Sunday, June 16, 2013
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
Our spectacular season ﬁnale showcases the virtuosity of the entire ESO in French favorites, including a performance of the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun to mark the 150th birthday of Debussy. David Schrader reveals the full power of the organ in both Poulenc’s concerto as well as in Respighi’s portrait of Rome, which also includes mandolins, Roman trumpets, and nine percussion players.
- Fanfare: La Péri
- Danse Macabre
INDIVIDUAL CONCERT TICKETS:
$28 Adult, $23 Seniors
Children 12 and younger are admitted absolutely FREE.
Please call 847.864.8804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for all orders with children’s tickets.
Box Office Sales:
$35 Adult, $30 Seniors
Children 12 and younger are admitted absolutely FREE.
$5.00 Student Tickets, subject to availability, at the box office with ID.
Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Please call 847.864.8804 for further information
Friday, June 14, 2013 at 1:30 PM
North Shore Retirement Hotel
1611 Chicago Ave., Evanston
by David Ellis
FANFARE: LA PÉRI
Paul Dukas (1865–1935)
The entry on Paul Dukas in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians divides his compositions into two categories: Surviving Works and Destroyed/Projected Works. His ruthless standards for craftsmanship meant that only 15 works have survived, the most important of which are the Symphony in C Major, the Piano Sonata in E Flat Minor, the opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleu, the ballet La Péri, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, whose popularity has overshadowed all of his other compositions. La Péri was premiered in Paris in 1912 and was the last of his major compositions. The short fanfare, for a normal complement of brass, was added just before the premiere to precede the 20 minute ballet.
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921)
The catalogue of Saint-Saëns’ works comprises close to 200 listings, a reflection of both his facility at composing and his long life. The Danse Macabre was originally a two minute song for baritone and piano (1872), which was then transformed into a tone poem for orchestra and premiered in 1874. The orchestration includes the violin of the concertmaster being intentionally mistuned to create the dissonance known as “diabolus in musica” (the devil is frequently associated with the fiddle) and a prominent part for the xylophone, representing bones rattling. The very first sound of the piece is the harp chiming 12 times to indicate midnight. The mistuned violin enters and the orchestration expands as the dance intensifies. A short fugato (a miniature fugue) leads to a paraphrase of the medieval Dies Irae chant used to depict the day of wrath. At the peak of the frenzied dance, the cock (the oboe) crows, signifying sunrise and the end of the dance.
CONCERTO FOR ORGAN, STRINGS AND TIMPANI IN G MINOR
Francis Poulenc (1899–1962)
Poulenc was born into a wealthy family, which gave him the ability to compose
full-time without financial worries. He took full advantage of the Parisian social scene and night-life, and his compositions of the 1920’s, full of wit and catchy tunes, reflected this environment. However, in 1936 his closest friend was killed in a car accident, deeply affecting both Poulenc and his music. Poulenc renewed his deep Catholic faith and the Organ Concerto, premiered in Paris in 1938, was his first major work after this change. Poulenc wrote to his friend Jean Francaix: “The concerto …is not the amusing Poulenc of the Concerto for two pianos, but more like a Poulenc en route for the cloister.”
Poulenc studied the organ works of Bach and Buxtehude and was advised by the organist/composer Maurice Durufle while composing the concerto. It is comprised of seven sections (whose tempo markings are shown on the program page) which alternate austere harmonies in the slower sections with tunes reminscent of his earlier “popular” style in the faster parts. The arresting opening from the organ returns at the end to frame the concerto’s 22 minutes.
PRELUDE TO THE AFTERNOON OF A FAUN
Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
Debussy is arguably the greatest of all French composers, and the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is both the earliest of his masterpieces and one of the most influential works in the history of music. It has been described both as the first work of twentieth century music and as the start of musical Impressionism. The Prelude is based upon a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé about a faun (half man, half goat) daydreaming about possibly non-existent nymphs.
A faun is typically depicted playing a panpipe, so Debussy opens with a long
flute melody, one of the most famous solos in the orchestral literature. This theme is without
strong tonality and lacks a definitive feeling of an ending. After several
minutes, the woodwind section plus horn in unison introduce a contrasting theme
in the style of Debussy’s more overtly romantic works, such as Clair de Lune. The climax of the piece is reached with the restatement of this romantic theme by the strings, after which
the flute melody is recapitulated leading to an evanescent conclusion.
Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936)
Respighi is that rarity, an Italian composer better known for his orchestral works than for his operas. His renown is primarily based on his trilogy of symphonic poems depicting and glorifying Rome: The Fountains of Rome (1917), The Pines of Rome (1924), and Roman Festivals (premiered 1929 in New York City under Arturo Toscanini).
Roman Festivals is the largest of the trilogy, both in length and in the size of its orchestra, which includes an organ, three buccine (ancient trumpets), mandolin, piano (4 hands) and a percussion battery requiring ten players. Like the other two symphonic poems, it is in four sections; Respighi provided these (paraphrased) interpretations:
Circus Games. It is the people’s holiday at the Circus Maximus, where under a threatening sky Christians martyrs are fed to wild beasts.
The Jubilee. Pilgrims trail down a long road praying, until they see Rome. A hymn of praise bursts forth and the churches ring out their reply.
Harvest Festival in October. Echoes of the hunt, tinkling bells, songs of love. Then in the tender twilight the mandolin plays a romantic serenade.
Epiphany. The night before Epiphany in Rome’s Piazza Navona: a characteristic rhythm of trumpets dominates the frantic clamor. Above the swelling noise float the strains of a barrel-organ, saltarellos, and the trombone depicts a drunken reveler.