BRAHMS BY VASILY PETRENKO

BRAHMS BY VASILY PETRENKO

SEASON PARTNER

Maison symphonique de Montréal

How many great works were born of a love story or a deep friendship? Completed 20 years after the composer met Schumann, Brahms’ First Symphony was written with much encouragement from his friend. Schumann’s Piano Concerto, for its part, was penned for the composer’s wife, Clara. With his interpretive refinement, the young pianist Javier Perianes is sure to move you in the performance of this masterpiece!

Serge Garant’s piece is presented as part of the 50th anniversary of the SMCQ and the 2017 MNM Festival.

 

Concert 22 February presented by

 

 

Concert 25 February presented by

 

 

manuvie-en

 

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TICKETS PRICES

From 43$*

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 22 2017

8:00 PM

SOLD OUT

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23 2017

8:00 PM

SOLD OUT

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 25 2017

8:00 PM

SOLD OUT

Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Blake Pouliot, Violin, Grand prize winner of the 2016 OSM Manulife Competition (strings and organ edition) (Concert on February 22 only)
Javier Perianes, piano (Concerts on February 23 and 25 only)

PROGRAM:

22 February
Serge Garant
, Plages (approx. 12 min.)
Korngold, Violin concerto in D Major, op. 35 (approx. 25 min.)
Brahms, Symphony no. 1 in C minor, op. 68 (approx. 45 min.)

 

23 and 25 February
Serge Garant
, Plages (approx. 12 min.)
Schumann, Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 54 (approx. 31 min.)
Brahms, Symphony no. 1 in C minor, op. 68 (approx. 45 min.)

 

Friday, February 24, at 2 p.m., Vasily Petrenko will conduct a public rehearsal of the Orchestre symphonique du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. This activity is presented in collaboration with OSM.

Since its creation in 1940, the OSM Manulife Competition has launched close to 350 winners onto Canadian and international stages. Young rising star conductor Vasily Petrenko leads the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in this program featuring Brahms’s moving First Symphony, a work of Romantic spirit ina classical architecture.

 

PROGRAM NOTES - FEBRUARY 22

The term “musical Romanticism” carries the weight of many negative characterisations throughout history. It has sometimes denoted a lack of restraint, or capitulation to one’s more subjective instincts. Each composer on tonight’s programme fought the romantic impulse in one way or other – an endeavour that we may be thankful did not always succeed.

 

 

SERGE GARANT

Born in Québec, September 22, 1929 – Died in Sherbrooke, November 1, 1986

 

Plages

 

Serge Garant holds an honoured place in the world of contemporary music in Quebec. As founding Music Director of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) he, along with several other prominent composers, set an ambitious and audacious homegrown agenda for new music – a legacy keenly felt to this day. He undertook studies in Europe with some of the great masters of the 20th century, including, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, before returning to Quebec, where he eventually became professor of composition and analysis at the Université de Montréal. Known for his adherence to the serialists, Garant described his own process in more organic terms: “The adventure of creation is essentially solitary… the work takes on a form once I begin to struggle with the technical problems that are presented, problems that I must resolve with as much science, as much elegance, and as much authenticity as possible.”

 

Plages, commissioned and first performed in 1981 by the Orchestre des jeunes du Québec, explores a five-note matrix over five continuous movements. Each movement represents a plage, or a “band of musical time and orchestral colour,” essentially a facet from which to examine, probe, and evaluate the relationships between similar sounds. Despite appearances, Garant stated that the work was “definitely not serial. It is more lyrical than what I have written up to now. Let us say that it sings more. But I certainly have not attempted to become romantic! I simply felt it that way.”
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD

Born in Brno, May 29, 1897 – Died in Hollywood, November 29, 1957

 

Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35

 

Erich Wolfgang Korngold is remembered to many as the father of Hollywood film music for his contributions to the genre between the years of 1934 and 1945. As a majorly successful operatic and orchestral composer in his native Austria before immigrating to the United States, it was his insistence on unwavering quality, and incorporating techniques from the operatic stages of Europe that would revolutionize the Hollywood film music industry. He was often maligned by the critical elite toward the end of his life, but his oeuvre has since undergone a renaissance, reestablishing Korngold’s early reputation as a composer of the most serious pretensions.

 

The Violin Concerto, written in 1945, was Korngold’s first non-filmic work since the outbreak of war in Europe – he had pledged to write only for films as long as Hitler held power, as a means of renouncing the Germanic musical traditions in favour of those from America. The first performance was given in 1947 by Jascha Heifetz, and was greeted with an overwhelmingly positive public response. As Korngold’s first work of “concert” music in many years, it is instructive to note that no less than four of the principal themes were drawn directly from film scores written over the previous decade, includingAnother Dawn (1937), Juarez (1939), Anthony Adverse (1936) and The Prince and the Pauper (1937). Far from cheapening the concerto, this fact should serve as proof of the considerable quality of Korngold’s entire output – for film and otherwise. The first movement presents an expansive theme in the violin over a large orchestra that wants for nothing in luscious Hollywood brio. Korngold shows himself a master of building sonorities and dramatic tension. The second movement Romance sets a gentler tone with a long vocally inspired melody in the violin, imagined by the composer as sung by the famous tenor Enrico Caruso. The final movement features a lively, rhythmically irregular theme, tossed back and forth between soloist and orchestra, in what amounts to a spirited game of chase with an exhilarating finish.

 

JOHANNES BRAHMS

Born in Hambourg, May 7, 1833 – Died in Vienna, April 3, 1897

 

Symphony no. 1 in C minor, op. 68

 

When at the age of 20, Johannes Brahms was touted by Robert Schumann as “fated to give expression to the times in the highest and most ideal manner,” the young composer worried that the resulting “extraordinary expectations” of the public would be more than he could surmount. For Brahms the figure of Beethoven loomed large, and in no way more than the example set by the older master’s crowning achievement – the nine symphonies. Far from the youthful experiment in orchestral writing one might expect, Brahms’ Symphony no. 1 is a mature work of great depth, the result of over 20 years of sketching, elaboration and fretful false starts (written between 1855 and 1876). By the time the work was first publicly heard in 1876, Franz Liszt would mockingly refer to it as “dressed up as [Beethoven’s] Number Ten,” while Hans Von Bülow made a similar comment, but in tones of admiration. In positing a grand symphony along broad formal dictates of classicism, Brahms cemented his position as a traditionalist in opposition to the so-called New German School championed by Liszt and Wagner.  While structurally he sought to anchor his work within classical precedent, his natural gift for lyricism and highly personalised expression, coupled with his deeply emotional inner life, made him an ideal sort of Romantic.

 

The first movement is in the traditional sonata form, with a slow introduction setting a serious tone that pervades from start to finish. This slow-moving processional, grounded by insistent timpani, leads to a vigorous first theme in the home key of C minor, followed by a soothing secondary theme in E-flat, the relative major key. A tumultuous development section leads to a restatement of the principal themes, and a reappearance of the opening procession in the coda. The Andante sostenuto uses the graceful nobility of it’s key – E major – to weave a longing, lyrical line altogether worthy of Beethoven in its simplicity and disarming profundity. An Allegretto and trio make up the third movement in typical ABA form, leading to the vast and all-encompassing finale. Another slow introduction is indicative of the composer’s patience in elaborating the broad dramatic canvas for the movement, which culminates with a great trumpet call, hailing the raucous and triumphant final moments.

 

 

© Marc Wieser

© Traduction de l’anglais par Marc Hyland

PROGRAM NOTES - FEBRUARY 23 & 25

The term “musical Romanticism” carries the weight of many negative characterisations throughout history. It has sometimes denoted a lack of restraint, or capitulation to one’s more subjective instincts. Each composer on tonight’s programme fought the romantic impulse in one way or other – an endeavour that we may be thankful did not always succeed.

 

 

SERGE GARANT

Born in Québec, September 22, 1929 – Died in Sherbrooke, November 1, 1986

 

Plages

 

Serge Garant holds an honoured place in the world of contemporary music in Quebec. As founding Music Director of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) he, along with several other prominent composers, set an ambitious and audacious homegrown agenda for new music – a legacy keenly felt to this day. He undertook studies in Europe with some of the great masters of the 20th century, including, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, before returning to Quebec, where he eventually became professor of composition and analysis at the Université de Montréal. Known for his adherence to the serialists, Garant described his own process in more organic terms: “The adventure of creation is essentially solitary… the work takes on a form once I begin to struggle with the technical problems that are presented, problems that I must resolve with as much science, as much elegance, and as much authenticity as possible.”

 

Plages, commissioned and first performed in 1981 by the Orchestre des jeunes du Québec, explores a five-note matrix over five continuous movements. Each movement represents a plage, or a “band of musical time and orchestral colour,” essentially a facet from which to examine, probe, and evaluate the relationships between similar sounds. Despite appearances, Garant stated that the work was “definitely not serial. It is more lyrical than what I have written up to now. Let us say that it sings more. But I certainly have not attempted to become romantic! I simply felt it that way.”

 

 

ROBERT SCHUMANN

Boon in Zwickau, June 8, 1810 – Died in Endenich, July 29, 1856

 

Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 54

 

Throughout his professional life Robert Schumann struggled between writing in formal structures that were popular and accessible to the concert-going public, and those more fragmentary forms that came naturally to his subjective approach. Though the multi-movement sonata-based works (symphonies, quartets, quintets and concertos) were the mainstay of the musical tradition he espoused, he was constantly drawn to formal experimentation, mirroring current developments in literature and philosophy. His single contribution to the piano concerto genre began in 1841 as a one-movement Phantasie for piano and orchestra. However at the pragmatic insistence of his wife he added an Intermezzo and Finale to create a three-movement work more generally suited to the standard concert format. Fittingly, Clara Schumann gave the first performance in Leipzig in 1846.

 

A forceful piano outburst immediately following the opening chord establishes the piano as an equal and distinct force from the orchestra. Only further on, when solo and orchestral lines become intertwined – dividing and sharing melodic phrases and harmonic support, do we realise that the piano is also an integral component of the ensemble texture. A cadenza toward the end of the movement offers a telling glimpse of the hyper-episodic writing so distinctive in Schumann’s cycles and character pieces for solo piano, in which harmonic sequences and melodic figuration are nearly one and the same. The Intermezzo begins with a question from the piano. Through often fragmentary arabesque-like figures, the piano and orchestra intimately dialogue over several themes. The energetic Finale bounds onto the scene without pause from the second movement, barely contained energy bubbling somewhere just below the surface as pianist and orchestra leap and twirl towards the finish.

 

 

JOHANNES BRAHMS

Born in Hambourg, May 7, 1833 – Died in Vienna, April 3, 1897

 

Symphony no. 1 in C minor, op. 68

 

When at the age of 20, Johannes Brahms was touted by Robert Schumann as “fated to give expression to the times in the highest and most ideal manner,” the young composer worried that the resulting “extraordinary expectations” of the public would be more than he could surmount. For Brahms the figure of Beethoven loomed large, and in no way more than the example set by the older master’s crowning achievement – the nine symphonies. Far from the youthful experiment in orchestral writing one might expect, Brahms’ Symphony no. 1 is a mature work of great depth, the result of over 20 years of sketching, elaboration and fretful false starts (written between 1855 and 1876). By the time the work was first publicly heard in 1876, Franz Liszt would mockingly refer to it as “dressed up as [Beethoven’s] Number Ten,” while Hans Von Bülow made a similar comment, but in tones of admiration. In positing a grand symphony along broad formal dictates of classicism, Brahms cemented his position as a traditionalist in opposition to the so-called New German School championed by Liszt and Wagner.  While structurally he sought to anchor his work within classical precedent, his natural gift for lyricism and highly personalised expression, coupled with his deeply emotional inner life, made him an ideal sort of Romantic.

 

The first movement is in the traditional sonata form, with a slow introduction setting a serious tone that pervades from start to finish. This slow-moving processional, grounded by insistent timpani, leads to a vigorous first theme in the home key of C minor, followed by a soothing secondary theme in E-flat, the relative major key. A tumultuous development section leads to a restatement of the principal themes, and a reappearance of the opening procession in the coda. The Andante sostenuto uses the graceful nobility of it’s key – E major – to weave a longing, lyrical line altogether worthy of Beethoven in its simplicity and disarming profundity. An Allegretto and trio make up the third movement in typical ABA form, leading to the vast and all-encompassing finale. Another slow introduction is indicative of the composer’s patience in elaborating the broad dramatic canvas for the movement, which culminates with a great trumpet call, hailing the raucous and triumphant final moments.

 

 

© Marc Wieser

© Traduction de l’anglais par Marc Hyland

BIO

VASILY PETRENKO

CONDUCTOR

 

Vasily Petrenko pursued music studies at the Capella Boy’s Music School and Conservatory in St. Petersburg, and took part in masterclasses with Ilya Musin, Mariss Jansons, and Yuri Temirkanov. He is the winner of numerous international conducting competitions, and served as Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2007. Currently, he is Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and European Union Youth Orchestras. He was named Principal Guest Conductor of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia in 2016 and has served as Principal Conductor of prominent international youth, theatre, and ballet orchestras.

 

As Guest Conductor, he has appeared with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras in Europe and North America, performed at the most prominent festivals around the world, and is a frequent guest of the BBC Proms. Highlights of current and forthcoming seasons include tours of Europe and Asia with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducting the complete cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies in both Liverpool and Oslo. He has a busy schedule of return appearances with major orchestras around the world and makes his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras. Vasily Petrenko has conducted over 30 operas, and made his debut in 2010 at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opéra de Paris. Recently, he conducted the Hamburg State Opera, National Reisopera, Mikhailovsky Theatre, and Zurich Opera.

A prolific and award-winning recording artist, in 2007 he was named Young Artist of the Year at the annual Gramophone Awards, and in 2010 won the Male Artist of the Year award at the Classical Brit Awards. His Shostakovich symphony cycle for Naxos with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (2015) garnered worldwide acclaim. He has released the first instalment of Scriabin’s symphonies, as well as Prokofiev’s complete Romeo and Juliet ballet on Lawo Classics (2016).

 

JAVIER PERIANES

PIANO

Javier Perianes’ flourishing international career has taken him across five continents to perform in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. He has performed with conductors such as Barenboim, Dutoit, Mehta, Maazel, Frühbeck de Burgos, Dausgaard, Petrenko, Harding, and Temirkanov, among others, and appeared at many festivals.

 

This season marks his debuts with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, as well as with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hamburger Symphoniker, Rundfunk-Sinfonieonieorchester Berlin and the Finnish and Swedish radio symphony orchestras. He returns to, among others, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Perianes has also appeared with Wiener Philharmoniker, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta symphony orchestras, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio and Yomiuri Nippon symphony orchestras and London Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic and Tonkünstler Orchester.

 

Recent and upcoming recitals include performances in London, Leipzig, St. Petersburg, Paris, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Madrid, Barcelona, Mexico City, Auckland and Hong Kong. Other highlights include international tours with Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and Orquesta Nacional de España, as well as a month-long-tour with orchestras in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and North and South America.

Perianes records exclusively for harmonia mundi. His diverse discography has earned acclaim from press and public alike. His Grieg Piano Concerto and a selection of Lyric Pieces, was widely praised by the critics and described as “a new benchmark” by Classica, which awarded it a ‘Choc’; it was also Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and Maestro in Pianiste magazine.

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