|Benjamin Beilman (Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi)|
In La Mer, Claude Debussy captures the elemental essence of the seas and expresses it through music; the transparent stillness of morning, the darkness of murky depths, and the power of surging tides through orchestral waves of sound. La Mer is a towering achievement, both in his career and in symphonic literature. Though written more than 100 years ago, it continues to influence musical portrayals of the sea to this day.
American violinist Benjamin Beilman performs Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61.
Friday, February 23
Los Angeles: 07:45 AM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 10:45 AM
Brasília: 01:45 PM
London: 03:45 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw: 04:45 PM
Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 05:45 PM
Moscow, Ankara: 06:45 PM
Beijing, Manila: 11:45 PM
Saturday, February 24
Tokyo, Seoul: 00:45 AM
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The DSO thanks violinist Benjamin Beilman for stepping in for Renaud Capuçon for the final two programs of the French Festival. Mr. Capuçon is unable to appear due to illness.
DSO's FRENCH FESTIVAL – CONCERT FIVE
Henri Rabaud (1873-1949)
♪ La procession nocturne, Op.6 (1910)
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
♪ Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61 (1880)*
i. Allegro non troppo
ii. Andantino quasi allegretto
iii. Molto moderato e maestoso – Allegro non troppo
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
♪ Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1894)
♪ La mer / The Sea (1903-1905, rev. 1908)
i. De l'aube a midi sur la mer
ii. Jeux de Vagues
iii. Dialogue du Vent et de la Mer
Benjamin Beilman, violin*
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin
Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit
Friday, February 23, 2018, 10:45 AM EST (UTC-5) / 05:45 PM EET (UTC+2)
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|Photo by Giorgia Bertazzi|
In Europe Beilman has performed with many of the major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Zurich Tonhalle and in 2016-2017 made his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras and the Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse. In the US recent highlights have included a return San Francisco Symphony, and debuts with Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony and Nashville Symphony orchestras. In 2016-2017 he returned to the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform with Nézet-Séguin both in subscription concerts at Kimmel Center and at Carnegie Hall, and with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he performed the world premiere of In Silence by Elizabeth Ogonek, as part of CSO's MusicNOW series. Conductors that Beilman has worked with include Gabel, Nesterowicz, Valčuha, Shani, Urbanksi amongst others.
Beilman performs regularly in recital and chamber music, appearing at halls such as Wigmore Hall, Stockholm Concert Hall, Louvre (Paris), Rudolfinum (Prague), Philharmonie (Berlin) and at festivals including Verbier, Aix-en-Provence Easter, Colmar, Moritzburg, Heidelberg and in 2017 he made his debut at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in the Robeco Summer Concerts in trio with Louis Schwizgebel and Narek Hakhnazaryan. In the US Beilman performs regularly at Carnegie Hall and is a frequent guest artist at festivals such as Music@Menlo, Marlboro, Seattle Chamber Music; further afield he made a ten-city recital tour of Australia in 2016 with Andrew Tyson and looks forward to recitals in SE Asia in the coming seasons.
Highlights of Beilman's 2017-2018 season include his Australian concerto debut with the Sydney Symphony where he performs Jennifer Higdon's Concerto, debuts with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, Houston Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and his return to the London Chamber Orchestra. In recital he returns to Wigmore Hall with Boris Giltburg, makes his recital debut in Seoul and in the US he premieres a new work written for him by Frederic Rzewski, commissioned by Music Accord, at the Boston Celebrity Series and elsewhere. In chamber music, he returns to Heidelberg Spring Festival and to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Beilman has received several prestigious awards including a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award. In 2010 he won the First Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and as First Prize Winner of the 2010 Montréal International Musical Competition and winner of the People's Choice Award, Beilman recorded Prokofiev's complete sonatas for violin on the Analekta label in 2011. In 2016 he released his first disc for Warner Classics titled Spectrum, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janacek and Schubert.
Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. He plays the "Engleman" Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61
Saint-Saëns composed a number of concertos, among them two for cello, five for piano, and three for violin. As he had the Violin Concerto in A major, Op.28 (1859), and the Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Op.28 (1863), Saint-Saëns composed the Violin Concerto No.3 in B minor, Op.61, for the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908). Sarasate gave the first performance of the work at one of the composer's many Monday soirées in 1880, the year Saint-Saëns completed the piece.
As in all the pieces Saint-Saëns composed for Sarasate, the Violin Concerto No.3 frequently allows the soloist to display technical prowess; however, the piece requires refined musicality, as well. The Third Concerto stands out among Saint-Saëns' works in the genre because it reverts to a format with three clearly separated movements.
The Concerto begins without an orchestral introduction; instead, only quietly rumbling chords that provide a harmonic background for the harsh violin theme can be heard. As the first movement progresses, it reveals itself as a very dramatic essay, contrasting passionate, effusive sections with more gentle passages. With a basic outline of sonata form, the movement features a first theme that conveys a sense of yearning and searching through numerous accents and an apparent lack of direction. After a few flashy flourishes from the soloist, the full orchestra powerfully re-states parts of the main theme, creating a transition to the contrasting, lyrical secondary theme. Fragmentation and thematic transformation propel the movement toward a rousing conclusion.
For the second movement, Saint-Saëns composed a barcarolle in which the violin and woodwinds exchange material. The key, B flat major, is striking in that it is a half step below that of the first movement. The melodies are Italianate in this 6/8 time movement, marked Andantino quasi Allegretto. Judging from Sarasate's own compositions, the second movement of Saint-Saëns' Concerto is well suited to the violinist's elegant style. The excellent close features a violin line of harmonics that climbs to the stratosphere and seems to disappear.
Surprisingly, a slow introduction, which one might expect to open the first movement of a symphony or concerto, precedes the finale. Marked Molto moderato e maestoso, the introduction, with its coarse violin part alternating with busy orchestral passages, avoids the key of the movement, B minor. After reaching the dominant, the tempo shifts to Allegro non troppo and the movement begins. Throughout the finale, the orchestra is more involved in the musical argument than it is in the previous movements. The opening, leaping theme with triplets contrasts with a rising scale that is the secondary idea, and at the center of the movement can be heard an elegant, cantabile section in G major in which the orchestra takes a leading role. Occasionally the movement takes on a "gypsy" flavor before a return of the leaping theme leads to a change to B major, a brief, chorale-like passage for the orchestra and flashy conclusion in the new key.
Source: John Palmer (allmusic.com)
Claude Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, known in English as Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is a symphonic poem for orchestra by Claude Debussy, approximately 10 minutes in duration. It was first performed in Paris on December 22, 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. The flute solo was played by Georges Barrère.
Debussy's work later provided the basis for the ballet Afternoon of a Faun choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and a later version by Jerome Robbins.
The original orchestral version was completed in 1894, and Debussy reworked it for performance on two pianos in 1895. The work is considered a quintessential example of musical Impressionism, a compositional style popular at the turn of the 20th century that was influenced by the artistic school of the same name.
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is a musical evocation of Stéphane Mallarmé's poem Afternoon of a Faun, in which a faun – a half-man, half-goat creature of ancient Greek legend – awakes to revel in sensuous memories of forest nymphs.
Debussy begins with a sinuous flute melody evocative of a graceful female form. Gently swelling phrases for strings, harp, and horns are soon added. The music proceeds without abrupt shifts; themes blend into each other, slowly rising and falling. The middle section features clarinet and oboe solos before the flute gradually retakes the spotlight. In the final moments, airy touches of percussion from finger cymbals are heard.
Source: en.wikipedia.org | Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)
Claude Debussy: La mer / The Sea
Claude Debussy's most concentrated and brilliant orchestral work, La Mer, is one of the supreme achievements in the symphonic literature. It is a work of such imagination that it stands apart from traditions and influences, and its modernity can still be felt today, more than 100 years after it was first composed.
The sea Debussy knew, from his childhood visits to Cannes and later travels in Italy, was the Mediterranean. It's a civilized sea, and Debussy caught its moods in all their richness. He subtitled La Mer "Three Symphonic Sketches", and the names of the movements provide us with verbal suggestions to stimulate our own sense of imagery.
"From Dawn to Midday on the Sea" explores the sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic changes of atmosphere and lighting that accompany the progress of morning on the water.
"Play of Waves" draws the imagination to the spheres of light and motion. One senses the rocking of the waves, the unexpected shifts of current, the iridescent glint of sunlight on the surface of the water and the mysterious depths teeming with life.
"Dialog of the Wind and the Sea" is at once ominous and urgent: One feels close to the sea's danger, as the orchestra heaves and swells in great washes of sound. A moment of suspenseful calm is reached before a great, final buildup shows the sea in stormy triumph, dazzling and full of elemental force.
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