On the Upbeat MARCH 2011 • VOLUME 4, EDITION 5
The Santa Barbara Symphony
Nir’s Notes Dear Music lovers, I am very happy to welcome back to our stage, the versatile violin virtuoso and former Concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony, Gilles Apap. Gilles will perform with the orchestra Aram Khachaturian’s colorful Violin Concerto, a piece dedicated to the great Russian violinist David Oistrakh, which became one of the standard pieces in the 20th century violin repertoire. Prior to the Khachaturian, Gilles will play with us the world premiere of the Violin Concertino by Santa Barbara composer— Robin Frost. Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition — one of the most brilliant and popular Symphonic works ever written, was born actually as a piano piece. The Russian composer wrote his piano work as a memory for his close friend — painter and architect —Viktor Hartmann, but this original piano score was published only 5 years after the composer’s death. While this piano version woke only little interest among pianists, over two dozen composers were obsessed with orchestrating it — quite a rare phenomenon! By far, the most famous orchestration is by Maurice Ravel, capturing, with a master technique, the mood of each piece from exquisite delicacy, profound atmosphere, to the glorious ending. Musically yours,
2 0 1 0 - 2 0 11 S E A S O N
March 19-20, 2011 Nir Kabaretti, Conductor Gilles Apap, Violin
FROST Concertino for Solo Violin
(b. 1930) and Orchestra
Moderate — Cadenza Slow — Cadenza Fast
World Premiere KHACHATURIAN Violin Concerto in D minor (1903-1978) Allegro con fermezza
Andante sostenuto Allegro vivace
— INTERMISSION —
MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition (1839-1881) Promenade — The Gnome
arr. Ravel (1875-1937)
Promenade — The Old Castle
Promenade — Tuileries Bydlo Promenade — Ballet of the Chicks in Their Shells Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle The Marketplace at Limoges — Catacombs, Roman Tombs Cum Mortuis in Lingua Mortua The Hut on Fowl’s Legs — The Great Gate of Kiev
Nir Kabaretti Music and Artistic Director
Frank and Amanda Clark Frost ARTIST SPONSORS
Join Ramón Araïza for “Music Behind the Music” beginning one hour before each concert!
Sponsored by Marlyn Bernard Bernstein
Gilles Apap violin I began playing the violin at the age of seven with no desire whatsoever. Started again at nine with a little more desire thanks to my dear Gaby Gaglio, of the Nice Conservatory, my dear Dede Robert, a friend of the family, my dear Veda Reynolds at the Lyon Conservatory and of course, Marie-Claude Apap, my creatress, who brought me without my request, on Planet Earth. But I thank her for it. So anyway, these teachers taught me how to play Sevcik and Kreutzer almost in tune and concertos with vibrato on every note, almost in tune. At the same time, I listened to the late, greats — Fritzi, Yehudi and Zino. Learned more about crusty, old Jascha through the great Nina Bodnar. I started playing the fiddle at the age of twenty-six. Better late than never. It took me seventeen years to realize (with all due respect to dead composers), that there was something out there that could open my third eye and all my chakras — Folk Music. I had listened to a little bit of jazz, blues, swing and gypsy music before, but never heard the sounds of Tommy Jarrell, Kevin Burke, Bill Monroe, Ramanujam, his son Balaji, and Dennis McGee. Then there were my traveling buddies. The great Jimmie Wimmer, who taught me ‘The Cumberland Gap’ and some Irish tunes for free and my other buddy Phil Salazar who charged me $27.48 for an hour of blue grass, recorded ‘Sally Gooden’ for me, and claims I asked him how to play dirty like him. On my 27th birthday, (which was the 21st of May, 1963 in Bougie, Algeria) Phil brought me to my first group therapy at the Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite, which cured me from all mind diseases that I had contracted in French conservatories and American institutes over the years. I listened to my friends Ken and Jeannie Kepler who, as well as playing Cajun tunes, got into this good and grounded traditional New Mexican fiddle music of the Guachi Indians. Peter Feldman, well, we both got divorced at about the same time. He cooked me some good pea soup and asked if I could play ‘Dixie Breakdown.’ Then what happened? Well, I still have this love for these living and dead classical composers. Yehudi Menuhin wrote something to me. If my life depended on it, I couldn’t put a phrase like that together. So here it is. I hope you like it. Gilles Apap “The different folklorique music, particularly that of people who, sadly, are on the path of extinction, it’s up to us to assimilate it, it’s up to us to be inspired by what it has to offer, by its characteristics, and to grant this music a new resurgence by way of the creative imagination of musicians who are able to play anything. For me, you are the example of a musician of the 21st century. You represent the direction in which music should evolve; on the one hand, the patrimonial respect of the precious classical works, presenting them in the correct style and with the intense communication that was appropriate to their time; on the other hand, the discovery of contemporary [popular] music and its creative element, not only in the improvisation, but also in the interpretation.”
Robin Frost composer Robin Frost was born in Washington, D.C. in 1930 into a family with an appreciation of fine music. His father, the late Frank J. Frost, Sr. was an amateur violinist and music patron. Robin Began piano lessons at the age of six with the distinguished musicians, Margaret Tilly. He soon began to improvise little pieces of his own so theory and composition were added to his studies. At an early age he attended San Francisco Symphony concerts, conducted by Pierre Monteux, and developed his love of orchestral music. His musical education has, for the most part, been private instruction and tutoring. Some of his teachers included Darius Milhaud at the Music Academy of the West as well as film scoring with David Raksin at USC. Robin was especially fortunate to meet the late Eric Zeisl who was a well-established composer in Austria before coming to Los Angeles. The years of private study with Zeisl, until his untimely death in 1995, taught him not only music but also lessons in dedication and that one learns and improves by producing. Aside from piano, Robin plays other instruments. He studied violin with Stefan Krayk, former concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Symphony and played 4th horn for the Symphony under Lauris Jones in the 1950’s. Robin has written orchestra, chamber and choral works, some of which have won prizes and many of which have been performed and well received. He regularly worked in the commercial recording industry as an arranger and music director. For the past few years Robin has devoted his time almost exclusively to composing. His latest compositions include a chamber work for four winds and four strings and a piece for theremin and orchestra that was performed by the Santa Barbara Symphony. Robin is married and is a long-time resident of Santa Barbara.
Notes ROBIN FROST (BORN IN 1930)
Concertino for Solo Violin and Orchestra Composed in 1960-2010. World Premiere. Pairs of woodwinds plus bass clarinet and alto saxophone, two horns, two trumpets, two trombones, timpani, glockenspiel, celesta, harp and strings. Approximately 14 minutes. The composer has kindly provided the following information for these performances: I was born in Washington D.C. on December 13, 1930. We moved to Palo Alto, California, where I went through all the grades of school from Kindergarten through one and a half years of college, when I got married the first time. My great ambition was to build a boat and sail around the world, so I got a job as a carpenter, building houses. This was in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where we spent summers. I joined the navy in 1951 because of the war and the navy sent me to Pt. Mugu. My mother began looking for a place to live in Santa Barbara, where I now live. While I was in the navy I used to play the piano when on liberty and people said things like, “I’ll bet you could make good money doing that on the outside,” (meaning as a civilian) which gradually began to sink in, so upon discharge I joined the musicians’ union and was hired by a band led by Rosy (James Eugene) MacHargue, a fine jazz clarinetist. I had lost my desire to sail around the world, due to standing watch at 3:00 A.M. in the navy. Sailing alone meant I would have to endure those early morning hours. One of my buddies in the navy was an aficionado of Bix Beiderbecke, one of the most famous white jazz cornetists in the 1920s, so I took up the cornet (very similar to a trumpet) and began aping Beiderbecke’s mannerisms. I learned to play the cornet and piano at the same time and played in a band in Santa Barbara doing that. However, so called “serious” music was really my greater interest, so I retired from playing jazz and cocktail piano and spent more time writing orchestral music. I have written lots of chamber music: three or four string quartets, a sextet, an octet, music for brass, as well as many arrangements of other music, and also concertos for piano and for horn and several sets of variations for orchestra. I have always been interested in writing for orchestra and studying scores of other composers, because when I was a boy I was taken every week to hear the San Francisco Symphony, directed by Pierre Monteux. I am currently sketching themes for a symphony. I work very slowly so I, at present, have no idea of the form the symphony will eventually take. I began writing the Concertino many years ago because I was urged to by Stefan Krayk, who read through two movements with a student orchestra at Cal-Arts. [Warsaw-born violinist and conductor Stefan Krayk (1914-1999) was a founder of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 1953, the ensemble’s concertmaster until 1981, and Professor of Music at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1950 to 1977.] I was encouraged by this reading to add cadenzas and a third movement. The trombone theme in the third movement was inspired by a trip to Hawaii during a hike over the Hanakapiai trail on the westernmost island of Kauai, when I looked out over the sea and imagined the first Polynesians approaching the island. The melody simply popped into my head. I put this in my sketchbook and then decided the trombones made a nice contrast to the violin sound later when I was writing the Concertino. The piece starts on A 440 and ends on A 2 octaves higher in the solo fiddle accompanied by discords in trumpets and clarinets. The 2nd movement which starts at bar 88 was inspired by a similar texture in Béla Bartók’s 2nd violin concerto, although my melody at that point is completely different from Bartók’s and is played by violas and cellos. When I was young Gershwin and Bartók were two of my idols, although I was fascinated by The Rite of Spring and studied that score a lot. I thank Maestro Nir Kabaretti and the talented Santa Barbara Symphony musicians for performing the World Premiere of my Concertino for Solo Violin and Orchestra. And, I am honored to have my piece played by a violinist of the stature of Gilles Apap.
ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Violin Concerto in D minor Composed in 1940.
Premiered on November 16, 1940 in Moscow, with David Oistrakh as soloist. Piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp and strings. Approximately 32 minutes Aram Khachaturian was one of the leading composers of the Soviet Union and the most celebrated musician of his native state of Armenia. When he arrived in Moscow in 1921 from his home town of Tbilisi, he had had virtually no formal training in music, but his talent was soon recognized, and he was admitted to the academy of Mikhail Gnessin, a student of RimskyKorsakov. Khachaturian’s first published works date from 1926; three years later he entered the Moscow Conservatory. His international reputation was established with the success of the Piano Concerto in 1936, composed at the same time that he became active in the newly founded Union of Soviet Composers, of which he was elected Deputy Chairman of the Moscow branch in 1937 and Deputy President of the National Organizing Committee two years later. In 1939, he returned to live for six months in Armenia, where he immersed himself in the folk music of his boyhood home in preparation for composing the ballet Happiness. Boris Schwarz noted that the composer’s synthesis of vernacular and cultivated musical styles in that work “represents the fulfillment of a basic Soviet arts policy: the interpenetration of regional folklorism and the great Russian tradition.” Khachaturian’s compositional colleague Dmitri Kabalevsky wrote, “The especially attractive features of Khachaturian’s music are in its roots in national folk fountainheads. The captivating rhythmic diversity of dances of the peoples of Transcaucasia and the inspired improvisations of the ashugs [Armenia’s native bards] — such are the sources from which have sprung the composer’s creative endeavors. From the interlocking of these two principles there grew Khachaturian’s symphonism — vivid and dynamic, with keen contrasts, now enchanting in their mellow lyricism, now stirring in their tension and drama.” Khachaturian remained a proud and supportive Armenian throughout his life, serving in 1958 as the state’s delegate to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. “My whole life, everything that I have created, belongs to the Armenian people,” he once said. The Violin Concerto of 1940 is imbued with the music of Khachaturian’s Armenian homeland. One of the achievements of the Union of Soviet Composers was the founding in 1939 of an enclave on the Moscow River near the town of Staraya Ruza set aside for creative work and rest. Khachaturian spent the summer of 1940 there, in one of the cottages in the dense pine forest, composing a violin concerto for David Oistrakh. Khachaturian had largely prepared the formal plan for the piece in his head in advance, and he recalled, “I worked without effort. Sometimes my thoughts and imagination out-raced the hand that was covering the staff with notes. The themes came to me in such abundance that I had a hard time putting them in some order.... While composing the Concerto I had for my models such masterpieces as the concertos by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Glazunov. I wanted to create a virtuoso piece employing the symphonic principle of development and yet understandable to the general public.” He succeeded, and the Concerto was a great success when it was premiered on November 16, 1940 in Moscow by Oistrakh. The new Concerto solidified Khachaturian’s popularity at home and abroad; he was awarded the Stalin Prize for it in 1941. The Concerto’s opening movement is disposed in traditional sonata form, with two contrasting themes and a full development section. After a brief introductory outburst by the orchestra, the soloist presents an animated motif that soon evolves into a bounding, close-interval folk dance. This theme, punctuated once by the strong orchestral chords from the introduction, continues for some time before it gives way to a lyrical complementary strain of nostalgic emotional character. As the movement unfolds, the soloist is required to display one dazzling technical feat after another, culminating in a huge cadenza that serves as the bridge to the recapitulation. Both of the earlier themes are returned in elaborated settings to round out the movement. The second movement is in a broad three-part design prefaced by a bassoon solo that Grigory Shneerson, in his study of Khachaturian, said imitated the improvisations of the Armenian ashugs, or bards. A melancholy tune occupies the movement’s outer sections while the central portion is more animated and rhapsodic in nature. The finale is an irresistible rondo, filled with festive brilliance, blazing orchestral color and sparkling virtuosity.
MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Pictures at an Exhibition
Transcribed for Orchestra by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Composed in 1874; transcribed in 1923. Orchestral version premiered on May 3, 1923 in Paris, conducted by Sergei Koussevitzky. Piccolo, three flutes, three oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, alto saxophone, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, celesta, gong, two harps, piano and strings. Approximately 32 minutes. In the years around 1850, with the spirit of nationalism sweeping across Europe, several young Russian artists banded together to rid their art of foreign influences in order to establish a distinctive nationalist character for their works. Leading this movement was a group of composers known as “The Five,” whose members included Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai RimskyKorsakov, Alexander Borodin, César Cui and Mily Balakirev. Among the allies that The Five found in other fields was the artist and architect Victor Hartmann, with whom Mussorgsky became close friends. Hartmann’s premature death at 39 stunned the composer and the entire Russian artistic community. Vladimir Stassov, a noted critic and the journalistic champion of the Russian arts movement, organized a memorial exhibit of Hartmann’s work in February 1874, and it was under the inspiration of that showing that Mussorgsky conceived his Pictures at an Exhibition. At the time of the exhibit, Mussorgsky was engaged in preparations for the first public performance of his opera Boris Godunov, and he only began serious work on the piece the following summer. The movements mostly depict sketches, watercolors and architectural designs shown publicly at the Hartmann exhibit, though Mussorgsky based two or three sections on canvases that he had been shown privately by the artist before his death. The composer linked his sketches together with a musical “Promenade” in which he depicted his own rotund self shuffling — in an uneven meter— from one picture to the next. Though Mussorgsky was not given to much excitement over his own creations, he took special delight in this one. Especially in the masterful transcription for orchestra that Maurice Ravel did in 1922 for the Parisian concerts of conductor Sergei Koussevitzky, it is a work of vivid impact to which listeners and performers alike can return with undiminished pleasure. Promenade. According to Stassov, this recurring section depicts Mussorgsky “roving through the exhibition, now leisurely, now briskly in order to come close to a picture that had attracted his attention, and, at times sadly, thinking of his friend.” The Gnome. Hartmann’s drawing is for a fantastic wooden nutcracker representing a gnome who gives off savage shrieks while he waddles about on short, bandy legs. Promenade —The Old Castle. A troubadour (represented by the saxophone) sings a doleful lament before a foreboding, ruined ancient fortress. Promenade —Tuileries. Mussorgsky’s subtitle is “Dispute of the Children after Play.” Hartmann’s picture shows a corner of the famous Parisian garden filled with nursemaids and their youthful charges. Bydlo. Hartmann’s picture depicts a rugged wagon drawn by oxen. The peasant driver sings a plaintive melody (solo tuba) heard first from afar, then close-by, before the cart passes away into the distance. Promenade — Ballet of the Chicks in Their Shells. Hartmann’s costume design for the 1871 fantasy ballet Trilby shows dancers enclosed in enormous egg shells, with only their arms, legs and heads protruding. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle. The title was given to the music by Stassov. Mussorgsky originally called this movement “Two Jews: one rich, the other poor.” It was inspired by a pair of pictures that Hartmann presented to the composer showing two residents of the Warsaw ghetto, one rich and pompous (a weighty unison for strings and winds), the other poor and complaining (muted trumpet). Mussorgsky based both themes on incantations he had heard on visits to Jewish synagogues. The Marketplace at Limoges. A lively sketch of a bustling market, with animated conversations flying among the female vendors. Catacombs, Roman Tombs. Cum Mortuis in Lingua Mortua. Hartmann’s drawing shows him being led by a guide with a lantern through cavernous underground tombs. The movement’s second section, bearing the title “With the Dead in a Dead Language,” is a mysterious transformation of the Promenade theme. The Hut on Fowl’s Legs. Hartmann’s sketch is a design for an elaborate clock suggested by Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch of Russian folklore who eats human bones she has ground into paste with her mortar and pestle. She also can fly through the air on her fantastic mortar, and Mussorgsky’s music suggests a wild, midnight ride. The Great Gate of Kiev. Mussorgsky’s grand conclusion to his suite was inspired by Hartmann’s plan for a gateway for the city of Kiev in the massive old Russian style crowned with a cupola in the shape of a Slavic warrior’s helmet. The majestic music suggests both the imposing bulk of the edifice (never built, incidentally) and a brilliant procession passing through its arches. The work ends with a heroic statement of the Promenade theme and a jubilant pealing of the great bells of the city. ©2011 Dr. Richard E. Rodda
Santa Barbara Symphony’s upcoming performances:
“Music Behind the Music” Pre-Concert Events with your host, Ramón Araïza
April 16-17, 2011
Mozart’s “Jupiter” Letizia Belmondo
FREE TO ALL CONCERT TICKET HOLDERS Concert Saturdays 7pm-7:30pm Concert Sundays 2pm-2:30pm (1 hour prior to each concert)
“‘Music Behind the Music’ is one of my favorite parts of the concert! We did not want to miss Ramón!” – Sandra Lindquist, SB Symphony Subscriber
Concert pianist, composer/arranger and music scholar Ramón Araïza 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. Araïza’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 Ramón’s creative and artistic “Notes Behind the Notes” in The Granada lobby!
WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll WWV103 RENIÉ: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra MOZART: Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”
For single tickets, call The Granada box office, 1214 State Street, at (805) 899-2222
Santa Barbara Symphony Concerts One-time-only Broadcasts on
February concert broadcasts March 13, 7 pm March concert broadcasts April 10, 7 pm April concert broadcasts May 8, 7 pm May concert broadcasts October 2, 7 pm ©On the Upbeat, MARCH 2011 VOL. 4, 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.
We invite comparison. Nir Kabaretti Music and Artistic Director