Join Us For Our 2022-2023 Season!
Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players
“This was music-making of a very high order”
Fred Kirshnit, The New York Sun
Why the name Jupiter: When Jens Nygaard named his orchestra Jupiter, he had the beautiful, gaseous planet in mind—unattainable but worth the effort, like reaching musical perfection. Many, indeed, were privileged and fortunate to hear his music making that was truly Out of This World. Our Players today seek to attain that stellar quality.
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Monday, April 3 ♦ 2 PM & 7:30 PM
Tickets: $25, $17, $10 ~ Reservations advised
Maxim Lando piano
Xiao-Dong Wang violin
Jacqueline Audas violin
Natalie Loughran viola
Tabitha Rhee viola
Ani Aznavoorian cello
Nina Bernat double bass
Anthony Trionfo flute
Roni Gal-Ed oboe
Karl Kramer horn
Francesco GEMINIANI Cello Sonata in D minor Op. 5 No. 2 • 1746
The Sonatas, as discerned by liner notes for Linn Records, are “an intriguing and delicately balanced fusion of Italianate clarity and counterpoint and French lavishness of sonority and gesture.” They also “mark the beginning of the change from gamba to cello.”
Born in Lucca, Geminiani (1687–1762) was “one of the greatest violin virtuosos of his time, a composer of highly original and expressive music, and a teacher whose influence reached beyond his pupils to a wider public though his treatises [New Grove Dictionary].” He studied composition in Rome with Corelli and Scarlatti before traveling around Europe, spent 18 years in London beginning in 1714, and eventually settled in Ireland. His brilliant violin playing in London brought him immediate success. He received support from the aristocracy and leading figures at the Royal Court, and was invited to play the violin before George I, accompanied at the harpsichord by Handel himself. Among his aristocratic pupils was the Earl of Essex who, in 1728, tried to obtain for him the post of Master and Composer of the State Music of Ireland. The Earl also rescued him from prison for a debt arising from his addiction to art dealing and collecting. Geminiani then left London in 1733 for Dublin, where he rapidly gained a fine reputation as a teacher, performer, concert promoter, and musical theorist. That year, he opened a Concert Room in Spring Gardens, using the lower rooms for selling art. He shuttled between Dublin and London, but left England for good in 1759 and made Dublin his home.
Geminiani became a Freemason on 1 February 1725 in Lodge Philo-musicae et-architecturae societas Apollini (The Apollo Society for the Lovers of Music and Architecture) at the Queen’s Head Tavern in London. Soon after, he was active in setting up and running a lodge whose members shared a love for the performance of Italian instrumental music. Although the Lodge existed until only 1727, its minute book gives a glimpse into the world of middle class men’s amateur music making in early 18th-century London, their taste for the new, and their cultural aspirations. And as told by Andrew Pink, “No other English masonic lodge of the 18th century devoted so much of its resources to the performance of music for its own sake, and music that was contemporary, too. The minutes reveal a particular devotion to Italian music…. The…members and visitors…were all…eminently respectable and drawn from among city lawyers and merchants, government officials and the minor gentry. Their love of music was such that they were willing and able to patronize with confidence some of the best musicians in London, not least Francesco Geminiani….”
Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL Septet No. 1 in D minor Op. 74 • 1816
After a performance of Hummel’s Septet for piano, strings, and winds in 1892 at Steinway Hall in London, the Musical Times wrote that it was “at one time enormously popular, but now rarely heard. It is, however, quite worthy of occasional revival…. Mendelssohn performed the Septet in London on 21 May 1832, and it was also Mendelssohn’s piece of choice when he began teaching classes at the Leipzig Konservatorium.” By all accounts, the Septet was regarded by many in the 19th century as his greatest work. Dedicated to the Archduchess Marie Louise, the knockout was premiered by Hummel on 28 January 1816 at a home concert.
Hummel (1778–1837) was born in Pressburg, Hungary, then a part of the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy. A pupil of Mozart, with whom he lived from the ages of 8 to 10, he also studied with Haydn, Salieri, and Albrechtsberger. Among his friends was Beethoven (in varying degrees), at whose funeral he was a pall bearer and for whose memorial concert he played the variations on the Prisoners’ Chorus from Fidelio, at Beethoven’s request. And he knew Schubert, who dedicated his last three piano sonatas to him. Hummel became one of Europe’s greatest composers and perhaps the greatest piano virtuoso in Europe for more than 2 decades (his art of improvisation is said to have been even better than Beethoven’s). 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.
Hummel’s music and thinking were influenced by his teachers Haydn and Mozart, who were Freemasons; and Hummel himself finally became a Freemason in 1820 at the age of 41. He joined the influential Amalia Lodge in Weimar, where he was appointed Kapellmeister of the court orchestra in 1819, a position he held until his death. As a Freemason, Hummel (like his fellow Austrian Catholics, Haydn and Mozart) alternated between Mass and Lodge meetings without discomfort to his conscience. Hummel and his friend Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) were lodge brothers. The Freimaurer Museum reveals that their joint work, Drey Gesänge von Göthe (“Three Songs by Goethe”), was created to mark the 50th anniversary of the entry into government of Grand Duke Karl August, member and protector of the Amalia Lodge, during the Lodge celebration on 3 September 1825. Paul Carus, in his book published in 1906, discussed Goethe’s interest in the immortality of the soul, as evidenced in the poem “An Interlude,” and noted, “This poem, which belongs to Goethe’s masonic verses, has been set to music by J. N. Hummel, and was sung as a quartette in the Lodge Amalia, at Weimar, September 3, 1825.” Liner notes for Naxos further reveal that Goethe wrote with Hummel the song Zur Logenfeier (“For a Lodge Festival”) and Lasstfahren hin das Allzuflüchtige (“Let go the all too fleeting”). Hummel (as did Mozart) bequeathed a considerable portion of his famous garden behind his Weimar residence to his masonic lodge.
BEETHOVEN String Quintet in Eb Major • published 1802
The Critical Reception of Beethoven’s Compositions by His German Contemporaries records a memorable episode: “When his Septet, arranged as a quintet by Hoffmeister, was played for him by a few dilettantes, he again took his place at the fortepiano and to the amazement of all present improvised on the theme of the first minuet almost for an entire hour. Only on the promise he left us, from a man who steadfastly keeps his word, will console us in our present loss of enjoyment. He departed with the respect of all who became closely acquainted with him.”
Later, when Beethoven heard of his 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…”
Hoffmeister, one of Beethoven’s music publishers, was a well-known Freemason and the recipient of Beethoven’s letters expressing dissident political views that are likely Masonic allusions.
Although there is no Lodge record for Beethoven, there is evidence that he was a Freemason. Many of his friends and colleagues were Masons and there are several references to Masonry in his voluminous correspondence, Tagebuch (diary), and compositions. In addition, his presence at concerts given with full masonic rites is documented; presumably, a requirement for attendance would have been a Brotherhood membership. Beethoven scholar Maynard Solomon asserts that “there are substantial indications that Beethoven was favorably disposed toward Freemasonry, was familiar with its language, shared some of its main intellectual interests, and, on occasion, seemed to have identified himself as a Masonic sympathizer. Certainly many of his closest friends, teachers, patrons, and associates were connected with the Masonic movement, and many had formerly been actual members of Masonic organizations and especially of the Order of Illuminati…. In addition…there are a variety of linguistic expressions in Beethoven’s letters or notations on leaves of sketches that may have Masonic overtones. Foremost among these are numerous references to ‘fraternity’ and its cognates…. Thus, it may be meaningful that Beethoven used the salutation ‘Dear Brother’ or some variant of it in letters to Franz Anton Hoffmeister…. Viennese censors were expert in spotting potentially subversive ideas, yet they chose to allow the expression of Masonic or quasi-Masonic viewpoints—such as those that may be found in The Creation, Fidelio, and the Ninth Symphony—and to permit countless performances of [Mozart’s] Die Zauberflote despite its frankly Masonic text, imagery, and social perspectives. What this may suggest is that…they were often tolerant of the expression of rationalist ideas and Masonic symbols, for these could serve as an escape valve for a discontented populace…. In all likelihood, then, Freemasonry was an important stimulus to Beethoven’s way of thinking about universal issues of being and morality; aspects of its doctrines and ritual procedures contributed to the mental framework within which, in his fifth decade, he strove to reformulate his understanding of the self, the deity, and the world.… Freemasonry offered a vocabulary for the formulations of ideas of service, purification, and transcendence…. Taken as a whole, the Tagebuch gives evidence of a sea change in Beethoven’s way of experiencing the world.”
Hoffmeister (1754–1812) was a prominent Viennese publisher and friend of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. His 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, then 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, which was later taken over by C. F. Peters, one of the oldest publishing houses still surviving today.
Monday, April 10 ♦ 2 PM & 7:30 PM
Tickets: $25, $17, $10 ~ Reservations advised
Michael Brown piano
Stefan Jackiw violin
Paul Neubauer viola
BACH Sonata No. 1 in B minor BWV 1014 • 1717-1723
In writing exactly what he wanted to accompany the violin melody, with both instruments in dialog as equal partners, Bach paved the way for the classic duo sonata. The amazing sonatas were written in Anhalt-Cöthen, where he flourished as conductor of the court orchestra and produced numerous other works, including orchestral pieces, and concertos.
Bach’s influence on Mendelssohn is widely known—his father’s favorite composer was Bach and his own idols included Bach. His love of counterpoint came from Bach and is evident in his disposition towards thick, contrapuntal textures and his inclination to write fugues and canons. His cantatas also show the influence of Bach’s choral works. Not least, he was instrumental in reviving Bach’s music—on 11 March 1829, at the Singakademie in Berlin, Mendelssohn conducted the first performance since Bach’s death of the St Matthew Passion, thus inaugurating the Bach revival of the 19th century.
Carl Maria von WEBER Piano Quartet in Bb Major J76 • 1809
The venerable critic Harold Schonberg called Weber “an authentic genius whose greatest tragedy was that he was born about thirty years ahead of his time.”
Weber made a deep impression on Mendelssohn. The boy had met Weber at an early age as the elder composer was a guest at the family home in Berlin. In 1821, when Mendelssohn (at age 12) attended the premiere of Weber’s supernatural opera Der Freischütz, he was swept away by the overnight sensation. Weber’s pupil Julius Benedict described their meeting in Berlin: “Weber…directed my attention to a boy…who, on perceiving the author of Freyschütz [sic], ran towards him, giving him a most hearty greeting. ‘Tis Felix Mendelssohn,’ said Weber, introducing me at once to the prodigious child, of whose marvelous talent and execution I had already heard so much at Dresden…. He would have it that we should go with him at once to his father’s house; but as Weber had to attend a rehearsal, he took me by the hand, and made me run a race till we reached his home.” In a second encounter, this one at the Mendelssohn home, Julius recalled, “…whilst I was lost in admiration and astonishment at beholding the work of a master written by the hand of a boy, all at once he sprang up from his seat, and, in his playful manner, ran to the pianoforte, performing note for note all the music from Freyschütz, which three or four days previously he had heard me play, and asking, ‘How do you like this chorus?’ ‘What do you think of this air?’ ‘Do you not admire this overture?’ and so on. Then forgetting quartets and Weber, down we went into the garden, he clearing high hedges with a leap, running, singing, or climbing trees like a squirrel, the very image of health.” In the 1820s, when Mendelssohn took a 7-year hiatus from composing concertos, he often performed Weber’s Konzertstück, which became part of his core repertoire. During his first London trip in 1829, he astounded the English by performing it from memory. When he returned to composing concertos in 1831, he was quite influenced by the Konzertstück. In 1829, as documented by George Marek in Gentle Genius, Mendelssohn found a full score of Weber’s grand opera Euryanthe while rummaging through a cabinet in the country house of his friend Sir Thomas Attwood in Surrey. “Attwood had obtained it in Germany years before and it had become quite a rarity. Felix was overjoyed to study the score; he wrote to Fanny, ‘It gives me a peculiar pleasure to examine Weber’s favorite work particularly here in England, where nobody knows this music.’”
Carl BAERMANN Duo Concertant Op. 33 • published 1873
Baermann (1810–1885) was the son of the famous clarinet virtuoso Heinrich Baermann, for whom Weber composed his clarinet works. As a child he was taught the clarinet and the basset horn by his father. He played occasionally in the Munich court orchestra when he was 14 years old, and was appointed its second clarinetist in 1832. When his father retired in 1834, Carl succeeded him as principal clarinetist, holding that position until he retired in 1880. During his tour in Europe with his father in 1833, they premiered their friend Mendelssohn’s Concert Pieces Opp. 113 and 114 to great acclaim. The Pieces were composed in exchange for a culinary treat of sweet dumplings and cheese strudel. Apart from their musical prowess, the Baermanns were renowned for their cooking. Even the royal house of Saxony craved their dumpling specialty made from flour, yeast, sugar, butter, and eggs and cooked in a wine sauce.
Carl Baermann shaped clarinet history through his pedagogical writings, editorial articles, compositions that were popular with clarinet virtuosos, and mechanical design of the clarinet—the Baermann-Ottensteiner key system, which he developed based on the widely-used Müller system in the late 19th century. Between 1864 and 1875 he wrote a clarinet manual on his concepts of tone production, technique, and clarinet equipment. He also “worked with publisher Robert Lienau to produce his versions of Weber’s clarinet works. He primarily employed his father’s performance notes of these works to produce the Baermann editions of the two Weber Concertos and Concertino. He sought to document his father’s performance practice by having all of his father’s additions such as articulations, flourishes, and cadenzas published in one edition [Kimberly Miller].”
MENDELSSOHN String Quintet No. 2 in Bb Major Op. 87 • 1845
Jupiter 2022 - 2023 Season
Tickets: $25, $17, $10 ~ Reservations advised
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Jupiter in the News
As promised, here are the videos of John Field’s Divertissement No. 1 and Sir Hamilton Harty’s Piano Quintet. Fortuitously, our Jupiter musicians had the good sense to record the rehearsal in an impromptu decision, literally minutes before pressing the record button. Pianist Mackenzie Melemed (replacing Roman Rabinovich at the last minute) learned the music in 2 days! Bravo to him.
Both works are Irish rarities that were scheduled for the March 16 performances which had to be canceled because of the coronavirus epidemic. Even though the entire program could not be recorded because of technical issues, we are pleased to be able to share with you the 2 musical gems. Enjoy.
John FIELD Divertissement No. 1 H. 13
We thank the University of Illinois (Champaign) for a copy of the Divertissement music.
Mackenzie Melemed piano
Sir Hamilton HARTY Piano Quintet in F Major Op. 12
Andrew Clements of the Guardian proclaimed the beautiful Quintet “a real discovery: a big, bold statement full of striking melodic ideas and intriguing harmonic shifts, which adds Brahms and Dvořák into Harty’s stylistic mix, together with Tchaikovsky in some passages.” There’s folk music charm as well, reminiscent of Percy Grainger—notably in the Scherzo (Vivace) with its folksy quirks and nonchalance, and the winding, pentatonic melody in the Lento.
Our gratitude to the Queen’s University Library in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a copy of the autograph manuscript of the music. Much thanks, too, to Connor Brown for speedily creating a printed score and parts from Harty’s manuscript.
Mackenzie Melemed piano
I Allegro 0:00
Jupiter featured on Our Net News
American program opener on March 18, with grateful thanks to Michael Shaffer of OurNetNews.com for recording the matinee concert, and making available the Horatio Parker Suite video for our viewing pleasure.
Horatio Parker Suite in A Major, Op. 35, composed in 1893
Stephen Beus piano
More video from this performance can be viewed on our media page
Jupiter on YouTube
NEW YORK CANVAS : The Art of Michael McNamara is a video portrait of the artist who has painted iconic images of New York City for more than a decade, capturing the changing urban landscape of his adopted city. Our Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players provide the music from Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G Minor, underscoring the inspiration the artist has drawn from Jens Nygaard and the musicians. Michael was also our Jupiter volunteer from 2002 to 2010.
Here is a video of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players performance of the Rondo alla Zingarese movement:
The producer-director, Martin Spinelli, also made the EMMY Award-winning “Life On Jupiter: The Story of Jens Nygaard, Musician.”
For more information, visit our media
New York Sun Review
“Some great musicians get a statue when they pass away. Some get their name imprinted on the roof of a well-known concert hall. But the late conductor Jens Nygaard has a living tribute: an entire ensemble of musicians and a concert series to go along with it...
It is one of the city’s cultural jewels...
In the end, if Mr. Nygaard was known for anything, it was unmitigated verve. That’s what the audience regularly returned for, and that’s what they got Monday afternoon. To have a grassroots community of musicians continue to celebrate Mr. Nygaard with indomitable performances like these week after week, even without the power of world-famous guest soloists, is proper tribute. And with more large orchestras and ensembles needing more corporate sponsorship year after year, I, for one, hope the Jupiter’s individual subscriber-base remains strong.
New York’s musical life needs the spirit of Jens Nygaard, and Mei Ying should be proud she’s keeping it alive.”
Read the complete article on our reviews page.
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