23
February
7:30 pm — 9:30 pm
Knowles Memorial Chapel
1000 Holt Ave

Winter Park , FL 32789 United States
$25 - $65
Loading Events
  • This event has passed.
Reserved Seats General Admission

Concertos by Candlelight: The Classical Romantic

Knowles Chapel comes alive with an evening of sublime melodies and exciting virtuosic concertos featuring Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto, the rarely heard Romanze for Viola by Max Bruch, the dramatic Cello Concerto in a minor by Saint-Saens, and the world premiere of Daniel Crozier’s Concerto for Two Clarinets—all accompanied by the Bach Festival Orchestra.

ON THE PROGRAM

CARL MARIA von WEBER Overture to Oberon
JOHANN HUMMEL Trumpet Concerto in E Major, S. 49
MAX BRUCH Romanze for Viola and Orchestra, Op. 85
GABRIEL FAURÉ Élégie in c minor, Op. 24
DANIEL CROZIER Concerto for Two Clarinets and Orchestra (World Premiere)
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1 in a minor, Op. 33

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Teresa Rata Linn, trumpet
Andrés Díaz, cello
Jesus Alfonzo, viola
Catherine Hudgins, clarinet and William Hudgins, clarinet

PROGRAM NOTES

CARL MARIA von WEBER Overture to Oberon

Carl Maria von Weber grew up on the road traveling with his father’s theater company. By the age of 13, he had composed his first opera, among other works. He later studied with well-known teachers, such as Michael Haydn, the elder brother of Franz Joseph Haydn. He earned the position of court kappelmeister in Dresden in 1817 and continued composing and conducting opera performances,
taking responsibility for all aspects of performance. This tireless thoroughness inspired the young disciple, Richard Wagner.
In 1824, Weber was commissioned to write an opera for Covent Garden; the result was his last opera, Oberon. Just 38 years old, he was incurably ill with tuberculosis but was expected to conduct the opera himself in London. The doctors advised him against the trip; but Weber declared: “Whatever I do, whether I go or not, I will be a dead man within one year. However, if I go my children will have something to eat when their father is dead, and they will be hungry if I stay.” He conducted the premiere on April 12, 1826, as well as eleven additional performances and, without having the strength to return home to Germany to see his wife and children one last time, died in London less than eight weeks after the first performance.
It is ironic that this last work by a composer generally credited with being the creator of Romantic- German opera is in the English language. Weber took over 150 English language lessons from an Englishman living in Dresden before he felt confident enough to write music to English words. Weber composed the overture in three days in the week before the premiere. His use of leitmotifs, short melodic phrases associated with specific characters, is employed in this overture, which opens with a horn solo that begins with a slow introduction and memorable tunes, warm colors, and vibrant rhythms that weave seven or eight themes into sonata form.

JOHANN HUMMEL Trumpet Concerto in E Major, S. 49

Johann Hummel, a child prodigy, was born in Pressburg, the modern Bratislava (capital of present-day Slovakia), in 1778, the son of a musical, pushy, and ambitious father and was touring Europe as a piano recitalist at the age of ten. Hummel has been overlooked and underrated, even though he knew nearly all of the great musical figures of his time. He was a student of Mozart’s for two years, beginning at the age of eight, and even lived with the composer’s family in the Vienna apartment where Mozart wrote The Marriage of Figaro. He later studied with Haydn and became a close friend of Beethoven, who was eight years older, although the relationship was strained at times. (In 1827, Hummel hurried back to Vienna for a final visit at Beethoven’s bedside; he served as a pallbearer at the funeral and, at Beethoven’s wish, played variations on the Prisoners’ Chorus from Fidelio at the memorial concert.) He also knew Schubert. During his lifetime Hummel was known for his talent as a virtuoso pianist and as a composer of nearly everything but symphonies. Hummel, not considered a true genius, nevertheless had all the musical gifts needed to enjoy considerable popularity, heard his music played and admired, and even made money. Possibly as a result of seeing the impoverished state of Mozart he became the champion of copyrights in music publishing.
This trumpet concerto was composed for the trumpet virtuoso Anton Weidinger in 1803 and first performed New Year’s Day of 1804 when Hummel replaced Joseph Haydn as Konzertmeister to the Prince Esterhazy Court in Eisenstadt. In the late 1790s, Weidinger developed a valved trumpet that extended the limited range of the natural trumpet, enabling scales and chromatic passages to be played over the entire range of the instrument. Originally composed in the key of E major, the concerto was soon transposed to E-flat, the key in which it is most commonly heard today.
The concerto opens with a classic double exposition, two major themes, presented by the orchestra. The trumpet echoes with a slightly varied version of the orchestra’s first theme but with a different second theme. The slower Andante movement demonstrates the lyrical and emotive capabilities of the trumpet and also shows off the chromatic qualities of the valve trumpet. The Andante leads directly into the Rondo, which displays staccato playing, a most difficult technique, that is the main feature of the entire third movement.

MAX BRUCH Romanze for Viola and Orchestra, Op. 85

Max Bruch (Cologne, January 1838–Berlin, October 1920) was a composer, conductor, and professor. A prolific creator of more than 200 works and devoted composer of choral works, he is nonetheless mainly remembered for his violin compositions, especially the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor (1868) and the Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra (1880).
The influence of Felix Mendelssohn’s musical style is present in most of Bruch’s compositions. Bruch’s music reflects a remarkable tendency to express charming emotions and virtuoso passages in the solo instrument as well as in the orchestral texture.
At the height of his creative powers (1909–1911), Max Bruch composed three works in which the viola is featured as soloist instrument: the Eight Pieces for clarinet, viola, and piano, op. 83 in 1909; the Romance for viola and orchestra, op. 85 in 1911; and the Double Concerto for clarinet and viola and orchestra, op. 88, also in 1911. The viola-clarinet works were dedicated to his son Max Felix, who was a remarkable clarinet player, while the Romance was dedicated to Maurice Vieux, principal violist of the Opéra of Paris at that time and later teacher at Paris Conservatoire. The first performance was in a private concert on April 25, 1911, in Berlin with the violinist Willy Heiss—a great friend of Bruch’s—as viola soloist and the Orchestergesellschaft conducted by Leo Schrattenholz.
Max Bruch’s Romanze for viola and orchestra honored and acknowledged the meaning and definition of the word “romance.” It is “a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural,” or “a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious,” or more precisely “a love story especially in the form of a novel.”
As in Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words,” in this Romance it is not necessary to hear or read phrases or words to describe—from our own perspective, imagination, and feelings—the message of nostalgia and longing that the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of this composition express through their forms and sounds.
This work is considered by many to be “a pearl in the romantic repertoire for viola and orchestra!” … I agree.
Notes by Jesus Alfonzo, DMA, Associate Professor, Stetson University

GABRIEL FAURÉ Élégie in c minor, Op. 24

Gabriel Fauré’s Élégie is a prime example of how a composer who is remembered more for his many small efforts than for a few grand pieces can demonstrate the composer’s voice as well in the smaller works as in his Requiem. The choice of the cello with its baritone qualities is the perfect instrument to demonstrate Fauré’s ability to express the wide emotional swings of anguish in a short but effective musical statement. Charles Koechlin, a neglected composer and a friend of Fauré’s, wrote of this music: “Grief is not far from this essentially human work.” The organist at Fauré’s funeral used the main theme of the Élégie as a subject for an improvisation.
Fauré originally composed this music in 1880 as the slow movement for an intended cello sonata. Though he found the reaction of the unofficial first performance at the home of Camille Saint-Saëns positive, the sonata was never finished. The “orphaned” single movement remained as a highly appealing concert work, and Fauré orchestrated it several years later. The warm string and wind tones, and especially the clarinet’s expansion on the basic sad theme, display Fauré’s lifelong gift for combining passion with grace.

DANIEL CROZIER Concerto for Two Clarinets and Orchestra (World Premiere)

The Concerto for Two Clarinets and Orchestra was finished in 2017. I have always been impressed by the clarinet’s huge personality. It is an astonishingly versatile instrument with a capacity for remarkable virtuosity, but it is also capable of tremendous sensitivity and subtlety that give it an exceptional and dramatic range of expression. This concerto attempts to capture some of these varied qualities. The clarinets appear as protagonists in what is essentially a short fairy tale in music. Mischievous humor, lyricism, dance elements, mystery, suspense, and triumph all find their way into the drama.
The work was written specifically for extraordinary clarinetists William and Catherine Hudgins, Artistic Director and Conductor John Sinclair, and the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. I wanted to create a piece to showcase Bill and Cathy’s musical gifts and at the same time provide a substantial, virtuosic piece for this wonderful orchestra. My hope was that it would be something they could all sink their musical teeth into, a piece worthy of the adventurous and enthusiastic spirits of John Sinclair and my longtime friends and colleagues in the Bach Festival Orchestra.
Daniel Crozier, Jr., DMA, Professor, Music Theory and Composition, Rollins College

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1 in a minor, Op. 33

Camille Saint-Saëns was a virtuoso pianist and organist as well as a composer. His cello concerto shows the best of his abilities both in technical polish and inspired beautiful melodies. Saint-Saëns, like Haydn, sometimes expressed concern that his music lacked heroic depth. He remarked, “The artist who does not feel completely satisfied by the elegant lines, by harmonious colors, and by a beautiful success of chords does not understand the art of music.” This may seem a bit defensive, but in this concerto he takes the elegant lines, harmonious colors, and beautiful succession of chords to a level that any concern that the music is not “deep” enough is dismissed.
Saint-Saëns loved both tradition and innovation. These two interests helped him mold the traditional three-movement form of the concerto into a fluid, integrated whole—one overall sonata form. He was fascinated by the cyclic transformation of themes that takes one melody and reshapes it into several different melodies over the course of the composition. The use of this technique in his cello concerto was definitely modern. But as an organist he was devoted to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and he used the orchestra to imitate the sound of a gigantic Bachian organ. Most listeners are simply awash with the unique singing tone of the cello shining through the orchestral texture. Along with his focus on melody, Saint-Saëns demanded the most of the cellist’s technical dexterity, including double stops and quick, rippling triplet runs that include the entire range of the instrument.
Written in 1872, the work consists of three brief sections, performed without pause. The piece begins with a single emphatic orchestral chord, after which the soloist presents the central theme—a triplet-based, wide-ranging melody—that appears in various guises throughout the movement. The second section begins with a dance-like segment reminiscent of an 18th-century minuet, which later becomes more passionate. A final episode for the soloist serves as a bridge to the final section, starting with the oboe restating the opening movement’s main theme. Another virtuoso episode for the cellist demonstrates the instrument’s entire range and technical capacity. The final passage is capped by a brief orchestral postlude.

Details

Date:
February 23
Time:
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Cost:
$25 - $65
Event Categories:
,

Other

Duration
About 2 Hours