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NOTES OF VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, WALTON AND TCHAIKOVSKY

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

The first performance of the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis took place at the Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, England, on September 6, 1910, with the composer conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. 

The first performance of this work by the Charlotte Symphony took place on November 17, 1971 with Jacques Brourman conducting at Ovens Auditorium. The third and most recent performance set took place November 9 & 10, 2001 with William Eddins conducting at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

In 1904, while working as an editor Vaughan Williams discovered a series of melodies by the 16th-century English composer, Thomas Tallis. One Tallis melody in particular greatly appealed to Vaughan Williams.  It originally appeared in the 1567 English Psalter to serve as the music for the text "Why fumeth in sight: the Gentiles spite, In fury raging stout?"  This served as the basis for one of the most radiant English orchestral works of the 20th century, the "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis."
In a review of the premiere, Fuller Maitland, writing for The Times, described the unique qualities of Vaughan Williams's masterpiece: "The work is wonderful because it seems to lift one into some unknown region of musical thought and feeling.  Throughout its course one is never quite sure whether one is listening to something very old or very new..."

Walton VIOLA CONCERTO

The first performance of the Viola Concerto took place at Queen's Hall in London, England, on October 3, 1929, with Paul Hindemith as soloist and the composer conducting the Henry Wood Symphony Orchestra.  

The first (and only) performance of this work by the Charlotte Symphony took place on January 19 & 20, 1996 with Christopher Wilkins conducting at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

The great conductor Sir Thomas Beecham suggested to Walton that he compose a Concerto for the prominent British violist, Lionel Tertis.  Walton completed the Concerto in early 1929 and sent it to Tertis for his approval.  Tertis, however, rejected the work, finding it too modern for his tastes.

Despite limited rehearsal time, the premiere of the Walton Viola Concerto was a great success.  Tertis was in the audience, and sent a letter to Walton, apologizing for his initial assessment of the score.  In short order, Lionel Tertis also performed the Walton Concerto and remained a staunch advocate for the piece.

"One work of which I did not give the first performance was Walton's masterly concerto. With shame and contrition I admit that when the composer offered me the first performance I declined it. I was unwell at the time; but what is also true is that I had not learnt to appreciate Walton's style. The innovations in his musical language, which now seem so logical and so truly in the mainstream of music, then struck me as far-fetched." -- Lionel Tertis

TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 5 in E minor

The first performance of the Symphony No. 5 took place in St. Petersburg on November 17, 1888, with the composer conducting. 

The first performance of this work by the Charlotte Symphony took place on February 21, 1936 with Guillermo S. de Roxlo conducting at Alexander Graham Middle School.  The thirteenth and most recent performance set took place on January 11 & 12, 2008 with William Eddins conducting at the Belk Theater of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

In the spring of 1888, a decade after completion of his Fourth Symphony, Tchaikovsky was determined to focus his attentions on composing.  He wrote to his brother, "first this summer I shall without fail compose a symphony."

Tchaikovsky insisted that his Fifth Symphony did not contain an extra-musical program. However, the Symphony's introduction, frequent reappearance, and dramatic metamorphosis of a central leitmotif certainly  seem to hint at some extra-musical significance. That notion is supported by the following words, located among Tchaikovsky's sketches for the Fifth Symphony:

Intr(oduction). Total submission before Fate--or, what is the same thing,  the inscrutable design of Providence.
Allegro. I. Murmurs, doubts, laments, reproaches against...XXX.
2. Shall I cast myself into the embrace of faith?
A wonderful programme, if only it can be fulfilled.

The question of whether the Fifth Symphony depicts a struggle with Fate will probably never be conclusively resolved.  In the final analysis, such considerations are secondary to the glorious music of this gripping and unforgettable symphonic journey.

Program notes by Ken Meltzer.
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Posted in Classics. Tagged as Classical, CSO Musicians, History.

DECEMBER FEATURED FAMILY MEMBER

 


Name: Andrea Mumm

Hometown: Ridgewood, NJ

Instrument: Harp

When did your musical experience begin? From birth!  My mother was pregnant with me while recording the 1987 Metropolitan Opera Wagner's Ring Cycle.  I started playing violin at age 3, piano at age 5, and harp at age 11.

What brought you to the CSO family? I saw a posting for a Principal Harp opening (a rarity overall) and decided to take the audition.  I had heard wonderful things about the city of Charlotte and the CSO and was thrilled when I won the audition!

What are your artistic dreams and aspirations?  I am so lucky to already have, what I consider, my dream job!  I have always wanted to be principal harp of a professional orchestra and am so honored to work with the CSO for my career.  I also love playing chamber music and teaching.  Hopefully in the future I will also teach at a college or university.

Name a performer you respect; why?  The first people that pop into my mind are my mother (a violinist) and father (a violist).  I was fortunate to grow up in a house where the first thing I remembering hearing was a full and beautiful string sound.  I try to emulate that same sound in my harp playing.  Along those same lines, I don't know what I would do without the recordings of Jacqueline du Pré.  Her recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto never fails to give me chills.

What's your vision for the future of the arts in Charlotte?  As the city of Charlotte grows, I would love to see the CSO and other arts organizations too grow and change with the diverse culture and people that call Charlotte home.  The arts are an integral part of every city and we are fortunate enough to have world-class musicians and artists that reside in Charlotte.
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Posted in Education & Community. Tagged as Charlotte Symphony, Classical, CSO Musicians, family.

2012 – A YEAR IN REVIEW

"The Symphony is a family, and that family embraces the audience--the people who work for the symphony, the volunteers, everyone who comes to concerts, everyone who listens on radio--it's a community; it's a family." - Christopher Warren-Green

2012 was a good year for the Charlotte Symphony family. We said good-bye to some individuals but welcomed many more new additions to our family. Here's twelve stories that highlight the organization's happenings in 2012. 

12.  First Annual Ulysses Festival
The CSO along with  N.C. Dance Theatre, Opera Carolina and other regional cultural partners participated in a month-long celebration of the arts community. The theme for the inaugural festival was The Music of Tchaikovsky.
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11.  Entire Artistic 'Family' Takes the Stage
For the first time in Charlotte Symphony history, members of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO) and Junior Youth Orchestra (JYO), the Winterfield Elementary Youth Orchestra, the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, and Charlotte Symphony musicians performed together on the Belk Theater stage. 
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10. Violins of Hope
Charlotte had the great honor of hosting the North American premiere of this exhibit which restores the memory of the nameless millions, including the musicians and artists who were lost in the Holocaust. Numerous events took place throughout the city and culminated with the performance,  Triumph of Hope: Violins of Hope with the Charlotte Symphony
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9. 11th Summer Pops at Symphony Park
The CSO continued its tradition of delighting audiences with special outdoor performances at the beautiful Symphony Park including an Independence Day concert and fireworks show. 
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8. Instruments for Kids Program Launch
Donated instruments are used in the symphony's extensive education and community programs, creating a lending library of musical instruments for students who don't own their own.
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7. Live Image Magnification 
An All-Tchaikovsky program gave audiences the chance to view the orchestra in a brand new way via video cameras and a large screen.  Patrons also voted by text message for the encore piece. 
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6. Martin Heads to Dallas and Donor Steps In
After four great years, Jonathan Martin left Charlotte to become president and chief executive of the Dallas Symphony.  Shortly after this announcement an anonymous donor came forth to offer financial assistance in the search for a new executive director. 
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5. Stickler named Interim Director 
Former Bank of America executive Robert Stickler is our interim executive director as the orchestra seeks a new leader. Stickler has served on the orchestra's board of directors since 2008 and is a former president of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte. 
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4.  Wells Fargo Challenge Grant
The bank offered assistance to the organization by matching up to $100,000 of contributions to the orchestra's general operations and $100,000 of gifts to CSO programs on power2give.org.
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3. World Premiere of Weinstein Digital Animation
A partnership between the CSO, the Knight Foundation and Mint Museum of Charlotte brought Matthew Weinstein's work to the city. Audiences experienced brilliant animation in sync with the hypnotic music of Ravel's Bolero. 
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2. Celebrating Eighty-One Years of Music
The 81st season opened in September with "The Music of Billy Joel" in the Pops series and and an All-Beethoven program in the Classics series. 
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1. Christopher Warren-Green Renews Contract
Our Music Director Christopher Warren-Green renewed his contract through the 2015-2016 season. His vision for the future of the organization includes artistic excellence, increased partnerships with other organizations, innovation through new programs and service to the community. 
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We look forward to what 2013 will bring. We thank you so much for being part of our Symphony Family!
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Tagged as Charlotte Symphony, Christopher Warren-Green, Classical, CSO Musicians, CSYO, Education, History, summer pops, symphony park.

Observer: Charlotte Symphony enables sun to shine in ‘Spring’ Symphony

By Steven Brown | 11/3/2012 | Charlotte Observer
Reblogged from Charlotte Observer

Everyone else can think about falling back this weekend. The Charlotte Symphony, despite the end of daylight saving time, is busy springing forward through Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1.
That's also known as the "Spring" Symphony, of course. Thanks to the orchestra, it's living up to its nickname, in both senses of the word.

The orchestra sprang through it Friday night. With Christof Perick, the group's former leader, back on the podium, the orchestra was crisp, clear and agile. It filled the opening movement with bounding energy. It flung out the scherzo's buoyantly rhythmic chords. It breezed through the finale's jauntiness and byplay.
As for spring, the season: Its sunshine arrived with the brasses' gleam in the very first phrases. The woodwinds' warmth in an array of lyrical sections enhanced it. The strings contributed to it through the coziness they gave the slow movement, which wasn't really that slow. The way it flowed along, its peaceful melody could've been blooming before everyone's ears.

With the motion that ran through the whole symphony, Perick and the orchestra could have been looking forward to Schumann's Symphony No. 3, which salutes a great European river the Rhine. Instead, they moved on after intermission to a river farther east: the Moldau, the subject of Bedrich Smetana's beloved tone poem.

The qualities that made the orchestra so appealing in the "Spring" Symphony were just as winning in "The Moldau" and "From Bohemia's Meadows and Forests," another of Smetana's portraits of his homeland.
"The Moldau" started quietly, but that didn't mean it started small: The flutes and clarinets blended silkily in the purling theme that sets the river in motion. The little wedding dance was airy and cheerful. The strings made the moonlight scene glisten and when the trombones and tuba entered with their theme underneath, they added fullness and depth without breaking the mood. That took skill and control.
Speaking of finesse: There were further generous helpings of it in the way the woodwinds sang out their big tune in "From Bohemia's Meadows and Forests." Opening up like a full-through chorus, they were full, smooth and well-blended. Those used to be qualities they hardly ever displayed. But they're commanding them more and more often a welcome development.

After Smetana's booming final chords, Perick and the orchestra added an encore: one of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances. It was just as jubilant as Smetana had been. Perick and the group especially savored its quick changes between gusto and grace.

The orchestra played lustily in the stormy spots of the concert's opener, Carl Maria von Weber's Overture to "Der Freischutz." The group dug into the exuberant finish, too. But the opening, meant to evoke the mystery and supernatural that drive the plot of Weber's opera, didn't quite take hold. The orchestra, with its modest-size string section, didn't command the dark-hued sound that would've created the mood. The group manages to summon such tones once in a while, as in Stravinsky's "Firebird" Suite earlier this month. But for the players to do it dependably is a development that has yet to come. Until there are more players, it probably can't come.
 
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Posted in Classics. Tagged as Charlotte Observer, Christof Perick, Classical, Musicians, Review, Schumann, Smetana, The Moldau.

Observer: Perick enjoys freelancer’s life — at least for a while

By Steven Brown | 11/1/2012 | Charlotte Observer
Reblogged from Charlotte Observer Critical Mass

It's lucky that Christof Perick had a nonstop flight from Germany to Charlotte. Otherwise, Mother Nature might've gotten in his way for the second time -- which would've been particularly ungrateful of her this week,  since the music he'll conduct with the Charlotte Symphony is a celebration of nature's power and beauty.

A volcanic eruption in April 2010 blasted a dust cloud over Europe that kept Perick from conducting his last concerts as the orchestra's music director. But he circumvented Sandy on Monday. So he's back for a three-week U.S. visit. It will not only return him to the Charlotte podium he occupied for nine seasons, but offer him other reminiscences of his work on this side of the Atlantic -- or, as he put it Tuesday, his "28-year history of conducting in this wonderful country."

He plans visit friends in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles -- all cities where he has conducted prominently -- and close with the San Diego Symphony, which he has guest-conducted repeatedly over 20-plus years. (A Perick travel tip: If you ever travel from L.A. to San Diego, go by train. The ride offers spectacular views of the coast.)

But first: The Charlotte Symphony concerts this weekend may offer some reminiscences of their own. They'll start with Carl Maria von Weber's Overture to "Der Freischutz," an opera that received full-length, concert-style performances from Perick and the orchestra in 2003. Next will come the "Spring" Symphony, Schumann's exuberant hymn to nature's annual rebirth. To cap things off, two of Bedrich Smetana's portraits of his native Bohemia: the beloved "The Moldau" and the less-famous but equally catchy "From Bohemia's Forests and Meadows."

Perick hadn't yet gotten in front of the orchestra Tuesday morning. But he credited his successor, Christopher Warren-Green, for the fact that the orchestra is financially "safer" -- quickly rapping his knuckles on a wooden table in the Charlotte Symphony's office -- than it was during Perick's time.
"I think it's probably because Christopher is living here," Perick said. He thinks Warren-Green's presence in Charlotte, promoting the orchestra around town, is "very important. I think it's very good. I was always saying that -- the orchestra needs someone who is (visible) at the arena, across the street."
"I couldn't do that," Perick, who's based in Germany, added. "I didn't have the time to do that. In that regard, I'm not a good American music director. Because you need that talent and that outgoing personality to do all those things (in the community) convincingly."

But Perick takes pride in cultivating the Charlotte Symphony's  style and precision -- something Warren-Green has complimented  from his own perspective. Perick points to similar work back home in Germany, where he last year finished a stint as music director of the Nuremberg State Theater. Zeroing in on a cycle of Mozart operas with the company's singers -- such as the vibrant Heidi Meier, who also made a couple of visits to Charlotte -- was a highlight, he said.

Continue reading the entire article >>

 
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Posted in Classics. Tagged as Christof Perick, Christopher Warren-Green, Classical, Schumann, Smetana, The Moldau.

One of these things is not like the other… or is it?

Originally Posted: February 2012

Does this:


Go with this?

 
 

Current tradition, and/or stigma would dictate a resounding no. But the 2012 Super Bowl commercials say otherwise.

Composers Beethoven, Rossini and Bach were featured- likely without the knowledge of the 114 million viewers. The pieces included as the background music for the famous ads are recognizable: Beethoven's 5th, Rossin's Overture to the The Barber of Seville, even film composer John Williams' Imperial March from Star Wars.



The similarities between the athleticism of football and classical music don't end with the ads.
The typical themes of grueling practice, delayed gratification, stressful performances and incredible highs further link the not-so-different worlds.

Many of the CSO Musicians are avid sports players- including soccer, tennis, golf, and many marathon runners and yogis.

What's your link between sports and music? Does classical music or sport perpetuate throughout your life? Do you see any overlap?
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Tagged as Classical, commercials, CSO Musicians, Elgar, History, Sports, super bowl.

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