Showcase Sep-Nov 2014 - page 74

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MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA SHOWCASE
their ability to sustain a long, lyric line.
In these concerts, however, we hear four rather than two
bassoon soloists: Principal Bassoon John Miller, Jr., takes
the first bassoon part throughout, while his three section
colleagues alternate on the second part, each playing one
movement.
The work takes the form of the early classical concerto.
The
Allegro
opens with a graceful orchestral exposition
before the soloists enter, and the movement features a
variety of themes, though these do not interact with the
rigor of the themes of Mozart’s piano concertos, written at
exactly the same time. The central
Romanza
emphasizes
the lyric side of the bassoon, while the concluding
Rondo
demands very athletic playing from the bassoonists as the
concerto makes its way to a surprisingly subdued close.
Dietter offers his soloists the opportunity for a cadenza in
all three movements. In these concerts, the soloists play
cadenzas by Nicholas McGegan.
Instrumentation:
2 solo bassoons with orchestra
comprising 2 oboes, 2 horns and strings
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Born:
May 7, 1840, Votkinsk
Died:
November 6, 1893, St. Petersburg
Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64
hen Tchaikovsky composed his Fourth
Symphony in 1877, he offered his patroness
Madame von Meck a rather detailed program
in which he described it as a symphony about Fate: the
ringing brass call that opens the symphony and returns
at the climax of the finale is the sound of “Fate, the
inexorable power that…hangs over our heads like the
sword of Damocles, leaving us no option but to submit.”
The Fourth Symphony came from a moment of supreme
personal tension for Tchaikovsky—his disastrous and
short-lived marriage—and in the process of completing
it he collapsed. He suffered a nervous breakdown from
which he recovered slowly, and this was followed by a
creative dry spell that lasted nearly a decade.
Christian Ludwig Dietter
Born:
June 13, 1757, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Died:
May 15, 1822, Stuttgart
Concerto Concertante for Two Bassoons
and Orchestra
hristian Ludwig Dietter, whose name seems almost
to have vanished, led an interesting life: he was,
along with Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the few
composers to have been incarcerated.
A contemporary of Mozart and Beethoven, Dietter showed
considerable artistic talent as a boy, as both a painter and
a musician, but he entered a military academy and found
himself obligated to serve the Duke of Wurttemberg for
life. He received a very good liberal education and good
instruction in music. At court he learned to play the violin,
viola, flute and bassoon, and he studied composition; his
first opera was successfully produced when he was 22.
But the young man, anxious to experience a wider
world, fled the court the following year. The Duke did
not take disloyalty lightly—he had Dietter tracked down
and jailed. After a period of manual labor, the prisoner
made clear his contrition in an essay, “Instructions in
Avoiding and Correcting Errors,” and he was released
from confinement in July 1780. Apparently back in the
Duke’s good graces, Dietter soon became first violinist in
the court orchestra and spent the rest of his life there as a
musician. His existence was not easy: Dietter and his wife
had 11 children, and because his pay was so low, he spent
much of his life in poverty. He retired in 1817 at age 60
and died five years later.
As a court musician, Dietter wrote in all genres, including
liturgical music, but he attained his greatest fame as a
composer for the stage, and his
Singspiele
—a type of
German light opera with spoken dialogue—were quite
popular in Stuttgart. Dietter also composed symphonies
and concertos for horn, violin, flute and bassoon. His
Concerto Concertante for Two Bassoons, one of two he
wrote for this unusual combination, is believed to date
from the 1780s, as the composer approached his 30th
birthday, and it proved popular enough to be published in
the early 1790s.
lyrical and lively
The Concerto Concertante is good-spirited music written
to give a rare solo opportunity to two bassoonists. They
are treated as equals: they often play as a duo, and the
melodic line flows smoothly between them. This concerto
was doubtless written for the Duke’s orchestra, and that
ensemble must have had two good bassoonists. Dietter
asks his soloists to demonstrate their agility as well as
c
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Program Notes
nov
21, 22, 23
1...,64,65,66,67,68,69,70,71,72,73 75,76,77,78,79,80,81,82,83,84,...92
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