Program Notes: Beethoven’s Triple Concerto

Concert Program

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Overture to Don Giovanni, K. 527
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Concerto in C major for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra, op. 56, “Triple Concerto”
I. Allegro
II. Largo
III. Rondo alla polacca
Anna Clyne
Within Her Arms
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Symphony No.36 in C major, K. 425 (Linz)
I. Adagio – Allegro spiritoso
II. Poco adagio
III. Menuetto
IV. Presto

Program Notes

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Born in Salzburg, Austria, January 27, 1756; died in Vienna, Austria, December 5, 1791
Overture: Don Giovanni, K. 527 (1787)

 “Some of the notes fell under the music stands,“ Mozart reported after the first performance of his Don Giovanni overture, “but the overture went remarkably well on the whole.”  Mozart had, as usual, left the composition of the overture until a few hours before the opera was to be premièred, October 29, 1787 and there was little to no time for rehearsal.  While a good deal of the overture’s music is drawn from the opera itself – a masterly telling of the Don Juan legend by Lorenzo da Ponte – Mozart’s excerpts in the overture are brilliantly fused to foreshadow the drama and tension of the action that lies ahead.  The startling opening takes its dark syncopations from the chilling entry of the effigy of the murdered Commendatore towards the end of the opera, while the subsequent carefree major-key melody reflects the Don’s dashing deceitfulness.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born in Bonn, Germany, December 15 or 16, 1770; died in Vienna, Austria, March 26, 1827
Concerto in C, for piano, violin and cello, Op. 56, ‘Triple’ (1804-7)

It’s “surely something new,” Beethoven said in a letter after writing his Triple Concerto.  The combination of standard piano trio with a typical late Classical orchestra was certainly new – and it remains an endangered species to this day.  But concertos for multiple instruments were not unknown when Beethoven first put pen to paper late in 1804.  Both Haydn and Mozart had written them and the French loved them.  Perhaps it’s because he was planning a trip (or even a rumoured full-scale relocation) to Paris that Beethoven found an incentive to write in the tradition of the symphonie concertante, a genre of virtuoso entertainment popular in Paris in the late 18th century.  Even in his teens, Beethoven had sketched an E minor Romance for flute, bassoon, piano and orchestra, but left the work incomplete in 1887.  Two years before he began work on the Triple, he attempted a D major Concertante for the same combination of piano trio and orchestra, but again abandoned the work in a fragmented form.  More recently he’d completed the Eroica symphony, initially inspired by Napoleon, and a new Érard piano from Paris had helped bring added intensity to the Waldstein and Appassionata piano sonatas.  But the performance in Paris he was planning never came to pass and it’s unclear whether Beethoven himself even played the Triple Concerto, as he had already done with his first three piano concertos.

Beethoven danced around the title to some extent by labelling his orchestral parts, in French, “Grand concert concertante.”  While he addressed the challenges of symphonic writing alongside those of the concerto form in his piano concertos, here he solves the problems of accommodating not one but three soloists primarily by the expansiveness of the outer movements – and by making the cello the first instrument to be heard in each movement.  Here we find Beethoven unbuttoned, relaxed and discursive rather than intense and goal-oriented.  The brief slow movement, functioning as a prelude to the finale, gives the cello one of its most glorious melodies, which the other instruments then elaborate.  The finale is a broad rondo in polonaise rhythm, genial and engaging in spirit and carried easily along by its high spirits.

ANNA CLYNE
Born in London, UK, March 9, 1980
Within Her Arms (2008-9)

“It was late to start,” says the UK-born Anna Clyne, “but I already knew what I wanted to say.”  Clyne was 20 at the time and spending a year at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, taking her very first composition lessons with Canadian composer Marjan Mozetich.  That was the year 2000.  Two years and a music degree from Edinburgh University later, Clyne moved to New York, where she continues to live, rapidly making a name for herself as a collaborator with cutting-edge choreographers, film-makers, visual artists and musicians, developing a close relationship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a growing number of leading conductors.  “My intention is to create music that complements and interacts with other art-forms, and that impacts performers and audiences alike,” she says.

 Within Her Arms was commissioned and premièred by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009.  The 14-minute elegy for 15 solo strings, reflects the now almost equal time Clyne has spent living on either side of the Atlantic; its meditative, intricately calculated, emotionally intense score has been likened to both American composer Samuel Barber’s haunting Adagio and the English Renaissance masterpieces of Thomas Tallis and John Dowland.  Built largely from short, downward spiralling gasps of phrases contrapuntally woven together, its frequently hushed atmosphere is punctuated by keening cries and sobs over a low drone and glimpses of a radiance that will, towards the end of the piece, culminate in a glorious opening up and sonorous depth to the string writing.  As to what lies behind the music’s intensity, Clyne simply says “Within Her Arms is music for my mother, with all my love.”  She also prefaces her score with a moving poem by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh:

 Earth will keep you tight within her arms dear one
So that tomorrow you will be transformed into flowers
This flower smiling quietly in this morning field
This morning you will weep no more dear one
For we have gone through too deep a night.
This morning, yes, this morning, I kneel down on the green grass

And I notice your presence.
Flowers, that speak to me in silence.
The message of love and understanding has indeed come.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony No. 36, in C, K. 425 (‘Linz’) (1783)   

 The residents of the Austrian city of Linz have been making delicious jam-filled Linzertorte since the 17th century, from a time-honoured recipe.  Mozart wrote his Linzersymphonie – without recipe – in a little over a weekend at the request of an important patron, Count Thun whose orchestra was to give the première.  “I am giving a concert here in the theatre on Tuesday,” he had written from Linz to his father the previous Friday. “Since I don’t have a single symphony with me, I’m writing a new one at breakneck speed.”   The full-scale Symphony No. 36, in C, K. 425 shows no signs of stress.  We don’t sense the tight deadline.  Neither does Mozart reveal anything of his anxiety over the family he had just left behind in Salzburg, still disapproving of his wife, she now pregnant with their second child – their first-born infant having just died in Vienna during the couple’s absence, while they were seeking reconciliation with the family in Salzburg.  An imposing introduction, the first in a symphony by Mozart, here tinged with pathos, builds anticipation for the bright, confident opening movement that follows.  Mozart’s score does not include flutes or clarinets, no doubt reflecting the instruments available to him in Linz.  Trumpets and drums in the slow movement, however, add greatly to the emotional palette, in the serious tone of the movement.  A stately minuet then leads to the finale which is rich in melodic material, vitality and exuberance, still thoughtful in purpose, with a wide range of expressive emotion.

© All program notes are written by  Keith Horner. Comments welcomed: khnotes@sympatico.ca

Biographies

David Danzmayr, conductor

Danzmayr is Chief Conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the first to hold this title in seven years. As leader of this orchestra, he is following in the footsteps of famous conductors like Lovro von Matacic, Kazushi Ono and Dmitri Kitajenko. Last season, he led the orchestra in a highly successful tour to the Salzburg Festspielhaus where they performed the prestigious New Year’s concert and were immediately re-invited to perform in future seasons.

In the US, David is Music Director of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, where his contract was recently extended, as well as the Artistic Advisor of the Breckenridge Music Festival.

Previously, David Danzmayr served as Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in Chicago, where he was lauded regularly by both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Classical Review for the performances. He was also the only conductor in the Chicago area who programmed a piece of American music on every concert.

David has won prizes at some of the world ́s most prestigious conducting competitions, including a 2nd prize at the International Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition and prizes at the International Malko Conducting Competition. For his extraordinary success, he has was awarded the Bernhard Paumgartner Medal by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum.

Propelled by these early successes into a far reaching international career, Danzmayr has quickly become a sought after guest conductor for orchestras around the globe, having worked with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Detroit Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Mozarteum Orchester, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Lousiana Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, to name a few.

Besides numerous re-invitations, future engagements will include concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Essener Philharmoniker and Hamburger Symphoniker.

David frequently appears in the world ́s major concert halls, such as the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg, Usher Hall Edinburgh and the Symphony Hall in Chicago.

He has served as Assistant Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, which he conducted in more than 70 concerts so far, performing in all the major Scottish concert halls and in the prestigious Orkney-based St Magnus Festival. He has regularly been re-invited to the podium since then.

David Danzmayr received his musical training at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg where, after initially studying piano, he went on to study conducting in the class of Dennis Russell Davies. He finished his studies with the highest honours.

David was strongly influenced by Pierre Boulez and Claudio Abbado in his time as conducting stipendiate of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and by Leif Segerstam during his additional studies in the conducting class at the Sibelius Academy. Subsequently, he gained significant experience as assistant to Neeme Järvi, Stephane Deneve, Carlos Kalmar, Sir Andrew Davies and Pierre Boulez, who entrusted Danzmayr with the preparatory rehearsals for his own music.

Stewart Goodyear, piano

Proclaimed “a phenomenon” by the Los Angeles Times and “one of the best pianists of his generation” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart Goodyear is an accomplished young pianist as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and composer. Mr. Goodyear has performed with major orchestras of the world , including the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Bournemouth Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, MDR Symphony Orchestra (Leipzig), Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony , Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Goodyear began his training at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, received his bachelor’s degree from Curtis Institute of Music, and completed his master’s at The Juilliard School. Known as an improviser and composer, he has been commissioned by orchestras and chamber music organizations, and performs his own solo works. Last year, Mr. Goodyear premiered his suite for piano and orchestra, “Callaloo”, with Kristjan Jarvi and MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, and last summer, the Clarosa Quartet premiered his Piano Quartet commissioned by the Kingston Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Goodyear performed all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in one day at Koerner Hall, McCarter Theatre, the Mondavi Center, and the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas.

Mr. Goodyear’s discography includes Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonatas (which received a Juno nomination for Best Classical Solo Recording in 2014) and Diabelli Variations for the Marquis Classics label, Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto and Grieg’s Piano Concerto, and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos No. 2 and 3, both recorded with the Czech National Symphony under Stanislav Bogunia and Hans Matthias Forster respectively, and released to critical acclaim on the Steinway and Sons label. His Rachmaninov recording received a Juno nomination for Best Classical Album for Soloist and Large Ensemble Accompaniment. Also for Steinway and Sons is Mr. Goodyear’s recording of his own transcription of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker (Complete Ballet)”, which was released October 2015 and was chosen by the New York Times as one of the best classical music recordings of 2015. Mr. Goodyear’s recording of Ravel’s piano works was released in the spring of 2017, and his new recording “For Glenn Gould”, that combines repertoire performed by Gould in his US and Montreal debuts, has been released this past March.

Highlights of the 2018-19 season are his debut with Chineke! at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, return engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria Symphony orchestras, and three recitals for the Chamber Music Society of Detroit. He has been commissioned to write a work for piano and orchestra for the Toronto Symphony, and it will be premiered January 2019.

Bénédicte  Lauzière, violin

Described as “beautiful to watch and breathtaking to hear” by the Guelph Mercury, violinist Bénédicte Lauzière enjoys a prolific career on the Canadian stage notably as concertmaster of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, but also as a soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. She won numerous prizes and awards including the Prix d’Europe 2014, the Michael-Measures Award 2011, the Peter Mendell Prize 2010 as well as a grant for professional musicians from the Canada Council for the Arts. Ms Lauzière was a laureate of the prestigious Stulberg International String Competition in 2010 and won several first prizes in national competitions. As a soloist, her recent performances include Korngold’s Concerto op. 35 in d major and Ravel’s Tzigane with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, respectively in October and April 2016 and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto op. 35 in d major with the Kingston Symphony in January 2016. She also had the great privilege of sharing the stage as a soloist with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and Yoav Talmi as well as with the Western Michigan University Orchestra. Bénédicte obtained her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York City in May 2014, where she studied with Masao Kawasaki with the support of the Karl H. Kraeuter, H. & E. Kivekas and Starr scholarships. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, studying with Jonathan Crow as recipient of the Lloyd Carr-Harris scholarship. She also studied with Helmut Lipsky at Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal.

John Helmers, cello

John Helmers joined the KWS in 1986. He studied at Queen’s and Indiana University. John has played with the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, and the Calgary Philharmonic. He appears regularly as a chamber musician at various summer festivals, including the Elora Festival, and the Sharon Festival.