Friday, February 6, 2015, 7:30 PM  Blais Pavilion, Lazare Building, University of Massachusetts Medical School

  • {slide=John Zdechlik ~ 2010 Green Brass Ensemble Centennial Fanfare}
    A composer of American band music with many popular pieces to his credit, Zdechlik writes about music and conducts as well. He makes his home in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
    {/slide}
  • {slide=Maurice Ravel ~ Tzigane}
    Tzigane, by Maurice Ravel, is an attempt to write a gypsy-inspired, bravura violin showpiece in the
    spirit of such compositions as Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen. As so many of his predecessors − such as
    Liszt, Brahms, Schubert, and the violin virtuoso, Joachim − did before him, in this piece he attempts to capture the genuine gypsy folk music idiom without using their folk tunes. Having first written it with piano accompaniment in 1924, he orchestrated it soon thereafter. Ironically, it is said that Ravel’s inspiration for Tzigane came from his admiration of Bartok’s field studies of real Hungarian and gypsy folk tunes. But it was Bartok, not Ravel, who finally wrote classical music with actual gypsy folk melodies.Nevertheless, Ravel’s composition is a compelling display of violin showmanship, orchestral coloration and a vivid imagination. And Ravel, a superb pianist, never played the violin.
    {/slide}featuring Young Artist Cowinner, Hyunnew Choi, a violinist from Newton MA
  • {slide=Henri Vieuxtemps ~ Violin Concerto No. 5}
    A virtuoso violinist of the first order, Vieuxtemps was, like many other violinist-composers, always looking for new material with which to impress his audience. Concerto No. 5, Op. 37, was composed in 1861. He wrote seven violin concertos in all, as well as numerous other pieces for violin and other instruments. Vieuxtemps was Belgian, but as so many virtuosos of his time did, he concertized widely throughout Europe and America. He is also remembered for the violin he played, the Vieuxtemps Guaneri del Gesu, which has since been played by the likes of Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, and currently Anne Akiko Myers, who has its use during her lifetime.
    {/slide}featuring Young Artist Cowinner, Henri Bouchard, a violinist from Ayer MA
  • {slide=Ludvig von Beethoven ~ Coriolon Overture}
    This composition was written in 1807 for arevival of the 1802 tragic play of the same name that was written by his friend, Heinrich Joseph von Collin. It is not altogether clear that the play was ever performed with Beethoven’s overture, and in any case, it faded into oblivion shortly after the overture premiered. According to a number of sources, that premiere took place at a private performance arranged by Beethoven’s patron, Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. On that occasion, Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony and his Piano Concerto No. 4 were also premiered. What an event that must have been!

    The Coriolan is an emotional roller-coaster, not unlike the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. (Beethoven was working on the Fifth when the Coriolan was premiered.) They both begin in C minor, with a sense of foreboding. But while the Fifth’s first movement makes a complete circle back to the beginning, with its sense of doom and energy, the Coriolan makes the same journey, only to go on to an ending that dies away, fading into nothingness.
    {/slide}

  • {slide=Howard Hanson ~ Symphony No. 2, Movements 2 and 3}
    The composer’s name has become inseparable from that of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, of which he was director for 40 years, almost from its founding in 1921. The school was established and endowed by George Eastman, the founder of Kodak. Symphony No. 2 was composed on a commission from Serge Koussevitsky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for its 50th anniversary. The Seven Hills Symphony plays the second and third movements of this work. The second is marked andante con tennerezza − moving along, with tenderness − and the third, allegro con brio, molto meno mosso, piu mosso, animato, and largamente – meaning quick and bright with spirit, much slower, quicker, animated, and broadly and dignified. While such markings are called tempo markings, they often indicate more about the mood of the work rather than a specific speed.
    {/slide}
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