2014-2015 Season Calendar

September October November December January February March April May

20-concert series: Mondays at 2pm and 7:30pm 
All performances, except where noted, are held at
 Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
152 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023
Find out more about the Jupiter Players and our Guest Artists.

Tickets  $25, $17, $10  Call 212.799.1259
or e-mail admin@jupitersymphony.com
Printable Calendar &Ticket Order Form (pdf)

September 8  Let the Music Begin
André Laplante piano ~ a Liszt specialist
Xiao-Dong Wang

MOZART  Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major K. 285 • 1777
 • although he once wrote that he could not bear the flute, Mozart, nevertheless, composed brilliantly for it

Franz LISZT  Après une lecture du Dante, fantasia quasi sonata • 1849
 • The “Dante” Sonata, as the piano sonata in one movement is often called, was published in 1856 as the final work in the second of three suites, Années de pèlerinage: (Italie) “Years of Pilgrimage: Italy” ~ the program music was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy ~ you’ll experience the anguish of the tortured souls in Hell as well as the joy of those who made it to Heaven

HAYDN  Sinfonia Concertante in Bb Major H. 1/105 • 1792
  • composed during his first of two visits to London at the request of the impresario Johann Peter Salomon because of the success of similar works written by Ignace Pleyel and performed in a rival concert series ~ its premiere on March 9 with Salomon as the lead violinist was highly successful ~ transcribed by Mordechai Rechtman for string sextet from the original for solo violin, cello, oboe, bassoon and orchestra

SCHUMANN  Piano Quintet in Eb Major Op. 44 • 1842
  • the first in line of the great Romantic quintets, the jewel is a masterpiece of the genre ~ Clara Schumann wrote in her diary that it was “Magnificent—a work filled with energy and freshness” ~ musicologist Homer Ulrich described it as “noble, exuberant, and vital”

September 22  Ecstasy & Pathos
Drew Petersen piano
Mayuko Kamio

BEETHOVEN  12 Variations on a Russian Dance in A Major WoO 71 • 1796
• in high Classical style, the delightful variations for piano were written most likely while Beethoven was touring Bratislava and Budapest in November 1796 ~ the work is based on a theme from the ballet Das Waldmädchen, which was reportedly by Paul Wranitzky, though it was actually composed by the violin virtuoso and billiards player Giovanni Giornovichi (?1740-1804) ~ dedicated to Countess Anna Margarete von Browne, whose husband was one of Beethoven’s major early patrons; in acknowledgment, the Brownes gave him a riding horse, which he soon forgot about and got rid of when he received its feed bill

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL  Adagio, Variations and Rondo on “Schöne Minka” Op. 78 • 1818
  • based on the Ukrainian folk tune “Pretty Minka,” Hummel’s beautiful piece for piano, flute and cello traverses a range of moods in 7 variations, hurtling toward the end with a Rondo ~ Hummel was Mozart’s pupil, Beethoven’s friend, and successor to Haydn at Esterházy

A review in an 1830 issue of the Allgemeine Musikalische Anzeiger noted that there was a time when “Schöne Minka” was “whistled, hummed and muttered on every street corner.” It was included in a collection of folk melodies published in Vienna by Iwan Pratsch in 1800, and many composers used it in arrangements and variations, including Beethoven and Weber, with Hummel topping them all.

Mikhail GLINKA  Trio pathétique • 1832
  • dark, haunting melodies from the “Father of Russian Music” ~ after its premiere in Milan with clarinetist Tassistro, bassoonist Antonio Cantú and Glinka at the piano, Cantú remarked, “Why, that is a thing of desperation!” The original score is prefaced by a quote in French, reflecting on Glinka’s string of wilted love affairs: “I have known love only through the unhappiness it causes.”

Sergei TANEYEV   Piano Trio in D Major Op. 22 • 1906-1908
  • hailed by Prokofiev for its boldness, elegance and vigor, the Trio is a colossal work of great variety, emotion and intense lyricism ~ recorded in 1952 by violinist David Oistrakh, cellist Lev Oborin and pianist Sviatoslav Knushevitsky—all preeminent 20th century artists

Taneyev, a master contrapuntalist, was a pupil and close friend of Tchaikovsky, and the teacher of Glière, Scriabin, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff.

October 6  Leaders in Paris

Roman Rabinovich piano
Jennifer Frautschi


Anton REICHA Trio in D Major Op. 26 • 1796-1798
  • originally written for 3 flutes, the Classical trio will be played by the flute, oboe and clarinet ~ the Czech-born French composer was a flutist and violinist (alongside Beethoven, who played the viola) in the court orchestra in Bonn, and during a sojourn in Hamburg between 1794 and 1799, when he earned a living by giving flute lessons, he wrote a variety of pieces for two, three and four flutes

A lifelong friend of Beethoven and Haydn and colleague of Cherubini, Reicha is known as the “Father of the Wind Quintet” and was also an influential teacher of Berlioz, Gounod, Liszt and Franck in counterpoint and fugue at the Paris Conservatory.

Luigi CHERUBINI  String Quartet No. 2 in C Major • 1829
  • considered first-rate by the musicologist Wilhelm Altmann, the String Quartet is a transformation and reworking of his one and only symphony from 1815, with a new sublime slow movement ~ born in Italy, Cherubini was one of the leading composers in his adopted country, and regarded by Beethoven as the greatest of his contemporaries

Gabriel FAURÉ  Piano Quintet No. 2 in C minor Op. 115 • 1921
  • ripples with a seemless flow of alluring beauty ~ music by the “Master of Charms” (so named sardonically by Debussy) was described by Harold Schonberg as having “the essence of everything Gallic—form, grace, wit, logic, individuality, urbanity...those who love the music of Fauré love it as a private, cherished gift from one of the gentlest and most subtle of composers.”

October 13  Contrasts
Max Levinson piano
Mark Kaplan
Cynthia Phelps

Johann Nepomuk FUCHS  Trio in D Major for clarinet, viola and cello • date not known
  • by Haydn’s pupil and one of the most important composers of sacred music in his day, having written at least three of the “Esterházy Masses” ~ the other composers of the Masses were Haydn (he wrote 6), Hummel (4) and Beethoven (1)

Born in Eisenstadt in 1766, Fuchs joined the Esterházy orchestra as violinist in 1788, and later became Haydn’s close friend. When Haydn was forced into retirement in 1802 because of illness, Fuchs, together with Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Luigi Tomasini, formed the triumvirate that ran the Esterházy Court. Upon Haydn’s death, Fuchs succeeded him as Kapellmeister in 1809. When Fuchs died thirty years later, his coffin was placed in the same vault that held Haydn’s coffin.

BEETHOVEN  Duo in Eb Major for viola and cello mit zwei obligaten Augengläsern “with two obbligato eyeglasses” WoO 32 • 1796
  • in a letter to his longtime friend, the amateur cellist Baron Nikolaus Zmeskall von Domanovecz, arranging a reading of the new piece, Beethoven alluded to their short-sightedness, “I am obliged to you for the weakness of your eyes,” hence its title ~ his jocular mood extends to the Duo’s playfulness

Béla BARTÓK  Contrasts • 1938
  • commissioned and premiered by Benny Goodman (the King of Swing), violinist Joseph Szigeti and the Hungarian composer on piano, the trio blazes with Hungarian-inspired themes, flamboyant jazzy elements, and brilliant cadenzas for the violin and clarinet

Antonín DVORÁK  Piano Quartet No. 2 in Eb Major Op. 87 • 1889
  • big, bold and beautiful, it was composed at the request of his publisher Simrock and ranks among the great chamber works of the 19th century

October 27  Austro-German Gems
Alexander Kobrin piano
Stefan Milenkovich

MOZART  2 Kegelduette K. 487/496a • 1786
  • most likely composed for the virtuoso hornist Joseph Leutgeb (a friend of the Mozart family in Salzburg) and completed on July 27, 1786 while playing ninepins ~ originally for 2 horns and here played by a clarinet and horn

SCHUBERT  String Quartet No. 9 in G minor D. 173 • 1815
  • his first in a minor key, the fresh and innovative early quartet is influenced in part by Mozart ~ written in 8 days at age 18 during the most prolific year of his life-known as his annus mirabilis

Franz SCHREKER  Der Wind • 1909
  • captivating and deliciously decadent, the remarkably imaginative quintet for violin, clarinet, horn, cello and piano is an example of the Austrian composer’s montage technique ~ written for a ballet based on dancer Grete Wiesenthal’s prose scenario, The Wind, it followed his pantomime music based on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale, The Birthday of an Infanta, which painter Gustav Klimt had asked Grete and her sister to perform

The eldest son of an Austrian court photographer, Schreker is primarily known today for his operas. In 1932, the shock of his dismissal from the Prussian Academy of Arts for being Jewish caused his fatal heart attack. His music was later suppressed by the Nazis.

Ferdinand HILLER  Piano Quartet No. 3 in A minor Op. 133 • 1868
  • exuberant and brimming with radiant melodies, the impressive Romantic quartet is influenced by Mendelssohn, who was Hiller’s closest friend

Among the most imposing music personalities of the 19th century, Hiller was Mendelssohn’s deputy at the Gewandhaus and became Kapellmeister of Cologne in 1850. He was also one of Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s few pupils, the teacher of Max Bruch, and close friends with Berlioz, Chopin and Liszt.

November 10  Original Thinkers

Alon Goldstein piano
Alexi Kenney


François-Joseph GOSSEC  String Trio in Eb Major Op. 9 No. 1 • 1766
  • written 6 years after the premiere of his Requiem, which made him famous overnight ~ for two violins and cello

The French composer is one of the most Classical and enlightened figures, his music a moving force in the musical culture of France for nearly seventy-five years, stimulating the revival of instrumental music. As an innovator he used larger musical forces than any composer before him, expanding the French orchestra to include horns and clarinets, and experimented with choral writing, using novel combinations of instruments and voices. As a revolutionary he composed in the service of the French Revolution throughout its 10 years. His Requiem—the first to be used for the Revolution (for the memory of the dead of the Siege of the Bastille and for other ceremonies)—impressed Mozart, as did his symphonies.

Franz LISZT  La Vallée d’Obermann • 1855
  • melancholia pervades this enchanting, brooding, introspective piece for solo piano—a depiction of the emotions of Obermann, the hero of Étienne Pivert de Senancour’s sentimental novel, a work that appealed to the taste of the Romantics

La Vallée d’Obermann is the longest in a piano cycle of nine pieces inspired by Swiss scenes, first published in 1842 under the title Album d’un voyageur, then revised and published in 1855 under the title Années de pèlerinage (Suisse): “Years of Pilgrimage: Switzerland.” The Swiss set is the first of three suites.

André CAPLET  Légende • 1903
  • rooted in French impressionism, the fascinating octet explores a vivid color palette in Caplet’s highly individual style and oozes with post-Wagnerian yearnings for that era; it was written for Elise Hall, the first prominent American woman saxophonist ~ for oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass

According to some sources, Caplet was born on a boat sailing between Le Havre and Honfleur. He won the Prix de Rome in 1901, beating out Ravel who took third place, and later became a close friend of Debussy, for whom he proofread scores and orchestrated several works. Caplet died in 1925 at the age of 46 from weak lungs, which were damaged by lethal gas attacks during his service at the Front in the Great War.

Jacques IBERT  Cinq Pièces en Trio • 1935
  • admired for his music that is colorful, technically polished and often witty, the Parisian composer’s 5 miniatures for oboe, clarinet and bassoon are true to his eclectic aesthetic—in turns sprightly, reflective, brisk, pensive and cheery

Maurice RAVEL  Piano Trio in A minor • 1914
  • exotic harmonies, a vast canvas of sumptuous color and innovative rhythms drive the irrepressible showpiece ~ music critic Harold Schonberg called it “one of his most polished and elegant scores—the opening theme of the first movement may well be his greatest lyric inspiration”

November 24  Heroics

Michael Brown piano
Josef Spacek v

Carl CZERNY  Piano Trio No. 4 in A minor Op. 289 • 1834
  • dazzling and beautiful, the Trio is heroic in difficulty and virtuosity

The prolific Austrian composer, pianist and teacher of Bohemian origin was Beethoven’s pupil for 3 years from the age of 10, and later became his assistant and lifelong friend. Among his pupils were Franz Liszt and Beethoven’s nephew Karl. It has been said that Czerny was arguably the greatest pianist who never performed, and the most successful composer to have been consigned to oblivion; his compositions reach over 800 opus numbers and mounds of unpublished manuscripts.

BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major “Eroica” Op. 55 • 1804
  • among the greatest of symphonies, it lives up to its name, Heroic—bigger and longer than any symphony before it and on a huge scale, the groundbreaking and powerful work caused a sensation, emanating emotional depth, vigor and passion ~ transcribed by C. F. Ebers for 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute, 2 clarinets and 2 horns

December 8  Composer-Virtuosi
Antonio Pompa-Baldi piano
Areta Zhulla
Cynthia Phelps

Giovanni Battista VIOTTI  Flute Quartet in C minor Op. 22 No. 2 • [1803]
  • one of three late Classical flute quartets by one of the great violinist-composers in the history of music, and arguably the most influential violinist who ever lived—he was founder of the instrumental “modern” French school of violin playing, and his style continues to this day ~ Wendy Hancock, for the publisher Edition HH, describes the Quartet as “wide-ranging, exciting, and varied in musical ideas, dynamics and articulation; moreover it displays a high quality of melodic invention, with complex textures and moments of real harmonic intensity.”

The Italian virtuoso, who was Marie Antoinette’s personal violinist, had a fascinating, dramatic life that encompassed a multifarious career, tragedy, success, mystery and more. Warwick Lister’s biography, Amico: The Life of Giovanni Battista Viotti, published by Oxford University Press, tells all. His Stradivarius, named the “Viotti,” is possibly a gift, a love token, from Catherine the Great.

Franz LISZT  Concert paraphrase on Verdi’s Ernani • 1847-1849
  • the Hungarian piano virtuoso’s improvisational transcription based on themes from the end of Act III of Verdi’s opera, with his own Lisztian spin ~ Brahms, who admired Liszt the man and not Liszt the composer, once said, “Whoever really wants to know what Liszt has done for the piano should study his old operatic fantasies. They represent the classicism of piano technique.”

Anton RUBINSTEIN  String Quartet No. 2 in C minor Op. 17 • 1852
• a virile, ravishing work that will not leave you unmoved ~ in 1789, after attending a concert of Rubinstein’s chamber music, including the C minor string quartet, Leos Janácek gushed admiringly, “When I hear Rubinstein’s compositions I feel extraordinary: my spirit truly melts, becomes free.... I like his compositions so much that it seems to me that some day I should become his heir. This verve, this speaking ‘to the soul’ I find nowhere else but in his compositions. It is so natural, uncontrived, he reveals himself just as he is, how he feels...he seizes my innermost depths....”

George ENESCU  Konzertstücke for viola and piano • 1906
  • the rhapsodic work, known for its technical difficulty, explores the tone and character of the viola ~ recorded by Cynthia Phelps on Cala Records

Charles-Valentin ALKAN  Piano Trio in G minor Op. 30 • 1841
• an original work from an original mind—unique, with many beauties ~ Hummel, Cherubini, Chopin, Bach and above all Beethoven influenced the French piano virtuoso’s music

To learn more about Alkan, listen to Raymond Lewenthal’s interesting and illuminating 3-hour radio talk on YouTube

December 15  Diverse Beauties

William Wolfram piano
Itamar Zorman


SCHUBERT  String Trio in Bb Major D. 581 • 1817
  • in late-Classical style, the young composer at the age of 20 was already quite accomplished, having written an astonishing amount of music—more than 300 songs, five symphonies, four masses and seven string quartets, among many other pieces

Giya KANCHELI  Ninna Nanna Per Anna • 2008
  • the Georgian composer’s hypnotic lullaby for flute and string quartet unfolds slowly “through a very gradual blinking of major and minor keys in the pastel tones of nostalgia and half-forgotten memories,” so described musicologist Elena Dubinets ~ the lyrical melodies and harmonies are gentle and brooding, yet intense, punctuated by very occasional startling outbursts

Arvo PÄRT  Spiegel im Spiegel “Mirrors in the Mirror” • 1978
  • can music be more beautiful—quintessential serenity by the Estonian composer ~ while exceedingly calm, the tintinnabulation of repeating tonic triads with small variations makes a powerful emotional impact ~ the title refers to the effect of the infinity of images produced by parallel plane mirrors ~ for viola and piano

Robert KAHN  Piano Quartet No. 2 in A minor Op. 30 • 1899
 • filled with appealing melodies and rich harmonies, the Romantic quartet recalls Schumann and Brahms, who had a lasting influence on Kahn ~ during a visit to Vienna he befriended Brahms, who was so impressed with Kahn he offered to give him composition lessons, but the young man was too overawed to accept

Kahn’s work was suppressed by the Nazis in 1938, after which Albert Einstein persuaded him to flee to England. From a distinguished family of bankers and merchants, Kahn’s seven siblings included Otto Kahn, the financier and chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Opera; and Felix Kahn, a banker, director of Paramount Pictures, and noted violin collector.

 January 5  Muzyka Russe
Elizaveta Kopelman piano
Mikhail Kopelman
Cynthia Phelps

Paul JUON  Arabesken Op. 73 • 1940
  • the Russian-born Swiss composer’s eloquent, tuneful trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, with thoughtful solos and a moody Larghetto ~ his music lies between Romanticism and Late-Romanticism, colored by Russian folk music

Juon studied composition with Sergei Taneyev and Anton Arensky, and with Woldemar Bargiel (half-brother of Clara Schumann) in Berlin, where he lived for most of his life.

Henryk WIENIAWSKI  Rêverie in F# minor • 1885
  • his only known work for viola, the duet (with piano) is possibly his last composition ~ it was dedicated to Hieronymus Weickmann, who completed it in 1885, after Wieniawski’s death from a heart condition in 1880; he was 45 at the time

The Polish composer and violin virtuoso was born in Lublin, which in 1835 was part of the Russian Empire. He studied at the Paris Conservatory from age eight, became a concert violinist at age 13, was appointed violin soloist to the tsar of Russia in 1860, taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1862 to 1869, and toured the United States with Anton Rubinstein from 1872 to 1874.

Georgy L’vovich CATOIRE  Piano Trio in F minor Op. 14 • 1900
• assured and virtuosic, the Trio’s soaring themes of innate beauty and instrumental color reveal his melodic genius and originality, as well as influences synthesized from Russian, German and French idioms reminiscent of Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Fauré ~ recorded by cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, violinist Leonid Kogan and pianist Alexander Goldenweiser

A protégé of Tchaikovsky and contemporary of Glazunov, Catoire became professor of composition at the Moscow Conservatory in 1919 and was later blackballed for his embrace of Wagner’s mistrusted musical innovations.

Alexander GLAZUNOV  String Quintet in A Major Op. 39 • 1891-1892
  • Romantic indulgences imbue this especially melodious and expressive quintet ~ Roderic Dunnett in a review for Strad magazine commented, “The Quintet is a work of real substance and weight, cogently argued and ingenious in its effects...the bustling, folksy finale makes a splendid conclusion following the...Andante. But the masterpiece is the Scherzo, which features some really effective pizzicato.... It is all profoundly rewarding.”

Of immense stature, Glazunov (known as the “Russian Brahms”) was director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and good friends with Tchaikovsky.

 January 19  Prodigies
Seymour Lipkin piano
Miriam Fried

Ernst KRENEK  Serenade Op. 4 • 1919
  • written at age 19 for clarinet and string trio, before he broke away from late Romanticism and his teacher Franz Schreker, defecting to atonalism ~ in six movements of sundry moods, at times lucid, wistful, sentimental

A child prodigy as composer and pianist and a pupil of Franz Schreker, the Austrian-born American composer was one of the most productive 20th century musicians, composing 242 works in a plurality of styles in more than seven decades. Michael Beckerman summarizes his scope: “During that time he played a part in many of the century’s significant artistic movements, from atonality to neoclassicism and from jazz-influenced writing to total serialism, with turns to Schubertian lyricism and avant-garde electronic music at various points.”

MENDELSSOHN  String Quartet No. 2 in A minor Op. 13 • 1827
  • astonishing in its verve, passion and virtuosity—at age 18, no less

MOZART  Piano Quartet in G minor K. 478 • 1785
  • drama and passion in the key of g

February 2  Brits at Home & Abroad
Roman Rabinovich piano
Itamar Zorman
Cynthia Phelps

George ONSLOW  Wind Quintet in F Major Op. 81 • 1852
  • by the prize pupil of Anton Reicha, “Father of the Wind Quintet” ~ New York Times critic Allan Kozinn noted in a review that Onslow’s only wind quintet “is rich in melodies and is harmonized elegantly” and its “style straddled Classic and Romantic conventions”

Franglais son of the English Lord Edward Onslow and noble French woman Marie-Rosalie de Boudeilles, Onslow lived his entire life in France, and was director of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. His work was admired by Beethoven and Schubert, and Schumann and Mendelssohn regarded his chamber music on a par with that of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.

William SHIELD  String Quartet in C minor Op. 3 No. 6 • 1782
  • of historical importance as an early British Classical work, the quartet is also unusual on at least 4 counts—its composition in a minor key is rare for the period; the fiery Allegro movement, with its pounding pedal notes and jagged cross rhythms, would have almost certainly astonished its contemporary listeners; the extended Adagio, with its written out cadenzas in the first violin part, is equally remarkable; and the finale, with its 3/8 minuet rhythms, veers unexpectedly between C minor and C Major

Shield was a friend of Haydn’s and the two often played together. In 1817 he was appointed Master of the King’s Music and helped to found the Royal Academy of Music in 1823. He willed his Stainer viola to George IV and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Shield is possibly the composer of “Auld Lang Syne,” the controversy with the Scots still raging.

Rebecca CLARKE  Nocturne • 1907-1908
  • an early piece of subtle melody and phrasing, it was discovered in Clarke’s estate in 2000 ~ for 2 violins and piano

The most distinguished British female composer between the two great wars was born to and raised by a German mother and American father in England. She began her studies at the Royal Academy of Music but left in 1905 after her teacher Percy Hilder Miles proposed to her (he later left her his Stradivarius violin in his will). She then attended the Royal College of Music, but when she criticized her father for his extra-marital affairs, he kicked her out of the house and cut off funds for her studies. Clarke later was romantically involved with a married man, the baritone John Goss. Stranded in the United States during a visit to her brothers at the outbreak of World War II, she permanently settled in New York City and married James Friskin of Juilliard in 1944.

Frank BRIDGE  Piano Quintet in D minor • 1912
  • the English composer’s dense, richly melodic work, cast in a rhapsodic late Romantic style with a yearning theme in the slow movement ~ Bridge was the private tutor of Benjamin Britten, who later championed his teacher’s music and paid homage to him in Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge

February 16  German Masters
Vadim Gluzman violin
Paul Neubauer
Maxim Lando

Louis SPOHR  Quintet in C minor Op. 52 • 1820
  • his first composition for the piano, with a masterful Larghetto movement, written for his wife Dorette ~ admired in its day and played by Moscheles, Mendelssohn, Liszt and Chopin, who observed that the Quintet for piano, flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon was “most beautiful” but “intolerably difficult.” A reviewer for the Berliner Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung commented, “It is quite definitely one of the most beautiful of Spohr’s works, and that is to say one of the most beautiful pieces of instrumental music of our day altogether” ~ sometimes called “The Forgotten Master,” Spohr was friends with Beethoven

BEETHOVEN  String Trio in G Major Op. 9 No. 1 • 1797-1798
  • dedicated to one of his earliest patrons in Vienna, Count Johann Georg von Browne, Beethoven himself called it “the best of his works” ~ the Trio is indeed a gem, and his first important composition for three stringed instruments, a medium he did not often use

Max BRUCH  String Quintet in A minor • 1918-1920
  • gorgeous and downright memorable, the Quintet was once thought to be lost, but in 1988 a copy by Bruch’s daughter-in-law, Gertrude Bruch, was found in the BBC Music Library ~ while there are echoes of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schumann, it’s superbly crafted in his own voice

March 2  The New World

Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner piano
Francisco Fullana
Cynthia Phelps


Darius MILHAUD  Suite Op. 157b • 1936
  • fully entertaining, the colorful trio for violin, clarinet and piano is an expression of the French-born American composer’s myriad interests in a deeply personal voice ~ the Suite begins with sassy Latino rhythms in bold gestures and syncopation and ends with a nod to jazz; in between are a lovely reverie and lively French country fiddling that includes a hoedown for clarinet and piano

Milhaud is best known for his development of polytonality—the simultaneous use of different keys—while remaining lyrical. Born of a Provençal Jewish family in Marseilles, he emigrated to the United States in 1940, when forced to leave by the rise of Nazism. His famous students included Burt Bacharach and Dave Brubeck, who named his first son Darius.

Antonín DVORÁK  String Quartet No. 12 in F Major “American” Op. 96 • 1893
  • a much beloved work, composed during his stay in the New World, with strains of a Negro spiritual and an American bir

George GERSHWIN  Lullaby • circa 1919
  • written for string quartet around the time of his breakthrough hit song “Swanee,” while studying harmony and counterpoint with Edward Kilenyi ~ he later turned it into the aria “Has One of You Seen Joe?,” a number in his 1922 Black-American opera Blue Monday

Henry HADLEY  Piano Quintet Op. 50 • 1904
  • the music conveys a spirit of American optimism and confident idealism—at times powerful, at times languid and murmuring, at times capricious and filled with many wonderful expressive thematic contrasts ~ born in Somerville, Massachusetts, Hadley was a pupil of Ludwig Thuille, whose Piano Quintet will be performed on May 4

March 16  In Debt to Beethoven

Ilya Itin piano
Stefan Milenkovich


Franz LACHNER  Nonet in F Major • 1875
  • influenced by Beethoven, the warm-hearted early Romantic work is beautifully written, with lush harmonies and a catchy, original finale ~ for violin, viola, cello, double bass and wind quintet

The South German composer was Schubert’s most intimate friend in Vienna, and after his return to Munich in 1836, he conducted the Vienna Court Opera and became an important figure in that city. The works of Beethoven he performed were considered exemplary.

BEETHOVEN  Piano Trio in Bb Major “Archduke” Op. 97 • 1811
  • “Arguably the finest trio for violin, cello, and piano ever written, it begins marvelously and expansively with an unforgettable, glorious melody that immediately establishes its nobility. This broad stroke sets the tone for the entire piece, a monumental work of larger-than-life architecture in which thoughts develop organically and unhurriedly,” explained Fred Kirshnit ~ dedicated to his student, the Archduke Rudolph of Austria, hence its moniker

March 30  In & Out of Leipzig

Stephen Beus piano
Dmitri Berlinsky

Hans HUBER Piano Quintet in Eb Major Op. 136 • 1914
• Ernst Isler, respected critic of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, commented on the Quintet for piano, flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon as follows: “The form and musical language are masterly. The first movement begins in a pastoral mood but then moves to an even more lovely introspective section. The second movement is lively and attractive. Then comes a short but very captivating Intermezzo. The finale recalls the earlier movements in a very ingenuous fashion, creating a splendid, fresh, powerful and youthful movement. This work shows that the music of Huber never ages.”

Huber enjoyed a hugely successful career as one of Switzerland’s most important musical nationalists. From 1870 to 1874 he studied at the Conservatoire in Leipzig, where he met Clara Schumann and Brahms, whom he admired, along with Schumann, Liszt and Wagner.

Niels GADE  String Quartet in E minor • 1877
  • first created with six movements, the impressive quartet is here played in a 4-movement version revised in 1889 ~ an overarching figure in Danish music and a major influence in Scandivania, Gade was Mendelssohn’s friend and succeeded him in 1847, upon his death, as conductor of the Gewandhaus orchestra in Leipzig

MENDELSSOHN  Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor Op. 66 • 1845
  • among his finest chamber works, the sparkling, virtuosic Trio is dedicated to the violinist and composer, Louis Spohr, who played it with Mendelssohn at least once

April 13  Ferdinand & the Giants

Drew Petersen piano
Shmuel Ashkenasi


Ferdinand RIES  Trio Op. 28 •1810
 • the Trio for piano, clarinet and cello has a memorable cantabile melody in the Adagio movement and extremely virtuosic parts for the clarinetist and pianist ~ by Beethoven’s pupil, secretary, copyist and friend

BEETHOVEN  Piano Trio No. 6 in Eb Major Op. 70 No. 2 • 1808
  • dedicated to his great friend Countess Marie Erdödy, the lyrical and lively work is described by Donald Francis Tovey as “…the integration of Mozart’s and Haydn’s resources, with results that transcend all possibility of resemblance to the style of their origins, and are nowhere more transcendent than in a work like the E flat Trio...where Beethoven discovers new meanings for Mozart’s phrasings and Haydn’s formulas.”

Antonín DVORÁK  String Sextet in A Major Op. 48 • 1878
  • awash in themes of rapturous beauty “flowing with Slavonic blood” ~ first performed at a memorable soirée attended by distinguished guests at the home of Joseph Joachim in Berlin in honor of Dvorák

April 27  Despite Tyranny
Alexander Kobrin piano
Philippe Quint

Giacomo MEYERBEER  Quartetto nel Il crociato in Egitto • 1824
  • “O cielo clemente” from Act II of the opera, The Crusader in Egypt, forms the cantabile of a canon quartet in which the Christian knight Armando and his Egyptian beloved Palmide, having revealed that she has embraced Christianity, lead a prayer to the Christian god ~ the last of Meyerbeer’s six operas in Italian and probably the last ever written to feature a castrato, Il crociato was performed in almost every major opera house in Europe for more than two decades, and even in Mexico City, Havana and Constantinople ~ arranged for obbligato flute, clarinet, violin, viola and cello by Benedetto Carulli, the 19th century Milanese clarinetist-composer, and dedicated to the dilettante Conte Luigi Bertoglio

Meyerbeer, who dominated European opera for five decades in the 19th century, was the target of Wagner’s malicious campaign against him because of resentment of his success and envy of his wealth, and because of anti-Semitism. Wagner also attacked Meyerbeer (without naming him) in his essay, “Jewishness in Music,” published in 1850. In the 20th century, from 1933, the Nazis banned Meyerbeer’s operas because he was Jewish.

Adolf BUSCH (1891-1952)  7 Bagatelles Op. 53a • date not known
  • brief tonal pieces (a minute to two each) for clarinet, viola and cello, intended as hausmusik for friends and family ~ by one of the finest violinists of his day, the leader of the Busch Quartet and Busch Chamber Players, teacher of Yehudi Menuhin, and one of the founders (together with Rudolf Serkin, his duo partner and son-in-law) of the Marlboro Music School and Festival in Vermont

Busch was not Jewish, but in 1933 the German composer renounced his homeland in the face of pleas from the Nazis to return to Germany, and emigrated to the United States from Basel, where he had been living since the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1927.

Erwin SCHULHOFF  5 Pieces for String Quartet • 1923
  • dedicated to Darius Milhaud, the Neoclassical work is a modern take on the Baroque dance suite, with mild to spicy dissonances, irony and rhythmic drive, influenced by jazz and Dadaism ~ skillfully wrought, accessible and compelling, the dances reveal aspects of Schulhoff’s multi-faceted music: a sense of parody occasionally bordering on the grotesque in the Alla Valse Viennese and Alla Serenata, Slavonic folk music elements in the Alla Czeca, a love of popular dance in the sensuous Alla Tango, and a brilliant flair for rhythmic vitality in the ferocious Alla Tarantella

Among those blacklisted by Hitler, Schulhoff received personal encouragement on visits to Shostakovich; his premature death in the Wülzburg concentration camp in 1942 almost eradicated his work from music history.

Sergei PROKOFIEV  Overture on Hebrew Themes • 1919
 • sprung from the spirit of the klezmorim for the Jewish ensemble Zimro and premiered in New York City on January 26, 1920 ~ for clarinet, piano and string quartet

Prokofiev had a close relationship with the Bolsheviks before the Russian Revolution of 1917, but he went abroad, living in New York and Paris during most of the early years of the Soviet Union, and by the time he returned in 1935 he found cultural life under monitor—the Composers Union was formed to police the likes of Prokofiev and his more outspoken contemporary Shostakovich for alleged “formalist tendencies” considered to be intellectually elitist and anti-Soviet. Further, any freedom they may have had ended with the 1948 Zhdanov Decree, aimed at suppressing artistic self expression. Prokofiev was now viewed as “anti-democratic” and much of his music was banned. Many concert and theater administrators refused to program his music, fearful of the consequences of supporting an artist denounced by the regime. He suffered censorship until his death in 1961.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH  Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor Op. 67 • 1944
  • a grim monument to his closest friend, the exceptional musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky, who had died at age 41 from deprivations during the Siege of Leningrad, expressing profound grief as well as anger when he learned of horrific revelations about Nazi death camps ~ premiered in Leningrad, which still remains a symbol of Nazi brutality and aggression on the Eastern Front

Shostakovich suffered under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin in the 1930s and 40s: his opera Katerina Izmailova was severely criticized by Stalin, he was vilified by the official Soviet paper Pravda, and his work was censored by powerful communist officials. In 1941 he endured more suffering from the Siege of Leningrad, during which time he joined the night watch patrol, neutralizing incendiary bombs and putting out fires from massive German bombardments. He was evacuated at the end of 1941. His Seventh Symphony, completed that year, became a token of resistance to the Nazis.

May 4  Thoroughly Romantic
Roman Rabinovich piano
Elizabeth Fayette

BRAHMS Liebeslieder Waltzes Op. 52 • 1868-1869
  • always fresh, the romantic song cycle of 18 love songs exudes warmth, intimacy, expressive nuance and beguiling lyricism ~ originally for vocal quartet and piano duo, Friedrich Hermann transcribed them for string quartet and double bass, published in 1889

Hermann, a graduate of the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied composition with Mendelssohn and Niels Gade and violin with Ferdinand David, became principal violist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Professor of Violin at the Conservatory, and a member of the Gewandhaus Quartet. A contemporary noted that in 1852 his Symphony was performed “with great success” at the Gewandhaus concerts.

SCHUBERT  Sonata for Arpeggione in A minor • 1824
  • written in Vienna expressly for the amateur guitarist Vinzenz Schuster, who had introduced the hybrid “guitar violoncello” to Schubert, now a rare and extinct instrument ~ originally for arpeggione and piano, the exquisite Sonata has been transcribed for other instruments, including an arrangement for clarinet quintet by Brian Newbould, a musicologist and composer known for his writings on Schubert and realizations of the unfinished works

The arpeggione, “played with a bow, had a very brief life in the early 19th century.... It was invented and made by J. G. Staufer of Vienna in 1824 and was, in essentials, a bass viol with a guitar tuning. The body was coarser in structure and the frets (24 in number) were, guitar fashion, metal strips fixed in the neck; it was bowed like a cello. The body was smooth-waisted, though this was done in imitation of the guitar and not as a revival of the early viol form.... Schuster, who was virtually its only professional exponent, wrote a tutor for it, which Diabelli published” [Gerald Hayes, The New Grove Dictionary].

Ludwig THUILLE  Piano Quintet No. 2 Op. 20 • 1901
  • glittering and magnificent, the massive quintet opens with a majestic, exhilarating Allegro, and leads via a darkly intense Adagio and jaunty Scherzo, to a vigorous finale ~ the Austrian composer was influenced by Josef Rheinberger (his teacher) and Richard Strauss

 May 18  Splendor in the Sun

Gilles Vonsattel piano
Xiao-Dong Wang


Anton REICHA  Variations for Bassoon • date not known
  • a whirlwind of notes for crackerjack Morelli and string quartet, by Beethoven’s lifelong friend ~ originally for bassoon and orchestra

MOZART  Serenade No. 11 in Eb Major K. 375 • 1781
  • written “rather carefully” on October 15 for St. Theresa’s Day so as to make an impression on Joseph von Strack, a gentleman of the emperor’s bedchamber, knowing that he would hear it played at Herr von Hickel’s house, which he visited every day ~ to be performed in the original version for 2 clarinets, 2 horns and 2 bassoons; Mozart later added 2 oboes in a revision

Antonín DVORÁK  Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major Op. 81 • 1887
 • a pinnacle of the chamber music repertory and a tour de force of sunny disposition by “The Idol of Prague”


*All programs are subject to change.

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