by Jeff Counts
Instrumentation: 3 flutes (1st doubles piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, strings
Duration: 27 minutes in four movements.
THE COMPOSER – CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931) – Nielsen was born on the island of Funen in the Baltic Sea and, like any high-minded young artist, he was thrilled when the opportunity came to leave his country home for the bustling sophistication of the Danish capital Copenhagen. Nielsen was able to parlay his modest success at the conservatory into a decent freelance career and eventually a full-time position in the second violin section of the Royal Chapel Orchestra.
THE HISTORY – Nielsen’s ambitions would soon take him much further, further on the map and further into the life of a professional composer. One year after winning his place in the orchestra, he received a scholarship that allowed for travel and study throughout Europe. The trip was pivotal in two ways. Most importantly, he met his future wife Anne Marie. He also began sketches for what would become his first symphony during those two years and Nielsen, a humble man, could not have imagined that this latter inspiration was the beginning of a critical personal contribution to the future of a genre. Nielsen would compose a total of six symphonies over the next few decades and they hold an important position in the historical development of the symphony form. It was not always thus but after WWII, a significant resurgence began for Nielsen that is still approaching its full bloom. In Symphony No. 1 (1894) we hear a composer that seems to have been in possession of his unique voice for some time already. Indeed, as is often the case with Nielsen’s symphonies, the opening of the 1st also sounds as if someone has “dropped the needle” on music that has been underway for a while. As listeners, we are shaken awake into a fully formed tableau and the momentarily unmoored feeling is a thrill. Nielsen made a powerfully individual statement with his Symphony No. 1. He had no interest in choosing sides in the great Brahms/Wagner debate, deciding rather to follow a path of his own making. One of the highlights of the Copenhagen premiere was Nielsen’s graceful acceptance of the composer curtain call from his seat in the orchestra.
THE WORLD – 1894 was the year of the First Sino-Japanese War, the beginning of the Dreyfus Affair in France, the establishment of Uganda as a British protectorate and the publication of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
THE CONNECTION – These concerts represent the Utah Symphony premiere of Nielsen’s Symphony No. 1.
by Jeff Counts
Instrumentation: flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings,
Duration: 35 minutes in three movements.
THE COMPOSER – LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) – Beethoven had much to keep him busy in 1804. The “Eroica” Symphony was complete and ready for premiere and he was working hard on his opera, Fidelio. Throughout all of it, he maintained his duties as a private piano instructor. Two of his students are worth mention here. Josephine von Brunsvik, who became a love interest for Beethoven (was she his “Immortal Beloved?”), and the 15-year-old Archduke Rudolf.
THE HISTORY – Rudolf is the person at the heart of a historical debate surrounding the Triple Concerto. There is little doubt that Beethoven completed the score for this unusual concerto in the summer of 1804 but we are left to wonder for whom it was intended. Anton Schindler, Beethoven’s earliest and most “subjective” biographer, later claimed that the piece was written for the Archduke. Rudolf had just begun his studies with Beethoven at the time he wrote the Triple Concerto and the relative simplicity of the piano part certainly suggests the composer had an amateur performer in mind. It is nice to think that Beethoven would have written this work for his young student and also practical given Rudolf’s later associations as dedicatee of the 5th Piano Concerto and the “Archduke” Trio. Proof in this case is wanting however and, in the end, we have little more than speculation and the highly disputable word of Schindler. The first verifiable public performance occurred in 1808 and by most accounts, the soloists did not give the piece a very good reading. That first impression seemed to stick as critics over the years took an unkind view of the Triple Concerto. Most did no more than damn it as forgettably mediocre by Beethoven’s own standards. This is likely due to the Triple Concerto’s position in time near “Eroica,” the 4th Piano Concerto and other such monuments but also possibly related to its strangeness as an idea. No composer had ever thought to cast a piano trio as a concerto soloist grouping and no one has successfully done so since. The critics were wrong about this piece, of course, as any performance by appropriately virtuosic soloists proves.
THE WORLD – The Serbian Revolution against the Ottoman Empire began in 1804. This was also the year of Alexander Hamilton’s death at the hands of Aaron Burr, Napoleon’s naming as Emperor and the isolation of Morphine from the opium poppy.
THE CONNECTION – The “Triple” is the most rarely programmed of Beethoven’s concerti on the Masterworks Series. It was last performed here in 1999 with the Claremont Trio as soloists.
by Jeff Counts
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (2nd doubles piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, glockenspiel, triangle, strings.
Duration: 9 minutes.
THE COMPOSER – RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883) – Though it was not premiered as a complete, four-day Bühnenfestspiel (stage festival play) until August of 1876, Wagner had been working on parts of Der Ring des Nibelungen since as far back as 1848. He completed the text of the four operas in 1853 and only then began to craft the music, a process that occupied him off and on for another 21 years.
THE MUSIC – The famous “Waldweben” (Forest Murmurs) sequence of the Ring comes from Act II of Siegfried and there is no better description of the setting than the one Wagner himself provides in the libretto. Siegfried has come to the forest and the cave of the dragon Fafner, intent on facing down the legendary beast. While he waits for Fafner to appear Siegfried “stretches himself out comfortably under the lime tree” and quickly becomes “lost in silent reverie.” He “leans back and looks up through the branches” and becomes enchanted by the “forest murmurs.” As he ponders about what his father and mother might have been like, Siegfried sighs amidst the “increasing forest murmurs” and then “listens with great interest to the song of a bird in the branches above him.” This is the same bird that will eventually lead the young hero to the place where Brünnhilde rests but Siegfried doesn’t know this yet and attempts to answer the call with a pipe he has fashioned from a nearby clump of reeds. It is a wonderful moment and certainly some of the most evocatively gorgeous music of the entire Ring. Though not as commonly performed as the “Ride of the Valkyries,” the gentler “Waldweben” is still among the most favored concert excerpts from the opera cycle.
THE WORLD – Custer’s Last Stand occurred at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. It was also the year of the most famous moment in telephonic history when Alexander Graham Bell said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”
THE CONNECTION – Forest Murmurs has been performed on the Utah Symphony Masterworks twice over the last 25 years, most recently in 2006 under Klauspeter Seibel.
by Jeff Counts
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (2nd doubles piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings.
Duration: 9 minutes.
THE COMPOSER – LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) – With Vienna under French occupation during much of 1809, Beethoven was forced into an uncomfortable sort of seclusion. Though he chose to stay behind, many of the city’s elite had fled, including the court. Among them was Beethoven’s patron, friend and student Archduke Rudolf. The composer wrote most of the 5th Piano Concerto during his time alone and dedicated it to his absent compatriot.
THE HISTORY – Near the end of that troubling year, Beethoven received a commission to write incidental music for a theatre production of Egmont. This must have come as a refreshing diversion from his sadness and solitude. Not only did the opportunity provide a chance to deeply connect with the words of his most favored writer Goethe, the subject of the drama was particularly poignant for Beethoven. In the play, Count Egmont is a Dutch resistance fighter bent on the liberation of his country from Spanish occupation. He dies heroically while making his stand. It is impossible not to draw a parallel between the character of the Duke of Alva and the real-life “Emperor” of France. Beethoven had long since lost his admiration for Napoleon and the bombardment of Vienna would certainly have confirmed his worst fears about the man. Goethe’s play, and the honor of providing it with some suitably powerful incidental music, was perfect medicine for the composer after such dark, lonely months. The score of Egmont was completed in 1810 and performed in its entirety that June. Only the overture still receives frequent performance attention as a stand-alone concert piece. It is a wonderfully intricate world in miniature, one that successfully samples all the coming drama of the story.
THE WORLD – Elsewhere in 1810, Argentina began a chain-reaction in South America by claiming independence from Spain, the first Oktoberfest was held in Bavaria and Lord Byron made his famous swim across the Hellespont in Turkey.
THE CONNECTION – Egmont Overture is programmed fairly often by the Utah Symphony but has not appeared on the Masterworks Series since 2001. Keith Lockhart conducted.
UTAH SYMPHONY LAUNCHES SEASON WITH SIZZLING BEETHOVEN TRIPLE CONCERTO FEATURING AWARD-WINNING GUEST ARTIST TRIO
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Aug.29, 2013) – The Utah Symphony and Music Director Thierry Fischer open the Utah Symphony’s 73rd season with Ludwig von Beethoven’s much anticipated return to Abravanel Hall September 13 and 14, featuring his famed Triple Concerto.
This mighty concerto electrifies with triple the energy from three world-class soloists, cellist Philip Setzer, violinist David Finckel, and pianist Wu Han.
Also featured during the opening night performance is the first of six symphonies by Danish composer Carl Nielsen, whose works inspired Fischer’s Carl Nielsen Symphony cycle. Fischer described symphonies as each having a unique story to tell. He was drawn to Nielsen for the composer’s strong artistic values and interpretation of beauty through nature.
Fischer will offer insight into Nielsen’s works at a free Nielsen Symposium on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 in the First Tier Room of Abravanel Hall from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Also present will be local Nielsen scholar Mogen Mogensen, who immigrated with his wife to Utah in 1993 from Switzerland to audition for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir – they recently retired from the chorus after nine years.
Music Director Thierry Fischer and Vice President of Artistic Planning Toby Tolokan will present a free pre-concert chat each night, one hour prior to the start of the performance on the orchestra level of Abravanel Hall.
Single tickets for the performance range from $18 to $69 and can be purchased by phone at (801) 355-2787, in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office (123 W. South Temple) or online by visiting www.utahsymphony.org. $10 tickets are available to anyone 30 or younger through the USUO Upbeat and Youth Ticket programs. Season subscribers and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-6683. All ticket prices are subject to change and availability. Ticket prices are subject to change and will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.
For video clips of the trio, please visit http://www.davidfinckelandwuhan.com/Site/multimedia.html
GUEST ARTIST BIOS
About Wu Han, Piano
Named Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year, pianist Wu Han ranks among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. She appears regularly in many prestigious venues across the United States, Europe, and the Far East as both soloist and chamber musician, and has toured extensively as duo pianist with cellist David Finckel. Wu Han's wide-ranging musical activities include the founding of ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company. Wu Han and David Finckel serve as Artistic Directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Chamber Music Today, an annual festival held in Korea. Wu Han and David Finckel are also founding Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival in Silicon Valley, now celebrating its eleventh season.
About David Finckel, Cello
Cellist David Finckel’s multifaceted career as concert performer, recording artist, educator, arts administrator, and cultural entrepreneur places him in the ranks of today’s most influential classical musicians. Named Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year with pianist Wu Han, his concert appearances as orchestral soloist and duo recitalist take him to the world’s most prestigious concert series and festivals. David Finckel’s wide-ranging musical activities also include the launch of ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed, Internet-based recording company. David Finckel and Wu Han serve as Artistic Directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Chamber Music Today Festival in Korea. They are also the founders and Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival in the San Francisco Bay Area.
About Philip Setzer, Violin
Violinist Philip Setzer is a founding member of the nine-time Grammy Award winning Emerson String Quartet. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and began studying violin at the age of five with his parents, both former violinists in the Cleveland Orchestra. In addition to his work with the Emerson and his professorship at SUNY Stony Brook, Mr. Setzer was a faculty member of the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshops at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center. His article about those workshops appeared in The New York Times on the occasion of Isaac Stern's 80th birthday celebration. The Noise of Time, a groundbreaking theater collaboration about the life of Shostakovich between the Emerson Quartet and Simon McBurney, was based on an original idea of Mr. Setzer's. Recently, Mr. Setzer has been touring and recording the piano trios of Schubert and Mendelssohn with David Finckel and Wu Han.
The Utah Symphony presents Beethoven’s Triple Concerto
Abravanel Hall, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah Friday, September 13, 2013, 8 p.m. Saturday, September 14, 2013, 8 p.m.
Pre-concert chat one hour before each concert with Music Director Thierry Fischer and Vice President of Symphony Artistic Planning Toby Tolokan.
Smith/Key Star Spangled Banner
Ludwig Van Beethoven Overture to Egmont, Opus 84
Camille Saint-Saens "The Swan" from The Carnival of the Animals In memory of Cellist Ryan Selberg, (1946-2013)
Richard Wagner "Waldweben" from Siegfried
Carl Nielsen Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Opus 7 I. Allegro orgoglioso (7:45) II. Andante (6:25) III. Allegro comodo (5:45) IV. Finale: Allegro con fuoco (6:30)
Ludwig Van Beethoven Concerto in C major for Piano, Violin, Cello, and Orchestra, Opus 56, "Triple Concerto" I. Allegro (17:25) II. Largo (4:05) III. Rondo alla polacca (12:25) Philip Setzer, violin; Wu Han, piano; David Finckel, cello
About the Utah Symphony
Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony is dedicated to providing Utah residents and visitors with great performances which engage, educate and enrich lives. Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the orchestra’s
parent organization, reaches 450,000 citizens in Utah and the Intermountain region, with educational outreach programs serving more than 200,000 students annually. The orchestra presents more than 70 performances each season in Abravanel Hall, participates in the Utah Opera's four annual productions at the Capitol Theater, in addition to numerous community concerts throughout Utah and the annual outdoor summer series – the Deer Valley® Music Festival –in Park City, Utah. With its many subscription, education and outreach concerts and tours, the Utah Symphony is one of the most engaged full-time orchestras in the nation. For more information visit www.utahsymphony.org.
Season Sponsor for Utah Symphony| Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
UTAH SYMPHONY | UTAH OPERA “ALL ACCESS PASS” ALLOWS STUDENTS TO ATTEND THE COMPLETE 2013-14 SEASON FOR $49
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Aug.26, 2013) – Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) has given classical music lovers who are students another reason for a standing ovation.
Students of any age who want to experience the thrill of live classical music can purchase an All-Access Student Pass for $49 and attend as many Utah Symphony and Utah Opera performances as they’d like during a season. All Access tickets are available the night of the performance starting at 6 PM and are subject to availability. Students are seated in the best available seat at the time of redemption.
“It is extremely important to me that live performances of the symphony and opera are fully accessible to today’s youth, so that we can ignite the passion for music that has inspired me throughout my life,” said Musical Director Thierry Fischer.
“The purpose of creating this program for students is to give younger audiences the opportunity to experience a wide variety of music throughout the season,” explained Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Jon Miles. This will be the third season when the All Access Passes have been available.
USUO features other programs designed to make classical music more affordable for young audience members. USUO Upbeat extends $10-20 advance tickets to most Utah Symphony and Utah Opera performances for anyone 30 or younger. Those who purchase tickets to at least four (4) performances from the 2013-14 season through the Upbeat Design-A-Series, which allows them to create a customized subscription ticket package, can purchase $10 tickets to performances normally not available through the USUO Upbeat program.
Information about all these programs is available at http://www.utahsymphony.org/tickets/student-tickets. A limited number of All-Access Passes are available for the season, so buy early by visiting Patron Services in Abravanel Hall or calling 801-533-6683. A valid student ID is needed to participate in the All-Access Pass program.
Other USUO Young Audience Programs
Youth in grades 3 – 12 (ages 8 through 18) can purchase $10 tickets to most Utah Symphony and Utah Opera performances. Visit www.utahsymphony.org or www.utahopera.org and go to any performance page to see availability for select performances. Ticket prices increase $5 on the day of the performance.
High School Clubs
Music enthusiasts at local high school are encouraged to form music clubs at their schools and participate in USUO’s High School Club program. For $23 per student, club members are able to attend four Utah Symphony performances and one Utah Opera performance each season.
Vivace provides young professionals (typically ages 30 – 45) with opportunities to network with other music lovers, Utah Symphony musicians, and guest artists. With a Vivace ticket, a patron receives a special version of the program, a ticket to that evening’s performance and a ticket to an after party with artists from that evening’s program. During the 2013-14 season USUO will host six Vivace events.
About Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera connects Utah communities through great live music, serving as the premier local provider of orchestral and operatic art forms. The Utah Symphony, which performs at Abravanel Hall, is one of the nation’s only year-round orchestras. Together with Utah Opera, which performs at the Capitol Theatre, USUO reaches 450,000 citizens in Utah and the Intermountain region with educational outreach programs serving more than 200,000 students annually. The organization employs 60 staff and 83 full-time musicians, presenting four full operas and more than 70 symphony performances in each regular season as well as community concerts throughout Utah and an annual summer series – the Deer Valley® Music Festival – in Park City, Utah. For more information, visit www.usuo.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
UTAH OPERA RESIDENT ARTISTS RETURN TO CLASSROOMS ACROSS UTAH TEACHING LOVE OF PERFORMING ARTS TO UTAH’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
SALT LAKE CITY (Aug. 26, 2013)—Utah Opera’s Resident Artists take their classroom back on the road for the 21st season of bringing education presentations and outreach concerts – and introducing a general love of opera – to public school students and communities across Utah.
Through the Utah Opera Resident Artist Program, four professional singers and a pianist take an integral step between graduate studies and a career, spending their nine-month residency developing professional skills through performances, coaching, workshops and master class sessions.
“These young professionals have the artistic versatility to sing a wide range of music, and exude an energy that is infectious,” said Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth, who hand-picks them each winter in a rigorous, cross-country audition process for the coming school year.
“We rely upon Resident Artists to be many students’ first experience with opera and the world of classical music,” said USUO Education and Community Outreach Director Paula Fowler. “They are Utah Opera’s ambassadors as they travel around to public schools and communities across the state.”
This year, soprano Amy Owens, her husband, baritone Shea Owens – both graduates of Brigham Young University’s Bachelor in Music program – and pianist Sahar Nouri return for their second season in the program. The group is rounded out by Mezzo Soprano Abigail Levis, who was named "Debut Artist of the Year" by the Joy in Singing Foundation, and tenor Tyson Miller.
The ensemble travels throughout the state of Utah offering presentations in schools and teaching students about the art form of opera in a fun, accessible way. Artists receive coaching and participate in master classes with Utah Opera’s music staff and guest artists. They also perform in concerts with the Utah Symphony, outreach concerts throughout the state, and often land roles in Utah Opera’s four annual productions. Amy will sing Annina in Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Blonde in Mozart’s “The Abduction form the Seraglio”. Abigail will sing Flora in “La Traviata”. Tyson will perform the role of Gastone in “La Traviata”. Shea will perform the Second Nazarine in Strauss’ “Salome” and Marchese d’Obigny in “La Traviata”. All four of the singers, joined by pianist Sahar Nouri, will perform in the traveling production of “The Elixir of Love”.
For more information on the Resident Artist Program, visit http://www.utahopera.org/connect/resident-artist-program.
About Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Education Department
The Education Department of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera creates and oversees opportunities in music for audiences of all ages, with special emphasis on musical experiences for K-12 students and teachers. As the largest performing arts organization in Utah, USUO promotes a broad public knowledge and appreciation of music through more than 30 state-assisted community outreach programs, amounting to more than 600 performances annually. USUO Education serves more than 7,000 teachers and 155,000 students each year throughout Utah by bringing both symphony and opera programs, free of charge, to every school district in Utah over a three- to five-year rotation. For more information, visit www.usuoeducation.org or call 801.869.9091.
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The Nielsen Symphony Cycle pairs the colorful and lyrical symphonies of Carl Nielsen with Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik,
Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Beethoven's Triple Concerto, and more!
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The Nielsen Symphony Cycle Package
Beethoven's Triple Concerto
Beethoven - Overture to Egmont
Wagner - "Forest Murmurs" from Siegfried
Nielsen - Symphony No. 1 in G minor
Beethoven - Concerto in C major for Piano, Violin, Cello, and Orchestra
Vivaldi's Four Seasons
Vivaldi - The Four Seasons for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 8, Nos. 1-4
Nielsen - Symphony No. 2, Opus 16, "The Four Temperaments"
Beethoven, Mozart & Nielsen
Haydn - Symphony No. 4 in D major
Beethoven - Concerto No. 3 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra
Mozart - Overture to Die Zauberflöte
Nielsen - Symphony No. 3 in D minor, Opus 27, "Sinfonia espansiva"
Britten - An American Overture
Nielsen - Symphony No. 4, Opus 29, "The Inextinguishable"
Stravinsky - Elegy to JFK
Lieberson - Remembering JFK (An American Elegy)
Britten - Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Purcell
Mozart, Bernstein & Nielsen
Mozart - Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Bernstein - Serenade
Bernstein - Overture to Candide
Nielsen - Symphony No. 5
Rachmaninoff's Symphony Dances
Nielsen - Symphony No. 6, "Sinfonia semplice"
Tchaikovsky - Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra
Rachmaninoff - Symphonic Dances
May 23-24 | 8 PM Abravanel Hall
Thierry Fischer, Conductor
Matthew Zalkind, Cello
Nielsen - Symphony No. 6, "Sinfonia semplice"
Tchaikovsky - Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra
Rachmaninoff - Symphonic Dances
Maestro Fischer concludes the Masterworks season with the final work of a master. Symphonic Dances was Rachmaninoff's last completed piece and it is a stunning virtuoso showpiece for orchestra. Also on the program are Tchaikovsky's thrilling Rococo Variations for solo cello and the last stop on the Nielsen symphony tour, the aptly named "Simple Symphony."
Finishing Touches Dress Rehearsals are working rehearsals and will include selections from the evening performances at the discretion of the conductor. The rehearsal may not include the entire program.
May 20 | 7 PM Abravanel Hall
Vladimir Kulenovic, Conductor
Witness the future of Utah's musical legacy! The state's very best high school instrumentalists are invited to perform side-by-side with their professional mentors in this yearly Abravanel Hall event. Also featured on the program is one very special young musician who will perform as featured soloist with the Utah Symphony. Tomorrow's stars, on stage today!