Join Us For Our 2023-2024 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.
Join us for our next concerts...
Monday, December 4 ♦ 2 PM & 7:30 PM
Evren Ozel piano
Lun Li violin
Njioma Grevious violin
Natalie Loughran viola
Oliver Herbert cello
Anthony Trionfo flute
Roni Gal-Ed oboe
Vadim Lando clarinet
Karl Kramer horn
Daniel McCarty bassoon
Ferruccio BUSONI String Quartet No. 2 in D minor Op. 26
In the opinion of Gramophone, “It is a work full of continuous change and diverting surprise, so packed with resource that you once or twice think that Busoni is showing off, until you reflect that any 21-year-old with gifts like these may be permitted to show off a little. And very often his surprises are quiet ones, in any case, not flashy at all: the gentle shadows that fall across the rather Dvorakian slow movement; the hushed lyrical idea that several times fades to silence between the finale’s athletic bursts of counterpoint…it is a quartet of real stature whose neglect until now is inexplicable.”
Born in Empoli (near Florence) in 1866, the son of an Italian clarinetist and a pianist of German descent, Busoni was first taught by his mother, then completed his studies at the Vienna Conservatory and with Carl Reinecke in Leipzig. He had met Brahms and Anton Rubinstein at age 9, and upon the urging of Brahms in 1886, Busoni moved to Leipzig, where he also met Tchaikovsky, who took a keen interest in him. When he won the first Rubinstein competition, Tchaikovsky described the 24-year-old laureate as “remarkably interesting” and with a “brilliant mind,” who “will soon be talked about….” The second of his two important string quartets was written largely in his last year in Leipzig. He then taught in Helsinki, Moscow, and New York. In 1894 he lived in Berlin until his death, except for the years during World War I, when he sought refuge in Zurich, Switzerland. The Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig (inspiration for the film The Grand Budapest Hotel) observed that Busoni in Zurich was “shadowed by sadness,” haunted that his scattered students might be “shooting at each other right now.” Among his pupils was Kurt Weill who called him a “spiritual European of the future” and wrote after his death, “We did not lose a human being, but a value.” While best known in his day as a pianist of brilliance and intellectual power and an arranger of Bach and Liszt, he also composed and was the author of profound theoretical writings. As Helmut Wirth in the New Grove Dictionary summarized, “Always an artist in quest, Busoni saw it as the goal of his creative life to find his ‘own individual soul’. He was also a ‘worshipper of form’; for, despite all temptations and although German by choice, he ‘remained abundantly Latin.’” He is today regarded as one of the most interesting figures in the history of 20th century music.
Paul JUON Divertimento for Piano and Wind Quintet Op. 51
Juon (1872–1940) was a Muscovite, the grandson of a Swiss émigré. He studied composition with Sergei Taneyev and Anton Arensky at the Imperial Conservatory. Among his classmates were Nikolai Medtner and Rachmaninoff, who nicknamed him “The Russian Brahms.” He then went to Berlin for advanced studies with Woldemar Bargiel (half-brother of Clara Schumann) at the Hochschule für Musik, where he won the Mendelssohn Prize. Juon returned to Russia for a year to teach at the Baku Conservatory, then settled in Berlin in 1897, where he worked as a composer, arranger, and theoretician. In 1906 Joseph Joachim invited him to join the faculty at the Hochschule; he was named professor of composition in 1911. In 1934, ill health led him to retire to Vevey, Switzerland, where he lived out his life. His music was frequently performed throughout Europe during his lifetime; his output exceeded 100 works.
Joachim RAFF Grand Quintuor in A minor Op. 107
In the 1860s, Raff mostly wrote chamber music. He considered the Grand Quintuor as one of his most important works. While working on the piece, he wrote to his wife, “I can say that my compositional powers are growing all the time I am working on it—and they need to as well; you see, it’s more difficult than a symphony or a string quartet and I can quite see why even Beethoven didn’t attempt one and why there hasn’t been another one since Schumann’s only Piano Quintet.” The Grand Quintuor premiered on 22 March 1865 in Bremen.
Joseph Joachim Raff (1822–1882) was born in Lachen, on Lake Zurich. The first half of his life was afflicted by poverty and obscurity. His family was poor but his father gave him a basic education, furthered by studies at the Jesuit Seminary in Schwyz where he won prizes in German, Latin, and mathematics. While he struggled to make a living, his piano pieces opp. 2–6 were printed in Leipzig in 1844 at the recommendation of Mendelssohn who wrote, “The composition is elegant and faultless throughout and in the most modern style.” In 1845, Raff got a significant break when he made a pilgrimage to hear his idol Liszt perform in Basle, about 50 miles away. As recounted by music critic Mark Thomas, Raff could not afford the fare and “walked there from Zürich through driving rain. He arrived just as the concert was about to begin to find that all the tickets were sold. Luckily Liszt’s secretary Belloni noticed the dejected, disappointed Raff and told Liszt, who decided not only that Raff should be admitted, but insisted that he should sit on the stage with him amidst a widening pool of water from his wet clothes. ‘I sat there like a running fountain,’ Raff wrote later ‘oblivious to everything but my good fortune in seeing and hearing Liszt.’ Raff benefited from Liszt’s legendary generosity. His new mentor took him with him on the remainder of his tour through southern Germany and the Rhineland with Raff making the concert arrangements. When the tour ended, Liszt found Raff a job in Cologne.” Although he encountered other obstacles, opportunities arose as well, including a lifelong friendship with Hans von Bülow and a job in Hamburg (through Liszt) making arrangements for Shuberth, the music publisher. And from 1850, for almost 7 years, he slaved away for Liszt as his assistant and secretary.
After he freed himself from Liszt’s overbearance in 1856, the second half of Raff’s life was blessed with growing fame and public and critical recognition. He married Doris Genast in 1859 and became extremely productive as a composer in almost every genre. He also became highly esteemed as a teacher and administrator—as director of the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, a post he held until his death. He was as progressive an educator as he was a composer. He quickly persuaded Clara Schumann to teach piano, the only woman on the faculty; and soon found others to join her. He even oversaw the creation of a class for women composers—the first of its kind in Germany. In his day, Raff was regarded by his contemporaries as the peer of Brahms and Wagner.
Monday, December 18 ♦ 2 PM & 7:30 PM
Hyunah Yu soprano
Janice Carissa piano
Julian Rhee violin
Tiani Butts violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt viola
Brannon Cho cello
Vadim Lando clarinet
Ferdinand DAVID Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert Op. 8
David (1810–1873) was a celebrated violinist who was born in Hamburg and studied with Louis Spohr in Kassel from 1823 to 1825. Moscheles wrote of him: “This worthy pupil of Spohr played his master’s music in a grand and noble style, his own bravuras with faultless power of execution, and his quartet playing at the soirées of Mori and Blagrove delighted everyone with any genuine artistic taste.” While working as a violinist at the Königstädter Theatre in Berlin in 1827 and 1828, he became friends with Mendelssohn. They frequently played in sonata and chamber concerts and gave regular quartet matinees. In 1836, David was appointed concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra (under Mendelssohn), a position he held till his sudden death from a heart attack in 1873 near Kloster, Switzerland, while on a mountain tour with his children. When the Leipzig Conservatory opened in 1843, David headed the violin department; Joseph Joachim was among his first pupils. In 1845 he performed the premiere of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Mendelssohn’s death in 1847 was a terrible blow to David, who served as a pall-bearer at the funeral. Mendelssohn’s brother Paul entrusted him (along with Moscheles, Hauptmann, and Julius Rietz) to edit the manuscripts for publication. It was largely due to David’s influence that Leipzig remained the center of violin playing in Europe after the death of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Gade. He was also a prolific composer.
SCHUMANN Märchenbilder “Fairy Tale Pictures” Op.113
Märchenbilder was composed in March 1851 for Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski, concertmaster of the Düsseldorf Orchestra, who later wrote the first definitive biography of Schumann. This was during Schumann’s brief and relatively unhappy tenure as conductor at Düsseldorf, just three years before his mental collapse. Its premiere was described by Wasielewski: “After Schumann had written his Märchenbilder, which to my great pleasure, he dedicated to me, he had his wife play them through while I took the viola accompaniment. He then said with a smile: ‘Childish pranks! There’s not much to them.’ By this he merely meant to imply that the pieces belong to the genre of Kleinkunst [small art]. He made no objection when I called them delightful.” Hardly “childish pranks” at all, the character pieces explore musical colors through subtle interplay between the two instruments. Schumann gave no hint of which fairy tales he had in mind, allowing the listener to guess as the music progresses in 4 strikingly different moods from dreamy to spritely, and ending gently.
Hugo WOLF 7 Mörike Lieder
The selection includes Selbstgeständnis (a wry bit of psychological insight in which a spoiled only child, now grown up, reflects on the doting mother’s love he received and the beatings he didn’t in a merry pseudo-folksong, tempered by Wagnerian chromaticism), Bei einer Trauung (the loveless arranged marriage of the aristocracy is mocked in this comically horrible union with a grotesque wedding scene); Storchenbotschaft (a comic nonsense ballad about “Stork Tidings”), Gebet (devout harmonies for a beautiful devotional song), Denk es, o Seele (depicting all living things flourishing atop the graves of the dead, whom they will inevitably join), Der Feuerreiter (among the most virtuosic songs ever written—the supernatural “fire-rider,” Mörike’s symbol for the spectral spirit of anarchy, rampages throughout the countryside, destroying the mills which grind grain to make life-sustaining bread), and Abschied (“Farewell” to critics, sent tumbling down the stairs).
Wolf (1860–1903)—born in the small town of Windischgraz in Austria (now Slovenia)—was expelled from the Vienna Conservatory for his outspoken criticism of his masters, after which he taught himself composition. Under the spell of Wagner, whom he idolized, Wolf became a representative of the New German School in lieder, adhering to the expressive, chromatic, and other dramatic innovations of Wagner. He also championed Liszt, Chopin, and Schubert, and became a strong opponent of Brahms and the old guard. His mercurial temperament made it impossible for him to hold a steady position, but he managed to work for most of the rest of his life as a critic and music teacher in Vienna. As a composer, Wolf reached new heights in lieder and is regarded as the greatest master, after Schubert, of the art form. Like Schubert, Wolf died at age 43, of syphilis, which he contracted in the late 1870s. And, like Schumann, he suffered from a bipolar disorder and died in an insane asylum after a drowning attempt; he also composed in manic bursts of radiance and inspiration between periods of devastating depression.
Most of Wolf’s nearly 300 art songs were written the few years between 1888 and 1892. The 53 Mörike Lieder mark the beginning of his prolific mature period, composed while staying at the vacation home of family friends, the Werners, outside of Vienna. He wrote several songs a day—songs of consistently genius quality, created spontaneously. Wolf was 28 years old at the time and in an adulterous affair with Melanie Köchert, the wife of one of his patrons. Melanie, his lover since 1884, visited him in the asylum until his death in 1903, and killed herself three years later.
BRAHMS Piano Trio No. 4 in A Major Anh.4/5
American musicologist Kai Christiansen, for one, casts doubt. He explained that Bücken had “received a number of manuscripts from the estate of Dr. Erich Preiger of Bonn including an unsigned piano trio in A major, its cover missing along with the composer’s name. Bücken strongly argued that this copy from the 1860s, was in fact an unpublished work by Brahms, a lost, early trio most likely dating from 1853–1856, possibly a companion to the first published trio in B major. Around this time, Brahms mentioned in a letter to Schumann that he had written several trios. Could this be one of those that escaped his otherwise methodical destruction of unpublished compositions?… Whoever wrote this trio in A major produced a masterful work very much in the style of Brahms and generally in the manner of the great romantic trios of the 19th century with passing evocations of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann and even a prescient hint of Dvořák. All four movements are broad and substantial, full of lyrical inspiration, skillful part-writing, taut development, thematic variation and sophisticated rhythms. Wonderful music throughout…. It difficult to pin point the details, but, repeated listening occasionally suggests that this trio might not be by Brahms…that something is not quite ‘right’ here. If Brahms composed this trio around 1853, it would have been a very early work…he certainly didn’t edit or publish it: he wasn’t finished. Finally, this would simply be ‘new’ Brahms for us.… If Brahms didn’t compose this wonderful trio, we are left with a rich, accomplished and substantial chamber work by a completely unknown composer who clearly wielded sophisticated musical powers, a contemporary of the young Brahms. The thought of such a lost composer is possibly more bewitching than a lost early work from one we know so well.”
Jupiter 2023 - 2024 Season
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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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