Young Artist Concert

Featuring: Geoff Neuman, Interim Conductor

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Presenting this years winners of the 21st Annual Young Artist Concert Competition… READ MORE

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Overture to L’italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini

Length: approx. 10 minutes
Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, timpani, percussion (bass drum, cymbals), and strings

In 1813, impresario Giovanni Gallo asked Rossini to provide a new opera for Venice a month before the scheduled premier. The 21-year old recycled Angelo Anelli’s L’italiana in Algeri libretto, which had been set to music by Luigi Mosca in 1808. Rossini composed the complete score and overture with completely new material in only 27 days.

The Overture begins with a slow introduction that features an ornamental solo for oboe, and is followed by an allegro with a main theme in the winds. A new tune is then played by the oboe, then flute. Finally we hear a heart-racing episode that takes off like a locomotive getting up steam, that is, it gets faster and louder as it goes. This, of course, is a Rossini trademark for which the composer was both praised and criticized.


Thomas

Violin Concerto No. 3, K. 216 (III. Rondeau – Allegro) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Movement 3 – Rondeau Allegro
Soloist – Daniel Kyong, violin
Composed: 1775
Length: approx. 6 minutes 30 seconds
Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 horns, strings, and solo violin

Mozart’s five authentic violin concertos are traditionally attributed to the year 1775, with some speculation that the first and possibly the second were composed a few years earlier. Either way the greater sophistication of Violin Concerto No. 3, as compared to its immediate predecessors demonstrates incredible growth for the young Mozart, as he was only 21 when he composed this concerto.

The finale features a recurring principal theme with swaying rhythms. It also includes a pair of surprising digressions: an arietta in slower tempo, heard midway through the movement; and the dance-like tune we now know to be the “Strassburg” melody. In keeping with the unpredictable character of the entire concerto, the movement closes not with a grand orchestral flourish but with a modest statement from the wind instruments alone.


Ivan

Violin Concerto No. 1 (I. Vorspiel. Allegro moderato ) by Max Bruch (1838-1920)

Movement 1 – Vorspiel: Allegro Moderato
Soloist – Thomas Kyong, violin
Composed: 1866, rev. 1868
Length: approx. 8 minutes
Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, and 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings

Max Bruch was seen as a child prodigy. By the age of eleven he was writing chamber music and in 1852, at the age of fourteen composed his first symphony. Bruch’s first violin concerto was started in 1864 and first performed, to considerable acclaim, in 1868. The downside of early success is composing quality works throughout one’s career. Several composers, such as Felix Mendelssohn, are regularly accused of failing to sustain the promise they demonstrated early on. Bruch was also a victim of his early success, with many of his later compositions not holding up to most of the earlier ones. Bruch’s G minor concerto has always been immensely popular (more than his other two) and more frequently performed than Kol nidrei for cello and orchestra, or the Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra. Bruch had difficulty writing this concerto, his first major work. There was even a public performance of an early version, but Bruch was dissatisfied. The celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim offered important suggestions (he would later help in the creation of Brahms’s violin concerto), and Bruch was smart enough to take his advice. When the concerto was presented in its final form in 1868, Joachim was the soloist.

Jenny

Concerto in F (III. Allegro agitato) by George Gershwin (1898-1937)

Movement 3 – Allegro Agitato
Soloist – Jenny Han, piano
Composed: 1925
Length: approx. 6 minutes 30 seconds
Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, cymbals, gong, orchestral bells, snare drum, wood block, slapstick, xylophone), strings, and solo piano

In 1925, Gershwin continued to satisfy the large public interest in his songs, but also composed his Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra. This was an even more ambitious piece than Rhapsody in Blue composed the previous year. Concerto in F uses the standard three-movement form, and a work that is all Gershwin, including his own orchestration, which had not been the case with Rhapsody in Blue.

In 1928, Gershwin heard the very successful European premiere of the concerto in Paris. The critics loved the piece and wrote of the work’s “fascination of its flowing melodies,” and the composer’s “keen feeling for the orchestra.” The Paris connection was extremely important for Gershwin. His admiration for French music is obvious with the influence of Debussy and Ravel heard throughout out the piece.


Ivan

Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 74 (I. Allegro) by Carl Maria von Weber

Movement 1 – Allegro
Soloist – Ivan Ferguson,
Composed: 1811
Length: approx. 8 minutes 30 seconds
Orchestration: solo clarinet, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings

Weber is known mostly for his opera Der Freischutz. In fact, he is credited with the invention of Romantic opera and German nationalistic opera. He had a great impact on Richard Wagner and particularly the Romantic’s preoccupation with the idea of painting tonal pictures, together with nostalgia for the past, and the mythology of his country. The writer Harry Halbreich suggests that Weber was the first to use the horn and the clarinet to express the voices of nature.

His Romantic tendencies were, however, tempered by a love of classical order. He idolized Mozart, and he was strongly influenced by his teacher, Michael Haydn. He even criticized Beethoven for a lack of classical restraint. One might, therefore, expect Weber’s music to be more of a blend of innovation and tradition.

Weber was a child prodigy, his huge hands contributing to his piano virtuosity. He wrote his first opera when he was fourteen, and became music director of the Breslau town theater when he was seventeen. He acquired a great deal of stage experience as he accompanied his father on theatrical tours throughout Germany. His interest in the clarinet began in 1811, when he met Heinrich Barmann, at the time considered the greatest clarinetist in Germany. He wrote a concerto for Barmann, which met with immediate success and resulted in a series of commissions for the clarinet and other wind instruments. The two clarinet concerti followed the concertino very closely, and the second was first performed in November of 1811. The second concerto is described as the more symphonic of the two. But there is also not surprisingly, a strikingly operatic character to it.

Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished” by Franz Schubert

Composed: 1822
Length: approx. 25 minutes
Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings

There is still a mystery as to why Schubert never finished his B minor symphony. This has been one of music’s great unanswered questions for more than a hundred years. For many years, it was believed that the missing movements sat, forgotten, in some Viennese attic. Schubert composed two movements for the Symphony in B minor in October 1822. There is some speculation that he made sketches and scored several measures of a scherzo apparently to continue the work. Unfortunately, no sketches for a finale have ever been found, though there have been some that thought the Entr’acte in B Minor for Rosamunde, composed in the following year, was originally intended to be this symphony’s finale.

Schubert was elected an honorary member of the Styrian Music Society in Graz, and in 1823 he sent these movements to his friend Anselm Hüttenbrunner to give to the Society. For some reason Hüttenbrunner failed to deliver them, and the work remained unknown until it was found buried, like a hidden treasure, in Hüttenbrenner’s study in 1865. The work was premiered in Vienna that year and has not left the repertory since.

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