Maurice Ravel composed Le Tombeau de Couperin between 1914 and 1917 as a suite for solo piano. Ravel dedicated
each movement to the memory of a friend who had died fighting in World War I. Later, in 1919, Ravel
arranged the suite for orchestra, and it is that version which we present in our concert this season.
Even though the piece was created in response to the loss of his friends, portions are reflective and light-hearted,
making the piece extremely popular in the concert repertoire to this day.
Mozart's Oboe Concerto in C major was originally composed in the Spring or Summer of 1777 for noted
oboist Giuseppe Ferlendis. Mozart later reworked it as a concerto for flute in 1778. The concerto is a
widely-studied piece and is one of the most important concertos for the oboe.
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, also known as the Pastoral Symphony,
was completed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1808. One of Beethoven's few works
containing explicitly programmatic content, the symphony was first performed in the Theater an der Wien
on December 22, 1808, in a four hour concert.
The work has become one of the central works of the symphonic repertoire. It is frequently performed,
and has been often recorded. It was also a featured part of Disney's original movie, Fantasia.
Chabrier's Fêtes Polonaise is actually the prelude to the second act of Le roi malgré lui, a ground-breaking
opera first performed on 18 May 1887 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. This opera was hailed by such composers as
Ravel and Stravinsky, Ravel stating that the premiere of this opera "changed the course of French harmony."
Fêtes Polonaise has become a staple of the orchestra repertoire.
The Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Opus 107, was composed in 1959 by Dmitri Shostakovich.
It is perhaps the most popular 20th Century cello concerto. Shostakovich wrote the work for his
friend Mstislav Rostropovich, who committed it to memory in four days and gave the premiere on October 4, 1959.
This concerto is widely considered to be one of the most difficult concertos for cello.
Schubert began this symphony in 1825 and completed it the following year. The first performance wasn't
given until March 21, 1839, in Leipzig, under Felix Mendelssohn. Since then, many writers, including
Schumann, have written eloquently and at considerable length of this symphony's greatness.
Today the music more easily speaks for itself, as witnessed by its many performances each year by orchestras
throughout the world.
- Beethoven composed this overture for the first revision of his only opera, Fidelio, which it
introduced at the Theater an der Wien on March 29, 1806, under his own direction.
The overture illustrates the central theme of the opera: abuse of power and individual heroism for the
sake of liberty and human rights.
That Beethoven struggled with the idea of depicting these concepts in music can be seen in the fact
that this is only one of four different overtures he wrote for the opera.
This music sums up splendidly the dramatic sequence conveying oppression, resolve, hope, and joyous
deliverance. It is the very essence, not only of the opera but of the heroic gesture
in music we associate with Beethoven's name.
Our soloist, Layna Chianakas, previously performed with MSCO in 2008, when
she presented Craig Bohmler's captivating song cycle, "Saints". Today we are
very happy to join with Layna again in compositions by Gustav Mahler and
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen ('Songs of a Wayfarer') is Gustav Mahler's first
song cycle. While he had previously written other lieder, they were grouped by
source of text or time of composition as opposed to common theme. The four-movement
cycle was inspired by
the conclusion of Mahler's unhappy love affair with soprano Johanna Richter,
whom he met while conductor of the opera house in Kassel, Germany.
The title hints at an autobiographical aspect of the work; as a young, newly
qualified conductor (and budding composer), Mahler was himself at this time
in a stage somewhere between 'apprentice' and recognized 'master' and
had been moving from town to town. All the while, he was honing his skills and
learning from masters in his field.
Old American Songs are two sets of songs arranged by Aaron Copland in 1950 and 1952 respectively.
Originally scored for voice and piano, they were reworked for baritone (or mezzo-soprano) and orchestra.
The first set of Old American Songs was very well received after it was premiered, and was soon
performed by many famous singers of the time. It was so greatly enjoyed by audiences
and performers all around that Copland decided to write another set in 1952.
Appalachian Spring is a composition by Aaron Copland that premiered in 1944 and has
achieved widespread and enduring popularity as an orchestral suite. The ballet,
scored for a thirteen-member chamber orchestra, was created upon commission of
choreographer and dancer Martha Graham with funds from the Coolidge Foundation;
it premiered on Monday, October 30, 1944, at the Library of Congress in Washington DC,
with Martha Graham (1894-1991).dancing the lead role. Copland was awarded the 1945
Pulitzer Prize for Music for his achievement.
At the third concert of our 2012-2013 season last spring, MSCO had the honor of presenting the world
premier of Jeremy Cavaterra's Monterey Suite. Each of the suite's four movements had a relationship
to a location in or near Monterey, California. These movements were titled
"The Peninsula," "The Path of History," "The Aquarium," and finally "Steinbeck Country".
For this season Mr. Cavaterra has completed a fifth movement, making the Monterey Suite complete.
We are extremely pleased to present this new movement at our final concert this season.
Jeremy Cavaterra was born in New York City in 1971. From an early age the piano held a
magnetic attraction for him, and he was drawn to work out pieces he had heard by ear,
and to invent his own. When he was ten years old his family moved to Los Angeles,
where he took up piano lessons with Tania Agins. Agins gave him a firm traditional foundation
and also encouraged his interest in composing, introducing him to composer and UCLA professor
Mark Carlson, who guided his efforts and provided him with theory instruction.
Cavaterra later furthered his piano studies with Robert Turner before
moving back to New York to study
composition at Manhattan School of Music as a scholarship student of Giampaolo Bracali,
with whom he also studied orchestration and conducting. From 1995–1999, Cavaterra lived in Italy, composing
and performing as a pianist in the Rome area in concerts and festivals, both as soloist and in
collaboration with other instrumentalists and singers.
Cavaterra’s work has been performed internationally by soloists and ensembles. In 2007, his piano suite
Six Character Pieces received its Los Angeles and San Francisco premières by the brilliant
Spanish pianist Gustavo Díaz-Jerez, with whom Cavaterra has enjoyed a long musical
collaboration. In 2008, Cavaterra’s Fantasy for Four Instruments was commissioned by
Pacific Serenades, the Los Angeles-based series, for its twenty-second season. -
The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, was composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff between the
autumn of 1900 and April 1901. The second and third movements
were first performed with the composer as soloist on 2 December 1900.
The complete work was premiered, again with the composer as soloist, on
November 9, 1901, with his cousin Alexander Siloti conducting.
This piece is one of Rachmaninoff's most enduringly popular pieces, and
established his fame as a concerto composer.
Those who had the pleasure of hearing Akimi Fukuhara perform Beethoven's Piano Concert No. 1
with MSCO in May, 2012, will be delighted that Akimi will again collaborate with us this season
on Rachmaninoff's immensely popular concerto.
The Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, B. 163, was composed and orchestrated by
Antonín Dvořák within the two-and-a-half-month period from August 26 to
November 8, 1889 in Vysoká u Příbrami, Bohemia. The score was dedicated:
"To the Bohemian Academy of Emperor Franz Joseph for the Encouragement of Arts and
Literature, in thanks for my election." Dvořák conducted the premiere in Prague on February 2, 1890.
The Eighth Symphony is performed fairly frequently, but not nearly as often as the more famous
Ninth Symphony ("From the New World"). In this regard the Eighth enjoys a similar
status to the Seventh Symphony, despite the two works' marked differences. While the
Seventh is a stormy romantic work, the Eighth is cheery and draws its
inspiration more from the Bohemian folk music that Dvořák loved.