THE STORY BEHIND: Mozart’s Symphony No.41 (Jupiter)

On January 25, violinist Karen Gomyo will join Bramwell Tovey, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra to perform a special program featuring music composed by Wolfgang A. Mozart.

werk_00a_symphonien_gross_c3692b26_f220THE STORY BEHIND: Mozart’s Symphony No.41 (Jupiter)

Title: Symphony No.41 in C Major, K.551 (Jupiter)

Composer: Wolfgang A. Mozart (1756–1791)

When was the last time the Rhode Island Philharmonic played this piece: November 10, 2001

Orchestration: This piece is scored for on flute, two each of oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, timpani and strings.

The Story: 

During the summer of 1788, life was not going well for Mozart. Despite the successes of The Marriage of Figaro in Vienna (1786) and Don Giovanni in Prague (1787), Mozart’s lack of income had reduced him to begging money from his friend, a textile merchant named Michael von Puchberg. During June and July, he wrote four letters to Puchberg continually asking for loans and making blue-sky promises of repayment as soon as his music started making money again.

Unfortunately, Mozart’s sincerity was much greater than his prospects. Through the summer, he composed diligently. In the remarkably short period of about two months, he composed three symphonies (the last in C major), which would prove to be his “final great trilogy.” These have become a Mozartian mystery. What occasion did he have in mind for performing these sublime works?

p17mozartALAMYDynamic contrast is the rhetoric of the Jupiter symphony’s opening two-motive theme, which Donald Tovey describes as “energetic gestures alternating with gentle pleadings.” The first movement’s second and concluding themes are lighter and more rococo. However, lightness is not long lived, as the latter becomes the theme of the development’s dramatic first half. In the second half, Mozart concentrates on the “energetic” first motive of the movement, leading naturally to a solid recapitulation.

In the Andante cantabile, also a sonata form, Mozart creates a mood by calling for muted strings. The idea of dynamic contrast recurs in this movement through sudden forte chords that punctuate the opening theme. The serenity of the opening soon gives way to a mood of agitation and unrest that dominates much of the remainder of the movement. Only towards the end does the placid opening theme return.

Some lighthearted relief comes in the form of the Menuetto. The main section’s grace and charm are suitably complemented by the dry wit of the trio section.

After Mozart’s death, the C Major Symphony was nicknamed Jupiter. Another sobriquet was “symphony with a fugue-finale.” The finale is not actually a fugue but a sonata form containing fugato (fugue-like) sections built on the five themes of the exposition: (1) the opening four-note theme; (2) the fanfare-like theme that immediately follows it; (3) the rising transition motive leading to (4) the sonata form’s “second theme” in a related key; and (5) a short, spiky countertheme to (4). Mozart’s method in the exposition is to present a fugato passage on a theme soon after it is first introduced. The development section concentrates almost exclusively on theme (2) in both the original form and inverted. The main body of the recapitulation is abbreviated and non-fugal, no doubt to allow for the full impact of the coda, the famous grand fugato that combines all five themes at once. Each is heard in every register—a heady kaleidoscope of “quintuple counterpoint.” This final passage is the crowning glory of this work—and perhaps of all Mozart’s symphonic works.

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

To purchase tickets visit tickets.riphil.org or call 401.248.7000

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THE STORY BEHIND: Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.3

On January 25, violinist Karen Gomyo will join Bramwell Tovey, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra to perform a special program featuring music composed by Wolfgang A. Mozart.

KG_016 (1)THE STORY BEHIND: Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.3

Title: Violin Concerto No.3 in G Major, K.216

Composer: Wolfgang A. Mozart (1756–1791)

When was the last time the Rhode Island Philharmonic played this piece: March 19, 2011

Orchestration: In addition to solo violin, the piece is scored for two each of flutes, oboes, horns, and strings

The Story: 

During the year 1775, Mozart was concertmaster of the Salzburg Prince-Archbishop’s orchestra. This meant that he played violin, led the orchestra, and no doubt was expected to perform occasionally as a soloist. Reflecting his position, the 19-year-old composer’s greatest accomplishments that year were his five concertos for violin and orchestra (K.207, 211, 216, 218, and 219). Oddly, he never again wrote a major work for violin solo.

The last three concerti came as a group between September and December 1775. Since their keys are G major, D major and A major, respectively, it is tempting to theorize that Mozart might have also intended a fourth concerto in E major, cleverly symbolizing the four strings of the violin (G-D-A-E).

The G Major Concerto’s first movement is freshness personified. Mozart offers his captivating themes in a compact orchestral segment before bringing in the soloist. The dramatic working out of the themes is appropriately completed by a segment in the style of an opera recitative.

“. . . Instead of an Andante there is an Adagio that seems to have fallen straight from heaven. . . .” Alfred Einstein’s statement about the second movement speaks for all of us who become breathless at the eloquence and depth of this teenager’s music. Part of the magic of the movement is the result of instrumentation: flutes (instead of the more usual oboes) and muted violins.

The finale is full of peasant-dance merriment and surprises. The central section has unexpected tinges of Gypsy spirit. Soon, completely unrelated, slower music seems again to have “fallen straight from heaven.” These may have been humorous musical quotations in the spirit of jolly Salzburg serenades. The concerto’s surprise ending is for oboes and horns only.

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

To purchase tickets visit tickets.riphil.org or call 401.248.7000

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MEET THE SOLOIST: Karen Gomyo, violin: All Mozart, January 25, 2020

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Karen Gomyo, violin

Performs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.3

January 25, 2020 at 8 p.m. at The VETS, Providence

 

Background:  Born in Tokyo, Ms. Gomyo studied in Montreal and in New York at The Juilliard School with famed violin pedagogue Dorothy DeLay. She currently resides in Berlin.

 

Highlights:

  • In May 2018, performed the world premiere of Samuel Adams’ new Chamber Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; a piece written specifically for Ms. Gomyo
  • Participated as violinist, host, and narrator in a documentary film produced by NHK Japan about Antonio Stradivarius called The Mysteries of the Supreme Violin, which was broadcast worldwide on NHK WORLD.
  • Deeply interested in the Nuevo Tango music of Astor Piazzolla, and collaborates with Piazzolla’s longtime pianist and tango legend Pablo Ziegler.
  • Collaborated with guitarist Ismo Eskelinen on the release of Carnival, a recording of works by Paganini, Corelli, Vivaldi, and Locatelli on BIS Records.
  • Karen plays on the “Aurora” Stradivarius violin of 1703 that was bought for her exclusive use by a private sponsor.

Critical Praise:

  • “A first-rate artist of real musical command, vitality, brilliance and intensity”Chicago Tribune
  • “Her cadenza was especially stunning, with supernaturally clear high harmonics and passionate intensity” – 88.1 KDHX St Louis, MO
  • “Superhuman technical abilities and a dramatic flair that captivates audiences worldwide” – TheatreJones.com, North Texas.

To purchase tickets visit tickets.riphil.org or call 401.248.7000

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THE STORY BEHIND: The Magic Flute: Overture

On January 25, Karen Gomyo will join Bramwell Tovey, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra to perform a special program featuring music composed by Wolfgang A. Mozart.

 

wolfgang-mozart-9417115-2-402THE STORY BEHIND: The Magic Flute: Overture

Title: The Magic Flute: Overture, K.620

Composer: Wolfgang A. Mozart (1756–1791)

When was the last time the Rhode Island Philharmonic played this piece: February 22, 2014

Orchestration: The piece is scored for two each of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, and trumpets, three trombones, timpani and strings.

Special Note: This piece will be performed by a combined orchestra including the Rhode Island Philharmonic and members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra.  This marks the first time students have played on a Saturday Classical Concert with the RI Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Story: 

Scarcely more than two months before the death of Wolfgang A. Mozart, his last opera, The Magic Flute, was produced in a small theater in Vienna. The work was a collaboration between Mozart and his fellow Mason, Emmanuel Schikaneder. At the time, the Freemasons included artists, intellectuals and other “free thinkers.” Gatherings were outlawed in Catholic countries, but there was a limited tolerance around Vienna at the time.

Much has been made of the Masonic content of The Magic Flute, particularly about the ritualistic use of the number three. Mozart makes his “Masonic key” of E-flat (a signature
of three flats) the main key of the opera and of its overture.

The overture opens with a grand, three-fold fanfare. Following that, a mysterious introduction leads quietly into the Allegro. Listen now to the comic theme in the violins. Listen to it come back again and again. Mozart is building a fugue on this brilliant, comic main theme. After a while, Mozart brings back the three-fold fanfare of the opening, but in the rhythms of a Masonic initiation. Then he plunges his comic fugue theme into a “journey” that finally leads back to the home key, a re-affirmation of the main theme,
and an ending on three big unison notes.

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

To purchase tickets visit tickets.riphil.org or call 401.248.7000

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MEET THE SOLOIST: Gregory Dahl, bass: Handel’s Messiah, This Saturday

Gregory Dahl, bass

Performs Handel’s Messiah

This Saturday! 7 p.m. at The VETS, Providence

Bass DAHL Hi Res

Background:  From Winnepeg, Manitoba. Taught choral music in Winnepeg before becoming a full-time performer.

Recent Highlights:

    • Debut in the title role of Der Fliegende Holländer in a new production for Opéra de Québec.
    • Appeared as Hermogines in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s second opera Hadrian with the Canadian Opera Company.
    • Reprised the title role in Rigoletto for Calgary Opera

Critical Praise:

  • “Dahl, who plays the malicious fool and protective father in the first act, is profoundly moving in the two following acts. With his compelling acting he renders Rigoletto into a touching and deeply human character” — Rigoletto, Opéra de Québec from Opera News Magazine
  • “Canadian Baritone Gregory Dahl was impeccable in the role of the underhand Scarpia. Manipulator at will, master of intrigues, he completely dominated the scene.”— Tosca, Opéra de Montréal from Le Journal de Montreal
  • “Dahl stormed the stage like a powder-keg ready to blow, barely containing his fury during Act II’s explosive E sogno? O realta.” — Falstaff, Manitoba Opera from Winnipegfreepress.com

MEET THE SOLOIST: Marion Newman, mezzo soprano: Handel’s Messiah, Dec. 14

Marion Newman, mezzo soprano

Performs Handel’s Messiah

7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at The VETS, Providence

Annotation 2019-11-12 103801

 

Background:  Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations, English, Irish and Scottish mezzo-soprano Marion Newman holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Victoria and a Master of Music with Distinction in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Professional Accomplishments:

  • Lead role of Noodin-Kwe in the world premiere run of Giiwedin, a First Nations opera by Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan
  • Featured five times as a soloist on CBC’s television broadcast of the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards
  • Opened the 2002 Royal Golden Jubilee Gala at Roy Thomson Hall, where she performed the National Anthem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Made her orchestral debut at the age of sixteen with the Victoria Symphony, not as a singer, but as a pianist, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 488 in A Major.

Career Highlights:

  • Starred in I Call Myself Princess: The Story of Tsianina Redfeather, a new musical play by Jani Lauzon.
  • Debuted with Edmonton Opera as the Mother in Hansel and Gretel
  • Appeared in world premiere of Bramwell Tovey’s cong cycle Ancestral Voices with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
  • Starred as Da Ji in Dora Award-winning Alice Ping-Yee Ho and Marjorie Chan’s The Lesson of Da Ji with Toronto Masque Theatre

Critical Praise:

  • “In the title role, Marion Newman sings with rich, opulent tone, and her delivery pulses with the multiple meanings of her duplicitous existence.” – Opera News​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • “Newman continues to impress with both acting and vocal skills. Her beautiful voice has heft and power, but at the same time an innate sweetness. She modulates it extremely well.” – Opera Canada
  • “Newman possesses an extremely sensual quality to her portions, and showed masterful restraint where a lesser performer would have warped the vocal melody beyond recognition with pointless melismatic pomposity. She seemed to wrench the piece out of time altogether at some points, in some instances (as in the opening of the Passion) driving the words home so that they don’t even seem to be the rather ignorable prose that they really are.” – Northumberland View review of Handel’s Messiah

MEET THE SOLOIST: Isaiah Bell, tenor: Handel’s Messiah, Dec. 14

Isaiah Bell, tenor

Performs Handel’s Messiah

7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at The VETS, Providence

BELL-PHOTO

 

Background: Born in the northern town of Fort St. John, British Columbia.  Studied voice at the University of Victoria .

Professional Accomplishments:

  • A writer and composer of 4 operas and other original pieces, most notably for his critically acclaimed original solo show, The Book of My Shames.
  • Played the central role of Marlow in the American premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness at Opera Parallèle, a performance described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “sung with exquisite lyricism and an air of heroism”
  • Created the role of Antinous, lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian, in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company

2019-2020 Season Highlights:

  • Directed Handel’s Acis and Galatea the opening production this season for the University of Toronto’s Early Music program.
  • Debuted at Vancouver Opera as Almaviva in The Barber of Seville,
  • Performed at Carnegie Hall for Paul Moravec’s new Ellis Island oratorio, A Nation of Others.
  • Appears with Opera Atelier (Handel’s The Resurrection), the Toronto Symphony (Messiah), and the Bethlehem Bach Festival.

Critical Praise:

  • “As Hadrian’s lover, Antinous, the impressive Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell sang with a high, well-rounded, English-style tenor that suited a haughty young male on the brink of manhood.” – Opera News​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • “Isaiah Bell’s clear tenor and youthful physique made him a believable Antinous. His aria also brought spontaneous applause from the audience, one of only two singers so rewarded.” – ludvig van TORONTO
  • “Bell boasts a strong, glorious voice with heroic, oratorio-style ring. Soaring easily into light sweetness at the start of the duet, he subsequently demonstrated that he can produce multiple colors lower in the range and darken his instrument to proclaim with authority when necessary…Bell’s sound is so classic English, and so fresh, that one can simply hope that he will sing as wonderfully as he did on Friday for decades to come.”- San Francisco Classical Voice