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the_best_buy-300x112 All Concerts are on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center
15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374

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JANUARY 15, 2017

Mozart:               Don Giovanni Overture
Chopin:               Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor  (Erin Hales, piano)
Beethoven:        Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”

Erin Hales, piano  Guest Artist January 15, 2017

A fourth-generation native of Arizona, U.S.A., Erin Hales began her formal pianistic studies at the age of five with Zhu Hong, under whose tutelage she quickly gained local notoriety. Professional study of the instrument began for Hales at seventeen, when she received a full scholarship to join the studio of Stanislav Ioudenitch, 2001 gold medalist of the Van Cliburn competition and founder of the International Center for Music at Park University, Kansas City, U.S.A. She subsequently embarked on postgraduate work with venerable pedagogue William Grant Naboré at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland. Hales also holds the honor of being the first American woman ever accepted to the legendary International Piano Academy Lake Como.

Through extensive research and adoption of antique performance techniques, Hales has earned particular esteem for her renditions of the music of J.S. Bach and the French Baroque keyboard masters. Her distinctive style and commanding presence have garnered her performances across the United States, as well as in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the Russian Federation.

Hales’s debut album, comprising Book I of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, was released worldwide in September 2015 as part of a collaboration between Artalinna and Academy Productions. Widespread critical acclaim of the work led London’s International Piano magazine to include her in a feature of ten noteworthy female pianists under the age of thirty. Her recording of Book II is in preparation. She continues her studies with Naboré as an inaugural Fellow of the Oberlin-Lake Como Academy partnership.

PROGRAM NOTES

Mozart wrote Don Giovanni in 1787 using the text by Lorenzo da Ponte. Coming less than a year after The Marriage of Figaro, the new opera was well-received. Don Giovanni is, of course, the famous lover of story and legend but the story need not concern us here. The overture opens with music of doom, foretelling the tragic fate to eventually befall Don Giovanni. After the dark opening, the music becomes lighter, portraying the capricious character of Don Giovanni and his merry escapades.

In 1829, the nineteen year old Frederic Chopin was beginning to feel the strength of his powers as a pianist and composer. He had returned to Poland from a successful pair of concerts in Vienna which left him in an ebullient mood. But there was another reason as well, as he confessed in a letter to a friend, “I have – perhaps to my misfortune – already found my ideal, whom I worship faithfully and sincerely. Six months have elapsed, and I have not yet exchanged a syllable with her of whom I dream every night. Whilst my thoughts were with her I composed the adagio of my concerto.” This was his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, first performed by the composer himself on March 17, 1830, in Warsaw. The “ideal” of whom Chopin wrote was a twenty-year-old voice student at the Warsaw Conservatory, Constantia Gladowska. Chopin didn’t actually meet her until April 1830, six months after his letter. She eventually went on to marry another man, and by the time the concerto was published in 1836, she was out of Chopin’s thoughts:  the concerto was dedicated to Countess Delphine Potocka, one of the grand ladies of the Paris salons, a charmer of wealth and taste and a singer. The F minor concerto was actually the first concerto Chopin wrote, but bears the number two because it was published after the E minor concerto.

In 1796 Beethoven’s first three piano sonatas were published and that edition contained an advertisement for a “Grand Symphony – A Musical Portrait of Nature” by long-forgotten composer Justin Knecht. There is little doubt that this influenced Beethoven. George Grove speculated that “Beethoven must often have read the suggestive titles on the cover of his own sonatas. If so, they lay dormant in his mind…until 1808.” Then Beethoven turned away from the drama and tension of the Fifth Symphony and wrote his own musical portrait of nature. Following Knecht’s five-movement plan, Beethoven also wrote five movements, and even titled them similarly:

  1. Awakening of serene impressions on arriving in the country.
  2. Scene by the brookside.
  3. Jolly gathering of the country folk.
  4. Thunderstorm; tempest.
  5. Shepherd’s song; gladsome and thankful feeling after the storm.

Interestingly, Beethoven scaled his orchestral forces to suit the mood of each movement. The first is scored only for strings, woodwinds and horns. A piccolo and trombones are used to effectively heighten the fierceness of the storm. The trombones are used only sparingly in the last movement. The timpani is used only in the fourth movement to evoke thunder.

The Pastorale is not the story in music of a journey into the woods; it is rather an expression of the spirit of nature. It isn’t program music like the composer’s own Wellington’s Victory. The symphony paints impressions more than details. Ferdinand Ries, the composer’s friend and biographer wrote that Beethoven laughed at the idea of “musical painting”. Of the Sixth, the composer wrote it is “more an expression of feeling than painting . . . the hearer is left to find out the situation for himself.”

Vincent D’Indy thought the second movement was the “most admirable expression of true nature in musical literature”. It contains imitations of sounds and sights in nature; the rippling of the brook (strings) is the basic movement; there is the muttering of thunder (basses), flashes of lightning (violins); the bassoon of an old peasant sitting on a barrel and able to play but three notes; and the song of the nightingale (flute), quail (oboe), and cuckoo (clarinet).

It was the fourth movement, the storm, that most impressed composer Hector Berlioz.  “Listen to those gusts of wind, laden with rain; those sepulchral groanings of the basses; those shrill whistles of the piccolo, which announce that a fearful tempest is about to burst.  The hurricane approaches . . .then the trombones burst forth; the thunder of the timpani redoubles its fury. It is no longer merely a wind and rain storm: it is a frightful cataclysm…the end of the world.”

The Pastorale was premiered in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808.

Concert Sponsored by:  EdwardJones

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FEBRUARY 12, 2017

Brahms:               Hungarian Dances Nos. 5, 6 & 7
Sarasate:             Zigeunerwiesen  (Jonathan Okseniuk, violin)
Liszt:                     Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Bartok:                Concerto for Orchestra

Jonathan Okseniuk’s love for conducting and classical music began before he could walk.  Playing the violin became a passion when he first saw an orchestra at the age of 19 months old. Jonathan has been taking violin lessons for the past six years, and conducting and piano lessons for the past four years. In May 2012 Jonathan was a guest conductor on the Anderson Cooper talk show, where he conducted the fourth movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik with a string orchestra.  In July of 2013, after winning a conducting video contest, Jonathan had the opportunity to debut with the Houston Symphony conducting Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and was invited to return the following night.  In December 2010 at the age of four, Jonathan made his violin debut performing Dvorak’s Humoresque at the Chandler Symphony Orchestra Holiday concert.  In February of 2011, as an encore to the Moscow’s Chamber Orchestra Kremlin concert, for the first time four year old Jonathan was given the opportunity to conduct a string orchestra.

In March of 2011 Jonathan was given a wonderful opportunity by the Chandler Symphony to conduct a full orchestra for the first time.  For the past two years Jonathan has also had the privilege to conduct and play violin solos with the St. Petersburg String Quartet, the Suprima Orchestra and the St. Petersburg International Music Academy.  In October of 2013 he was invited to be a guest conductor of the Scottsdale Philharmonic and was asked to return as guest conductor in December.  In November of 2014 Jonathan performed Paganini Variations on violin and conducted Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite, Mozart’s Divertimento 138 and Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance at Bargemusic in New York City with the Suprima Orchestra.  In March of 2015 he performed Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, Massenet’s Thais Meditation and conducted Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever with the Sun City Concert Band.

Concert Sponsored by:  Leas

Guest Artist Sponsored by:  Barbara

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MARCH 12, 2017

An Afternoon at the Movies
Great themes from: Star Wars, Superman, E.T., Star Trek, The Magnificent 7, the Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Laura’s Theme, The Pink Panther, Okahoma, The Music Man, and My Fair Lady.

Concert Sponsored by:  LOGO - Schuld Family logo (2)


Click Here to Download 2016-2017 Program PDF File

 

All Concerts are on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center
15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374

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