MEET THE Conductor: Tania Miller: Romeo & Juliet, February 14 & 15, 2020

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Amica Rush Hour Concert Series: February 14, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. at The VETS, Providence

TACO Classical Concert Series: February 15, 2020 at 8 p.m. at The VETS, Providence

Background:  Canadian Conductor Tania Miller has distinguished herself as a dynamic interpreter, musician and innovator on the podium and off. She was the driving force behind new growth, innovation and quality for the Victoria Symphony, and gained a national reputation as a highly effective advocate and communicator for the arts. As curator, she distinguished herself as a visionary leader and innovator. Acknowledged for the impact and success of her tenure, she was recently bestowed with the title Music Director Emerita of the Victoria Symphony.

Highlights:

  • Recipient of the 2017 Friends of Canadian Music award from the Canadian League of Composers
  • Received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Royal Roads University in recognition of her exemplary work as a leader and for her extraordinary artistic achievements in the community.
  • Recipient of the 2016 Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Foundation for distinguished musical excellence and leadership.
  • Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music bestowed her with an Honorary Diploma in 2015 for her impact on music in Canada.

Critical Praise:

Review of Tania Miller’s last appearance with the RI Philharmonic, November 16, 2019

Review: Tania Miller commands R.I. Philharmonic with Shostakovich

by: Channing Gray, Special to The Journal

PROVIDENCE — Bramwell Tovey, the Rhode Island Philharmonic’s new conductor, had to skip Saturday night’s concert at Veterans Memorial Auditorium to undergo cancer treatment. But the orchestra ended up getting the next best thing: Tania Miller, a young Canadian conductor whose recent visits here have proved her to be an exciting musician and a perfect fit for the Philharmonic.

Her take on Shostakovich’s brooding Tenth Symphony, which closed out an evening of lesser-known selections, never failed to keep the big picture in view. The loneliness, the darkness of the vast opening movement, and the searing portrait of Soviet strongman Josef Stalin in the second were an emotional tsunami.

Shostakovich, who faced constant Soviet censorship, had not written a symphony since the end of World War II. But in 1953, just months after the death of Stalin, he sat down to pen the Tenth.

Miller, who stepped in for Tovey on two weeks’ notice, seemed so petite on the podium, but she took hold of the epic score and led the audience on a journey they won’t soon forget.

But the breaking news of the night was the appearance of pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, an audience favorite at the Newport Music Festival years ago. She brought with her Tchaikovsky’s rambling, episodic Second Piano Concerto, which I’ve never heard live.

Tchaikovsky actually wrote three piano concertos, but the last two have been overshadowed by the popular, and overplayed, B-Flat Minor.

There were some tender moments in the lyrical middle movement, where McDermott teamed up with concertmaster Charles Dimmick, and she brought more than a bit of glitter to the concluding section.

But try as they might, McDermott and Miller just couldn’t pull the opening movement together. It’s music in fits and starts, where every few pages the orchestra would stop and McDermott would plow through unimpressive solos cobbled together from scales and a few alternating chords.

Not inventive, imaginative music, in other words. And McDermott was unable to do much to change that with what amounted to a dutiful interpretation.

As for the obligatory encore, she tore into the Prelude from Bach’s Second English Suite, sounding quite frantic at first, but eventually relaxing and making the intricate music sing.

Miller opened the evening with another unfamiliar offering, the African American composer William Grant Still’s “In Memoriam: The Colored Soldiers Who Died for Democracy.’” The score, chosen as a Veterans Day tribute, is laced with harmonies that sound like spirituals and made a nice change of pace from tired Italian opera overtures.

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

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MEET THE SOLOIST: Johannes Moser, cello: Romeo & Juliet, February 14 & 15, 2020

Johannes Moser Violoncello

Johannes Moser, cello

Performs Saint-Saens’s Concerto for Violincello, No.1

Amica Rush Hour Concert Series: February 14, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. at The VETS, Providence

TACO Classical Concert Series: February 15, 2020 at 8 p.m. at The VETS, Providence

Background: Johannes began studying the cello at the age of eight and became a student of Professor David Geringas in 1997. A voracious reader of everything from Kafka to Collins, and an avid outdoorsman, Johannes is a keen hiker and mountain biker in what little spare time he has.

Highlights:

  • He was the top prize winner at the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition, in addition to being awarded the Special Prize for his interpretation of the Rococo Variations.
  • In 2014 he was awarded with the prestigious Brahms prize.
  • Plays on an Andrea Guarneri Cello from 1694 from a private collection.
  • In the 2019/20 season, performed two world premieres of Cello Concertos by Andrew Norman with the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel and Bernd Richard Deutsch’s with the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich conducted by Yutaka Sado

Critical Praise:

  • “One of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists” – Gramophone Magazine
  • “His tone was big and warm where needed, and he proved himself capable of some Rostropovich-like wild abandon…he was consistently eloquent.” – The Telegraph
  • “Johannes Moser gave a superb recital Friday night…It helps that he has a brilliant ­technique, a darkly rich tone, and a deeply felt musicianship. But Moser adds an expressive face and body language that adds flavor to his visual appeal. He’s fun to watch.” –  The Daily Gazette

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

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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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