The Legacy of
yale in new york preview David Shifrin, Artistic Director November 21, 2013 â€˘ Morse Recital Hall
Robert Blocker, Dean
The Legacy of
paul hindemith November 21, 2013 • Thursday at 8 pm David Shifrin, Artistic Director
Paul Hindemith 1895–1963 YSM faculty 1940–1953
Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2 I. Lustig. Mäßig schnell Viertel II. Walzer: Durchweg sehr leise III. Ruhig und einfach IV. Schnelle Viertel V. Sehr lebhaft Jacob Mende-Fridkis, flute Timothy Gocklin, oboe Kevin Schaffter, clarinet John Searcy, bassoon Philip Browne, horn
Alvin Etler 1913–1973 ’44bm
Suite for flute, oboe, and clarinet I. Prelude II. Musette III. Pavane IV. Finale Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flute Kemp Jernigan, oboe Eric Anderson, clarinet
Mel Powell 1923–1998 ’52bm
Woodwind Quintet (1985) Christina Hughes, flute Hsuan-Fong Chen, oboe Joshua Anderson, clarinet Darren Hicks, bassoon John Craig Hubbard, horn
As a courtesy to the performers and audience, silence all electronic devices. Please do not leave the hall during selections. Photography or recording of any kind is prohibited.
Yale in New York Preview
Yehudi Wyner b. 1929 ’50ba, ’51bm, ’53mm YSM faculty 1963–1977
Concordance for piano and strings (2013) Connecticut Premiere Wendy Sharp, violin* Isabella Mensz, viola Jurrian van der Zanden, cello** Yehudi Wyner, piano
Willie Ruff* ’53bm, ’54mm
Remarks on Sonata for four horns
Sonata for four horns I. Fugato, sehr langsam II. Lebhaft III. Variationen über “Ich schnell mein Horn” William Eisenberg, horn Patrick Jankowski, horn William Purvis, horn* Zachary Quortrup, horn
Lukas Foss 1922–2009 Studied at YSM 1940
Three American Pieces 1. Early Song 2. Dedication 3. Composer’s Holiday Wendy Sharp, violin* Henry Kramer, piano
*Yale School of Music Faculty **Yale School of Music Alumnus
Yale in New York Preview
Mitch Leigh b. 1928 ’51bm, ’52mm
The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha Brian Vu, baritone Henry Kramer, piano
Kammermusik No. 1, Op. 24, No. 1 I. Sehr schnell und wild II. Mäßig schnell Halbe III. Quartett: Sehr langsam und mit Ausdruck IV. Finale 1921: Lebhaft William Purvis, conductor* Benjamin Hoffman, Seul-A Lee, violin Xinyi Xu, viola Jia Cao, cello Gregory Vartian-Foss, double bass Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flute Eric Anderson, clarinet Elizabeth Garrett, bassoon Jean Laurenz, trumpet Jonathan Allen, Georgi Videnov, percussion Henry Kramer, piano Michael Noble, harmonium
*Yale School of Music faculty
Notes on the Program
Paul Hindemith 1895–1963 Paul Hindemith may be most widely remembered as a composer, but he was also a charismatic teacher, an incisive theorist, a conductor and violist. He researched and promoted the performance practice of early music. He published books including The Craft of Musical Composition: A Concentrated Course in Traditional Harmony. His student Mitch Leigh once said that “Hindemith was probably one of the greatest theorists since Jean-Philippe Rameau.” From an early age, Hindemith was earning money as a violinist and also composing. His early works were in a late Romantic style, and he already wrote for a wide variety of genres. After his military service in World War I, he began to concentrate more intensely on composition. In 1919, the young Hindemith presented a “composition evening” featuring his own pieces, an event so successful that Schott offered to publish his music. With this encouragement, Hindemith began writing at a rapid pace. He also left behind the Romanticism of his early works and took on the dissonant language of Expressionism, while simultaneously experimenting with strict formal structures. In the early 1920s, as composers began to react to Expressionism’s emotional subjectivity with a new desire for structure and accessibility. Hindemith’s style, too, became leaner. He focused on purely musical (rather than programmatic) motives, independent lines, and an ‘objective’ consideration of the music. The trend became known as Neue Sachlichkeit (“the new objectivity”), which also became entwined, in the words of Giselher Schubert, with “sociopolitical and artistic trends that emphasized the democratization of all areas of life.”
Out of this climate arose the Kammermusiken, a series of eight pieces that Hindemith wrote between 1921 and 1927. The first is for the eclectic ensemble of flute, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, accordion or harmonium, piano, string quintet, and percussion. Though written for a larger ensemble than traditionally would have been considered chamber music, the piece resembles a chamber work in the clarity of individual lines and sonorities. While rooted in tonality, the piece is often dissonant and frequently breaks out into polytonality (instruments playing in multiple keys simultaneously). Kammermusik No. 1 premiered in 1922 at the Donaueschingen music festival. While audiences disliked the piece, Hindemith began to gain an international reputation as a composer to watch. Fourteen years later, after a successful performance in Chicago, Hindemith wrote in his journal: I don’t understand why people got so upset about Kammermusik No.1 when it was first performed. It is not made badly at all, and except for a few harmonic and melodic problems due to inexperience there is nothing to make anyone ill. Each Kammermusik is for a different instrumentation, and the Kleine Kammermusik (“small chamber music”) is scored for wind quintet. Mark Satola calls this piece Hindemith “at his most deadpan,” pairing the youthful composer’s sense of humor “with notably resourceful and virtuosic writing for the small ensemble.” The radical changes in German politics in the late 1920s began to cause trouble for Hindemith. In 1933, only a few months after the National Socialists came to power, he learned that half his music had been banned on account of its “cultural Bolshevism.” A complete ban on performances of his music followed in 1936. In
Notes on the Program
early 1937, he resigned from his teaching post at the Berlin Hochschule and made his first trip to the United States. He traveled more than once to the States and to Ankara, Turkey during this period. In 1938 Hindemith emigrated to Switzerland, and by the following year he had become critical of his earlier behavior under the Nazi regime, writing: “I always see myself as the mouse who recklessly danced in front of the trap and even ventured inside; quite by chance, when it happened to be outside, the trap closed!” In February 1940, Hindemith left Europe for the United States, having been invited to teach at Cornell University, Tanglewood, and elsewhere. Soon he was invited to be a visiting lecturer at Yale. The dean of the Yale School of Music was the musically conservative David Stanley Smith. In a letter to the Yale president requesting approval to invite Hindemith, Smith wrote, “Hindemith is widely regarded as the leading German composer. At one time, he was an extreme modernist but lately he has softened his style… He is very friendly, speaks English well, and is modest about his music. I do not think he would proselyte among the students in favor of modernistic music.” After Hindemith’s first visit, he immediately wrote to his wife, Gertrud, that “Yale was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.” The Yale faculty, too, were enthusiastic, and soon he was offered a long-term appointment. Hindemith wrote again to his wife: “Our immediate future seems to be assured. Yesterday I was invited to teach at Yale next year, so get ready to come over.” As he settled in at Yale, Hindemith wrote to a friend, “The school is most enjoyable. It is not
large but very well equipped; the library is marvelous and there are many talented students. One can do a lot of good work here.” He taught both composition and music theory, and was also instrumental in making constructive changes to the music curriculum. Hindemith became involved in Yale’s fledgling Collegium Musicum, which gave historically-informed performances of early music, and soon took over the organization (which is still active). In his new city, he twice guest conducted the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in Woolsey Hall. He and Gertrud became American citizens in 1946 and bought a house in New Haven. But with World War II over, Hindemith started to renew his ties with Europe, making visits 1947–1949 to conduct and give lectures. In 1949 he was invited to teach at the University of Zürich, and for a few years he alternated between New Haven and Switzerland. One night, during a 1951 conducting trip to Europe, a quartet of hornists in Salzburg serenaded him when he passed through on a sleeper train. Back in New Haven, still remembering the sound, he sketched the Sonata for Four Horns. Before his next trip, when he planned to deliver the piece, he had four Yale hornists—including Willie Ruff, who is here with us tonight—read through the piece. In 1953, Hindemith retired from his teaching position at Yale and moved to Switzerland, where he lived the last ten years of his life. He died fifty years ago this year, in 1963.
Notes on the Program
Lukas Foss 1922–2009
Alvin Etler 1913–1973
While teaching at Tanglewood in the summer of 1939, Hindemith wrote in a letter, “The advanced composition class is not outstanding, with the exception of a small German immigrant boy.” This was Lukas Foss (1922–2009), who had come to the U.S. in 1937 at the age of 15 to flee the Nazis. On Hindemith’s suggestion, Foss worked with him at Yale as a special student in 1940. According to one account, Hindemith told the 17-year-old Foss, “I can’t teach anyone who wants to know everything, but who doesn’t want to follow anything.”
Alvin Etler began his career as an oboist, studying in Cleveland and then playing in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He left the orchestra in the late 1930s to focus on composing. Etler’s early pieces earned performances at major festivals, and he won Guggenheim Fellowships in 1940 and 1941. His success as a composer led him to move on from his oboe career to focus on composing and teaching.
Foss, often described as a child prodigy, had begun to compose at the age of seven. In Berlin he studied piano and music theory, and after moving to Paris in 1933 he also studied composition and orchestration. In the States, he also studied at Curtis, and he made his career as a composer, conductor, and pianist. He was only 22 when his cantata The Prairie (with text by Carl Sandburg) was premiered by the Collegiate Chorale with Robert Shaw conducting and then received the New York Music Critics’ Circle Award. His Three American Pieces for violin and piano were written that same year. Foss later arranged the suite for flute and piano, and for flute or violin with orchestra. Steve Schwartz has noted that in this work, “Foss admits the influence of Copland Americana, but the matter really isn’t so simple. To me, it’s a European sensibility coming upon the energy of American folk music.”
Etler joined the Yale faculty in 1942 as conductor of the Yale Band and instructor of wind instruments. While on the faculty, he studied composition with his colleague Paul Hindemith for two years. Etler left Yale in 1946 to teach elsewhere and in 1949 settled at Smith College, where he taught for the rest of his life. Etler’s early career as a wind player left its imprint in his compositions: he is best remembered for his wind music, including two wind quintets (1955 and 1957) and the Quintet for Brass Instruments (1963). The Suite for flute, oboe, and clarinet was written in 1960, only a few years before a major stylistic shift in his music. While his earlier harmonic vocabulary had been compared to Bartók and Copland, with jazz accents, after his 1963 Brass Quintet he experimented with twelve-tone techniques and focused more on sound and texture. Etler once said, speaking of himself as composer, that he was “hopefully as informed as possible by the steady stylistic beacon lights of the times and as little as possible by the flicker of passing fashion and nomenclature.”
Notes on the Program
Mitch Leigh b. 1928
Mel Powell 1923–1998
Mitch Leigh was born in 1928 in Brooklyn. His parents, who had arrived in New York in 1921, made it a priority for him to take clarinet lessons. After attending the High School of Music and Art, in 1946 he joined the army in order to take advantage of the G.I. Bill. While laid up in Walter Reed Army Hospital with a baseball injury, he heard Hindemith on the radio and wrote to him at Yale; the next fall, he enrolled. Leigh earned his bachelor’s degree in 1951 and his master’s in 1952.
Mel Powell’s musical life was marked by sharp shifts. As a young boy, a baseball injury turned his focus toward music. He then wanted to be a concert pianist, until his older brother introduced him to jazz. By the age of fourteen, Powell was playing jazz professionally around New York City, and in 1941 he started working as a pianist and arranger for Benny Goodman. He also played jazz in Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band 1942– 1945, then after the war in New York and Los Angeles. In the 1940s he began to experiment with composing, including a year writing for film in Los Angeles.
Leigh said in an interview that Hindemith “could write music for everything… Gebrauchsmusik [‘music for use’]. After working with him, when I left Yale I could write anything.” And he did: after graduating, Leigh worked as a composer/ conductor for Warner Brothers, and in 1954 he started writing radio and television commercials. Soon he founded Music Makers, Inc., a commercial production house that created jingles for companies including Revlon, Sara Lee, and American Airlines. The agency won major awards in the advertising industry. Leigh is best known for the musical Man of La Mancha, with book by Dale Wasserman and lyrics by Joe Darion. Based on Cervantes’s The Adventures of Don Quixote, the musical opened on Broadway in 1965 and won two Tony Awards. “The Impossible Dream (The Quest),” the musical’s iconic song, won the Contemporary Classics Award from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
In 1949, Powell stepped out of the jazz world and onto the Yale campus to study with Hindemith. Powell’s early works, under Hindemith’s influence, were neoclassical in style. In the 1950s, he started to incorporate atonal elements into his compositional process. When Hindemith heard Powell’s first twelve-tone work, he reportedly said, “So, you’ve gone over to the other side.” By 1958, Powell was writing exclusively structuralist serial music, with complex relationships between not only pitches and intervals but temporal structures and other compositional elements. After graduating from Yale in 1952, Powell taught composition at Mannes and Queens Colleges. Five years later, when Hindemith left the United States, Powell became the chair of composition at the Yale School of Music and the director of the fledgling electronic music studio. Powell left Yale in 1969 to help start the new California Institute of the Arts, where he taught for the rest of his career. He wrote his intricately structured Woodwind Quintet in 1985 on commission from the Sierra Wind Quintet. In 1990, Powell won the Pulitzer Prize for his double piano concerto Duplicates.
Notes on the Program
Yehudi Wyner b. 1929 Yehudi Wyner was born in 1929 in Calgary and grew up in New York City. His father was a composer of Yiddish art songs and other Jewish music. Wyner studied both piano and composition, graduating from Juilliard’s precollege divsion. At Yale, he studied with both Hindemith and Richard Donovan, earning his B.A. in 1950 and his M.M. in 1953. He also studied with Walter Piston at Harvard. In 1953 he won the Rome Prize and lived for three years in Rome; he then returned to New York and began his career as a composer, pianist, and many other musical roles. In 1963 he joined the Yale faculty, where he was the chair of composition, and he taught here until 1977. Wyner was dean of the music department at SUNYPurchase and also taught at Tanglewood, Cornell, Harvard, and Brandeis. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, a Grammy Award, and two Guggenheim fellowships. The piano quartet Concordance premiered in January, 2013 in Boston, with the composer at the piano. The piece was commissioned by the Concord Chamber Music Society with support from the Harvard Musical Association. Leon Golub has noted that in Wyner’s “essential and distinctive style… the ideas unfold naturally, out of their own surprising depth, while displaying at every instant the fragility of inevitability.” Wyner said in a recent interview, “The best preparation for this piece is to listen to my previous work. Regardless of all the chameleon-like changes, there are certain things that remain. It’s what they call ‘style,’ whatever that is… Something in your makeup stays the same through all the years, and it shows in the music.” — Program notes by Dana Astmann
William Purvis · horn William Purvis pursues a multifaceted career both in the U.S. and abroad as horn soloist, chamber musician, conductor, and educator. A passionate advocate of new music, he has participated in numerous premieres including horn concerti by Peter Lieberson, Bayan Northcott, Krzysztof Penderecki and Paul Lansky; horn trios by Poul Ruders and Paul Lansky; Sonate en Forme de Préludes by Steven Stucky; and recent premieres by Elliott Carter, Retracing II for Solo Horn and Nine by Five with the New York Woodwind Quintet. He is a member of the New York Woodwind Quintet, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Yale Brass Trio, and the Triton Horn Trio, and is an emeritus member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. A frequent guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Boston Chamber Music Society, Mr. Purvis has collaborated with many of the world’s most esteemed string quartets, including the Juilliard, Tokyo, Orion, Brentano, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Daedalus, and Fine Arts string quartets. A Grammy Award winner, Mr. Purvis has recorded extensively on numerous labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical, Naxos, Koch and Bridge. He is currently Professor in the Practice of Horn and Chamber Music at the Yale School of Music, where he is also coordinator of winds and brasses, and serves as director of the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments. Wendy Sharp · violin Wendy Sharp, award-winning violinist, performs frequently as a recitalist and a chamber musician. In demand as a teacher and chamber music coach, she is on the faculties of the Yale School of Music and California Summer Music, and maintains a private studio. For nearly a decade, Ms. Sharp was the first violinist and a founding member of the highly acclaimed Franciscan String Quartet. As a member of the quartet, she toured the USA,
Canada, Europe, and Asia, and was honored with many awards including first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Press and City of Evian prizes at the Evian International String Quartet Competition. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, she attended Yale University, graduating summa cum laude with distinction in music, and received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Ms. Sharp has served on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, Dartmouth College, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Choate Rosemary Hall, and has participated in the Aspen, Chamber Music West, Tanglewood, Norfolk, BrittenPears and Music Academy of the West festivals. Ms. Sharp is currently the director of chamber music at the Yale School of Music, where she has also served on the violin faculty since 1997. Ms. Sharp and her husband have two children, both undergraduates at Yale. Yehudi Wyner · piano Awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for his Piano Concerto, Chiavi in mano, Yehudi Wyner (b.1929) is one of America’s most distinguished musicians. His compositions include over 80 works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo voice and solo instruments, piano, chorus, and music for the theater, as well as liturgical services for worship. He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, The Boston Symphony, The BBC Philharmonic, The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, The Library of Congress, The Ford Foundation, The Koussevitzky Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Fromm Foundation, and Worldwide Concurrent Premieres among others. His Naxos recording “The Mirror” won a 2005 Grammy Award, his Piano Concerto,“Chiavi in Mano,” on Bridge Records was nominated for a 2009 Grammy, and his Horntrio (1997) was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Other honors received include two Guggenheim Fellowships, The Institute of Arts and Letters Award, The Rome Prize, and The Brandeis Creative Arts Award. In 1998, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center awarded Mr. Wyner the Elise Stoeger Prize, given for his “lifetime contribution to chamber music.” He is a member of both The American Academy of Arts and Letters and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Yehudi Wyner has had an active career as a solo pianist, chamber musician (collaborating with notable vocal and instrumental colleagues), teacher, director of two opera companies, and conductor of numerous chamber and vocal ensembles in a wide range of repertory. Keyboard artist of the Bach Aria Group since 1968, he has played and conducted many of the Bach cantatas, concertos, and motets. He was a member of the chamber music faculty of the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center from 1975–97. He has been composer-in-residence at Civitella Ranieri (2009), the Eastman School of Music (2008), Vassar College (2007), the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2005), the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Italy (1998), the American Academy in Rome (1991), and at the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival (1982). Mr. Wyner was a professor at the Yale School of Music from 1963 to 1977 where he also served as chairman of the composition faculty. In 1978, he became Dean of the Music Division at State University of New York, Purchase, where he was a professor for twelve years. A guest professor at Cornell University in 1988, Mr. Wyner was also a frequent visiting professor at Harvard University since 1991. From 1991 to 2005, he held the Walter W. Naumburg Chair of Composition at Brandeis University, where he is now Professor Emeritus.
Born in Western Canada, Yehudi Wyner grew up in New York City. He came into a musical family and was trained early as a pianist and composer. His father, Lazar Weiner, was the preeminent composer of Yiddish Art Song as well as a notable creator of liturgical music for the modern synagogue. After graduating from the Juilliard School with a Diploma in piano, Yehudi Wyner went on to study at Yale and Harvard Universities with composers Paul Hindemith, Richard Donovan, and Walter Piston. In 1953, he won the Rome Prize in Composition enabling him to live for the next three years at the American Academy in Rome, composing, playing, and traveling. Recordings of his music can be found on Naxos, Bridge, New World, Albany, Pro Arte, CRI, 4Tay, and Columbia Records. Mr. Wyner’s music is published by G. Schirmer/Associated Music Publishers, Inc. He is married to conductor and former soprano Susan Davenny Wyner.
Master Class with Matthew Polenzani
Guitar Chamber Music
december 2 Morse Recital Hall | Monday | 7 pm Yale Opera World-renowned tenor and Yale Opera alumnus Matthew Polenzani will work with several Yale Opera singers on a variety of operatic repertoire. With pianists Douglas Dickson and Timothy Shaindlin. Free Admission
december 4 Morse Recital Hall | Wednesday | 8 pm Student Ensembles Benjamin Verdery, director. Guitars join with strings and winds in chamber music by J眉rg Kindle, Santiago de Murcia, Alessandro Piccinini, and more. Free Admission
Vista: A Fresh Look at Chamber Music
december 6 Morse Recital Hall| Friday | 8 pm Ellington Jazz Series Bill Charlap, piano; Peter Washington, bass; and Kenny Washington, drums Tickets start at $20, Students $10
december 3 Morse Recital Hall | Tuesday | 8 pm Student Ensembles Top student ensembles perform and provide insight into their repertoire. Music by Debussy, Bliss, Hornoff, and Mozart. Free Admission
Lunchtime Chamber Music december 4 Morse Recital Hall | Wednesday | 12:30 pm Music for a colorful variety of ensembles. Free Admission
Bill Charlap Trio
Beethoven Concerti december 11 Morse Recital Hall| Wednesday | 8 pm Horowitz Piano Series Faculty pianists Hung-Kuan Chen, Melvin Chen, and Wei-Yi Yang are the soloists in three Beethoven concerti. With the Yale Philharmonia, conducted by Shinik Hahm. Tickets start at $15, Students $8
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music.yale.edu Robert Blocker, Dean