An enchanted tale that has delighted generations. The first masterpiece of a musical genius. Experience Igor Stravinsky's "The Firebird" under the dynamic Fabien Gabel, plus Stravinsky's beguiling Song of the Nightingale, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's stormy "The Tempest". Detroit Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Hunter Eberly plays the bright and lively Trumpet Concerto of Stravinsky's contemporary Henri Tomasi.
Friday, October 19
Los Angeles: 07:45 AM
Lima: 09:45 AM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 10:45 AM
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Live on Livestream
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
♪ The Tempest, fantasy-overture for orchestra in F minor, Op.18 (1873)
Henri Tomasi (1901-1971)
♪ Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra (1948) *
i. Allegro and cadenza
♪ Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra (1948) *
i. Allegro and cadenza
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
♪ Le Chant du rossignol (The Song of the Nightingale) (1917)
ii. Marche chinoise
iii. Le Chant du rossignol
iv. Le Jeu du Rossignol mecanique
i. Introduction – The Firebird and its dance – The Firebird's variation
ii. The Princesses' Khorovod
iii. Infernal dance of King Kashchei
iv. Berceuse (Lullaby)
Hunter Eberly, trumpet *
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Fabien Gabel
Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit
Friday, October 19, 2018, 10:45 AM EDT (GMT-4) / 05:45 PM EEST (GMT+3)
Live on Livestream
Principal Trumpet of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Hunter Eberly (b. 1985) is a native of Muskegon, Michigan. Hunter started playing the trumpet at the age of eight under the tutelage of his mother and continued his studies in high school with Charley Lea of the Grand Rapids Symphony. He attended Grand Valley State University, where he studied with Richard Stoelzel and earned his Bachelor of Music degree. Hunter continued his education by attending The Colburn School in Los Angeles. There, he studied with James Wilt of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and earned a Professional Studies Certificate.
Prior to his appointment in Detroit, Hunter served as Principal Trumpet of the Jacksonville Symphony. He has performed as Guest Principal Trumpet with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in China. He has also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Grand Rapids Symphony.
In addition to classical playing, Hunter enjoys playing many other genres of music. Most notably, he has performed with a large number of Motown's greatest performers including Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The 4 Tops, and Mary Wilson of The Supremes.
As a soloist, Hunter has performed numerous times with the Detroit Symphony, including his 2016 performances of the John Williams Trumpet Concerto, which were recorded and are to be released on the Naxos label.
Hunter has won several awards, including first prize in the National Trumpet Competition Undergraduate Solo Competition, first prize in the National Trumpet Competition Trumpet Ensemble division, and second prize in the International Trumpet Guild Mock Orchestra Competition.
Outside of performing, Hunter maintains a small private teaching studio and regularly coaches college students and young professionals in audition preparation. In addition to his private studio, Hunter has taught the trumpet studios at Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University. He has also given masterclasses at The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Florida, and numerous other colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Hunter currently resides in Eastpointe, Michigan with his wife Kimberly, son Archer, and dog Daisy.
Hailed as "boldly evocative" by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, conductor Fabien Gabel is recognized internationally as one of the stars of a new generation of conductors. A regular guest of major orchestras in Europe, North America and Asia, Gabel has been praised by the San Diego Union Tribune as "A conductor... able to both lead and follow", and has been the Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec since September 2012, and Music Director of the innovative Orchestre Français des Jeunes, since 2017.
Gabel's 2018-2019 season features a diverse range of repertoire and seven conducting debuts, including his highly-anticipated podium debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as return engagements with leading orchestras around the world. In his seventh season as Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, he leads the orchestra with a star-studded lineup of soloists, including Lisette Oropesa, Michael Schade, and Marie-Nicole Lemieux. The conductor continues to lead major orchestras across the United States, returning to the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Milwaukee Symphony where last season Gabel "showed astounding musicianship" (Shepherd Express).
Gabel's European engagements feature debuts with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Vienna's Tonkünstler Orchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Warsaw Philharmonic, as well as welcome returns to the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine, engagements at the Philharmonie de Paris with the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France and the Orchestre Français des Jeunes, and with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Outside of Europe and the United States, Gabel makes debuts with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmania Symphony, and returns to the Seoul Philharmonic.
Recent major successful guest conducting collaborations include the London Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchester, Cleveland Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Washington's National Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt's Hessischer Rundfunk Orchester, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and regular collaborations with the Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Fabien Gabel has worked with soloists like Emmanuel Ax, Seong-Jin Cho, Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Alina Pogostkina, Julian Steckel, Johannes Moser, Antonio Meneses, Marc-André Hamelin, Beatrice Rana, Gautier Capuçon, Simone Lamsma, Xavier de Maistre, and Bertrand Chamayou, and singers such as Jennifer Larmore, Measha Bruggergosman, Danielle de Niese, Natalie Dessay, and Marie-Nicole Lemieux.
Fabien had first attracted international attention in 2004 winning the Donatella Flick competition in London, which subsequently led to his appointment as the LSO's assistant conductor for the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons. Since then, the LSO has engaged him regularly as a guest conductor.
Born in Paris in 1975 and a member of a family of accomplished musicians, Fabien Gabel began studying trumpet at the age of six, honing his skills at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, which awarded him a First Prize in trumpet in 1996, and later at the Musik Hochschule of Karlsruhe. He went on to play in various Parisian orchestras under the direction of prominent conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle and Bernard Haitink. In 2002 Fabien Gabel pursued his interest in conducting at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, where he studied with David Zinman, who invited him to appear as a guest conductor at the Festival in 2009. He has worked with Bernard Haitink and Sir Colin Davis as their assistant.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Tempest, fantasy-overture for orchestra in F minor, Op.18
The Tempest begins quietly with an air of calm and expectation, the music depicting a placid sea and Ferdinand's ship sailing along confidently. Soon the mood becomes intense and violent as Ariel, at the behest of the magician Prospero, summons a tempest. The music rages on; Tchaikovsky's orchestration is masterful in color and atmospheric splendor as the ship wrecks.
The music depicting the happenings on Shakespeare's fantasy island is finely imagined and intelligently structured throughout. The love theme used to express the burgeoning and then blossoming feelings between Miranda and Ferdinand is beautiful and convincing, if not quite as memorable as that in Romeo and Juliet. Ariel comes across quite colorfully here, too, with an air of fantasy always seeming to hover above the proceedings. In the closing section, the music reverts back to the calm, seafaring mood of the opening.
Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)
Henri Tomasi: Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra
Written in 1948 in response to an order from the CNSM of Paris, this concert was then declared "unplayable".
The composer resolved to prove the contrary with a concert performed on the 13th of November 1948 by the Orchestra of Radio-Hilversum (directed by Albert Van Raalte) with the Dutch trumpeter Jos Joots.
The "challenge" was first taken up in Paris, France on the 7th of April 1949 by Ludovic Vaillant, playing with the Orchestre National which was directed by the composer himself.
Next it was Raymond Tournesac who played it under the direction of Tomasi on the 28th of July 1949 in Vichy. An interview provided the occasion for the composer to present his work:
"If the style of my Concert for Trumpet is classic by its three movements, the content is not. There is neither subject nor central theme. It is pure music. I tried to make a synthesis of all the expressive and technical possibilities of the trumpet, from Bach up to the present including Jazz. Up until this time the use of the trumpet was relatively unrefined. It was considered as a secondary instrument while the interest here is in discovering all of its expressive resources. Its use has indeed been expanded by our modern composers. I don't pretend to be a precursor; I find myself in the middle of a period where one is demanding more from the so called minor elements of the orchestra and hope to have made a useful contribution to this captivating research". ("Journal de Vichy", 28-07-1949)
Then it was Maurice André who integrated it into his repertoire and a first record was made of the concert played by the Orchestra of Radio-Luxembourg and directed by Louis de Froment in 1963. The same prestigious soloist interpreted the work in a ballet version choreographed by Joseph Lazzini at the Opéra de Marseille on the 10th,16th and 18th of March 1963.
Some comments by Henri Tomasi on the work follow: "The first movement (Allegro and cadence) begins by a trumpet solo; a brief introduction to the 1st theme and of a 2nd that is soft and melancholic. The development of these two themes ends in a dangerous cadence. The second movement (Nocturne) develops an extensive melody with chromatic progressions and offers the soloist brilliant variations around the main theme. The Finale, built upon the 2nd theme takes on the form of a very lively rondo that brings in all the instruments of the orchestra".
The Concert for Trumpet became a 20th century international trumpet classic and was interpreted by a multitude of other excellent musicians including Pierre Thibaud, André Bernard, Guy Touvron, Eric Aubier, Wynton Marsalis, Sergei Nakariakov, Geoffrey Payne, Haruto Yoshida, William Forman, George Vosburhg, Gabriele Cassone, Mark Inouyé, David Bilger, Ole Edvard Antonsen, Giuliano Sommerhalder, Andrea Lucchi, Wolfgang Bauer, Alison Balsom, Sergiu Carstea, Hakan Hardenberger, and young French virtuosos, David Guerrier, Romain Leleu and Alexandre Baty.
The warm, playful and joyous character of this work reflects one of the most happy and favourable periods of Tomasi's life, a post War time when he had regained faith in life and vigor and when his carrier became widely renowned in Europe: Conductor at the Concergebouw, creation of his operas in Munich, Bruxelles, Paris, etc... He composed the Concerto for Trumpet while he was the 1st conductor at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.
Igor Stravinsky: Le Chant du rossignol (The Song of the Nightingale)
In less than five years, Igor Stravinsky turned from a faithful disciple of Rimsky-Korsakov into one of the world's leading modernist composers, a revolutionary who sent some listeners into high raptures and infuriated others with his completely novel approach to rhythm and harmony. To appreciate the extent of these changes, one need look no further than the opera The Nightingale, whose first act was written in 1909 and the second and third in 1914. The interruption was due to the beginning of Stravinsky's collaboration with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, resulting in the three great ballets The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. By the time Stravinsky returned to the opera after a five-year hiatus, he was a different composer than he had been when he first started it.
Stravinsky's choice of the Hans Christian Andersen story, in 1908, was inspired by Rimsky's then-recent The Golden Cockerel (1906-1907), another opera about a magic bird brought to an Emperor's court. Although divided into three acts, The Nightingale lasts only 45 minutes and is, for all intents and purposes, a one-act opera in three scenes.
Its brevity and the stylistic break in midstream have prevented The Nightingale from entering the standard operatic repertoire. Conscious of this fact, Stravinsky welcomed the opportunity, offered by Diaghilev, to write a shorter ballet version of the opera. The symphonic poem Le Chant du rossignol, which derives most of its material from the opera's more advanced second and third acts, has proven highly effective both as a concert piece and as a ballet score.
Stravinsky himself likened the clangorous opening of the symphonic poem to the ring of the early telephones in St Petersburg around 1904. The cheerful and rhythmically active music that follows represents the festivities at the Emperor's court, which the Nightingale is called upon to grace with its song (flute solo in a slower tempo). The Emperor makes his entrance to the sound of the "Chinese March", introduced by the strokes of the tam-tam, an austere ostinato (stubbornly repeated figure) in the violins, and short flourishes in the bass. The march melody features the Chinese pentatonic scale, while the rhythmic development and the orchestration are strongly reminiscent of The Rite of Spring.
The nightingale's unaccompanied flute cadenza is followed by a slow passage in which a solo violin plays the mournful melody the bird sings to Death in Act III. Then the festivities resume.Soon the artificial nightingale – a present from the Emperor of Japan – is brought in, with the oboe as its orchestral representative.The repetitious music of the mechanical contraption is interrupted by an angry passage: the Emperor has just realized that while everyone was listening to the fake nightingale, the real bird has escaped. Pianissimo, the solo trumpet intones the peaceful song of the Fisherman that opens and closes the opera.
In the next passage, the Emperor lies ill in bed. The specters of his past deeds are evoked by a somber march theme played by the bassoons, the bass trombone and the tuba. The frightful atmosphere is dispelled by the return of the nightingale (solo violin, solo flute), which then proceeds to heal the Emperor with its magic song. The entrance of the tam-tam suggests a funeral march: the courtiers mistakenly believe that the Emperor is dead. Then, having demonstrated the superiority of nature to artifice, the nightingale returns home and rejoins the Fisherman whose song, played again by the solo trumpet, concludes the symphonic poem.
Source: Peter Laki (kennedy-center.org)
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite, 1919
Sergei Diaghilev's Paris-based "Ballets Russes" was one of the greatest ballet companies in history, and one that united many of the best dancers of its time. Diaghilev, the director, combined the soul of a brilliant artist with the mind and skills of a shrewd businessman. He was committed to exciting and innovative productions, and he sought out the best modern artists and composers available. Among musicians alone, he worked over the years with Debussy, Ravel, Falla, Prokofiev, and others. However, he never made a more sensational, nor a more fruitful musical discovery, than when he engaged the 27-year-old Igor Stravinsky to write the music for Michel Fokine's new ballet, The Firebird. It was the start of a long collaboration that was to give the world Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, Les Noces, Mavra, and Apollon Musagète, and which ended only shortly before Diaghilev's death in 1929.
Since the end of the 19th century, there had been a great affinity between Russia and France. The political alliance between the two countries had brought Russia closer to France (France had always been close to Russia where French had long been the language of the educated classes). At the same time, the geographical distance and the difference in culture endowed things Russian with an exotic flavor in the eyes of the French. Both Debussy and Ravel admired and were influenced by the music of the 19th-century Russian masters Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.
To create a story of an appropriately exotic flavor, Fokine and his collaborators used several Russian fairy-tales in the scenario of The Firebird. The stories of the beneficent Firebird and the evil ogre Kashchei the Immortal are combined in an ingenious plot, which Eric Walter White summarized in his standard book on Stravinsky as follows:
A young Prince, Ivan Tsarevich, wanders into Kashchei's magic garden at night in pursuit of the Firebird, whom he finds fluttering round a tree bearing golden apples. He captures it and extracts a feather as forfeit before agreeing to let it go. He then meets a group of thirteen maidens and falls in love with one of them, only to find that she and the other twelve maidens are princesses under the spell of Kashchei. When dawn comes and the princesses have to return to Kashchei's palace, he breaks open the gates to follow them inside; but he is captured by Kashchei's guardian monsters and is about to suffer the usual penalty of petrifaction, when he remembers the magic feather. He waves it; and at his summons the Firebird reappears and reveals to him the secret of Kashchei's immortality [his soul, in the form of an egg, is preserved in a casket]. Opening the casket, Ivan smashes the vital egg, and the ogre immediately expires. His enchantments dissolve, all the captives are freed, and Ivan and his Tsarevna are betrothed with due solemnity.
According to the original plans, the music for The Firebird was to have been written by Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873-1945), and, after Tcherepnin's withdrawal, by Anatoli Liadov (1855-1914) or Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936). For various reasons, none of these more experienced composers worked out, so the score would not be ready on time. So Diaghilev approached the young Stravinsky, who had already worked for the Ballets Russes as an orchestrator. The young composer, honored by the commission, put aside the opera The Nightingale, whose first act he had just completed, and began work on the ballet.
To describe the magical world of fairy-birds and evil sorcerers, Stravinsky had a whole tradition to build on, a tradition he had inherited from his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In the last years before his death in 1908, Rimsky-Korsakov had written three operas on fantastic subjects, one of which was titled Kashchei the Immortal (the other two were The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, and The Golden Cockerel). In his fantastic operas as elsewhere, Rimsky-Korsakov made ample use of a special scale known to Russian musicians as the "Rimsky scale", which was subsequently adopted by the master's most famous pupil. The "Rimsky scale", nowadays called "octatonic", consists of a regular alternation of half-steps and whole steps: C-C sharp-D sharp-E-F sharp-G-A-B flat. This particular grouping of tones, lying outside the major-minor system, is always associated with the evil Kashchei. The music of the magical Firebird is also chromatic in nature, related in part to the Kashchei music. The motifs of the Tsarevich, on the other hand, are purely diatonic (using a traditional seven-note scale) and are derived from a central type of Russian folksong known as the "long-drawn-out" song (protyazhnaya pesnya). Both the story and the musical style of the ballet seemed highly original in the West, although in fact, both grew out of an indigenous Russian tradition.
Yet for all the Rimsky influence, Stravinsky's first ballet shows a remarkable individuality. The handling of rhythm in particular (with already a few typical Stravinskyan ostinatos, or "stubbornly" repeated figures) is quite innovative, and the orchestration reveals the hand of a true master. Stravinsky knew how to draw the most spectacular effects from his enormous orchestra. One may cite special items that have made history, like the harmonic arpeggios for strings in the introduction or the solos for the small D-clarinet at several points. But even more important are the multifarious new combinations of instrumental colors appearing on virtually every page of the score.
The 1919 suite is in five movements. The mysterious Introduction leads into the glittering Dance of the Firebird, followed by the slow and solemn Khorovod (round dance) of the captive princesses, based on a melancholy Russian folksong first played by the oboe. "Kashchei's Infernal Dance" is next, started by a fast timpani roll and dominated by a syncopated motif that arises from the lower registers (bassoons, horn, tuba) and is gradually taken over by the entire orchestra. This is the longest movement in the suite, including a lyrical countersubject symbolizing the plight of Kashchei's prisoners. The "infernal dance" returns, concluding with a wild climax. As a total contrast, the Firebird's Berceuse ("Lullaby") is a delicate song for solo bassoon. It leads directly into the Finale (the wedding of Ivan Tsarevich and the Princess), where the first horn introduces what is probably the most famous Russian folksong in the ballet. As this beautiful melody grows in volume and orchestration, it undergoes a significant metric change: the symmetrical triple meter (3/2) is transformed into an asymmetrical 7/4, bringing the music to its final culmination point.
The Firebird, a resounding success at the Paris premiere, remained Stravinsky's most popular work for half a century. Stravinsky himself conducted hundreds of performances of The Firebird, mainly in the form of the suites, of which the 1919 version became the best known. And though his style and artistic outlook had changed considerably (and repeatedly) during the intervening decades, even the 80-year-old Stravinsky had every reason to like the work that had catapulted him to fame at 28.
Source: Peter Laki (kennedy-center.org)