MEET THE SOLOISTS: Charles Dimmick, violin & Melanie Dyball, cello. Beethoven at 250, November 21, 2020

Charles Dimmick, violin and Melanie Dyball, cello

Perform Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B-flat major (Archduke)

November 21, 2020 at 5PM & 8PM

Charles Dimmick
Charles Dimmick enjoys a varied and distinguished career as concertmaster, soloist, and chamber musician. As one of New England’s most sought after orchestral musicians, he is concertmaster of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Portland Symphony, the New Hampshire Music Festival, and co-concertmaster of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. A frequent soloist throughout New England and beyond, Charles has garnered praise, packed houses, and received standing ovations for what the Portland Press Herald has called his “luxurious and stellar performances” and his “technical and artistic virtuosity.” Recent solo engagements have included performances with the Memphis Symphony, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Portland Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Arizona Musicfest, Chamber Orchestra of Boston, and the Boston Civic Symphony. A resident of Melrose, MA, he is currently living out the pandemic in Lisbon, NH with his wife, RIPO flutist Rachel Braude, and their daughter Chloe. Charles performs on a 1784 Joseph & Antonio Gagliano violin.  

Melanie Dyball

Melanie Dyball was born in Australia and began playing the cello when she was five. She has recorded numerous recital programs for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and was a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a position she won at age 22. She has also performed as Assistant Principal with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

Melanie came to the United States initially to undertake more advanced cello studies with Dr Tanya Carey, with whom she also completed her Suzuki Teacher Training, and then with Laurence Lesser at New England Conservatory, where she gained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees on full scholarship.

A passionate chamber musician, Melanie is a founding member of several chamber ensembles, including Genese Musicale and Symphonéo. She has participated in several Summer festivals, such as Meadowmont and Kent/ Blossom chamber music festival.
Currently, Melanie is Assistant Principal cellist with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, and is a member of the Boston Ballet Orchestra and the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra. She has performed with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for over ten years.

In addition to her performing duties, Melanie is a dedicated teacher and maintains a teaching studio in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.


You’ve Seen the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in THEIR home. Now see it in YOURS! Subscribe to the First Half of our Virtual Season for $199 – that’s less than $20 per concert! Enjoy 7 virtual livestreamed concerts between November 21 and February 20, plus access to our archived Opening Night, Gala Celebration, and Bach Brandenburg concerts. Call 401-248-7000 or click HERE to subscribe today!

THE STORY BEHIND: Beethoven’s “Archduke” Piano Trio

On November 21, pianist Angela Cheng will join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for their fourth virtual concert of the 2020/2021 Season.

THE STORY BEHIND: Beethoven’s Archduke Piano Trio

Title: Piano Trio, op.97, B-flat major (Archduke)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Last time performed by the Rhode Island Philharmonic: This is a RI Philharmonic Premiere

Orchestration: This piece is scored for one each of piano, violin and cello

The Story: 

“In the case of how many compositions is the word ‘new’ misapplied! But never in Beethoven’s, and least of all in this, which again is full of originality.” Thus, piano virtuoso and composer Ignaz Moscheles wrote in his diary of the premiere of a new piano trio by Beethoven, performed on April 11, 1814 with the composer himself at the piano. This performance of the Archduke Trio and one a few weeks later would be Beethoven’s last public appearances as a pianist. A performance by the completely deaf master may be imagined but is described in pathetic terms by Louis Spohr, who heard a rehearsal of the trio and wrote:

It was not a treat, for, in the first place, the piano was badly out of tune, which Beethoven minded little, since he did not hear it; and secondly, on account of his deafness there was scarcely anything left of the virtuosity of the artist which had formerly been so greatly admired. In forte passages the poor deaf man pounded on the keys till the strings jangled, and in piano he played so softly that whole groups of tones were omitted, so that the music was unintelligible unless one could look into the pianoforte part. I was deeply saddened at so hard a fate. If it is a great misfortune for anyone to be deaf, how shall a musician endure it without giving way to despair? Beethoven’s continual melancholy was no longer a riddle to me.

The Archduke Trio, one of Beethoven’s grandest chamber music triumphs, did not burst suddenly from his brain. It was sketched as early as 1810 and then was completed in the three weeks between March 3 and 26, 1811. Around that time there was a general slowing of Beethoven’s activity, and the premiere described above did not take place for another three years. Beethoven’s music was usually published soon after its creation, yet for unexplained reasons this work was not put into print until 1816. Its dedication to Archduke Rudolf of Austria, Beethoven’s long-time student and patron, prompted the work’s nickname.

Sir Donald Francis Tovey compared the opening of the Archduke Trio to that of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (“If music be the food of love, play on . . .”), maintaining that “it is not often that a drama can afford to begin with a lyric, and for the same reason it is not often that a movement full of active development can afford to begin with a square tune.” The “active” development that Tovey alludes to is one of unique logic and original textures embedded in a mood of spaciousness and nobility.

The Scherzo brings us down to earth with its reticent piano part and multi‑purpose main theme. The trio section is based on two themes, one a mysterious fugato and the other a rustic dance.

In the Andante, one of those sublime hymns of Beethoven’s is put through a series of variations with quicker and quicker note values, only to end as slowly and simply as it began.

There is no break between third and fourth movements. The final rondo is energetic and jocular, bordering at times on the frivolous or “uncouth,” but serving to end the work — as he often did his improvisations — “with a loud chord and a louder laugh.”

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


You’ve Seen the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in THEIR home. Now see it in YOURS! Subscribe to the First Half of our Virtual Season for $199 – that’s less than $20 per concert! Enjoy 7 virtual livestreamed concerts between November 21 and February 20, plus access to our archived Opening Night, Gala Celebration, and Bach Brandenburg concerts. Call 401-248-7000 or click HERE to subscribe today!

THE STORY BEHIND: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.31

On November 21, pianist Angela Cheng will join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for their fourth virtual concert of the 2020/2021 Season.

THE STORY BEHIND: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.31

Title: Piano Sonata No.31, op.110, A-flat major

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Last time performed by the Rhode Island Philharmonic: This is a RI Philharmonic Premiere

Orchestration: This piece is scored for solo piano

The Story: 

Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820

When Ludwig van Beethoven entered his last phase of artistic development, he transcended the already-phenomenal advances in musical harmony, rhythm, expression, and form he had created during his “middle” period. From 1820 to 1822, Beethoven composed his last three piano sonatas, Opp. 109, 110, and 111. These were nearly the only works completed during those years, the Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis being still on the drawing board. After finishing the final trilogy of sonatas, Beethoven then made the astounding statement to his publisher that “The pianoforte is, after all, an unsatisfactory instrument.” “Unsatisfactory,” because it could not realize all the composer’s transcendental ideas, “to capture the uncapturable, to name the unnameable,” in the words of pianist Claudio Arrau.

Yet, every one of these masterpieces does transcend the medium of the piano sonata as Beethoven and others had established it by 1820.

Beethoven completed the A-flat Sonata in 1821. Yet the moderate tempo and profound lyrical style of the first movement harkens back to such earlier piano sonatas as the “Moonlight” (Op. 21, no. 2; 1801). The present A-flat Sonata does have multiple themes and a development section (though only 16 measures long). Yet the movement’s message is not so much tied to the intellectual sonata form as it is to the emotional fantasia.

The contrasting middle movement carries the tempo and character a scherzo, yet it is in duple meter (unlike the more expected triple meter of a Beethoven scherzo). Wide contrasts of loud and soft inform the outer sections, while the central section is completely smooth in an almost constant flow of right-hand notes. At the completion of the third (recap of the first) section, Beethoven bids the movement farewell in a “Coda” of isolated chords, loud at first, then diminishing to a soft finish with a soft, held chord over a brief reminiscence of the central section.

In place of a slow movement, Beethoven gives us a lengthy Adagio introduction to the final movement. In it, varied, quasi-improvisatory ideas lead to an arioso which at last nourishes our lyrical appetite. Immediately, Beethoven launches into a fugue (a procedure/form notable in his final period). This Allegro develops masterfully, only to be interrupted by a long reminiscence of the Arioso. This leads, inevitably, to another fugue. This time the original fugue theme is turned upside down. Also new are the varied and virtuosic accompaniments to the theme. Excitement builds as the accompaniments take on aspects of the fugue theme until, in the words of pianist-historian Stewart Gordon, “its subject [theme] enters anew in an ecstatic lyrical statement and continues to expand, reaching a glorious climax at the final cadence of the work.”

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


You’ve Seen the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in THEIR home. Now see it in YOURS! Subscribe to the First Half of our Virtual Season for $199 – that’s less than $20 per concert! Enjoy 7 virtual livestreamed concerts between November 21 and February 20, plus access to our archived Opening Night, Gala Celebration, and Bach Brandenburg concerts. Call 401-248-7000 or click HERE to subscribe today!

MEET THE SOLOIST: Angela Cheng, piano Beethoven at 250, November 21, 2020

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Angela Cheng, piano

Performs Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.31 and Piano Trio in B-flat major (Archduke)

November 21, 2020 at 5PM & 8PM

Background: Consistently praised for her briliant technique, tonal beauty and superb musicianship, Canadian pianist Angela Cheng is one of her country’s national treasures. In addition to regular guest appearances with virtually every orchestra in Canada, she has performed with the symphonies of Saint Louis, Houston, Indianapolis, Colorado, Utah, San Diego and Jacksonville, as well as the philharmonic orchestras of Buffalo, Louisiana, London, Israel and Minas Gerais/Brazil.

Highlights:

  • Was Gold Medalist of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition, as well as the first Canadian to win the prestigious Montreal International Piano Competition.
  • Collaborations with violinist Pinchas Zukerman began in 2009, when, at his invitation, Angela toured both Europe and China as Mr. Zukerman’s collaborative pianist and a member of the Zukerman Chamber Players. As a member of the Zukerman Trio, along with Amanda Forsyth, she made her debuts at the Verbier, Edinburgh, Miyazaki, St. Petersburg/Stars of the White Nights, and Enescu/Romania Festivals.
  • Her debut recording of two Mozart concerti with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra received glowing reviews. Other CDs include Clara Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor with JoAnn Falletta and the Women’s Philharmonic for Koch International, among others. Most recently, an all-Chopin recital CD was released by Universal Music Canada.

Critical Praise:

    • “Angela Cheng is quite simply one of the best Mozart concerto players around: her sound is invariably transparent and marked by delicacy of feeling. That it always carries, even in a large hall like the Orpheum, is a bit of inexplicable magic.” Vancouver Sun
    • “Canadian Angela Cheng, as the solo pianist, shaped her part with sensitive fingers, playing lyrically and with musical imagination. Rather than treating the concerto as a vehicle for self-projection, Cheng appeared to actually live its music.” Montreal Gazette
    • “I have seldom seen a soloist so well prepared, so integrated into a concerto as Cheng… Moreover, she made the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 look easy, as she effortlessly and accurately played chordal passages at high speed… [She] gave great definition to the work, shaping each phrase, lending it color, taking their time with the cadences.” The Telegram

Angela-cheng-2018


You’ve Seen the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in THEIR home. Now see it in YOURS! Subscribe to the First Half of our Virtual Season for $199 – that’s less than $20 per concert! Enjoy 7 virtual livestreamed concerts between November 21 and February 20, plus access to our archived Opening Night, Gala Celebration, and Bach Brandenburg concerts. Call 401-248-7000 or click HERE to subscribe today!

THE STORY BEHIND: Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings

On November 14, cellist Oliver Herbert and conductor Kensho Watanabe will join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for their third virtual concert of the 2020/2021 Season.

THE STORY BEHIND: Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings

Title: Serenade for Strings, op.22, B.52, E major

Composer: Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)

Last time performed by the Rhode Island Philharmonic: This is a RI Philharmonic Orchestra premiere

Orchestration: This piece is scored for strings

The Story: 

Dvořák - Composers - Classic FM

The time around 1875 was both fortuitous and productive for Antonin Dvořák. The Austrian government had just awarded him a generous yearly allowance, and he was rapidly completing several compositions. In March 1875, he finished his String Quintet in G, and, not satisfied with this exploration, he set to work May 3 on a second string work, the Serenade in E Major for String Orchestra. Dvořák worked rapidly, and the Serenade was completed on May 14. It was to have been performed in Vienna that same year, but the presentation was cancelled, and the work premiered in Prague in December 1876. Although Dvořák had already written symphonies, the Serenade became his first work widely known to concert audiences.

The first of the five movements is in the character of a fanfare. During the Waltz that follows, there is a particularly striking theme in the Trio section. A duple-meter Scherzo with Trio follows. The Larghetto fourth movement is considered the center of gravity for the Serenade. Its captivating melody bears some similarity to that of the Scherzo’s Trio, and the composer treats them both as follow-the-leader canons. The Finale begins dramatically in F- sharp minor, and after some preparations, moves to the area of the home key. This is a long movement, and where we might expect to find a development section, the composer gives us instead a reprise of the Larghetto theme. After the Finale’s themes reprise, Dvořák rounds out his Serenade with a reminiscence of the opening fanfare theme leading to the final coda.

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


You’ve Seen the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in THEIR home. Now see it in YOURS! Subscribe to the First Half of our Virtual Season for $199 – that’s less than $20 per concert! Enjoy 8 virtual livestreamed concerts between November 14 and February 20, plus access to our archived Opening Night and Gala Celebration concerts. Call 401-248-7000 or click HERE to subscribe today!

What To Expect When Attending

Limited in-person attendance will begin with our 11/14 concert. Below is what you can currently expect at The VETS when attending a concert.

RI Philharmonic Orchestra Executive Director David Beauchesne and The VETS General Manager Dan Schwartz discuss increased safety measures and cleaning protocols at The VETS.


RI Philharmonic Orchestra Executive Director David Beauchesne and The VETS General Manager Dan Schwartz talk about what patrons can expect when attending a concert at The VETS.


RI Philharmonic Orchestra Executive Director David Beauchesne and The VETS General Manager Dan Schwartz discuss the changes that the RI Philharmonic has had to make to allow musicians to safely perform at The VETS.

THE STORY BEHIND: Bach’s Cello Suite No.2

On November 14, cellist Oliver Herbert and conductor Kensho Watanabe will join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for their third virtual concert of the 2020/2021 Season.

THE STORY BEHIND: Bach’s Cello Suite No.2

Title: Cello Suite No.2, BWV 1008, D minor

Composer: Johann S. Bach (1685-1750)

Last time performed by the Rhode Island Philharmonic: This is a RI Philharmonic Orchestra premiere

Orchestration: This piece is scored for solo cello

The Story: 

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J.S. Bach spent the years 1717-1723 in the service of the Duke of Anhalt-Cöthen. This appointment was different from all others in his lifetime, since it involved no sacred music whatever. Bach’s job was strictly music director to the court: leading the orchestra, playing the harpsichord, and taking charge of the chamber music. The Cöthen period therefore became his richest in the production of music of these types. Nearly unique in the literature are his collections of music for unaccompanied string instruments. For violin, he composed three sonatas and three partitas, and for cello, he composed a set of six suites.

Each of the Unaccompanied Cello Suites is a classic example of the Baroque dance suite form: a Prélude followed by an Allemande, Courante, and Sarabande. (Well before Bach’s time, the Allemande, Courante, and Sarabande had become so stylized as to be no longer real dances. They were “types,” differentiated by rhythm, tempo, and personality.) Then come a pair of “optional” dances — optional only because they are not of the same type from suite to suite. Then, each suite concludes with the traditional Gigue movement.

The Prelude to the Second Suite, is rather like a long “aria” for cello. It concentrates on one flowing idea after another, developing shorter ones into a long fabric of meditation.
Less “serious” than the prelude, the Allemande also flows, yet periodically, the emphasis is on one rhythm or another. “Courante” means running or flowing, and Bach’s rather fast Courante movement certainly “runs” its course with great agility. By contrast, the slow movement of the suite is the Sarabande. It is truly aria-like, demonstrating Bach’s profound talent for vocal lyricism adapted to instrumental contexts.

A pair of “optional” dances follow: Minuets I and II. Here the first dance impulse contrasts with the preceding lyricism. In the first, the melody is often punctuated by chords or chord fragments. Minuet II is dominated by almost continuous flow and attractive melody before an abbreviated restatement of Minuet I. The quick-moving conclusion of the suite is a Gigue. Here the dance impulse is felt most clearly. Also, most of the time Bach steers away from the suite’s nominal D minor key and toward more cheerful passages in the major mode, rounding off the Second Suite in a bright mood.

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


You’ve Seen the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in THEIR home. Now see it in YOURS! Subscribe to the First Half of our Virtual Season for $199 – that’s less than $20 per concert! Enjoy 8 virtual livestreamed concerts between November 14 and February 20, plus access to our archived Opening Night and Gala Celebration concerts. Call 401-248-7000 or click HERE to subscribe today!

THE STORY BEHIND: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3

On November 14, cellist Oliver Herbert and conductor Kensho Watanabe will join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for their third virtual concert of the 2020/2021 Season.

THE STORY BEHIND: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3

Title: Brandenburg Concerto No.3, BWV 1048, G major

Composer: Johann S. Bach (1685-1750)

Last time performed by the Rhode Island Philharmonic: Last performed April 12, 1980 with Alvaro Cassuto conducting

Orchestration: This piece is scored for strings

The Story: 

JS Bach was supposedly “rediscovered” after his music fell out of favour

Bach’s Cöthen period (1717-1723) was the only time in his professional life when he apparently wrote no sacred music. His duties for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen (a Calvinist) dealt strictly with the court orchestra and chamber music. This was the period during which J.S. Bach composed the six Brandenburg Concertos. Their origin was a chance meeting in Berlin between Bach and the Margrave of Brandenburg. That is where Bach was sent in early 1719 to negotiate for a new harpsichord for his patron. As the dedication of the concertos reveals, the Margrave asked Bach to provide some music for the Brandenburg court orchestra. Over the next two years, Bach composed or revised his six great concertos, which he sent to the Margrave in March 1721, probably hoping for some remuneration. However, when the packet containing the scores was rediscovered over 100 years later, Bach’s seal was unbroken. The concertos had never been played at Brandenburg.

At the time Bach finished the Brandenburg Concertos, the solo concerto was barely in its infancy, and he did not include any concertos of that type in this group. Instead, the Brandenburg Concertos are a compendium of the older types of concertos, featuring groups of instruments, which had evolved during the High Baroque. Represented are the chamber concerto (No. 6), the concerto grosso (Nos. 2, 4, and 5), and the orchestral concerto (Nos. 1 and 3).

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 is for strings and basso continuo (harpsichord and bass viol). The strings are divided into three groups — violins, violas, and cellos — with three players to a group. Each group functions as a unit, although a single player is often featured. This is particularly true of the violins, which dominate the work. The first movement is in ritornello form, which alternates statements or fragments of the main theme (played by the entire orchestra) with freer passages featuring one or more groups. There is no formally composed slow movement, but only a two-chord cadence. This suggests an improvised (violin?) cadenza concluding with the written cadence. The final Allegro again blocks out passages featuring one or another major string group. The form is binary, the type of A-A-B-B structure that Bach used for suite movements. Rhythmic perpetual motion predominates, and the spirit of this finale is a perfect illustration of what Harold Schonberg has called Bach’s “bracing athletic vigor.”

Program Notes by Dr. Michael Fink © 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


You’ve Seen the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in THEIR home. Now see it in YOURS! Subscribe to the First Half of our Virtual Season for $199 – that’s less than $20 per concert! Enjoy 8 virtual livestreamed concerts between November 14 and February 20, plus access to our archived Opening Night and Gala Celebration concerts. Call 401-248-7000 or click HERE to subscribe today!