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St. Louis Symphony Program - October 5-6, 2012

St. Louis Symphony Program - October 5-6, 2012

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Published by: St. Louis Public Radio on Oct 05, 2012
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October 5-6, 2012
David Robertson, conductor Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano Women of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus Amy Kaiser, director The St. Louis Children’s Choirs Barbara Berner, artistic director


Symphony No. 3 in D minor (1893-96, rev. 1906)
Kräftig. Entschieden (Forcefully. Resolute) Tempo di minuetto. Sehr mässig (Minuet tempo. Very moderately) Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast (Comfortably. Humorously. Without haste) Sehr Langsam. Misterioso. Durchaus ppp (Very slowly. Mysterious. Quite soft)— Lustig im Tempo und keck im Ausdruck (Cheerful in tempo and bold in expression)— Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden (Slow. Peacefully. With feeling)

Performed without intermission

David Robertson is the Beofor Music Director and Conductor. Susan Graham is presented by the Whitaker Foundation. Amy Kaiser is the AT&T Foundation Chair. Women of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus are the Linda and Paul Lee Guest Artists. The concert of Friday, October 5, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mrs. Sally S. Levy. The concert of Saturday, October 6, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mrs. Ann Lux. Pre-Concert Conversations are presented by Washington University Physicians. These concerts are part of the Wells Fargo Advisors Series. Large print program notes are available through the generosity of Mosby Building Arts and are located at the Customer Service table in the foyer.

Cellist Bjorn Ranheim recalls his first experience with Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 as a member of the chorus: “This is one of the first Mahler Symphonies that I ever got to know as a member of the Minnesota Boychoir. We performed the work with the Minnesota Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony and I’ll never forget the power of singing the clarion tones amidst the massive orchestral forces. To now revisit the piece by playing inside of the orchestra will be a real treat for me. Its jubilant and incredibly gorgeous melodies will stay with you forever!” Trumpet player Mike Walk looks forward to his first performance of a work seminal to his development as a musician: “In twenty years as an orchestral musician, I’ve never yet performed this symphony—the piece that most influenced my steps toward becoming an orchestral trumpeter. From the mammoth first movement with its dramatic trombone solos, to the lovely posthorn solo in the third movement, to the glorious chorale in the finale, it is a fantastic world in music.”

Mike Walk


1893-96 MAHLER Symphony No. 3 in D minor Lumière Brothers show first commercial motion pictures in Paris

“My symphony will be something the like of which the world has never yet heard!” Gustav Mahler wrote to a friend shortly before completing his monumental Symphony No. 3 in D minor. “In it all of nature finds a voice.” The composer’s words may seem immodest, but they hardly exaggerate the matter. In its tremendous scale, its unusual formal layout and its great range of expression, Mahler’s Third Symphony is indeed a composition unlike any previously heard, and in these and other respects it has rarely been equaled, even by the composer’s own subsequent works. As a musical reflection of nature, it is hardly less unique. Composers have long been fascinated with the possibility of suggesting various aspects of the natural world through music. Beethoven’s “Pastorale” Symphony (No. 6 in F major), with its flowing stream of melody, its bird calls, dancing peasants, storm, and thankful shepherd, is the most famous evocation of nature in the concert repertory. The musical tempests of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and the storm interlude from Berlioz’s opera Les Troyens; the magnificent sunrise in Haydn’s oratorio The Creation; and the billowing waves of Debussy’s seascape La Mer offer tonal impressions of nature hardly less evocative than those in the “Pastorale” Symphony. Mahler’s Third Symphony ranks among these compositions but also stands apart from them. For while the above-mentioned works, and many others, attempt to portray aspects of nature through the use of suggestive musical figuration— furious scales and thunderous timpani strokes in the “Pastorale” Symphony’s storm movement, for example—Mahler’s music avoids such tone painting in favor of a more encompassing view of its subject. Instead of depicting nature through instrumental mimicry of wind, water, and birdsong, Mahler conveys what might best be described as the soul of nature—or, perhaps more accurately, the response of his own soul to nature.

GUSTAV MAHLER Symphony No. 3 in D minor MUSIC AND MEANING Mahler’s most explicit discussion of his Third Symphony is found in a letter he wrote in February 1896. At this time the symphony was not yet complete, but the second movement had been played publicly several times. Mahler explained that in its finished form, the composition would
present me to the public as the ‘sensuous’ and perfumed ‘singer of nature.’ That this nature hides within itself everything that is frightful, great and also lovely (which is exactly what I wanted to express over the course of the entire work, in a sort of evolutionary development). ... There now! You have a sort of program— that is, a glimpse of how I compose [this] music. Everywhere and always, it is only the voice of nature ... nature in its totality, which is, so to speak, awakened from fathomless silence that it may ring and resound.

Born ˇ Kalište, Bohemia, July 7, 1860 Died Vienna, May 18, 1911 First Performance Krefeld, Germany, June 9, 1902; Luise Geller-Wolter sang the alto solos, Mahler himself conducted STL Symphony Premiere May 25, 1973, with mezzosoprano Olivia Stapp; Mary Institute Choir, Robert Bell, director; Webster Groves Presbyterian Church Youth Choir, Mrs. William Symnes, director; Walter Susskind conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance October 28, 1999, with mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby; Women of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, Amy Kaiser, director; The St. Louis Symphony Children’s Choir, Barbara Berner, artistic director; Hans Vonk conducting at New York City’s Carnegie Hall

The “program,” the implicit narrative, which Mahler mentions here is explicitly set forth in the titles the composer gave to the symphony’s six movements. Mahler altered these explanatory headings slightly several times during 1895 and 1896, the years he composed the work; but a letter written in August 1896, at which time he had essentially completed the piece, gives what may be considered their definitive form:
1st Section. Introduction: Pan awakes. Movement I: Summer marches in (Bacchanalian cortege). 2nd Section. Movement II: What the meadow flowers tell me. Movement III: What the forest creatures tell me. Movement IV: What man tells me. [In earlier drafts, Mahler titled this movement “What the night tells me.”] Movement V: What the angels tell me. Movement VI: What love tells me.

Scoring solo mezzo-soprano women’s chorus children’s choir 4 flutes 4 piccolos 4 oboes English horn 4 clarinets bass clarinet 2 E-flat clarinets 4 bassoons contrabassoon 8 horns 4 trumpets offstage posthorn 4 trombones tuba 2 timpani percussion 2 harps strings Performance Time approximately 99 minutes

As he did with each of his two previous symphonies, Mahler subsequently abandoned the movement titles, evidently out of concern that his listeners might try to read too much into them. Yet he did not explicitly renounce them or the programmatic meaning they implied. His reluctance to do so seems understandable. If taken as general guidelines, these titles serve to clarify not only the poetic foundation of the symphony but also its overall design. Moreover, Mahler could not eradicate the extra-musical messages of the fourth and fifth movements, with their allusions to man and angels, since these are made explicit by the texts sung during those portions of the symphony. NATURE, MAN, GOD, LOVE The importance of the two vocal movements goes beyond the addition of human voice to the orchestra. Rather, these movements bring mankind into the symphony’s contemplation of nature, enlarging the composition’s consideration of the living universe to include humanity (the first words sung are, in fact, “O Man!”) and human spirituality. Mahler was not, Bruno Walter noted, “a ‘nature lover’ in the usual sense of the expression, a kind of garden friend, a friend to animals.” Ever concerned with religious questions, the composer evidently saw nature above all as the handiwork of God. And during the course of the Third Symphony he presents three perspectives on the divine in nature. The first, expressed in the powerful opening movement, is pagan, a hymn to the woodland god Pan, whom Mahler clearly considered emblematic of the untamed life force. By the fifth movement, the reverence for nature has been transformed to a Christian viewpoint. (A Jew by birth, Mahler converted to Catholicism, though he never achieved security in his faith.) Finally, Mahler distills his spiritual feelings to their essence. Of the last movement, originally titled “What love tells me,” he told a friend: “I could almost call the movement ‘What God tells me.’ And truly in the sense that God can only be understood as love.” He went on to assert that the entire symphony

describes “all stages of evolution in a step-wise ascent. It begins with inanimate nature and ascends to the love of God.” DIONYSIUS, THE GREAT PAN If nature seems inanimate in the quieter moments of the opening movement, the overall impression made by this initial portion of the symphony is anything but still or insensate. This long movement (about forty minutes in length) comprises almost half the symphony’s duration and the first of what Mahler conceived as the two major sections of the composition. It begins with an introduction that the composer originally imagined in connection with Pan rousing from his slumber. The main part of the movement is essentially a march—one fit, as Mahler noted, for the Dionysian procession of summer. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this generally remarkable music is the great number and variety of thematic ideas Mahler employs. Horn calls, shrill woodwind fanfares, march tunes, and a good deal more crowd each other in an almost unruly manner. Frequently Mahler sets two or more distinct figures against each other in counterpoint. The result is music of tremendous surging energy, suggesting the earth’s primordial power and fertility. “It always strikes me as odd,” Mahler wrote while at work on the symphony, “that most people, when they speak of ‘nature,’ think only of flowers, little birds, and woodsy smells. No one knows the god Dionysius, the great Pan.” Mahler reveals him here through music of extraordinary energy and invention. SONG OF MIDNIGHT, SONG OF HEAVEN The ensuing two movements are pastoral interludes: a minuet inspired by the sight of meadow flowers, followed by a robust scherzo that conjures up visions of the unspoiled forest. A setting for alto soloist—often sung by mezzo-soprano, as it is in these concerts by Susan Graham—of Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Midnight Song,” from his philosophical allegory Also sprach Zarathustra, comprises the deep and quiet fourth movement. The text for the fifth movement comes from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Youth’s Magic Horn), the collection of German folk poetry that furnished the verses for so many of Mahler’s songs. A children’s choir imitates the sound of bells while a chorus of women, later joined by the soloist, relates how St. Peter repented his sins and found forgiveness and heavenly bliss. Mahler initially planned to end the symphony with another song movement but opted for an instrumental finale instead. (He eventually used the original closing movement as part of his Fourth Symphony). Beginning quietly with a hymn-like theme intoned by the strings, this final portion of the symphony rises through a series of soaring climaxes to an ecstatic conclusion.



Robertson begins his eighth season as Music Director of the 133-year-old St. Louis Symphony.

A consummate musician, masterful programmer and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most soughtafter American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music-making and stimulating ideas. In fall 2012, Robertson launches his eighth season as Music Director of the 133-year-old St. Louis Symphony. In January 2014, Robertson will assume the post of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony in Australia. In September 2012, the St. Louis Symphony and Robertson embarked on a European tour, which included appearances at London’s BBC Proms, at the Berlin and Lucerne festivals, and culminated at Paris’s Salle Pleyel. In March 2013 Robertson and his orchestra return to California for their second tour of the season, which includes an intensive three-day residency at the University of California-Davis and performance at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, with violinist James Ehnes as soloist. The orchestra will also perform at venues in Costa Mesa, Palm Desert, and Santa Barbara, with St. Louis Symphony Principal Flute, Mark Sparks, as soloist. In addition to his current position with the St. Louis Symphony, Robertson is a frequent guest conductor with major orchestras and opera houses around the world. During the 2012-13 season he appears with prestigious U.S. orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony, as well as internationally with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Born in Santa Monica, California, David Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting.




Susan Graham, one of the world’s foremost stars of opera and recital, is a compelling and versatile singing actress. Celebrated as an expert in French music, Graham has been honored by the French government with the title “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.” Highlights of Graham’s 2011-12 season included the Grammy Award winner’s muchanticipated Canadian Opera Company debut as Iphigenia in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride. Graham also returned to the San Francisco Opera in the title role of Handel’s Xerxes, and the Paris Opera for performances of Franz Lehár’s popular operetta The Merry Widow. In January 2012 she embarked on an American recital tour with her frequent collaborator, pianist Malcolm Martineau, which culminated in her return to Carnegie Hall. At home and abroad, Graham has sung leading roles from the 17th to 20th centuries in the great opera houses of the world, including Milan’s La Scala; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Vienna State Opera; Opéra national de Paris; Dresden’s Semperoper; and the Salzburg Festival. Graham has also appeared with many of the world’s leading conductors and orchestras. Dubbed “America’s favorite mezzo” by Gramophone magazine, Graham captivates audiences with her expressive voice, tall and graceful stature, and engaging acting ability in both comedy and tragedy. Born in New Mexico and raised in Texas, Graham studied at Texas Tech University and the Manhattan School of Music, which awarded her an honorary Doctor of Music in 2008. She won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Schwabacher Award from San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, as well as a Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. Graham was Musical America’s 2004 Vocalist of the Year, and in 2006 her hometown of Midland, Texas declared September 5 “Susan Graham Day” in perpetuity. Susan Graham most recently performed with the St. Louis Symphony in January 2009.

Graham is a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.




Kaiser prepared the Chorus for the Symphony’s most recent performance of Mahler 3, in October 1999.

One of the country’s leading choral directors, Amy Kaiser has conducted the St. Louis Symphony in Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Mass in E flat, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and sacred works by Haydn and Mozart as well as Young People’s Concerts. She has made eight appearances as guest conductor for the Berkshire Choral Festival in Sheffield, Massachusetts, Santa Fe, and at Canterbury Cathedral. As Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York for 12 seasons, she conducted many performances of major works at Lincoln Center. Other conducting engagements include concerts at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival and more than fifty performances with the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Principal Conductor of the New York Chamber Symphony’s School Concert Series for seven seasons, Kaiser also led many programs for the 92nd Street Y’s acclaimed Schubertiade. She has conducted over twenty-five operas, including eight contemporary premieres. A frequent collaborator with Professor Peter Schickele on his annual PDQ Bach concerts at Carnegie Hall, Kaiser made her Carnegie Hall debut conducting PDQ’s Consort of Choral Christmas Carols. She also led the Professor in PDQ Bach’s Canine Cantata “Wachet Arf” with the New Jersey Symphony. Kaiser has led master classes in choral conducting at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, served as faculty for a Chorus America conducting workshop, and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. An active guest speaker, Kaiser teaches monthly classes for adults in symphonic and operatic repertoire and presents Pre-Concert Conversations at Powell Hall. Amy Kaiser has prepared choruses for the New York Philharmonic, the Ravinia Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Opera Orchestra of New York. She also served as faculty conductor and vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes College of Music. An alumna of Smith College, she was awarded the Smith College Medal for outstanding professional achievement.

Barbara Berner conducts the advanced touring ensemble, Concert Choir, and oversees all aspects of the children’s choirs program as Artistic Director. Under Berner’s direction Concert Choir has performed at Carnegie Hall, the national American Choral Directors Association convention in Los Angeles, and at the White House. Berner has prepared Concert Choir for numerous performances with the St. Louis Symphony. Berner has conducted the young singers in performances with the Bach Society of St. Louis, the St. Louis Holiday Brass Ensemble, and the St. Louis Chamber Chorus, and on international tours to Australia, England and Wales, Austria and the Czech Republic, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. In June 2013, members of Concert Choir and Choristers are invited to appear at Lincoln Center in the National Children’s Festival Chorus. Concert Choir will appear as a featured ensemble. Berner joined the artistic staff of The St. Louis Children’s Choirs in 1996 and was appointed Artistic Director in 1999. She serves as a clinician for Kodály workshops and has conducted state honor choirs in Kentucky and New Mexico. As an accompanist, music teacher, and choral conductor, Berner has had the opportunity to work with young singers from kindergarten through high school in the inner-city schools of Detroit and Boston; on military bases in Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Germany and West Point, New York; and in the culturally diverse schools of the Washington D.C. area. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Principia College and a Master of Music degree from Ithaca College. Barbara Berner was awarded an Artist/Teacher and Master Teacher Diploma from the Institute for Choral Teacher Education, where she studied conducting with Dr. Doreen Rao, and holds an Advanced Certificate from the Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Kecskémet, Hungary.

Berner and The St. Louis Children’s Choirs toured with the Symphony and David Robertson to New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 2006.

Amy Kaiser Director Marella Briones Assistant Director Gail Hintz Accompanist Susan Patterson Manager Nancy Davenport Allison Stephanie A. Ball Paula N. Bittle Pamela A. Branson Marella Briones Cherstin Byers Maureen A. Carlson Victoria Carmichael Jessica Klingler Cissell Laurel Ellison Dantas Deborah Dawson Jasmine Fazzari Heather Fehl Susan Goris Karen S. Gottschalk Nancy Helmich Lori Hoffman Allison Hoppe Heather Humphrey Kerry Jenkins Madeline Kaufman Kendra Lee Debby Lennon Gina Malone Jamie Lynn Marble Rachael McCreery Johanna Nordhorn Nicole Orr Heather McKenzie Patterson Susan Patterson Sarah Price Valerie Christy Reichert Kate Reimann Patti Ruff Riggle Stephanie Diane Robertson Jennifer Ryrie Patricia A. Scanlon Samantha Nicole Schmid Lisa Sienkiewicz Janice Simmons-Johnson Shirley Bynum Smith Denise M. Stookesberry Maureen Taylor Pamela Triplett Samantha Wagner Mary Wissinger

Barbara Berner Artistic Director Billie Derham Accompanist Erica Ancell Meher Arora Emma Baylis Kierstin Birmes Hannah Bledsoe Mariana Blessing Adrienne Brown Jo Jo Buckley Adrianna Calhoun Demetri Case Blaine Clark Jacquelyn Cooper Rebecca Cunningham Julia Curtis Isabelle DeBold Thalia Dimitriou Tadhg Duhigg Brooke Fortner Melissa Frank Samantha Frese Katherine Galvin Aaron Garner Taylor Gibbs Calista Goldwasser Bridget Gordinier Elizabeth Grossman Clara Gruneisen Meredith Hamilton Hannah Hart Shirley Hwang Diana Jacobsmeyer Mackenzie Jones Jennifer Keeney Cassandra Keller Maggie Kerr Anne Koo Olivia Leek Magda Lijowska Tara Linneman Allyson Lotz Lauren Lundy Graham Markowitz Dorothy Marty Emilie Messmer Lisa Millar Abby Miller Sarah Noonan Janine Norman Luis Ocampo Morissa Pepose Alexandra RaymondSchmidt Samantha Robbins Jocelyn Sanders Lauren Schenck Emma Severson Emily Tan Eve Thomas Catie Todisman Emily Tonner Hannah Tonner Addie Trippeer Diana Vazquez Andrew White Evelyn Whitehead Hadley Willson

Movement IV Zarathustra’s Midnight Song
O Mensch! Gib Acht! Was spricht die tiefe Mitternacht? Ich schlief! Aus tiefem Traum bin ich erwacht! Die Welt ist tief! Und tiefer als der Tag gedacht! O Mensch! O Mensch! Tief, tief, tief ist ihr Weh! Lust, tiefer noch als Herzeleid! Weh spricht: Vergeh! Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit! Will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit!

(from Thus spake Zarathurstra, by Friedrich Nietzsche)
Oh, man! Take heed! What does the deep midnight say? I was asleep! From deep dream have I awakened! The world is deep! And deeper than the day had thought! O man! O man! Deep, deep is its woe! Joy deeper still than heartache! Woe says: Disappear! But all joy seeks eternity, seeks deep, deep eternity!

Movement V Three Angels Sang

(from The Youth’s Magic Horn)
Bimm, bamm, bimm, bamm. Es sungen drei Engel einen süßen Gesang: Mit Freuden es selig in dem Himmel klang, Sie jauchzten fröhlich auch dabei, Daβ Petrus sei von Sünden frei. Und als der Herr Jesus zu Tische saß, Mit seinen zwölf Jüngern das Abendmahl aß: Da sprach der Herr Jesus: Was stehst du denn hier? Wenn ich dich anseh, so weinest du mir! Und sollt ich nicht weinen, du gütiger Gott. Ich hab’ übertreten die zehen Gebot. Ich gehe und weine ja bitterlich, Du sollst ja nicht weinen! Ach komm und erbarme dich über mich! Hast du denn übertreten die zehen Gebot, So fall auf die Knie und bete zu Gott! Liebe nur Gott in alle Zeit! So wirst du erlangen die himmlische Freud. Die himmlische Freud’ ist eine selige Stadt; Die himmlische Freud’, die kein Ende mehr hat. Die himmlische Freude war Petro bereit’t Durch Jesum und allen zur Seligkeit. Bimm, bamm, bimm, bamm. Ding, dong, ding, dong. Three angels sang a sweet song: in blissful joy it sounded through Heaven, they shouted joyfully that Peter was free of sin. And when the Lord Jesus sat at table, and ate supper with his twelve disciples, Lord Jesus spoke: what are you doing here? When I look upon you, you weep! Why should I not weep, you merciful God? I have broken the Ten Commandments. I go my way with bitter tears. You should not weep! Ah, come and have mercy on me! If you have broken the Ten Commandments, then fall on your knees and pray to God! Only love God forevermore! Thus will you reach heavenly joy. Heavenly joy is a blessed city, heavenly joy that has no end. Heavenly joy was prepared for Peter by Jesus and for the bliss of us all. Ding, dong, ding, dong.

If these concerts have inspired you to learn more, here is suggested source material with which to continue your explorations. Henry-Louis de la Grange, Gustav Mahler Oxford University Press Monumental, four volumes, nothing more detailed or comprehensive Jens Malte Fischer, Gustav Mahler Yale University Press Readable, informative, draws on new research Deryck Cooke, Gustav Mahler, An Introduction to His Music Cambridge University Press A composer’s appreciation International Gustav Mahler Society website: gustav-mahler.org/english Read the program notes online at stlsymphony.org/planyourvisit/programnotes Keep up with the backstage life of the St. Louis Symphony, as chronicled by Symphony staffer Eddie Silva, via stlsymphony.org/blog The St. Louis Symphony is on

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