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SBCO 37th Season Dear Friends, As we begin our 37th Season, I would like to thank you for being a part of our family. This season brings many new ideas and the beginning of a change in our traditional format. Stay tuned for exciting news this spring! In addition to focusing on such composers as Mendelssohn and Schumann, this year we have added a musical conversation component as part of the season. We are pleased to welcome Gail Eichenthal and Alan Chapman from KUSC as special guests at several events, including the new and highly anticipated Music-Dialogue! This spring, we are excited to welcome back Martin Beaver on violin and Alessio Bax on piano to our Lobero Series to delight our audience with thrilling and moving performances. Our board of directors and staff continue to work to ensure Santa Barbara has the very best Chamber Orchestra possible. In an effort to share the good work we are doing, we are reinstituting a quarterly newsletter called Ovation: Applause Worthy Moments. It is our goal to keep you informed as we continue to build our audience and subscriber base. As we grow and implement new programing, we would love to know what you think. To that end, we will be issuing audience surveys periodically throughout the year to make sure we are listening to you, our faithful audience. As always I would like to thank our subscribers, individual donors, and corporate and foundation partners. Without you, we would be unable to take the stage for you this evening. Is there someone you would like to invite to the concert? Let us know how we can help. It is my pleasure to serve this fine organization and I look forward to sharing our season as we “See the Music” together. Sincerely, Kevin A. Marvin, Executive Director
Contents Get information on SBCO’s entire 2015-2016 Season at www.sbco.org
SBCO Outreach Programs
December Program Notes
22 February Program Notes
October Program Notes
29 SBCO Supporters
30 SBCO Board of Directors
30 SBCO Artistic & Administrative Staff
Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra’s programs are printed by 3
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” -Bono The Bank of Santa Barbara is a proud sponsor of the Chamber Orchestra’s Family Program, providing tickets to students who participate in their schools’ music program
Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Outreach Programs Free Concert Seats for Families “Classical music is so much more fun and exciting when it’s live!” – Caroline, 10th grade The Free Concert Seats for Families program, now in its eighth season, provides students (ages 8 to 18) from any financial background an opportunity to attend any of our four regular season concerts with their parent or guardian for FREE! This unique program offers young people the thrilling experience of attending a live classical performance with their family in a real concert-going atmosphere. Where some programs only hold separate concerts for youth audiences, our program educates students about music, as well as concert etiquette, in an “official” performance. Our goal is to keep the children of our community musically inspired through engaging and accessible concert and educational opportunities. SBCO’s Free Concert Seats for Families is supported in part by:
Rotary Club of Montecito Foundation
Classical Connections The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra is excited to introduce Classical Connections, a new outreach program that shares the therapeutic benefits of classical music with Santa Barbara elders. Working in partnership with local care facilities, Classical Connections will extend the physical and emotional power of music to individuals suffering from various cognitive and neurological conditions. The program will launch this spring. Look for more updates and information in our newsletter Ovation: Applause Worthy Moments.
For more information on outreach programs, contact the SBCO office at (805) 966-2441.
Support the Orchestra. Donate Now. A gift to the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra supports our mission to maintain a chamber orchestra of the highest artistic quality in Santa Barbara. Great music is an essential element of a vibrant community, and the SBCO plays an important role in enhancing the quality of life for audiences in and around Santa Barbara. Please join your fellow music-lovers and consider a gift today. Your donation makes it possible for the SBCO to expand opportunities for audiences to enjoy today’s most celebrated artists.
Visit SBCO.org or contact the SBCO Office at (805) 966-2441 for more information or to donate now!
SBCO’s 2015-2016 Season continues this spring with
Inspiring... March 22, 2016 Martin Beaver, violin
MOZART Overture: The Marriage of Figaro MOZART Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto Op. 64
April 5, 2016 Music-Dialogue! with radio host, Alan Chapman
University Club of Santa Barbara A Conversation Featuring Maestro Ohyama and select players from the Chamber Orchestra surrounds the concert performance. MENDELSSOHN String Quintet No. 2, Op. 87
Glorious... May 17, 2016 Alessio Bax, piano
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 5 “Reformation” Op. 107
For tickets and more, call 805-966-2441 or visit www.sbco.org P RO G R A M S A N D A RT I STS A R E SU BJ ECT TO C H A N G E .
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Heiichiro Ohyama Music Director and Conductor Born in Kyoto, Japan. Both of his parents were from Fukuoka on the Kyushu Island and his father moved to Kyoto after the war for the research of the historical aspect of the Rock-Garden (Sekitei) in Kyoto. Mr. Ohyama attended the Fukkatsu preschool and NotreDame primary school, both are Christian institutions. At the age of five, with the wish of his father, he started studying violin under the renowned Suzuki Method with Mr. Arai in Kyoto. As he entered the primary school, he studied violin with Sister Mary Paula. He also received Early Ear Training at “Music Class for Children” in Kyoto and later in Osaka. At the age of ten, he started to have lessons from Professors Togi and Sumi, both were very famous pedagogues. In junior high school, he started taking lessons in composition from Prof. Ikenouchi and in music theory from Prof. Nakahara. He entered the Toho Music High School in Tokyo where he studied violin under Prof. Eto who was a student of Efrem Zimbalist, and studied chamber music under Prof. Saito. After winning several awards, including All Japan Music Competition, he went abroad to study at the Guildhall Music and Drama in London in England and graduated in 1970. He studied violin under Prof. Y Neaman, chamber music under Prof. W Pleeth, and Renaissance and Baroque ensemble under Prof. T Dart. In 1970, with the recommendation of Prof. Tong Il Han, he entered Indiana University where he studied viola with William Primrose and violin with Josef Gingold, Ruggiero Ricci, Franco Gulli and chamber music with Janos Starker, Manaham Pressler. He later taught as a Visiting Lecturer at the Indiana University. As a student, in London, he won the BBC Beethoven Competition, British Council Music Scholarship, Carl Flesch International Violin Competition as well as both the violin and viola competitions at Indiana University. In 1972, with recommendation of Prof. W Primrose, he attended the Marlboro Music Festival for several summers and toured as a member of the “Music from Marlboro” for five times. In 1973, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and following year, he won the Young Concert Artists International Audition Award in New York. He became increasingly in demand as a violist and has performed throughout the United States as a chamber musician, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In 1979 he was appointed as Principal Violist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Carlo Maria Giulini, a position he held for 13 years.
With encouragement of Myung-Whun Chung, in 1981, he began conducting the Youth String Orchestra of the Crossroads School for Sciences and Arts in Santa Monica. In the same year, he transferred his professorship with University of California to the Santa Barbara campus. In 1983, he was appointed the position of Music Director and Conductor of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. In 1987, Mr. Ohyama was appointed as Assistant Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic by Andre Previn. His experience also includes being the Principal Conductor of the Round Top Music Festival in Texas for 12 years beginning in 1982, the Music Director and Conductor of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra in Seattle from 198587, Founder and the Artistic Director of the La Jolla Chamber Music Society’s SummerFest La Jolla from 1986-97, Music Director and Conductor of the Asia America Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles from 1990-2000, Artistic Director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival from 1991-97, Music Director and Conductor of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in New York from 1993-98, the Principal Chief Conductor of Kyushu Symphony Orchestra in Fukuoka, Japan, from 1999-2004 and the Osaka Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2008. Founding Artistic Director of the Nagasaki Music Festival in Japan from 2007-2010. He was also Professor of Music at University of California from 1973 to 2003. He was a recipient of the 1991 Gruber Award for Excellence in Chamber Music Teaching in Los Angeles. In 2005, he received the “Fukuoka City Cultural Prize” and in 2008, “Outstanding Performance Award” by the Japanese Government. Mr. Ohyama has been heard frequently on radio and television and has recorded on the CBS, Evica (Japan), King (Japan), Nonesuch, Philips, RCA, Stereophiles and Telarc labels. Currently, Mr. Ohyama holds the position of the Music Director and Conductor of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra (USA), Artistic Director of Chanel Pygmalion Chamber Music Series and is a member of The Chamber Music Musicians, who will perform February 9, 2016 at the Fleischmann Auditorium, at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. 7
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Enchanting... Saturday, October 3, 2015 7:30 p.m., Lobero Theatre Heiichiro Ohyama, Conductor
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 1. 2. 3. 4.
Ziemlich Iangsam - Lebhaft Romanze: Ziemlich Iangsam Scherzo: Lebhaft Langsam; Lebhaft
Mendelssohn Overture, A Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dream, Op. 21
Suite (1919) from The Firebird 1. Introduction 2. Dance of the Firebird 3. Round Dance of the Princesses 4. Infernal Dance of Kastchei and his Subjects 5. Berceuse 6. Finale
Music for the Schumann symphony provided by the Los Angeles Public Library Art, Music, and Recreation Department. 9
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October Program Notes by Linda Shaver-Gleason For a period in his life, Robert Schumann became fixated upon a single type of music and composed obsessively within a particular genre. The year he married Clara Wieck, 1840, coincided with the “Year of Song,” in which he composed nearly 140 Lieder. The year 1842 was filled with chamber music. Between them, in 1841, was a year devoted to works for the orchestra, including his first two symphonies. After the successful premiere of his Symphony No. 1, the “Spring” symphony, in May 1841, Schumann set to work on what he then called his “Clara” symphony, finishing it in September in order to present the score to his wife for her birthday. Unfortunately, the audience responded less enthusiastically toward its premiere that December, so Schumann withdrew it. He returned to it over a decade later, after he had finished two additional symphonies, so it was published as his Symphony No. 4 in D minor, opus 120. Schumann sought to unify the work through connections between the movements; not only do the four movements flow into each other without pause, but some themes appear in multiple movements, and new melodies often derive from the gestures of previous themes. This becomes apparent from the outset of Ziemlich langsam (“Rather slow”)—after an ominous chord, a creeping melody unfolds throughout the introduction. Eventually, the first violins stumble upon a climbing gesture that becomes the basis of the vigorous first theme. The contrasting theme, a thrilling arch that veers into major, is also closely related; Schumann develops both melodies throughout a tempestuous sonata process. The Romanze features a noble duet between solo cello and oboe, followed by a reprise of the opening of the first movement, which evaporates into a florid violin solo over gliding accompaniment. The oboe and cello duet concludes the movement, which leads directly into the stern Scherzo. The two contrasting Trio sections of the movement are based on the violin’s solo from the Romanze. Taking his inspiration from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Schumann shrouds the
end of the Scherzo in mystery before transforming the gesture from the first movement into one of triumph for the final movement, Lebhaft (“Lively”). To call Felix Mendelssohn well-read would be an understatement; his parents hosted some of the finest minds of early nineteenth century Europe in their Berlin home, allowing the young composer to discuss art and literature at an advanced level from an early age. In this environment, he and his siblings became enchanted by a German translation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, acting out scenes and teasing out deeper meanings. In 1826, at the age of 17, Mendelssohn’s musical ideas for the play culminated in his Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, opus 21. Mendelssohn would later return to the play toward the end of his life, writing out full incidental music in 1842. This youthful concert overture, however, helped him establish his reputation as a compositional prodigy and secured his fame in England, the land of Shakespeare himself. The overture is among the most literal compositions that Mendelssohn ever wrote; the composer usually preferred to convey through his music more general feelings or impressions than specific details. In this case, however, he was encouraged by his friend A.B. Marx to include as much of Shakespeare’s play as possible. As a result, each group of characters receives its own corresponding passage of music. The mystical opening wind chords and flitting scurrying strings represent the mischievous fairies. Galloping rhythms and horn blasts signify the Duke and his penchant for hunting. These give way to gently sighing lines from winds and strings to represent the young lovers, leading to a boisterous dance and the evocation of a donkey’s bray for Bottom and his haphazard troupe. With the characters and their themes thus established, Mendelssohn does not let them play out according to the drama of the play, but rather according to their musical qualities, following the sonata form that was conventional for concert overtures.
Become Part of a Santa Barbara Tradition The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Legacy League honors those who have made a significant contribution to the Chamber Orchestra through a planned charitable gift. A planned gift secured in your will or estate plan demonstrates your commitment to the cultural heritage of Santa Barbara and ensures that the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra will thrive for generations to come. We invite you to join the distinguished patrons who support the lasting success of the Chamber Orchestra. To learn more about the Legacy League and planned giving, please contact Director of Development Leslie Velez at (805) 966-2441. 11
Just as Mendelssohn makes a musical difference between the fairies and the humans in his overture, Igor Stravinsky musically distinguishes between the natural and supernatural realms in his breakthrough ballet, The Firebird, borrowing techniques from his teacher, Nikolai RimskyKorsakov. Human characters and settings are scored with tonal and modal melodies, which are considered “natural.” Magical creatures and realms, such as Kastchei’s garden, are accompanied by “artificial” pitch collections, such as the octatonic and whole-tone scales, and chromaticism. The Firebird capitalized on the Parisian taste for the exotic, being the first production of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets russes (“Russian Ballet”) to have entirely original music composed for it. The scenario, developed by choreographer Mikhaíl Fokine, drew upon multiple Russian folk tales, including that of Zhar-Ptitsa (the Firebird) and Kastchei the Immortal, an evil sorcerer. Several young Russian composers turned down the commission before it came before the 28-year-old Stravinsky. After watching a rehearsal for its 1910 premiere, Stravinsky noted that “the words ‘For Russian Export’ seemed to have been stamped everywhere, both on the stage and on the music.” He would eventually create three concert suites from the ballet, in 1911, 1919, and 1945; The Firebird Suite (1919 Version) is the most widely performed, preserving the
thrilling climax of the ballet. It begins with the Introduction, evoking the mysterious setting of Kastchei’s realm through its use of chromaticism in the creeping lines of the strings and rumbles in low brass and winds. The hero of the ballet, Prince Ivan, stumbles into Kastchei’s garden while hunting and there encounters The Firebird and Its Dance, which flutters across the winds and strings. Prince Ivan captures the Firebird, who gives him a golden feather to call upon its services later. The suite continues with The Firebird’s Variation, further establishing the unpredictable nature of the magical creature. Prince Ivan discovers thirteen princesses held captive by Kastchei and falls in love with one of them. They dance The Princesses’ Khorovod, a Slavic round dance. Their simple, modal melody begins with a solo oboe, passes through the winds, then settles into the strings. The villain, enraged, performs the Infernal Dance of King Kastchei, with pounding timpani and bellowing brass punctuated by piercing strings. Prince Ivan calls the Firebird to his aid, and it puts everyone to sleep with a gentle Berceuse (Lullaby). This allows Prince Ivan to find the egg which contains Kastchei’s soul and destroy it, thus breaking his spells and freeing his captives. With a noble horn solo based on a folk melody, everyone slowly awakens and joins the Finale, a majestic procession that becomes a triumphant celebration of Prince Ivan’s wedding to his beloved princess.
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Exquisite... Tuesday, December 8, 2015 7:30 p.m., Lobero Theatre Heiichiro Ohyama, Conductor | Gail Eichenthal, Guest Lecturer
Mendelssohn Symphony for Strings in C Major No. 9 “Swiss Symphony”
1. Grave - Allegro 2. Andante 3. Scherzo -Trio piu lento 4. Allegro vivace
Serenade for Strings, Op. 22 1. Moderato 2. Tempo di Valse 3. Scherzo (Vivace) 4. Larghetto 5. Finale (Allegro Vivace)
Gail Eichenthal Executive Producer, USC Radio Gail Eichenthal is Executive Producer of KUSC and its sister stations, KDFC San Francisco and KDB Santa Barbara. For all three stations, she oversees outreach to the arts communities, arts reporting, special projects, and live concert broadcasts. Gail is also an on-air host and interviewer on KUSC. After more or less growing up at KUSC in the late 1970’s, Gail rejoined the KUSC staff in 2005 after an absence of 16 years, during which she pursued a news career. Gail began her association with KUSC as Abram Chasins’ intern in 1976, joining the staff the following year as an on-air host and documentary producer. In 1978, she became the first woman to host the national radio broadcasts of a major American orchestra as
the voice of the LA Philharmonic. She hosted and produced the broadcasts for more than 20 years, succeeded in 2008 by Brian Lauritzen. From 1994–2005, Gail was a staff news reporter and anchor at KNX 1070, the CBS news station in Los Angeles. She may be best-remembered at KNX for anchoring the station’s 10-month, gavel-to-gavel coverage in 1995 of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. At KNX, she picked up 13 Golden Mikes, the Bill Stout Enterprise Award, National Headliner Awards, and other regional and national honors. She was the film critic for the CBS Radio Network from 1989-1992, and has also written articles for the LA Times, Symphony Magazine, and the KUSC “Arts Alive” blog. Gail graduated with a B.A. from UCLA, majoring in music and English. In her spare time, Gail loves tennis, theater, choral singing, major league baseball, cooking, and all of the arts. She’s also deeply proud of her role as stage mom to her son, a young opera singer in graduate school.
December Program Notes by Linda Shaver-Gleason Felix Mendelssohn’s parents recognized and encouraged his musical talent at an early age, providing the prodigy with the resources upon which he would build a successful career. By the age of 10, Mendelssohn took composition lessons with Carl Friedrich Zelter, who impressed upon his pupil the importance of studying Baroque and early Classical music. Zelter introduced Mendelssohn to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, sparking a lifelong love of the fugue. In his studies, Mendelssohn composed twelve string symphonies between 1821 and 1823, at the ages of twelve to fourteen. Mendelssohn had the advantage of hearing these string symphonies played right away, as his home became a gathering place for intellectuals and local musicians. Through these string symphonies, Mendelssohn worked out classical musical techniques such as sonata form, which traditionally gives shape to the first movement. He also played with texture, dividing sections of instruments in unconventional ways to create new effects. The Symphony for Strings No. 9 in C Major, “Swiss” is a prime example of this experimentation; it features a divided viola section, creating a five- or six-part harmony, depending on whether the basses played with the cellos. Mendelssohn composed his ninth string symphony in March 1823, when he was fourteen years old.
It begins with a trudging Grave introduction that gives way to a balanced Allegro. Rather than using two contrasting themes for his sonata form, Mendelssohn submits just one theme to the process, borrowing a technique often used by Haydn. In the development section, however, he reconfigures the theme into a fugue, an early indication of how deeply the music of Bach influenced his style. In the Andante, Mendelssohn divides the string orchestra in a non-standard way. The movement begins with just the violins, divided into four parts for a light, gentle impression. The basses, cellos, and violas—still split into two parts—issue a response that is dark and brooding, building layer upon layer. The violins return with their ethereal strains, and the lower strings are folded into the texture before the end of the movement. The sprinting Scherzo gives way to a pastoral Trio section that gives the symphony its nickname: The first violins play a folksong labeled “La Suisse,” with a yodel tag at the end of its phrases. The string symphony ends with a bustling Allegro vivace that constructs yet another fugue before sprinting to the conclusion. Mendelssohn turned to the symphony to demonstrate his mastery of classical forms, whereas Antonín Dvořák turned to the serenade to evoke freedom from such forms. In 16
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1875, Dvořák’s personal life and career were going well. He had married two years prior, and the couple had just welcomed their first son to the world. Professionally, Dvořák had applied for the Austrian State Prize in composition in 1874; the jury included critic Eduard Hanslick and Johannes Brahms, who were won over by Dvořák’s talent. He was awarded the stipend in February 1875, with the comment that, “The applicant... deserves a grant to ease his strained circumstances and free him from anxiety in his creative work.” Able to compose without fear of poverty, Dvořák wrote his Serenade for Strings in E Major, Opus 22 within two weeks, from May 3-14. It premiered in Prague on December 10, 1876, and the following year it was published in a piano four-hands version. Only after Dvořák’s subsequent success with his enormously popular Slavonic Dances did publishers express interest in producing the orchestral score. The Berlin firm Bote and Bock published the full score in 1879, praising its “naturalness and grace.” All movements except the last are in ternary or ABA form, containing a middle contrasting section before returning to the initial material. The first movement, Moderato, begins with an easy conversation between second violins and cellos,
gliding over pulsating violas. The middle section features a sprightly dance before the original melody returns with some embellishment. Dvořák indicates the second movement as Tempo di Valse; although the dance features a triple meter and maintains an elegance, the forlorn melody lacks the exuberance of a traditional Viennese waltz. The contrasting Trio is gentler, yet features unexpected harmonic shifts. Next comes a light-hearted Scherzo that resembles a musical game of tag that pauses for a lilting dance. The contemplative Larghetto borrows a melody from the previous movement; it presents it as an outpouring of earnest emotion, but the middle section retains an air of mystery. When the opening returns, the violas play a slower version of their dance rhythm from the Scherzo, further establishing the ties between the two movements. The Finale: Allegro vivace cycles through many ideas, moving swiftly from a dramatic introduction, to a tragic dialogue, to a country dance. The cellos emerge with the passionate theme from the Larghetto (which itself was adapted from the Scherzo), but the opening themes return. This time, the dance segues into the main theme of the first movement before the finale theme reasserts itself for a jubilant ending.
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Chamber Music... ...at the Museum Tuesday, February 9, 2016 7:30 p.m., Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History SBCO Chamber Musicians featuring Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama, Viola
Horn Quintet in E-flat Major, K. 407
1. Allegro 2. Andante 3. Allegro
Quartet for bassoon & strings in G minor, Op. 73, No. 3 1. 2. 3.
Allegro con espressivo Adagio, non troppo Rondo, Allegretto poco moderato
String Quintet No. 4 in G minor, K. 516 1. Allegro 2. Menuetto e Trio (Allegretto) 3. Adagio ma non troppo 4. Adagio - Allegro 21
5. Moderato 6. Scherzo. Schnell Trio. Langsamer 7. Adagio (urspr端nglich Andante) 8. Finale. Lebhaft bewegt
February Program Notes by Linda Shaver-Gleason Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote several works featuring the horn, mostly due to his lifelong friendship with horn player Joseph Leutgeb. Mozart wrote at least three of his horn concertos for Leutgeb, a cheese merchant by trade. He was also the intended horn player for Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat Major for Horn, Violin, Two Violas and Cello, K.407, composed in 1782. Mozart often teased Leutgeb for being slow-witted, scribbling notes on his music referring to him as a “donkey” among other things, but the composer’s respect for his talent as a performer can be heard in the virtuosity of the horn parts. In the days before horns had valves, Leutgeb mastered an innovative technique that allowed horn players to play chromatically by placing their hands in the bell of the horn. Whereas most works for horn from this period rely heavily on hunting calls based on the natural harmonic series, Mozart avoids this cliché and grants the horn a greater range of expression. Though the opening chords of the Allegro use the horn only for simple octave leaps, the horn soon emerges with a singing melody that soars over the strings. Throughout the movement, the horn introduces the thematic material, leaving the violin in the subordinate role of echoing or responding to its phrases as the violas and cello provide accompaniment. Using two violas instead of two violins emphasizes the middle register, matching the warmness of the horn. The strings begin the Andante alone, allowing the violin to unfurl the contented melody. When the horn finally enters, it steers the melody in new directions, hinting at darker harmonies and adding subtle embellishments, establishing itself as the true soloist of this operatic movement. The final Allegro is a rondo, featuring a recurring theme: a brisk variant of the melody from the preceding slow movement. The episodes interspersed between instances of the rondo theme display both the horn’s virtuosity and the strings’ interdependence as an ensemble. The career of flute and bassoon virtuoso François Devienne demonstrates the flexibility necessary to live as a musician during France’s revolutionary period. Born in Joinville, Haute-Marne in 1759, Devienne joined the Paris Opéra orchestra as the last chair bassoonist when he was twenty years old. He played in theater orchestras and military bands, moving between Paris and Versailles as needed. He became a frequent soloist at Paris’s famous Concert Spirituel, playing both flute and bassoon. Unsurprisingly, many of his compositions feature one of these two instruments, as he was the intended soloist at their premieres. One of his bassoon concertos was erroneously attributed to Mozart before musicologists discovered the true source. Devienne also
wrote operas, including Les visitandines, which became so popular that it had over 200 performances between 1792 and 1797. One of Devienne’s stints in a military band turned into a more permanent position as his job entailed teaching the children of French soldiers. This institution became the Free School of Music, which then became the National Institute of Music, and finally the vaunted Paris Conservatoire in 1795. Thus Devienne became one of the Conservatoire’s first administrators and flute professors. Unfortunately, he was overworked and committed to a Parisian home for the mentally ill, where he died in 1803. Devienne’s Quartet for bassoon and strings in G minor, op. 73, no. 3 comes from a set of three quartets that he composed around 1800. The Allegro con espressione begins mysteriously and dramatically, with the bassoon in the forefront of the ensemble, on rare occasions stepping aside to let the violin carry the theme. The second theme is more genial and balanced while maintaining virtuosity with triplet runs and leaps. The bassoon dominates the texture, but the strings still have their moments, such as a brilliant cello cadenza that caps off the development section. The Adagio, non troppo reveals Devienne’s ties to the opera as it follows the form of a da capo aria—after the basssoon presents the gently rolling melody, it yields to the strings for a contrasting middle section before returning with an extravagantly embellished version of the original theme. The finale, Allegretto poco Moderato, is in rondo form, with a tragic recurring melody. One of the episodes relegates the bassoon to a more traditional role by featuring a walking bass line, but the bassoon ends the quartet in a blaze of glory. Returning to Mozart, his Quintet no. 4 in G minor, K. 516 is the most somber of his six string quintets. Having learned that his father, Leopold, was gravely ill the previous month, the younger Mozart completed the quintet on May 16, 1787, less than two weeks before the elder Mozart’s death. An inescapable gloom pervades the work; Tchaikovsky once said of the quintet, “No one has ever known as well how to interpret so exquisitely in music the sense of resigned and inconsolable sorrow.” In all of his string quintets, Mozart expands the standard complement of a string quartet with the addition of a second viola, rather than a second cello or a string bass. This choice creates symmetry, as Mozart introduces the tragic opening theme of the Allegro by dividing the quintet into two smaller sub-ensembles. The first phrases of the melody occur in the first violin, accompanied by the second violin and first viola. The first viola takes over the melody, accompanied by the second viola and cello. It meanders into major harmonies, producing more cheerful versions of the 22
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previous material. After a development section in which gestures from both themes pass between all the instruments, the recapitulation revisits the opening. This time, however, the second theme does not wander into the realm of major, eliminating any hint of optimism. With its heavy, disruptive chords, the Menuetto is rawer than most minuets. It gives only the slightest hint of the refined nature of the courtly dance before succumbing to despair. The contrasting Trio section lightens the mood as the carefree melody glides over the bar lines, but the weighty minuet inevitably returns. The third movement, Adagio, ma non troppo, features a hesitant melody in the first violin gently urged on by the other instruments. It becomes a delicate dialogue between the first violin and cello, often punctuated by silence. The movement ends contentedly, wafting upward before the gentle final chords. The last movement begins with a despondent Adagio; the first violin launches into an operatic lament, supported by pizzicato cello and a trudging accompaniment from the inner instruments. After the tragic cavatina draws to a close, the mood shifts abruptly for a chipper Allegro that seems entirely untouched by the dark sentiments which permeated the entire rest of the quintet. The skipping rondo melody recurs several times in the finale, alternating with episodes that maintain the bright mood.
Il Trovatore Verdi
Les Pêcheurs de Perles
(The Pearl Fishers) Bizet
Manon Lescaut Puccini
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