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SRS @ Home - January 24


This concert is no longer available for public viewing.
 

Season Subscribers please note:

On January 27, you will receive, via email, a special access link to watch the concert until February 23, 2021. So, if you missed the premiere, or just want to watch it again, look for the email with your special access link.

If you do not receive the link, please first check your spam or junk filters in your email and then call or email SRS Patron Services and we can send you the link. (707-546-8742 | email


CONCERT PROGRAM

This performance was recorded on January 9, 2021 at Weill Hall at the Green Music Center.

Conducted by Francesco Lecce-Chong
Artistic partner, Ellen Taaffee Zwilich

BACH: Ricercare à 6 from Das Musikalische Opfer [The Musical Offering], Anton Webern, arr.
ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH: Concerto Grosso 1985 for Chamber Orchestra [after Handel]
MARIANNA MARTINES: Sinfonia in C major  
MOZART: Symphony No. 39

January concert program book

Click here to download printable version
 

The Extras

  • Pre-concert talk with Francesco, live on YouTube one hour prior to the concert.

  • During the concert, the camera crew take you closer than ever before to Francesco and the musicians, and orchestra members introduce the works. 

  • Stay tuned immediately after the performance for a Q & A with Francesco and SRS musicians.
     

Exclusive Symphony Season Ticket Subscriber Benefits!

To acknowledge the support of Symphony season subscribers, please read below for some new benefits, available only to you.

Only Season Ticket Subscribers will have the opportunity to re-watch the above virtual concerts, whenever they want, up to 30 days after the Live Stream dates on YouTube.

Only Season Ticket Subscribers will receive exclusive access to guest artist recitals and concert conversations with Francesco on YouTube.

Exclusive access link to view the 2012 historic Orchestral Opening concert of Weill Hall  Soon, all subscribers will receive an exclusive access link to watch the 2012 Orchestral Opening Concert of the Green Music Center on the Symphony’s YouTube Channel. This celebratory extravaganza featured Bruno Ferrandis and Corrick Brown conducting, plus Jeffrey Kahane performing on piano. The palpable excitement will move you to your feet. Relive that momentous event, or view it for the very first time. 

January 17, 2021 on YouTube—Symphony Season Subscriber Exclusive Access
David Krakauer, clarinet—In recital and in conversation with Francesco
KINAN AZMEH / Kathleen Tagg, arranger: November 22
ABRAHAM ELLSTEIN: Chassidic Dance
DAVID KRAKAUER: Offering Nigun
DAVID KRAKAUER: Synagogue Wail
TRADITIONAL / David Krakauer & Kathleen Tagg, arranger: Der Heyser Bulgar

Guest Artist David Krakauer underwritten by Amy and Joel Levine, in loving memory of Leonard and Pauline Miller

 

Information for 2020-2021 Season Ticket Holders

We understand that you purchased tickets for live concerts, but we are very excited for you join us on this virtual journey, experiencing a season like no other. Your subscription tickets are your access to Santa Rosa Symphony orchestral virtual concerts, special virtual soloist recitals and more! If access to these virtual performances is not possible, the SRS kindly asks that you convert your tickets to a donation, before January 15, which will allow us to sustain our ability to bring great musical performances to our community and music education programs to 30,000 young people annually. Thank you for your support and commitment—we are truly grateful. Please contact SRS Patron Services at (707) 546-8742 or by email. Symphony staff, working from home, continue to monitor voicemails, email and mail.

   

Ways to Watch

SRS @ Home Series will be available to watch on YouTube. Visit our Ways to Watch page for specific guides for viewing on a variety of devices. We highly recommend doing all the prep work at least a few days in advance of the event or concert. That way, the day of, you'll be ready to watch. Click here for Ways to Watch.
 

Concert Sponsors

Classical Concert Series underwritten by Sara and Edward Kozel, in memory of Laura Tietz
SRS @ Home Series Lead Sponsor – Charles M. Schulz Museum, dedicated to the Peanuts Creator
SRS @ Home Series Supporting Sponsor – Victor and Karen Trione
SRS @ Home Series Supporting Sponsor – The Stare Foundation and David Stare of Dry Creek Vineyard
SRS @ Home Supporting Sponsor – County of Sonoma – Board of Supervisors

Concert Sponsor: Willow Creek Wealth Management
Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong underwritten by David and Corinne Byrd
Pre-Concert Talks sponsored by Jamei Haswell and Richard Grundy
Media Sponsor The Press Democrat

    

PROGRAM NOTES

January 24, 2021 Program Notes by Elizabeth Schwartz
 
Johann Sebastian Bach / Anton Webern, arranger
Ricercare à 6 from Das Musikalische Opfer [The Musical Offering]
 
Composer: J. S. Bach was born on March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, and died on July 28, 1750 in Leipzig. Anton Webern was born on December 3, 1883 in Vienna, and died on September 15, 1945 in Mittersill, Austria.
Work composed: Bach began The Musical Offering in May 1747 and finished it two months later. It is dedicated to Frederick the Great, who provided the original theme. Webern orchestrated it in 1934-1935, on a commission from Universal Edition, and dedicated it to BBC music producer Edward Clark.
World premiere: Webern conducted the first performance on a live broadcast of the BBC on April 25, 1935, in London.
Instrumentation: flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, timpani and strings
Estimated duration: 8 minutes
 
In 1747, Johann Sebastian Bach traveled to Potsdam to visit his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, who was employed as a musician in the court of Frederick the Great. When they met, Frederick presented the elder Bach with a rather long and complex theme (Thema Regium), and by way of a challenge, asked Bach to improvise a three-voiced fugue on the spot, using one of his new “pianofortes” – a precursor to the modern piano. Bach complied, whereupon Frederick demanded a six-voiced fugue. Bach assented, using a theme of his own, but after he returned home to Leipzig, he composed another 6-voiced fugue with the Thema Regium. Two months later, Bach completed a collection of 13 keyboard canons, fugues and a trio sonata, all based on the Thema Regium, and sent it to Frederick as “a musical offering.”
 
In a 1999 essay in the New York Times, the late pianist and musicologist Charles Rosen described the 6-voiced fugue, or ricercare, as “among the greatest achievements of Western European civilization.” Like many of Bach’s masterpieces, it transcends the time, place and instrumentation for which it was originally conceived. Several composers have arranged it for orchestra, but Anton Webern’s 1935 version stands head and shoulders above the rest.
 
No one would ever mistake a work of Bach’s for that of Webern, or vice versa, but despite their dissimilar styles, the two composers had much in common. Both loved musical puzzles and had a penchant for manipulating pitches – Bach with palindromes or number symbology, and Webern with the 12-tone rows he constructed, reversed and inverted. When Webern set himself the task of orchestrating Bach’s six-voiced ricercar, he wanted to showcase both the Thema Regium and the distinctive timbres of the orchestra’s different instruments. He wrote, “The theme throughout must not appear disintegrated. My orchestration tries (here I am speaking of the whole work) merely to reveal the motivic coherence.”
 
Webern highlights Bach’s pitches by use of an orchestration technique he learned from his teacher Arnold Schoenberg, known as Klangfarbenmelodie (tone-color melody). A muted solo trombone intones the opening notes, followed by trumpet, then horn. As the theme repeats, different instruments, from flute to oboe to strings, play brief fragments before passing the melody along. In this manner, the interlocking structure of the music and the unique colors of each instrument gradually emerge until the Offering is completely revealed.
 
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
Concerto Grosso 1985 for Chamber Orchestra [after Handel]
 
Composer: Born April 30, 1939, Miami, FL
Work composed: 1985. Commissioned by the Washington Friends of Handel to mark the 300th anniversary of George Frideric Handel's birth.
World premiere: Stephen Simon led the Handel Festival Orchestra (now the Washington Chamber Symphony) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. on May 9, 1986.
Instrumentation: flute, 2 oboes (1 doubling English horn), 2 horns, harpsichord and strings
Estimated duration: 15 minutes
 
In our January through May concerts, the Santa Rosa Symphony is showcasing music of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, an acclaimed American composer whose work has earned her numerous prizes and honors. The first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for her Symphony No. 1, Zwilich has also received the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Chamber Music Prize; the Arturo Toscanini Music Critics Award; the Ernst von Dohnányi Citation; a Guggenheim Fellowship; and four Grammy nominations. In 1995, Zwilich was named to the first Composer’s Chair in the history of Carnegie Hall; Musical America named her Composer of the Year for 1999.
 
In 1984, the Washington Friends of Handel asked Zwilich to write a commemorative work in honor of George Frideric Handel’s 300th birthday. Zwilich immediately thought of Handel’s D major violin sonata. “I performed the work many years ago,” she said, “and I especially love the opening theme of the first movement – the striking head motive and the beauty of the generative tension between the theme and the elegant bass line.” Zwilich describes her Concerto Grosso as a “20th-century response to the spirt of George Frideric Handel. My concerto is both inspired by Handel’s sonata and, I hope, imbued with his spirit.”
 
The Concerto Grosso features a five-movement arch structure. The first and final movements include direct quotes from Handel’s violin sonata, interspersed with Zwilich’s contemporary style. To highlight the sectional quality of the music, Zwilich indicates in the score that the “Handelian” and “Zwilichian” contrasts be emphasized as much as possible. The second and fourth movements, marked Presto, are free-flowing and slightly agitated; they serve as frames for the central third movement. Zwilich describes this keystone section, marked Largo, as “the emotional peak, the most personal movement of the concerto. It, too, is a free fantasy, inspired by Handel’s theme, but without the direct quotations I used in movements one and five. Throughout the work, I found myself using compositional techniques typical of the Baroque period, including terraced dynamics, repeated melodic phrases, and suspension-like constructions. These are techniques I would not normally use, but I felt inspired to do so because of the fact that this piece was based on Handel.”
 
Marianna Martínes (Marianne von Martinez)
Sinfonia in C major     
 
Composer: Born May 4, 1744, Vienna; died December 13, 1812, Vienna
Work composed: 1770
World premiere: Undocumented
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, harpsichord and strings
Estimated duration: 12.5 minutes
 
Vienna in the latter half of the 18th century overflowed with music, musicians, composers, aficionados, poets and patrons. All the best of Europe came to Vienna – either to stay or at least to visit – which made the city a focal point for creativity, just as the Italian city of Florence had emerged as the center of Renaissance art, music, literature and science some 350 years earlier.
           
Marianna Martínes was a product of Vienna’s musical ferment. Before relocating to Vienna, Martínes’ father Nicolo lived in Italy, where he became lifelong friends with a poet named Pietro Trapassi, better known as Metastasio. As an opera librettist, Metastasio achieved great fame. In 1730, he relocated to Vienna, where he lived with Nicolo and his six children for the rest of his life.
 
The Martínes family lived in a multistoried building that still stands on the Michaelerplatz, an elegant city square near Vienna’s historical city center. Other residents of the building included a young and largely unknown composer named Joseph Haydn; the dowager princess of the aristocratic Esterházy family; and the renowned Italian composer and singing teacher, Nicola Porpora. All of these neighbors, along with Metastasio, became acquainted and also influenced the musical development of young Marianna.
 
In a letter from 1773, Martínes wrote, “I was born in the year 1744 on the 4th day of May. In my seventh year they began to introduce me to the study of music, for which they believed me inclined by nature. Its rudiments were taught me by Signor Giuseppe Haydn, now Maestro di Cappella to Prince Esterházy … But in all my studies, the chief planner and director was always, and still is, Signor Metastasio, who, with the paternal care he takes of me and all of my numerous family, renders an exemplary return for the incorruptible friendship and tireless support which my good father lent him up until the very last days of his life.”
 
Martínes more than fulfilled her youthful potential. She became a skilled composer in many genres, including sacred oratorios and masses; choral and solo vocal pieces; and instrumental music for orchestra. She regularly set texts written by her beloved mentor Metastasio, which she also performed. A polished, highly intelligent woman, Martínes spoke multiple languages: German, French, Italian and English.
 
As an adult, Martínes managed to do something even Mozart could not achieve: build a successful career teaching music lessons and composing her own works without benefit of a royal patron. She and her sister cared for Metastasio until the old man died; in gratitude and love for the woman Metastasio considered his adopted daughter, the poet left his considerable estate to Marianna. This gave her economic security and independence, a rarity for women in those times.
 
Martínes never married, and music remained the central focus of her life. She hosted regular evenings of music in her home, which were attended by Vienna’s finest musicians, including Mozart and Haydn (Martínes was also one of Mozart’s favorite duet partners). Sometime during her 50s, Martínes opened a singing school, where she taught many of Vienna’s best musicians.

Martínes’ Sinfonia in C Major (also known as the Overture in C major) from 1770 is the only known classical symphony composed by a woman. Written when Martínes was 26, the music exudes a fresh elegance, featuring singable melodies and lively dance rhythms.
 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major, K. 543
 
Composer: Born January 27, 1756, Salzburg, Austria; died December 5, 1791, Vienna
Work composed: Summer 1788
World premiere: Undocumented
Instrumentation: flute, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings.
Estimated duration: 29 minutes
 
When 25-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arrived in Vienna in 1781, he astonished everyone with his dazzling skill as a pianist. He quickly became the most sought-after performer in town and people flocked to his concerts.
 
By 1787, however, Mozart’s fortunes had shifted. His numerous attempts to secure a royal court appointment, which would have provided a steady living, had proved unsuccessful. Mozart also stopped writing and performing piano concertos for his subscription concerts in order to concentrate on the greater creative rewards of opera. Although Mozart’s operas met with some success both in Vienna and abroad, the income they generated did not offset the enormous costs of production. Furthermore, Mozart was notoriously incapable of managing money.
 
In the beginning of the summer of 1788, Mozart found himself in dire financial circumstances. He wrote a series of anguished letters to friend and fellow Freemason Michael Puchberg, pleading for loans. Mozart also pawned several valuables, tried to get advances from his publisher, and attempted to sell his manuscripts; these humiliating efforts to raise funds yielded little.
 
Mozart’s final three symphonies, Nos. 39, 40 and 41, were composed in nine weeks during the summer of 1788. Even for Mozart this rate of output is remarkable, especially given the high quality of all three works. The elegant lightheartedness of the Symphony No. 39 contrasts starkly with Mozart’s worrisome financial situation. A contemporary critic labeled this joyful work “Mozart’s splendid symphony.”        
 
Nothing is definitively known about the circumstances surrounding the composition of these three symphonies, but it is likely Mozart wrote them for a series of concerts he had planned to present in Vienna in the summer of 1788, or for a trip to London (which he never made), or perhaps both. There are no surviving records to prove the Vienna concerts in fact took place, but the amazing speed with which Mozart composed these symphonies suggests an urgent need for new music that would entice audiences back to the concert hall.
 
The Adagio-Allegro’s stately introduction hints at grandeur and opulence. The main movement begins with a gentle, questioning theme in the strings, answered by a vigorous rhythmic counter-melody for trumpets and timpani. Mozart uses the primary melody of the Andante con moto to transport the listener into a realm of quiet agitation, exploring dark minor keys that hint at his own inner turmoil. By contrast, the lilting charm of the Menuetto: Allegretto celebrates the simple joys of a minuet with a bouncy rhythm. In the trio, a solo clarinet sings the graceful melody of an Austrian country ländler. For the spirited Finale: Allegro, Mozart unleashes his imagination and impish sense of humor, with off-beat syncopations, unexpected silences, breakneck speed, and sudden juxtapositions of soft and loud dynamics.
 
© 2021 Elizabeth Schwartz
 
Elizabeth Schwartz is a writer and music historian based in the Portland area. She has been a program annotator for more than 20 years, and works with music festivals and ensembles around the country. Ms. Schwartz has also contributed to NPR’s “Performance Today” (now heard on American Public Media).
 
NOTE: These program notes are for Santa Rosa Symphony patrons and other interested readers. Any other use is forbidden without specific permission from the author, who may be contacted at classicalmusicprogramnotes.com.


Video Credits

 

Diversified Stage, Inc.


 

Banner photo by Susan and Neil Silverman Photography

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