Tribute to Claude Debussy

Tribute to Claude Debussy

Thursday, April 26, 2018

César Franck: Le Chasseur maudit | Henri Dutilleux: Tout un monde lointain... | Claude Debussy: Nocturnes | Maurice Ravel: La Valse – Nicolas Altstaedt, University of Michigan Choral Union, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Fabien Gabel – Sunday, April 29, 2018, 03:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) – Livestream

Nicolas Altstaedt (Photo by Alescha Birkenholz)














French artists were masters in capturing the essence of a subject through suggestion and atmosphere – a trait not only found in visual arts and literature, but also through the music of French composers. The music of Franck, Debussy, Ravel, and Dutilleux conjures visions of distant worlds, the spirit of the hunt, the playfulness of natural light, and the soul of the dance in a program spanning a century of French impressionism.

The award-winning German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt (b. 1982) performs Henri Dutilleux's Tout un monde lointain... (Concerto for cello and orchestra).


Sunday, April 29
Los Angeles: 12:00 PM
Lima: 13:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 03:00 PM
Brasília: 04:00 PM
London: 08:00 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw: 09:00 PM
Athens, Kiev, Jerusalem, Moscow, Ankara: 10:00 PM

Monday, April 30
Beijing, Manila: 03:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 04:00 AM

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César Franck (1822-1890)

♪ Le Chasseur maudit, M. 44 (1882)


i. Le Paysage paisible du dimanche
ii. La Chasse
iii. La Malédiction
iv. La Poursuite des démons


Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013)

♪ Tout un monde lointain... (Concerto for cello and orchestra) (1967-1970)*

i. Enigme
ii. Regard
iii. Houles
iv. Miroirs
v. Hymne


Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

♪ Nocturnes, L. 91 (1897-1899)**

i. Nuages
ii. Fêtes
iii. Sirènes


Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

♪ La valse (1919-1920)


Nicolas Altstaedt, cello*

University of Michigan Choral Union**

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Fabien Gabel

(HD 720p)


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


Sunday, April 29, 2018, 03:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) / 10:00 PM EEST (UTC+3)


Live on Livestream



Photo by Alescha Birkenholz














Renowned worldwide for his musical integrity and effortless virtuosity German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt (b. 1982) is one of the most sought after and versatile artists today. As a soloist, conductor and artistic director of he enthralls audiences with repertoire spanning from the baroque to the contemporary.

At the beginning at the 2017-2018 season he performed the highly acclaimed Finnish Premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's new cello concerto under the baton of the composer at the Helsinki Festival. He will be Artist in Spotlight at the Concertgebouw in 2017-2018 and Artist in Residence 2018-2019 at the NDR Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, where is going to perform with Krzysztof Urbanski, Hannu Lintu and Christoph Eschenbach.  Later on he will be touring major european venues with the SWR Orchestra with Teodor Currentzis, the BBCSO, La Chambre Philharmonique with Emanuel Krivine and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Further engagements include debuts performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Suntory Hall, Finnish Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin with Juraj Valcuha, the Scottish Chamber as Soloist and conductor, Orchestre National de Belgique, Hongkong Sinfonietta and Les Violons du Roy as well as returning to the Deutsche Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin with Robin Ticciati.

Awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2010, he gave a highly acclaimed performance of the Schumann concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel at the Lucerne Festival. Since then he has performed worldwide with orchestras such as the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne- and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras working with conductors like Sir Roger Norrington, Andrew Manze, Lahav Shani, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Fedosseev, Leif Segerstam, Dmitri Slobodeniouk, Alexander Shelley, Fabien Gabel, Joshua Weilerstein, Gustavo Gimeno, Giovanni Antonini and Andrea Marcon amongst many others.

In recital, Nicolas performs solo and with partners Fazil Say and Alexander Lonquich. He will tour both Europe and the US and will visit Istanbul, London Wigmore Hall, Bozar, Tonhalle Zurich, Koerner Hall Toronto, Theatre des Champs-Elysées, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and New York Carnegie Hall amongst others.

In Autumn 2017 Nicolas toured  Australia extensively as part of a Musica Viva Recital tour with Aleksandar Madzar.

As a chamber musician, Nicolas regularly plays with Janine Jansen, Vilde Frang, Andreas Ottensamer, Pekka Kuusisto, Antoine Tamestit, Lawrence Power, Jonathan Cohen and the Quatuor Ébène performing at Salzburg Mozart and Summer Festival, Verbier, Utrecht, BBC Proms, Lucerne, Gstaad, Musikfest Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau and Stavanger.

In 2012 Nicolas has been chosen by Gidon Kremer to become his successor as the new artistic director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and in 2014, Adam Fischer asked him to follow in his footsteps as Artistic Director of the Haydn Philharmonie, with whom he regularly performs at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Esterházy Festival and will tour both China and Japan in the next season.

Nicolas premieres new music and performs with composers like Thomas Ades, Jörg Widmann, Thomas Larcher, Matthias Pintscher, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Fazil Say. He has commissioned the pianist/composer Hauschka as part of this season as Artistic Director of "Viva Cello" Festival in Liestal in 2016 inspired by a film script by Federico Fellini as well composers Sebastian Fagerlund, Thomas Larcher, Bryce Dessner and Helena Winkelman for new cello concertos.

Nicolas' recent recording of CPE Bach Concertos on Hyperion with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen received the BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award 2017. This year, he released a Recital CD with Fazil Say on Warner. Previous recordings of cello concerti by Haydn, Schumann, Ligeti, Shostakovich and Weinberg have been acclaimed worldwide.

Nicolas Altstaedt was a BBC New Generation Artist 2010-2012 and a recipient of the "Borletti Buitoni Trust Fellowship" in 2009. He plays a Giulio Cesare Gigli cello, Rome around 1760.

Source: nicolas-altstaedt.com


















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.

Source: fabiengabel.com


Nicolas Altstaedt (Photo by Alescha Birkenholz)















César Franck: Le Chasseur maudit

Despite his reputation as an idealistic cultivator of "pure" music, César Franck was as desirous of success as any other composer. And success in Paris meant either opera or an exciting orchestral work capable of firing the popular imagination, that is, the symphonic poem. During Franck's last and richest creative period, an inordinate amount of time was given to the composition of two operas, Hulda (1882-1885) and Ghiselle (1889-1890), which, though undone by incredibly mediocre books, contain some of his finest music and which remain almost wholly unknown. The symphonic poem began to take hold among French composers with Saint-Saëns' Le Rouet d'Omphale in 1871, followed by Phaëton (1873) and the enduringly popular Danse macabre (1874). Among Franck's pupils, d'Indy's imposing Wallenstein trilogy was completed the same year, and Franck's Les Éolides followed in 1876. The next three years were given to the completion of his oratorio, Les Béatitudes, with which he was largely preoccupied through the decade 1869-1879, and which he considered his masterpiece. That behind him, he dashed off Rebecca, a small oratorio intended to capitalize on the continuing vogue for things Oriental first sparked by Felicien David's Le Désert in 1844.

It was almost certainly Duparc who then turned Franck's attention to Gottfried August Bürger's ballad, Der wilde Jäger, for the subject of his own 1875 tone poem, Lénore, had been taken from another Bürger ballad. Laurence Davies, the eminent critic and author César Franck and His Circle, dismisses Bürger's narrative as "a Lisztian tale of adventure about a Count who defies the Sabbath to go hunting", thus trivializing both its import and its musical suggestiveness which Franck rang into ringing bronze in Le Chasseur maudit. The errant nobleman pursues the hunt with preternatural savagery while committing the same trespasses for which Satan was banished from heaven – pride, sacrilege, and defiance. From the distant bells to the fury of the hunt and the count's seizure by demons who condemn him to ride the skies throughout eternity, Franck unfolds the tale with the relish of a savvy raconteur who knows how to call to his aid spellbinding melody, viscerally gripping detail, and richly evocative orchestral color. The work was given its premiere at the 132nd concert of the Société National de Musique, Salle Érard on March 31, 1883, conducted by Édouard Colonne, where it shared a program with the tone poem, Viviane (1882), by his pupil, Chausson.

Source: Adrian Corleonis (allmusic.com)



Henri Dutilleux: Tout un monde lointain... (Concerto for cello and orchestra)

Although it is one of the most significant concertante works for cello and orchestra to have appeared during the second part of the twentieth century, the words cello concerto do not appear anywhere on the score of Tout un Monde Lointain (A Whole Remote World). Dutilleux took this title from Baudelaire's poem "La chevelure", from which the individual titles of the five movements are also taken. These ("Enigma", "Gaze", "Surges", "Mirrors", and "Hymn") suggest something of the atmosphere of the whole, but are not to be interpreted too literally. Structurally, the work is extremely complex. The opening movement sets out a basic dialogue between solo cello and orchestra, wide-ranging in tempo and registral effects, but with no sense of resolution between the protagonists. The music is cast as a set of variations on the 12-note theme heard at the outset and cross-referenced in each of the successive movements. The second and fourth sections are slow moving, while the third has the function of a scherzo, with solo writing of enormous technical difficulty. The final movement ("Hymn") is in the form of a vibrant Allegro, though the enigmatic overall feel of the work is still evident here. Dutilleux was commissioned to write the work by Igor Markevitch, who wanted a new concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich to perform with his Lamoureux Orchestra in the mid-1960s. Ironically, by the time Dutilleux began to write it, Markevitch had been replaced and the work was premiered by Rostropovich and the Paris Orchestra in Aix-en-Provence in 1970.

Source: Michael Jameson (allmusic.com)



Claude Debussy: Nocturnes

Claude Debussy's Three Nocturnes for Orchestra went through several incarnations before eventually assuming their final form. They were sketched under the title "Trois scènes au crépuscule" as early as 1892, and prior to their completion in 1899, Debussy toyed with the idea of casting them as vehicles for solo violin and orchestra. Debussy's developing skill as an orchestral colorist, first hinted at in 1892 with the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, comes to the fore in the Nocturnes, particularly the second, "Fêtes", which is regarded by many as one of the composers supreme creations.

A special role is allotted to the English horn in "Nuages" (Clouds), the first piece of the group. Thin, two-voice counterpoint in steady quarter notes provides a background for the English horn's rather plaintive gesture. The same melodic fragment is repeated several times with very little alteration or extension, interrupted occasionally by comments from the French horn section. A stark contrast is provided by a pentatonic interlude, scored for flute and harp against a sustained chordal background and marked "Un peu animé". The English horn raises its quiet voice again, only to dissolve against the pianissimo tremolo background as the flute takes up its melody one more time. The quietly pulsating pizzicati of "Nuages" conclusion provide a sense of "grey agony", as Debussy put it.

"Fêtes" (Festivals) will be friendly ground to any listener familiar with the final movement of Respighi's 1929 work along the same lines, Feste Romane. The juxtaposition of a forceful, even percussive, rhythmic ostinato in 12/8 time with the earthy tune of the brass band (representing the Garde Républicaine) provides for the same kind of multi-textural feel that Respighi would exploit even further three decades later. Through sheer repetition the music builds to several swaggering climaxes, only to be deflated each time and have to begin the process all over again. The music trails away into nothingness as the brass band finally completes its journey through the heart of the celebration. Remarkable about "Fêtes" is Debussy's ability to hint at raunchiness and vulgarity within the context of his own extremely refined soundworld.

A vocalizing (i.e., textless) women's chorus is added to the ensemble for "Sirènes", the last, and in many ways the most evocative of the Nocturnes. One must not be misled by "Sirènes" repetitiveness and apparent simplicity – a simplicity meant to parallel the deceptively innocent charm of the mythological sea sirens – for here is a work of great subtlety indeed. The dense intricacy of the orchestral effects contained throughout the piece, set almost exclusively at a piano or pianissimo dynamic indication, has reminded more than one listener of the techniques of that most accomplished of orchestrators, Maurice Ravel. Debussy's methods, however, are entirely his own. Not surprisingly, the music drifts away into the sea, floating upon the few sparse harmonics of the two harpists.

Source: Blair Johnston (allmusic.com)



Maurice Ravel: La valse

Maurice Ravel began "La valse" in 1919 and finished it the following year; the first performance was given on December 12, 1920, in Paris. The score calls for three flutes and piccolo, three oboes and english horn, two clarinets and bass clarinet, two bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, snare drum, castanets, tam-tam, antique cymbals, celesta, two harps, and strings. Performance time is approximately thirteen minutes.

Ravel finished "La valse" in 1920. It wasn't what Diaghilev expected and he refused to stage it: "...this is not a ballet; it is a portrait of a ballet, it is a painting of a ballet". The two men never worked together again. Nonetheless, Ravel published the piece as a "choreographic poem for orchestra", and it was finally danced in Antwerp in 1926 and in Paris in 1928 by Ida Rubinstein's troupe, which also gave the premiere of Boléro just two days later.

Source: Phillip Huscher (program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra)












More photos


See also


Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in A minor (Version for cello and string orchestra) – Nicolas Altstaedt, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra (HD 1080p)

Joseph Haydn: Cello Concerto No.1 in C major – Nicolas Altstaedt, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen (HD 1080p)

Camille Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor – Nicolas Altstaedt, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Matthias Foremny (HD 1080p)

Ernest Bloch: Schelomo, Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra – Nicolas Altstaedt, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Lahav Shani (HD 1080p)

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