Showcase March-April 2014 - page 40

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MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA SHOWCASE
Program Notes
apr 15
Lalo labored for years before he found public acclaim.
His earliest compositions were written in the 1840s. Lack
of recognition drove him to playing viola for nearly ten
years in the Armingaud-Jacquard Quartet. In 1865 he
married the beautiful contralto Julie Bernier de Maligny,
who inspired him to take up composition again. A
Divertissement
brought Lalo some attention, but it was
the two works written for and premiered by the great
Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate that won the composer
fame in his lifetime: the Violin Concerto, Opus 20, and
immediately following that the
Symphonie espagnole
,
Opus 21.
allegro non troppo.
The first movement is laid out in
traditional sonata formwith two principal themes: the first
in D minor, lusty and vigorous, with an appendage set
to a gently rocking rhythmic pattern reminiscent of the
malagueña
; the second in B-flat major, rather sentimental
and sweetly lyrical (
dolce espressivo
). Both themes are
developed briefly before returning in the recapitulation.
Frequent and rapid shifts for the solo violinist, from high to
low range and back again, are heard in this movement and
continue throughout the work.
scherzando: allegro molto.
Of this movement’s three sections,
the outer ones are based on the
seguidilla
rhythm and
employ a seductive theme; the central section is more
restrained and genial.
intermezzo: allegro non troppo.
A 30-bar orchestral passage
opens the movement; then the soloist dominates. The
rhythm is again of Spanish-Moorish origin and features a
three-two rhythmic pattern.
andante; rondo.
After a sonorous, dark-hued passage,
the soloist weaves a long melody to which have been
ascribed varied influences—Spanish, Scandinavian and
Hungarian. Peace and serenity then dissolve into the
Rondo,
a finale full of gaiety, bustle, the sound of tolling
bells and a return of the
malagueña
rhythm first heard
back in the opening movement. Brilliant virtuosic writing
replete with high trills, staccato arpeggios, flying leaps
from register to register and rollercoaster scales carry the
Symphonie espagnole
to its exciting conclusion.
Instrumentation:
solo violin with orchestra comprising 2 flutes, piccolo,
2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets,
3 trombones, timpani, triangle, snare drum, harp and strings
hat is the most popular piece of classical music
in the world? Well, that depends on the criteria
you use. If those criteria are the number of
arrangements, or the number of recordings that
exist, then Mussorgsky’s
Pictures at an Exhibition
may
well be No. 1.
Many concertgoers know only Ravel’s 1923 orchestration
of the original piano score, which Mussorgsky completed
in 1874. But Ravel’s was neither the first nor the last. At
least 30 others exist for full orchestra, beginning as early
as 1891 with one by Mikhail Tushmalov. Among the
many who have put their stamp on Mussorgsky’s score
are Walter Goehr, Sir Henry Wood, Lucien Cailliet,
Leopold Stokowski, Paul Kletzki, Vladimir Ashkenazy
and Sergei Gorchakov. But there’s more—much more.
an extraordinary catalogue
A composer and record collector in Bloomington, Indiana,
David DeBoor Canfield, has spent the past 50 years amassing
arrangements and recordings of
Pictures
. For band alone
he has discovered more than two dozen arrangements.
There are arrangements for string orchestra, Russian folk
instrument orchestra, Chinese orchestra, koto ensemble,
woodwind quintet, brass quintet (at least 20 versions), guitar
trio and piano duo—not to mention for a quintet of four
tubas plus euphonium; a bassoon quintet; two oboes, English
horn, heckelphone and bassoon; and 44 pianos. There are
jazz and big band versions, a rock version (Emerson, Lake
and Palmer), electronic (Tomita) and disco versions. If
you include arrangements of partial versions and single
movements in addition to the complete versions above, the
grand total comes to more than 550 arrangements. Canfield
also knows of more than 1,100 recordings, including 300-
plus of Ravel’s orchestration alone.
Modest Mussorgsky
Born:
March 21, 1839, Karevo, Pskov District
Died:
March 28, 1881, St. Petersburg
Pictures at an Exhibition
,
orchestrated by Maurice Ravel
w
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