|Jean-Guihen Queyras (Photo by Marco Borggreve)|
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider leads the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a program of two Strausses, and music of Schumann: the Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr., and music from Richard Strauss' sly, seductive Der Rosenkavalier, with its loving, poignant finale. Also, Cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras performs Robert Schumann's lyrical Cello Concerto.
Saturday, December 15
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Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
♪ Manfred Overture, Op.115 (1848-1849)
♪ Cello Concerto in A minor, Op.129 (1850) *
i. Nicht zu schnell
iii. Sehr lebhaft
Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013): Trois Strophes sur le nom de Sacher pour violoncelle solo: III. Vivace (1967-1970)
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
♪ Der Rosenkavalier Suite, WoO 145 (TrV 227d) (1945)
Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899)
♪ Die Fledermaus Overture, RV 503-1 (1874)
Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello *
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider
Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit
Saturday, December 15, 2018, 08:00 PM EST (GMT-5) / Sunday, December 16, 2018, 03:00 AM EET (GMT+02:00)
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|Photo by Marco Borggreve|
He has performed with many of the world's great orchestras including The Philharmonia, Orchestre de Paris, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, Philadelphia, Tonhalle Zürich, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Netherlands Philharmonique, under the baton of conductors such as Franz Brüggen, Günther Herbig, Ivan Fisher, Philippe Herreweghe, Jiří Bělohlávek, Olivier Knussen and Sir Roger Norrington. He is a regular soloist with several early music ensembles such as Freiburg Baroque and Akadamie für Alte Musik Berlin and he made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York with Concerto Köln in March 2004.
His extensive repertoire incorporates a number of contemporary works and he has given several world premieres including Ivan Fedele's cello concerto (Orchestre National de France, Leonard Slatkin) and Gilbert Amy's concerto (Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall, Tokyo). He has also premiered and recorded Bruno Mantovani's concerto with the Saarbrücken Radio Sinfonieorchester and Phillippe Schoeller's Wind's Eyes with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg. He will be premiering a new cello concerto by Michael Jarrell in the 2012-2013 season, a co-commission by the orchestras in Utah, Lyon, Luxembourg and Suisse Romande.
Jean-Guihen is frequently asked to host artistic residencies. These have included projects in the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and De Bijloke in Gent. Since the 2010-2011 season, he has been "Artist in Residence" with the Hamburg-based chamber orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, with whom he leads and plays several eclectic programmes in the Laieszhalle Hamburg, Köln Philharmonie, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord Paris, the Konzerthaus Wien and the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam. This residency has recently been extended to include the 2012-2013 season. Furthermore, he will be soloist in residence of the Netherlands Philharmonic for the seasons 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.
Jean-Guihen's particular focus on repertoire for solo cello, which articulately demonstrates the exceptional narrative and expressive force of the monodic instrument, led him to devise and perform several series of concerts featuring the Suites by J.S Bach alongside contemporary works and he commissioned six composers (Kurtag, Harvey, Mochizuki, Amy, Nodaïra & Fedele) to write an "echo" to each of the six Bach Suites for solo cello, in a project called "Six Suites, Six Echos". He made his BBC Proms debut to unanimous acclaim (Haydn in C) in 2008 and appears regularly at the Aldeburgh Festival. His regular chamber music partners include the pianists Alexander Melnikov and Alexandre Tharaud and the violinist Isabelle Faust. He is a member of the Arcanto Quartet with Tabea Zimmermann, Antje Weithaas and Daniel Sepec, and performs regularly with Zarb specialists Kevan and Bijan Chemirani.
Jean-Guihen has made several successful recordings for harmonia mundi and, following the success of his much anticipated recording of Bach's complete solo Suites in 2008 for which he received immediate acclaim (Diapason d'Or and CD of the month in Diapason, CHOC du Monde de la Musique etc), he has released two further recordings; a Debussy-Poulenc CD with pianist Alexandre Tharaud, which was awarded the Diapason d'Or de l'Année in 2008 and "Cello Concertos of the 21st Century", released last year. Previous CDs include Schubert's "Arpeggione" alongside works by Berg and Webern (again with Alexandre Tharaud), Dvořák's cello concerto with the Prague Philharmonia under the baton of Jiří Bĕlohlávek) and Haydn and Monn's cello concertos performed on a period instrument with the Freiburger Barockorchester, praised in both The Independent on Sunday and the Saturday Telegraph as the definitive baroque version.
Jean-Guihen was the solo cellist of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, with whom he recorded the Ligeti Cello Concerto for Deutsche Grammophon, conducted by Pierre Boulez (Gramophone Contemporary Music Award). He recorded Dutilleux's Tout un Monde Lointain for Arte Nova/BMG and Boulez's Messagesquisse for Deutsche Grammophon (Gramophone Contemporary Music Award).
In November 2002, Jean-Guihen Queyras received the City of Toronto Glenn Gould International Protégé Prize in Music, awarded to him by Pierre Boulez and the Glenn Gould Foundation, and was recently made "Instrumental Soloist of the Year" at the French Classical Music Awards as well as "Artist of the Year" by the readers of the Diapason magazine.
Jean-Guihen Queyras is Professor at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany and one of the Artistic Directors of the "Rencontres Musicales de Haute-Provence" which take place in Forcalquier in July each year.
He has played a cello made by Gioffredo Cappa in 1696, on loan from Mécénat Musical Société Générale since November 2005.
|Photo by Lars Gundersen|
Szeps-Znaider has a particularly strong relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra; an orchestra he conducts and performs with as soloist every season, and with whom he has recently recorded the complete Mozart Violin Concertos, directed from the violin. The first album comprising Concertos 4 and 5 was released on the LSO Live label in March 2018 with The Strad extolling Szeps-Znaider's playing as "possibly among the most exquisite violin sound ever captured on disc". Concertos 1, 2 and 3 follow in November 2018.
His extensive discography also includes the Nielsen Concerto with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, Elgar Concerto in B minor with the late Sir Colin Davis and the Staatskapelle Dresden, award-winning recordings of the Brahms and Korngold concertos with Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic, the Beethoven and Mendelssohn concertos with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, the Prokofiev Concerto No.2 and Glazunov Concerto with Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony, and the Mendelssohn Concerto on DVD with Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Szeps-Znaider has also recorded the complete works of Brahms for violin and piano with Yefim Bronfman.
Szeps-Znaider (b. 1975, Copenhagen, Denmark) is passionate about supporting the next generation of musical talent and spent ten years as Founder and Artistic Director of the annual Nordic Music Academy summer school. He is now President of the Nielsen Competition, which takes place every three years in Odense, Denmark.
Szeps-Znaider plays the "Kreisler" Guarnerius "del Gesu" 1741 on extended loan to him by The Royal Danish Theater through the generosity of the VELUX Foundations, the Villum Fonden and the Knud Højgaard Foundation.
|Jean-Guihen Queyras (Photo by Marco Borggreve)|
Johann Strauss Jr.: Die Fledermaus Overture, RV 503-1
Although the form may have initially gained popularity in 1850s Paris, operetta soon filled the seats of theaters throughout Europe. Austrian audiences were particularly enamored with these quick-paced theatrical works by composers such as Offenbach and Suppé. The comic plots and infectious melodies of the genre were a natural fit for Johann Strauss, Jr., whose polkas and waltzes had been delighting Viennese audiences for years.
Strauss' most popular stagework, Die Fledermaus (The Bat), is best characterized as a romp – a husband sentenced to prison stops by a party on his way to jail, finds his wife in the company of an overly-attentive companion, and wackiness ensues. The catchy, tuneful music mirrors the quick-paced action onstage, and it is paired with remarkably skillful orchestration (Brahms, on hearing the show for the first time, is said to have remarked, "Now there is a master of the orchestra!"). It is no coincidence that Die Fledermaus is the single most oft-performed operetta in the repertoire.
The show's overture is in the grand tradition established by Rossini and other composers of light opera. Little attempt is made to fit the piece into any classical form; rather, the overture gives us a preview of the tunes that will be heard in the course of the evening. Polkas and waltzes spill effortlessly one after another out of the orchestra, the memorable melodies and sudden tempo changes foreshadowing the aural delights to come.
First performance: April 5, 1874, Theater an der Wien, Vienna. Johann Strauss Jr., conductor.
Source: Chris Myers (redlandssymphony.com)
Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op.129
It was rather surprising that the arch-Romantic Robert Schumann should have decided, in 1850, to essay his Cello Concerto in A minor, Op.129. Schumann had started learning the cello himself in the 1830s and he had written a number of instrumental duos in which the cello is an alternative to the horn or oboe or viola; but after the success of his first work specifically for cello and piano, the Fünf Stücke im Volkston of 1849, he may have felt encouraged to try the larger medium of cello and orchestra. As originally drafted (by October 1850 – it was Schumann's first large-scale composition after he took up his duties as Municipal Music Director in Düsseldorf that autumn) the work was entitled Konzertstück, presumably because of its comparatively modest scale and the way the three movements are run together into a fantasia-like continuum, with a network of subtle thematic cross-references.
Schumann may have intended the work for Christian Reimers, the principal cellist of the Düsseldorf Orchestra, but though he rehearsed the work with Reimers in March 1851 no public performance ensued, and an informal run-through with another cellist in 1852 had no more definite outcome. On the other hand these sessions gave Schumann grounds for plentiful revision, especially in balancing the orchestra's contribution against the solo part, all of which was incorporated in the score published in 1854. By that time Schumann's reason had given way and he was confined in the sanatorium at Endenich where he died two years later. Meanwhile his Cello Concerto remained unperformed. It only received its public premiere in Leipzig in June 1860 at the hands of the distinguished cellist Ludwig Ebert, and it did not secure its place in the repertoire until the early twentieth century, thanks largely to the championship of Pablo Casals.
The published title, "Concerto for cello with orchestral accompaniment", reflects the fact that Schumann keeps the cello centre-stage, and the orchestra often in the background, so that the soloist is able to project his lyrically expressive part without having to force his tone. In fact Schumann's orchestration is notably discreet, especially in his sparing use of trumpets and drums. Three introductory wind chords (themselves delineating an important motif) are all the preparation necessary for the soloist's superb first-subject melody, an archetypal flight of romantic fancy, at once ardent and melancholic. A more vigorous orchestral transition leads to the musing second subject in C major, which contains within itself another three-note motif that soon gains independent existence and, along with a further figure in terse triplet rhythm, plays a considerable role in the development. In the course of this the first subject is heard on the horn, in keys (such as F sharp minor) distant enough to have been hazardous had Schumann not known he could rely on the comparatively recently introduced valve horn.
The recapitulation is regular but flows seamlessly into the F major slow movement, a lyrical song without words in Schumann's most dreamily expressive vein. The gentlest pizzicato accompaniment backs the solo cello, which in the middle section embellishes the melody in plangent double-stopped thirds. The orchestra then alludes to the work's opening subject, and the cello breaks into an agitated recitative leading to the determined finale. This seeks to invest its resolute, vaguely march-like opening figure with a propulsive determination that Schumann's solo-writing, always prone to introspection, never quite allows. Reminiscences of the first movement continue to infiltrate the discourse, and the movement culminates in a cadenza with discreet orchestral accompaniment (itself an innovation) which favours the cello's lower strings, before coming to a brusque conclusion.
It was only three years after Schumann composed his Concerto that the twenty-year-old Johannes Brahms burst into the Schumann household at Düsseldorf, and it is really Brahms – who never wrote a cello concerto – who provides the point of contact for the four composers on this programme. It was in Düsseldorf that Brahms met Dietrich, and they became lifelong friends: almost immediately Schumann, Dietrich and Brahms collaborated in composing a violin sonata for the violinist Joseph Joachim. Also, from the 1850s Brahms was on friendly terms with Volkmann, whose music – including his Cello Concerto – he admired. And Gernsheim, of a slightly younger generation, also became a friend of Brahms, a staunch advocate of his works and an ardent "Brahmsian" in his own musical idiom.
Source: Calum MacDonald, 2007 (hyperion-records.co.uk)
Robert Schumann: Manfred Overture, Op.115
Schumann was possessed of a keen literary mind. His studies at the Leipzig and Heidelberg Universities and his own career as a writer, including an early attempt at a novel, helped to hone his natural insights in this direction. So, when the opportunity arose in 1848 to provide incidental music for Lord Byron's Manfred, he threw himself into the project with a fervor. Although only the wildly popular Manfred Overture has ever entered the repertory (the rest being rather difficult to program), Schumann's Opus 115 score actually includes 15 additional numbers for orchestra, choir, and various solo voices. The overture was first performed in March of 1852 with its composer at the helm, while a complete performance of the Manfred score was given by Franz Liszt in Weimar just three months later.
The Manfred Overture is one of Schumann's finest orchestral creations; it conveys very effectively the urgent despair of Byron's work. Three remarkable chords precede the pained, chromatic tune in the oboe and second violins. A somber texture is provided by the orchestra, here Schumann's frequently ineffective and superfluous doublings seem most appropriate, until the passion can be restrained no longer and a wild rout ensues. A few brief fragments of lyric thought in the major mode occasionally poke through – how effective are such outbursts of hope against so grim and indefatigable a background! The energy is momentarily spent as we near the midpoint of the piece; chorale-like fragments in the brass and isolated woodwind chords receive a terse commentary from the lower strings. As the anguished pursuit continues, it is easy to see the marked influence that Schumann's imitative orchestral procedures had on Tchaikovsky. The underlying E flat tonality is firmly re-established by a long succession of E flat minor chords in the winds, against which an agitated violin figure (with that piquant raised fourth, a prominent feature throughout the work) finally runs out of energy as the initial oboe melody returns.
Source: Blair Johnston (allmusic.com)
Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier Suite, WoO 145 (TrV 227d)
Richard Strauss avoided making available arrangements of music from his popular opera Der Rosenkavalier, and this seems contrary to the expedient way in which he handled his music. Various passages of the opera, however, lend themselves to being excerpted. Notable among them is the final scene, which is often presented by itself in concert, as are the waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier, which occur in various arrangements.
Despite the immediate and profound popularity of Der Rosenkavalier, Strauss was reluctant to create, let alone sanction, a suite from the opera or any other kind of work derived from the score. (This stance differs from the way he treated the first version of Ariadne auf Naxos  which was not only revised in 1917, but the incidental music for the play that preceded it became the basis for the suite Der Buerger als Edelmann .) In 1924, however, the librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal was involved with plans to film Der Rosenkavalier, and he persuaded Strauss to arrange music from the opera to accompany the film. Since this occurred approximately several years before sound was introduced into film, the score would have been performed by an orchestra while the film was projected.
The film itself was divided into two parts, the first starting with Baron Ochs's visit to the Marschallin and followed by flashbacks which gave some background on both characters. The cinematic narrative then went on to the events that occur in the second act of the opera; that is, the presentation of the rose; a love scene between Octavian and Sophie; the duel between Octavian and Ochs; and, at the end, Ochs retired to bed and reminiscing while waltzes play in the background. The second part introduced characters and situations that are not part of the opera, such as the Feldmarschall, who is informed of the events and returns to find a situation on par with Mozart's Marriage of Figaro when it comes to complications. The drama resolves, as it does in the opera, but the film required a different score than occurs in Der Rosenkavalier, and rather than undertake a new project, Strauss allowed Otto Singer and Karl Alwin to arrange the music. This is the first of the sanctioned arrangements, and this kind of treatment opened the door to other, popular arrangements of music from Der Rosenkavalier that circulated without the composer's imprimatur. In response to this, Strauss made his own arrangement of waltz sequences in 1934 and 1944; at the same time, other orchestral arrangements by various individuals emerged throughout the composer's lifetime. In fact, the best-known suite of music from the opera is an anonymous arrangement that Strauss eventually approved in 1945, and which is generally accepted.
The music opens with the horn call that occurs at the opening of the opera and proceeds to various moments from different parts of the work. The emphasis is on the waltz tunes, which pervade the suite, rather than some of the other, vocal music. The colorful and evocative orchestration famous in the opera is retained in the suite; in juxtaposing ideas from various parts of the opera, though, the timbres change more rapidly than on stage. For those who know the opera, the suite recalls many favorite moments; for those unfamiliar with Der Rosenkavalier the suite is an excellent introduction to the work.
Source: James Zychowicz (allmusic.com)
|Jean-Guihen Queyras (Photo by Marco Borggreve)|
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