SCHEHERAZADE

SCHEHERAZADE: One Thousand and One Nights

SEASON PARTNER

Maison symphonique de Montréal

Journey to the Orient and be carried away by the magical, shimmering world of Scheherazade and The Thousand and One Nights! Like the sultan from the Thousand and One Nights, you too will fall under the spell of the exotic sounds of Scheherazade, the greatest “Oriental” musical monument of the 19th century.

 

 

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TICKETS PRICES

From 43$*

THURSDAY MARCH 9 2017

10:30 AM

SOLD OUT

THURSDAY MARCH 9 2017

8:00 PM

SOLD OUT

March, Thursday 9, 10:30 a.m.
Fondation J.A. DeSève Symphonic Matinees

Boris Brott, conductor

Timothy Hutchins, flute

March, Thursday 9, 8:00 p.m.
Power Corporation of Canada Thursday 2

Boris Brott, conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, piano

PROGRAM:

March, Thursday 9, 10:30 a.m.
The intoxicating flute of Timothy Hutchins, who has been with the OSM since 1978, will also seduce you in two charming French works from the “Belle Époque” period.

Alexander Brott, Spheres in Orbit (approx. 17 min.)

Fauré, Fantaisie for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, op. 79 (arr. L. Aubert) (approx. 6 min.)

Chaminade, Concertino for Flute in D major, op. 107 (approx. 8 min.)

Rimsky-Korsakov, Schéhérazade , op. 35 (approx. 42 min.)

March, Thursday 9, 8:00 p.m.
Discover the exhilarating young Uzbekistani pianist Behzod Abduraimov, who will be making his OSM debut in a virtuosic work by Rachmaninoff.

Ravel, Schéhérazade, ouverture de féerie (approx. 14 min.)

Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43 (approx. 22 min.)

Rimsky-Korsakov, Schéhérazade, op. 35 (approx. 42 min.) (approx. 42 min.)

PROGRAM NOTES - MORNING

Today’s concert consists mostly of music that invites visual imagery, or at least sets imaginations in motion. Alexander Brott’s work was inspired by an object floating through space; Fauré’s Fantasy, by its very title, brings an invitation to let the mind meander; and Rimsky-Korsakov himself wanted each listener to create his or her own visions from the music, rather than provide them to the audience.

 

 

ALEXANDER BROTT

Born in Montréal, March 14, 1915 – Died in Montréal, April 1, 2005

 

Spheres in Orbit

 

Alexander Brott’s career embraced distinguished contributions as violinist (including concertmaster of the OSM from 1945-1958), conductor (especially as founding conductor of the McGill Chamber Orchestra), composer (over a hundred works), and teacher (at McGill University for over half a century). He was an entrepreneur and proselytizer as well, a kind of Canadian Leonard Bernstein who, with unremitting fervor, tirelessly exposed audiences across the nation to good music in a non-elitist environment.

 

Spheres in Orbit dates from 1960 and was first performed by the OSM the following year at concerts of March 14 and 15. Roland Leduc was the guest conductor, but the composer was invited to conduct his own work. Brott did not leave a program note, but this anecdote from his autobiography My Lives in Music is relevant: “In 1962, I was delighted when the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa invited me to bring Canadian music to Russia. … I had the honor of being the first Canadian composer to conduct his own work in the USSR. … I carefully selected the program featuring my most recent composition, a twelve-tone work which I called Spheres in Orbit. The piece conveys the seeming weightlessness of the Sputnik satellite, which [I] had seen in the sky over [my] cottage in 1958. My first taste of what I thought was Soviet censorship came when I noticed that the posters changed my title to Sputnik na Orbite. Then I learned that the Russian word for sphere was – you guessed it – Sputnik. … The audience in Moscow’s Hall of Columns received my Spheres/Sputniks in Orbit with unbridled enthusiasm.”

 

 

 

GABRIEL FAURÉ

Born in Pamiers, May 12, 1845 – Died in Paris, November 4, 1924

 

Fantasie for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, op. 79 (arr. Louis Aubert)

 

A “Fantasy” is one of the most difficult compositional titles to define precisely. It can mean almost anything the composer wishes. The Harvard Dictionary of Music summarizes the term as “a composition in which the ‘free flight of fancy’ prevails over contemporary conventions of form, style, etc.,” and goes on to note that the “the term covers a great variety of types.” Some are improvisatory in character. They may be “character pieces, often in a dreamlike mood or of whimsical disposition. Then there are potpourris (bits and pieces of various works stitched together). And there are didactic pieces such as we find in Fauré’s little five-minute Fantaisie.

 

This was written in 1898 as a competition piece for flutists at the Paris Conservatoire, which at the time was the foremost school for aspiring flutists. Fauré became a member of its faculty in 1896 and director in 1905. The score is dedicated to Paul Taffanel (1844-1908), generally regarded as the founder of the modern school of French flute playing. The Fantaisie is in two connected parts: an opening Andantino in E minor set to a gently flowing melody in the swaying, siciliano rhythm and a pastoral mood; and a highly energetic, Allegro in C major full of dynamic contrasts and opportunities for virtuosic display. The original piano part was orchestrated in 1957 by the pianist and composer Louis Aubert, a student of Fauré.

 

 

 

CÉCILE CHAMINADE

Born in Paris, August 8, 1857 – Died in Monte Carlo, April 13, 1944

 

Concertino for Flute in D major, op. 107

 

If Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann were the pre-eminent women composers of the nineteenth century, Cécile Chaminade certainly ranks as one of the most famous of the early twentieth century. This French composer, whose long life spanned almost exactly that of Richard Strauss, wrote her first pieces at the age of eight, and went on to produce a large catalogue of over 350 works in nearly all genres. The majority of her works are salon-style pieces for piano, many of which achieved great popularity in her day. There are also over one hundred songs, and, in the larger forms, two piano trios, a choral symphony (Les Amazones), a ballet (Callirhoë) and an opera (La Sévillane). Chaminade also made her mark as a concert pianist; following her debut recital at the age of eighteen, she went on frequent tours throughout France and to England and the United States. In addition, Chaminade appeared as a conductor. In 1892 she was appointed by the French government to the post of Officer of Public Instruction, and in 1913 she was the first woman to receive the Legion of Honor from the French government.

 

Regrettably, the charming eight-minute Concertino for Flute of 1902 is the only one of her works heard regularly today. Like Fauré’s Fantaisie, it was written as a competition piece for Paris Conservatoire students.  Musicologist Michael Steinberg described it as having “a nice sense of what charms and of what goes well on the sweet and mobile flute.”

 

 

 

 

NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

Born in Tikhvin, near Novgorod, March 18, 1844 – Died in Liubensk, near St. Petersburg, June 21, 1908

 

Scheherazade, op. 35

 

The two hundred or so dramatically linked stories that constitute the Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights) originated in Eastern lands centuries ago. The stories were handed down over the years and embroidered by each storyteller in his or her own fashion. A raconteuse named Scheherazade provided a convenient framework on which to drape a rich and colorful tapestry of these stories, folk tales, poems and dramatic narratives. In the form she related them, we are indebted to the misogynistic Persian king Shahriar.

 

Having been outraged by his faithless wife, Shahriar resolved to avenge himself on the entire female population of his city. Each night he would marry a beautiful young woman, only to kill her the following day. After some time, a girl of exceptional charm, wit and intelligence came forward with a plan to end this reign of terror. She offered herself to the King as his next bride, and the King gladly accepted, though he warned her that she would die on the following day. When bedtime approached, the girl began to relate an enthralling story to the King, but broke off just at the most exciting part, with a promise to continue the next day. The King postponed her execution so as to hear the outcome of this story, but the girl repeated her tactic the following night, and the night after that to a total of a thousand nights. By this time, she had borne him a son, the King had come to love her, and he finally renounced his categorical hatred of women. The Queen had in the meantime won the love and gratitude of the people as well, and they named her Scheherazade, which means “Savior of the City.”

 

Wondrous to hear were Scheherazade’s marvelous tales of intrigue and adventure set in exotic lands. Rimsky-Korsakov, with his masterful ability to exploit dazzling orchestral colors and sonorities, was just the composer to set these tales to music. Scheherazade, his four-movement “narrative” of scenes from the Arabian Nights, was written during the summer of 1888. It was first performed in St. Petersburg on October 22, 1888 with the composer conducting. A lengthy description of each movement would serve little purpose; the individual imagination must be free to roam. Nevertheless, one cannot miss the recurring “voice” of the lovely, seductive, mysterious Scheherazade, represented by a sinuous theme played by the solo violin, just one of the many tantalizing touches of orchestration found in this splendidly tinted score.

 

 

© Robert Markow

© Traduction de l’anglais par Le Trait juste

 

 

PROGRAM NOTES - NIGHT

Tonight’s program is framed by two views of the legendary Scheherazade, that fabled, infinitely seductive character from The Arabian Nights – one work so obscure (Ravel’s) that most concertgoers don’t even know of its existence, the other so well-known that it is in the repertory of every full-sized orchestra in the world, recorded hundreds of times over, and a favorite of millions of concertgoers. In between comes a narrative of a different kind, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, in which one might imagine an ancient Greek rapsode at work.

 

 

MAURICE RAVEL

Born in Ciboure, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, March 7, 1875 – Died in Paris, December 28, 1937

 

Shéhérazade, ouverture de féerie

 

The allure of the mysterious East, with its exotic perfumes and spices, its strange foods, its inscrutable customs, fabled cities and ravishingly beautiful women, has enchanted Western artists for centuries. Composers have found the charms of Scheherazade too tantalizing to resist, and any number of them have created musical evocations of this famous character from the Arabian Nights  ̶  the clever girl who forestalled death by each night relating to her would-be assassin, the Sultan Schahriar, a story so compelling that he postponed her demise for a thousand and one nights, and finally commuted it entirely. These composers include, in addition to Ravel, Schumann (no. 32 from Album for the Young), Paul Pierné (song cycle), Szymanowski (no. 1 from the piano set Masques), Bernhard Sekles (opera), Roberto Gerhard (song cycle), Milhaud (a sextet for strings and winds), Hossein (symphonic poem) and of course the most famous of all, Rimsky-Korsakov.

 

Ravel stands unique among these composers in that he was drawn not just once, but twice to the subject. His earliest orchestral work was a concert overture entitled Shéhérazade, which was intended as a curtain-raiser for the opera A Thousand and One Nights (never written). Ravel conducted the premiere in May of 1899 but the score was never heard again during the composer’s lifetime. It was published only in 1975, but this Shéhérazade still remains rarely heard, and this is likely the OSM’s first performance. There is no relation between this early work and the well-known orchestral songs Ravel wrote four years later, though he reused some of the motifs.

 

The fourteen-minute “overture” is a miniature tone poem somewhat evocative of Middle Eastern lands. One would not mistake it for one of Ravel’s later, more accomplished scores, but it does contain many hallmarks of the mature composer: the finesse with which he weaves melodic fragments through various instrumental colors; the predominance of woodwind instruments (indeed, every melodic idea is first given to one or more of these, beginning in the first bar with the solo oboe); subtle touches of orchestration from percussion, celesta and harps; chiaroscuro effects; whole-tone scales; orgiastic climaxes; and a whiff of exotic fantasy.

 

 

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF

Born in Oneg, district of Novgorod, April l, l873 – Died in Beverly Hills, California, March 28, l943

 

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43

 

The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is not, as the title falsely implies, really a rhapsody at all. The term “rhapsody” suggests a loosely organized structure, but in fact, Rachmaninoff’s work follows a very clear, taut design – a set of 24 variations. One might, however, associate the piano soloist with the role of the ancient Greek rhapsode, the specially trained singer or reciter of epic poems. Wit, charm, romance, rhythmic verve and masterly orchestration combine in what many consider to be one of Rachmaninoff’s greatest compositions. It was first performed on November 7, 1934 in Baltimore with Leopold Stokowski leading the Philadelphia Orchestra and the composer at the piano.

 

The work begins with the curiously “misplaced” first variation; only afterwards do we hear the theme in its original, intact form, played by violins with piano accentuations. Variations 2-5 all retain rhythmic tautness and drive. Finally in Variation 6 does a more rhythmically free and sentimental tone creep in. A new theme enters at Variation 7, that old funeral chant for the dead, the “Dies irae,” which Rachmaninoff had incorporated into so many of his previous works. In fact, though, there is a melodic kinship between the chant theme and Paganini’s. The “Dies irae” returns in Variation l0, a grotesque march. In between (Variations 8 and 9), a demonic quality is maintained, especially in Variation 9 with its col legno (string players use the wooden part of their bows) tappings and frenzied rhythmic conflict between orchestra and soloist.

 

After seven more highly contrasting variations we hear the sounds of an old friend softly intoned, that famous eighteenth variation. Thereafter, the music, now in the original key of A minor, proceeds swiftly to its conclusion, each variation more scintillating than the last. The gathering momentum and dazzling passage work for the soloist lead one to expect a conclusion of overwhelming bravura and force. Indeed, this expectation is almost fulfilled, but at the last moment, Rachmaninoff pulls back and, with a wicked chuckle, ends his Rhapsody quietly with a last, lost fragment of the memorable theme.

 

 

 

 

NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

Born in Tikhvin, near Novgorod, March 18, 1844 – Died in Liubensk, near St. Petersburg, June 21, 1908

 

Scheherazade, op. 35

 

The two hundred or so dramatically linked stories that constitute the Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights) originated in Eastern lands centuries ago. The stories were handed down over the years and embroidered by each storyteller in his or her own fashion. A raconteuse named Scheherazade provided a convenient framework on which to drape a rich and colorful tapestry of these stories, folk tales, poems and dramatic narratives. In the form she related them, we are indebted to the misogynistic Persian king Shahriar.

 

Having been outraged by his faithless wife, Shahriar resolved to avenge himself on the entire female population of his city. Each night he would marry a beautiful young woman, only to kill her the following day. After some time, a girl of exceptional charm, wit and intelligence came forward with a plan to end this reign of terror. She offered herself to the King as his next bride, and the King gladly accepted, though he warned her that she would die on the following day. When bedtime approached, the girl began to relate an enthralling story to the King, but broke off just at the most exciting part, with a promise to continue the next day. The King postponed her execution so as to hear the outcome of this story, but the girl repeated her tactic the following night, and the night after that to a total of a thousand nights. By this time, she had borne him a son, the King had come to love her, and he finally renounced his categorical hatred of women. The Queen had in the meantime won the love and gratitude of the people as well, and they named her Scheherazade, which means “Savior of the City.”

 

Wondrous to hear were Scheherazade’s marvelous tales of intrigue and adventure set in exotic lands. Rimsky-Korsakov, with his masterful ability to exploit dazzling orchestral colors and sonorities, was just the composer to set these tales to music. Scheherazade, his four-movement “narrative” of scenes from the Arabian Nights, was written during the summer of 1888. It was first performed in St. Petersburg on October 22, 1888 with the composer conducting. A lengthy description of each movement would serve little purpose; the individual imagination must be free to roam. Nevertheless, one cannot miss the recurring “voice” of the lovely, seductive, mysterious Scheherazade, represented by a sinuous theme played by the solo violin, just one of the many tantalizing touches of orchestration found in this splendidly tinted score.

 

 

© Robert Markow

© Traduction de l’anglais par Le Trait juste

 

 

BIO - Morning Artists

BORIS BROTT

CONDUCTOR

 

Boris Brott is one of the most internationally recognized Canadian conductors, holding major positions as Music Director in Canada and the United States. He enjoys an international career as a guest conductor, educator, motivational speaker, and cultural ambassador. In Canada, Maestro Brott has contributed to the development of no fewer than six orchestras for which he was awarded, in 1987, Canada’s highest civic honour, Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2006, he was also made a member of the Order of Ontario. In 2013, Maestro Brott received an honorary doctorate from the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. In June of 2014, he was made an Officer of the Order of Quebec. Internationally, Maestro Brott has served as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, Music Director and Conductor for the Royal Ballet (Covent Garden), of the Northern Sinfonia, and of the BBC Welsh Symphony. He was the founding Music Director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles from 1995 to 2011. In 2011, he was named Principal Guest Conductor of the historic Petruzzelli Theatre in Bari, Italy. In addition to his duties as Artistic Director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra, Maestro Brott is currently the founding Artistic Director of the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton and of the National Academy Orchestra, Canada’s only professional training orchestra for young musicians.

 

 

 

TIMOTHY HUTCHINS

PRINCIPAL FLUTE OF THE OSM

 

 

 

Timothy Hutchins has received international critical acclaim as Principal Flute of the OSM since 1978, as a concerto soloist, as a duo recitalist with his wife, pianist Janet Creaser Hutchins, and as a chamber musician. He has performed as Principal Flute with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the NHK Symphony Orchestra and is regularly invited to perform with the World Orchestra for Peace. He can be heard on most OSM recordings, including Ibert’s Flute Concerto, in addition to other concerto, recital and chamber music recordings. He also participated in recordings with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Leonard Bernstein, and with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Mariss Jansons. He studied flute in London at Trinity College of Music, at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and in Canada at Dalhousie, and at McGill University, where he presently teaches.

BIO - Night Artists

BORIS BROTT

CONDUCTOR

 

Boris Brott is one of the most internationally recognized Canadian conductors, holding major positions as Music Director in Canada and the United States. He enjoys an international career as a guest conductor, educator, motivational speaker, and cultural ambassador. In Canada, Maestro Brott has contributed to the development of no fewer than six orchestras for which he was awarded, in 1987, Canada’s highest civic honour, Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2006, he was also made a member of the Order of Ontario. In 2013, Maestro Brott received an honorary doctorate from the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. In June of 2014, he was made an Officer of the Order of Quebec. Internationally, Maestro Brott has served as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, Music Director and Conductor for the Royal Ballet (Covent Garden), of the Northern Sinfonia, and of the BBC Welsh Symphony. He was the founding Music Director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles from 1995 to 2011. In 2011, he was named Principal Guest Conductor of the historic Petruzzelli Theatre in Bari, Italy. In addition to his duties as Artistic Director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra, Maestro Brott is currently the founding Artistic Director of the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton and of the National Academy Orchestra, Canada’s only professional training orchestra for young musicians.

 

 

 

BEHZOD ABDURAIMOV

PIANO

 

 

Behzod Abduraimov was described in The Times as a “master of all he surveys”, and with The Washington Post urging to “keep your ear on this one”, his captivating performances continue to receive international praise.

 

Recent seasons have seen Behzod work with leading orchestras worldwide, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, NHK Symphony, and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras, and with prestigious conductors including Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Manfred Honeck, Vasily Petrenko, James Gaffigan, Jakub Hrůša, Thomas Dausgaard, and Vladimir Jurowski. Last season he made his debut with the Münchner Philharmoniker under Gergiev, featuring in their new 360 Degree Festival and subsequently making his BBC Proms debut with them.

 

This year’s European highlights include the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre national de Lyon, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester as part of the Elb Philharmonie opening, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and further afield, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In recital, Behzod is one of the featured artists in the Junge Wilde series at the Konzerthaus Dortmund; he appears at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and returns to the Verbier Festival and La Roque d’Anthéron.

 

In North America Behzod will perform in recital at the Stern Auditorium following his debut success at Carnegie Hall in 2015, as well as in the Cliburn Concerts, Carolina Performing Arts, and Vancouver Recital Society series, and in concerts with the OSM, Houston and Pittsburgh symphonies, and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others. He has recently appeared at the Aspen Music Festival and with orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, and Seattle Symphony.

 

In 2017 Behzod will tour Asia in performances with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He will also embark on a recital tour of Australia.

 

An award-winning recording artist—his debut recital CD won both the Choc de Classica and the Diapason Découverte—Behzod released his first concerto album in 2014 on Decca Classics, which features Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto no. 1, with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai under Juraj Valčuha.

 

Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1990, Behzod began to play the piano at the age of five, when a pupil of Tamara Popovich at Uspensky State Central Lyceum in Tashkent. He is an alumnus of Park University’s International Centre for Music, where he studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch, and now serves as the ICM’s Artist-in-Residence.

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