A chamber music series to acknowledge and perpetuate the legacy of conductor Jens Nygaard, continuing a marvelous journey through the universe of music that includes works from the standard repertoire and the rarely-performed, and featuring outstanding musicians.
JOIN US FOR OUR 2019-2020 SEASON!
Symphony Chamber Players
“This was music-making of a very high order”
“at the Jupiter concerts, there is always so much about which to be
“the rarities glittered like jewels”
Our wonderful city is opening up, and although gatherings for concerts are still not permitted, we haven’t given up hope on future Jupiter concerts—perhaps even this summer, with luck. Our grateful thanks to all of you who have donated your tickets and sent gifts in support of Jupiter’s musicians and music making.
Most of us know this is Beethoven’s 250th year of his birth. Fifty years ago Jens Nygaard celebrated Beethoven’s 200th Birthday with a “Party” at Carnegie Recital Hall (today’s Weill Hall). The printed program for that concert on 16 December 1970 is missing from the Jupiter Archive, but it has been reconstructed from the review by Donal Henahan of the New York Times. We invite you to step back half a century and listen to several lesser known works by Beethoven that were performed that evening. Jens played the piano and clarinet. This is a live unedited recording. It has some sound quality issues, and you will also hear the musicians walking on and off the stage and some mic clunking as well. Regardless, you’re welcome to gatecrash the “Party” and get a taste Jens’s programming and piano playing.
Beethoven’s 200th Birthday “Party” Carnegie Recital Hall ~ December 16, 1970
March in Bb Major for wind sextet WoO 29
“Bundeslied” for women’s chorus and winds Op. 122
Variations on a Swiss Air for Harp WoO 64
Scottish Folk Song for soprano and harp
Allemande, Allegro and Minuet for 2 flutes
Scottish Folk Song for soprano, tenor and piano
Scottish Folk Song for soprano, tenor, flute, bassoon and piano
Prelude and Fugue in F Major for string quartet Hess 30
Piece for flute and piano
Adagio and Sonatina for Mandolin WoO 43
5 Scottish Folk Songs, ending with “Auld Lang Syne”
~ for chorus, piano, violin, cello
Stipple engraving by Johann Joseph Neidl, after the lost drawing by Gundolf Stainhauser-Treuberg. The portrait is of Beethoven at age 30 (circa 1801) about the time when he had finished composing chamber music with wind instruments.
“Beethoven Concert Is Really a Party”
Donal Henahan The New York Times 17 December 1970
It was not the grandest party thrown for Beethoven on his birthday, but it must have been one of the most intimate and charming. To every person’s program was attached a piece of Schmidt’s Viennese candy. As the audience of perhaps 125 people filed into Carnegie Recital Hall last night, friends greeted one another with smiles and several called out “Happy Birthday to you.” There was a kind of giddy euphoria in the air that sentimental occasions sometimes arouse.
And why not? Jens Nygaard, a dear friend of Beethoven’s, and two dozen other friendly musicians were giving a party to which some of the composer’s forgotten children had been invited. There were, for instance, a miniature march in B flat for six winds, the Variations on a Swiss Air for Harp, two Preludes and Fugues for string quartet, the “Bundeslied” for women’s chorus and winds, the Adagio and Sonatina for Mandolin, assorted Allemandes, Allegros and Minuets for flutes, and Scottish folk songs—virtually nothing you ever heard, even in his Beethoven year.
Mr. Nygaard, a violinist, conductor, pianist, and clarinetist, who looks somewhat like Gerard Hoffnung, the late English tuba virtuoso and cartoonist, explained to an intrigued visitor before the concert that his party had not been thrown together as a last-minute inspiration. “Two years ago I applied for this date at Carnegie Recital Hall, and got it. We have no financial backing, no built-in audience, no help of any sort.”
Most of the music, he said, was not available from publishers, and he had to copy out much of it himself. “I did tremendous research in Vienna and elsewhere. I didn’t want to do just another sloppy ‘Eroica’—I’m not funded for that sort of thing anyway. I jobbed around, taught, borrowed money and almost sold the clothes off my back to raise the $1,500 or $1,600 that it cost to put this concert on. Most of the soloists, who are all high quality professionals, contributed their services, and my little Westchester Chamber Chorus came free. We just put ads in the paper and hoped.”
If it happened to snow on concert night, the conductor added, he stood to lose a lot of money. (It did.) “But we all adore music, that’s all,” said Mr. Nygaard, who played both piano and clarinet during the concert. “I love it all—Beethoven, Schoenberg, Stephen Foster—any honest composer.” There was a “we-happy-few” tone in his voice as he named his fellow performers: Ruth Alsop, the cellist; Leonid Bolotine, the mandolinist; Diana Halprin, the violinist; Michael Best, the tenor; Gerardo Levy, the flutist.
But why, Mr. Nygaard was asked, did he invest so much time, energy and money in his off-best little concert? “Why? Because I won’t be around for Beethoven’s 300th birthday. This was my chance to make a modest but, I hope, meaningful contribution.” And with a little help from his friends and Beethoven’s forgotten children, he did.
Some of you may not know that the Jupiter Symphony was not Jens Nygaard’s first orchestra he founded. That distinction belongs to the Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra. On 19 November 1966 Louisa Kreisberg of the Reporter Dispatch in White Plains announced the formation of “A No-Nonsense Chorus-Orchestra...to investigate discord and create harmony...under the direction of Jens Nygaard.... After weeks of rehearsal and preparation, the group’s members believe their voices will not go crying in the wilderness. ...Singing, according to Mr. Nygaard, is the most natural of all endeavors. ...We have housewives, a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, and a principal of a posh private school.... There’s a very fine engineer who...has joined us because he wants to work, not to socialize.... Many people think that if they have a beautiful voice and can sing ‘Old Man River’ they can blend into a chorus. This isn’t so.... Our members have to read the right notes, the right rhythms, must blend, and have the right attitude toward to music. ...I expect them to have the love and dedication and ability to sight read so that the rehearsals can be concerned largely with the music content.... Our members want to learn more about music. They want to sing. They should become better musicians.... The Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra has rolled up its sleeves, cleaned house, and gone to work....”
How fortunate we are to have some music from the first 2 seasons. The recording of live performances, presumably selected by Jens, is from an LP record.
Martin Bookspan, in an interview in 2002 for Life on Jupiter (the documentary on Jens), described his WCCO experience: “I went to one of the concerts and was bowled over. First of all by the musical intelligence that was manifest in that music making, secondly by the sheer exuberance and vitality of the music making. I went up to Jens after the concert and introduced myself and told him I had had a remarkable music experience. And happily we’ve been friends ever since.” Reviewers have echoed the sentiment. Muriel Brooks wrote in the Patent Trader, “No doubt about it, Jens Nygaard is turning the Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra into a first rate musical organization.” Arnold Gamson of the Westchester Tattler added, “Rarely has an evening of listening been so satisfying. Here is a conductor in perfect rapport with his singers and players. Here is an ensemble totally dedicated to giving music the very best they are capable of and in this case it is a great deal.... Last night this music came alive in every detail revealing a splendor, a refinement of expression and a humanity that was breathtaking....”
Westchester Chamber Chorus and Orchestra ~ Music from the first two seasons
5. Bach Flute Suite
6. Bach Peasant Cantata
7. Handel Ode - Overture
9. Handel Ode - Aria
10. Handel - Zadock the Priest
MONTEVERDI Motets [February 4, 1968]
Nisi Dominus • Laetatus Sum
BRAHMS Lied von Shakespeare Op. 17 [May 5, 1968]
FAURÉ Requiem: Libera Me ~ Kerry McDevitt baritone [May 5, 1968]
HANDEL Ode to Saint Cecilia: Overture [December 3, 1967]
Alan HOVHANESS O God Our Help in Ages Past [November 20, 1966]
HANDEL Ode to Saint Cecilia: Aria ~ Robert Jones tenor [December 3, 1967]
HANDEL Coronation Anthem: Zadok the Priest [May 7, 1967]
As we value our priceless freedom, albeit presently shackled, but hopefully for not much longer, here’s more American music from the second half of an unedited, live performance on September 14, 1999 at Good Shepherd Church—7 classic marches by the American March King, John Philip Sousa—El Capitan,Thunderer, Semper Fidelis, King Cotton, High School Cadets, Washington Post, and Stars and Stripes Forever All the tunes are familiar, played à la Jens Nygaard—rhythmical and with upbeat tempos. Sousa held a special place in Jens’s heart as his father played in the Sousa Band. Enjoy.
John Philip SOUSA 7 Classic Marches
1. Jens Nygaard’s Introduction
2. El Capitan
4. Semper Fidelis
5. King Cotton
6. High School Cadets
7. Jens Nygaard’s Comments
8. Washington Post
9. Stars and Stripes Forever
10. Stars and Stripes Encore from Trio
The first half of the program comprised Jens Nygaard’s Foster Medley, which you’ll not hear anywhere else, and Deems Taylor’s most popular and now forgotten Through the Looking Glass.
The Foster-Nygaard Medley is quintessential Jens. Based on songs by Stephen Foster, Jens weaves a tuneful ramble with imagination, interesting harmonies, seamless segues, and his own quirky and playful touches. A Treasury of Stephen Foster with a forward by Deems Taylor was the songbook that Jens read and annotated when choosing his selections for the Medley. The program’s pairing of Foster and Taylor was, incidentally, by chance, not design. The recording is from the first half of an unedited, live performance on September 14, 1999 at Good Shepherd Church.
Before writing his Medley, Jens went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in spite of pain in his leg to visit the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum and Foster’s grave in Allegheny Cemetery. Unbeknownst to anyone, including his doctor, Jens was already ill with multiple myeloma, but it was not diagnosed till his femur broke some months later in October 1999. Despite his discomfort he was charged with enthusiasm upon his return, and worked on the Medley right up through the dress rehearsal.
Don’t miss the markings in the score as you listen to the music; and have some fun, too, identifying the songs. Can you name them all? There are 15 or 16, according to Jens’s opening remarks.
Pages 64 and 67 of the Autograph Manuscript Score, in pencil
Stephen FOSTER-Jens NYGAARD Medley
Foster’s songs are, in effect, American folksongs, made memorable by his melodic genius. As Deems Taylor so aptly declared, the music “has in it the stuff of imperishability... an eternal echo in our hearts.” Born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania on the 4th of July, 1826 to a prominent Pittsburgh family, Foster was the 10th of 11 children. Self-taught, he became the first American professional songwriter. The songs were penned for the parlor and minstrel stage in a range of themes: from the love of home, river life and work, to politics, the battlefields of the Civil War, slavery, and plantation life. He had contracts with Firth, Pond & Co. and commissions for Edwin P. Christy’s minstrel show, but he lacked business savvy, which led to recurring debts. The last 4 years of his short life were spent in New York City. By then, he was an alcoholic living in a flophouse in the Bowery—penniless, sick, and alone, having sold the rights to his music for cash and even the clothes on his back for liquor. While shaving one day in January 1864, he fell and died 3 days later in Bellevue Hospital at age 37.
Jens Nygaard’s Introduction
Stephen FOSTER-Jens NYGAARD Medley
Deems Taylor’s Through the Looking Glass was composed in 1919, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s novel of the same title. Originally written for a chamber ensemble, Jens probably performed the “big version”—so marked on the title page of his score in green ink, and he drew the orchestra seating plan in red ink. However, he bowed the string parts for the “Chamber version” as well, and performed only 4 of the 5 “Pictures” as in the chamber score. The Suite is an imaginative and colorful adventure through Alice’s looking glass—a dreamy introduction to Alice, an immersion into the enchanted realm of the Jabberwock, a frolic with fantastical Insects, and a portrait of the White Knight.
Never boring, Deems Taylor (1885-1966) was one of the best-known musical figures of the first half of the 20th century—a composer, music critic, author, commentator, artist, and broadcast personality. Among his numerous accomplishments, he was the voice of the New York Philharmonic; he composed The King’s Henchman, the first American opera commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera; and as the affable master of ceremonies for Disney’s animated Fantasia he won over moviegoers to classical music.
Deems TAYLOR Through the Looking Glass Op. 12
Jens Nygaard’s Introduction
III. Looking Glass Insects
IV. The White Knight
If you’d like to discover yet another facet to Deems Taylor, you may enjoy reading Moments Mousical with its impossible puns and splendid illustrations by Walter Kumme. Here, the great Micetro offers readers an education, beginning with ancient history in Mousopotamia, and in dance, opera, and mousic; and ending with violinist Fritz Miceler at Carnegie Hall and composer Gustav Mauser, who studied with Moussager, Moucheles, and Mouskowski. It‘s a trip.
engraving by Kupferstich von Lierd after a portrait by Jean Urbain Guèrin, circa 1840
Although almost forgotten, Pleyel was all the rage in Europe in his heyday, won the admiration of Mozart, and there was even a Pleyel Society on the island of Nantucket. Not only did he compose prolifically, he was an important music publisher and piano maker as well. His firm provided pianos used by Chopin and his concert hall, Salle Pleyel, was where Chopin performed his first and his last Paris concerts. Chopin also owned a Pleyel Grand of 1839.
Born in 1757 in Austria, Pleyel was the 24th of 38 children! (by one account). In 1772 he was sent to Eisenstadt to study with Haydn, and became his star pupil. By 1784 he was appointed assistant Kapellmeister at the Strasbourg Cathedral, succeeding as Kapellmeister in 1789 when Franz Xaver Richter died. In 1786 he also organized and conducted a series of concerts, which provided the opportunity to promote his compositions. When the French Revolution disrupted religious and cultural life in 1791, Pleyel moved to London, where his concerts and compositions were also highly praised. Upon his return to Paris in 1795, he opened a music shop and established the music publishing house, Maison Pleyel, that issued some 4000 works AND the first miniature scores! In 1807 he also founded a piano manufacturing company that, after a series of owners and mergers, was bought out by Schimmel of Brunswick in 1976. Pleyel died in 1831 after a truly illustrious career. You can visit his tomb at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Ignace PLEYEL Symphony in C Op. 66
Jens Nygaard’s Introduction
IV. Tempo giusto
Jens Nygaard’s Remarks
letter from Ignace Pleyel
Pleyel’s letter, which Jens mentions in his remarks, is addressed to “Monsieur Kuhnel / Editeur de Musique” in Leipzig. It is dated in the French Republican (or Revolutionary) Calendar Paris le ii Brumaire l’an i4, i.e. November 2, 1805.
We thank Dr. Vera Junkers for dating the Pleyel letter in the Gregorian calendar, and Richard Secare for the translation into English.
My dear Mr Kühnel, Since my return it was impossible for me to take care of our business, but I would definitely provide a selection of music to reimburse you according to what we agreed in our old account, and as I could not accept your payment of 200 guilders I will send you in 8 days of getting it a payment of 100 [R]th. I hope you would accept my signature: Shortly I will fulfill your request as you did not address in Grätz, and I hope that our business will go more smoothly especially in times of peace: Goodbye, I still have not a moment more to write to you. M Matheis leaves tomorrow and it is very late. Your devoted friend, Ignace Pleyel
Photo by Louis-Auguste Bisson, 1840
CHOPIN Rondo à la Krakowiak
Written in Warsaw in 1828 in the Polish dance form, the piece is one of Chopin’s lesser known works. He played it frequently after writing it, but seems not to have returned to it after leaving Poland in 1830 at age 20.
On February 19 and 20, 1996, Kenneth and Jean Wentworth performed the Carl CZERNY Concerto for Piano 4-Hands with the Jupiter Symphony, Jens Nygaard conducting. They played it 3 times. Back in Jens’s day, the concerts were at 2 pm and 7 pm on Mondays, and 8 pm on Tuesdays. We hope you will take to this Concerto by a composer held in high esteem by Jens. Czerny’s Overture precedes the Concerto for your added listening pleasure. Douglas Townsend (1921-2012) offered the music. Back then, it was also a challenge to find the score and parts; today, much of this obscure music is quite easily obtainable through imslp, libraries, other online resources.
Carl Czerny (1791‑1857)
portrait by Josef Lanzedelly after a lithograph
Carl CZERNY Overture in E Major, Op. 142
Carl CZERNY Concerto in C Major for Piano Four-Hands, Op. 153 
Allegro con brio
Rondo alla Polacca
Czerny was a prolific Austrian composer, pianist, and teacher of Bohemian origin. He was Beethoven’s pupil for 3 years from the age of 10, and later became his assistant and lifelong friend. Among his own pupils were Franz Liszt and Beethoven’s nephew Karl. It has been said that Czerny was arguably the greatest pianist who never performed, and the most successful composer to have been consigned to oblivion; his compositions number over 800 opus numbers and mounds of unpublished manuscripts.
Jupiter 2019 - 2020 Season 20 Mondays at 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Listen to a live recording of the Jupiter Symphony
Chamber Players from September 23, 2013 Recorded by Joseph Patrych
Roman Rabinovich piano
Xiao-Dong Wang violin
Mihai Marica cello
Antonín DVORÁK Piano Trio No. 1 in Bb Major Op. 21 i. Allegro molto ii.Adagio molto e mesto iii.Allegretto scherzando iv.Finale
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Dear Jupiter Friends and Music Lovers,
As promised, here are the videos of John Field’s Divertissement No. 1 and Sir Hamilton Harty’s Piano Quintet. Fortuitously, our Jupiter musicians had the good sense to record the rehearsal in an impromptu decision, literally minutes before pressing the record button. Pianist Mackenzie Melemed (replacing Roman Rabinovich at the last minute) learned the music in 2 days! Bravo to him.
Both works are Irish rarities that were scheduled for the March 16 performances which had to be canceled because of the coronavirus epidemic. Even though the entire program could not be recorded because of technical issues, we are pleased to be able to share with you the 2 musical gems. Enjoy.
John FIELD Divertissement No. 1 H. 13
~ simply delicious piano quintet, alternately titled Rondeau Pastoral and better known in its version for solo piano, Twelve O’clock Rondo, on account of the 12 “chimes” at the end ~ by the creator of the Nocturne, which had a major influence on Chopin
We thank the University of Illinois (Champaign) for a copy of the Divertissement music.
Mackenzie Melemed piano
Abigel Kralik violin
Dechopol Kowintaweewat violin
Sarah Sun viola
Christine Lamprea cello
Sir Hamilton HARTY Piano Quintet in F Major Op. 12
~ in a lyrical Romantic idiom, with a distinct, breezy Irish-salted voice
Andrew Clements of the Guardian proclaimed the beautiful Quintet “a real discovery: a big, bold statement full of striking melodic ideas and intriguing harmonic shifts, which adds Brahms and Dvořák into Harty’s stylistic mix, together with Tchaikovsky in some passages.” There’s folk music charm as well, reminiscent of Percy Grainger—notably in the Scherzo (Vivace) with its folksy quirks and nonchalance, and the winding, pentatonic melody in the Lento.
Our gratitude to the Queen’s University Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a copy of the autograph manuscript of the music. Much thanks, too, to Connor Brown for speedily creating a printed score and parts from Harty’s manuscript.
Mackenzie Melemed piano
Abigel Kralik violin
Dechopol Kowintaweewat violin
Sarah Sun viola
Christine Lamprea cello
I Allegro 0:00
II Vivace 10:43
III Lento 14:44
IV Allegro con brio 23:59
Jupiter in the News
ConcertoNet “knocked the socks off this listener...It was wondrous chamber music. And the three artists gave it the deserving excitement, volition and imagination.” Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNetmore...
“the performers were top notch” “The homey church where these concerts take place, nestled on West 66th Street in the shadow of Lincoln Center, is an intimate and acoustically vibrant place for chamber music.” Anthony Tommasini, The New York Timesmore...
Strad Magazine “A finely forthright, fluent and expressive account of Haydn's Divertimento in E-flat major opened this programme of miscellaneous chamber music in a series known for adventurous programming.” Dennis Rooney, Strad Magazine more...
Nygaard’s cadenza flowed down Mozart lanes and paths, each with
beautiful backgrounds. And at the very end, Mr. Nygaard brought forth
that martial major theme, like an unexpected gift.” Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNetmore...
“...the group’s efforts proved illuminating ...Brown played a
lovely, subtly virtuosic cadenza for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 by
Jens Nygaard, the ensemble’s founder, who died in 2001, but whose
fascination with rarities continues to drive its programming” Allan Kozinn, The New York Timesmore...
Dear Friends and Music Lovers,
As many of you already know, Jupiter is a paradise for melomaniacs. It’s a haven to wallow in beautiful melodies, superb musicians and music making, and interesting programs. There’s nary a dull moment, thanks to our brilliant artistic director, Michael Volpert.
“The playing is top notch; the programs are full of exotica.” Richard Morrison ~ The London Times “excellent musicians in unusual programs” Anthony Tommasini ~ The New York Times “this was truly impressive music making” “One of the Best Deals in Town” “Those in the know keep coming back.” Fred Kirshnit ~ The New York Sun “bringing classical music to people in a powerful way” Cole Grissom ~ Broadway World
So do come as often as you can. And please give as much as you can to help keep Jupiter spinning its musical magic. Your financial support is truly needed. All gifts are tax deductible.
Thank you so much,
Pencil drawing of Jens Nygaard by Michael McNamara
Why the name Jupiter: When Jens Nygaard named his orchestra Jupiter, he
had the beautiful, gaseous planet in mind—unattainable but worth the
effort, like reaching musical perfection. Many, indeed, were privileged
and fortunate to hear his music making that was truly Out of This World.
Our Players today seek to attain that stellar quality.
American program opener on March 18, with grateful thanks to Michael Shaffer of OurNetNews.com for recording the matinee concert, and making available the Horatio Parker Suite video for our viewing pleasure.
Horatio Parker Suite in A Major, Op. 35, composed in 1893
Stephen Beus piano
Stefan Milenkovich violin
David Requiro cello
Jupiter on YouTube featured in a short documentary on artist Michael McNamara
NEW YORK CANVAS : The Art of Michael McNamara is a video
portrait of the artist who has painted iconic images of New York City
for more than a decade, capturing the changing urban landscape of his
adopted city. Our Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players provide the music
from Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, underscoring the inspiration
the artist has drawn from Jens Nygaard and the musicians. Michael was
also our Jupiter volunteer from 2002 to 2010.
Here is a video of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players performance of
the Rondo alla Zingarese movement:
New York Sun Review
by Adam Baer
--The Jupiters Play On--
“Some great musicians get a statue when they pass
away. Some get their name imprinted on the roof of a well-known concert
hall. But the late conductor Jens Nygaard has a living tribute: an entire
ensemble of musicians and a concert series to go along with it...
It is one of the city’s cultural jewels...
In the end, if Mr.
Nygaard was known for anything, it was unmitigated verve. That’s what the
audience regularly returned for, and that’s what they got Monday
afternoon. To have a grassroots community of musicians continue to
celebrate Mr. Nygaard with indomitable performances like these week after
week, even without the power of world-famous guest soloists, is proper
tribute. And with more large orchestras and ensembles needing more
corporate sponsorship year after year, I, for one, hope the Jupiter’s
individual subscriber-base remains strong.
New York’s musical
life needs the spirit of Jens Nygaard, and Mei Ying should be proud she’s
keeping it alive.”
155 West 68th Street, Suite 319, New York, NY 10023
For information or to order
MeiYingManager Michael VolpertArtistic Director
performances, except where otherwise noted, are held at: Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
152 West 66 Street (west of Broadway) New York, NY 10023 The Box Office at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
will be open 35 minutes prior to each concert.