Oneppo Chamber Music Series Âˇ David Shifrin, Artistic Director
tokyo string quartet
Morse Recital Hall â€˘ Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 8 pm Music of Webern, Mozart, and Mendelssohn
Robert Blocker, Dean
tokyo string quartet
About the Artists
Martin Beaver, violin · Kikuei Ikeda, violin Kazuhide Isomura, viola · Clive Greensmith, cello Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall
Anton Webern 1883–1945
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756—1791
october 2, 2012 tuesday · 8:00 pm
Five Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 5 Heftig bewegt Sehr langsam Sehr lebhaft Sehr langsam In zarter bewegung String Quintet No. 3 in C major, K. 515 Allegro Menuetto: Allegretto Andante Allegro Ettore Causa, viola intermission
Felix Mendelssohn 1809—1847
Octet for Strings, Op. 20 Allegro moderato ma con fuoco Andante Scherzo Presto jasper string quartet J Freivogel, violin Sae Chonabayashi, violin Sam Quintal, viola Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello
As a courtesy to the performers and audience, turn off cell phones and pagers. Please do not leave the hall during selections. Photography or recording of any kind is prohibited.
After 43 seasons, the Tokyo String Quartet has announced that 2012-2013 will be their last. Regarded as one of the supreme chamber ensembles of the world, the Tokyo Quartet— Martin Beaver and Kikuei Ikeda (violins), Kazuhide Isomura (viola), and Clive Greensmith (cello)—has collaborated with a remarkable array of artists and composers, built a comprehensive catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings, and established a distinguished teaching record. Performing over a hundred concerts worldwide each season, the quartet has a devoted international following across the globe. Officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music, the quartet traces its origins to the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where the founding members were profoundly influenced by Professor Hideo Saito. Soon after its formation, the quartet won First Prize at the Coleman Competition, the Munich Competition, and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. An exclusive
contract with Deutsche Grammophon firmly established it as one of the world’s leading quartets, and it has since released more than 40 landmark recordings. The ensemble now records on the Harmonia Mundi label. The members of the Tokyo String Quartet have served on the faculty of the Yale School of Music as quartet-in-residence since 1976. Deeply committed to coaching young string quartets, they conduct master classes in North America, Europe, and Asia. The ensemble performs on the “Paganini Quartet,” a group of renowned Stradivarius instruments named for legendary virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, who acquired and played them during the nineteenth century. The instruments have been on loan to the ensemble from the Nippon Music Foundation since 1995, when they were purchased from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
The Tokyo String Quartet is managed by Opus 3 Artists.
About the Artists
About the Artists
A devoted chamber musician, Mr. Causa was a member of the Aria Quartet from 2004 to 2009 and currently plays in the Poseidon Quartet. He has frequently been invited to prestigious chamber music festivals, where he has performed with internationally renowned musicians such as the Tokyo String Quartet, Pascal Rogé, Boris Berman, Thomas Adès, Natalie Clein, Ana Chumachenco, Alberto and Antonio Lysy, Thomas Demenga, Anthony Marwood, Ulf Wallin, William Bennett, and others.
Italian-born violist Ettore Causa was awarded both the P. Schidlof Prize and the J. Barbirolli Prize for the most beautiful sound at the prestigious Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in England in 2000. He has since made solo and recital appearances in many of the major venues around the world, including Victoria Hall (Geneva), Zurich Tonhalle, Madrid National Auditorium, Barcelona Auditorium, Salle Cortot (Paris), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Tokyo Symphony Hall, Osaka Symphony Hall, and MSM Auditorium (New York). In addition, he has performed at numerous international festivals such as the Menuhin Festival (Gstaad), Festival de Estoril (Portugal), Salzburg Festival, Festival del Pontino (Italy), Tivoli Festival (Copenhagen), Festival of Perth (Australia), Prussia Cove (England), Savonlinna (Finland), Norfolk (Connecticut), and Lanaudière (Canada).
Mr. Causa studied at the International Menuhin Music Academy with Alberto Lysy, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, and Johannes Eskar, and later at the Manhattan School of Music with Michael Tree. Upon completing his studies, he was appointed first solo viola of the Carl Nielsen Philharmonic in Odense (Denmark) as well as Leader of the Copenhagen Chamber Soloists. His first recording, featuring transcriptions of romantic music for viola and piano, was released in 2006 on the Claves record label. It garnered overwhelming success and was crowned with the 5 Diapasons. His newest recording of the Brahms viola sonatas has been highly praised by critics worldwide. Mr. Causa taught both viola and chamber music for many years at the International Menuhin Music Academy, and joined the the Yale School of Music faculty in September 2009. He performs on a viola made for him by Frédéric Chaudière in 2003.
Winner of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award, the Jasper String Quartet has been hailed as “sonically delightful and expressively compelling” (The Strad) and “powerful” (New York Times). Based in New Haven, Connecticut, the quartet holds ensemblein-residence positions at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and at Classic Chamber Concerts in Naples, Florida. After winning the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize in the 2008 Plowman Chamber Music Competition, the Jaspers went on to win the Grand Prize at the 2008 Coleman Competition, First Prize at Chamber Music Yellow Springs 2008, and the Silver Medal at the 2008 and 2009 Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions. They were the first ensemble to win the Yale School of Music’s Horatio Parker Memorial Prize (2009). In 2010 the quartet joined the roster of Astral Artists. The Jaspers perform pieces ranging from Haydn and Beethoven through Berg, Ligeti,
and living composers. They have already commissioned four string quartets and have been commended for their “programming savvy” (clevelandclassical.com). The quartet has performed throughout the United States and in Canada, England, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Norway. The Jasper Quartet enjoys educational work and has brought over 100 outreach programs into schools. In their Melba and Orville Roleffson Residency at the Banff Centre they embarked on “guerilla chamber music,” performing in unusual settings. They recently completed a two-year Ernst C. Stiefel Quartet Residency at Caramoor. Originally formed at Oberlin Conservatory, the Jasper Quartet began pursuing a professional career in 2006 as Rice University’s Graduate Quartet-in-Residence. In 2008, the quartet continued its training with the Tokyo String Quartet as the Graduate Quartetin-Residence at the Yale School of Music. They are named after Jasper National Park.
The Jasper String Quartet is represented by Barrett Vantage Artists throughout the world and by Astral Artists in Pennsylvania.
Notes on the Program
anton webern Five Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 5
Anton Webern’s music is often characterized by its concentration, its compression, and an utter lack of conventional expressions of emotion in music. Given this, it may seem surprising that with his Five Pieces for String Quartet Op. 5, Webern admitted to colleague Alban Berg that the work was connected to the death of his mother, an event that occurred on September 7, 1906 and clearly had a profound impact on the composer. Filled with revolutionary sounds and effects, the Five Pieces (also known as Five Movements) represent one of Webern’s first essays in atonal writing. Though the emotional qualities of the Five Pieces are exceedingly introverted in nature, the work’s origins inspire a deeper look at its expressionist qualities. There is an almost sensual quality in Webern’s approach here that may not be readily apparent on first glance. This is evidenced in both the treatment of the strings themselves for color and texture, as well as the manner in which Webern isolates a specific tone or interval group. Altering dynamic levels and instrumental timbres around the pitch level are the very essence of Webern’s expressionism – immobilizing the tone and focusing it towards a kind of higher plane, an evolutionary zenith. In many ways, this was simply an extension of post-Romantic, turn-ofthe-20 th-century thinking: Webern is pushing the Romantic notion of emotional intensity in
Notes on the Program
wolfgang amadeus mozart String Quintet No. 3 in C major, K. 515
art to its core essence. The result is stark, simple, and full of potency. Though revolutionary in ideology and aesthetic, Webern did not see himself as deviating from history, but as continuing forward on its logical path; this explains his use of certain traditional elements in the formal design of Op. 5. The first movement, for example, can be heard as a tightly compressed sonata form, while the final movement features bits and pieces recalled from the previous movements, not unlike the cyclical motive structure seen in many Romantic works. The middle three movements are examples of Webern’s famous and meticulous brevity – the second and fourth movements are each thirteen measures long, the third takes roughly thirty-five seconds to play. The Five Pieces were completed in 1909 and first performed in 1910. In 1929, Webern arranged the work for string orchestra. As is the case with his entire body of work, the Five Pieces can seem bizarre and nonsensical on first hearing, but can be greatly rewarding to the adventurous listener through repeated listening and exploration. – Jacob Adams
It is not clear why Mozart chose to write for a string quartet with a second viola, as this was not a common ensemble at that time. One influence may have been the huge success of the Italian composer and virtuoso cellist Luigi Boccherini, who wrote sixty-six cello quintets. Mozart took every opportunity to perform his own music, and his preferred instrument was the viola, as evidenced by his duo sonatas for violin and viola and the Sinfonia Concertante. This quintet was certainly important to Mozart’s embarrassing financial difficulties. Michael Puchberg lent money to him partly on the security for the quintet, despite the sweeping popularity of his opera Figaro the previous year. This quintet and the one in G minor, K. 516, though written as a way of taking a break from work on the masterpieceto-be Don Giovanni, would become regarded as some of Mozart’s greatest chamber music. Operatic elements permeate this quintet, particularly in the second movement, where the violin and viola sing an expressive duet while the other voices relax into accompaniment. But Mozart did not turn this composition into a transcription of his much-loved arias. The sonata-form first movement has unusual proportions: an extraordinarily long exposition with rich melodic materials, a surprisingly brief middle development section, and a relatively developmental recapitulation. Mozart took
advantage of the flexibility of the ensemble to create a variety of textures, showcasing his imagination in timbral combinations and varied dialogues. In the Minuetto, the quintet divides into three distinct parties, with the two upper pairs responding to each other while the cello sings in its own world. The finale is a sonata rondo with a swift tempo, ending with a final declamation in unison. – Alvin Wong
Notes on the Program
felix mendelssohn Octet for Strings, Op. 20 Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1849) completed his Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 in October 1825 at only sixteen years of age. The quintessential child prodigy, Mendelssohn was already a prolific composer, having written and published numerous chamber works for combinations of strings and piano, dozens of Lieder, and a symphony. Although he had previously composed for both smaller and larger ensembles, the Octet represented an intersection of these genres. Scored for double string quartet, Mendelssohn’s instrumentation had only one precedent: an octet by Louis Spohr (1784–1859) of 1814. In Spohr’s work, the two string quartets are treated as separate units that interact in an antiphonal manner, hearkening back to the cori spezzati of sixteenth century Venice. Mendelssohn’s work, by contrast, combined the forces into a unified ensemble, which gave rein to a wide variety of scoring possibilities. While on one hand, the work contains the intimate and soloistic textures characteristic of chamber music, on the other hand, certain moments – as, for example, the “heroic” beginning – point to symphonic gestures. While the energy and lightness of the composer’s youth is evident throughout the piece, it was considered to be one of his first substantial early works, and still holds a prominent place in the canon. The octet draws clearly on features of what we now regard as the great works of the past – the intricate contrapuntal textures of Bach,
the crisp clarity of Mozart, and the boldness and dynamic range of Beethoven. Yet even as the work is firmly grounded in the past, its musical language points forward to a warm and unabashed Romanticism. In 1821, Mendelssohn had been introduced to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), whose encouragement greatly affected the young composer, inspiring in Mendelssohn a sense of the phantasmagoric. The Scherzo of the Octet, which was directly influenced by the Walpurgisnachtstraum scene from Goethe’s Faust, was to be the first of his characteristic “fairy” scherzos, and was the direct precursor to the Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. – Reena Esmail
Oneppo Chamber Music Series 2012–2013 Patrons
The Yale School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generosity of its donors. Following are the patrons of the Oneppo Chamber Music Series as of September 26, 2012. To find out more about becoming a Yale School of Music Patron:
» music.yale.edu/giving You can also add a contribution to your ticket purchase to any Yale School of Music concerts. Concert Office · 203 432-4158
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New Music New Haven
Wei-Yi Yang, piano
Morse Recital Hall | Thursday | 8 pm New Music New Haven Featuring the world premiere of Allegory of the Cave for string quartet and piano by faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis, along with music by graduate composers. Free admission.
Morse Recital Hall | Wednesday | 8 pm Horowitz Piano Series Featuring Granados’s piano suite Goyescas: Los major enamorados, with projections of Goya’s art, alongside music inspired by Spain by Debussy and Ravel. Tickets $12–22, Students $6–9.
Yale Philharmonia Lou Donaldson Quartet
october 5 Morse Recital Hall | Friday | 8 pm Ellington Jazz Series “My first impulse is always to describe Lou Donaldson as the greatest alto saxophonist in the world.” –Will Friedwald, New York Sun Tickets $20–30, Students $10.
Woolsey Hall | Friday | 8 pm Yale Philharmonia Peter Oundjian, guest conductor. Verdi: Overture to La Forza del Destino; Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3, with Suzana Bartal, piano; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 12. Free admission.
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Robert Blocker, Dean