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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February 9, 2020

PROGRAM NOTES

Haydn ~ Dvorak
Thomas Lanschoot, cello

Antonin Dvorak arrived in New York on October 25, 1894 for his second and last stay as the director of the National Conservatory of Music. The Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, op. 104, would be the only work he wrote during this time. The impetus for writing the concerto seems to have come from March 1894, when Dvorak heard the 2nd Cello Concerto by Irish-American composer and conductor Victor Herbert. Dvorak praised Herbert’s work highly and with a bit of nudging by the Czech cellist Hans Wihan, he got to work writing his own.  Wihan was constantly interfering, offering his ideas on how the work should proceed. Dvorak’s biographer Paul Stefan wrote:  “The solo cello part is beautifully written, demanding a brilliant technique. This is entirely due to Dvorak’s artistry, not, as was believed, to any collaboration on the part of Wihan, who was only permitted to make five slight alterations in the first movement. Dvorak would not tolerate any further changes and went so far as to make it a condition with the publisher, Simrock, that the solo part must appear in print as he had written it without Wihan’s cadenzas…Dvorak often declared, paradoxically, that he did not consider the cello a solo instrument, and that he had actually written this concerto only because Wihan asked for it.”

Brahms thought highly of the concerto. Upon reading the score, the Viennese master was heard to grumble “Why on earth didn’t I know that one could write a violoncello concerto like this? If I had only known, I would have written one long ago.” The concerto was first performed in London on March 19, 1896 with the composer conducting. The soloist however was not Wihan, to whom Dvorak wrote the dedication, but Leo Stern.

In 1761 Franz Joseph Haydn was appointed to the position of Kapellmeister by the Esterházy family and would spend his adulthood at Eisenstadt (in present day eastern Austria). When his employer, Prince Nicolaus died in 1790, Haydn was suddenly freed from his daily obligations. The German-born, London-based impresario, learning of the famous composer’s situation, immediately went to visit him in Vienna. According to Haydn, Salomon said, “I am Salomon of London and have come to fetch you. Tomorrow we will arrange an accord.” So began the first of Haydn’s two trips to London, where he arrived on New Year’s Day 1791. He stayed for two concert seasons. The second trip began on January 19, 1794. For each of his visits, Salomon requested six new symphonies, which collectively have become known as the twelve “London Symphonies”, and were received with great enthusiasm. He wrote a great deal of other music for the two trips, some 250 works in total and was making more money than he ever had before.

The first symphony of his second trip, now known as the 99th, was first performed on February 10, 1794 and it was the first of Haydn’s symphonies to use clarinets. Cast in the traditional four-movement form, the new work was performed with the composer conducting from the pianoforte. The new symphony impressed audiences, musicians and critics alike. After a repeat performance on February 17th, the London newspaper The Morning Chronicle wrote:

“…the richest part of the banquet, as usual, was due to the wonderful Haydn. His new quartetto gave pleasure by its variety, gaiety, and the fascination of its melody and harmony through all its movements: and the [symphony], being performed with increasing accuracy and effect, was received with increasing rapture. The first movement was encored: the effect of the wind instruments in the second movement was enchanting; the oboe and flute were finely in tune, but the bassoon was in every respect more perfect and delightful than we ever remember to have heard a wind instrument before. In the minuets, the trio was peculiarly charming; but indeed the pleasure the whole gave was continual; and the genius of Haydn astonishingly inexhaustible, and sublime, was the general theme.”

~ Marty Haub

 

 

 

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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