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Friday, March 23, 2018

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A major | Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto in D minor | Jean Sibelius: Pohjola's Daughter – Augustin Hadelich, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Jukka-Pekka Saraste – Saturday, March 24, 2018, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) – Livestream

Augustin Hadelich

Beethoven regarded his Seventh Symphony as one of his best works. Premiered as part of a patriotic program honoring soldiers wounded in battle against Napoleon's forces, its first audience, still reeling from previous French occupation, enthusiastically welcomed its rhythmic energy and spontaneity. They also instantly demanded an encore of the second movement, a march-like procession among his most recognizable works, and widely found in film and television today.

Italian violinist Augustin Hadelich performs Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.15.

Saturday, March 24
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Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

♪ Pohjola's Daughter, Op.49 (1906)

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

♪ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.15 (1938-1939)*

i. Moderato con moto
ii. Vivace
iii. Passacaglia: Andante lento (un poco meno mosso)


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

♪ Symphony No.7 in A major, Op.92 (1811-1812)

i. Poco sostenuto – Vivace

ii. Allegretto
iii. Presto – Assai meno presto (trio)
iv. Allegro con brio

Augustin Hadelich, violin*

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Jukka-Pekka Saraste

(HD 720p)

Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

Saturday, March 24, 2018, 08:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) / SundayMarch 25, 2018, 2:00 AM EET (UTC+2)

Live on Livestream

Augustin Hadelich (b. 1984, Italy) is celebrated for his technique, poetic sensitivity, and gorgeous tone. He has performed with every major American orchestra as well as an ever-growing number of ensembles in the UK, Europe, and Asia. He has also appeared at most of the world's prominent music festivals, including the BBC Proms, Tanglewood, Blossom, Aspen, Bravo!, Vail, Chautauqua, and others.

An active recitalist and chamber musician, Hadelich has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Kennedy Center, the Louvre, and elsewhere, and his collaborators include Jeremy Denk, Kim Kashkashian, Cho-Liang Lin, Joyce Yang, Midori, and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard quartets. He is a co-founder and member of the H3 Trio, alongside pianist Martin Helmchen and cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Hadelich won a Grammy Award for his recording of Dutilleux's Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony. His discography also includes music by Paganini, Tchaikovsky, Lalo, Mendelssohn, and others.

Hadelich has received an Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, the inaugural Warner Music Prize, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter. Born in Italy to German parents, Hadelich studied with Joel Smirnoff at The Juilliard School. He plays the 1723 "Ex-Kiesewetter" Stradivari violin, on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

Source: DSO Performance Magazine, Spring 2018

Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste began his career as a violinist before training as a conductor with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He has served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra (Cologne) since 2010, and is co-founder of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, Finnish Chamber Orchestra, and Tammisaari Festival. He previously held principal and guest conductorships with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Saraste's guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and many others. His discography includes the complete symphonies of Sibelius and Nielsen with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as works by Bartók, Dutilleux, Mussorgsky, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Brahms, Bruckner, and Friedrich Cerha with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and WDR Symphony Orchestra.

Saraste has received the Pro Finlandia Prize, the Sibelius Medal, and the Finnish State Prize for Music. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from York University, Toronto, and an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy.

Source: DSO Performance Magazine, Spring 2018

Jean Sibelius: Pohjola's Daughter, Op.49

(Scored for 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 cornets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, harp, and strings. Approx. 12 minutes.)

The lore of Finland's national epic poem, the Kalevala, runs through much of Sibelius's music, and nowhere more colorfully than in his descriptive tone poem, Pohjola’s Daughter, which he completed in 1906. Pohjola's Daughter tells the story of the aged hero, Väinämöinen, returning home from the dark northern land of Pohjola, when he suddenly looks up in the sky and sees Pohjola's daughter seated on a rainbow, spinning yarn. He woos her to no avail and, instead of coming down, she sets him the impossible task of building a boat made of splinters that fall from her spindle. Try as he might, he cannot accomplish it, so he juts his chin, gathers up his pride, and heads onward in his sleigh.

Long thought to have been composed rather quickly in 1905-06, the "symphonic fantasy", as the composer called it, went through a five-year period of gestation and transformation. Sketches for an orchestral work titled Luonnotar first appeared in 1901, when Sibelius was in Italy and working on his Second Symphony. By 1905, his letters make mention of the new symphonic phantasy and his sketchbooks indicate that themes from Luonnotar were absorbed into Pohjola's Daughter. (A vocal-orchestral work, titled Luonnotar and listed as Opus 70, later appeared in 1913).

The work reveals Sibelius's mature style in its first full bloom. It opens with several dark moody themes associated with Väinämöinen, growing out of the lower strings and woodwinds. These culminate in a brassy fanfare at the moment he spies Pohjola' s daughter. Her theme (the second subject of a symphonic sonata form) is given to the flutes in a distant key center, with a glittering harp accompaniment. Väinämöinen's attempt to build the boat while she mocks him from above is set in a long, climactic development section combining the two characters’ themes. Finally, his brass fanfare returns, heralding an opulent coda that combines with her harp theme.

Source: Carl Cunningham, DSO Performance Magazine, Spring 2018

Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.15

(Scored for 3 flutes [2 doubling on piccolo], 2 oboes [1 doubling on English horn], 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, and strings. Approx. 32 minutes.)

Edward Benjamin Britten got a good head start composing music – by age 10 he had written an oratorio and a string quartet, and by 16 he had added on a symphony, six more string quartets, 10 piano sonatas, and a number of other works. His first opera, Peter Grimes, premiered when he was just 32, and his fame solidified immediately. By the time he died he had written hundreds of works, including operas, symphonies, choral pieces, chamber music, film scores, and countless fragments and songs.

And yet there was only one violin concerto! Premiered in New York in 1940, the piece received mixed reviews, and Britten revised it in 1950 and again in 1958. The concerto is in three movements, but it inverts the typical fast-slow-fast structure and is instead slow-fast-slow, a move borrowed from Prokofiev and Walton. There is a decidedly dark hue to the work, which is seen by many as a response by the pacifist Britten to the horrors of the Spanish Civil War.

Apart from the non-traditional layout of the movements, there is the unusual role for the soloist, along with many features of Britten's distinctive style – among them economy of material subjected to very imaginative variations, and a brilliant and dramatic use of orchestral color. The first movement begins with five notes on the timpani followed by a high and lyrical melody by the solo violin, clearly an homage to the beginning of Beethoven's great concerto. The second theme is more rhythmic and insistent, and during the development the two themes are interwoven. The second movement is very fast and extremely difficult for the soloist, and is in Scherzo-and-Trio form, with the contrasting Trio section somewhat more subdued but still full of the menacing character of the movement as a whole. There is a brilliant cadenza which leads directly into the last movement, which Britten cast in the form of a passacaglia: a kind of variation form in which a melodic pattern is played repeatedly with inventive counter-melodies played over it. This was a favorite device of the composer, used to great effect in Peter Grimes. There follow nine highly inventive and expressive variations as the movement journeys to its ambiguous and unsettled conclusion.

Source: DSO Performance Magazine, Spring 2018

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A major, Op.92

(Scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, and strings. Approx. 36 minutes.)

The first performance of Beethoven's Symphony No.7 took place five years after the joint premiere of his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, and it's possible that absence made the audience's hearts grow fonder – "All persons, however they had previously dissented from his music, now agreed to award him his laurels", wrote biographer Anton Shindler about the concert (which, interestingly, was co-organized by Johann Nepomuk Mälzel, inventor of the metronome). While not as wellknown as the mighty Fifth or Ninth, Beethoven's Seventh is no less characteristic of the composer's scope and style.

The work begins with what could be the longest symphony introduction ever, a staggering 62 bars marked Poco sostenuto ("somewhat sustained"). A solo flute then introduces the main theme, which is exuberantly repeated and developed over the course of the movement.

The second movement, the Symphony's most well-known, was so applauded at the work's premiere that the ensemble encored it in its entirety. That fame persists (Poco sostenuto?), as the movement is often performed as a standalone symphonic work, and during Beethoven's lifetime it was even used to replace less-beloved movements in his other symphonies!

The third movement, a scherzo, begins with the main theme in the winds set off by the timpani. The lively tempo is only briefly interrupted by a contrasting trio, with a melody based on an old Austrian pilgrim hymn. The movement concludes with five swift chords, but not before Beethoven restates the opening bars of the trio, perhaps a promise of repetition to come later.

The frenetic final movement tumbles and bounds towards a finale that English conductor Sir Donald Tovey called "a triumph of Bacchic fury". Some suggested that the composer was drunk when he composed the movement, to which Beethoven biographer Romain Rolland responds with a resounding affirmation: "intoxicated with poetry and genius!".

Source: DSO Performance Magazine, Spring 2018

More photos

See also

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A major – Wiener Philharmoniker, Christian Thielemann (HD 1080p)

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A major – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Iván Fischer (HD 1080p)

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