Flute and harp virtuosos to feature in upcoming Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert
Daringly departing from traditional programming, Maestro Kevin Rhodes of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra has put together a fascinating concert for Saturday, February 8.
The symphonic audience now expects an evening for three, consisting of a curtain-raiser opening, followed by a concerto, usually for piano, violin, sometimes cello, and a substantial symphony by one of the gentlemen. Germans or one of their Russian Contemporaries in the second half.
The SSO audience has come to enjoy these splendid three-part events, but on February 8th we are going to experience an unforgettable and exciting upheaval in our expectations.
Beethoven, usually represented by one of his nine most famous innovative symphonies or overtures, brings a youthful work to this concert. It was commissioned in 1790 by Count Waldstein, the dedicatee of one of Beethoven’s most famous piano sonatas, and a frequent aristocratic patron and friend of the composer.
Known in German as a Ritterballet (or knight’s ballet), the piece translates to Music for a ballet on horseback on the Saturday program. The piece has eight brief sections; March, german song, hunting song, love song, war song, drinking song, german dance, and Coda. Waldstein’s apparent intention was for the play to be performed in old German costume by the local nobility.
While previewing the current season, Rhodes said: “I thought it would be fun to hear some really LIGHT Beethoven – not just a light Beethoven.”
There are also no piano, violin or cello soloists on Saturdays. This time we have not one but TWO guest artists, the harpist Emmanuel Ceysson and the flautist Denis Bouriakov each at the top of his field. Ceysson is the principal harpist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Buryakov is the principal flautist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Together they will play Mozart Concerto for flute and harp, an exquisite gem, rarely heard. The concerto was written in 1778 while Mozart was living in Paris. The recipients were flautist Count Adrien-Louis de Bonnières and his harpist daughter Marie-Louise-Phillipine, who was also a Mozart composition student. History reveals that the count never paid Mozart for the piece, and that he only paid half of the fees Mozart charged for composition lessons.
Ceysson will be featured in Alberto Ginastera’s film Concerto for harp and Debussy Sacred and profane dances, and Buryakov to be featured in Leonard Bernstein’s film Halil for flute, strings and percussion.
Both men achieved amazing success at a very young age.
Ceysson was admitted to the Paris Conservatory at 16 and obtained the chair of solo harpist at the National Opera at 22. Prize at the 2009 ARD Competition in Munich (past ARD winners include soprano Jessye Norman, conductor Christoph Eschenbach and violinist Christian Tetzlaff). He won the Met Opera audition for solo harp, first in a platoon of 75, in 2015 and moved to New York City. He is 35 years old.
Buryakov, 39, was principal flute at the Metropolitan Opera from 2009 until his appointment in 2015 in Los Angeles. Born in Crimea, he enrolled at the age of 10 at the Moscow Central Special Music School, and then toured the world and won several of the most prestigious international competitions. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Buryakov went on to hold orchestral positions in Finland and Spain before joining the Met.
Rhodes had wanted to present these two musicians together in Springfield for several years, but their schedules were prohibitive. In fact, even this time around, there is a bit of trepidation surrounding the fact that Ceysson is booked to play the role of Berlioz. The damnation of Faust in New York at 1 p.m. on February 8, then make it to Springfield in time for a 7:30 a.m. departure!
“We’re going to go totally into the 21st century,” Rhodes enthused in an interview, “Emmanuel will be in Springfield for rehearsals on Thursday and Friday, then in New York on Saturday afternoon, then he’ll be in a car, and there will be some Facebook live, and he’ll be arriving at Symphony Hall around 6.30am – and if he’s a little late, we’ll play the flute piece first!
This piece of flute is Halil, for flute, strings and percussion, written in 1981 by Leonard Bernstein and dedicated, according to Bernstein’s own program note, “… to the spirit of Yadin and his fallen brothers. Yadin Tennenbaum was an Israeli flautist who was killed in his chariot in Sinai in 1973 at the age of 19.
“Halil, the Hebrew word for flute, is formally different from any other work I have written, ”explained Bernstein in the note,“ but resembles much of my music in its struggle between tonal and non-tonal forces. In this case, I feel this struggle as involving wars and the threat of wars, the overwhelming desire to live and the consolations of art, love and the hope of peace.
“I never knew Yadin Tennebaum, but I know his mind,” Bernstein concluded.
Debussy wrote Sacred and secular dances for harp and strings in 1904. The work was premiered in Paris that year with Lucille Wermser-Delcourt, soloist on the harp. The luthiers firm Pleyel (although their specialty is pianos, Pleyel developed the first chromatic harp in the late 19th century) commissioned the piece to showcase their new harp design. Debussy cast it in two connected parts, the first dance evoking an atmosphere of ancient piety, and the second a sensual whirlwind with a more contemporary Spanish flavor.
Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera was commissioned in 1956 to write a harp concerto for Edna Phillips, the harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and his first female member. Phillips and her husband, attorney Sam Rosenbaum, hoped the concerto would be over in time for the 1958 American Music Festival in Washington DC, but it was not.
Ginastera cited many obstacles to its completion, including issues with dictator Juan Peron and difficulties with an opera he was writing. Whatever the problems, they kept him from completing the piece until 1964, when Phillips retired from the audience, and harpist Nicanor Zabaleta gave the first performance in 1965 with Eugene Ormandy conducting. the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The 22-minute piece is a tour de force for the harp, full of fiery dances, sinuous and lyrical excursions, delicious harmonies and unexpected sounds – rhythmic hits on the harp body and glissandi played with the nails. The orchestra’s instrumental strengths are modest, with the exception of the percussion drums, which are immense, using bass drum, bongos, calves, cowbells, rattlesnakes, glockenspiel, guiro , maracas, two triangles, suspended cymbal, tom-tom, tambourine, tenor drum, tom-toms, whip, wooden block and xylophone.
Chances are you’ve never heard something like this concerto, and you will never forget it! This piece is indisputable proof of Ginastera’s reputation as one of the most important composers of the Americas during the 20th century.
Taken together, Saturday’s eclectic repertoire promises a fantastic dance across the history of music, from the high classical elegance of Mozart to the exuberant good humor of young Beethoven to the wispy and decadent dreamlike world of Debussy, and finally to more realities. hard from the mid-20th century.
Maestro Rhodes invites clients to a discussion of the evening’s music in the hall at 6.30 p.m. on the evening of the concert. Tickets for this flute and harp show, priced at $ 25 to $ 70, can be obtained online at www.springfieldsymphony.org or by calling the box office at (413) 733-2291.