Events« All Events
- Music of Chabrier, Lalo and Bizet-Shchedrin
- February 24-25, 2017 8:00 PM
- where: Dell Hall directions
- conductor: Peter Bay
These performances will feature French composers who were influenced by the sounds of Spain. The night will include what some consider Chabrier’s most famous piece, his España and then guest violinist, Philippe Quint will perform Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole on his 1708 “Ruby” Antonio Stradivari violin, the same violin famed violinist, Pablo de Sarasate played, to whom Lalo dedicated the Symphonie espagnole!
The evening will conclude with a magnificent piece by Georges Bizet-Rodion Shchedrin Carmen Suite (excerpts from the opera transcribed for strings and percussion) (1968).
Still want more? How about playing on some string instruments provided by our friends at Violins Etc.? We also have a wonderful pre-concert talk given by Bob Buckalew at 7:10 pm. How about “tweeting” with our musicians and ASO staff? Take a photo in front of our photo wall. The Austin Symphony wants you to get the most out of your concert experience, which starts…
All artists, programs & dates subject to change
|Édouard Lalo||Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21|
|Georges Bizet-Rodion Shchedrin||Carmen Suite (excerpts from the opera transcribed for strings and percussion)|
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)
Composed in 1883
Approx. 8 minutes
Chabrier studied music in his youth but became a lawyer and worked in the French Ministry of the Interior during most of his adult life. He was a great wit, a lover of high-living, an ardent Wagnerian, an art collector and friend of the greatest artists of his time—Cézanne, Manet, Monet, Renoir and Sisley-and the composer of operas, choral works, piano music and orchestral pieces.
Of all his works, the rhapsody for orchestra España has been the most popular, an immediate success since its first performance, on November 4, 1883, in Paris. It made Chabrier famous overnight. Young people hummed its tunes on the street; the stuffiest French musicians were charmed by it. Chabrier’s publisher issued it in piano arrangements for two and four players and it was even turned into a suite of waltzes for cafe orchestras.
Everyone loved España except the Spaniards. Later they would take to Debussy’s Iberia and Ravel’s Spanish Rhapsody, but they found Chabrier’s Espana altogether too rowdy. Albeniz detested it and even the Francophile de Falla could hardly bear it.
Chabrier spent the autumn of 1882 traveling in Spain and his letters home from San Sebastien, Seville and Granada vividly describe the great beauties he found in the country and its people. In Spain, his normally high spirits rose to new heights, but later, when badgered for information in the origin of España he would say only, “It’s a piece in F major; that’s all.” We now know little more than that it is based principally on two popular Spanish dances, the waltz-like jota and the malaguefza.
Eduardo Lalo (1823-1892)
Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
Composed in 1873
Approx. 33 minutes
“Do you know the Symphonie Espagnole by the French composer, Lalo?” Tchaikovsky wrote to his patroness, Nadejda von Meck. “The piece has been recently brought out by that very modern violinist, Sarasate. It is for solo violin and orchestra, and consists of five independent movements, based upon Spanish folk songs. The work has given me great enjoyment. It is so fresh and light, and contains piquant rhythms and melodies which are beautifully harmonized…. Lalo is careful to avoid all that is routinier, seeks new forms without trying to be profound, and is more concerned with musical beauty than with traditions.”
Tchaikovsky’s enthusiasm for Lalo’s music has been shared by audiences since the Symphonie Espagnole was first heard in 1875. Lalo had labored for many years, however, before success came his way. He was almost fifty when the Divertissement for Orchestra won him the attention of the public. It was with the Violin Concerto of 1874 and this Spanish Symphony, both written for and premiered by the Spanish virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, that Lalo finally secured his international reputation.
Lalo’s early musical training was at the Conservatoire in his native Lille, before he transferred to the Paris Conservatoire to study composition and violin. He started composing in the 1840s, but, discouraged by the lack of performances and publications of his music, he abandoned his creative work for almost a decade to play viola in the Armingaud-Jacquard Quartet. His muse was rekindled in 1865 upon his marriage to Bernier de Maligny, a fine contralto who performed many of his songs in recital, and who also inspired him to produce his first opera, Fiesque. The violin works for Sarasate were followed by a Cello Concerto, the Norwegian Rhapsody, a Symphony and the ballet Namouna. His eminent position in French music was recognized when the government awarded him the Legion of Honor in 1888, the same year his opera Le Roi d’Ys was premiered.
The Symphonie Espagnole, despite its name, is a true concerto in which the soloist is called upon to display significant feats of violinistic prowess, especially in quick shifts between the highest and lowest registers, a characteristic that reflects an important aspect of Sarasate’s technique. The work’s five movements individually employ symphonic structures, which led Lalo to write about the work’s title, “It conveyed my thought- a violin soaring above the rigid form of an old symphony.” The Spanish influence is heard in some of the rhythms and harmonies of the themes, an influence that also lured such other French composers as Bizet, Ravel, Debussy and Ibert.
The first movement is cast in a carefully developed sonata form, with a main theme employing bold upward leaps and a legato second theme in a contrasting major tonality. The nimble, dancelike second movement, in rounded three-part form, calls for both lyricism and flexibility from the soloist. The next movement is characterized by the extensive use of the Spanish rhythmic device of alternating groups of two and three notes. In the fourth movement, a somber introduction leads to the melancholy theme for the soloist which “soars above the rigid form of the old symphony,” the form here being a rounded three-part one. The finale, ushered in by the sound of distant peeling bells, is a rondo based on the bubbling rhythm of the saltarello.
Georges Bizet (1838-1875) Rodion Shchedrin (1932-)
Composed in 1967
Approx. 46 minutes
Rodion Shchedrin was born in Moscow into a musical family—his father was a composer and teacher of music theory. He studied at the Moscow Choral School and Moscow Conservatory (graduating in 1955) under Yuri Shaporin (composition) and Yakov Flier (piano). He was married to the well-known ballerina Maya Plisetskaya from 1958 until her death in 2015.
Shchedrin’s early music is tonal, colorfully orchestrated and often includes snatches of folk music, while some later pieces use aleatoric and serial techniques. In the west the music of Shchedrin has won popularity mainly through the work of Mstislav Rostropovich who has made several successful recordings.
Shchedrin composed in every genre, from opera to solo chamber music, but dance theatre occupies a particularly significant place in the catalogue of his works – and with good reason: his five ballets, The little Humpbacked Horse
(1955-56, 1960), Carmen Suite (1967), Anna Karenina (1971-72), The Seagull (1979-80) and The lady with the Lapdog (1985), were all conceived for his wife Mayya Plisetskaya, the legendary prima ballerina of Moscow’s Bolshoy Theatre.
Easily the most famous of these ballets – indeed it is the best-known and internationally most successful of all Shchedrin’s works is the Carmen Suite, “which owes its existence to chance”, as the composer confessed in an interview. “I had originally been commissioned to write the music to a Carmen ballet [for the Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso], based on Prosper Mérimée’s story, but I was highly skeptical of this idea. ( … ]That subject has become inseparable from Bizet’s music.” Finally Shchedrin gave up the struggle with an overpowering musical model, deciding instead to exploit it: from the material of the opera (and two excerpts from Bizet’s Arlésienne music and the opera La Jolie Fille de Perth) he put together a suite of 13 musical numbers, which he brilliantly arranged for large string orchestra, timpani and four groups of percussion~ “not as a slavish obeisance to the genius of Bizet, but an attempt at a creative meeting of minds.” The première of the Carmen Suite took place on April 20, 1967 at Moscow’s Bolshoy Theatre and met with sharp disapproval from the highest Soviet officials of culture. “lt was already banned before the second performance”, the composer recalled later, “on the grounds of being an insult to Bizet’s masterpiece and for its sexual treatment of the character of Carmen. Thanks to the efforts of Dmitri Shostakovich, who intervened on my behalf with the Ministry of Culture, the ballet gradually found its way into the repertoire.”
Lauded by Daily Telegraph (UK) for his “searingly poetic lyricism” violinist Philippe Quint is carving an unconventional path with his impassioned musical desire for reimagining traditional works, rediscovering neglected repertoire to commissioning works by contemporary composers. His dedication to exploring different styles and genres with an award winning discography has solidified him as one of the foremost violinists of today.
Receiving several Grammy nominations for his two albums of Korngold and William Schuman Concertos, Mr. Quint is in constant demand worldwide appearing with major orchestras at venues ranging from the Gewandhaus in Leipzig to Carnegie Hall in New York.
Philippe Quint plays the magnificent 1708 “Ruby” Antonio Stradivari violin on loan to him through the generous efforts of The Stradivari Society®.
Highlights of 2015/2016 season included performances with Colorado, Seattle & North Carolina Symphonies, Luzern’s Zaubersee Festival with pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, and a first visit to Verbier Festival performing with Joshua Bell and Tabea Zimmerman among others. At the invitation of Maestro Vladimir Spivakov, Philippe opened the 28th edition of Colmar Festival dedicated to Jascha Heifetz with Tugan Sokhiev conducting the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse in a performance of Korngold Violin Concerto and released a new recording of Glazunov & Khachaturian Violin Concertos with Bochumer Sinfoniker/Steven Sloane conducting for AvantiClassic label which received “Album of the Week” by Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc.
Constantly in demand worldwide, Quint’s most recent appearances include performances with the orchestras of London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Seattle, Toulouse, New Jersey, Minnesota, Bournemouth, Houston, Weimar Staatskapelle, Royal Liverpool, China National, Orpheus, Berlin Komische Oper, Leipzig’s MDR at the Gewandhaus. He has performed under the batons of Marin Alsop, Carl St. Clair, Tugan Sokhiev, Grant Llewellyn, Andrew Litton, Cristian Macelaru, Kurt Masur, Jorge Mester, Edo de Waart, Jahja Ling, Krzysztof Urbanski, Ludovic Morlot, Marco Parisotto, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Tugan Sokhiev, Steven Sloane, Michael Stern, Bramwell Tovey, and Martin Yates among many others.
An active chamber musician Philippe frequently collaborates with cellists Alisa Weilerstein, Gary Hoffman, Carter Brey, Nicholas Altstaedt, Claudio Bohorquez, Zuill Bailey and Jan Vogler, pianists William Wolfram, Inon Barnatan, Alon Goldstein, Marc -Andre Hamelin, Simone Dinnerstein, Jeffrey Kahane, violists Nils Monkemeyer and Lily Francis as well as his esteemed violin colleagues Joshua Bell, Cho–Liang Lin & Vadim Gluzman. Philippe has appeared at the Mostly Mozart, Verbier, Luzern, Caramoor, Colmar, Ravinia, Aspen, Rome, Moritzburg, La Jolla, Lincoln Center and Chautauqua festivals and in recital and chamber performances at Kravis Center, UC Davis Presents, National Gallery in Washington most recently, at San Francisco Performances with Composer/Pianist Lera Auerbach.
Quint’s live performances and interviews have been broadcast on television by CBS, CNN, ABC, BBC World News, NBC, Reuters, Bloomberg TV, as well as by radio stations nationwide including NPR, WNYC and WQXR.
Born in Leningrad, Soviet Union ( now St. Petersburg, Russia), Philippe Quint studied at Moscow’s Special Music School for the Gifted with the famed Russian violinist Andrei Korsakov, and made his orchestral debut at the age of nine, performing Wieniawski’s Concerto No. 2. After moving to the United States, he earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Juilliard. His distinguished pedagogues and mentors included Dorothy Delay, Cho-Liang Lin, Masao Kawasaki, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Arnold Steinhardt and Felix Galimir.
Maestro's choice recordings, Purchase recommended recordings from Amazon.com and help support the ASO
Chabrier: España, Suite pastorale, Joyeuse marche, Le roi malgré lui / Franck: Le Chasseur maudit, Les ÉolidesPurchase at Amazon
Bruch, Vieuxtemps: Violin Concertos / Lalo: Symphonie EspagnolePurchase at Amazon
Carmen-SuitePurchase at Amazon