2018-2019 Season Calendar
20-concert series: Mondays at 2pm and 7:30pm
|September 17 Beauty & Seduction
MOZART Piano Quintet in Eb Major K. 452 • 1784
SCHUBERT Adagio and Rondo Concertante in F Major D. 487 • 1816
Peteris VASKS The Fruit of Silence • 2013
Arnold SCHOENBERG Verklärte Nacht “Transfigured Night” Op. 4 • 1899
Based on a mystical poem of Richard Dehmel, the programmatic music for string sextet captures the despair, angst, love, nobility, and radiance of the story of a couple in love walking through the woods on a moonlit night, the woman’s confession that she is bearing the child of another man she never loved, and the man’s acceptance of both the woman and unborn child as his own, transforming all from darkness to light. Schoenberg, however, wanted the music to be appreciated as his expression of nature and human emotion.
In 1949, Schoenberg said, “I can really contend that I owe very, very much to Mozart.... And I am proud of it!” In background notes on Mozart’s influence on Schoenberg at the Schönberg Center in Vienna, Therese Muxeneder wrote, “The special exhibition addresses Arnold Schönberg’s stylistic career in the footsteps of Viennese Classicism as well as his artistically and theoretically diverse reflection on the Viennese fathers. The importance of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven for his own work and teaching can be impressively demonstrated in numerous documents from the estate. They also provide insights into Schönberg’s compositional style, which is juxtaposed with that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”
| September 24 2001 • Remembering Jens Nygaard
TCHAIKOVSKY Herbstlied “Autumn Song” • 1876
Igor STRAVINSKY Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet • 1919
Clarinetist Charles Russo, who played under Stravinsky and discussed the piece with him, believed the composer intended the work as a stylistic bridge between the Rite of Spring and his later work. It was dedicated to Werner Reinhart, the Swiss patron of the arts who had bankrolled L’histoire du Soldat.
TCHAIKOVSKY String Quartet in Bb Major Op. post. • 1865
Mikhail GLINKA Serenata sopra alcuni motivi dell’opera “Anna Bolena” • 1832
Glinka attended the premiere of Anna Bolena in Milan on 26 December 1830, during his 3-year sojourn in Italy. The tragic opera, which tells the story of Henry VIII’s notorious second wife, Anne Boleyn, in an embellished, romanticized way, was Donizetti’s first major hit and marked a turning point in his career. Glinka’s own reaction, according to a diary entry, was one of “rapture.” His skillful working of Donizetti’s tunes, which includes a bold piano part and interplay between the other instruments, gave rise to this rhapsodic, operatic overture.
TCHAIKOVSKY Adagio molto in Eb Major • 1863 or 1864
Anton ARENSKY Piano Trio in D minor Op. 32 • 1894
A pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Arensky graduated with a gold medal, then became one of the youngest professors ever to teach at the Moscow Conservatory. The Trio was written as a memorial to his (and Tchaikovsky’s) friend, the cellist Karl Davidoff, who had been director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory when Arensky was a student there. Davidoff, who died in 1889, is considered the founder of the Russian school of cello playing, and Arensky’s dedication is reflected in the cello’s prominence in the Trio. Among Arensky’s pupils were Alexander Scriabin, Reinhold Glière, and Rachmaninoff. He died at age 44 from tuberculosis, most likely exacerbated by his drinking.
| October 8 Otherworldly
Ignace PLEYEL Nocturne No. 1 in C Major B. 215 • 1787
Pleyel was not only famous in his day as a piano builder and music publisher, he was equally acclaimed as a composer. Mozart praised the Austrian-born French composer’s merits in a letter to his father: “If you are not yet acquainted with Pleyel’s new quartets, it’s worth the effort. They are very well written and very pleasant. Perhaps one day Pleyel will be able to fill the place of our dear Haydn.” Initially a rival of Haydn’s, Pleyel made his peace with the older composer and for several years they enjoyed a close and fruitful relationship as teacher and pupil.
Bohuslav MARTINU Fantaisie H. 301 • 1944
The Czech composer of Modern classical music studied briefly at the Prague Conservatory before being dismissed for “incorrigible negligence,” after which he continued to study on his own. He went to Paris in 1923, living there until France capitulated to Nazi Germany in 1940, when he fled, first to the south of France, and then to the United States in 1941, settling in New York with his French wife. He was commissioned by Lucie Bigelow Rosen to write a piece for theremin and began the task during the summer of 1944, completing the Fantaisie on the 1st of October. Rosen performed the premiere as theremin soloist in New York on 3 November 1945 with the Koutzen Quartet, oboist Robert Boom, and Carlos Salzedo at the piano.
The theremin—one of the world’s first electronic instruments—was invented by the Russian scientist Léon Theremin in 1919. It consists of two radio frequency oscillators and two metal loop antennas. Electric signals from the instrument are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker; the instrument, untouched by the performer’s hands, thus generates unusual and unexpected musical sounds and effects.
Elizabeth BROWN Canon
Gabriel FAURÉ Piano Quintet No. 1 in D minor Op. 89 • 1905
Attempts at the Quintet date from as early as 1887, and after a long and troublesome development, it was finally completed toward the end of 1905. Dedicated to Eugène Ysaÿe, its premiere was performed in Brussels on 23 March 1906 by the Ysaÿe Quartet with Blanche Selva at the piano. Fauré was Saint-Saëns’s devoted and most famous student. The prominent critic Harold Schonberg described him as having “the essence of everything Gallic—form, grace, wit, logic, individuality, urbanity...those who love the music of Fauré love it as a private, cherished gift from one of the gentlest and most subtle of composers.
| October 22 From Nordic Lands
Erkki MELARTIN String Trio Op. 133 • 1927
Overshadowed by Sibelius, Melartin (1875-1937) was a prolific composer, as well as a conductor, philosopher, mystic, naturalist, painter, linguist, and an influential teacher. His style ranged from late Romanticism to restrained Expressionism, in an individual voice. While his most important works are his six symphonies, he is most remembered for his lyric pieces, including salon music, which brought him greatest popularity. In the early decades of the 20th century he introduced Finnish audiences to the music of Mahler, Strauss, and other contemporary composers.
Franz BERWALD Grand Septet in Bb Major • 1828
Berwald, born in Stockholm in 1796 to a long line of musicians, is considered Sweden’s foremost composer, the founder of Romanticism in Sweden, and its first important symphonist. He was, however, unable to earn a living as a musician, and became a successful orthopedic surgeon in 1835 and in 1850 he took over the management of a glass factory, then launched a saw mill, and was also active as a polemicist from about 1856. He began composing again after his move to Vienna in 1841, the 1840s being his most productive musical years. In 1866, at the age of 70, he was finally acknowledged for his musical achievements with the award of the Swedish Order of the Polar Star, but it was not until the 20th century that his work became more widely recognized.
Jean SIBELIUS Piano Quintet in G minor • 1889-1890
The Quintet was written during a year of private study in Berlin, following his graduation from the Helsinki Music Institute. The premiere of its first and third movements was performed by none other than the great Italian pianist Ferruccio Busoni (his teacher and lifelong friend) and the Norwegian composer and violinist Johan Halvorsen, both of whom were impressed with the Quintet.
| October 29 Tapping Tapas
Manuel Braulio CANALES String Quartet in D Major Op. 3 No. 1 • 1782
The extensive use of sharply contrasting dynamics as an expressive device and the 4-movement structure point to the influence of Haydn (most of the other composers were still using the 3-movement form of the Mannheim school). Boccherini’s music, which he also encountered in Madrid, is said to be of some influence; and there is the influence of Spanish dance music as well, as evident in the Largo assai. Born in Toledo in 1747, Canales studied music with Jaime Casellas, director of the Toledo Cathedral Choir. He sang and danced in certain cathedrals as one of 6 choir boys, and later excelled as a cellist and bassist. In 1770, he moved to Madrid to work for the Duke of Alba. After his protector died in 1776, Canales returned to Toledo, where he worked as an assistant director at the Cathedral. He died in 1786 at the age of 39.
Manuel de FALLA El amor brujo: Pantomime and Ritual Fire Dance • 1915
Based on a story of love, death, exorcism, and release, the heroine of the ballet is an Andalusian gypsy woman named Candelas. In the most famous movement—Danza ritual del fuego—the village holds a ritual fire dance, wherein Candelas dances an exorcism to rid herself of the ghost and its powers. The music distills native folk music to its most elemental components, and has moments of remarkable beauty and originality. Falla, born in Cádiz, is the most distinguished Spanish composer of the early 20th century, his music representing the spirit of Spain at its purest.
Luigi BOCCHERINI Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid G. 324 • 1782
Boccherini was born into a musical family in Lucca, Italy, spent some time in Vienna and Paris, and from 1769 lived and worked in Spain. In 1770 he was appointed to the service of the Infante Don Luis as composer and performer. When Don Luis married an Aragonese aristocrat (in effect, a commoner) in 1776, King Charles III, fearful of his brother, found cause to banish the Infante to Las Arenas palace in Avila. Boccherini went with him and composed more than 100 works, including the Musica Notturna, in rural seclusion. The Quintet was famous in Spain during Boccherini’s life, but it was not published until years after his death as he had told his publisher, “The piece is absolutely useless, even ridiculous, outside Spain, because the audience cannot hope to understand its significance, nor the performers to play it as it should be played.”
Rodion SHCHEDRIN In the Style of Albeniz • 1973
As the music critic Jay Nordlinger so knowingly explained in the National Review, “Shchedrin is one of those people with a huge appetite for music, music of every period, and of every type. And his own music reflects an awareness, and absorption, of the past. He is not trying to invent the wheel; he knows he stands on shoulders.”
Shchedrin is recognized as one of Russia’s greatest living composers, and has won numerous awards, including the 1972 USSR State Prize, the 1984 Lenin Prize, and the 1992 State Prize of the Russian Federation. He was also honored with a membership in the Berlin Academy of Arts in 1989. In 1958 he married Maya Plisetskaya of the Bolshoi Ballet and wrote several ballets for her. Among his other compositions are symphonies, operas, concertos, chamber and instrumental music, and choral and vocal music. Shchedrin is a virtuoso pianist and organist as well.
Joaquín TURINA Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 1 • 1907
Born in Seville, Turina lived in Paris from 1905 to 1914. He studied at the Schola Cantorum— piano with Moritz Moszkowski and composition with Vincent d’Indy, whose teacher was Cesar Franck. After the Quintet’s première he went to a cafe with his good friends Falla and Isaac Albéniz, both of whom persuaded him to write in a more consciously Spanish style. The meeting led to a new kind of nationalism in Spanish music— as Turina put it, “We were three Spaniards gathered together in that corner of Paris and it was our duty to fight bravely for the national music of our country.” The Quintet won a prize in the Salon d’Automne, judged by a jury comprising Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray, Louis Bruneau, Fauré, d’Indy, Lucien Magnard, Octave Maus, Armand Parent, and Gabriel Pierné.
| November 12 Making America Great
Paul CHIHARA Ellington Fantasy • 1982
The Seattle native, born in 1938, studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and with Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood. He studied film music at his childhood hometown movie matinees, soaking up film noir, westerns, and musicals. With Toru Takemitsu, Chihara was composer-in-residence at the Marlboro Festival in 1971. His 25-year Hollywood career began in 1974 when he composed the music for Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000. Since then he has written scores for more than 90 films and television series, working with such directors as Sidney Lumet and Arthur Penn. Active on Broadway and in the ballet world as well, he also composes prize-winning concert works. Chihara is currently on the faculty at New York University.
Paul SCHOENFIELD Trio • 1990
Concocted with elements from the rich and varied traditions of klezmer, Eastern European folk, and gypsy music, the composition results in surprises elicited by their interactions. As the Jewish composer himself has said, this “is not the kind of music for relaxation, but the kind that makes people sweat; not only the performer, but the audience.”
Schoenfield, from Detroit, began playing the piano at age six and wrote his first composition the following year in 1954. Among his teachers was Rudolf Serkin. He was formerly a concert pianist, touring the United States, Europe, and South America as a soloist and with ensembles including Musicians from Marlboro. His compositions, which have been widely recorded, have drawn an expanding group of devoted fans. He has also lived on a kibbutz in Israel, and is a scholar of the Talmud and of mathematics. Currently, he holds the position of Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan.
Jerome MOROSS Piano Quintet • 1964
Steven C. Smith gives the background of Moross and the Quintet: “The legacy of Jerome Moross (1913-1983) may confound those who prefer their composers more neatly pigeonholed in style and musical genre; but the numerous paths Moross followed—ranging from early atonal concert music to film scores to television to Broadway—have left less pedantic admirers a bounty of eclectic gems. For Moross, music was music, whether it was written for a string quartet, a pit theater orchestra, or tailored to a filmmaker’s vision. Moross never condescended to cinema.... But despite some recognition (including a 1959 Oscar nomination for The Big Country), Moross found Hollywood hostile turf for an independent composer, and his visits became increasingly rare. The movies’ loss was concert music’s gain. One happy intersection of these two media is a concert piece derived from a film Moross scored in 1964. The Piano Quintet, based on his music for the little-known short, Forget Me Not, is among its composer’s most charming later works; its evocation of remembered loss (the film chronicles a widower’s memories of his wife) is treated not as tragedy but as simple celebration. Moross introduced his chief, song-like theme immediately, exploring it in a series of gentle variations scored with elegant intimacy, and shaped by a propulsive lyricism that characterizes much of Moross’s most appealing work. Presented here in its concert incarnation...the Piano Quintet—like the Forget Me Not from which it flowered—is a moving testament to the power of memory.”
Paul WIANCKO America Haiku • 2014
Wiancko has led a multifaceted life as a cellist, composer, and collaborator. Winner of the 2018 S&R Foundation Washington Award for Composition, the Japanese-American’s music has been described as “dazzling” and “compelling” by the Star Tribune, and “surprising, fun, fresh, and innovative” by Sequenza21. Wiancko has composed works for the award-winning Aizuri and Parker Quartets, Metropolitan Opera soprano Susanna Phillips, cellist Judith Serkin, violist Ayane Kozasa, yMusic, cellist Gabriel Cabezas, the Boston Cello Quartet, Bargemusic, and many others, and has been the composer-in-residence at the Caramoor, Twickenham, Newburyport, and Methow Valley Chamber Music Festivals.
Arthur FOOTE Piano Quintet in A minor Op. 38 • 1897
A native of the witch city of Salem, Foote was the first important American composer educated entirely in America. In 1873 he graduated at age 21 with the first master’s degree in music awarded by an American university—Harvard—where he studied fugue and counterpoint with John Knowles Paine. From Paine, he gained an admiration for and was influenced by the leading European Romantic composers of the day, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Dvorák, and Brahms. The Quintet integrates this legacy with Foote’s wealth of melodic invention and his idiomatic keyboard writing. Its premiere was performed by Foote at the piano and the Kneisel Quartet, its dedicatee. The reviewer of the Transcript commented, “The form is so clear, the development so natural, so inevitable-seeming, the writing so brilliant and vivacious; then the fertility of the melodic invention and resource the composer shows, the warm glow and charm of his second themes, all these elements combine to make the work a continuous inspiration to the listener.”
|November 19 “Eastern” Mosaic
Franz and Karl DOPPLER “Souvenir de Prague” Op. 24 • n.d.
Born in Lemberg, Poland, Franz and his brother Karl were taught by their father, Joseph, who was a composer and oboist. Franz made his debut in Vienna at the age of 13 and became famous as a virtuoso flutist touring Europe with Karl, giving duo recitals before both became prominent members of Hungarian orchestras. Franz first joined the German Theatre from 1838, then the Hungarian National Theatre from 1841. He composed a German opera and several Hungarian operas that were produced at the Theatre, all with appreciable success. In 1853, together with Karl and others, they founded the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the brothers also resumed their concert tours throughout Europe.
George ENESCU Pastorale, menuet triste et nocturne • 1900
Dedicated to the Veniel sisters (Marie, Geneviève, and Fernande), the trio was written for the Parisian receptions to which Enescu was often invited. He began composing in 1886 at age 5, and at age 7 he became the youngest student ever admitted to the Vienna Conservatory. At age 10 he met his idol, Brahms, and played his Symphony No. 1 under the composer’s baton. Enescu went to Paris in 1895 to continue his studies that included composition with Massenet and Fauré, whose influence can be heard in the trio.
Antonín DVORÁK Largo in A Major B.15bis • 1867
The Largo is a curiosity because of its use of the triangle—a rare phenomenon in chamber music of the 19th century. It was also written during the period from 1866 to 1869, when there is virtually no direct evidence of works composed by Dvorák. A list he compiled of “Compositions I Tore Up and Burnt” from this period is evidently incomplete as Dvorák had signed and dated the manuscript of the Largo, 18 26/1 67 (26 January 1867). The manuscript was purchased from an antiquarian dealer by the Antonín Dvorák Museum in Prague in 1967.
Sergei PROKOFIEV Overture on Hebrew Themes • 1919
Prokofiev had a close relationship with the Bolsheviks before the Russian Revolution of 1917, but he went abroad, living in New York and Paris during most of the early years of the Soviet Union, and by the time he returned in 1935 he found cultural life under monitor—the Composers Union was formed to police the likes of Prokofiev and his more outspoken contemporary Shostakovich for alleged “formalist tendencies” considered to be intellectually elitist and anti-Soviet. Further, any freedom they may have had ended with the 1948 Zhdanov Decree, aimed at suppressing artistic self-expression. Prokofiev was now viewed as “anti-democratic” and much of his music was banned. Many concert and theater administrators refused to program his music, fearful of the consequences of supporting an artist denounced by the regime. He suffered censorship until his death in 1953.
BRAHMS Hungarian Dances • 1859
Arno BABADJANIAN Piano Trio in F# minor • 1952
One of the Soviet Union’s foremost pianists, Babadjanian composed music that was in the Russian tradition, but also contained echoes of Armenian folk songs as well as the sounds of his contemporaries—Khachaturian, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev. A dramatic first movement is followed by a gorgeous, poignant Andante, and the Trio concludes with a rhythmic Allegro vivace. Its premiere was performed in 1953 by violinist David Oistrakh, cellist Sergey Knushevitsky, and the composer at the piano.
| December 3 Made in Vienna
Karl WEIGL 5 Songs Op. 40 • 1934
Weigl was born in Vienna in 1881 to a Jewish bank official and keen amateur musician. After private lessons with Alexander Zemlinsky and schooling at the Franz-Joseph Gymnasium, he studied at the Vienna Music Academy where his composition teacher was Robert Fuchs, then at the University of Vienna where his classmate was Anton Webern. From 1904 to 1906, he worked under Mahler as solo performance coach. His only opera, Der Rattenfänger von Hameln, premiered in Vienna in 1932. When the Nazis occupied Austria in 1938, Weigl emigrated to the United States, together with his second wife, Valerie (Vally), and their son. His 11 years of exile were difficult even though he obtained a number of increasingly important teaching positions: at the Hartt School of Music, Brooklyn College, Boston Conservatory, and the Philadelphia Academy of Music. Weigl died in New York in 1949.
SCHUMANN Kinderszenen “Scenes of Childhood” Op. 15 • 1838
In March 1838 Schumann wrote to his fiancée Clara Wieck: “I have been waiting for your letter and in the meantime I have been composing a whole book of pieces—wild, wondrous and solemn.... You once said to me that I often seem like a child, and I suddenly got inspired and knocked off around 30 quaint little pieces.... I selected twelve and called them Kinderszenen. You will enjoy them, although you will need to forget you are a virtuoso when you play them.”
Schumann’s five-year courtship with Clara was fraught with challenges (primarily stemming from her father’s objections to the match) that included lawsuits and court battles, his banishment from the Wieck home, and a seven-month separation in 1838 because of Clara’s concert tour. It was during this time apart that Schumann went to Vienna with hopes of establishing himself as a journalist through Die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, a music magazine he had cofounded with his teacher and future father-in-law Friedrich Wieck in Leipzig—his intent was to continue editing the paper under the auspices of a Vienna publishing firm. His efforts, however, came to naught. Despite this setback, Schumann’s stay in Vienna had its bright moments—he went to the opera and theater; made friends including Mozart’s son Franz Xaver Wolfgang; visited the city’s sights, especially the graves of Beethoven and Schubert; and obtained Schubert’s compositions from his brother Ferdinand, which resulted in the publication and performance of the Symphony in C by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra a few months later. Not least of all, Schumann composed obsessively. Before leaving Vienna in April 1939, he had completed several compositions, including the Kinderszenen.
SCHUBERT “Salve Regina” D. 676 • 1819
As an essential component of the Compline service, the hymn has been set to music by various composers; Schubert wrote no less than 4 versions.
Schubert was Viennese through and through. He was born in Himmelpfortgrund, a district of Vienna, he lived much of his life in the city, and he died there. When he was away from Vienna, he would soon miss it. He would pine for his beloved Vienna and its life, his friends, and the theaters and cafes.
BRAHMS Piano Trio in Bb Major • 1883
A letter that Brahms wrote to his publisher Fritz Simrock, dated 18 March 1883, reveals his comments on Kirchner’s arrangements of his 2 String Sextets: “The Trios give me extraordinary pleasure! If it was your idea, then I must congratulate you, but Kirchner has done a remarkable job.” Although essentially forgotten, Kirchner was Brahms’s close friend, from their first meeting in 1865 until Brahms’s death in 1897. He was also Schumann’s protégé, Mendelssohn’s pupil, Wagner’s accompanist, Dvorák’s arranger, dedicatee of Reger’s second Violin Sonata, Clara Schumann’s lover (a brief, discreet, unhappy liaison in the early 1860s), and the would-be lover of the poet and writer Mathilde Wesendonck (she was immortalized by Wagner’s “Wesendonck Songs”). Kirchner was universally admired as a marvelous musician—a celebrated pianist, organist, and composer in his own right—but he could not maintain a job or marriage, and his gambling and extravagance led to destitution in his later years, so much so that his publisher and friends, including Brahms, bailed him out of debt.
Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, beginning in 1863 until his death in 1897. Brahms met Robert and Clara Schumann in 1853, and the three became lifelong close friends.
| December 17 Romanticism : 3 Ways
Carl Maria von WEBER Clarinet Quintet Op. 34 • 1815
Robert FUCHS Piano Trio No. 3 in F# minor Op. 115 • 1926
Born in the Austrian state of Styria in 1847 to a musical family, Fuchs moved to Vienna in 1865 to study under Anton Bruckner, Felix Otto Dessoff, and Joseph Hellmesberger. Ten years later he joined the faculty at the Vienna Conservatory, teaching there for 37 years—harmony, at first, then theory and counterpoint. Among his pupils were Mahler, Sibelius, Richard Strauss, George Enescu, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Schmidt, Franz Schreker, Hugo Wolf, and Alexander Zemlinsky. The New Grove Dictionary notes that Brahms “gave him early encouragement as a composer and introduced him to Simrock. Brahms thought highly of his work, being particularly impressed by the Symphony No.1 in C, for which Fuchs was awarded the Beethoven prize in composition by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 1886.” Other admirers included the conductors Arthur Nikisch, Felix Weingartner, and Hans Richter, all of whom championed his works. When he died in 1927, a few days after his 80th birthday, he was given a grave of honor in the Central Cemetery in Vienna.
Max BRUCH Piano Quintet in G minor • 1886
| January 7 Salute to 3 Knights
Sir Donald Francis TOVEY Variations on a Theme by Gluck • 1913
Jens Nygaard highly respected Tovey and presented 2 “All-Tovey” concerts at CAMI Hall, in 1973 and 1975. They were open to the public but attended mostly by critics. At Good Shepherd Church, he gave 3 performances each of Tovey’s Piano Concerto with Makiko Hirata and Tovey’s Cello Concerto with Joel Krosnick, his student and former cellist of the Juilliard String Quartet. The program of the 1975 concert at CAMI Hall bears Jens’s tribute: “This concert is gratefully and lovingly dedicated to the greatest of all my teachers—Sir Donald Francis Tovey. I wish that I could have known him personally.”
Sir Arthur SOMERVELL Clarinet Quintet in G Major • 1919
Best known for several song cycles, the “English Schumann” was also Sir Hubert Parry’s student, but he first “studied composition with Charles Villiers Stanford [in 1881] at Cambridge University.... Subsequently, on Stanford’s recommendation, he went to Berlin where he continued his studies with Friedrich Kiel, who had taught Stanford, and Woldemar Bargiel, who became a close friend of Brahms by virtue of being Clara Schumann’s younger half brother. [It was upon returning to London in 1885 that Somervell studied with Parry for two years at the Royal College of Music, then privately for another two years.] Somervell pursued a dual career of composer and teacher, serving as a professor at the Royal College of Music in London [Edition Silvertrust].”
Sir Hubert PARRY Piano Quartet in Ab Major • 1879
While most good Englishmen know Parry’s choral song, Jerusalem, few are familiar with his fine Piano Quartet with its vivacious scherzo and heartfelt Andante movement. Musicologist Lewis Foreman, in calling it an “early masterpiece,” accounts for this lapse: “...this is a case in point when it is difficult for us today to appreciate how modern this must have sounded when it was first performed. When it was given at a Monday Popular Concert in December 1883 it had a thin audience, critics clearly seeing an avant garde work frightening them away. The Musical Times excused Parry by writing ‘No fault can attach to him for adhesion to the modern school of writing if, as there is no reason to doubt, his principles are sincere. The composer from whom he has obtained most of his inspiration in the present instance is undoubtedly Brahms, but in some respects he has gone beyond his model.... Mr Parry merges subjects and details together with irritating persistence...[and] is not afraid to obey the dictates of his own inner consciousness....’”
Parry’s importance is noted by the New Grove Dictionary: “Combining these three activities [as composer, scholar, and teacher] with a forceful personality and social position, he exercised a revitalizing influence on English musical life at a time in the 19th century when standards of composition, performance, criticism and education were low.” Born in 1848, Parry obtained a Mus.B. degree while still at Eton, then read law and modern history at Oxford at his father’s behest. From 1870 to 1877 he worked for Lloyd’s register of shipping as an underwriter, at the same time continuing his musical studies. Finding the insurance industry totally unsuitable, he turned to music full time. In the 1890s he became director of the Royal College of Music and was appointed Professor of Music at Oxford. His many students included Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge, and John Ireland. Parry is the subject of a documentary film presented by Prince Charles and directed by John Bridcut: The Prince and the Composer. It was broadcast on BBC4 in 2011.
| January 21 Women’s Jewels
Anna Amalia VON BRUNSWICK-WOLFENBÜTTEL Divertimento in Bb Major • circa 1780
Born a princess in 1739 into a powerful royal dynasty, Anna Amalia became a duchess upon her marriage to the Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenbach when she was 18. Her husband died in 1758, before her 20th birthday, leaving her with 2 young children. Widowed, she assumed the role of regent until her son and heir reached his majority. During her enlightened reign, which lasted till 1775, she proved herself a talented stateswoman. Politically and financially astute, despite the challenges of the Seven Years’ War, she developed the economy of the Duchy, strengthening its reputation and resources. She also transformed her court and its environs into the most influential cultural center in Germany through the creation of the Musenhof, or court of muses. It was known throughout Europe for its rich musical and cultural life, and attracted artists, composers, and writers—leaders in the German Enlightenment, including Friedrich Schiller and Goethe, who became her friend. The literati wrote poems and texts for the songs of the new German opera, the Singspiel. The Duchess herself became a respected composer—she set some of Goethe’s texts (including Erwin and Elmire) to music, and wrote operas and symphonies that were performed at the court and beyond. Her compositions show her as an “elegant amateur free of ambition” who reflected the taste and spirit of her epoch. In 1766 she moved the court’s book collection that included 13,000 volumes of music to the Library in Weimar named after her—Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek. When her regency ended, she devoted herself to culture and also toured Italy with Goethe. She died in 1807.
Emilie MAYER Notturno in D minor • 1883
The German composer, born in Friedland in 1812, wrote almost 100 compositions in a wide range of musical genres unmatched by any other woman composer of the 19th century. Her teacher Carl Lowe opened her world to Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, which led to her own compositional style that followed outstanding classical models. Her inheritance at age 28 after her father’s death enabled her to pursue a career in music without financial constraints. In 1850 she organized her first concert exclusively featuring her own work at the Berlin Playhouse, and continued to do so for the next decade to critical acclaim. This helped secure her place as a successful composer.
Mélanie BONIS Scènes de la forêt Op. 123 • 1928
Bonis, a talented and prolific composer of more than 300 works, came from a lower-middle class Parisian family and was raised a Catholic. Debussy was her classmate at the Paris Conservatoire, and her music was praised by Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Pierné, and Celestin Joubert. Her sad, suppressed, guilt-ridden, and conflicted life (it includes unsupportive parents, an arranged marriage, and an illegitimate child) may be read here: http://www.mel-bonis.com/melboanglais.
Laura Valborg AULIN String Quartet No. 1 in F Major Op. 17c • 1884
Admired as a pianist and sought after as a teacher, Aulin was born in 1860 and studied at the Stockholm Conservatory from 1877 to 1882. In 1885 she studied for a short time with Niels Gade in Copenhagen, and then for two years with Benjamin Godard and Jules Massenet in Paris on a Jenny Lind stipend. Three of her part songs won a prize in 1895 in Copenhagen. Her brother was Tor Aulin, founder of the Aulin Quartet, which specialized in the Classical repertory and performed the works of Scandinavian composers, including Berwald, Stenhammar, and Grieg, his friend.
Luise Adolpha LE BEAU Piano Trio in D minor Op.15 • 1882
It has been reported that Le Beau could sing before she could speak. Born in Rastatt in 1850, the prodigy was fortunate to have supportive parents. Her father, especially, gave her the best education possible and even tutored her in subjects not offered to women in schools, and he also taught her the piano. Subsequently she studied composition with Johannn Kalliwoda and piano with Clara Schumann. In 1873 she sought the advice of Hans von Bulow, who urged her to move to a larger city to expand her artistic opportunities. Eventually she moved to Munich and studied composition with Josef Rheinberger and Franz Lachner. Her works won several prizes and were well regarded by Brahms, Liszt, Berlioz, Woldemar Bargiel, Joachim, and the critic Eduard Hanslick, among others. She died in 1927.
Le Beau once wrote, “Just do not limit, then, the training of girls. Rather, teach them the same things that are taught to boys. Grow accustomed to a system that has this same fundamental condition for every education, and then see what [girls] can do after acquiring technical skills and intellectual independence, rather than entrench yourselves against female capabilities by limiting the education of women!”
| February 4 Lieber Leipzig
MOZART “Kegelstatt” Trio K. 498 • 1786
During his journey to Berlin in 1789, Mozart made a detour to Leipzig twice. He arrived on 20 April and stayed for 3 days. On the 22nd, he visited the Thomaskirche (where Bach was its most famous cantor from 1723 till his death in 1750) and played the organ for an hour, assisted by Cantor Doles and the organist Karl Görner, both manipulating the stops. In his honor, the choir of the Thomasschule performed “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” by Bach. Delighted with the motet, Mozart copied the choir parts after perusing the autographs. He then went to Potsdam and returned to Leipzig on 8 May. This time, Mozart presented a concert of his own compositions at the Leipzig Gewandhaus on 12 May. The concert, however, had not been widely publicized and was a financial fiasco as it was poorly attended. In a letter to his wife Constanza he reported, “From the point of view of applause and glory this concert was absolutely magnificent, but the profits were wretchedly meager.” He also gave various excuses for lingering in Leipzig, but finally left for Berlin on 17 May.
Friedrich GERNSHEIM String Quartet No. 2 in A minor Op. 31 • 1875
The Chamber Music Journal affirms the German composer’s high standing among the critics of his day: “No less an authority than Wilhelm Altmann...writes in his Handbuch für Streichquartettspieler that Gernsheim’s quartets are poetic and of a high intellectual content... that Brahms had considerable respect and admiration for Gernsheim’s work. An accolade which was, in Brahms’ case, no mere flattery as Brahms only very rarely praised the works of other composers.” Born in Worms, Gernsheim studied at the Leipzig Conservatory, where his teachers were Ignaz Moscheles and Ferdinand David. He then spent several years in Paris, studying piano with Antoine Marmontel, and where he met Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Rossini, Rubinstein, and Liszt. Professionally, he held academic and conducting positions in Cologne, Rotterdam, and Berlin. Gernsheim’s earlier works show the influence of Schumann, and from 1868, when he met Brahms, a Brahmsian influence is palpable. Although the two were not close friends, they carried on a correspondence for many years.
SCHUMANN Piano Trio No. 2 in F Major Op. 80 • 1847
Schumann spent much of his life in Leipzig, a stimulating cultural city that influenced his work. He studied law at the University of Leipzig, and piano with his future father-in-law Friedrich Wieck, whose daughter Clara he met when she was just 9 years old. They married in 1840 when she turned 21. In 1843, the Leipzig Conservatory was established with Mendelssohn as director and Schumann as professor of “piano playing, composition, and playing from the score.” He was, however, unsuited to the work and left Leipzig for Dresden, where he lived with Clara from late 1844 to 1850.
| February 18 French Treats
François-Joseph GOSSEC Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major Op. 14 • 1770 • (1734-1829)
The Parisian expat from Belgium was a prominent composer, conductor, and professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire, and the founder of the Concert des Amateurs. He was a successful and prolific composer of instrumental music, including symphonies and chamber music. Mozart, upon meeting him in 1778, described him to his father as “A very good friend and at the same time a very dull fellow.” Mozart was, however, greatly impressed with Gossec’s Requiem, for which he is best known. John H. Baron, a music professor, observed that “Gossec’s quartets are melodically and rhythmically simple and evince the rare influence of both French rationalism and opera buffa.”
Ambroise THOMAS String Quartet in E minor Op. 1 • 1833
Thomas is remembered today for his opera, Mignon, which had a run of over 1000 performances at the Opéra-Comique between 1866 and 1894, making it one of the most successful operas in history. Born to parents who taught music, Thomas entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1828, while continuing his piano studies with the virtuoso pianist Friedrich Kalkbrenner. In 1832, he won the Prix de Rome, which enabled him to travel to and study in that city for a year. He took with him a love for Mozart and Beethoven, but once in Rome he became an ardent admirer of the Italian cantilena and the melodic tradition. It was during this sojourn that he wrote his chamber music—a piano trio, a string quintet, and a string quartet.
Gabriel FAURÉ La bonne chanson Op. 61 • 1898
Among his most masterful compositions, much of the cycle (originally for voice and piano) was written in the summers of 1892 and 1893, when Fauré was staying in Bougival as a guest of the banker Sigismond Bardac and his wife, the soprano Emma Barda. Fauré fell in love with Emma, the inspiration for the spontaneity of the cycle, its joyful virility, and optimism. Emma, who later married Debussy, sang the newly-composed material for Fauré each day. A private premiere was held at the home of Countess de Saussine on 25 April 1894 with the lyric tenor Maurice Bagès, and its first public performance a year later was sung by Jeanne Remacle with Fauré at the piano. La bonne chanson was received poorly, and Saint-Saëns thought Fauré (his pupil) had gone nuts by writing music with such exhaustingly quick key changes.
Claude DEBUSSY Piano Trio in G Major • 1879
Debussy composed the Trio in Fiesole, near Florence, during the summer of 1880 while employed by Nadezhda von Meck (Tchaikovsky’s devoted patron) to teach her children. Madame von Meck’s entourage was joined by recent graduates of the Moscow Conservatory, including a violinist and cellist, who were asked to perform piano trios with Debussy every evening. It was during this time that he composed his only piano trio. The work was not published until 1986 after the manuscript (which was thought lost) was found in 1982. Considerable editorial work was needed to piece it back together from various sources.
| March 4 2 Geniuses
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD Piano Trio in D Major Op. 1 • 1910
Written in the highly expressive language of the Viennese fin de siècle after two years of study with Alexander Zemlinsky, the lyrical tunes in a thoroughly modern harmonic language also show evidence of the traditions of Brahms and Strauss. The premiere in Vienna was performed by the already famous Bruno Walter, Arnold Rosé (concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic for more than 50 years), and cellist Friedrich Buxbaum (of the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera). Korngold was born in Moravia, educated in Vienna, and achieved success as a composer of opera and concert music throughout Europe. Upon leaving Nazi Germany, he made a name for himself in Hollywood, and was a pioneer in the development of the classical Hollywood film score, providing music for at least 16 movie scores, two of which won Oscars.
SCHUBERT Octet in F Major D. 803 • 1824
| March 18 Germans at Home & Abroad
BEETHOVEN Piano Quartet in D Major WoO 36 No. 2 • 1785
Joseph Martin KRAUS Flute Quintet in D Major Op. 7 • 1783
Haydn is quoted as saying, “I own one of his symphonies, which I keep to remind me of one of the greatest geniuses I have ever met.” While Kraus was studying law at the University of Göttingen, he met a Swedish student who persuaded him to petition for a job at the brilliant court of King Gustavus III in Stockholm. It took two years before he was elected a member of the Swedish Academy of Music, and in 1781 he became deputy conductor of the court orchestra. From 1782 to 1787 he was sent on a study tour at the king’s expense through Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and England. Kraus wrote the Flute Quintet during this sojourn, possibly as a gift for a friend, the Viennese amateur, Johann Samuel Liedemann. The Quintet, according to David Wright, “broke with all the erstwhile conventions that governed such pieces. The outer and inner forms of that work were groundbreaking comparing with everything previously composed at the time, with the astoundingly long first movement of 306 bars.” In 1792 Kraus died of tuberculosis at age 36. A torchlight procession accompanied his coffin to Tivoli, where he was buried.
Adolf BUSCH Duo No. 1 Op. 26 • published 1926
Busch was one of the finest German violinists of his day, the leader of the Busch Quartet and Busch Chamber Players, teacher of Yehudi Menuhin, and one of the founders (together with Rudolf Serkin, his duo partner and son-in-law) of the Marlboro Music School and Festival in Vermont. Although he was not Jewish, Busch renounced his homeland in 1933 in the face of pleas from the Nazis to return to Germany, and emigrated to the United States from Basel, where he had been living since the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1927.
MENDELSSOHN Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor Op. 49 • 1839
| March 25 Czech Medley
Joseph FIALA (1748-1816) Bassoon Quartet No. 3 in F Major • n.d.
After hearing a small wind group playing at Herr Albert’s tavern in Munich, Mozart was quite impressed. On 3 October 1777, he wrote a letter of praise to father: “They did not play at all badly together.... You can tell at once that Fiala has trained them. They played some of his compositions and I must say that they were very pretty and that he has some very good ideas.” Fiala became a close friend of the Mozarts and his name frequently appears in the family’s correspondence. The eminent oboist, virtuoso viola da gambist, cellist, and teacher began his professional career as an oboist in the service of Countess Netolická in Lochovice (his hometown) and Prague. He next served in the court orchestra of Elector Maximilian Joseph in 1777 in Munich, where he met Mozart. After the Elector’s death in 1778 Mozart helped Fiala find another job. In 1785 Fiala went to Vienna, and in 1786 to Saint Petersburg where he worked in the court of Catherine the Great. In 1790 he moved to Prussia where he served as a viola da gamba player in the court of Friedrich Wilhelm II. Finally in 1792 he became Kapellmeister to Prince Fürstenberg at Donaueschingen, where he spent the rest of his life.
Bedrich SMETANA Z domoviny “From the Homeland” JB 1:118 • 1880
Josef Bohuslav “J B” FOERSTER Nonet Op. 147 • 1931
The New Grove Dictionary confirms the Czech composer’s importance, noting that “Together with his contemporaries Janácek, Novák, Suk, and Ostrcil, he led the development of Czech music from the nationalist trinity of Smetana, Dvorák and Fibich to the interwar avant garde.” Born in Prague in 1859, Foerster was renowned in his day not only as a composer, but as a writer, critic, teacher, and watercolorist as well. His literary and musical output was enormous. Born into an established musical family, he succeeded Dvorák as organist of St. Vojtech in 1882. Subsequently he held teaching positions at the Hamburg Conservatory, the New Conservatory in Vienna, the Prague Conservatory, and Prague University; and was a music critic for the influential daily, Die Zeit. He personally knew Smetana and Dvorák; and was on friendly terms with the poet Jan Neruda, Tchaikovsky, and many other artistic figures. He later became friends with Mahler. His musical language was at first influenced by the Romanticism of Grieg and Fibich. It then became expressively subjective and meditative, then more like Smetana, Dvorák, and Fibich, and drew on folksong and the traditions of Czech music. A Society in his name was founded in 1919 to promote contemporary music in his time. In 1946 he was declared a National Composer, and when he died in 1951, he was granted a state funeral.
Antonín DVORÁK Piano Trio No. 2 in G minor Op. 26 • 1876
| April 8 Batons at Rest
Arturo TOSCANINI 2 Songs • 1885
George SZELL Piano Quintet in E Major Op. 2 • 1911
The Hungarian-born American conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra imposed stern discipline, drilling his musicians mercilessly, but won their devotion by his own fierce dedication. New York Times critic Peter G. Davis, in a review of a concert of music by Szell and Mitropoulos presented by Jens Nygaard at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1975, commented: “Szell was such an autocratic conductor and forbidding personality that the jolly, unbuttoned romanticism of his Piano Quintet, a cross between late Dvorak and early Richard Strauss, comes as quite a shock. But since Szell was only  when he wrote the work (he gave up composing before he was 20), its derivativeness is less surprising than its precociousness.” Jens was the pianist at this concert.
Dmitri MITROPOULOS “Kassiani” • 1919
Davis, in the same New York Times review, described “Kassiani” as “the tortured monologue of a sinning woman...[it] betrayed more than a trace of Ravel and Mussorgsky, but these influences have been thoroughly absorbed by a really imaginative creative mind.” Mitropoulos, considered by some to be the equal of Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwängler, was noted for having a photographic memory (he conducted without a score, even during rehearsals) and for his solitary lifestyle due to his deeply religious, Greek Orthodox beliefs.
Jens NYGAARD Cadenza for Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor K. 491 • 1996
Felix WEINGARTNER Octet in G Major Op. 73 • 1925
| April 15 Virtuoso Pianist-Composers
Ferruccio BUSONI Suite in G minor • between 1879 and 1881
Born in 1866, the Italian prodigy met Brahms and Anton Rubinstein at age 9. Upon the urging of Brahms in 1886, Busoni moved to the cultural center of Leipzig, where he met Tchaikovsky, who took a keen interest in him. When he won the first Rubinstein competition, Tchaikovsky described the 24-year old laureate as “remarkably interesting” and with a “brilliant mind,” who “will soon be talked about....”
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI Suite in G minor Op. 71 • 1903
Of Polish-Jewish descent, the German composer was also a virtuoso pianist with a formidable technique. Ignacy Paderewski said, “After Chopin, Moszkowski best understands how to write for the piano, and his writing embraces the whole gamut of piano technique.” He became the most successful salon composer at the turn of the 20th century. His musical triumphs and his road to affluence began in 1873 when he made his debut as a pianist, and soon his reputation spread. He began teaching as well—from 1875 at the Berlin Conservatory, where his pupils included Frank Damrosch, Joaquín Nin, and Joaquín Turina. By the time he moved to Paris in 1897, he was rich and famous. Among his pupils there were Thomas Beecham, Josef Hofmann, Wanda Landowska, and, informally, Gaby Casadesus. Moszkowski, however, died in ill health and poverty, having lost everything when his investments in bonds and securities were rendered worthless at the outbreak of the Great War.
Anton RUBINSTEIN Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 99 • 1876
At least one important composer loved Rubinstein—Leos Janácek. He was the pianist for a performance of the Quintet on 5 January 1879. Later in the year, on 22 November, he presented a concert of Rubinstein’s works, including the Quintet, this time with Rubinstein at the piano. Janácek also declared, “When I hear Rubinstein’s compositions I feel extraordinary: my spirit truly melts, it takes wing, becomes free and, at the moment when I listen to it, paints free pictures for itself. I like his compositions so much that it seems to me that some day I should become his heir. This verve, this speaking ‘to the soul’ I find nowhere else but in his compositions.”
| April 29 The Kreutzer Connection
Rodolphe Kreutzer was a French composer and one of the outstanding violin virtuosos of his day. He met Beethoven in 1798, while in Vienna in the service of the French ambassador, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte (later the King of Sweden and Norway). In 1803 Beethoven composed his 9th violin sonata for the virtuoso George Bridgetower (of Polish-West Indian parentage), but the two quarreled, after which Beethoven dedicated his masterpiece to Kreutzer instead, hence its moniker, the “Kreutzer” Sonata. Kreutzer never played the Sonata, finding it “unintelligible,” whereas Bridgetower performed it to acclaim.
Kreutzer was also a founder of the French school of violin playing, which influenced Mendelssohn, as is evident in his Violin Concerto in D minor and the Concerto for piano, violin, and strings. Giovanni Battista Viotti had established the technical and stylistic foundations of the school, which were continued by Kreutzer, Pierre Baillot, and Pierre Rode at the newly-founded Paris Conservatoire in 1795. Mendelssohn learned these fundamentals through his teacher Eduard Rietz, who had studied with Rode. In addition to his other classes, Mendelssohn had 2 hours of violin lessons during which he studied violin technique from the unsurpassed Kreutzer Etudes, a core work of the French school that is still a requirement for violin students to this day.
Rodolphe KREUTZER Trio in F Major • circa 1803
Born in Versailles, Kreutzer studied music with his father, a violinist in the royal orchestra, and with Anton Stamitz before making his debut at age 12. Marie Antoinette sponsored his early career and he later enjoyed the patronage of Napoleon and the restored Bourbon monarchy. During the late 1790s he concertized extensively in Europe, playing his Stradivari with a full sound, instinctive sense of phrase, and improvisational skill that won him many admirers. Kreutzer was professor of violin at the Paris Conservatoire from its founding in 1795 until 1826; and along with Baillot and Rode, he created the violin method that is still taught there. He outlived all the political changes in France unmolested, retaining his excellent positions, and in 1824 he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor. His many compositions include 19 violin concertos and some 40 operas, but his influence rests on his pedagogical works, in particular the 42 études ou caprices for unaccompanied violin (1796). The New Grove Dictionary maintains that they “occupy an almost unique position in the literature of violin studies.”
BEETHOVEN Piano Trio No. 2 in G Major Op. 1 No. 2 • 1794-1795
MENDELSSOHN String Quintet No. 1 in A Major Op. 18 • 1826
| May 13 German Giants
BEETHOVEN Mödlinger Tänze WoO 17 • 1819
The authorship of the 11 Mödlinger Dances is uncertain. Anton Schindler, Beethoven’s early biographer (but not an always reliable one), claimed that the composer wrote a set of waltzes in 1819 while staying at an inn near Mödling. A band of musicians playing at the inn had apparently asked him for some waltzes (at the time he was working on the Missa solemnis). That score, however, never turned up in his lifetime. The music theorist Hugo Riemann came across the set of dances in Leipzig in 1905 and determined it to be the one referred to by Schindler. They were first published in Leipzig two years later. Although Beethoven may have indeed written the dances, as he did write a fair number of short and light works around this time, certain stylistic traits seem to cast doubt on his authorship.
Richard STRAUSS Metamorphosen Op. 142 • 1945
BRAHMS Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor Op. 25 • 1861
|Summer Season 2019|
3 Mondays at 7:30 PM
The summer concerts will be held
*All programs are subject to change.
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Last updated 3/13/19