The New York Philharmonic

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Open Rehearsal
This concert is now past.
Location: Avery Fisher Hall  (Directions)
Price Range: $18.00
 
Thu, Jan, 24, 2013
9:45 AM
All Open Rehearsals are “working” rehearsals and therefore the program may not be played in its entirety. Additionally, we cannot guarantee the appearance of any soloist at an Open Rehearsal.
Lorin Maazel

Program

  (Click the red play button to listen)
Romeo and Juliet, Overture-Fantasy
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture after Shakespeare (1869; rev. 1870 and 1880)

Though Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky dipped into the Shakespeare canon several times for inspiration, it is his impassioned treatment of the tale of the star-crossed lovers that is the best known of these. And he was not alone in that choice. None of the Bard's other plays has inspired more musical works... several operas, the most well-known being Gounod's opera Romeo et Juliette, Berlioz's dramatic symphony Roméo et Juliette, Prokofiev's unforgettable ballet score, and Leonard Bernstein's 20th century take on the drama, West Side Story, to name a few. Some years after his first version of the Fantasy-Overture Tchaikovsky toyed with the idea of composing an opera on the subject of Romeo and Juliet, but it never came to be. It was his compatriot Mily Balakirev who first suggested the subject to Tchaikovsky, giving advice — one might say to an insufferable degree — on what themes and key signatures he should use, the musical structure, up to providing him with the opening bars of the composition. But with this work — especially after his revisions — Tchaikovsky came into his own and found his true voice. Tchaikovsky's conflicted and angst-ridden romantic life at the time probably made him ripe for the subject as well, condensing Shakespeare's tragedy into just 20 minutes. The music follows the main strands of the tale, weaving together the themes of the feuding families and the impassioned young lovers. An ominous chorale opening symbolizes Friar Laurence and leads into violent crashes of conflict; finally, the great love theme is heard, and after repeated, heart-beat-like timpani strikes that slowly die away, the soaring love theme returns (now harmonically turned upside down) only to be cut off by the final dramatic cadence.
Chain 2: Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra
WITOLD LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994)
Chain 2: Dialogue for Violin and Orchestra (1984-1985)

"Over the last few years," said Witold Lutosławski, "I have been working on a new type of musical form, which consists of two structurally independent strands. Sections within each strand therefore begin and end at different times. This is the premise on which the term 'chain' was selected." Put another way, in this manner of organizing musical materials, the next section of a piece begins before the previous section is finished and is still going on, like the interlocking links of a chain. In this way, the composer wanted to "break the centuries-old European tradition of a series of sections, each of which would end with a cadence of all parts." Between 1983 and 1986 he composed his "Chain Trilogy," comprising Chain 1 for chamber orchestra, the present Chain 2 for solo violin and orchestra, and Chain 3 for symphony orchestra alone. But he pointed out that each work is an independent enterprise. Paul Sacher, the renowned conductor and champion of music by living composers, commissioned Chain 2 for the Collegium Musicum of Zurich and soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, then in her 20s, whose playing he admired. Lutosławski called Chain 2 a "miniature violin concerto," with sections resembling that genre, but also employing within that structure aleatoric elements, that is, improvised sections within fixed parameters. Thus he marked movements 1 and 3 "Ad libitum," movement 3 "A battuta" (conducted, or, with a beat), and movement 4 alternating between the two "A battuta - Ad libitum - A battuta."

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–75)
Symphony No. 5 (1937)

To throw Stalin’s cultural henchmen off the scent, Dmitri Shostakovich described his Fifth Symphony as follows: “I saw man with all his sufferings as the central idea of the work, which is lyrical in mood from start to finish; the finale resolves the tragedy and tension of the earlier movements on a joyous, optimistic note.” Yet despite the work’s grandeur and optimistic façade — huge climaxes, triumphant marches, exhilarating brass and percussion — a profound sadness cries out in the third movement, the emotional heart of the work. Shostakovich later wrote: “The rejoicing is forced, created under threat…. It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying ‘Your business is rejoicing.’ And you rise, shaky, and go marching off, muttering, ‘Our business is rejoicing, our business is rejoicing.’” Music critic Paul Serotsky posits that the Fifth “entered the hearts of millions, becoming the USSR’s most enduring and endearing musical export,” not just because it is a masterpiece, but “because some shadow of Shostakovich’s indomitable spirit had seeped, surreptitiously, into the souls of attentive listeners.”

Artists

Lorin Maazel by Andrew Garn

Lorin Maazel served as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 2002 to 2009. In the 2010–11 season he completed his fifth and final year as the inaugural music director of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house in Valencia, Spain, and at the start of the 2012–13 season he became music director of the Munich Philharmonic. Mr. Maazel was also the founder and artistic director of the Castleton Festival, based on his farm property in Virginia, which was launched to great acclaim in 2009. The festival expanded its activities nationally and internationally starting in 2011.

Mr. Maazel was also a composer, with a wide-ranging catalogue of works written primarily over the last dozen years. His first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell's literary masterpiece, had its world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in May 2005, and was revived at Milan's Teatro alla Scala in May 2008. A Decca DVD of the original London production was released in May 2008.

A second-generation American born in Paris, France, Lorin Maazel began violin lessons at age five, and conducting lessons at age seven. He studied with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff, and appeared publicly for the first time at age eight. Between ages nine and fifteen he conducted most of the major American orchestras, including the NBC Symphony at the invitation of Arturo Toscanini. In the course of his decades-long career Mr. Maazel conducted more than 150 orchestras in no fewer than 5,000 opera and concert performances. He made more than 300 recordings, including symphonic cycles of complete orchestral works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss, winning 10 Grands Prix du Disques.

Lorin Maazel was music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1993–2002); music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony (1988–96); general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna Staatsoper (1982–84, the first American to hold that position); music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972–82); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965–71). His close association with the Vienna Philharmonic included 11 internationally televised New Year's Concerts from Vienna.

Jennifer Koh by Fran Kaufman

Violinist Jennifer Koh is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, which she delivers with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. She is dedicated to performing the violin repertoire of all eras, from traditional works to new compositions, and she explores connections among the music she performs. Since the 1994–95 season — when she won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant — Ms. Koh has performed with leading orchestras and conductors around the world. Also a prolific recitalist, she appears frequently at major music centers and festivals. In 2009 she launched "Bach and Beyond," a recital project that explores solo violin repertoire from J.S. Bach's six sonatas and his partitas as well as newly commissioned works.

Highlights of Ms. Koh's 2011-12 season include performances of Bach's complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin presented by Columbia University's Miller Theater in New York, and appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Seattle, St. Louis, and Toronto symphony orchestras. She will be the first female to perform the solo violin role of Einstein in a new production of Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Toronto, Ontario. Ms. Koh records regularly for the Chicago-based Cedille label, which recently released Rhapsodic Musings and the Grammy-nominated String Poetic.

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