Monday, March 11, 2013
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
For more than 35 years, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has sustained a career of exceptional musicianship with an unwavering commitment to the future of classical music. Since her international debut at the Lucerne Festival in 1976, followed by a solo appearance with Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Whitsun Concerts, Ms. Mutter has appeared in all the major concert halls of Europe, North and South America and Asia. In addition to performing and recording the established masterpieces of the violin repertoire, Ms. Mutter is an avid champion of 20th- and 21st-century violin repertoire in both orchestral and chamber music settings. Cited by The Chicago Tribune for doing more than “any living violinist to enrich the late 20th-Century violin repertory,” Ms. Mutter has had new works composed for her by Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutoslawski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir André Previn and Wolfgang Rihm. She also devotes her time to numerous charity projects and supports the development of young, exceptionally talented musicians.
The year 2012 with concerts in Asia, Europe and North America – and for the first time in Australia too – also stands for the violinist's musical versatility and her unparalleled distinction in the world of classical music.
At the beginning of the year, Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform Bruch's Violin Concerto as well as Currier's "Time Machines" in Germany and Switzerland, accompanied by the SWR Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart. The conductor: Michael Francis. "Time Machines", which had its world premiere in July 2011 by the artist herself, can be listened to there for the first time live in Europe.
During the course of her European Tour this year, the violinist will perform works by Lutowslawski, Mozart, Saint-Saëns and Schubert with her recital partner of many years' standing, Lambert Orkis.
As a trio with Lambert Orkis and Daniel Müller-Schott, she will play compositions by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky; in a further trio ensemble with André Previn as the pianist and Müller-Schott playing the cello, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Previn will be performed.
In March, Anne-Sophie Mutter will play in Australia for the first time: at four concerts in Sydney, she will play Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy.
A further focus of her programme is her European Tour with the Vienna-Berlin Chamber Orchestra: the programme includes Mozart's Violin Concertos nos. 3 and 5, where the violinist will also assume the musical direction, as well as "Lichtes Spiel" composed by Wolfgang Rihm and conducted by Michael Francis. Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform "Lichtes Spiel" for the first time in several European countries within the course of this tour.
The violinist opens the 2012/2013 concert season - both in Chicago and Washington - with a gala concert and the local symphony orchestras, conducted by Ricardo Muti and Christoph Eschenbach respectively.
Anne-Sophie Mutter will also bring new repertoire to the concert halls in 2012: alongside André Previn she will perform his Second Sonata for Violin and Piano. The world premiere of Previn's "Violin Concerto no. 2 for Violin and String Orchestra with two Harpsichord Interludes" will follow in Trondheim in September – together with the Trondheim soloists. The new work – together with Vivaldi's Four Seasons – will be introduced to the European concert-goers in this formation during the course of the ensuing tour.
The following Asian Tour will bring Anne-Sophie Mutter to China and Taiwan in November, where she will also perform Currier's "Time Machines" as well as Rihm's "Lichtes Spiel" for the first time in addition to Beethoven's, Brahms' and Dvorak's violin concertos.
Anne-Sophie Mutter has also been awarded the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Record Academy prize, the Grand Prix du Disque, the Internationaler Schallplattenpreis as well as several Grammys. On the occasion of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 250th birthday, Anne-Sophie Mutter presented new recordings of all Mozart's important works for the violin. In September 2008, her recording of the Gubaidulina Violin Concerto "In tempus praesens" with the London Symphony Orchestra directed by Valéry Gergiev and of the Bach Violin concertos in A minor and E major with the Trondheim soloists directed by the violinist were published. On the occasion of the Mendelssohn memorial year in 2009, Anne-Sophie Mutter paid tribute to the composer with a highly personal homage, uniting solo concert repertoire and chamber music on CD and DVD: the F major Violin Sonata from 1838, the Piano Trio in D minor completed a year later and the E minor Violin Concerto dating from 1845. Anne-Sophie Mutter's recording of the Brahms violin sonatas with Lambert Orkis was published in March 2010.
On the occasion of the violinist's 35th stage anniversary, Deutsche Grammophon launched a comprehensive boxed set with all the artist's DG recordings, extensive documentation and recordings of rare items hitherto unpublished. Simultaneously, an album dedicated to the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter was released with the world premiere recordings of works by Wolfgang Rihm (Lichtes Spiel and Dyade), Sebastian Currier (Time Machines) and Krzysztof Penderecki (Duo concertante): a further tribute to her high devotion to contemporary music.
In 2008, the artist established the "Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation" whose objective is the further strengthening of the worldwide promotion of top young musical talents: a task the violinist set herself in 1997 with the foundation of the "Freundeskreis der Anne-Sophie Mutter Stiftung e.V." [Friends of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation]. The work on current-day medical and social problems is also important to Anne-Sophie Mutter. She supports these concerns with regular charity concerts. Thus she will, for example, play for the "Stiftung [Foundation] Lichtblick Hasenbergl" for the renovation of the Staatsoper [State opera house] unter den Linden and for the "Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation".
In 2011, Anne-Sophie Mutter was awarded the Brahms prize and the Erich-Fromm prize and the Gustav-Adolf prize for her social involvement. In 2010 the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim awarded her an honorary doctorate; in 2009 she was distinguished with the European St. Ullrichs prize as well as the Cristobal Gabarron award. In 2008, Anne-Sophie Mutter was bestowed the International Ernst von Siemens Music prize and the Leipzig Mendelssohn prize. The violinist has received the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz [Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany], the French Order of the Legion of Honour, the Bavarian Order of Honour, the Großes Österreichisches Ehrenzeichen [Grand Austrian State Decoration of Honour] as well as numerous other awards.
Lambert Orkis, piano Lambert Orkis has received international recognition as chamber musician, interpreter of contemporary music, and performer on period instruments. He has appeared worldwide with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter since 1988 and performed in recital with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich for more than eleven years.
His distinguished career includes appearances with cellists Lynn Harrell, Anner Bylsma, Daniel Müller-Schott, and Han-Na Chang, violinist Julian Rachlin, and violist Steven Dann, and he has performed with the Vertavo, Emerson, American, Mendelssohn, Curtis, and Manchester String Quartets. As soloist he has made appearances with conductors including Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Günther Herbig, Kenneth Slowik, John Mauceri, Robert Kapilow, Leon Fleisher, and others.
A multi-Grammy Award nominee, his wide discography comprises works of the classical, romantic, and modern eras on many labels. With Anne-Sophie Mutter, he has frequently recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, winning a Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music Performance” for the Beethoven piano and violin sonatas, and a 2006 “Choc de l’année” award from the French magazine Le Monde de la Musique for the Mozart piano and violin sonatas audio recording. Audio as well as video discs of Brahms’ sonatas for piano and violin by these musicians were released in 2010. He has also recorded works of Brahms, Schumann, and Chopin/Franchomme with Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma. With violist Steven Dann, he appears on an ATMA Classique disc of works by Brahms, and has released discs on Bridge Records of solo works written for him by George Crumb, Richard Wernick, and James Primosch.
He premiered in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Wernick’s Piano Concerto which was written for him, the National Symphony Orchestra, and as conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich. Subsequently for the recording on Bridge Records, Mr. Orkis is paired with Symphony II of Chicago. The European premiere took place with Mr. Orkis and Het Residentie Orkest of The Hague, The Netherlands. In both instances, the composer conducted.
Solo discs as fortepianist of Schubert works for Virgin Classics have been recorded. As founding member and fortepianist of the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle Trio, he has given many performances including several cycles of Beethoven’s twenty-eight major works for fortepiano and strings, and produced highly regarded recordings of Beethoven and Schubert trios.
His most recent solo releases on the Bridge Records label include, as fortepianist and pianist, three separate performances of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata using instruments based upon Viennese piano building designs which represent three snapshots in time of Viennese keyboard evolution. Another disc features piano music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk performed on an 1865 Chickering concert grand piano from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Lambert Orkis has held the position of Principal Keyboard of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra since 1982, and has performed chamber music with NSO Principal Cellist David Hardy since 1983.
Mr. Orkis’ most recent recording, Beethoven Past & Present, on Dorian Recordings and in collaboration with Mr. Hardy, contains two complete performances of Beethoven’s eight works for piano and cello performed on both modern and period instruments.
In addition to performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, Lambert Orkis is a founding member of the Kennedy Center Chamber Players and has appeared with this ensemble before enthusiastic audiences in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater since 2003 and on an Atlantic Ocean crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2 this past September. Recordings by this ensemble that have been released on the Dorian label include The Beauty of Two [duos for piano with cello (by Grieg and Martinů performed with Mr. Hardy), viola (Hindemith), and flute (Poulenc)], and An Emotional Journey, Clarinet Works of Johannes Brahms (two sonatas performed with Principal Clarinetist Loren Kitt and, joined by Mr. Hardy, the clarinet trio.)
He is Professor of Piano at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, having received the university’s Faculty Award for Creative Achievement.
In acknowledgment of his accomplishments, he was recently honored with Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit.
This is Anne-Sophie Mutter's third appearance on the International Artist Series. She performed with Lambert Orkis in 1991 and 2006.
|Sonata No.27 in G K.379
|Fantasy in C major, D. 934
|Partita for Violin and Piano
|Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Opus 75
Sonata No. 27 in G Major, K. 379
(373a) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. Salzburg, 1756; d. Vienna, 1791)
The six sonatas published in 1781 by Artaria as its first Mozart edition have come to be known as the “Auernhammer” Sonatas, after their dedicatee, Josepha von Auernhammer, one of Mozart’s first students in Vienna. “She is serieusement in love with me,” he wrote to his father. “If a painter should want to portray the devil to the life, he should have recourse to her face!” He admitted, though, that she played “enchantingly.” “These sonatas are unique of their kind,” proclaimed Cramer’s Music Magazine. “The violin accompaniment is so ingeniously combined with the keyboard part that both instruments are constantly kept in equal prominence.”
Mozart also wrote of a concert at the Tonkünstler-Societät, and of “a sonata with violin accompaniment, which I composed last night between 11 and 12,” adding that only the violin part was written out. It’s uncertain which sonata Mozart was referring to, but the G-major is a likely candidate. Its compact, two-movement structure, prominent role for the piano and concluding variations all could be the result of quick work. But still, there are only 60 x 60 seconds in an hour, and… well, do the math.
Piano leads with a luxurious introduction. The writing is unusually sonorous, with elaborate figuration under the violin when it enters. After a dramatic pause, we are plunged into a very different kind of stream: agitated, full of repeated notes and pinging ornaments. The key is G minor, in which Mozart wrote much unquiet music. The quaint theme of the five variations is of the Romanesca type, a stock formula once used for improvisation, of which Pachelbel’s Canon is a famous example. Variation 1 is for piano alone. Variation 4 is in the minor mode. Variation 5 contrasts florid piano lines with the hollow sound of the plucked violin. Tellingly, all the variations begin their second half in the minor, as if the agitated Allegro had cast a long shadow.
Fantasy in C major, D. 934
Franz Schubert (b. Vienna, 1797; d. Vienna, 1828)
The diminutive Schubert has an enduring identity as “Schwammerl,” the Little Mushroom. But within the secret Unsinns-Gesellschaft (Nonsense Society), his code name was “Ritter Juan de la cimbala,” the Don Giovanni of the Keyboard. After hearing the Fantasy in C, we may understand why. For this is a virtuoso piece for both partners, from the exquisite opening tremolando to the violin’s three-octave parting shot.
Schubert had composed three modest violin sonatas in 1816, but Josef Slavík, a Czech virtuoso new to Vienna in 1826, inspired him to create a couple of really dazzling works, the Rondo brillante, D. 895 and the Fantasy in C. Slavík, called by Chopin a “second Paganini,” performed the Fantasy in January 1828, only a month after it was written. The audience was bewildered. “The favorite composer has in this case positively miscomposed,” wrote one critic.
The Fantasy is a single movement in four parts: an ethereal introduction; an abandoned rondo; a serenade with variations; and a rollicking finale. During the A-minor rondo, the listener may not be aware of the great tonal journey taking place—down a half-step to A-flat major, the key of the serenade. Schubert draws on his own 1823 setting of Friedrich Rückert’s poem “Sei mir gegrüßt,” gracing it with three elaborate variations. It wasn’t the first time Schubert had chosen his own material for variations—think of “The Trout” and “Death and the Maiden”—but this set is much more athletic. The form of Rückert’s poem is the Persian ghazal, a love song with refrain. That refrain affords opportunity for great swells and cascades of notes, all saying “I greet you, I kiss you!”
Partita for Violin and Piano
Witold Lutosławski (b. Warsaw, 1913; d. Warsaw, 1994)
Saint Paul, the Ordway and Anne-Sophie Mutter are all wrapped up in the history of the Partita for Violin and Piano. Lutosławski recalls: “I composed Partita in the autumn of 1984 at the request of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for Pinchas Zukerman and Marc Neikrug, who gave the first performance on January 18, 1985, at the newly-opened Ordway Music Theatre.” The composer thought he was to write a piece for violin and orchestra, and set to work. But the SPCO intended a work with piano, and declined the larger format. Lutosławski put those sketches toward another piece, Chain 2, for Anne-Sophie Mutter. Having written no chamber music since the 1964 String Quartet, and no piano music since the 1940s, Lutosławski was forced to reinvent his style, achieving what Charles Bodman Rae has called “one of the most significant works of his career.”
2013 is the Lutosławski centenary, an opportunity to look back on the extraordinary life and work of a Polish composer born on the eve of World War One, whose style changed with the century, but whose personality remained ever powerful and distinct. Rejecting both the twelve-tone system and minimalism, Lutosławski chose to approach composition as a series of unique problems to be solved. And although the music is not tonal in a traditional sense, Lutosławski writes with clear goals in mind. Each movement has its own climax, and the biggest is reserved for last.
“The work consists of five movements,” writes Lutosławski. “Of these, the main movements are the first (Allegro giusto), the third (Largo) and the fifth (Presto). The second and fourth are but short interludes to be played ad libitum. A short ad libitum section also appears before the end of the last movement. The three major movements follow, rhythmically at least, the tradition of pre-classical keyboard music. This, however, is no more than an allusion.” Lutosławski enlarges the traditional vocabulary with expressive microtones, but he is open to tonal resources, like clear C-major chords or fluty violin harmonics. And one can hear the influence of his countryman Chopin in the slipping harmony of the Largo.
Sonata No. 1 in D minor for Violin and Piano
Camille Saint-Saëns (b. Paris, 1835; d. Algiers, 1921)
The dates amaze: he was born the year of Lucia di Lammermoor; when he died, Alban Berg had nearly finished orchestrating Wozzeck. He was born in the reign of Louis-Philippe and just six years after George Stephenson’s Rocket had frightened the horses by steaming along iron rails between Liverpool and Manchester at sixteen miles an hour. When he died, France was a republic; it was curtains for the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and German empires; and Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant A. W. Brown of the Royal Flying Corps had crossed the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland in sixteen hours.
Berlioz said that Saint-Saëns was as formidable a musical mechanism as he had ever encountered. Evidence of prodigious gifts came in early. At three, he could find his way about the keyboard and at four years and seven months he played the piano part of one of Beethoven’s violin sonatas at a private concert. On May 6, 1846 in the Salle Pleyel in Paris—he was now ten and a half—he made his formal debut, playing concertos by Mozart and Beethoven, as well as solos by Bach, Handel, Hummel, and Kalkbrenner, and offering to play as an encore any Beethoven sonata requested, from memory of course. His widowed mother and his great-aunt did not, however, exploit him as a prodigy, and the next years were devoted to study, not just of music but of humanistic and scientific disciplines as well. He was fifty when he composed the D-minor Violin Sonata in 1885, and this sonata is a fine example of his intelligent elegance at its best.
The sonorities of the first movement are powerfully spare, and with superlative skill, Saint-Saëns has devised a keyboard part that, for all its brilliance, never threatens to swamp the violin. A striking effect, and unusual for Saint-Saëns, is the rhythmic irregularity produced by the insertion from time to time of a measure half again as long as its neighbors (9/8 in a flow of 6/8). Saint-Saëns often sought to devise new formal designs for his large-scale works, the Piano Concerto No. 4 and the Symphony No. 3 being especially successful in this regard, and this sonata, too, surprises us by proceeding without break from the opening Allegro agitato into an Adagio, and one in quite a remote key at that. Its effect is almost as much one of epilogue as of an independent statement, and only when this movement has had its say does the first real division occur. A quasi-scherzo offers some relaxation of intensity. A solemn chord sequence leads, again without break, into the finale. This begins with whizzing scale passages and is altogether a splendid example of Saint-Saëns’ cool skill at bringing the house down.
Saint-Saëns note (adapted) © 1984 by Michael Steinberg. Used by kind permission of Jorja Fleezanis.Mozart, Schubert, Lutosławski notes © 2013 by David Evan Thomas.