CONCERT PROGRAM March 1-2, 2013 DELIUS/ ELGAR

CONCERT PROGRAM
March 1-2, 2013
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Tasmin Little, violin
DELIUS/ The Walk to the Paradise Garden: Intermezzo from
arr. Beecham A Village Romeo and Juliet (1899-1901)
(1862-1934)/
(1879-1961)
ELGAR Violin Concerto in B minor, op. 61 (1905, 1909-10)
(1857-1934)
Allegro
Andante
Allegro molto
Tasmin Little, violin
INTERMISSION
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, op. 60 (1806)
(1770-1827)
Adagio; Allegro vivace
Adagio
Allegro vivace
Allegro ma non troppo
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Sir Andrew Davis is presented by the Whitaker Foundation.
Tasmin Little is the Mr. and Mrs. Whitney R. Harris Guest Artist.
The concert of Friday, March 1, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from
Mr. and Mrs. James R. von der Heydt.
The concert of Saturday, March 2, is underwritten in part by a generous gift
from Mr. and Mrs. Alyn V. Essman.
These concerts are presented by the Thomas A. Kooyumjian Family Foundation.
Pre-Concert Conversations are presented by Washington University Physicians.
These concerts are part of the Wells Fargo Advisors Series.
Large print program notes are available through the generosity of Mosby
Building Arts and are located at the Customer Service table in the foyer.
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THE FOOD OF LOVE
BY PA U L SC H I AVO
TIMELINKS
1806
BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat
major, op. 60
Napoleon enters Berlin
1899-1901
DELIUS/
arr. Beecham
The Walk to the Paradise
Garden: Intermezzo from
A Village Romeo and Juliet
Boer War begins, Dutch
and British battle for
control of South Africa
1909-10
ELGAR
Violin Concerto in
B minor, op. 61
Shackleton Expedition
nearly reaches South Pole
Music, Shakespeare proposed, is “the food of
love.” Certainly music and romantic feelings
have been closely connected for centuries. In
the Middle Ages, troubadours sang long ballads
about love and lovers, and hopeful suitors have
serenaded the objects of their affections since
perhaps even before then. Love has been the
subject of countless operas, but even instrumental
compositions can convey, and frequently have,
the subjective qualities of romantic ardor.
The two pieces that form the first half of
our concert do just that, one overtly, the other
secretly. The Walk to the Paradise Garden, from
Frederick Delius’s opera A Village Romeo and
Juliet, is a musical evocation of the rapture of
innocent young love. Edward Elgar’s Violin
Concerto is more robustly expressive, but also
less explicit. Was it written as a secret love letter?
That certainly is possible.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, which we
hear after intermission, is not ostensibly a work
about love, though much of it is lovely; it does
not intimate romance, though several sections
of the work foretell the coming of Romanticism
in music. But this composition doesn’t need to
be “about” anything we can name, nor tell us
anything specific. Its discourse is eloquent in
the abstract language of music, and that is more
than enough.
25
FREDERICK DELIUS
The Walk to the Paradise Garden: Intermezzo from A
Village Romeo and Juliet
Born
January 29, 1862, Bradford,
England
Died
June 10, 1934, Grez-sur-Loing,
France
First performance
February 21, 1907, at the Berlin
Komische Oper, conducted
by Fritz Cassirer
STL Symphony Premiere
November 12, 1942, Vladimir
Golschmann conducting
Most Recent STL Symphony
Performance
October 3, 2008, David
Robertson conducting
Scoring
2 flutes
oboe
English horn
2 clarinets
2 bassoons
4 horns
2 trumpets
3 trombones
timpani
harp
strings
Performance Time
approximately 8 minutes
COSMOPOLITAN COMPOSER Born in England to
German emigrant parents, Frederick Delius was
raised in Yorkshire but spent parts of his youth
in Paris, Florida, and Norway before moving
to Leipzig in order to study at the conservatory
there. Eventually, he settled in France, where
he spent most of his adult life. Delius’s music
reflects his cosmopolitan background. His
delicate orchestration suggests his French
contemporaries. Wagner, Grieg, and Debussy
influenced his harmonic shadings. His most
memorable work often conveys a sense of
quiet rapture rather than the imperial pomp or
Romantic effusion of his compatriot Elgar. He
was, then, not so much an English composer as
an international one.
TRAGIC YOUNG LOVE Delius wrote six operas
over the course of his career. The finest is A Village
Romeo and Juliet, which tells of a young couple
in rural Switzerland. They have grown up near
to each other, and their childhood friendship has
ripened into love. But a bitter feud has divided
their fathers. With any hope of an open union
between them impossible, the young pair sets
out for an old riverside inn called the Paradise
Garden. There they come to understand that
their ardor cannot exist in a corrupt world, and
they choose to drown together in the river, their
love-death uniting them forever.
Composed between 1899 and 1901, A Village
Romeo and Juliet waited until early 1907 for its
first performance. At this time the composer
realized the necessity of an entr’acte to cover a
scene change just before the end of the opera. He
met that need by writing a short tone poem, The
Walk to the Paradise Garden. It pictures the young
lovers alone together, intoxicated with love,
walking toward the river and their destiny. Their
passion is a gentle one, the music tells us, and
the softly radiant sensuality they feel is entirely
in harmony with the beautiful countryside they
walk through.
26
EDWARD ELGAR
Violin Concerto in B minor, op. 61
A MYSTERIOUS DEDICATION Edward Elgar began
writing his Violin Concerto in the spring of 1909,
but the piece took shape slowly. Only in August
of the following year did it reach completion. The
composer prefaced the completed score with an
enigmatic motto in Spanish. Translated, it reads:
“Here is enshrined the soul of…..”
Those five dots posed a mystery, and not
for the first time in one of Elgar’s orchestral
works. The composer had already admitted the
existence of a secret theme and “dark saying” in
his famous Enigma Variations, provoking reams
of speculation about what these might be. With
the Violin Concerto, though, there is more
evidence as to Elgar’s cryptic meaning, and it
points convincingly to one Alice Stuart-Wortley
as the unnamed soul invoked in the preface.
The daughter of painter John Everett Millais
and wife of a music-loving member of Parliament,
Mrs. Stuart-Wortley met Elgar in 1902. Over
the next seven years she and her husband
occasionally visited and corresponded with the
Elgars. By 1909, their letters had become frequent
and warm in tone. Their visits also grew more
frequent. This was just when Elgar was beginning
concentrated work on the Violin Concerto, which
now developed in tandem with his friendship
with Alice Stuart-Wortley. Indeed, she seems to
have played a crucial role in inspiring the work.
WINDFLOWER Evidence for this inspiration lies in
Elgar’s letters to Alice, which repeatedly discussed
the concerto, solicited her opinions about it and
urged her to visit and hear new passages as he
completed them. Moreover, the composer took to
calling Alice “Windflower” and began referring to
several of the concerto’s melodies by that term. In
April 1910, for example, in a letter addressed to
“My dear Windflower,” he wrote her: “I have been
working hard at the Windflower themes, but all
stands still until you come & approve!”
But if it is Alice Stuart-Wortley’s soul that
the Violin Concerto enshrines, just what were
Elgar’s feelings for her? Here the clues are
less certain. Upon completing the score, the
27
Born
June 2, 1857, Lower
Broadheath, near Worcester,
England
Died
February 23, 1934, Worcester,
England
First Performance
November 10, 1910, in
London, Fritz Kreisler was
the soloist with the London
Philharmonic Orchestra,
conducted by the composer
STL Symphony Premiere
November 27, 1992, Pinchas
Zuckerman was soloist, with
Leonard Slatkin conducting
Most Recent STL Symphony
Performance
January 14, 2006, Gil Shaham
was soloist, with David
Zinman conducting
Scoring
solo violin
2 flutes
2 oboes
2 clarinets
2 bassoons
contrabassoon
4 horns
2 trumpets
3 trombones
tuba
timpani
strings
Performance Time
approximately 48 minutes
composer wrote to a friend that “The Concerto is full of romantic feeling,”
but declined to elaborate. It is striking that the melodies Elgar designated
as “Windflower themes” are among the most ardent ideas in the work. That
Alice and Elgar were romantically involved must therefore be counted as a
possibility, one that the unexplained disappearance of many of their letters
makes no less likely. Still, nothing proves such a liaison, and both parties
were devoted to their respective spouses. Ultimately, this matter, like so
much else about Elgar, remains unsettled, the truth perhaps encoded safely
in the music of the Violin Concerto.
Adhering to traditional concerto design, Elgar begins the work with an
orchestral exposition. This passage begins straightway with the melody that
forms the principal subject of the first movement. Soon a timpani roll supports
the statement of the first “Windflower theme.” Elgar only hints at a serene
third subject during this orchestral introduction, leaving its full presentation
to the solo instrument, which soon takes the lead in expanding these various
thematic ideas.
The central Andante opens calmly, but the music grows increasingly
impassioned, climaxing in a passage bearing one of Elgar’s favored character
indications: “Nobilmente.” The composer closes the movement by returning
to the mood and material of its opening measures, at one point combining the
two principal melodies of the Andante in counterpoint. Years later, he confided
to a friend: “This is where two souls merge and melt into one another.”
From a formal standpoint, the finale is unusual. It begins as a spirited
romp through a series of thematic ideas. The central portion of the movement
brings an unusual cadenza soliloquy—unusual because the featured instrument
receives accompaniment from the orchestra, and because this passage uses
themes from the opening movement. Elsewhere, the orchestra recalls the
Andante also, making this a thoroughly retrospective finale.
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LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major
STANDING BETWEEN GIANTS Were Beethoven’s
Fourth Symphony the work of any other
composer active during the first decade of the
19th century, it would establish its author as one
of the major musical figures of his day. As it is,
this work stands between two of its creator’s most
dramatic and popular compositions, his Third
and Fifth symphonies, and rather in their shadow.
Robert Schumann’s metaphoric description of
this work as “a slender Greek maiden between
two Norse giants” leaves much to be desired as
characterization, but it does suggest the enduring
perception that the Fourth represents something
of a lesser achievement among Beethoven’s
middle-period symphonies.
It is unfortunate that the towering stature of
its neighbors should obscure the virtues of this
symphony, which Beethoven composed in 1806.
It is a finely crafted and beautiful work that fills
the formal outline of the Classical symphony
with music often quite Romantic in character.
Nowhere is this Romantic element more
evident than in the opening Adagio, a somber
fantasy that ventures to say more than we would
expect from an introduction to a symphonic first
movement. Through forty spellbinding measures
it explores dark and mysterious tonal regions,
then suddenly breaks forth with two loud chords
and a motif of insistently rising scales into the
brilliant light of the Allegro.
Beethoven launches directly into the
principal theme of this, the main body of the first
movement, with the full weight of his orchestral
forces. The second subject, by contrast, is given
out in a succession of woodwind solos. A slender
melody announced by the clarinet and echoed
by the bassoon completes the exposition of the
movement’s themes. Following the obligatory
development passage, in which a lovely
countermelody plays against the first subject,
a concise recounting of the movement’s several
themes closes this initial portion of the work.
The ensuing Adagio is among the loveliest
movements Beethoven ever wrote. Typically,
it juxtaposes two principal melodies. The first
29
Born
December 16, 1770, Bonn
Died
March 26, 1827, Vienna
First Performance
March 1807, in Vienna with
Beethoven conducting,
although the time and place
of the first performance of
this symphony is uncertain
STL Symphony Premiere
November 21, 1924, Rudolf
Ganz conducting
Most Recent STL Symphony
Performance
October 23, 2010, Nicholas
McGegan conducting
Scoring
flute
2 oboes
2 clarinets
2 bassoons
2 horns
2 trumpets
timpani
strings
Performance Time
approximately 34 minutes
appears in the violins over a gently rocking accompaniment in the strings;
the second is introduced by the clarinet. Beethoven weaves the extensions,
variations, and recollections of these ideas into an exquisite dreamlike fantasy.
The third movement is a scherzo in all but name, with a contrasting
episode, or “Trio,” heard twice, with Beethoven juxtaposing the wind and
string choirs to fine effect. The concluding measures offer a surprise from
the horns.
The finale gives us many of Beethoven’s most characteristic gestures:
sudden dynamic contrasts, abrupt offbeat accents, contrapuntal echoes of
thematic fragments. The movement races along in moto perpetuo figuration to
its coda, where the composer, in high humor, draws the principal theme out in
slow motion before dashing to the final measure.
Program notes © 2013 by Paul Schiavo
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SIR ANDREW DAVIS
WHITAKER GUEST ARTIST
The English conductor Sir Andrew Davis is Music
Director and Principal Conductor of Lyric Opera
of Chicago, a position he has held since 2000.
Davis’s contract with Lyric Opera of Chicago was
recently extended through the 2020-21 season.
He conducts Strauss’s Elektra, Verdi’s Simon
Boccanegra, Massenet’s Werther, and Wagner’s
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg during Lyric’s
2012-13 season. In the 2011-12 season Davis
led performances of Boris Godunov, Ariadne
auf Naxos, and The Magic Flute at Lyric Opera,
as well as a subscriber appreciation concert
featuring soprano Renée Fleming (Lyric’s creative
consultant) and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
The season also brought Sir Andrew to the
Metropolitan Opera, Melbourne, London,
Bamberg, Edinburgh, and Toronto.
Davis was recently named Chief Conductor
of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a
position he began in January 2013. He is
Conductor Laureate of the Toronto Symphony
Orchestra (having previously served as Principal
Conductor), Conductor Laureate of the BBC
Symphony Orchestra (having previously had the
longest tenure as Chief Conductor since BBCSO
founder Sir Adrian Boult) and former Music
Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
In 1992 Davis was bestowed with the title of
Commander of the British Empire for his services
to British music, and in 1999 he was made a
Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours List.
In 1991, he received the Royal Philharmonic
Society/Charles Heidsieck Music Award. A native
of Hertfordshire, Davis studied at King’s College,
Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar before
taking up the baton. He lives in Chicago with his
wife Gianna Rolandi, director of the Patrick G.
and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera
of Chicago.
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Sir Andrew Davis most
recently conducted the
St. Louis Symphony in
November 2009.
TASMIN LITTLE
Paul Mitchell
MR. AND MRS. WHITNEY R. HARRIS GUEST ARTIST
Tasmin Little makes her
St. Louis Symphony debut
with these concerts.
Tasmim Little has played with many of the
world’s greatest orchestras in a career that has
taken her to every continent of the world. In
addition to her regular solo performances, she
has play/directed orchestras such as Royal
Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, London Mozart
Players, English Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian
Chamber, European Union Chamber Orchestra,
and Britten Sinfonia.
In March 2012 Little gave the world premiere
of the completed version of Roxanna Panufnik’s
Four World Seasons with the London Mozart
Players. This live national broadcast on BBC
Radio 3 was the opening concert of the Music
Nation weekend, marking the beginning of the
cultural events leading up to the London 2012
Olympic Games.
Performances in 2012-13 include her debuts
with the Wisconsin Symphony and her return
to Warsaw for two performances of Brahms’s
Violin Concerto, return performances in Perth
and Tasmania, her second curation of a three-day
festival of chamber music at London’s Kings Place,
a celebrity recital in Manchester’s Bridgewater
Hall with Martin Roscoe, performances in
London’s South Bank Centre, and five recording
projects for Chandos Records.
In 2012, Little became an OBE (officer of
the Order of the British Empire ) for services
to music, announced as part of the Queen’s
Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honors List.
She is an Ambassador for the Prince’s
Foundation for Children and the Arts, is a
Fellow of the Guildhall of Music and Drama,
and has received Honorary Degrees from the
Universities of Bradford, Leicester, Hertfordshire
and City of London.
She plays a 1757 Guadagnini violin and has,
on kind loan from the Royal Academy of Music,
the “Regent” Stradivarius of 1708.
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