|Bertrand Chamayou (Photo by Marco Borggreve)|
Under the baton of the talented French conductor Fabien Gabel, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs Richard Strauss' Don Juan, Op.20, and – with the French virtuoso pianist Bertrand Chamayou – Burleske in D minor for piano and orchestra, TrV 145, and Johannes Brahms' Symphony No.2 in D major, Op.73.
From its opening flourish, Strauss' Don Juan takes you on the legendary lover's adventures, until he ultimately faces the consequences of his promiscuity. The 24-year-old Strauss rose to international fame with this work, but didn't receive the approval of one of his early idols, the 19th Century master Johannes Brahms. To Brahms the new sound was pure indulgence, and honored the genius of past greats with a more traditional style embodied in his Second Symphony.
Sunday, November 19
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Monday, November 20
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Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
♪ Don Juan, Op.20 (1888)
♪ Burleske in D minor for piano and orchestra, TrV 145 (1885-1886)
Bertrand Chamayou, piano
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
♪ Symphony No.2 in D major, Op.73 (1877)
i. Allegro non troppo
ii. Adagio non troppo
iii. Allegretto grazioso
iv. Allegro con spirito
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Fabien Gabel
Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit
Sunday, November 19, 2017, 03:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / 10:00 PM EET (UTC+2)
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Bertrand Chamayou (b. 1981, Toulouse) has mastered an extensive repertoire displaying striking assurance, imagination, artistic approach and remarkable consistency in his performances. He is a regular performer in venues such as the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Lincoln Center, the Herkulessaal Munich and London's Wigmore Hall. He has appeared at major festivals including New York's Mostly Mozart Festival, the Lucerne Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn and Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
The 2017-2018 season will see him make his debuts with New York Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Bamberger Symphoniker, Staatskapelle Berlin, Atlanta Symphony, Orchestre symphonique de Québec and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Further highlights include his return to Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orchestre de Paris and Orchestre National de France. He will perform as soloist on tour in South Africa with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.
Chamayou is a regular chamber music performer, with partners including Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Quatuor Ebène, Antoine Tamestit and Sol Gabetta. The pianist will open the season at London's International Piano Series and perform in recitals at Wigmore Hall, Kissinger Sommer, Lakeside Arts Center Nottingham, in Monte Carlo, Vilnius, Essen, at Salzburg's Easter Festival and Great Performers series at Lincoln Center, New York.
Bertrand Chamayou has made a number of highly successful recordings, including a Naïve CD of music by César Franck, which was awarded several accolades including Gramophone's Editor's Choice. In 2011, Chamayou celebrated Liszt's 200th anniversary with a recording of the complete "Années de Pèlerinage" – also for Naïve – which he performed in several venues throughout the world. The album received rave reviews worldwide – including Gramophone Choice. The only artist to win France's prestigious Victoires de la Musique on four occasions he has an exclusive recording contract with Warner/Erato and was awarded the 2016 ECHO Klassik for his recording of Ravel's complete works for solo piano.
Recognized internationally as one of the stars of the new generation, Fabien Gabel is a regular guest of major orchestras in Europe, North America and Asia. He has been music director of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra since September 2013, and was recently appointed music director of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes (French Youth Orchestra).
Following a highly-anticipated debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, Fabien embarks on an exciting 2017-2018 season that will take him across the United States and Europe, including high-profile performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt's Hessischer Rundfunk Orchester and the Orchestre de Paris. Additional American appearances include performances with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, and the San Diego Symphony. After an acclaimed debut with the Deutsches Sinfonie Orchestra last season, Gabel's European engagements will again feature concerts throughout Germany (Staatskapelle Weimar in addition to Frankfurt), and welcome returns to the Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic, Antwerp Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Gabel has conducted leading orchestras around the world, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester in Hamburg, the DSO Berlin, Staatskappelle Dresden, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestra dell'Accademia Santa Cecilia di Roma, and the Seoul Philharmonic, among others.
His rapidly-expanding U.S. presence has seen him leading the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra and more.
Fabien Gabel has worked with soloists like Emmanuel Ax, Gidon Cremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Julian Steckel, Johannes Moser, Antonio Meneses, Marc-André Hamelin, Beatrice Rana, Gautier Capuçon, and Simone Lamsma, or singers like 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.
He made his professional conducting debut in 2003 with the Orchestre National de France and has since returned frequently. He now regularly conducts this orchestra in subscription concerts at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and recently recorded a French opera aria CD with them and mezzo Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Naïve).
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.
|Bertrand Chamayou (Photo by Marco Borggreve)|
Richard Strauss: Don Juan, Op.20
Don Juan (1888) stands out among Strauss' early tone poems for its almost perfect structure and concise design. Taking Nikolaus Lenau's fragmentary play of the same title as his starting point, Strauss fashioned a tone poem which would convey the story of the legendary inveterate womanizer. The connection with Lenau's version of the story is confirmed by the quotation of text as an incipit in the score.
Strauss quickly captures the impetuous nature of Don Juan in the soaring theme which opens the piece. While Strauss did not allow a narrative description to be printed at the premiere (as was then often the case with program music), the story is easy enough to follow. Taking the more lyrical sections as depictions of various women, one after another, one hears the exuberant opening theme that occurs between them, and which opens the work, as Don Juan's own. This theme intensifies and becomes more ardent throughout until, near the end, it dissolves into the stormy music associated with the Commendatore, the father of a woman Don Juan had seduced. As in Mozart's similarly themed opera Don Giovanni (1787), the Don meets his end at the hands of the Commendatore. In Strauss' treament, however, the spirit of Don Juan emerges even after his defeat.
Strauss himself conducted the premiere of the work in fall 1889, and it was well received from the start. In its exceedingly vivid orchestration, use of short motives, and intense lyricism, Don Juan provides a striking and enduring encapsulation of Strauss' musical language.
Source: James Zychowicz (allmusic.com)
Richard Strauss: Burleske in D minor for piano and orchestra, TrV 145
Two of the many stylistic personae of Richard Strauss are represented in this program: the first, chronologically, is exemplified by the Burleske (1885), the creation of an ardent young Brahmsian, his sensibilities shielded by his horn-player father, Franz, from the Wagner-Liszt "plague". However, Strauss would soon succumb to that very plague which his father most feared, beginning with Don Juan (1888) and reaching a peak of sensationalism and inventiveness with Ein Heldenleben - A Hero's Life (1898).
Burleske had its origins in Strauss' apprenticeship with the conductor Hans von Bülow in Meiningen, which took up the first half of 1885. The composer intended the solo for Bülow, who was equally renowned as a pianist. Its putative dedicatee, however, considered it too unconventional stylistically – and unmanageable by his small hands. Another stellar pianist of the time, Eugen d'Albert, was more favorably disposed and manually endowed. He accepted its dedication, introducing the piece to the public at a 1890 music festival in Eisenach, with Strauss conducting. Ironically, by that time Strauss had already expunged the Brahmsian influence from his musical thinking: the premiere of the futuristic Don Juan had, in fact taken place in November of 1889, several months before that of the Burleske.
That there should be a Brahmsian flavor to the Burleske should come as no surprise. Brahms was a frequent visitor to Meiningen, given his friendship with Bülow and that its orchestra was one of Europe's finest. The one time Strauss and Brahms did, in fact, meet was in Meiningen, in 1885.
The Burleske is in a single sonata-allegro movement. The timpani solo, the attention-grabbing inspiration with which the piece begins, is followed by a syncopated theme in parallel thirds that is purest Brahms. But the burgeoning Strauss is detectable as well, here and throughout – in the score's nervous energy, terse rhythms, and, most notably, in its wide melodic leaps.
Source: Herbert Glass (laphil.com)
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D major, Op.73
Johannes Brahms composed his Symphony No.2 in the summer of 1877, less than a year after the premiere of his Symphony No.1 – an astonishing fact given that the former had taken him fifteen years to complete. Finally confident in his abilities as a symphonist, and less troubled by the looming shadow of Beethoven, Brahms created a much more spontaneous work that was well received by both critics and audiences. When compared with the works of his contemporaries, this piece is conservative in both orchestration and formal structure. But it is by no means reactionary. Rather, Brahms revised and expanded upon the eighteenth century model, largely replacing thematic contrast with transformation and variation, and adding his distinctive richness of harmony and rhythm.
There is both unity and variety in this symphony: Brahms manages to combine the light and dark, the lyrical and forceful, the extroverted and introspective – all the while growing the piece organically from the "seed" of the very first three notes (D-C sharp-D, heard in the cellos and the double basses). This compositional economy is instinctively apparent to the ear, and helps to make the entire work intelligible without sacrificing interest or spontaneity.
Brahms's orchestration is full, rich, and often ingenious. He chooses to make the ensemble one unified voice, and has introduced his entire spectrum of instrumental colors after only 40 bars; however, one never gets the sense that he is overusing the orchestra. Instead he creates a texture in constant flux, shifting the focus of the ear, and extracting individual colors to great effect.
The piece opens with the three-note germinating cell and a simple horn melody; we are then introduced to two subjects in turn, the first announced by the violins, and the second by the cellos and violas in a luxurious duet. After developing both themes, Brahms creates an interesting recapitulation by briefly combining the initial horn melody and the first subject, and then dwelling extensively on the second subject. A short coda is attached to the end.
Two bassoons color the second movement's opening cello theme with a dark counterpoint, creating an immediate contrast to the first movement. It is here that we begin to see the more introspective side of Brahms, although this is by no means a brooding movement; there a surprising variety of expression within the slow prevailing tempo.
With the third movement, Brahms for the first time departs from a string-dominated texture, and allows a solo oboe to introduce the opening theme, while pizzicato cellos and a woodwind choir provide accompaniment. Full of rhythmic interest, this movement has frequent meter changes, expectant fermatas, and Brahms' distinctive cross-rhythms.
The moody and unpredictable finale oscillates between manic energy and somberness; Brahms is constantly changing direction, sometimes so abruptly as to pull the rug out from beneath your feet. The motion never stops, and when the final D major fanfare arrives, one has the sense of having been on a wild ride.
Source: Allen Schrott (allmusic.com)
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D major – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, David Afkham
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D major – Gewandhausorchester, Kurt Masur (HD 1080p)
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