of his virtuoso ﬁngers (a simple C major scale on the bandoneón zigzags so much as to leave an inexperienced player’s ﬁngers tangled). The melancholy of the singer’s voice was transposed to
the breathing of the bandoneón’s continuous opening and closing. The macho attitude of the tangueros was reﬂected in his pose on stage: standing upright, chest forward, right leg on a stool, the bandoneón on top of it, being by turns raised, battered, caressed. “I wrote Death of the Angels in 1992 upon hearing the news of Piazzolla’s stroke. [Four years later Golijov prefaced Death of the Angels with Last Round, whose title he borrowed from a short story on boxing by Julio Cortázar that he saw as a metaphor for Piazzolla’s ﬁghting spirit; the two-movement work is also called Last Round.] Death of the Angels represents a ﬁnal, seemingly endless opening sigh that is actually a fantasy on the refrain of the Gardel’s song My Beloved Buenos Aires.” PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 33 Composed in 1876. Premiered on November 30, 1877 in Moscow, with Wilhelm Fitzenhagen as soloist. Pairs of woodwinds and horns, strings. Approximately 18 minutes.
Tchaikovsky was far from happy with his teaching duties at the Moscow Conservatory, which left him less time for composing than he wished. One of the positive aspects of the job, however, was that he was able to meet some ﬁne musicians in the course of his work, one of whom was the sonorously named German professor of cello at the school, Wilhelm Carl Friedrich Fitzenhagen. Fitzenhagen, like Tchaikovsky, was rather shy and introverted, and a nice friendship sprang up between them; it was for Fitzenhagen that Tchaikovsky composed his Rococo Variations. The theme of the Variations, original with Tchaikovsky, is prefaced by a subdued introduction. After a brief, vaguely Oriental interlude for double reeds that looks forward to the nationality dances in The Nutcracker Nutcracker, the cello presents the ﬁrst of the seven variations. The opening two variations are decorated versions of the theme, each ending with a strain for double reeds. Variation 3 presents a long-breathed cantabile in a new key and tempo. The fourth variation resumes the earlier tempo, and includes some dazzling, airborne scale passages that exploit fully the tone, agility and range of the solo instrument. The next variation allots the cello a trilled accompaniment to the theme, played by the ﬂute; a cadenza closes this section. The penultimate variation slips into a minor mode that both balances the preceding tonalities and creates a good foil to the virtuosic closing variation that immediately follows. ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61
Composed in 1845-1846. Premiered on November 5, 1846 in Leipzig, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn. Pairs of woodwinds, horns and trumpets, three trombones, timpani and strings. Approximately 36 minutes.
The years 1845 and 1846 were diﬃcult ones for Schumann. In 1844, he had gone on a concert tour of Russia with his wife, Clara, one of the greatest pianists of the era, and he was frustrated and humiliated at being recognized only as the husband of the featured performer and not in his own right as a distinguished composer and critic. The couple’s return to Leipzig found Robert nervous, depressed and suﬀering from lapses of memory. He had a complete breakdown soon after, and his doctor advised the Schumanns to return to Dresden, where Robert had known happy times earlier in his life. They moved in October 1844, and Schumann recovered enough to sketch the Second Symphony in December 1845, but many times he found it impossible to work and could not ﬁnish the score until the following October. Clara noted that her husband often went without sleep, arising in tears in the morning. His doctor described further symptoms: “So soon as he busied himself with intellectual matters, he was seized with ﬁts of
trembling, fatigue, coldness of the feet, and a state of mental distress culminating in a strange terror of death, which manifested itself in the fear inspired in him by heights, by rooms on an upper story, by all metal objects, even keys, and by medicines, and the fear of being poisoned.” Schumann was almost frantic for fear of losing his mind. His physical symptoms, he was convinced, were a direct result of his mental aﬄictions. He was wrong. In an article in The Musical Times, Eric Sams investigated Schumann’s illness, and his ﬁndings reveal that in those pre-antibiotic times a common treatment for syphilis was a small dose of liquid mercury. The mercury relieved the external symptoms of the disease — but at the cost of poisoning the patient (victim?). Schumann, many years before his devoted marriage to Clara, had both the infection and the treatment. Sensitive as he was, he ﬁrst imagined and then was truly aﬄicted with his other symptoms until he became ill in both mind and body. It was, however, an insidious physical problem that led to his psychological woes rather than the other way around, as he believed. The Second Symphony’s ﬁrst movement is prefaced by a slow introduction that presents a majestic theme in the brass and a sinuous melody in the strings. (The brass theme recurs as a motto.) The tempo quickens to begin the exposition, with the main theme heard in jagged, dotted rhythms; the second theme continues the mood of the main theme. The lengthy development is based mostly on the second theme. The recapitulation employs a rich orchestral palette to heighten the return of the exposition’s themes, with the motto theme heard brieﬂy in the coda. The scherzo has two trios: the ﬁrst dominated by triplet rhythms in the woodwinds, the second by a legato chorale for strings. The horns and trumpets intone the motto theme at the end. The Adagio is constructed around a nostalgic melody presented by the violins; a brief contrapuntal exercise acts as a middle section. The brilliant ﬁnale is cast in sonata form, with a second theme derived from the opening notes of the melody of the preceding Adagio. The majestic coda begins with a soft restatement of the motto theme by trumpets and trombone, and gradually blossoms into a hymn of victory. ©2010 Dr. Richard E. Rodda
Santa Barbara Symphony’s upcoming performances:
“Music Behind the Music” Pre-Concert Events with your host, Ramón Araiza
Saturday, Apr. 10, 8pm & Sunday, Apr. 11, 3pm THE GRANADA
FREE TO ALL CONCERT TICKET HOLDERS
Jeffrey Kahane, Piano
Concert Saturdays 7pm-7:30pm Concert Sundays 2pm-2:30pm (1 hour prior to each concert)
HINDEMITH : Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Op. 50 JOSEPH S CHWANTNER : Chasing Light... R ACHMANINOFF : Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
“ ‘Music Behind the Music’ is one of my favorite parts of the concert! We did not want to miss Ramón!”
For single tickets, call The Granada box ofﬁce, 1214 State Street, at (805) 899-2222
– Sandra Lindquist, SB Symphony Subscriber Concert pianist, composer/arranger and music scholar Ramón Araiza presents “Music…Behind the Music!” These lively, interactive events take you on an insightful (and humorous) journey of discovery, shining light on the music you’re about to hear in the concert hall. Mr. Araiza’s extensive musical background, presentation style and passion bring each work and composer to life. Please join us in The Granada. Arrive early, venture in, and experience Ramon’s unique genius! Plus, make sure to read Ramon’s creative and artistic “Notes Behind the Notes” in The Granada lobby!
Santa Barbara Symphony Concerts One-time-only Broadcasts on
March concerts broadcast: Apr. 4, 7 p.m. April concerts broadcast: May 9, 7 p.m. ©On On the Upbeat Upbeat, MARCH 2010 VOL. 3, EDITION 5. 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.