2017-2018 Season Calendar

September October November December January February March AprilMayJune July

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 11  In Homage

Maxim Lando piano
Vadim Gluzman
Lisa Shihoten violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt
Sung Jin Lee
David Requiro

Nicholas Finch cello
Barry Crawford
Rita Mitsel
Vadim Lando
Karl Kramer
Gina Cuffari

Lowell LIEBERMANN  Fantasy on a fugue of J. S. Bach • 1989
  • commissioned by Hexagon, a piano and wind quintet ensemble, whose members all played with Jens Nygaard and his Jupiter Symphony at one time or another

The fugue in question is the 24th in Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier. John Rockwell of the New York Times noted that the American composer took “that theme and subjected it to 10 minutes of excursions in a fashionable neo-Romantic, neo-conservative mode.”

Arvo PÄRT  Da pacem Domine “Give peace, O Lord” • 2004
  • the Estonian composer’s tribute to the victims of the Madrid bombings on 11 March 2004, set to a 9th-century Gregorian antiphon 2 days after the tragedy to fulfill a commission from Jordi Savall, the Catalan conductor and composer

Originally for voices and string orchestra, Pärt later wrote several versions. Jupiter’s performance will be with a string quartet. In a New York Times review, Allan Kozinn commented on the prayer’s “temporal rootlessness” —”On the surface these are slow-moving, meditative scores...cast in sustained tones with little harmonic growth and hardly any momentum, yet a listener is drawn inexorably into its hypnotic four-part unaccompanied vocal texture.”

BRAHMS  Chaconne in D minor for left hand piano • 1877
  • fiendishly difficult, the transcription after J. S. Bach’s magisterial Partita No. 2 for solo violin, was written between 1717 and 1723

In presenting the dynamic work to his friend Clara Schumann, Brahms wrote: “The Chaconne is, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful and most incomprehensible pieces of music. Using the technique adapted to a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I could picture myself writing, or even conceiving, such a piece, I am certain that the extreme excitement and emotional tension would have driven me mad. If one has no supremely great violinist at hand, the most exquisite of joys is probably simply to let the Chaconne ring in one’s mind. But the piece certainly inspires one to occupy oneself with it somehow…. There is only one way in which I can secure undiluted joy from the piece, though on a small and only approximate scale, and that is when I play it with the left hand alone…. The same difficulty, the nature of the technique, the rendering of the arpeggios, everything conspires to make me feel like a violinist!”

Arvo PÄRT  Fratres “Brothers” • 1985
  • exquisitely ethereal sounds evoked by the violin and piano

Gentle and mystical, the medieval-like sound is captured through tintinnabulation (little bells), which the composer personally described: “I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me. I work with very few elements—with one voice, with two voices. I build with the most primitive materials—with the triad, with one specific tonality. The three notes of the triad are like bells. And that is why I called it tintinnabulation.”

BRAHMS  String Sextet No. 1 in Bb Major Op. 18 • 1859–1860
  • fresh and colorful, genial and spontaneous, the sextet is one of his earliest chamber works, written during his first official appointment to the princely Court at Detmold

September 18  Jazzing It Up

Qi Kong piano
Kobi Malkin
I-Jung Huang violin
Sung Jin Lee viola
David Requiro cello

Vadim Lando clarinet
Gina Cuffari bassoon and mezzo-soprano
Joshua Elmore bassoon
Brian Olson trumpet

George GERSHWIN  3 Preludes • 1926
  • wonderful examples of early 20th century American music influenced by jazz, arranged for clarinet and piano by the clarinetist Charles Neidich from the original for solo piano ~ first performed by Gershwin on 4 December 1926 at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York

Jens Nygaard performed the Preludes many times, often saying, “I own this music.” In 1976 he purchased Gershwin’s birthplace, intending to restore the house and revive the neighborhood. An article in the Houston Post reported, “Composer George Gershwin’s birthplace has been saved from likely destruction by 45-year-old Jens Nygaard, a pianist, harpsichordist and chamber music impressario [sic]. With $6,000 from friends and relatives, he’s signed a contract to buy the two-story house in the slum-scarred East New York section of Brooklyn to restore it and perhaps rescue the whole neighborhood by doing so. Nygaard doesn’t know what the renovation will cost, but he said his chamber orchestra foundation will coordinate contributions to the house.” Sadly, the house was burned down before he could fulfill his dreams.

Igor STRAVINSKY  L’histoire du soldat “The Soldier’s Tale” • 1919
  • a poor soldier sells his soul (represented by the violin) to the Devil for youth, wealth, and power in this variant of the Faust legend, in a condensed version for violin, clarinet, and piano—it’s the Russian maestro’s surreal response to the chaos and misery of World War I

Bohuslav MARTINU  La Revue de Cuisine • 1927
  • the Czech composer’s witty, spiky, jazzy music for a kooky ballet about love among the utensils, cooked up by the piano, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, and cello

The recipe for double trouble in “The Kitchen Review” goes more or less like this:
Begin with One Pot, One Lid—their marriage is a fit.
Add Twirling Stick who woos Pot away from Lid.
Toss in Dishcloth, who also ogles at Lid
  but is challenged to a duel by Broom.
A moment of revelation then occurs—
Pot realizes Lid is a better match.
But where’s Lid? …Gone! (probably crestfallen)
…until a huge foot kicks Lid back onto the stage
Wham! Lid is back.
Pot and Lid sashay toward each other in bliss.
Clueless Stick is now attracted to Dishcloth
…but being clueless, little does he know.

Francis POULENC  Incidental Music from Léocadia • 1940
  • simply delicious music by the French composer written for Jean Anouilh’s play, radiating with his gift of melody ~ for mezzo soprano, piano, clarinet, bassoon, violin, and cello

In 1957 Léocadia was brought to Broadway under the title Time Remembered, starring Richard Burton, Helen Hayes, and Susan Strasberg, but Poulenc’s music was ditched (what nerve!) for an inferior substitute by an American composer. Bassoonist Gina Cuffari will be our diva.

Nikolaï Girshevich KAPUSTIN  Piano Quintet Op. 89 • 1998
  • flamboyant, vivacious, jazz

Is this classical or is this jazz? The Canadian pianist Leslie De’Ath tells us that Kapustin was born in the Ukraine in 1937 and educated at the Moscow Conservatory. “His musical training was traditional, with a good exposure to the Russian virtuoso piano repertoire. Jazz became a big influence during his teen years, and has remained so throughout his career. From the late 1950s he immersed himself in the Russian jazz world, forming a quintet, and playing with Juri Saulsky’s Central Artists’ Club Big Band in Moscow. Later, he toured with the Oleg Lundstrem Jazz Orchestra throughout the Soviet Union. He now lives in reclusive domesticity in Moscow with his wife, devoting his time to composition and recording.” Richard Anderson perceives that “his music combines the extreme pianism of Rachmaninov, but one entirely in the jazz language of an Oscar Peterson.... Kapustin combines conservative structures such as sonata form or dance suites with a lavish jazz language. The improvisatory quality is omnipresent, yet every last detail is clear in the score. The music is unfailingly pianistic, both in the physicality of the hands, and in his overall output for the instrument.” De’Ath adds, “Kapustin’s piano music is technically formidable, and as a pianist he possesses a technique to match. He remains the definitive interpreter of his own music, not just by virtue of the truism that he composed it, but also because his own recordings are astonishing feats of technical and musical accomplishment. His style of writing is crossover, in the best sense of the term, and belongs to the ‘third stream’ trend of the later 20th century. Does his music sound more like jazz than classical? That probably hinges upon the ears doing the listening.”

October 2  Brainy Bohemians

Drew Petersen piano
Mark Kaplan

Mari Lee violin
Ayane Kozasa

David Requiro cello
Anthony Trionfo
Vadim Lando
Karl Kramer

Johann SOBECK  (1831–1914) Duo Concertant on Themes from Don Juan Op. 5 • published 1880
  • familiar tunes from the opera with a twist in its inventive passagework for the clarinet and horn, accompanied by the piano

The Bohemian composer, teacher, and virtuoso clarinetist was born in Luditz near Karlsbad. Studies at the Prague Conservatory were followed by a long career as a soloist and principal clarinetist of the Royal Theatre in Hanover, Germany. Much of his music was written for the clarinet.

MOZART  Selections from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro “The Marriage of Figaro” • 1786/1791
  • Bohemia’s pioneer in transcriptions, Johann Nepomuk Wendt, captures the mood of the comic opera is his arrangement for for flute and string trio

Wendt (1745–1801) transcribed over 50 opera and ballet scores, including 4 other Mozart operas, for Harmonien (wind bands), which were in vogue in Vienna and fashionable for the aristocracy’s entertainment. He was a first-rate oboist as well and found work easily. Among his employers were Count Pachta in Prague, Prince Schwarzenberg at Wittingau and Vienna (as first cor anglais player in his Harmonie), the National Theatre orchestra in Vienna, Georg Triebensee in the newly formed Kaiserlich-Königliche Harmonie, and the Hofkapelle (Court chapel in Vienna). For almost 20 years Wendt was largely responsible for the repertory of the emperor’s Harmonie, and had a special contract with the Schwarzenberg Harmonie to supply transcriptions for that ensemble as well. His combined income of 900 gulden a year was 100 more than Mozart’s imperial salary, and he had additional income for copying and composition to boot.

Josef SUK  Quartet Movement in Bb Major Op. 11 • 1896
  • the Allegro giocoso (4th movement) from his first String Quartet—original, charming, and bright, using polyphonic effects, foreshadowing the modern Czech school

One of the most gifted Czech composers, Suk was Dvorák’s favorite pupil and in 1898 married his daughter Otilie, with whom he had a very happy family life until her early death in 1905 at age 27. He formed the celebrated Bohemian Quartet (later Czech Quartet) in 1891 with fellow students. From 1922 he also taught at the Prague Conservatory; among his pupils were Bohuslav Martinu and pianist Rudolf Firkusný.

Antonín DVORÁK  Piano Quartet No. 1 in D Major • 1875
  • indulgence in Slavic lyricism and harmony, its beautiful melodies influenced by Czech folk music

At age 34, Dvorák wrote his youthful and optimistic Quartet in just 18 days, after hearing the news that he had won the Austrian State Prize for poor, talented musicians. Apart from the much-needed award of 400 gulden, the Prize helped to build his career as the jury members included the music critic Eduard Hanslick, Johann Herbeck (director of the state opera), and Brahms, who was “visibly overcome” by the mastery and skill of the submitted works, which included the Quartet. Its premiere was held in Prague on 16 December 1875.

October 16  Pianist-Composers

Adam Neiman piano
Stefan Milenkovich
Zlatomir Fung cello

Barry Crawford flute
Vadim Lando

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL  Grand rondo brillant in G Major Op. 126 • 1834
  • exceptionally tuneful and inventive duo for flute and piano, with florid passagework for both instruments

Hummel was born in Pressburg, Hungary, then a part of the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy. A pupil of Mozart, Haydn, Salieri, and Albrechtsberger, he became one of Europe’s greatest composers and perhaps the greatest piano virtuoso in Europe for more than 2 decades. In 1804 he succeeded Haydn as Konzertmeister and later as Kapellmeister at the court of Esterházy in Eisenstadt. Hummel died a rich man after a long and successful career, then faded into obscurity with the arrival of Romanticism.

LISZT  Hungarian Rhapsody No. 9 • 1848
  • from a set of 19 piano pieces of daring originality, the “Carnival in Pest” is colorful, flamboyant, and wild ~ in his rendition for piano trio

The Hungarian Rhapsodies were drawn from Liszt’s native folk music, although many were tunes written by members of the Hungarian upper middle class, often played by Roma (gypsy) bands. The 9th Rhapsody was dedicated to Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, the Moravian-Jewish violinist and composer who was Paganini’s greatest successor.

RACHMANINOFF  2 Morceaux de salon Op. 6 • 1893
  • comprising a melancholy Romance and brilliant, fiery Danse Hongroise for piano and violin

The Morceaux, possibly dedicated to the violinist Julius Conus, sit between 2 significant moments in the Russian composer’s output—the early C# minor Prelude (his first and great solo piano piece that became a warhorse) and his Symphony No. 1 in D minor, which had such a disastrous premiere under the inept baton of Alexander Glazunov that Rachmaninoff suffered a breakdown and could not compose for 4 years.

Adam NEIMAN  Trio • 2017
  • a New York premiere for his Neoromantic piece for violin, clarinet, and piano ~ Adam has been performing as a pianist with Jupiter since 2001, the year of Jens Nygaard’s last concert season

CHOPIN  Piano Trio in G minor Op. 8 • 1829
  • warm and genial, with a magnificent piano part, the neglected trio was composed at the impressionable age of 19, when he heard Hummel and Paganini

October 30  Drawn to Vienna

Maxim Lando piano
Areta Zhulla
Frank Morelli
Nathan Meltzer

Cong Wu viola
Christine Lamprea
Barry Crawford

MOZART  Quartet in F Major K. 370 • 1781
  • an admirable transcription from the original Oboe Quartet for bassoon and string trio by Mordechai Rechtman, the renowned Israeli bassoonist

Among the demanding works written for the oboe, the superb Quartet was composed early in the year for Friedrich Ramm, the virtuoso oboist of the Electoral Court Orchestra in Munich, where Mozart had gone to complete his opera Idomeneo for its premiere.

In September 1762, the Mozart family left Salzburg and headed for Vienna before their Grand tour. It was one of Europe’s most important centers of music, where all the Austrian emperors, for a hundred years or so, encouraged music in every way and attracted the best singers and performers to the city. He visited Vienna again in 1768, remaining there for a year; and in 1781, at the behest of his employer Archbishop Colloredo with whom he soon quarreled. The relocation led to a career as the finest keyboard player in Vienna, and as a composer. Vienna was his base until his death in 1791.

BEETHOVEN  Trio in G Major WoO 37 • 1781
  • influenced by Mozart, both in its large-scale characteristics and piano figurations ~ for flute, bassoon, and piano

The Trio was most likely written for the von Westerholt family—the father, Electoral Equerry and Privy Councillor Baron Friedrich Rudolph Anton von Westerholt-Giesenberg, played the bassoon and maintained a wind ensemble among his servants; one of his sons, Wilhelm, played the flute; and his daughter, Maria Anna Wilhelmine, played the piano. The baroness, age 12 at the time, took piano lessons from the fifteen-year-old Beethoven and must have been a good student as the dominant piano part is not easy.

Vienna was Beethoven’s city for more than 35 years until he died in 1827. During this time he had 67 different addresses there. Born in Bonn in 1770, he was 17 when he first came to Vienna, hoping to study with Mozart, but he had to go home when his mother became seriously ill; she died soon after. When Beethoven returned to Vienna at age 22, Mozart had died almost a year before, so he studied with Haydn and also with Albrechtsberger and Salieri.

SCHUBERT  Violin Sonata in A Major D. 574 • 1817
  • an exquisite duo balancing the contrasting influences of Beethoven and Rossini with his own lyricism, arranged by August Wilhelmj for string quartet

In the words of Michael Parloff, “The entire work is an unbroken stream of graceful, beautifully crafted melody, reflecting his quintessential genius for song” with “a final Allegro vivace...as a whirling Viennese waltz.” Schubert was Viennese through and through. He was born in Himmelpfortgrund, a district of Vienna, he lived much of his life in the city, and he died there. When he was away from Vienna, he would soon miss it. He would pine for his beloved Vienna and its life, his friends, the theaters, and cafes.

The German violinist and teacher, August Emil Daniel Ferdinand Wilhelmj (1845–1908), was a child prodigy. When Liszt heard him play, he wrote a letter of recommendation to the violin virtuoso and composer Ferdinand David, declaring, “Let me present you the future Paganini.”

Marcel TYBERG  Piano Trio in F Major • 1935–1836
  • ravishing late Romanticism by the Viennese composer who died in Auschwitz

Fred Flaxman, the award-winning public television and radio producer, broadcasted on Compact Discoveries the following “Sad Story”: “Marcel Tyberg was born in 1893 in Vienna, Austria. He was an accomplished composer, conductor and pianist. Notable conductors such as Rafael Kubelik premiered his pieces at venues in Prague and Italy. He composed symphonies on the scale of Mahler and popular dance music under the pseudonym of Till Bergmar. His father, Marcell Tyberg, Senior, who was born in Poland, was a prominent violinist. His mother [Wanda Paltinger Tybergova] was a pianist and colleague of Arthur Schnabel. In 1916, during World War I, the Tybergs moved from the crumbling Austrian Empire to the little resort town of Abbazia in what was then Italy. For a living Tyberg played the organ in local churches, taught harmony, and composed dance music, including rumbas, tangos, and waltzes. He also performed as a pianist and conductor. A friend of his wrote that Tyberg lived contentedly in ‘indescribable poverty.’ He was reluctant to publish his compositions, refusing several offers. He seemed to have no interest in fame or earthly possessions.

“During World War II, the Germans took over that part of Italy in anticipation of an Italian surrender to the U.S. and its allies. They imposed Nazi laws pertaining to the Jews in German-controlled territories. Tyberg’s father had died in 1927 and his mother died eleven days before he completed his final work, the Third Symphony.... On Sept. 14, 1943, the German government took control of Abbazia, along with the special censuses of Jews taken by local authorities. During such a census in 1939, Tyberg and his mother declared that they were religiously Catholic but, because Mrs. Tyberg’s great-grandfather was Jewish, racially Jewish [this made Tyberg one-sixteenth Jewish]. So the Italian fascists basically handed over Marcel Tyberg’s death warrant to the German government in 1943. Knowing this, and in anticipation of his capture and possible deportation, Tyberg entrusted all of his compositions and personal writings to his friend Dr. Milan Mihich. In addition, he gave Dr. Mihich a document authorizing him to take any action deemed desirable to preserve his music. Shortly afterwards the Gestapo captured Tyberg in a night raid and he was sent to the extermination camps first at San Sabba, then at Auschwitz, where he was killed on December 31, 1944, according to Nazi records.

“In 1945, following the end of World War II and the occupation of that area of Italy by Communist Yugoslavia, Dr. Mihich and his family fled to Milan along with the entirety of Tyberg’s compositions. When he died in 1948, his son, Enrico Mihich, a former harmony student of Tyberg’s who was then a medical student at the University of Milan, inherited Tyberg’s catalog of music. Dr. Enrico Mihich later came to Buffalo, New York, and became a member of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Mihich to this day keeps Tyberg’s music safely secured in his Buffalo home.”

November 13  Stars in Prague

Elizaveta Kopelman piano
Mikhail Kopelman
Lisa Shihoten violin
Cong Wu

Matthew Cohen viola
David Requiro
Timotheos Petrin
Vadim Lando

Johann Wenzel KALLIWODA  Morceau de Salon Op. 229 • [1859]
  • once very popular, the flamboyant Romantic fling for clarinet and piano was played everywhere, from the Court to the bars

Kalliwoda was an esteemed Bohemian composer, conductor, and violin soloist during his lifetime. At the age of 10, the boy entered the newly founded Prague Conservatory, graduating five years later in 1816 with distinction, after which he joined the orchestra of the Stavovské Theatre, under Weber. In December 1821 the orchestra gave a farewell concert of his compositions before he departed for a tour of Germany, Switzerland, and Holland. While in Munich, he met Prince Karl Egon II, who offered him the post of conductor in Donaueschingen. Leading virtuosos, including Liszt and Robert and Clara Schumann, appeared at his symphony concerts. Schumann, among others, held a high opinion of his work and he is sometimes spoken of as the link between Beethoven and Schumann. In the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, co-founded by Schumann, he praised Kalliwoda for the tenderness and sweep of his compositions, even though he was critical of some of his work. For almost 40 years Kalliwoda directed and elevated the standard of Donaueschingen’s musical life. Highly respected, he was offered posts in the most famous musical institutions of Leipzig, Cologne, Mannheim, Dessau, and Prague, and was made an honorary member of music societies in Prague, Germany, Austria, Holland, Switzerland, and Sweden.

SCHUMANN  Piano Quartet in C minor • 1829
  • passionate and exuberant, music writer Michael Cookson had called it “a hidden gem” and “a stroke of genius,” citing “its richness of invention”

Composed at age 18 and performed by Schumann and his music friends, it was well received by their teacher Friedrich Wieck and others present. While the composer lost interest in this youthful work, he later wrote of the refined harmonies of the Trio in his diary in 1846: “I remember very clearly feeling that a passage in one of my compositions (1828) was romantic, showing a spirit that moved away from musical tradition as a new poetry in life was revealed to me (it was the trio from a scherzo in a piano quartet).” In 1832 he would use its main theme in the fourth of his Op. 4 Intermezzos. He also described the closing Rondo in his diary as “wild merriment.”

Music played an important role in Prague, drawing to the city numerous musicians, among them Robert and Clara Schumann. In 1837 Clara played her husband’s works in private gatherings in Prague and other cities. Robert visited in 1838, relaying in a letter, “The young musicians of Prague amused me very much.” His oratorio Paradise and the Peri was performed to acclaim in Prague in 1845. The couple went on a 4-month tour in 1846–1847 and, in Prague, gave 2 splendid concerts, which drew “perfect ovations” for Robert. The attendees included the Bohemian-Austrian high nobility, and they made new friends. Clara returned to Prague in 1856, 1859, and 1865, each time performing Robert’s music

The autograph score of the Piano Quartet, which is full of errors and gaps, came to the possession of the Bonn University Library in 1974. A performing edition was then prepared by the Schumann scholar Wolfgang Boetticher in 1979. A new reconstructed edition has since been issued in 2010 by musicologist Joachim Draheim.

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

November 27  Très Belle

Michael Brown piano
Elizabeth Fayette
Fabiola Kim violin
Maurycy Banaszek
Mihai Marica

Barry Crawford flute
Hassan Anderson
Vadim Lando
Adrian Morejon
Karl Kramer

Charles DANCLA  String Quartet No. 8 in G Major Op. 87 • 1858
  • pyrotechnics abound in this Gold Medal winner of the Société Sainte Cécile of Bordeaux’s music competition, influenced by his deep admiration of Paganini and Vieuxtemps

The quartet is a fine work with passages of rich string sonorities, a joyful and bright minuet, a sublime slow movement, and a bravura finale of perpetual motion. It was dedicated to his friend and compatriot François Soubies, a French politician of the extreme left wing group of the Montagne.

Dancla (1817–1907) came from a talented French family of musicians; his 2 brothers played the violin and cello, and his sister, the piano. He attended the Paris Conservatoire from 1828 to 1840 and won a premier prix in 1833; his school mates included Gounod and Franck. Performances by Pierre Baillot (one of his teachers) of quartets by Boccherini, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven sparked his interest in chamber music, prompting him to form his own group, together with his siblings. Their concerts at the home of the postman Hesselbein were a regular feature of the Paris season. In 1842, he failed to secure the sought-after post of principal professor of violin at the Conservatoire. Six years later, still dispirited, he left Paris to work in postal jobs, first in Cholet, then in Paris. In 1855, however, he was finally offered a position at the Conservatoire and five years later, became professor of violin, a post he held until he unwillingly retired in 1892. As a violinist Dancla was praised for his trill, lightness of bowing, and his brilliance. The New Grove Dictionary gives a summary of other achievements: “He was highly respected at the Conservatoire as a person, musician and teacher.... He was a prolific composer and won prizes for four of his 14 string quartets and three of his works for male chorus; but it is only through his didactic works that his music survives.... He may be regarded as the last exponent of the classical French school of violin playing.”

Vincent D’INDY  Sarabande and Minuet for Sextet Op. 72 • 1918
  • adaptation of his sophisticated Suite dans le style ancien, based on traditional dance forms, reflecting his enthusiasm for early music

Although almost forgotten today, d’Indy was a major influence on the generation of French musicians who preceded Impressionism. Born in Paris into a family of rich Catholic aristocrats, the composer-pedagogue could trace his ancestry back to Henry IV. As a child he was passionate about the military, so much so that when the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, he enlisted in the National Guard at age 19. After the war he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1872, studying with César Franck, who inspired him. In 1873 he met Liszt and Brahms in Germany; in 1875 he was the prompter for the premiere of Bizet’s Carmen; and in 1884 he was the choirmaster for a production of Wagner’s Lohengrin. In 1894 he, together with organist Alexander Guilmant and conductor Charles Bordes, founded the Schola Cantorum, where he taught until his death in 1931. As a counterbalance to his alma mater, the Paris Conservatoire, and its emphasis on opera, d’Indy’s curriculum focused on the study of the Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and works of the late Baroque and early Classical periods. Among his many students were Isaac Albéniz, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, and, for a few months in 1920, Cole Porter.

Claude DEBUSSY  Children’s Corner : Suite • 1908
  • written as a solo piano piece to entertain his daughter Claude-Emma, nicknamed Chouchou, who was then three ~ arranged for wind quintet, 2 violins, viola, cello, and double bass by Lucien Cailliet, the French-born American composer and arranger of orchestral music and film scores

The Suite of six pieces, four of which evoke Chouchou’s toys, was given its world première in Paris by the English pianist Harold Bauer on 18 December 1908. Maurice Hinson observed, “These pieces are...small humorous pictures inspired by childhood.... The descriptive, or fanciful titles are symbolic rather than programmatic. They point out, or suggest, through the music, qualities that are difficult to put into words. But Children’s Corner clearly reflects the nursery and the world of childhood fantasy inhabited by Chouchou.” The pieces are entitled in English, most likely a nod to Chouchou’s English governess, Miss Gibbs:

Jimbo’s Lullaby : inspired by Chouchou’s stuffed elephant
Serenade for the Doll : pentatonic musings for her favorite doll
The Snow is Dancing : tiny toccata of dancing snowflakes
The Little Shepherd : a mournful shepherd pipes a wayward tune
   and dance
Golliwogg’s Cakewalk : jazzy ragtime for the doll in vogue

Théodore DUBOIS  Piano Quartet in A minor • 1907
  • French late Romanticism at its best, with lyrical melodies, fulsome harmonies, and a sublime adagio

Dubois (1837–1924) held a dominant place in French music during the last third of the 19th century, teaching harmony at the Paris Conservatoire for 35 years (beginning in 1871) and serving as the Conservatoire’s director beginning in 1896. Until, that is, his abrupt retirement in 1905, precipitated by his refusal to award the coveted Prix de Rome to a young upstart by the name of Maurice Ravel. Dubois himself had previously studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where his teacher was Ambroise Thomas and where he himself also won the Prix de Rome. During his long career he was also the choirmaster and later the organist of L’église de la Madeleine (the Church of the Madeleine), succeeding Saint-Saëns. His many students included Reynaldo Hahn, Paul Dukas, and Florent Schmitt. Seven Last Words of Christ, written in 1867, was his most enduring composition; the oratorio became a fixture of Easter concerts for decades after.


December 4  Role Models

Roman Rabinovich piano
Robin Scott
Lisa Shihoten violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt viola

Matthew Cohen viola
David Requiro
Xavier Foley
double bass
Vadim Lando

Franz KROMMER  Clarinet Quintet in Bb Major Op. 95 • published 1820
  • early Romantic in expression with original flourishes, while bearing the influence of Haydn and Mozart ~ for clarinet, violin, 2 violas, and cello

Born in Kamenice, Moravia, when Mozart was 3, Krommer (1759–1831) taught himself music theory as a boy through the study of works by Haydn and Mozart. He lived most of his life in Vienna, where he established a towering international reputation as a composer. Several contemporary sources state he was regarded, with Haydn, as the leading composer of string quartets and as a serious rival of Beethoven.

Karl GOLDMARK  String Quintet in A minor • 1870
  • the Hungarian-born Viennese composer’s “Cello Quintet” persuades with gorgeous melodies and a deeply moving Andante movement

Goldmark, whose fame was limited to Vienna and to his own lifetime, is today remembered for his Violin Concerto and Rustic Wedding Symphony. Born into a lower-middle class Jewish family with over 20 children, he had a sporadic and largely self-taught education, which included an immersion in the study of the music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Determined, he moved into the forefront of Viennese musical life. His Op. 8 String Quartet made him famous overnight in 1860. He was also a music critic and championed the works of Wagner, founding the Vienna Wagner Verein. He was a teacher and counted Sibelius among his pupils. In 1866 he was made an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreund in Vienna, and in 1879, with Brahms and Eduard Hanslick, he judged a distribution of grants to artists. Although Brahms was his friend, one hears Mendelssohn and Schumann in his music, seasoned with lively Hungarian gypsy melodies. Together with Richard Strauss and others, he was made an honorary member of the Accademia di S Cecilia in Rome in 1914. His importance lies mainly in his operatic works.

MENDELSSOHN  Sextet in D Major Op. 110 • 1824
  • a bravura showpiece penned at age 15 for the unconventional scoring of piano, violin, 2 violas, cello, and double bass

While Felix’s education included the study of Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart, the effervescent Sextet reveals the influence of Beethoven and foreshadows Romantic sensibilities. Composed in less than 2 weeks, it was dashed off for one of the Mendelssohn family Sunday morning musicales, which gave Felix the chance to play the piano virtuoso part. These concerts had acquired an almost mythical status in Berlin, as the guest lists show—Spohr, Spontini, Hummel, Weber, and Moscheles all came, and Felix listened carefully to their opinion.

 December 18  Gifted Organists

Maxim Lando piano
Josef Spacek
Paul Neubauer
Zlatomir Fung cello
Julietta Curenton

Rita Mitsel oboe
Vadim Lando
Gina Cuffari
Karl Kramer
  Note: Maxim Lando replaces Alexander Kobrin for this concert

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE  Prelude and Fugue in D minor BuxWV 140 • circa 1690 /1920
  • the Danish-German Baroque composer’s magnificent work—among the finest and most striking examples of the genre for organ, with a beautiful and contrasting set of chorale preludes, interpreted by Sergei Prokofiev for solo piano

Born in Helsingborg, Skåne (a part of Denmark in 1637, now a part of Sweden), Buxtehude is one of the most important composers of the mid-Baroque period in Germany, his influence affecting even Bach. His music was introduced to Prokofiev by Sergei Taneyev. According to Robert Cummings, “Prokofiev was an inveterate transcriber of his [own] orchestral works, reducing them to keyboard versions for his concert tours.... This transcription of Buxtehude’s organ prelude and fugue is a rarity...for he seldom arranged the works of other composers.... This...arrangement is unusual in other respects, too: it is devoid of virtuosic writing altogether and is exceedingly somber and faithful to the original—faithful, that is, to the portions that Prokofiev chose to transcribe, for he eliminated about the half of the original piece and omitted the flashier portions of the fugue. The main theme is delicate and stately in its Baroque sobriety, and the music barely hints at any hastening of its Andante molto marking. The whole is quite attractive in its calm grandeur and serene understatedness. This is a fine piece, but is it Buxtehude or is it Prokofiev?”

MOZART  Duo in Bb Major for violin and viola K. 424 • 1783
  • from the period of his 10 great quartets, the duo was written for his friend, Michael Haydn, who could not fulfill a commission because of illness

The organ held a special attraction for Mozart, one that remained with him for life. In October 1777 he professed the organ to be his favorite instrument to Johann Andreas Stein, the Orgelmacher in Augsburg: “When I told Herr Stein I would love to try out his organ because organ playing was my real Passion, he seemed surprised.... The organ is in my eyes and ears the king of all instruments.” Wolfgang’s first documented playing on the instrument took place in the Franciscan church of Ybbs in Lower Austria in 1762. The following year, during the grand family tour, his father Leopold described how the 7-year-old’s playing in Wasserburg amazed the listeners: “He tried it right away, shoved the stool away and played standing at the organ, at the same time working the pedal, and doing it all as if he had been practising it for several months.” In subsequent years he acquired considerable knowledge of various organs in Europe. In Heidelberg, he played the organ in the Church of the Holy Ghost. In 1764 he played for the royal family on the Royal Chapel organ in Versailles, and in London he played the King’s organ so splendidly that they thought his organ performances were finer than his playing on the harpsichord. In 1765 he played the large new organ of the Bernardines order in Ghent, and in Antwerp the great organ in the cathedral church. He played another great organ at St. Bavo’s church in Haarlem, Holland at age 10, and at Verona’s San Tomaso church at age 13. In 1777 he played the old organ at the monastery of St. Ulrich. The next year he played on two different Silbermann organs in Strasbourg, and in 1789 on J.S. Bach’s organ in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. From 1779 to 1781 he held the position of Hoforganist in Salzburg. Mozart’s works for the organ include 3 fugues, an overture, the Eine kleine Gigue, and 3 pieces for the mechanical organ.

Joseph JONGEN  Rhapsody Op. 70 • 1922
  • the Belgian composer’s fertile imagination is unrestrained in this remarkable, colorful, impressionistic, vivacious sextet in one movement, showcasing the piano and wind quintet

Remembered primarily for his organ music today, Jongen was considered the greatest living Belgian composer at one time. At age seven, the precocious Joseph was admitted to the Liège Conservatoire, and by age 13 he was composing. He was influenced by Debussy and Ravel in 1921, as can be heard in the Rhapsody.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS  Piano Quartet in Bb Major Op. 41 • 1875
  • written in the year of his ill-fated marriage, the French composer himself premiered his superb cyclic tour de force with its majestic opening and profusion of soaring melodies on 6 March 1875 at the Salle Pleyel with Pablo de Sarasate, Alfred Turban, and Léon Jacquard

Among his numerous works for the organ, the Fantaisie in Eb Major (his first organ piece, which became his most popular) and the “Organ” Symphony are surely standouts. At the age of 23, the Parisian became the organist for L’église de la Madeleine (the Church of the Madeleine) in 1858 and soon developed his legendary gifts for improvisation. For some 20 years he had at his disposal the console of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll’s brand-new organ—four manuals, 48 stops, and an unprecedented symphonic wall of sound. The instrument, which took up the entire west wall of the enormous edifice, attracted a constant stream of musical stars, including his friends Liszt (he called Saint-Saëns “the greatest organist in the world”), Sarasate, and Anton Rubinstein (a frequent piano duet partner), all of whom made a point of stopping off at the Madeleine during their visits to Paris to hear him play.

 January 8  English Wizardry
William Wolfram piano
Itamar Zorman
Caleb Hudson trumpet

Benjamin BLAKE  “Solo” No. 2 in C Major Op. 9 • 1825
  • from the set of 3 “Solos” by the prominent English violist and composer ~ dedicated to “his Valuable Friend,” Thomas Assheton Smith, M.P., a landowner and cricketer

Very little is known about Blake (1751–1827). He learned to play the violin from Antonín Kammel, and he later studied also with Wilhelm Cramer, director of the Italian Opera orchestra at the King’s Theatre. “Blake himself played the violin in this orchestra from about 1775, and also at the Concert of Ancient Music. He came into public prominence however as a viola player. He was principal and soloist at the Professional Concert from 1785 to 1793, appearing regularly in string quartets with Cramer. He also played the viola at the Prince of Wales’s musical evenings, and his unusual interest in this instrument led to his publishing 18 duos for violin and viola in the 1780s. After the 1793 season Blake resigned from public performance. He was already studying the piano under [Muzio] Clementi to equip himself as a teacher, and though he continued to play the viola for the Prince of Wales he lived almost entirely by teaching until 1820 when he retired”(Wikipedia).

Among the subscribers to the “Solos” were several musicians, including Muzio Clementi, his piano teacher; Clementi and Co., the piano company, 24 copies; Thomas Atwood, composer and organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral; Birchall and Co., the music publisher, 6 copies; George E. Griffin, organist of St Helen’s at Bishopsgate; Dr. Charles Hague, professor of music at Cambridge, 2 copies; William Horsley, organist of the Asylum and Belgrave Chapel; William Hawes, Master of the Boys at St. Paul’s Cathedral; Christian Kramer, conductor of His Majesty’s Private Band (George IV); William Shield, Master of his Majesty’s Band of Musicians; and a Mr. Dragonetti.

Henry PURCELL  Chacony in G minor • 1678
  • by England’s finest composer before Elgar ~ arranged in 1948 (revised 1963) for string quartet by Benjamin Britten, who admired the beauty and clarity of the Baroque composer’s music

In his short life of 36 years, Purcell (1659–1695) composed in virtually every genre and left a uniquely English form of Baroque music as his legacy. On his 18th birthday he became composer of the court violin band known as the Twenty-Four Violins; the Chacony was probably written soon after. “It is a magnificent example of the baroque mastery of...ostinato variations, which grow in power and magic with each repetition of the same eight-measure phrase” (Phillip Huscher). Britten has enriched the textures of the music and added expressive dynamics and articulation in his arrangement of the Chacony.

Frideric HANDEL  Suite in D Major HWV 341 • 1733
  • also known as “Mr. Handel’s Celebrated Water Piece,” the winning set for trumpet and strings is of uncertain authenticity

The smart arrangement of dances including bits of Handel in 5 movements exploits the tonal capabilities of the valveless or natural trumpet. The Ouverture with festive fanfares comes straight from the Second Suite of Water Music (circa 1717), followed by the lively Gigue, also from the same work. Next come the gently lilting Air (a minuet) and springy Bourrée by an anonymous composer in the style of Handel. The final movement returns to Handel—a stately March rearranged from his less-known opera Partenope (1730). The Suite was published by a rival house rather than Handel’s own publisher, possibly by the arranger intent on capitalizing on Handel’s famous name.

Gerald FINZI  5 Bagatelles Op. 23 • 1941
  • charming musical trifles, short and unpretentious, arranged by Christian Alexander for clarinet and string quartet in 2000, from the original for clarinet and piano

An agnostic and pacifist of Jewish descent, Finzi composed unmistakably British music. The popular Bagatelles were written over many years using “20-year-old bits and pieces,” and completed during World War II in free moments snatched from his work at the Ministry of War Transport. They comprise a sunny “Prelude,” nostalgic “Romance,” tender “Carol,” beguiling “Forlana,” and a mischievous “Fughetta.”

Malcolm ARNOLD  Grand Fantasia for flute, trumpet, and piano "Op. 973" • 1940
  • an introduction to the virtuoso trumpeter’s early Arnoldian world—humorous and witty at age 19, if a bit daffy, and including a sultry habanera and slinky blues

We learn from the publisher’s notes that “For the summer of 1940 Malcolm Arnold and his friend, the flute player Richard Adeney, persuaded a pretty blonde pianist to join them for a holiday in Cornwall. They pored over advertisements of accommodation, Malcolm pointing to a not very literate one and insisting they stay there. Thus, in August 1940, they found themselves on a farm at St Buryan, near Mousehole. The holiday was much against the wishes of all their parents, for there were fears at the time that the Germans might land in the West Country. It was for himself, Richard and Betty that Malcolm originally wrote this exuberant trio, which he named ironically Grand Fantasia, Op 973, a piece of escapism at the time of the Battle of Britain. All 3 instruments are handled with panache as Malcolm takes the listener on a European tour, with stops in Italy, Hungary and Austria. And the fantasia is not purely geographical for in this gloriously catholic work he manages to salute the idioms of opera, musical comedy and jazz. It is a helter-skelter affair, full of the joys of a youthful artist who knows he’s at ease in his medium. It is no surprise to find the manuscript telling us that it was not composed by Malcolm at all, but by ‘A. Youngman’. In February 1941 Malcolm and Richard organised some Saturday afternoon concerts in the Carnegie Hall—a room in Northampton’s public library. These featured a number of new works by Malcolm including the first public performance of Grand Fantasia.”

The English composer was the youngest of five children from a prosperous Northampton family of shoemakers. After listening to Louis Armstrong in Bournemouth, he was inspired to take up the trumpet at the age of 12 and five years later won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he studied composition with Gordon Jacob and trumpet with Ernest Hall. In 1941 he joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra as second trumpet and became its principal trumpet in 1943.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS  Quintet in C minor • 1903, revised 1905
  • both Brahms and English folk music influence this expansive late Romantic quintet—its passionate first movement is followed by an expressive Andante that resembles his song “Silent Noon” (composed the same year), and concludes with a rhapsodic theme and variations Finale, contrasting in tempo, mood, and tonality ~ for piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass

 January 22  Poles Apart

Roman Rabinovich piano
Asi Matathias


Karol KURPINSKI  Fantasy for string quartet • 1825
  • essentially a collection of folk dances—Polish melodies—by Poland’s most important composer before Chopin

It was this use of folk themes in his compositions—operas, orchestral works, polonaises—that kept Polish culture alive. An organ prodigy, Kurpinski (1785–1857) worked as a church organist at age 12, and in 1819 became Kapellmeister of the Polish royal chapel. The following year he founded and edited the first Polish music periodical, Tygodnik muzyczny (“Music Weekly”). From 1824 till 1840 he was principal conductor of the Warsaw Opera. The New Grove Dictionary states that Kurpinski was, with his teacher Józef Elsner, “a central figure in the musical life of Warsaw, and conducted Chopin’s first public concerts there. One of the most talented Polish composers before Chopin, he helped to lay the foundations of a national style and prepared the ground for Polish music of the Romantic period. Gifted with exceptional creative originality, he contributed to the development of Polish opera, introducing new musical devices and achieving an intensified dramatic expression.... Although brought up on the Viennese Classics, Kurpinski followed the spirit of his time, combining the new achievements of European music with the folklore of his own country.”

CHOPIN  3 Polish Songs from a set of 17 for soprano and piano Op. 74
  • beautiful, unassuming folk-flavored miniatures:
 Mädchens Wunsch (“The Maiden’s Wish”) • 1829
 Trübe Wellen (“Troubled Waters”) • 1831
 Was ein junges Mädchen Liebt (“What a Young Maiden Loves”) • 1829

CHOPIN  Etude in C# minor Op. 25 No. 7 • 1824
  • arranged for string quartet by Mily Balakirev, the Russian pianist, composer, and conductor who promoted musical nationalism

Alexandre TANSMAN  Septuor • 1931–1932
  • devilish syncopations and expressive melodic lines enliven his playful Neoclassical septet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, viola, and cello

Tansman (1897–1986) is regarded as one of the greatest Polish musicians. Although he lived much of his life in Paris, he himself declared, “It is obvious that I owe much to France, but anyone who has ever heard my compositions cannot have doubt that I have been, am and forever will be a Polish composer.” His music drew on his Polish Jewish heritage as well as French musical influences. In 1941, with the threat of Hitler looming, he fled to Los Angeles with the help of Charlie Chaplin. There, he composed film scores, including Paris Underground (1945), which was nominated for an Oscar. Tansman was also a virtuoso pianist, performing worldwide for audiences, among them Emperor Hirohito and Mahatma Gandhi.

Ludomir RÓZYCKI  Piano Quintet Op. 35 • 1913
  • magnificent Neoromantic masterwork, offering a rich and sumptuous tonal palette and a vast array of expressive devices

Composition on the expansive Quintet began while Rózycki was on a visit to Paris in the summer of 1913, and was completed in Berlin a few months later. Colin Anderson observed, “It is immediately arresting in its dark heavy-heartedness—it may remind of Fauré—and it’s a beautiful piece, soulful sentiments and powerful emotions entwined, and superbly crafted. The three movements are of equal length, fourteen minutes here, with a central slow one that tolls particularly desolate if profoundly eloquent expressions that become somewhat relieved as the music progresses if only to sink back to melancholy. The Finale...offers a musical spring to the step without ever becoming glib...and...the work ends with a valiant response to previous doldrums.” The noted music critic Wilhelm Altmann felt that it was written by “an early 20th century Beethoven.”

February 5  Nosh on Goulash
Drew Petersen piano
Danbi Um

Franz DOPPLER  Andante and Rondo Op. 25 • 1875
  • the flute, clarinet, and piano breeze through the flashy piece (originally with 2 flutes) featuring a lyrical Andante and a rhythmic Rondo with the cockiness and brio of a Hungarian gypsy dance

Born in Lemberg, Poland, Franz and his brother Karl were taught by their father, Joseph, who was a composer and oboist. Franz made his debut in Vienna at the age of 13 and became famous as a virtuoso flutist touring Europe with Karl, giving duo recitals before both became prominent members of Hungarian orchestras. Franz first joined the German Theatre from 1838, then the Hungarian National Theatre from 1841. He composed a German opera and several Hungarian operas that were produced at the Theatre, all with appreciable success. In 1853, together with Karl and others, they founded the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the brothers also resumed their concert tours throughout Europe.

György Sándor LIGETI  Régi magyar társas táncok “Old Hungarian Ballroom Dances” • 1949
  • probably the Hungarian modernist master’s most listenable and appealing work ~ for flute, clarinet, and string quartet

“Let me tell you an anecdote,” divulged Ligeti in an interview. “Some eight years ago, I read a review published in New York. It said the Six Bagatelles had been performed in the city and Ligeti who had so far written indigestible music, had at last produced some beautiful stuff. The critic had no idea when the quintet had been composed [it was 1953]. If my verbunkos arrangement Old Hungarian Ballroom Dances were to be played again, it could easily become my most popular composition, even though it is but the arrangement of pieces by Lavotta, Bihari, and Csermák.” János Lavotta (1764–1820), János Bihari (1764–1827), and Antal Csermák (1774–1822) were popular composers in the verbunkos (Hungarian dance and music) style. New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini finds that “Below the surface of this genial suite of dance tunes, you detect the young composer sticking it to the Soviet cultural police with seemingly ironic touches: sour voicing of chords; excessively filigreed clarinet riffs; sturdy bass lines that turn thumpy.”

Tommasini also provides the following background: “Born in 1923 to a Jewish family,...Ligeti was conscripted into a labor camp during the last phase of the war. In late 1945 he resumed his musical studies at the conservatory in Budapest. But in 1948 composers working in the People’s Republic of Hungary were subject to the Stalinist decree banning modern music.” Such were the circumstances under which Old Hungarian Ballroom Dances was written.

Antonín DVORÁK  Sonatina Op. 100 • 1893
  • nicknamed “Indian Lament” after its wistful Larghetto, the Sonatina was written during the Czech composer’s stay in New York City, inspired by Native American melodies and Negro spirituals ~ arranged for clarinet and string quartet by the British clarinetist Jack Brymer from the original for violin and piano

In the book New Worlds of Dvorák by the Dvorák scholar Michael Beckerman, he has depicted a curiosity—an illustration of a poem by Anne Reeve Aldrich, “Music of Hungary,” dedicated to Dvorák, showing that the composer has crossed out every instance of the word “Hungary” and written in “Bohemia.” (Perhaps he was objecting to the poet’s conflation of his homeland with Hungary, whereas he would have strongly identified with Bohemia and would never have considered his homeland to be Hungary.) The poem appears in Aldrich’s book Songs about Life, Love and Death, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1892.

Zoltán KODÁLY  Intermezzo with folk airs
  • awash in beguiling Hungarian folk tunes, reflecting his deep interest in his native folk heritage

Both Dohnányi and Kodály were students at the Budapest Academy of Music, but their music took different paths. Dohnányi continued composing in the Brahmsian tradition, and Kodály became one of first and most significant figures in the field of ethnomusicology. In 1905 he visited many remote villages to collect authentic folk songs, transcribing and recording them on phonograph cylinders. In 1907 he joined the faculty at the Academy, and later became Dohnányi’s assistant when the latter was appointed director in February 1919, under the Soviet Republic government. However, in October, a new counter-Revolutionary interim government replaced him with the prominent violinist Jenö Hubay after Dohnányi had refused to dismiss Kodály from the Academy for his leftist leanings (he was later reinstated). In 1911, with the creation of the New Hungarian Music Society, Kodály and Dohnányi firmly established themselves alongside Bartók as a powerful force in Hungary’s developing musical culture.

Erno (Ernst von) DOHNÁNYI  Piano Quartet in F# minor • 1891
  • dark and brooding introspection pervades this impressive, expressive piece, written at age 14 under the influence of Brahms

Next to Liszt, Dohnányi is considered Hungary’s most versatile musician, whose tireless work reshaped the country’s musical life on a vast scale, and whose influence was far-reaching. Born in 1877 in Pressburg, young Ernst was first taught the piano by his father at age 6 and was composing by 7. During his childhood, Dohnányi sometimes spent time in the summer with his father in Upper Hungary at the old country house of Karl Haulik, a zealous amateur musician. During one of these visits Dohnányi met a Viennese artist named Ernst Stohr, who painted his portrait in pastels. As told by Dohnányi’s third wife Ilona in the biography, A Song of Life, “When he heard the Piano Quartet that Dohnányi had composed when he was fourteen years old, Stohr exclaimed, ‘This work has to be performed in Vienna!’ and took the manuscript with him when he departed for the imperial capital. Stohr arranged for Dohnányi’s Piano Quartet in F-sharp Minor to be performed in Vienna on 11 March 1894 at a concert of the Ersten Wiener Volks Quartet (First Viennese People’s Quartet), with the sixteen-year-old composer at the piano.”

February 19  Italian-Swiss Gems
FeiFei Dong piano
Itamar Zorman
Cynthia Phelps viola

Édouard DUPUY  Introduction and Polonaise • [1810]
  • sweet early Romantic charmer for clarinet and piano by the Swiss-born violinist, singer, and composer

Dupuy led quite a colorful and peripatetic life—by 1785 he was leader at the private theater of Prince Henry of Prussia, but a scandal led to his dismissal in 1792, so he became a touring violinist instead. By 1793 he was in Stockholm, working actively as a singer and composer in the court orchestra. He was then expelled from Sweden in 1799 for political reasons and moved to Copenhagen where, in 1807, he sang the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. His stay in Denmark, however, was cut short—his pupil in singing, Princess Charlotte Frederikke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, fell in love with him, and their alleged affair led to their exile in 1809. Dupuy then went to Paris, but in 1811 a change in the Swedish political situation enabled him to return to Stockholm, where he died in 1822.

Luigi BOCCHERINI  String Quintet in A minor Op. 25 No. 6 (G300) • 1778
  • virtuosic, tenderly wistful pleaser, with a hint of fandango rhythm in the Allegro movement, written during his employ in the Spanish court of the Infante Don Luis

Boccherini’s closest friends in Madrid were the Font family—violist Francisco Font and his three sons, violinists Antonio and Juan and cellist Pablo. They premiered the majority of his quintets with the Italian composer playing the more virtuosic second cello. The addition of another cello resulted in an innovative string quintet with two cellos, which became Boccherini’s main contribution to the chamber music repertoire.

Joseph LAUBER  (1864-1952) Trois Morceaux Op. 18 • date not found
  • delightful trio for clarinet, viola, and piano gives a sense of the Swiss composer’s work—rooted in German late Romanticism, but also influenced by French Impressionism, especially Debussy and Fauré, and with a dose of Swiss traditional music

Lauber, born in Ruswil, Switzerland, studied at the Zurich Conservatoire before going abroad in 1884, first to Munich to study with Joseph Rheinberger, then to Paris, where he studied composition with Louis Diémer and Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire. Returning to Switzerland, he became the organist in Neuchâtel for several years and for two years taught at the Zurich Conservatoire. He eventually settled in Geneva, teaching at the Conservatoire and also serving as Music Director of the Grand Théâtre de Genève. In 1900 Lauber cofounded L’Association des Musiciens Suisses, which premiered a number of his works and to this day promotes Swiss composers. His oeuvre comprises more than 200 compositions in many genres including an opera, an oratorio, symphonies, concertos, and chamber music for various ensembles and instruments.

Giuseppe MARTUCCI  Piano Quintet in C Major Op. 45 • 1877, revised 1892
  • his first masterpiece—Romantic and melodically striking—expresses passion and drama in a breathtaking stream of energy

Championed by Toscanini, Martucci was perhaps the most significant representative of Italian instrumental music in the second half of the 19th century and revived Italy’s interest in non-operatic music. His compositions are said to unite romantic sonorities with Parnassian elegance, as can be heard in the Piano Quintet.

March 5  Schubert’s Circle

Ilya Itin piano
Dmitri Berlinsky violin
Hyunah Yu


Johann Rudolf ZUMSTEEG (1760-1802)  Duo for flute and cello • 1800
  • by the pioneer of the German ballad

Zumsteeg’s importance lies in his development of the ballad, which exerted an unequivocal influence on young Franz Schubert, whose friend Josef von Spaun claimed he could “revel in these songs for days on end.” The German composer was also a solo cellist in the court orchestra in Stuttgart; while there, he wrote 10 cello concertos. The dramatist Friedrich Schiller was his close friend.

Franz LACHNER (1803–1890)  Herbst “Autumn” Op. 30 No. 1 • published 1831
  • a song for soprano by the South German composer who was Schubert’s most intimate friend in Vienna

It has been said that Lachner’s concert songs were his most distinctive works, as evident in Herbst with its ominous rustling in the piano and the lovely duet between the singer and obbligato cello.

Graham Johnson clarifies the relationship between Lachner and Schubert: “Lachner was the most successful composer of the Schubert circle, the only one of Schubert’s younger musical friends to become a musical celebrity outside Vienna. Moritz von Schwind, Lachner’s close friend as he had been Schubert’s, also made his career in Munich and became a celebrated visual artist. Although he is largely forgotten now (there are some signs of a revival) Lachner is the ‘missing’ link between Schubert and Schumann. He was born in Bavaria, and he was to return there as a favourite son; in the intervening years, one may call these his ‘Schubert period’, he lived in Vienna where he was a pupil of Sechter and the Abbé Stadler. He was a friend of the composer from about 1823, although we have no idea how he was introduced to the Schubert circle. In 1826 Lachner was appointed to a post at the Kärntnertor Theatre. He was with Schubert on many occasions in the last years of the composer’s life, but his memoirs of the time are not always reliable. He seems to have been more interested than many of his contemporaries in Schubert’s instrumental works. He claimed he often discussed his current compositions with Schubert, and that the two men showed their sketches to each other. This must have been something rare indeed: since his break with Mayrhofer, Schubert had no one among his friends, apart from Schober perhaps, with whom he might have had this kind of exchange. Lachner returned to Munich in 1836 and he played an increasingly dominant part in the musical life of that city. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of Lachner’s return to Munich, Moritz von Schwind dedicated to him the ‘Lachner roll’, twelve-and-a-half metres of remarkably witty drawings on a roll of paper thirty-four centimetres high. This depicted Lachner’s career from its beginnings, and included several drawings of Schubert surrounded by his friends. Schwind’s own close position to Schubert, and the integrity of his memories, verifies the strength of the connection between Lachner and his immortal mentor.” 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.

Franz Anton SCHUBERT (1768–1827)  Flute Quartet in G Major Op. 4 • n.d.
  • by the Dresden double bass player, whose name is linked with an incident relating to Schubert’s song setting, Erlkönig

Unrelated to the famous Schubert, Franz Anton came from the German family of musicians active in Dresden in the 18th and 19th centuries. He is remembered mainly for his caustic remarks when by mistake a copy of Erlkönig, which became one of Schubert’s most celebrated songs, was sent to him by the publisher Breitkoft & Härtel. He huffily retorted in a letter of 18 April 1817 that the “cantata” was not his composition but that he would retain the copy “so as to learn if possible who has so impertinently sent you that sort of rubbish and also to discover the fellow who has thus misused my name.” He and his music are virtually forgotten today, whereas the beloved Erlkönig will live on to eternity. Franz Anton was also a friend of Franz von Schober, who had a very close and special relationship with Schubert.

SCHUBERT  Mignon Lieder • 1815–1821
  • transcribed in 1995 by Aribert Reimann for soprano and string quartet

Reimann, the German composer and arranger, has selected from Schubert’s numerous settings 3 of the lesser-known poignant songs—Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, Heiß mich nicht reden, and So laßt mich scheinen bis ich werde—and has transcribed and linked them brilliantly “as a continuous, organically connected mini-cantata for voice and string quartet, which follows Mignon through her longing for an absent lover, passionate secrecy, and anticipation of release in death” (Andrea Budgey). The lyrics concern Harfenspieler or Harper (the mad father) and his delicate daughter, Mignon. The poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe are from his second novel, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship.

Born into a musical family in Berlin in 1936, Reimann became a répétiteur at the Deustche Oper Berlin and a distinguished accompanist of lieder, most notably in performances with the great German lyric baritone, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for whom many of his original works were written, including the opera King Lear.

SCHUBERT  Piano Trio in Bb Major Op. 99 • 1827
  • upon hearing this celestial, ebullient significant work, Schumann declared, “One glance at Schubert’s Bb Trio—and the troubles of human existence disappear and all the world is fresh and bright again.”

March 19  Rooted in Russia

Timur Mustakimov piano
Alexi Kenney

Alexandr GRECHANINOV  Clarinet Sonata No. 1 in Bb Major Op. 161 • 1939
  • Russian lyricism from a second generation nationalist composer ~ for clarinet and piano

Grechaninov (1864–1956) was a late starter; his piano lessons did not begin till age 14. Three years later he went to the Moscow Conservatory and studied counterpoint and theory with Arensky and form with Sergei Taneyev. When a disagreement with Arensky occurred in 1890 over composition teaching he left and studied with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After the Revolution, he lost his pension and became anxious in Soviet Russia, so he left for Paris in 1925, and then immigrated to the United States at age 75 in 1939, the year he composed the Bb Sonata. Grechaninov was a piano and choral teacher for most of his career, and he composed in all genres, but has a special place in 2 fields: children’s music and liturgical music, the latter testifying to his liberal religious outlook. His music was influenced by Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Mainly decadent in style, he never abandoned Russian lyricism.

Anton ARENSKY  Piano Quintet in D Major Op. 51 • 1900
  • a splendid work of Russian Romanticism revealing his expert compositional skills and artistry as a master melodist, and including imaginative Variations on a theme from an old French folk song, “Sur le Pont d’Avignon

Viktor Belayev, in Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, proclaimed the Quintet a “masterpiece” and Cobbett himself stated that the scherzo “sparkles like diamonds in the sun.” Arensky studied with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, graduating with a Gold Medal. He became one of the youngest professors (in harmony and counterpoint) ever to teach at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was influenced by Tchaikovsky and Sergei Taneyev. Among his pupils were Rachmaninoff and Scriabin. He died at age 44 from tuberculosis, most likely exacerbated by his drinking.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH  Piano Trio in C minor Op. 8 • 1923
  • this hidden gem in one movement traverses a range of emotions that include gloom, gaiety, tenderness, fury, and passion—all this at age 16 while at the Petrograd Conservatoire, and dedicated to a sweetheart, Tatyana Glivenko

Reinhold GLIÈRE  String Sextet No. 3 in C Major Op. 11 • 1904
  • the Russian soul exposed

The noted critic Wilhelm Altmann asserted, “This magnificent work is packed with a treasure chest of wonderful musical ideas. The writing is so powerful it approaches the orchestral in nature.” Glière’s teachers included Taneyev, Arensky, and Ippolitov-Ivanov, and among his students were Khachaturian, Myaskovsky, the eleven-year-old Prokofiev, and Scriabin’s young son.

March 26  Germans of Note

Max Levinson piano
Xiao-Dong Wang

Richard STRAUSS  Variationen über Das Dirndl is harb auf mi (Variations on a Bavarian Folksong) TrV 109 • 1882
  • a musical joke ~ for string trio

Strauss came from a musical family (his father was principal horn of the Munich Court Orchestra for 49 years) and spent much time and effort in his early years on music, composing more than 140 pieces by the time he matriculated from the Ludwigsgymnasium at age 18. The Variations were written in March 1882 in his 17th year. In August, he entered the University of Munich, where he read philosophy, aesthetics, history of art, and literature. The title is an in-joke. Harbni was the name of the amateur orchestra in Munich, comprising family and friends, conducted by his father Franz Joseph Strauss. It comes from the Bavarian expression “nie harb” meaning never bitter, never bad-tempered. The orchestra name thus reflects on its noble goal of living in peace and harmony and avoiding any harm towards fellow men. The work includes quotations from Wagner’s Ring and is one of Strauss’s first pieces to use his favorite device of quotation.

Eduard FRANCK  String Quartet No. 3 in C minor Op. 55 • circa 1870, published 1899
  • his lively imagination at work in its tuneful melodies, Brahmsian drama, and many moods

Renowned in his day as a composer, concert pianist, and teacher, Franck was born in Breslau in 1817 and studied with Mendelssohn. As a teacher, he was much loved, and according to the New Grove Dictionary, “he was also admired as a pianist with a particularly fine touch; his music, largely instrumental, was praised by his contemporaries, including his friend, Schumann.” Other prominent admirers were Mendelssohn and Chopin; Moritz Moszkowski was among his pupils. Eduard’s son, Richard, whom he taught, became a composer as well—Jupiter performed Richard’s Piano Trio in May 2016. The Francks came from a privileged banking family in Breslau.

BEETHOVEN  Piano Trio in Eb Major Op. 38 • 1802 or 1803
  • arranged for clarinet, cello, and piano by Beethoven himself from his popular and successful Op. 20 Septet of 1799 as a gesture of gratitude to his Viennese doctor and dedicatee, Johann Adam Schmidt, who had been treating him for his increasing deafness and other ailments

The descriptive text of the autograph at the Beethoven-Haus museum explains, “In the dedication written in French...Beethoven expresses very warm feelings for the doctor, who had treated the composer from 1801 onwards. Schmidt played the violin and his daughter the piano. This is the reason why the composer suggested in his dedication that the work should be played within the family, at least when the beloved daughter’s playing had improved somewhat. Beethoven’s extremely high regard for the doctor is not only apparent in the dedication. Even in the so-called Heiligenstadt Testament, which Beethoven wrote on 6 October 1802 in great desperation due to his increasing loss of hearing, he had written of the doctor in respectful and thankful terms [in false hopes of a cure] despite his general bitterness ‘...I thank all my friends, in particular Prince Lichnovski and Professor Schmidt.’ [He also sought the opinion of his friend in Bonn, Dr. Franz Gerhard Wegeler]: ‘People talk about miraculous cures by galvanism [therapy using electricity]; what is your opinion? A medical man told me that in Berlin he saw a deaf and dumb child recover its hearing and a man who had also been deaf for seven years recover his. I have just heard that your Schmidt is making experiments with galvanism.’”

When Beethoven heard of the Septet’s sensational reception in London in 1815, he snarled, “That damn work; I wish it could be burned!” For the poet Walt Whitman, however, it evoked thoughts of “Dainty abandon, sometimes as if Nature laughing on a hillside in the sunshine; serious and firm monotonies, as of winds; a horn sounding through the tangle of the forest, and the dying echoes; soothing floating of waves but presently rising in surges, angrily lashing, muttering, heavy; piercing peals of laughter, for interstices; now and then weird, as Nature herself is in certain moods—but mainly spontaneous, easy, careless…”

April 9  The Great vs. The Five

Janice Carissa piano
Stefan Milenkovich violin


The Five
Also known as The Mighty Handful, the Five comprised the prominent composers Mily Balakirev (its leader), César Cui (the least known of the group), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, and Alexander Borodin. Rejecting Western influences, these “nationalists” sought to create classical music that conveyed the ideas of Russian culture and form a strong Russian musical identity—Russia First. They tried to integrate in their music the sounds of Russian life—village folksongs, music of Cossack and Caucasian dances, the melismatic peasant song, church chants, tolling of church bells, and orientalism. The group existed from 1856 to 1870.

The Great
Tchaikovsky studied at the “conservative” St. Petersburg Conservatory and later taught at the Moscow Conservatory, where the music and teachings that spread from Germany were embraced. Even though his music is Russian in character, he is seen as belonging to the more international school fostered by the Conservatories that the Five deplored.

César CUI  5 Pièces Op. 56 • 1897
  • like tempting petit fours on a silver tray, Cui’s attractive miniatures offer some light and cheery, and some thoughtful fare, whipped up at age 80

Although Cui made his living as a military engineer specializing in fortification, he adored music, composed prolifically, and wrote music criticism as well. He contributed almost 800 articles between 1864 and 1918 to various newspapers and other publications in Russia and Europe. As a critic, he sought to promote the music of contemporary Russian composers, especially the works of the Five. He was also the spokesman for this New Russian School.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV  Concert Phantasy on Le coq d’or • 1907/1921
  • virtuosic suite for violin and piano adapted by the Russian violinist and composer Efrem Zimbalist from themes from the opera ~ frequently played by the renowned violinist David Oistrakh on his concert recitals

The Golden Cockerel is a political satire set in Russia, based on a faux fairy tale by Alexander Pushkin. The music contains elements of folklore and oriental influence. Despite the magical setting, the opera was banned from the theaters for its attack on hard-hearted bureaucrats and dim-witted aristocrats, disguised as a glittering fin de siècle spectacle. Because the composer had resigned his post as director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory in protest after the bloody 1905 Russian Revolution, Le Coq d’Or fooled no one and its premiere was delayed for months by the Imperial Censor. Rimsky-Korsakov did not live to see his 15th and last opera performed on stage in 1909, having died the year before.

Mily BALAKIREV  Octet Op. 3 • mid-1850s
  • on a grand scale, the sole surviving movement (Allegro molto) is highly melodic, with a distinct Russian accent—its second theme is based on a folk song—and the piano part given over to pyrotechnics ~ for piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, and horn

Balakirev, the wunderkind from Nizhny Novgorod, went to St. Petersburg in 1855 at age 18. There, he met Glinka, who taught him composition and gave him advice on the instrumentation of the Octet. He later saw himself as the “Father of Russian Music,” inheriting the mantle from his idol, Glinka, and became a pivotal figure in The Five.

TCHAIKOVSKY  The Seasons Op. 37a • 1876
  • 12 engaging character pieces depicting the months of the year, with inexhaustible melodic creativity, written to fulfill a commission from Nikolai Bernard, editor of the monthly Nuvellist in St Petersburg ~ transcribed for piano trio from the piano cycle by Alexander Goedicke, the Russian composer and pianist who was Nikolai Medtner’s first cousin

April 23  Touched by Mozart

Stephen Beus piano
Francisco Fullana


Leopold MOZART  Trio in Bb Major • date not known
  • Classical sonata for clarinet, horn, and piano by Mozart’s father and principal teacher

Johann Georg Leopold Mozart (1719–1787) was born in Augsburg, Germany, and died in Salzburg, Austria. He was a distinguished musician in his own right and an accomplished composer of considerable imagination, impressively enough that some of his own work was confused with that of his son. Much of this music was written earlier in his career, diminishing in output as he devoted more and more of his attention to the development (and exploitation) of Wolfgang’s talents. Leopold was also an excellent violinist and worked at the local court of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, first in an unpaid position, then rising through the ranks of the orchestra to become court composer in 1757, and vice chapelmaster in 1762. Another important contribution to music was his excellent treatise on his teaching methods, published in 1756, the year of Wolfgang’s birth. The Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing) was influential in its day and was widely reprinted and translated. It continues to be an important scholarly source on authentic 18th century performance practice, detailing many points about musical expression and ornamentation, and other topics.

MOZART  Violin Sonata in Bb Major K. 454 • 1874
  • his virtually perfect Sonata in an arrangement for string trio published between 1823 and 1827 by Johann André, one of Mozart’s first publishers

The Sonata was written for the violin virtuoso Regina Strinasacchi of Mantua, to be performed by both of them at a concert in the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna on 29 April 1784. In a letter to his father, Mozart wrote, “She has a great deal of taste and feeling in her playing. I am this moment composing a sonata which we are going to play together on Thursday at her concert in the theatre.” Hermann Abert’s classic biography recounted that Mozart was delinquent in copying the piece out, and “it was only with difficulty that the violinist was able to extort her part from the composer on the eve of the concert. She had to rehearse it on her own the next morning. Mozart himself turned up at the concert with a sketch containing only the violin line and a few accompanying chords and modulations, playing the work virtually entirely from memory and without any rehearsal, a feat observed by the emperor [Joseph II] from his box by means of his lorgnette. In spite of this, the performers achieved an excellent rapport and were much applauded.”

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL  Grand Serenade No. 2 Op. 66 • circa 1814–1815
  • a potpourri for piano, violin, guitar, clarinet, and bassoon by the Austrian pupil of Mozart, considered one of Europe’s greatest composers and perhaps the greatest piano virtuoso in Europe for more than 2 decades

The uniquely scored work was written for an outdoor concert series hosted by Count Franz Pálffy at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace in 1815. For the entertaining piece, favorite themes are quoted from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Zéphir (possibly the opéra comique Zéphir et Flore by Denis Ballière de Laisement, written in 1745 but not performed till 1754), and La Tempesta di Mare (The Storm at Sea). The original score apparently “also contains stage directions which involve the players, with the exception of the piano, moving themselves from their original positions and repositioning to new locations on the stage. It seems possible that dancing and acting would also be taking place on the stage,” according to the music writer Michael Cookson. Immensely popular, the Serenade was published several times, and created “a sensation at evening festivities in Vienna’s imperial gardens.”

Hummel got free lessons from Mozart, with whom he lived, and, like Beethoven, studied with Salieri and Haydn, as well as composition with Albrechtsberger. In 1804 he succeeded Haydn as Kozertmeister and later as Kapellmeister at the court of Esterházy in Eisenstadt. Hummel and guitarist Mauro Giuliani became acquainted soon after Giuliani’s arrival in Vienna in 1807, and went on to collaborate as both performers and composers in a fruitful partnership that resulted in several works for guitar and piano, as well as larger ensembles. Hummel and Beethoven were also close friends for many years until their falling out in the late 1810s, but a remarkable reconciliation took place at Beethoven’s deathbed in 1827; at the funeral, Hummel was a pallbearer and Schubert, a torchbearer.

BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 1 in C Major Op. 21 • 1799–1800
  • ably transcribed by Hummel for piano, flute, violin, and cello

Written at the height of his Classical powers, the Symphony was first performed for Beethoven’s benefit at the Imperial Theatre in Vienna on 2 April 1800, and dedicated to Baron Gottfried van Swieten, an early patron and intimate friend of Haydn and Mozart. A few months later it was played at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. What did his contemporaries think? A Viennese critic, writing in 1802, declared it “a masterpiece that does equal honor to [Beethoven’s] inventiveness and his musical knowledge. Being just as beautiful and distinguished in its design as its execution, there prevails in it such a clear and lucid order, such a flow of the most pleasant melodies, and such a rich, but at the same time never wearisome, instrumentation that this symphony can justly be placed next to Mozart’s and Haydn’s.”

 April 30  The French Connection

Alexander Kobrin piano
William Hagen

Alexander SCRIABIN  Andante Anh. 20 • 1889
  • unlike the unusual chromatic, almost bitonal, harmonies of the Russian composer’s later work, this lesser-known gem for string quartet is sheer beauty

Scriabin, who was influenced in his early life by Chopin, wrote the Romantic Andante while studying at the Moscow Conservatory. After graduating in 1892 with the “Little Gold Medal,” he made a number of trips to Paris, the city of his first concert abroad (in 1896). Other visits followed in 1898, when he played a successful concert at the Salle Erard, in 1900 during another tour, in 1904 to make arrangements for the performance of his Symphony No. 3 and again in 1905 for its performance, and in 1907.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS  Caprice on Danish and Russian Airs • 1887
  • the fantasy, written in honor of the Danish princess Maria Feodorovna, wife of the Russian czar Alexander III, was performed on a tour to St. Petersburg ~ for piano, flute, oboe, and clarinet

Maurice RAVEL  Le Tombeau de Couperin • 1919
  • transcribed for wind quintet from the orchestral version of 4 movements by the Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen

After a stint of active duty in World War I, Ravel, haunted by memories, returned to work on Le Tombeau. What had begun as an homage to François Couperin and the golden age of 18th century French music became a memorial in honor of the dead—each of six movements dedicated to a friend who had died on the front. Ravel began the piano version in 1914, completing it in 1917. In 1919 he chose 4 movements to orchestrate, and the brilliant, stylish suite premiered in Paris on 28 February 1920. Using the forms of the Baroque dance suite, Ravel wrote a graceful Prléude, a somewhat dissonant Forlane (a Northern Italian dance), a Menuet, and a Rigaudon (an old dance from Provence).

Ernest CHAUSSON  Concert in D Major Op. 21 • 1889–1891
  • virtuosic late Romantic tour de force for solo violin and piano, with string quartet

Neither a sextet nor a concerto, the lush Concert is deeply individual, dramatic, and resplendent, laden with new sonorities. It was dedicated to the Belgian violin virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, who premiered it in Brussels in 1892 with pianist Auguste Pierret and members of the Ysaÿe Quartet. Ruthlessly self-critical and pessimistic, Chausson ruled it “Another failure!” But the Belgians thought otherwise, as revealed in his diary, “Never have I had such a success! I can’t get over it. Everyone seems to love the Concert.”

May 14  Super Stars
William Wolfram piano
Alexander Sitkovetsky
Paul Neubauer viola

BEETHOVEN  Sextet in Eb Major Op. 81b • 1795, published 1810
  • tailored for viola, cello, and piano from the original for 2 horns and string quartet by the German organist and composer Ernst Naumann (1832–1910)

The easygoing spirit of this early work, in an extension of the divertimento, leans on Mozart, but with Beethoven touches. Alexander Vogel in The Beethoven Companion feels “the development of the younger Beethoven as he proceeds from movement to movement. The last movement, Rondo, is one of his most beautiful compositions: a vigorous and rhythmical first subject foretells the magnificent Rondo of the Violin Concerto, and a haunting second subject gives it great profundity.”

MENDELSSOHN  Violin Concerto in D minor • date not known
  • originally transcribed for clarinet quintet by his close friend, the clarinetist Heinrich Baermann, for whom both Weber and Mendelssohn wrote several pieces ~ the music for the transcription, however, could not be found so Jupiter clarinetist Vadim Lando made a transcription from a recording, with alterations

In a review of Vadim’s performance of his transcription in 2006, Fred Kirshnit of the New York Sun wrote, “The challenge here is that Mendelssohn’s original violinist didn’t need to stop playing to breathe, whereas Mr. Lando, at least theoretically, had to take a breath sometime. He must be a very good underwater swimmer, however, as he was able to fashion long and extended runs and otherwise lyrical passages seamlessly. The piece is more than just juvenilia, sporting a solid sense of melodic development. After all, Felix composed it only three years before he penned ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ The final Allegro was one of those movements that express the German notion of authentic Gypsy music.”

BRAHMS  Piano Quintet in F minor Op. 34 • 1864
  • “The Quintet is beautiful beyond words...a masterpiece of chamber music,” confirmed Hermann Levi, the German conductor and an admirer and friend of Brahms

Summer Season 2017

Beethoven and...

3 Mondays at 7:30 PM
June 5, June 26, July 17

The summer concerts will be held at:
Christ and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church

Air-Conditioned ~ Handicap Accessible
120 West 69th Street (east of Broadway)

Tickets $25, $17, $10  Call (212) 799-1259 or e-mail admin@jupitersymphony.com
Find out more about the Jupiter Players and our Guest Artists

Monday, June 5,  7:30pm  Beethoven and the Copenhageners
Christ and Saint Stephens Episcopal Church
120 West 69th Street (east of Broadway)

Asi Matathias violin
Kobi Malkin violin
Maurycy Banaszek viola
Matthew Cohen viola

Christine Lamprea cello
Mihai Marica cello
Vadim Lando clarinet
Gina Cuffari soprano and bassoon

BEETHOVEN  Duetto No. 1 in C Major WoO 27
 • an engaging dialog between the clarinet and bassoon possibly spurious, there being no record of any comment by Beethoven on the set of 3 duets

BEETHOVEN  Cello Sonata in F Major Op. 5 No. 1
 • a departure from the use of the cello for basso lines, and in a new and unusual two-movement form transcribed for string quintet by his friend, Ferdinand Ries ~ The remarkable work was written in Berlin for the first cellist of the court orchestra, Jean-Pierre Duport, and teacher of Friedrich Wilhelm II, the King of Prussia, who was himself a capable amateur cellist and dedicatee of the Sonata. For his efforts, Beethoven was rewarded with a gold snuffbox of the kind given to an ambassador, filled with louis d’or (20-franc gold pieces).

Georg GERSON Rondeau des Amants Prothée
 • for soprano and string quartet written in 1816 for Hanne Henriques (1794–after 1845) by the Danish composer, violinist, and banker ~ The text is from an air, “Rondeau des Visitandines” from the comedy by the French actor-playwright Joseph Patrat (1732-1801)—Les amants Protées: ou, Qui compte sans son hôte, compte deux fois (Protected lovers: or, Who counts without his host, counts twice) ~ Gerson, who wrote 219 compositions, died at age 34. Torben Schousboe in the New Grove Dictionary writes that “Gerson played a leading role in the musical life of Copenhagen, which was then largely based on private clubs and societies.... Only a few of Gerson’s many piano pieces and songs have been printed...; their musical style shows the influence of his models, Haydn, Andreas Romberg and especially Mozart. His best songs reveal an original melodic gift and a refined sense of declamation.”

Emil HARTMANN  Clarinet Quartet No. 1 in A Major
 • imbued with wistful Nordic strains by Gade’s brother-in-law ~ The Danish composer and organist was eclipsed by his father, JPE Hartmann, and Gade, whom he succeeded as leader of the Musical Society. In 1863 (possibly the year the Quartet was written), Hartmann taught Grieg for a short time in Copenhagen. His obituary in the July 30, 1898 issue of Musical News noted, “...It is mainly through his instrumental compositions that Emil Hartmann became a popular composer, even outside his native country, especially in Germany, where many of his orchestral works have been performed, under his baton, with great success.... At the death of Niels Gade, in 1890, Hartmann succeed him as conductor in Musikforeningen (Musical Union) in Copenhagen, a musical society which was founded on March 5th, 1836 [twelve days before his birth] and gives 12 concerts every year. ...Emil Hartmann was a prolific composer, and much of his music is tinged with the Northern colouring. His earlier works show traces of both Gade and his illustrious father....”

Niels GADE  String Sextet in Eb Major Op. 44
 • lush early Romantic work, pulsating with passion and lyricism by Denmark’s eminent composer ~ Music writer Mike Ashman described Gade as “an interesting voice perched intriguingly on the borders of German Romanticism, Brahmsian neo-classicism and a growing Scandinavian nationalist school.” He noted that the Sextet “was hailed...as his ‘finest extended chamber work.’ It’s a large-scale, well-organised piece with a Brahmsian sense of purpose and forward motion, if still possessing the lighter textures, and some of the early Romantic fantasy of Mendelssohn and Schumann.”

 Monday, June 26,  7:30pm   Beethoven and his Friends
Christ and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church
120 West 69th Street (east of Broadway)

Stefan Milenkovich violin
Rebecca Anderson violin
Maurycy Banaszek
Sung Jin Lee

Nicholas Finch cello
Barry Crawford
Karl Kramer
Audrey Flores

Franz Anton HOFFMEISTER  Notturno No. 4 in D Major
 • by the prominent Viennese publisher of Mozart and Beethoven, who addressed Franz in a letter as “most beloved brother” ~ Hoffmeister’s passion, however, was composing. He was madly prolific, writing 66 symphonies, 100 flute quartets, and numerous quintets and other pieces popular in his day. As a composer he was highly respected by his contemporaries, as documented by a tribute published in Gerber’s Neues Lexikon der Tonkünstler in the year of his death: “If you were to take a glance at his many and varied works... you would have to admire the diligence and the cleverness of this composer.... He earned for himself a well-deserved and widespread reputation through the original content of his works, which are not only rich in emotional expression but also distinguished by the interesting and suitable use of instruments and through good practicability. For this last trait we have to thank his knowledge of instruments, which is so evident that you might think that he was a virtuoso on all of the instruments for which he wrote.” Hoffmeister’s publishing business, begun in 1784, was sold, in part, to Artaria in 1795. He then had a partnership with Ambrosius Kühnel of Leipzig under a new firm, the Bureau de Musique, later taken over by C.F. Peters, one of the oldest publishing houses still in business today.

Louis SPOHR  String Quintet in Eb Major Op. 33 No. 1
 • in the style of the quatuors brillants— a fingerbuster for the first violin ~ Considered the greatest classical violinist of his time and one of the most admired and respected composers in his day, Spohr was ranked on par with Mozart and Beethoven. In 1808, he heard a rehearsal of the “Ghost” Piano Trio in Beethoven’s home, and they remained friendly when Spohr was conductor of the Theater an der Wien in 1813-15.

BEETHOVEN  “Razumovsky” String Quartet Op. 59 No. 2
 • a superb work with a sumptuous second movement, marked “to be played with great feeling” According to his student Carl Czerny, the inspiration for this work came “when contemplating the starry sky and thinking of the music of the spheres.” The Scherzo includes the famous Russian folk tune, “Slava Bogu ne nebe, Slava!” (“Glory to God in the Heaven, Glory!”). The three Opus 59 quartets were commissioned by Count Andreas Razumovsky, the Russian ambassador to Vienna and an amateur violinist and ardent champion of Beethoven and Haydn. Written in the second half of 1806, they reveal the bold iconoclastic style of Beethoven’s middle period—a shift from Classicism, toward the more introspective, complex language of his late period.

Monday, July 17,  7:30pm    Beethoven and the Bohemians
Christ and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church
120 West 69th Street (east of Broadway)

Danbi Um violin
Mari Lee violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt

Gabriel Cabezas cello
Xavier Foley double bass

Jordan Dodson guitar

BEETHOVEN  6 Ländler WoO15
 • colorful and tuneful, with a sense of humor, creating a festive mood ~ for 2 violins and double bass ~ The set of German dances, written around the time he was working on his Symphony No. 2, was Beethoven’s last commission that he accepted for the annual winter dances at the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna

Wenzel MATIEGKA  Serenade  Op. 8
 • his reworking of BEETHOVEN’s enchanting string trio for the novel instrumentation of violin, viola, and guitar creating a tapestry of sound with unusual sonorities and new harmonic interest ~ The 19th century violinist and musicologist Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski observed, “...since we do not really know of the circumstances relative to the composition of this ‘serenade’ one can imagine that he wrote it to give the impression of the spontaneous artistic spirit. It is that which this work reflects perfectly. It is an ephemeral pièce d’occasion, but a small, finely worked tableau.... A sense of humor is the center of gravity in this work.”

Antonín DVORÁK  “Double Bass” String Quintet Op. 77
 • with the Intermezzo (Andante religioso) movement as was originally written ~ the “Idol of Prague” does not disappoint with this luscious quintet scored for string quartet and double bass, with rich harmonies and seductive melodies evocative of Bohemian folk music


*All programs are subject to change.

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