The New York Philharmonic

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Open Rehearsal

This concert is now past.
Frank Peter Zimmermann
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $18.00
Tue, Nov, 20, 2012
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.
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)

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Overture to Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde (Son and Stranger)

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Overture to Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde (Son and Stranger) (1829)

Composed on his first visit to England, the charming one-act Liederspiel (or ballad play) by the 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn was a gift to his parents on the occasion of their silver anniversary celebration. The title is usually rendered as Son and Stranger, though a closer translation would be Homecoming from Abroad. The plot, with a libretto by Karl Klingemann, revolves around double and triple mistaken identities and disguises, a popular dramatic convention in the early 1800s. Mayor Schultz and his wife are about to observe his golden anniversary in that municipal position, but regret that their son Hermann, fiancé of Lisbeth, the mayor's ward, is in the military and can't be there. Enter Kauz, a traveling ne'r-do-well disguised as a night watchman, who has his eye on Lisbeth and decides to impersonate Hermann. Before long, the real Hermann appears, disguised as an itinerant musician. Following more exchanged identities and dueling serenades for Lisbeth (who spots the real Hermann, of course) the disguises come off, the truth is revealed, and everyone lives happily ever after. The music is comprised of an overture — featured on tonight's concert — and vocal numbers, punctuated by orchestral interludes. Mendelssohn himself conducted, and family members and musical associates performed, Heimkehr on December 26, 1829 at the Mendelssohn home before more than 100 delighted friends. A private joke, recounted in a 1903 New York Times article, added to the merriment that evening: the role of Schultz was composed for Mendelssohn's brother-in-law Wilhelm Hensel who apparently had no musical aptitude. He was given just a few bars of music — all on the note F; but even that proved beyond his abilities. As for the Overture, the Times called it "graceful and spirited," and said that in a piano transcription it became a particular favorite of young musicians who enjoyed playing duets together.
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Violin Concerto No. 1

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
Violin Concerto No. 1 (1945–48)


It was a dangerous time for Russian composers when Dmitri Shostakovich was completing his First Violin Concerto, a month after the notorious Zhdanov Decree had censured him for "bourgeois, formalist deviations." (Prokofiev and Khachaturian were also included in the denunciations.) Every art form was tyrannized by these cultural policies, from literature to sculpture, from painting to ballet. And certainly classical music. The pronouncements expressed hatred of all "Western culture," and required that art should speak to all people, not the elite few. Zhdanov's explicit denunciation was another in a long line of the composer's fallings in-and-out-of-favor with the Stalinist regime, where condemnation of one work would lead to contrition and redemption with pathetic attempts at more "acceptable" compositions. The Violin Concerto No. 1 was not premiered until 1955 (two years after Stalin's death) with David Oistrakh and the Leningrad Philharmonic; two months later, he joined the New York Philharmonic for the US premiere under Dimitri Mitropoulos. The four-movement concerto has two slow movements: the first, Nocturne, a quiet contemplation, and the third, a tragic Passacaglia, which ends in the most spectacular cadenza you're ever likely to witness. And there are two fast movements: the second, a wild Scherzo, and the fourth, the frenzied Burlesque, guaranteed to leave you amazed and emotionally drained. Veniamin Basner, the violinist at a sort of "try-out" of the piece with Shostakovich, declared: "The Concerto is a relentlessly hard, intense piece for the soloist. ... The violinist is not given the chance to pause and take a breath. I remember that even Oistrakh, a god for all violinists, asked Shostakovich to show mercy. 'Dmitri Dmitriyevich, please consider letting the orchestra take over the first eight bars in the Finale so as to give me a break, then at least I can wipe the sweat off my brow.'" The compassionate composer obliged.
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Symphony No. 9, From the New World

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
Symphony No. 9, From the New World (1893)

Early in his tenure in America Antonín Dvořák composed his beloved New World Symphony. A strong advocate of indigenous forms as inspiration for art music, he wrote: “Since I have been in this country I have been deeply interested in the national music of the Negroes and the Indians. The character, the very nature of a race, is contained in its national music. For that reason my attention was at once turned in the direction of these native melodies…. It is this spirit which I have tried to reproduce in my new Symphony … I have not actually used any of the melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the music and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, harmony, counterpoint and orchestral color.” Filled with hummable melodies, bold horns calls, and an unforgettable, ever-present theme, the Ninth also evokes the native sounds of his homeland, perhaps an expression of his homesickness for his native Bohemia.

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Conductor

Andrey Boreyko by Archiv Kuenstler

Andrey Boreyko, music director of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra since the 2009–10 season, was born in St. Petersburg and studied at his home town's conservatory, where he studied conducting and composition with Elisaveta Kudriavzeva and Alexander Dmitriev. He is principal guest conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi San Sebastian, Spain. He will become chief conductor of the Orchestre National de Belgique beginning in September 2012. Previous posts include chief conductor of the Bern Symphony Orchestra, Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, Jenaer Philharmonie (of which he is now honorary conductor), Hamburger Symphony, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, as well as principal guest conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Boreyko has conducted almost all the internationally renowned orchestras. He has led such European and American orchestras as the New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, Munich, and Rotterdam philharmonic orchestras; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; Boston, Chicago, London, and Vienna symphony orchestras; and Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Filharmonica della Scala, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio Franc.

Numerous CDs as well as TV and radio recordings demonstrate Andrey Boreyko's artistic versatility. His recording of Arvo Pärt's Lamentate as well as Valentin Silvestrov's Symphony No. 6 with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) was released by ECM Records Munich in 2005–06. Also with the SWR Hänssler Classic released a live recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 4 and the world premiere of his original version of the Suite, Op. 29 from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Mr. Boreyko recorded Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra in 2009.


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Violin

Frank Peter Zimmermann by Franz Hamm

Born in Duisburg, Germany, Frank Peter Zimmermann started playing the violin when he was five years old, giving his first concert with an orchestra at the age of ten. Since finishing his studies with Valery Gradov, Saschko Gawriloff, and Herman Krebbers in 1983, Mr. Zimmermann has been performing with major orchestras and collaborating with renowned conductors around the world. His concert engagements have taken him to important concert venues and international music festivals in Europe, the United States, Japan, South America, and Australia.

His recent and forthcoming highlights include a residency with Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra and performances with the Berlin Philharmonic led by Claudio Abbado, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Manfred Honeck, and Dresden Staatskapelle and Herbert Blomstedt.

Mr. Zimmermann is also an avid chamber musician and recitalist in Classical, Romantic, and 20th-century repertoire. His regular recital partners are pianists Piotr Anderszewski, Enrico Pace, and Emanuel Ax.

With violist Antoine Tamestit and cellist Christian Poltéra Mr. Zimmermann has formed the Trio Zimmermann, with which he has appeared in cities including Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, London, Lyon, Milan, Munich, Paris, and Vienna, as well as at the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals. 

Frank Peter Zimmermann was awarded the Accademia Musicale Chigiana Prize in 1990; in 1994 he received the Rheinischer Kulturpreis, in 2002 the Musikpreis of the city of Duisburg, and in January 2008 he received the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. His numerous recordings of Mr, covering a wide and varied choice of repertoire, are available on the EMI Classics, Sony Classical, BIS Records, and ECM Records labels.

Mr. Zimmermann plays a Stradivarius from 1711, which once belonged to Fritz Kreisler, and which is kindly sponsored by Portigon AG.

Learn more about Frank Peter Zimmermann

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