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SA LVA D O R B R OTO N S, CO N D U CTO R

2017-2018

Featuring

GUEST ARTIST

GUEST ARTIST

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

Alexander Toradze, piano

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FALL & WINTER CONCERT PROGRAM GUIDE

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from

MAESTRO BROTONS

Welcome to Our 39th Season!

With extraordinary guest artists like Mayuko Kamio, Valerie Muzzolini, David Shifrin, Sofya Melikian and Orli Shaham, I was personally excited by each and every performance, and so happy to be able to share them with you. Your reaction to our first-ever seven concert season, especially our December “Pops” concert, warmed our hearts, so we decided to do it again, complete with not one but two “Pops” concerts—in winter and spring. I hope you have as much fun listening as we have performing them. This season, I’m once again proud to present another stellar group of gifted and distinguished guest artists, beginning with the return of the amazing Anne Akiko Meyers, who dazzled two sold-out houses in 2015. Renowned pianist Alexander Toradze, best known for his classical Russian repertoire, joins us for an all-Russian program in November, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s principal trombone David Rejano Cantero will be performing my Trombone Concerto in February, and, of course, our talented young artists return, concluding our season in June. Our 24th Annual Young Artists Competition will be held on February 11, our third annual evening of Jazz legend with Ken Peplowski will be April 28 and our VSO Chamber Music Series returns with six wonderful concerts at the Kiggins . Finally, I am happy to report that the state of the orchestra is still robust, as we continue to create programs that challenge the orchestra, while adding pieces that are familiar. As always, I need to thank all our musicians, our board and staff, Friends and volunteers for all their continuing hard work to keep the music alive.

For 27 seasons now, I’ve felt your love and hope I have returned the favor. Every time I take the podium to conduct your orchestra, I feel a deep appreciation for your support and enthusiasm. I know this will be a season to remember.

Salvador Brotons Music Director & Conductor Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

CONTENTS 6

Concert Dates

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Music for All

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Board Chair Comments

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Message from the Mayor Pro Tem

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VSO Who’s Who

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September-October Classical Concert

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November Classical Concert

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Friends of the VSO

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Donor Acknowledgements

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December Classical Concert

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January Classical Concert

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Directory of Advertisers

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Thanks for being with us for another remarkable year of music. I think that last season was one of the most thrilling VSO seasons in my 27 years on the podium. From the opening notes of Ruslan and Ludmila in October to the Khachaturian No. 2 in June, our audiences DR. SALVADOR BROTONS seemed to appreciate a season Music Director & Conductor that was daring and different. Every year, I am even more grateful for our generous audiences, as you share your passion and love with the orchestra.

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2017-2018 Series

CLASSICAL CONCERTS Saturdays at 3pm and Sundays at 7pm Skyview Concert Hall 1300 NW 139th Street, Vancouver, WA

SE P T EMB E R 30 & O C TOB E R 1, 2017

Two Slavonic Dances........................................................... Dvorak Tzigane for Violin & Orchestra........................................Ravel Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso..................Saint Saens Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

Symphonic Dances........................................................Rachmaninov

NOV E MB E R 4 & 5, 2017

All Russian Concert

Persian Dance..................................................................... Mussorgsky Piano Concerto No. 3...................................................... Prokofiev Alexander Toradze, piano

The Fairy’s Kiss.......................................................................Stravinsky Firebird Suite...........................................................................Stravinsky

DE CE M B E R 9 & 10, 2017

VSO Holiday Pops Series: Winter Classics

Music from Frozen, The Nutcracker, Viennese Waltzes, and other Seasonal Favorites

JANUA RY 27 & 28, 2018

Journeys

Symphony No. 45, “Farewell”..........................................Haydn Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”............. Dvorak

F E BRUA RY 24 & 25, 2018

T H E VA N C O U V E R S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A

The Three B’s: Brahms, Brotons & Beethoven

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Tragic Overture.........................................................................Brahms Trombone Concerto............................................................. Brotons David Rejano Cantero, trombone

Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”...........................................Beethoven

A P RIL 14 & 15, 2018

VSO Pops Series: Adventures in Film & Fantasy

Featuring Legendary Film and Symphonic Video Game Music for All Generations: Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, Magnificent Seven, Legend of Zelda and Others

JUNE 2 & 3, 2018

Young Artists' Performance

Featuring the Young Artists Competition Gold Medalists The Planets.....................................................................................Holst 3D Experience

CHAMBER SERIES Kiggins Theatre, 1011 Main Street, Vancouver

OCTOBER 22, 2017 NOVEMBER 19, 2017 JANUARY 21, 2018 MARCH 18, 2018 MAY 20, 2018 JUNE 17, 2018

SPECIAL EVENTS 2017 “SEPTEMBER SERENADE” ANNUAL FUNDRAISING GALA September 30th, 2017 Lynch Estate, Vancouver, WA

24TH ANNUAL YOUNG ARTISTS COMPETITION February 11th, 2018 Trinity Lutheran Church, Vancouver, WA

3RD ANNUAL EVENING OF JAZZ April 28th, 2018 Guest Artist Ken Peplowski and Friends return! Location TBA


MUSIC FOR ALL IN 2017-2018 The VSO Chamber Music Series

The VSO Young Artists Competition

Welcome to our seventh season, following in the footsteps of another star-studded season in 2016-2017. The stage of Vancouver’s iconic Kiggins Theatre came alive with six concerts of depth and intensity, featuring remarkable musicians, like cellist Ko Iwasake. The season was filled with whimsy and incredible musicianship, and even included two presentations of classic silent film comedies with live accompaniment.

Our gifted young artists are back for the 24th consecutive season. The appearance of so many of the area’s brightest musical stars has always brightened our lives with a burst of creativity that leaves us breathless.

Once again, under the direction of Dr. Michael C. Liu and Dr. Igor Shakhman, some of the area’s best musicians will join with international guest stars to present chamber music in a very intimate setting, all to benefit The VSO.

As always, artists up to the age of 18 apply by performing one recorded piece that is judged by a panel of musical experts in the late fall. The top nine are then chosen and perform in concert in front of a large audience at Vancouver’s Trinity Lutheran Church in February. The three gold medalists are then selected to win scholarships and perform their thrilling winning pieces with The VSO at our June 2 & 3 concerts.

“I can hardly believe it has been seven years since our first Chamber Series concert at Trinity Lutheran Church,” said VSO Chair Kathy McDonald. “Every season, the quality of our programs and artists increases, and our growing audiences seem to really love the variety and incredible musicianship in such an intimate setting.”

Open to young artists from OR and WA, this annual event is a gathering for outstanding student talent who often use it as a launching pad for a life-long career in music. From Maestro Brotons to the orchestra and audience members, the Young Artists Competition resonates with everyone associated with the event.

Individual tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students. Generous package deals and individual concert tickets are available at vancouversymphony.org or (360) 735-7278.

From the fall Call for Entries to the big performances in June, The VSO Young Artists offer a window into true talent and the sheer joy of music.

Evening of Jazz

Pre-Concert Talks

Chamber Music Series

Prior to every symphonic concert, the VSO offers a 30-minute educational pre-concert talk, where Maestro Brotons and other expert musicologists discuss the music that will be performed, demonstate recordings of musical excerpts, and answer questions from the audience. These informative talks are very popular and well-attended.

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Ken Peplowski is back and he’s bringing some talented friends with him on April 28. In what is always a real crowd-pleaser, legendary jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Ken Peplowski is returning to Vancouver for a third consecutive year, for a fundraiser guaranteed to get everyone talking. Mr. Peplowski has recorded approximately 50 CDs as a soloist, and close to 400 as a sideman. He travels at least half of every year, playing clubs, concert halls, colleges, and pops concerts. He has headlined the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club amongst many other venues.

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from

YOUR BOARD VSO CHAIR

Welcome!

KATHY McDONALD

VSO Board Chair

Welcome to The Vancouver Symphony’s 39th Season! We’re thrilled that you have joined us for this extraordinary season. Maestro Brotons and our artistic committee have worked hard to create a season that will delight every concert-goer. We are very excited to present two “Pops” concerts this season along with memorable music that will delight all music palates.

David Smith and I have shared the VSO Board leadership for the past few years, including this past year as we turned another big corner. Under David’s strong leadership we brought you our first-ever “Pops” Concert, in which we filled the concert hall to overflowing capacity not once but twice. We also expanded our season to include seven symphonic concerts and six chamber concerts per year. David’s theme for the past two years was “bring a friend.” We are proud to say that you listened and answered the call—we have pre-sold more concert series tickets than ever and we have you to thank for that! David, we tip our hats to your strong leadership, and are thankful that you are a vital part of the team to guide us this coming year.

Thank you for being a loyal part of our symphony family. And a special thank you to our major sponsors: OPB, All Classical Portland, The Columbian, Michelle’s Pianos, Dick Hannah Dealerships, Homewood Suites and the Community Foundation. We are grateful to all of our supporters listed in your concert guide. Now, relax and enjoy the concert,

Kathy McDonald VSO Board Chair

This coming season we will be focusing on a theme of “Building a Legacy of Music.” Our focus is to pass on the love of classical music to the next generation. We continue to spend a great amount of our energy on educating our youth and the Maestro will be in music classrooms around the county throughout the year. Then the Young Artists Competition will close out the year—what a way to conclude the season. It is always the highlight of the year for me!

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In July’s outdoor concert in Esther Short Park, we partnered with Clark College’s Maestro Don Appert. It was the greatest turnout we have yet seen, with estimations at over 10,000 people. The weather was perfect and it was a toe-tapping experience for our community. We are thankful to our faithful donors who made this year’s free concert in the park possible—Loti and Paul Christensen, Ann Bardacke and David Wolf and Steve and Jan Oliva. And, a very special “thank you” to Riverview Bank, for hosting the concerts in the park every year and allowing The Vancouver Symphony to be a part of this great community tradition.

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T H E VA N C O U V E R S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A

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from

THE MAYOR PRO TEM

Greetings! Welcome to the 2017-2018 season of The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. This year marks the Symphony’s 39th season, and Maestro Salvador Brotons’ 27th season leading The VSO!

ANNE McENERNY-OGLE

Mayor Pro Tem City of Vancouver

It is a privilege to have a worldclass organization like The VSO call Vancouver home and we’re grateful we’ve been able to host such a pillar of culture for almost 40 years.

His energy pours out over the stage and we’re rewarded with a beautifully choreographed performance. They’re building a legacy of leaders through music, education and community partnerships. Seven Classical Concerts and six Chamber Series Concerts await our enjoyment. Indeed, this promises to be an exciting experience of all of us. Consider bringing a friend to the next performance. Enjoy the season! Welcome back, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra!

Anne McEnerny-Ogle Anne McEnerny-Ogle Mayor Pro Tem, City of Vancouver

The VSO has been an integral part of our community for decades, and we look forward to the Symphony continuing to perform and inspire us for many more decades to come. It serves many thousands of individuals a year through its concert and chamber series, local Young Artists annual competition, educational and community engagement efforts to change lives through music.

My husband, Terry, and I have made it a point to have season tickets again this year. We hurry through our week of meetings and work, and then wrap up our chores on the weekend. By Sunday afternoon, we treat ourselves to a dinner with friends and then off to the evening concert. Sitting in the back rows, we can calm down and lose ourselves in the joy of music. We’re looking forward to the return of violin virtuoso Anne Akiko Meyers as she plays virtuostic showpieces. And, we’re excited to see pianist Alexander Toradze, best known for his classical Russian repertoire. Families should get their tickets for the Holiday Pops Series featuring Frozen, The Nutcracker, and Viennese Waltzes. But mostly, I enjoy watching Maestro Broton as he dances with the orchestra. He coaxes the cellos to give more of their deep, rich notes. He persuades the percussion to produce the emotion of the piece. He sways with the brass as they sail through the upbeats. His passion and finesse is the visual excitement that accompanies the rich repertoire performed by our very professional musicians.

THE VSO

Mission Statement To enhance the quality of life in Southwest Washington by providing symphony music of the highest caliber in live performances and through music education in schools, concert halls and throughout the community.

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The VSO continues to fill Esther Short Park when they offer their free summer outdoor concert at the Six to Sunset Series. And, the Instrument Petting Zoo is always a wonderful opportunity for music lovers of all ages to get a close-up, hands-on experience with real instruments. It brought back sweet memories when I picked up the viola and drew the bow across the strings. The "Zoo" truly is an experience unlike any other, one that fosters and encourages a lifelong appreciation of the arts.

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2017-2018 Who’s Who

2017-2018 MUSICIANS & STAFF VIOLIN 1

Eva Richey, Concertmaster Stephen Shepherd, Associate Concertmaster Heather Mastel-Lipson,* Assistant Concertmaster Don Power Kirsten Norvell Elizabeth Doty Travis Chapman* Elizabeth O'Mara Carol Kirkman Viet Block Eri Nogueira Matt Mandrones Ricki Hisaw

VIOLIN 2

Tracie Andrusko, Principal Sara Pyne, Assistant Principal Diana Taylor-Williams Maria Powell Lisa Hanson Joan Hamilton Denise Uhde-Freisen Carolyn Shefler Lanette Shepherd Olivia Myers

VIOLA

T H E VA N C O U V E R S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A

Angelika Furtwangler, Principal Jim Garrett Jeremy Waterman Brenda Liu* Jean Masteler Emilie Berdahl Keely McMurry

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CELLO

Dieter Ratzlaf, Principal Erin Ratzlaf, Assistant Principal Annie Harkey-Power Suzanne Rague Hannah Hillebrand Lauren Vanderlind Kristopher Duke

BASS

Garrett Jellesma, Principal Clinton O’Brien* Edward Sale Arlyn Curtis

FLUTE

Rachel Rencher, Principal Corrie Cook Darren Cook

PICCOLO

Darren Cook, Principal

OBOE

Alan Juza, Principal Kris Klavik

CLARINET

Igor Shakhman, Principal Steve Bass Barbara Heilmair-Tanret

BASS CLARINET

Barbara Heilmair

BASSOON

Margaret McShea, Principal Danielle Goldman Nicole Buetti

CONTRABASSOON

Nicole Buetti, Principal

HORN

Allan Stromquist, Principal Wendy Peebles Dan Partridge James Cameron

TRUMPET

Bruce Dunn, Principal Scott Winks

TROMBONE

Greg Scholl, Principal

* on leave of absense

BASS TROMBONE

Douglas Peebles, Principal Graham Middleton

TUBA

Mark Vehrencamp, Principal

PERCUSSION

Brian Gardiner, Principal Isaac Rains Diana Hnatiw

TIMPANI

Florian Conzetti, Principal

PIANO/CELESTE

Michael C. Liu

ORCHESTRA MANAGER/LIBRARIAN

Igor Shakhman

STAGE MANAGER

Ron Christopher

ORCHESTRA BOARD LIASION

Barbara Heilmair

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kathy McDonald, Chair Dr. David Smith, Immediate Past Chair Michael Kelly, Treasurer Victoria Tullett, Secretary Jennifer Weber Paul Christensen Elizabeth Dendy Dr. Michael C. Liu Dimitri Zhgenti Will Kitchen Amey Laud Kari Hebble

STAFF

Dr. Salvador Brotons, Music Director and Conductor Dr. Igor Shakhman, Executive Director Joe Galante, Office Manager Kim Eisenhower, Marketing & Communications Director Carol Lee Merwin, Administrative Assistant Kara Crisifulli, Bookkeeper Barbara Coman, Friends of The VSO Chair ASK Advertising, Graphic Design

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2017-2018 Who’s Who

OUR MUSICIANS TRACIE ANDRUSKO

Principal 2nd violin

Tracie began her music training at the age of 5, on both violin and piano, developing a love of music as she watched both her parents play in their church orchestra. She studied with Portland string teachers James Eoff and Catherine Peterson and graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a music degree in violin performance and music education. Following college graduation, Tracie married the university orchestra’s lead trumpet player and they’ve now been married for 27 years. Their three sons have each developed a love of piano, brass and percussion, as well as the U.S. military. She is now is in her 26th season with The VSO. In addition to the symphony, Tracie plays electric violin with a country rock band, The Usual Suspects and her church band. She credits Maestro Brotons with giving the orchestra vision, direction and inspiration to reach new benchmarks.

DR. FLORIAN CONZETTI

Principal timpani

Florian Conzetti is artistic director of Northwest New Music, a Portlandbased contemporary chamber music ensemble. He has appeared as a chamber music collaborator at the Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival (David Finckel and Wu Han, artistic directors), the Astoria Music Festival, Cascadia Composers Concerts, CalPerformances, and Stanford Lively Arts, and has recorded solo and chamber music works for the Innova, Albany, and Music@Menlo LIVE labels. Conzetti was formerly on the faculty of UC Berkeley and currently teaches percussion, musicology, ethnomusicology and music theory at Portland State University and Linfield College. He studied at the Konservatorium für Musik in Bern, Switzerland, the Eastman School of Music, and the Peabody Conservatory, where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree as a student of musicologist John Spitzer and marimbist Robert van Sice.

BRUCE B. DUNN

T H E VA N C O U V E R S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A

Principal trumpet

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Now in his 19th year as The VSO’s principal trumpet, Bruce B. Dunn is an accomplished freelance trumpeter who holds performance degrees from both Washington State University (BM, cum laude) and Portland State University (MM) and was a recipient of the prestigious Presser Foundation Scholarship. He can be heard in venues across the Northwest. He is has performed in groups across the region including the Portland Opera, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Chamber Orchestra, the Big Horn Brass, the Portland Festival Symphony, the Bach Cantata Choir and many others. He is also a founding member of the Columbia River Brass Ensemble. In addition to performing, Bruce is a National Board Certified Teacher and the Director of Bands at Covington Middle School, Sunset Elementary and Silver Star Elementary in the Evergreen School District. He has also taught at Evergreen High School, Mountain View High School and Pacific Middle School.

DR. ANGELIKA FURTWANGLER

Principal viola

Angelika holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin and has lived and worked in the Portland/Vancouver area for the last 10 years. In addition to The VSO, she performs regularly with Portland Opera Orchestra, Oregon Ballet Theatre (Principal Viola) and arcadia PDX String Quartet. She has also performed frequently with the Detroit Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Portland Summerfest Opera Orchestra and Astoria Music Festival. She has a private music studio filled with violin and viola students and teaches strings at Lake Oswego Schools and Oregon Episcopal School in SW Portland. Angelika earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Munich Musikhochschule and a Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

DR. BRIAN GARDINER

Principal percussion

Dr. Brian Gardiner is a versatile percussionist, having performed throughout the U.S. and Canada with professional orchestras, rock bands, dance and choral groups, as well as chamber ensembles. He is a member of the Portland Opera Orchestra and currently freelances in Portland, where he performs regularly with the Oregon Symphony, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Columbia Symphony, and Portland Gay Men’s Chorus. He has performed under the batons of such conductors as Gerard Schwarz, Carlos Kalmar, Roberto Abbado, David Robertson, and Michael Stern. Dr. Gardiner has been a highly sought-after drum set artist in Oregon, performing with regional and national recording artists such as Federale.He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Concordia University, Warner Pacific College and Portland Community College. He also teaches privately at Revival Drum Shop in Portland. Brian received his Doctor of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

GARRETT JELLESMA

Principal bass

Now in his 13th season with The VSO, Garrett grew up in Milwaukie, OR where he was a violinist in the youth symphony. His bass career began in high school where his first teacher was Dave Anderson. He’s performed with the Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, the Linfield Chamber Orchestra and many others. He is also a freelance musician performing and recording with musicians in many different music genres. When not performing, he is an orchestra teacher at H.B. Lee Middle School in the Reynolds School District, where he has taught since 2000. He is proud of his groups that have won many awards over the last several years. He received his Bachelor of Music from Portland State, where he played under Maestro Brotons, and his Master’s in Music from the University of Portland.


Garrett likes to spend his spare time with his family, traveling, fishing, and watching movies.

D R . SA LVA D O R B R OTO N S

Music Director & Conductor

MARGARET McSHEA

Principal bassoon

Now in his 27th season leading The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as Music Director and Conductor, musicians and classical music enthusiasts still delight in having Dr. Brotons lead them.

When not playing music and working as a law firm administrator, she’s in the great outdoors, gardening or camping and hiking with family and friends.

DOUGLAS PEEBLES

Principal bass trombone Born and raised in Portland, Douglas came from a musical family, playing piano from the first grade through his senior year at David Douglas High School in SE Portland. He started playing trombone in the fourth grade and in three years was performing in a local dance band, The United Attractions, with his brother, which helped propel his development as a professional musician and entertainer. After attending college at the University of Nevada-Reno and playing bass trombone in the Reno area, he returned to Portland. Douglas has performed with the Oregon Symphony and the Carlton Jackson-Dave Mills Big Band, and has played with the Woody Hite Big Band for over 25 years. Other appearances have been with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, Peggy Fleming, the Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole and Don Rickles. He was also the drummer with the Cowboy/Jazz group Los Cowtones. Currently, his day job is driving a semi-truck for ABC Transfer and Delivery.

DIETER RATZLAF

Principal cello

Portland cellist Dieter Ratzlaf grew up in a musical family. He began cello studies at the age of seven and performed with the Portland Youth Philharmonic for six years, touring Europe with the orchestra in 1989. Dieter completed his undergraduate studies in Economics and German at Willamette University on a music scholarship. He went on to receive his Master of Arts in Cello Performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, also on scholarship, where he was a student of Bonnie Hampton. He has appeared with multiple arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest including the Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Portland Opera Orchestra (18 seasons) and the Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra (10 seasons). Dieter was appointed principal cello of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 2005 and the Hood River Philharmonic in 2012, positions he currently still holds. In addition to his performance commitments, Dieter is in demand as a teacher, adjudicator, and studio artist.

Salvador Brotons was born in Barcelona into a family of musicians. He studied flute with his father and continued his musical studies at the Barcelona Music Conservatory where he earned advanced degrees in flute, composition and conducting. In 1985 he won a Fulbright scholarship and moved to the U.S. where he obtained a doctorate in music from Florida State University. As a composer, he has written more than 140 pieces, mostly orchestral and chamber works, and has won major composition awards, including the “Premio Orquesta Nacional de España” (1977), for his Cuatro Piezas para Cuerdas, the prize “Jove d’Or” (1980), the “Premio Ciutat de Barcelona” (in 1983 for his first symphony, and in 1986 for his piece Absències for narrator and orchestra), “SoutheasternComposers League Award” for his Sinfonietta da Camera (1986) “The Madison University Flute Choir Composition Award” (1987) for his Flute Suite and the “Premio Reina Sofia de Composición” (1991) for his piece Virtus for orchestra. He has also received many commissions. Many of his works have been published and recorded on several CDs in Europe and in the U.S. for labels such as Naxos, EMI, Auvidis, Naxos, Albany Records, Keys, Harmonia Mundi and RNE. Currently he combines a busy schedule as a conductor and composer of a number of commissions of various genres. Since 2001 he has been a professor of composition and orchestra conducting at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC). In Spain he has been the music director and conductor of the Orquestra Simfònica de les Illes Balears “Ciutat de Palma” (1997-2001, 2009-2013) and the Orquestra Sinfónica del Vallés (1997-2002), and is presently the conductor of the Barcelona Symphonic Band. In 2005, he received the “Arts Council” award by the Clark County and the city of Vancouver and the Kiwanis Rose Award. He has guest-conducted orchestras internationally in countries like the US, Israel, France, Germany, China, Poland, South Korea, Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, as well as the most prestigious Spanish orchestras. Dr. Brotons resides in Barcelona with his wife, Dr. Melissa Brotons, renowned music therapist and Director of the inter-university Master’s in Music Therapy in Barcelona. Their daughter, Clara, is a recent graduate of New York University.

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Margaret has been The VSO’s principal bassoon since 1995, and performs with other regional symphonies, including Columbia Symphony and Portland Festival Symphony. A well-rounded musician, Margaret also plays the piano and banjo and had “a brief dalliance with the alto sax in junior high,” but feels the bassoon is the right fit for her, which is good for us.

Photo Credit: Paul Quackenbush Photography

Margaret hails from Texas, where she received a bassoon performance degree from the University of Texas in Austin. She and her trombonist husband, Greg Scholl, moved to the Pacific Northwest and are never moving again!

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RACHEL RENCHER

Principal flute

Rachel Rencher is a freelance flutist in the Portland area. She is the principal flutist for The VSO, for which she has played since 1993. Rachel is also a member of the Portland Opera Orchestra and Portland Chamber Orchestra. She has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre and several area summer music festivals, including the Sunriver Music Festival, Astoria Festival of Music and the McCall Summer Music Festival. She maintains two active flute studios in the Portland area.

EVA RICHEY

Concertmaster Eva Richey began her violin studies at age 8. She earned Bachelor and Master's degrees in violin performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Eva began her career playing regularly with several orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony, Columbus Symphony, West Virginia Symphony and Kentucky Symphony. She toured South America with the New World Symphony and played briefly with the Cape Town Symphony in South Africa. She attended the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, learning from such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, and Eiji Oue. Eva has also enjoyed playing popular music in concert events with The Moody Blues, Yes, Harry Connick Jr. and Rod Stewart. In 2001, Eva moved to the Northwest. She began working with the Oregon Symphony as Associate Music Librarian, as well as holding two one-year positions in the second violin section. Currently, Eva is on the adjunct faculty at Clark College as violin instructor and concertmaster of the Clark College Orchestra. She plays regularly with the Portland Opera, Portland Chamber Orchestra and Oregon Ballet Theatre.

GREG SCHOLL

T H E VA N C O U V E R S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A

Principal trombone

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Greg Scholl has played principal trombone in The VSO since 1995. He is also principal trombone in the Portland Columbia Symphony and the Newport Symphony. Greg plays in the Portland Brass Quintet and the Portland Festival Symphony. He has performed with the Oregon Ballet Theatre, the Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera and the Portland Chamber Orchestra. Greg is presently the trombone and low brass instructor at Pacific University. He enjoys both teaching and giving the pre-concert lectures he’s provided before each VSO concert for the past few years. He obtained a trombone performance degree at the University of Texas at Austin and also plays guitar and trombone with many local bands. During most business days, Greg can be found practicing law as the Director of the Public Defender’s office in Hillsboro. He enjoys camping, hiking, comic books, parenting the fabulous Ben Scholl and being married to The VSO’s incredible principal bassoonist, Margaret McShea.

DR. IGOR SHAKHMAN

Principal clarinet

Igor has been heard in recitals, chamber music concerts and concert appearances throughout Europe and the US. As an orchestral clarinetist, he has performed with the Colorado and Oregon Symphony Orchestras, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Colorado Opera Orchestra, Russian State Symphony Orchestra and the chamber orchestras of Moscow Virtuosi and Moscow Stars. As a chamber musician and soloist, Igor has played in international music festivals in Oregon, Colorado, France, Greece, Russia and Switzerland. Igor has participated in two critically acclaimed Broadway tours: the first national tour of Oklahoma! and as principal clarinetist and on-stage soloist in the North American tour of Fiddler on the Roof. He received his B.A. in Music from Kharkov Music College, his Master’s from the Moscow Conservatory and his Doctorate from the University of Colorado. He teaches at Marylhurst University and the University of Portland and is the Oregon state chair for the International Clarinet Association. In addition to being principal clarinet, he’s also the orchestra’s Executive Director.

ALLAN STROMQUIST

Principal horn

Allan Stromquist was born into a musical family. Both of his parents taught music in the Astoria School District. At the age of 6, Allan began taking piano lessons. After graduating from Astoria High School, he studied music performance at Portland State University, the Mannes College of Music in New York, and the Aaron Copland School at Queens College. Allan has served as the principal horn with The Vancouver Symphony since 2006. He also performs frequently with Portland Columbia Symphony, the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera, and the Eugene Symphony. In addition to symphonic playing, Allan is a member of the Columbia River Brass Quintet based in Vancouver, and the Stumptown Winds, a woodwind quintet in Portland.

MARK VEHRENCAMP

Principal tuba

Mark grew up in Southern California, but moved north to attend the University of Oregon. He received his BM in music education and became the band and orchestra director at Oregon City High School. He began playing the piano, then violin, but found his true calling first with trombone, then tuba. Mark joined The VSO in 1999 and recently expanded his tuba collection to seven, each with its own special musical purpose. In addition to The VSO, Mark has played with the Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Portland Columbia Symphony, Portland Festival Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra and Big Horn Brass. An accomplished jazz musician, Mark has played with Barney Bigard, Ed Garland and most recently Dick Hyman, Ken Peplowski and Rebecca Kilgore. He’s the proud father of two and for the past 39 years has exercised his daytime passion as a locomotive engineer for the Southern Pacific/Union Pacific Railroad.


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September-October Concert

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th at 3 pm and SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1st at 7 pm Skyview Concert Hall — Vancouver, WA Salvador Brotons, Conductor

Slavonic Dance No.10 in E minor, Op.72, No.2 Slavonic Dance No.1 in C major, Op.46, No.1 ....................Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904) Tzigane .................................................................................................................... Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op.28 ............... Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

— 15 Minute Intermission — Symphonic Dances, Op.45 ........................................................ Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) Non allegro Andante con moto Lento assai — Allegro vivace

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All program notes ©2017 by J. Michael Allsen

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Orchestra, is being released on Avie Records in October 2017. She will also premiere Adam Schoenberg’s violin concerto, which she commissioned, with the Phoenix and San Diego Symphony Orchestras and a new work by James Newton Howard with the Pacific Symphony, led by Carl St. Clair in the 2018 season. Anne has collaborated with a diverse array of artists outside of traditional classical, including jazz icons Chris Botti and Wynton Marsalis, avant-garde musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita, pop-era act Il Divo and singer Michael Bolton. She performed the National Anthem at Safeco Field in Seattle and has appeared twice on The Tonight Show.

Guest Artist

ANNE AKIKO MEYERS

Anne Akiko Meyers was born in San Diego, California and grew up in Southern California. She studied with Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, Josef Gingold at Indiana University, and Felix Galimir, Masao Kawasaki and Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School. She received the Avery Fisher Career Grant “Luminary Award” for her support of the Pasadena Symphony and the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Colburn School of Music. Learn more at anneakikomeyers.com.

violin

This past spring, Anne performed the world premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Fantasia, his final work written for her, with the Kansas City Symphony, conducted by Michael Stern. She performed new compositions and traditional repertoire in recital in Florida, New York, Virginia, Washington D.C., and returnedto the Nashville Symphony performing the Bernstein Serenade with Giancarlo Guerrero. In May, she headlined the Kanazawa Music Festival performing the Beethoven Concerto and Mason Bates’ cadenzas with the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, “Archduke Trio”and Spring Sonata #5 during Japan’s “Golden Week.” Recently, Anne toured New Zealand playing the Mason Bates Violin Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony and returned to Krakow and Warsaw, Poland to perform the Szymanowski Concerto and Jakub Ciupinski’s Wreck of the Umbria. She also performed in Cartagena, Colombia and led the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Anne’s 35th album, Fantasia, with works by Rautavaara, Ravel and Szymanowski, recorded with Kristjan Järvi and the Philharmonia

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PROGRAM NOTES by Michael Allsen Our season opens with two of Dvořák’s lively Slavonic Dances—the composer’s tribute to the folk dances of his Czech homeland. Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers joins The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for two virtuoso showpieces, opening with the wild, Gypsy-inspired Tzigane of Ravel. Ms. Meyers then performs a favorite Romantic virtuoso work, the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saëns. Our closer is a showpiece for the orchestra itself, Rachmaninoff’s final work, the Symphonic Dances.

ANTONIN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Slavonic Dance No.10 in E minor, Op.72, No.2 Slavonic Dance No.1 in C major, Op.46, No.1

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Dvořák composed his first set of eight Slavonic Dances (Op.46) in 1878, and the second set (Op.72) in 1886. Though they were originally for piano duet, the composer quickly followed up each set with versions for orchestra. Duration 10:00.

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By the mid-1870s, Dvořák was a success in his native Bohemia, and was beginning to look for attention in Vienna, the cosmopolitan capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1874, he applied for and won the Austrian State Stipendium: a substantial grant to artists. He would eventually win the prize four years in a row, and also won the admiration of one of the judges, Vienna’s leading composer, Johannes Brahms. Only eight years older than Dvořák, Brahms would become a close friend, mentor, and a strong champion of Dvořák’s music in Vienna and beyond. In 1877, Brahms pressured his publisher, Simrock to publish one of Dvořák’s Stipendium submissions, the Moravian Duets, a set of vocal pieces. Simrock published the duets (Opp. 20 and 29) and was impressed enough to offer Dvořák a commission for a newlycomposed set of dances for piano duet. Piano works with “exotic” flavor sold very well at the time, and Simrock obviously wanted to repeat the success of Brahms’s first two books of Hungarian Dances, which had been a hit as soon as they were published in 1869. While Brahms’s piano duets were arrangements of wellknown Hungarian folk songs and Gypsy dances, Dvořák’s set of eight Slavonic Dances (Op. 46 - published in 1878) were original compositions that used the varied and unique dance rhythms he had grown up with in Bohemia. They were an immediate hit, and Simrock quickly paid Dvořák to prepare orchestral versions of the dances. Eight years later, he provided a sequel—a second set of eight Slavonic Dances (Op.72). Op.72, No.2 is among the most sentimental of the Slavonic Dances. Like all of the Slavonic Dances, this is based upon a

Bohemian dance—in this case a starodávny. Starodávny literally means “old-time dance,” though the word also contains more complicated shades of meaning—as in something that sparks a cherished memory. The outer panels of the movement have a melancholy cast, with a gently sighing string melody. The middle sections include slightly more pastoral country dances, but they still retain a certain amount of wistfulness. Op.46, No.1 is the wild opener of the first set—in this case this case Dvořák uses a furiant. (The name is from the Czech for a “proud, swaggering man.”) This rhythm, which also shows up in Dvořák’s symphonies, is a strongly-accented dance. The main theme is a brash melody punctuated by the timpani and brass. Slightly gentler woodwind ideas provide a bit of contrast. Both ideas are reprised, and in the end, things seem to wind down— before a final raucous phrase of the furiant.

MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937) Tzigane Ravel worked on Tzigane for about two years, completing the initial version for violin and piano in 1924, while he was in London. This version was performed for the first time by Jelly d’Arani, violin, and Henri Gil-Marchex, piano, on April 26, 1924, just two days after Ravel finished the score. Ravel completed the orchestral version a few months later, and this version was premiered in Paris on November 30, 1924 at a concert by the Colonne orchestra, with d’Arani as soloist. Duration 10:00.

During the early 1920s, Maurice Ravel was in a severe compositional slump. Ravel’s spirit and Parisian musical society had been devastated by the war, and he was deeply depressed over the death of his mother. He managed to complete his Violin Sonata in 1922, but the years leading up to this were extremely unproductive. In July of 1922, Ravel was invited to a private concert where the Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Arani played the recently-completed Violin Sonata. Ravel was entranced by her playing, and was particularly fascinated by her Hungarian musical heritage—he asked her to play some authentic Gypsy tunes, and eventually the two stayed together until five in the morning, discussing Hungarian music. Tzigane (meaning “Gypsy”) was obviously inspired by this experience, and although it was relatively slow in coming, it marked the beginning of a new period of creativity for Ravel. (Jelly d’Arani was also the dedicatee of Bartók’s two violin sonatas and of the Concerto Accademico of Vaughan Williams.) Ravel’s friend, the violinist André Polah, who advised him on technical details of the solo part, wrote that: “Ravel’s idea was to represent a Gypsy serenading a beautiful woman—real or imaginary—with his fiery temperament and with all the resources of good and bad taste at his command. In the


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solo part, Ravel has not only uses every known technical effect, but has invented some new ones!” Ravel was particularly adept at absorbing musical influences, and in Tzigane he creates his own version of Hungarian music. The work opens with a lengthy and spectacular solo cadenza that manages to capture the essence of Gypsy fiddling, together with echoes of the 19th-century violin virtuoso Niccoló Paganini. When the orchestra finally enters, it provides a rich, but unobtrusive background to an ever-morecomplicated battery of virtuoso techniques: rapid harmonics, quadruple stops, and an amazing passage that calls upon the player to play pizzicatti with the left hand in the midst of bowed arpeggios.

this is aggressive and increasingly virtuosic music. Saint-Saëns paid tribute to Sarasate’s homeland by giving the main rondo theme a distinctly Spanish flavor, and a second main idea is equally Spanish in character. A short outburst from the orchestra and a bit of flash from the solo part lead into a contrasting episode: the theme of the introduction, elaborately decorated. The rondo theme appears again, and there is one more lyrical episode. Near the end, there is a sudden ratcheting up of the tempo, and the violin begins a fiery coda, culminating in a short cadenza and a wild conclusion.

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Symphonic Dances, Op.45

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op.28

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Saint-Saëns composed this work in 1863 for the violinist Pablo de Sarasate, who played its premiere in 1870. Duration 9:00.

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Saint-Saëns was a towering figure in French music: a prolific composer, a virtuoso pianist, longtime organist at the Madeline church in Paris, and one of France’s leading music journalists. He composed in every genre—even writing one of the first true film scores (music to accompany a silent film from 1909). The Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is tied to his long friendship and working relationship with one of the 19th century’s greatest violin virtuosos, Pablo de Sarasate. They met for the first time when Sarasate was a 15-year-old child prodigy and Saint-Saëns was a 24-year-old composer/organist who already had a formidable reputation. Sarasate had been disappointed by the trivial nature of much of the virtuoso music he was called upon to play, and met with Saint-Saëns to ask for a more weighty work. In his memoire, Saint-Saëns described this first meeting: “Flattered and charmed to the highest degree, I promised I would, and kept my word with the Concerto in A Major.” This 1859 work, published as the Violin Concerto No.1, was never a great success, and is only rarely heard today. But the Concerto No.3, written for Sarasate in 1880 remains very much in the repertoire. Between these two concertos, Saint-Saëns composed a slightly shorter work for his friend—the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso—that remains his most popular solo work for violin. Saint-Saëns uses a reduced orchestra in this work, allowing the solo part to shine throughout. The Introduction is marked Andante malinconia (meaning “melancholy”), and begins with the violin laying out a long romantic theme, but this solo part soon becomes more agitated, and a short cadenza leads into the main body of the piece. The “capriccioso” of Rondo capriccioso means “capricious” or “whimsical” but a better designation might have been “ferocious”—

Rachmaninoff composed this work in 1940. The Symphonic Dances were performed for the first time by the Philadelphia Orchestra on January 3, 1941. Our only previous performance was in 1995. Duration 35:00.

Like many European and Soviet musicians, pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff found sanctuary in this country during World War II. One of his most satisfying projects during these final years was a series of recordings of his complete piano works with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1940. This group had premiered and championed several of Rachmaninoff’s works, and its conductor, Eugene Ormandy, had long been a friend of the composer. His Symphonic Dances, written in September and October of 1940, was dedicated to Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, in gratitude for this longstanding musical relationship. Symphonic Dances was the first work he wrote in America, and would in fact be the last complete composition by Rachmaninoff. The critics lambasted this work from all sides. At a time when most new compositions were aggressively modernist, Rachmaninoff’s strongly emotional, tonal writing seemed distinctly old-fashioned. On the other hand, staunchly Romantic admirers of his early works loved the second theme of the first movement and the reference to the Dies irae in the third, but they were confused by much of the rest. Rachmaninoff directly addressed these critics in a 1941 interview: “In my own compositions, no conscious effort has been made to be original, or Romantic, or Nationalistic, or anything else. I write down on paper the music I hear within me, as naturally as possible...” He originally titled the three movements of this work “Midday,”“Twilight,” and “Midnight.” This underlying program may have been connected to a plan to use the Dances as a ballet score, for a ballet choreographed by Michel Fokine. (Fokine had already created a ballet to Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini in 1938.) Rachmaninoff later denied that he had any such intentions, and published the Symphonic Dances without descriptive titles, allowing each movement to create its own associations for the listener.


The opening movement (Non allegro) is set in a simple three-part form. The opening section begins with melodic fragments passed between members of the orchestra. There is a loud outburst, and the theme emerges fully. This melody is based almost entirely on a descending three-note motive, and is developed above a constantly driving background. The middle section of the movement is much more sedate, and opens with a solo by the alto saxophone. This lush Romantic melody is eventually given to the strings. The mood changes abruptly, with a stormy passage that leads to a return of the opening theme. The movement tapers to a quiet ending. The second movement (Andante con moto) begins with a wry introduction, alternating between muted brass and snatches of waltz music. Finally, Rachmaninoff introduces a fully-grown melody, a rather spooky little waltz introduced by the English horn, and given a broader treatment by the strings. A contrasting middle section featuring the woodwinds intervenes, before the main waltz theme returns. The movement is rounded off with a faster-paced coda.

is at turns grotesque and extravagantly Romantic. The Allegro vivace music returns, and builds over a long period, leading eventually to a reference to the ominous Dies irae in the brass. This Gregorian chant tune, drawn from the Latin Requiem, or Mass for the Dead, was something of an obsession for Rachmaninoff, and appears in several of his large works. The Dies irae gives way to a more hopeful tune, again a fragment of plainchant—in this case, a setting of the word Alliluya from the liturgy of the Greek Orthodox Church. This tune was another favorite of Rachmaninoff’s, and had appeared previously in his Vesper Mass, Op.37. Many writers have commented on the use of the Dies irae, with all of the terrifying imagery it represents, in this, Rachmaninoff’s last work. If the composer attached a meaning to this gloomy tune, however, its pessimism seems to have been drowned out in shouts of “Alleluia” in the final measures of the Symphonic Dances.

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The third movement opens with a brief slow introduction (Lento assai), which soon leads into a faster tempo (Allegro vivace) and a fast-paced, jagged-edged melody. This section comes to a peak and the tempo slows once more, to let the cellos play a long, sensuous melody. The lengthy slow section that follows

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November Concert

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4th at 3 pm and SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5th at 7 pm Skyview Concert Hall — Vancouver, WA Salvador Brotons, Conductor

Dance of the Persian Slaves (“Persian Dances”) from Khovantschina

(orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov) ................................................... Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)

Concerto No.3 for Piano and Orchestra in C Major, Op.26 ............................................................ Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) Andante — Allegro Theme and Variations Allegro ma non troppo

Alexander Toradze, piano

— 15 Minute Intermission — Divertimento from The Fairy’s Kiss ................................................. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Sinfonia Danses Suisse Scherzo Pas de Deux

Suite from The Firebird (1919 version). ....................................... Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Introduction The Firebird and her Dance Firebird Variations Rondo Infernal Dance of King Kaschei Berceuse Final Hymn

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All program notes ©2017 by J. Michael Allsen

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Symphony, Seattle Symphony and London Philharmonic, among others. Mr. Toradze regularly participates in summer music festivals including Salzburg, the White Nights in St. Petersburg, London's BBC Proms concerts, Edinburgh, Rotterdam, Mikkeli (Finland), the Hollywood Bowl, Saratoga, and Ravinia.

Guest Artist

ALEXANDER TORADZE

Born in 1952 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Alexander Toradze graduated from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow and became a professor there. In 1983, he moved permanently to the United States. In 1991, he was appointed as the Martin Endowed Chair Professor of Piano at Indiana University South Bend, where he has created a teaching environment that is unparalleled in its unique methods. The members of the multi-national Toradze Piano Studio have developed into a worldwide touring ensemble that has gathered great critical acclaim on an international level. In the 2002-2003 season, the Studio appeared in New York performing the complete cycle of Bach solo concerti, as well as Scriabin’s complete sonata cycle. The Studio has also performed projects detailing the piano and chamber works of Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Dvorak and Stravinsky in Rome, Venice and Ravenna, Italy; the Klavier Festival Ruhr and Berlin Festivals in Germany; and in Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit toradzepianostudio.org.

piano

Mr. Toradze appears with the leading orchestras of North America, including the New York Philharmonic, Met Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony and National Symphony of Washington, D.C. Overseas, he appears regularly with the Mariinsky Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, St.Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, City of Birmingham Symphony, London Symphony and Israel Philharmonic. In June 2003, he made his triumphant debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. In November, 2014 Toradze was reengaged at the Mexico National Symphony for Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 just eight months following his lauded Shostakovich Concerto No. 2 there. He has performed recently with the Swedish Radio Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Pacific Symphony, Montreal Symphony, London Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Galicia Symphony, Toronto

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Alexander Toradze is universally recognized as a masterful virtuoso in the grand Romantic tradition. With his unorthodox interpretations, deeply poetic lyricism, and intense emotional excitement, he lays claim to his own strong place in the lineage of great Russian pianists.

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PROGRAM NOTES by Michael Allsen This all-Russian program opens with a bit of Russian musical exoticism, Mussorgsky’s Persian Dances. Piano soloist Alexander Toradze, a specialist in Russian repertoire, plays the powerful third concerto by Prokofiev. We round off this program with two suites from Stravinsky’s ballets. The Fairy’s Kiss from 1928 is Stravinsky’s tribute to the great fairytale ballets of Tchaikovsky. The Firebird of 1910 was the startling, groundbreaking work that launched his career.

MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Dance of the Persian Slaves (“Persian Dances”) from Khovantschina orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov

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Mussorgsky began work on his opera Khovantschina in 1872, but the opera was unfinished at the time of his death. Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov eventually completed and orchestrated the opera, which was premiered in St. Petersburg in 1886. Duration 7:00.

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Mussorgsky was perhaps the most original of the 19th-century Russian nationalists that came to be known as the “mighty five” (including Balikirev, Cui, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov). Mussorgsky and his colleagues created a distinctly Russian style of art music that took its musical inspiration from Russian subjects and the music of Russian folk culture and the Orthodox Church. Mussorgsky was largely self-taught as a composer, and enjoyed moderate success in the 1860s and early 1870s, though many of his works were unfinished and completed only later by helpful admirers—particularly Rimsky-Korsakov. The production of his opera Boris Gudenov (1874) was a triumph, but his final years were unsuccessful. Mussorgsky suffered from alcoholism throughout his life, and went though a severe decline in the 1870s. His friends were able to arrange commissions for new works that guaranteed a small income, but in the end he succumbed, largely to the effects of alcohol. The opera Khovantschina was one of these late works, a grand opera on a theme from Russian history: the unsuccessful revolt in 1682 of Russian traditionalists against the reforms of Tsar Peter the Great. Mussorgsky had finished all but the last two numbers in piano score by the time he died. Rimsky-Korsakov completed the opera, and arranged for a premiere in 1886, but Khovantschina never matched the success of Boris Gudenov, and is a relative rarity on the stage today. The Persian Dances heard here, however, has a life of its own as a concert piece. This episode comes from Act 4, where Prince Ivan Khovansky, triumphant over his rival Prince

Golitsyn, is relaxing with his retinue. When a messenger from Golitsyn interrupts to tell him that he is in danger. Khovansky irritably dismisses the warning and has the messenger whipped. The bored Prince orders his Persian slave-girls to dance for him. (As it turns out, Khovansky should have listened—he is soon stabbed to death!) Much like the more famous Polovtsian Dances in Borodin’s opera Prince Igor or Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Mussorgsky’s Persian Dances shows these composers’ fascination with exotic, oriental melodies and textures. It begins with a sinuous English horn solo which is taken up by the strings. Clarinet and percussion introduce a livelier—though still distinctly sexy—idea. Near the end, there is a brief dark passage underlaid by the trombones—a bit of foreshadowing of Khovansky’s assassination at the end of the act.

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Concerto No.3 for Piano and Orchestra in C Major, Op.26 Prokofiev’s third piano concerto was composed in the summer of 1921, and the first performance took place on December 16, 1921, when he played the solo part with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Duration 28:00.

In the aftermath of the 1917 revolution, Prokofiev spent almost five years in America, and though he made a good living, he was frustrated. He was particularly disappointed by the tepid reaction to his Piano Concerto No.3, premiered in Chicago that year. He played the concerto thenext year in Paris, and received an enthusiastic response. French reaction to this and other works was a major factor in his decision to leave America. He later wrote that he left America “with a thousand dollars in my pocket and an aching head.” He moved to Paris in 1922, and spent most of the next fifteen years there. Prokofiev wrote his third piano concerto in 1921, during a summer vacation in France, on the coast of Brittany. The work brought together several bits of sketch material from as early as 1911, but Prokofiev was able to fuse all of these ideas into an organic whole. It was composed directly after his famous “Classical” symphony (1917) and his absurdist opera The Love for Three Oranges (1919). Like these works, the concerto is built along Classical lines, with forms that resemble those of Mozart and Haydn. He conceived the concerto as a solo showcase for himself, and the main focus is the piano writing, reflecting Prokofiev’s own style of playing— bold, incisive, and powerful. (A friend once remarked that, when Prokofiev played fortissimo, it was “hard to bear in a small room.”) The concerto opens with a quiet and thoroughly Russian melody played by the solo clarinet. The Andante introduction abruptly


The basis of the second movement (Theme and Variations) is a drily sarcastic, “march-like”melody played by the woodwinds. The piano plays first variation, a sentimental commentary on the theme. The tempo quickens for the next two variations, in which the orchestra carries bits of the theme beneath piano ornamentation. The fourth variation is an unhurried dialogue between piano and orchestra. The final variation calls for brilliant forte technique from the soloist. In the coda, the theme is played quite slowly under a delicate countermelody from the piano. In his own program notes for the concerto, Prokofiev described the finale (Allegro ma non troppo) as an “argument” between soloist and orchestra. The opening bassoon theme “is interrupted by the blustering entry of the piano.” This difference of opinion is not settled until the piano picks up the orchestra’s theme and develops it. (The composer mined this melody from an unfinished string quartet written “on the white keys” of the piano.) The tempo slows and the woodwinds introduce a calmer idea, to which the piano makes a sarcastic reply. After further development of this new material, the movement closes with a blisteringly virtuosic coda.

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Divertimento from The Fairy’s Kiss Stravinsky composed his ballet The Fairy’s Kiss (Le baiser de feé) in 1928, and he conducted the first performance in Paris on November 27, 1928. Stravinsky prepared the Divertimento heard here in 1934, and revised it extensively in 1949. Duration 22:00.

Stravinsky’s ballet The Fairy’s Kiss was commissioned by the dancer Ida Rubinstein for her ballet company. Much of Stravinsky’s music from this period is characterized as “neoclassical”—music that emulated forms of the 18th century, and even recycling music by earlier composers (as in the 1920 ballet Pulcinella, in which he recomposed several works by the Baroque composer Pergolesi). The Fairy’s Kiss is a much more unusual compositional homage— essentially, Stravinsky, the consummate modernist, intended to mark the 35th anniversary of the death of his Russian predecessor Tchaikovsky—the consummate romantic—with a fairytale ballet that reworked Tchaikovsky’s own music (several songs and piano pieces), and new music in Tchaikovsky’s style. The ballet was based upon a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Snow Maiden. As

described by Stravinsky: “A fairy imprints her magic kiss on a child at birth and parts it from its mother. Twenty years later, when the youth has attained the very zenith of his good fortune, she repeats the fatal kiss and carries him off to live in supreme happiness with her ever afterward.” For Stravinsky, The Fairy’s Kiss was a sort of artistic Declaration of Independence from the impresario Serge Diaghilev, who first brought the young composer to Paris in 1909 to compose The Firebird for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russe. Stravinsky eventually wrote half a dozen ballet scores for the Ballets Russe, and Diaghilev had also had a hand in many of Stravinsky’s other projects as well. Diaghilev was furious the composer he considered to be a protégé would write for a rival company—particularly one led by Ida Rubinstein, a former Ballets Russe dancer who had declared her own independence from Diaghilev in 1912—and he never forgave Stravinsky. The first production, with choreography by yet another Ballets Russe alum, Bronislava Nijinska, was not particularly successful. The Parisian critics were lukewarm, and Diaghilev’s reaction was predictably snarky. “It was like a drawing room in which someone has suddenly made a bad smell; everyone pretended not to notice.” (There were several later attempts to stage a revival of The Fairy’s Kiss, but it was never truly successful until 1950, when George Balanchine staged a thoroughly new version, with an extensively revised score by Stravinsky.) Despite initial reactions to the ballet, Stravinsky fairly quickly extracted some of its music as a concert suite. In 1932, he and his friend, the violinist Samuel Dushkin collaborated on a “Divertimento” of selections from The Fairy’s Kiss for violin and piano, adapting about half of the ballet’s music. Two years later this became the basis for the piece heard here. Though its music sounds “Tchaikovskian,” there are enough modernist twists of rhythm, harmony, and texture to show clearly that this is a piece of 1928, rather than 1888. The opening Sinfonia uses music from the ballet’s first scene, showing a young mother and her baby—the baby eventually stolen by the fairies— wandering lost in a snowstorm. Misty texture alternates with lighter “fairy music” before a dark conclusion. Pastoral horn calls begin the Danses Suisse—skipping ahead to the wedding day of the stolen baby, now a young man. Here lush romantic string music eventually gives way to a lively, spiky dance with flashes of humor: rude phrases from the trombones and a “galumphing” waltz. The fairy reappears in the Scherzo, which has a nervous, shimmering texture, and tempts the young man to follow her away from his fiancée. The Pas de Deux is the dance of the young man and the fairy, who has given him her second fateful kiss, and taken him to “The Land Beyond Time and Place.” The delicate woodwind solos at the beginning are pushed aside by more blustery music from the brass, before a forceful ending.

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changes character and speed (Allegro), and the piano introduces the main theme, an angular and exuberant melody. The oboe states a more fragile second theme. After this is developed by the piano, the tempo slows to the original Andante for an extended central episode. Insistent beats from the timpani lead into a lengthy conclusion that serves both as a recapitulation and further development of the two main Allegro themes.

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IGOR STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird (1919 version) Stravinsky composed his ballet score The Firebird (L’Oiseau de Feu) in 1909-1910, and it was first performed in Paris on June 25, 1910. The Suite on this program is the second of three concert suites Stravinsky extracted from the ballet score. Duration 23:00.

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In the summer of 1909 the ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev telegraphed Stravinsky in St. Petersburg with a commission for an original ballet score, based on a scenario by choreographer Michael Fokine. Stravinsky had already had some moderate success in Russia with works that were nationalistic in character. However, the commission for Firebird represented a “big break”for the young composer—a chance to work with some of Europe’s premier creative artists. Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe, based in Paris, was probably the finest ballet company in the world at that time, bringing together dancers, musicians, and choreographers of the highest quality.

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When it was first performed in Paris on June 25, 1910, the ballet Firebird was an enormous success, and it launched Stravinsky on an international career. Perhaps the most important outcome of his move to Paris—then the musical capital of Europe—and newfound fame was the opportunity to meet the most adventuresome musicians of the day. These new influences and Diaghilev’s continuing support were instrumental in Stravinsky’s forging of a new and original style, culminating just a few years later in his revolutionary ballet Rite of Spring. The scenario for Firebird, as adapted by Fokine, follows an old Russian folk tale. The Tsarevitch, Prince Ivan, is hunting the elusive Firebird, and during the night he wanders into a magical garden (Introduction). As he walks through the garden he sees the Firebird, a beautiful bird with dazzling plumage (The Firebird and her Dance and Firebird Variations). Ivan captures the Firebird, but agrees to let her go free, after taking one of her feathers as a trophy At sunrise, Ivan meets thirteen princesses, who have come into the garden to dance and play with golden apples from the garden’s orchard. Ivan learns that the garden belongs to the evil magician-king Kaschei, who has enchanted the princesses, and who has the ability to turn his enemies into stone. In a playful scene, Ivan Tsarevich falls in love with one of the princesses, as the others swirl about him. All of the princesses dance a decidedly sexy round dance, the khorovod (Rondo). The prince vows to enter Kaschei’s castle and free his beloved. As soon as he opens the castle gate, however, Kaschei and his crew of demons appear and capture Ivan in a furious battle (Infernal Dance of King Kaschei). The Firebird suddenly appears and distracts Kaschei’s monsters by dancing wildly among them. The Firebird reveals to Ivan the secret of Kaschei’s immortality: an egg that contains Kaschei’s soul. Ivan smashes the egg, and Kaschei immediately dies; and with him all of his enchantments. The Firebird dances a lovely Berceuse, gradually bringing to life all of the knights that Katschei had frozen. The ballet closes with a triumphant Final Hymn, and rejoicing by the prince and his princess. In discussing Stravinsky’s early ballets Firebird, Petrushka, and Rite of Spring—the works that established Stravinsky as one of the foremost innovators of 20th-century music—conductor and composer Pierre Boulez wrote: “If the Rite is the most prodigious leap of the three, it is no less true that, for a trial shot, Firebird is a veritable masterpiece. The influence of Rimsky-Korsakov may be apparent; it does not prevent the work from affirming an originality that is all the more striking in perspective. It is impossible now not to recognize in it the youthfulness of a musical genius; I believe that its youthfulness is the most fascinating aspect of the score.”


FRIENDS OF THE VSO You've Got to Have Friends The Friends of The VSO are an integral part of the success of the orchestra and organization. You may not see this team of volunteers when they are sponsoring a post-concert reception and meals on rehearsal nights for the orchestra, or participating in the educational program, fundraisers and working side by side with the VSO Board. The joy of the Friends is the opportunity to mingle with orchestra members, Maestro Brotons and guest musicians. You‘ll find that it is such a pleasure to give back to those that have given so much.

FRIENDS OF THE VANCOUVER SYMPHONY 2017-2018

Over the years many have worked very hard and we need to offer our deepest gratitude for all that they have done. In this exciting 20172018 season we would like to offer any of who are interested, the opportunity to become either active members, or members who just donate their membership in order to allow us to continue doing the work we do. As a member you are always invited to attend the postconcert receptions and are guaranteed to have fun being a part of this winning team. Come and join in on the merriment and joy of music. We extend an invitation to visit us at our lobby table to learn more about what we do. You are also welcome to attend our business meetings on the 4th Monday of each month from 3:00-4:30 pm in The VSO office at 205 E 11th St in downtown Vancouver. Membership in The Friends of The VSO is $50 for a single and $75 for a family for the entire concert season. We are self-supporting and welcome donations that are tax deductible.

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For more information, visit our website at vancouversymphony.org/friends, contact us by e-mail at FriendsofVSO@vancouversymphony.org, or call (360) 831-5794.

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Photo Credit: Paul Quackenbush Photography

THANK YOU DONORS

We gratefully acknowledge the continued support of the community. You are an integral part of our Symphony and crucial to our success. Thanks for your support now and for the past 39 seasons.

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December Concert

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9th at 3 pm and SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10th at 7 pm Skyview Concert Hall — Vancouver, WA Salvador Brotons, Conductor

The unmistakable sounds of the holiday season arrive with a concert guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. You’ll experience selections from Tchaikovsky’s classic The Nutcracker, one of the iconic standards of holiday season, Leroy Anderson’s toe-tapping Christmas Festival, and favorite waltzes and polkas by Johann Strauss Jr. In addition, the concert features music from several cinematic gems, including “Frozen”, the winner of two Academy Awards® for Best Animated Feature and Original Song (Let it Go).

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All program notes ©2017 by J. Michael Allsen

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PROGRAM NOTES by Michael Allsen Disney’s 2013 animated hit Frozen was based loosely upon the Hans Christian Andersen story The Snow Queen. Songs for the film were written by the wife-husband team Kirsten AndersonLopez and Robert Lopez, including the song Let it Go, which won two Grammy Awards that year, and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The orchestral medley heard here includes several of the film’s songs, including, Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, For the First Time in Forever, Frozen Heart, and In Summer. It ends with a sweeping version of Let It Go. Tchaikovsky’s three greatest ballets remain in the repertoire of both ballet companies and symphony orchestras: Swan Lake (1876), The Sleeping Beauty (1889), and The Nutcracker (1892) and Nutcracker is the most popular of all. Composed for a ballet performance in St. Petersburg during the Christmas season of 1892, it remains a staple of the ballet repertoire—in fact for most American ballet companies, annual Holiday Nutcracker productions often help to pay the bills for the rest of the season! Tchaikovsky’s suites of movements from the ballet are among the most popular orchestral works ever written. Despite its enduring fame, he was convinced at the time that he had written a flop. He didn’t particularly like the E.T.A. Hoffmann story that was selected as the basis for the ballet, and fought with the original choreographer

about every detail of phrasing. Thankfully, Tchaikovsky’s musical instincts prevailed, and he created a score full of wonderfully evocative music. America’s premiere “Pops” composer Leroy Anderson created dozens of works that have become staples of the orchestra and band repertoire: A Trumpeter’s Lullaby, The Typewriter, The Syncopated Clock, and that holiday standard Sleigh Ride, to name just a few. His greatest success was in the late 1940s and 1950s, when he worked as the staff arranger for that granddaddy of all Pops orchestras, Arthur Fiedler’s Boston Pops. Many of his most popular works were created for Fiedler, including A Christmas Festival, written in 1952. In an interview in the 1960s, Anderson recalled the history of this piece: “Arthur Fiedler asked me to do a concert overture, and this is how it came about. I selected Christmas songs that were the most popular and best known, and then I took them and tried to give instrumental treatment to them; in other words, it’s not a medley, that isn’t what we wanted to do here, certainly what I didn’t want to do. I rather took the themes and built you might say a concert overture, around the Christmas songs. They’re not just carols because in this we end with Jingle Bells, that is, of course, a secular song, it’s not a carol, but it’s associated so much with the gaiety and spirit of Christmas that you certainly couldn’t leave it out.” Anderson’s “concert overture” brings together nine familiar tunes: Joy to the World, Deck the Halls, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, The First Noel, Silent Night, Jingle Bells and O Come, All Ye Faithful.

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If the Viennese waltz seems to be inseparable from the name Strauss, it is with good reason. Johann Strauss, his sons Johann, Josef, and Eduard, and his grandson Johann not only wrote hundreds of waltzes, they in fact created a new genre. The waltz had already been popular for some decades in Vienna by the time Johann the elder started a dance orchestra in 1825. But the waltzes of Strauss and his rival Joseph Lanner established a new standard form for the dance: an introduction, a sequence of five waltz tunes, with two repeated phrases in each, and a coda. Strauss and Lanner also established the practice of giving these waltz sets picturesque titles. Designed for dancing, this form, lasting seven or eight minutes, was the perfect length to leave dancers breathing hard, but not too exhausted to whirl back on to the dance floor a few minutes later. (Of course, medical authorities and moralists of the day blamed waltzing for a whole range of physical and social ills!) The waltz became the first truly international dance craze, and Strauss’s sons and grandsons— particularly Johann II—continued to refine the form. Johann the younger, who initially went into music against his father’s wishes, composed some 170 waltzes and was known universally as the Waltz King. Though Viennese ballrooms in Strauss’s day were ruled by the waltz, the energetic polka was a popular second choice. The polka originated as a Bohemian dance but swept through Europe in the late 1830s and 1840s.

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Runs: 17/18 Season program Artist: Joshua Bell

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MAY 12, 13 & 14 Carlos Kalmar, conductor • Joshua Bell, violin * Measha Brueggergosman, soprano Hindemith: News of the Day Overture • Bernstein: Serenade * Gabriel Kahane: Commission (World premiere) The world’s most famous violinist returns to the Oregon Symphony to perform Bernstein’s Serenade, often described as a “love piece” by the composer.

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January Concert

SATURDAY, JANUARY 27th at 3 pm and SUNDAY, JANUARY 28th at 7 pm Skyview Concert Hall — Vancouver, WA Salvador Brotons, Conductor

Symphony No.45 in F-sharp minor (“Farewell”)................... Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Allegro assai Adagio Menuetto Presto — Adagio

— 15 Minute Intermission — Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 (“From the New World”) .......................................................................Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) Adagio Largo Molto vivace Allegro con fuoco

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All program notes ©2017-2018 by J. Michael Allsen

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by Michael Allsen This program, titled “Journeys,” brings together two famous symphonies. In Haydn’s “Farewell” symphony, the well-known gesture at the end—having the players leave the stage one by one—was actually a sly message from the composer to his patron, asking that his musicians be allowed to journey back to their wives and children! Dvořák’s “New World” symphony reflects an entirely different sort of journey: of a composer who traveled from the “Old World” to live and work in America.

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No.45 in F-sharp minor (“Farewell”)

Haydn composed the Symphony No.45 in the summer of 1772. The first performance was at the estate of Prince Nicolaus Esterházy. Duration 25:00.

If any one person deserves to be credited as the “father of the symphony,” it is Haydn. His long musical career spanned the musical beginnings of the Classical symphony, and his 104 symphonies, written over a span of 35 years, could serve as a musical history of the development of symphonic form. And Haydn himself was responsible for many of those developments, establishing the compositional framework that would contain much of the greatest Classical and Romantic music. There are no second-rate symphonies among the 104, but some are more famous than others, including the “Farewell” symphony of 1772. The well-known story behind this symphony is given by Haydn’s earliest biographers. By the 1770s Haydn had risen to the position of Kapellmeister—chief musician—at the court of Prince Nicolaus Esterházy, a music-lover and a relatively generous patron. Haydn enjoyed a fine working relationship with his employer, and took good care of his musicians. While Prince Esterházy spent the social season in Eisenstadt, near Vienna, his court—including the entire orchestra—spent the summer at his opulent but remote palace of Esterháza. The story, as told by Haydn’s biographer Greisinger in 1810, is: “Among Prince Esterházy’s Kapelle there were several vigorous young married men who, in the summer, when the Prince stayed at Esterháza, were obliged to leave their wives behind in Eisenstadt. Contrary to his custom, the Prince once extended his sojourn in Esterháza by several weeks: the loving husbands, thoroughly dismayed by this news, went to Haydn and asked for his advice.

A great story, but focusing just on Haydn’s sly little theatrical Public Service Announcement at the end—really just the last half of the last movement—takes attention away from the fact that this is also a great symphony. The Symphony No.45 is one of the Haydn works whose style is described as Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”)—a series of several symphonies written around 1770. Sturm und Drang was a popular literary and theatrical movement at the time—heavy on the emotion and tragedy—and the designation seems appropriate for these symphonies, in which minor keys predominate, and Haydn introduces a new intensity and complexity not seen before in his works. Haydn was in fact in great professional shape at the time, but many writers have speculated on the cause of this serious turn: some enduring resentment among his colleagues over his promotion, an unpleasant incident in 1765 when one of Haydn’s musicians accidentally burned down a house, marital problems, or even some romantic crisis with the singer Luigia Polzelli, a singer at the Esterházy court. One purely musical reason may have been his preoccupation with vocal music at this time. Haydn composed over 20 operas for the court

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PROGRAM NOTES

Haydn had the inspiration of writing a symphony (which is known under the title ‘Farewell’ symphony), in which one instrument after the other is silent. This symphony was performed as soon as possible in front of the Prince, and each of the musicians was instructed, as soon as his part was finished, to blow out his candle and leave with his instrument under his arm. The Prince and the company understood the point of this pantomime at once, and the next day came the order to leave Esterháza.”

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(including a few for lip-synching marionettes!), and was a skilled musical dramatist. Works like the Symphony No.45 have this same dramatic expressiveness, without a vocal text. In the opening movement (Allegro assai), Haydn launches directly into the main idea: a stern descending violin theme accompanied by aggressive figures from the low strings. There is no real contrast from this seriousness in the exposition, and Haydn avoids giving an expected contrasting theme. The development is mostly in a major key, and he briefly introduces a more lyrical figure. But this music stops abruptly and the opening theme brusquely takes over and restores unrelenting severity until the end. The two middle movements are much lighter in character. The Adagio—the symphony’s longest movement—has occasional moments of darkness, but an air of refined elegance dominates most of the movement, with vocal-style melodies carried by muted violins, lightly decorated by horns and oboes. The Menuetto is a typically good-humored Haydn minuet, though with occasional quirky twists, and just the occasional hint of more serious mood. The ending is a curiously shy little melodic gesture. The finale starts out conventionally enough: a quick Presto theme in minor, followed by contrasting major-key material. But just when things seem to be wrapping up as expected, Haydn springs his surprise. The character of the music lightens for a lilting and serene Adagio, whose texture gradually thins as the musicians leave the stage one by one, eventually leaving the first violinists to finish.

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 (“From the New World”)

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Dvorák composed this work in New York in the winter and spring of 1892-93. Anton Seidl conducted the New York Philharmonic in the first performance on December 16, 1893. Duration 40:00.

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In 1892, Jeannette Thurber made Dvořák an offer he couldn’t refuse. Thurber, the wife of a wealthy New York businessman, had a dream of raising the standards of American art music to equal those of Europe. She had founded the National Conservatory of Music in 1885, and recruited some of the finest teachers in the world to serve on its faculty. At this time, Dvořák’s reputation as a symphonist was surpassed only by that of Brahms, and Thurber resolved to hire him as the director of the Conservatory. Dvořák was lukewarm at first, but the terms she offered were very generous: a two-year contract, with very light teaching duties and four months’ paid leave each year. The annual salary, $15,000, was about 25 times what he was making as an instructor at the Prague Conservatory, and in the end he accepted, eventually spending about three years in this country.

Dvořák enjoyed this American sojourn. American audiences adored his music, and he blended comfortably into New York society. He spent two summers in the small town of Spillville, Iowa, where he felt at home in a large Bohemian community. He had several promising composition students at the Conservatory, and agreed heartily with Thurber’s ideal that American composers should foster their own distinctive style of composition. He wrote that: “My own duty as a teacher is not so much to interpret Beethoven, Wagner and other masters of the past, but to give what encouragement I can to the young musicians of America... this nation has already surpassed so many others in marvelous inventions and feats of engineering and commerce, and it has made an honorable place for itself in literature—so it must assert itself in the other arts, and especially in the art of music.” The “New World” symphony is the most famous of the works Dvořák composed while in America. According to Thurber, the symphony was written at her suggestion—she felt that Dvořák should write a symphony “…embodying his experiences and feelings in America.” It was an immediate hit with audiences in both America and Europe. The new symphony closely matched the style of his other late symphonies, a style based on the German symphonic style of his mentor, Brahms, and with occasional hints of Bohemian folk style. There are a few “Americanisms” in the Symphony No.9, however. As a strongly nationalistic Bohemian, Dvořák had always brought the spirit of his homeland into his works by bringing in folk tunes, and by more generally imitating the sound of Bohemian music. According to his own account of the work’s composition, Dvorák attempted to do the same with regards to American music in the Symphony No.9, and he was particularly interested in two forms of music that had their origins in the United States: Native American music and African American spirituals. Dvorák frequently quizzed one his students at the National Conservatory, a talented young African American singer named Harry T. Burleigh, about spirituals, and he dutifully transcribed every spiritual tune Burleigh knew. His contact with Native American music was a little more tenuous— most of what Dvořák knew came from rather dubious published transcriptions. (The only time he ever heard an “authentic” Indian performance was when he went to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show!) While he did not use any true American melodies in the symphony, Dvorák immersed himself in American music and culture, and wrote musical themes from this inspiration. At its heart, however, the Symphony No.9 is a work “From the New World” by an Old World composer. Dvořák was not trying to create an “American Style”—he firmly believed that that was a job for American composers. The opening movement begins with an Adagio introduction, which gradually speeds and resolves into the main body of the movement (Allegro molto). Dvořák immediately announces the main theme, a distinctive motto that will appear, in one form or another, in every movement of the symphony. This bold E minor theme is first played by the horns, and then expanded by the strings. He introduces two contrasting melodies, a dancelike minor-key melody in, introduced by the oboe, and somewhat


There are a few programmatic elements in the Symphony No.9—according to Dvořák, the second and third movements were inspired by Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha. In the Largo we have Hiawatha’s “Funeral in the Forest.” This movement is set in a broad three-part form. It opens with a solemn brass chorale, which leads into the movement’s main theme, a long Romantic melody played by the English horn. (This melody became popular as nostalgic song called Goin’ Home—so popular, in fact, that it was widely assumed that it was a traditional spiritual that Dvořák had quoted!) The contrasting middle section features a more pensive melody heard first in the flute. The movement ends with a return of the English horn melody. He again referred to Hiawatha in the Scherzo (Molto vivace), stating that this movement was supposed to depict “…a feast in the wood, where the Indians dance.” The first section features two main themes, an offbeat melody introduced by solo woodwinds and a more lyrical melody played by the woodwinds as a section. Echoes of the motto theme lead gradually into a central trio. The trio section is certain dancelike, but its waltz-style themes seem to have a lot more to do with a Viennese ballroom than a Native American dance. The opening section returns, and Dvorák closes the movement with more reminiscences of the motto theme. The finale (Allegro con fuoco) begins with a few stormy introductory measures, and then Dvorák brings in the main theme in the brass. After this powerful theme, there is a more lyrical melody in the solo clarinet. Dvořák set the finale in sonata form, but he used the lengthy development not only to work with this movement’s themes, but also to develop music from previous movements. In particular, we hear versions of the motto and a faster reading of the Largo’s main theme. After recapitulating the fourth movement’s main themes, Dvořák launches into a huge coda, which again brings back material from previous movements.

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brighter theme heard in the solo flute. This sonata-form movement features a lengthy development section, which focuses on the motto theme. After a conventional recapitulation, Dvořák sets a long coda, which again explores the motto theme.

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