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St. Louis Symphony Program - Dec. 1, 2012

St. Louis Symphony Program - Dec. 1, 2012

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A program to accompany our live broadcast of the St. Louis Symphony on Dec. 1, 2012.
A program to accompany our live broadcast of the St. Louis Symphony on Dec. 1, 2012.

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Published by: St. Louis Public Radio on Dec 01, 2012
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November 30-December 1, 2012
David Robertson, conductor Kirill Gerstein, piano

R. STRAUSS Don Juan, op. 20 (1888-89)

THOMAS ADÈS In Seven Days (2008)
(b. 1971) Chaos—Light—Dark— Separation of the waters into sea and sky— Land—Grass—Trees— Stars—Sun—Moon— Fugue: Creatures of the Sea and Sky— Creatures of the Land— Contemplation Kirill Gerstein, piano

R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks), op. 28 (1894-95) HINDEMITH Symphonie Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) (1933-34)
(1895-1963) Engelkonzert (Angelic Concert) Grablegung (Entombment) Versuchung des heiligen Antonius (Temptation of St. Anthony)


David Robertson is the Beofor Music Director and Conductor. Kirill Gerstein is the Robert R. Imse Guest Artist. The concert of Friday, November 30, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mrs. E. Desmond Lee. The concert of Saturday, December 1, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. Nicholas T. Kouchoukos. 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.


Music Director David Robertson on creation theme: “The title to Thomas Adès’s concerto refers to the creation of the world in seven days. It is an accessible and highly sophisticated sound world from the start. Adès gives the pianist a tremendous workout. Adès and Strauss are both composers who write brilliant virtuoso orchestral music. “All the works on this program are about creation. Don Juan creates relationships that get him into trouble. Till Eulenspiegel commits pranks that get him into trouble. Hindemith’s work is about the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald, and is about the struggles of creating beauty in times of trouble.”

David Robertson



1888-89 R. STRAUSS Don Juan, op. 20 Friedrich Nietzsche writes Twilight of the Idols, which includes the phrase “What does not kill me makes me stronger.” 1894-95 R. STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks) Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun premieres 1933-34 HINDEMITH Symphonie Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) Hitler appointed German Chancellor 2008 THOMAS ADÈS In Seven Days Illinois Sen. Barack Obama achieves surprising victories in U.S. presidential primaries

The four compositions that comprise our concert entail more than just music. Rather, each tells a story. Richard Strauss conveys abandon and ecstasy in his tone poem Don Juan, and impish humor in Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks). Thomas Adès relates the biblical account of creation through his piano concerto In Seven Days. And Paul Hindemith’s Symphonie Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) gives a musical picture of three crucial events in an opera based on the life of the 16thcentury artist Matthias Grünewald.

Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece


RICHARD STRAUSS Don Juan, op. 20 THE LOVER AS ROMANTIC HERO Richard Strauss initially gained widespread attention in the 1880s with a series of remarkable tone poems, orchestral pieces based on dramatic or literary ideas. The first to achieve unqualified success was Don Juan. Strauss found his inspiration for the piece in a verse fragment by the Austrian writer Nikolaus Lenau. In that work, which Lenau left unfinished at his death in 1851, the poet transforms the Don Juan legend as the story of an archetypal Romantic hero. Instead of the cruel seducer we find in other versions of his story, Lenau’s Don is a dreamer driven on an impossible pursuit of ideal beauty. “That magical circle, immeasurably wide, of beautiful femininity,” he declares in Lenau’s verses, “I want to traverse in a storm of pleasure, and die of a kiss upon the lips of the last woman.” Lenau’s text inspired Strauss to a bold and original flight of musical fantasy. The composer offered no specific program, no written narrative, for Don Juan, though it is doubtful that any verbal explication could enhance the experience of the composition. It is impossible to miss the suggestions of sensuality, bravado, and delirious flight that flow from the music, and a listener needs no more than that. Don Juan is a great showpiece, a chance for any orchestra to show its virtuosity. But Strauss can be lyrical also, as in the poetic oboe solo that forms the focal point of the tone poem’s central episode.

Born June 11, 1864, in Munich Died September 8, 1949, in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Bavaria First Performance November 11, 1889, in Weimar, conducted by the composer STL Symphony Premiere January 20, 1911, Max Zach conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance February 3, 2009, Ward Stare conducting at Bedell Performance Hall, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri Scoring 3 flutes piccolo 2 oboes English horn 2 clarinets 2 bassoons contrabassoon 4 horns 3 trumpets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion harp strings Performance Time approximately 17 minutes


THOMAS ADÈS In Seven Days MUSIC OF CREATION Strauss based Don Juan on a poetic retelling of a secular legend. But sacred stories also have inspired composers. In particular, the creation story recounted in the Book of Genesis formed the basis for Franz Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation, completed in 1798, and also for Thomas Adès’s 2008 piano concerto In Seven Days. Adès is widely regarded as the outstanding English composer of his generation. His compositions for instruments, as well as two operas, show a remarkable mastery of a contemporary yet personal musical idiom. Adès has held several composer-in-residence posts and has appeared in major venues as a pianist and conductor. In 2000 he became the youngest composer ever to receive the prestigious Grawemeyer Award. In Seven Days is an unusual concerto, and not only for its reflection of the biblical creation story. The work is cast in seven connected movements, conforming to the seven days during which, Genesis tells us, God labored to make the heavens, the earth and its creatures. The first movement, “Chaos—Light—Dark,” traces a long arc from simplicity and formlessness to ever more complex and organized musical textures. The combination of several musical lines moving at different speeds bespeaks the influence of the extraordinary Studies for Player Piano composed in the middle of the last century by the American composer Conlon Nancarrow, pieces that Adès has studied deeply, arranged, and performed. The second day of creation brings the separation of sea and sky. Adès suggests this with violent chords and other sounds that imply wrenching forces and cataclysmic energies, as ocean and firmament take their distinct shapes. By contrast, the emergence of land, grass, and trees brings music of calm, organic and inexorable growth, leading to magnificently rich and complex colors and textures. The creation of the sun, stars, and moon on the fifth day begins as a seamless extension of that process, though here the timbres are bright, shining, and airy.

Maurice Foxall

Born March 1, 1971, in London Now resides London First performance April 28, 2008, in London; Nicolas Hodges was the piano soloist, and the composer conducted the London Sinfonietta STL Symphony Premiere This week Scoring solo piano 3 flutes alto flute 2 piccolos 3 oboes 3 clarinets 3 bassoons contrabassoon 4 horns 3 trumpets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion strings Performance Time approximately 30 minutes

But Adès reserves the work’s most spectacular display of musical proliferation for the creation of birds and sea and land creatures. Beginning with jaunty contrapuntal music for the high woodwinds, this quickly evolves into what seems a teeming sonic biosphere. There follows a coda that Adès has titled “Contemplation,” since, as Genesis tells us, “on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested ....” Yet the music does not conclude in stillness. Rather, brief stirrings confirm the Biblical narrative that the process of creation will soon recommence—leading to, among other things, the making of man. RICHARD STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks), op. 28 A LEGENDARY PRANKSTER Since the 16th century, accounts have circulated of the deeds and misdeeds of Till Eulenspiegel, one of the most colorful figures in German folklore. Till was a rogue, a prankster and, above all, an impudent mocker of authority. Confusion and disorder followed him everywhere. He overturned stalls in the marketplace, caricatured priests and politicians, seduced young girls and deceived old maids. His tricks usually were at the expense of the most staid members of society—the rich, the pious, the dull, and the prudish—and thus provided both entertainment and social satire. Till’s fame has spread beyond Germany largely by way of the musical portrait of him created by Richard Strauss in Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, a title usually translated as “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.” Completed in 1895, this tone poem is unusual among Strauss’s works in this form for its brevity, humor, and lack of a detailed program—that is, an outline of the dramatic ideas embodied in the music. On this last matter, the composer wrote: “It is impossible for me to furnish a program for Till Eulenspiegel; were I to put into words the thoughts which its several incidents suggest to me, they would not suffice for the listener and might even give offense. Let me therefore leave it to my hearers to

First Performance November 1895, in Cologne, conducted by Franz Wüllner STL Symphony Premiere March 8, 1912, Max Zach conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance November 29, 2008, Marc Albrecht conducting Scoring 3 flutes piccolo 3 oboes English horn 2 clarinets bass clarinet E-flat clarinet 3 bassoons contrabassoon 4 horns 3 trumpets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion strings Performance Time approximately 15 minutes

crack the nut the rogue has presented them.” He went on to admit only that the final “scene” of the tone poem represents Till’s capture, trial, and hanging. A MUSICAL ROMP Till Eulenspiegel opens with five measures of prologue whose gentle musing seems to say: “Once upon a time ....” Immediately the horn intrudes with the first of two thematic ideas associated with the title character. The second, a sly motif announced by a solo clarinet, follows shortly. These two subjects appear repeatedly and in a variety of guises in the episodes that follow, as the orchestra romps with Till through his riotous adventures. But just as the proceedings reach a height of exuberance, they are halted by a chilling drum roll. Loud chords now thunder accusations at Till, which he answers with the insolent clarinet motif. This figure persists even as the rope is tightened around his neck, at last ending in a squeal as the gallows claim the prankster. Now the mild music of the prologue returns, as if to assure us that all this has been only a story. But Till may yet have the last laugh: the final moments suggest his spirit still alive and at large in the world. PAUL HINDEMITH Symphonie Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) A COMPOSER UNDER FIRE Paul Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) was born of a collision between artistic ideals and political reality, which describes both the work’s subject and the conditions surrounding its creation. Hindemith first considered composing a work on the life of Matthias Grünewald, the 16th-century painter, in 1932. At first, he found insufficient drama in the subject and turned to other projects. But historic events soon changed his mind. In January 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and official denunciation of “decadent” modern artists began to issue from his Ministry of Culture. Hindemith was a prime target. In these changed circumstances, the subject of “Matthias the Painter” took on entirely new meaning. In June 1933, Hindemith began writing an opera libretto that told an allegorical drama of an artist, Matthias, caught in a political maelstrom, the Peasants’ War of 1524. “He is gripped by the subject,” a friend reported, “the atmosphere in which he is steeped, the overall parallels between those former times and our own, and above all by the theme of the artist’s lonely fate.” Hindemith was still in the early stage of his work on Mathis der Maler when he received a request from Wilhelm Furtwängler, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, for a new orchestral piece. The composer had already decided to preface each of the opera’s acts with an instrumental prelude that would be a kind of musical representation of one of the panels of the Isenheim Altarpiece, Grünewald’s most famous work. Not wishing to disrupt his concentration on the opera, he adapted three of these preludes to create a symphonic score. The success of the resulting Symphonie Mathis der Maler—it was loudly applauded and favorably reviewed—persuaded Hindemith that performance of the opera would proceed routinely. This was not to be. In June 1934, the Nazis banned Hindemith’s music from radio broadcast. Permission to produce

Mathis was denied soon thereafter. The opera was finally staged in 1938 in Switzerland, where Hindemith would soon be living as a refugee. MUSIC ANGELIC AND HUMAN The first of the symphony’s three movements opens with “celestial” chords and a melody, announced by the trombone, based on a folk tune whose title translates “Three Angels Sang a Sweet Song.” With this prelude concluded, Hindemith proceeds to the main portion of the movement, whose climax is marked by a return of the folk tune. The tone of the second movement is subdued and reverent. In the finale, Matthias relives the temptations of St. Anthony, as various characters from the opera appear in a vision and tempt him with pleasure and power. Matthias resists, and the symphony closes with a great hymn of thanksgiving.

Born November 16, 1895, in Hanau, near Frankfurt Died December 28, 1963, in Frankfurt First Performance March 12, 1934, in Berlin; Wilhelm Furtwängler conducted the Berlin Philharmonic STL Symphony Premiere January 22, 1943, Vladimir Golschmann conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance March 15, 1998, Hans Graf conducting Scoring 2 flutes piccolo 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 4 horns 2 trumpets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion strings Performance Time approximately 25 minutes

Program notes © 2012 by Paul Schiavo




David Robertson next leads the St. Louis Symphony in the BMO Bank New Year’s Eve Celebration.

A consummate musician, masterful programmer and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after 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 launched 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.

Michael TaMMaro



In January 2010, Kirill Gerstein was named the recipient of the 2010 Gilmore Artist Award. Only the sixth pianist to have been so honored, the Gilmore Award is given to an exceptional pianist who possesses broad and profound musicianship and charisma, and who desires and can sustain a career as a major international concert artist. He has since shared his Gilmore prize by commissioning boundary-crossing new works by Brad Mehldau and Chick Corea. Gerstein was also awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in April 2010, and received a 2002 Gilmore Young Artist Award as well as first prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. Highlights of Gerstein’s 2012-13 season include subscription debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston, Toronto, and Montreal symphonies and with the Czech Philharmonic, NDR Hamburg, RSB Berlin, and Tonkünstler Symphony Vienna; re-engagement with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London at the Proms and in recital at Queen Elizabeth Hall; and a first appearance at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and a return to the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Born in 1979 in Voronezh, Russia, Gerstein attended one of the country’s special music schools for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ extensive record collection. He came to the U.S. at 14 to study jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music, but also continued his classical studies. At the age of 16 he decided to focus on classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music. Kirill Gerstein became an American citizen in 2003 and is currently a professor of piano at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart. For further information visit www.kirillgerstein.com.


Marco Borggreve

Kirill Gerstein most recently performed with the St. Louis Symphony in January 2011.

You don’t need to know what “andante” means or what a glockenspiel is to enjoy a St. Louis Symphony concert, but it’s always fun to know stuff. For instance, what is a “motif”? Motif: In Paul Schiavo’s notes to Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks) he describes: “a sly motif announced by a solo clarinet.” What the clarinet announces is a melodic idea. This is not a vague idea. Rather, it is welldefined enough that as it is elaborated upon, and transformed and combined with other materials, it retains its identity. You’ll recognize that sly clarinet wherever or whenever it reappears. A motif (or motive) holds up.

“I play all three of these instruments in the Thomas Adès piano concerto. “The alto flute is a lot bigger and heavier than the regular flute. The one I’m playing for In Seven Days I borrowed from Andrea Kaplan (Associate Principal Flute). It has a curved head joint, which makes it easier to play. You can hold it closer to your body so your arm isn’t stretched out carrying the weight of it. The curved head makes it look a little funny though. “You need to be more relaxed when playing the alto, be more open for a good sound. It’s a pretty sound. It’s mellow. I like it. “And I switch to piccolo. It’s a workout playing all three: from super-low alto to really high and really soft. I’m having muscle confusion in my embouchure. It’s a challenge to play all three parts. There is more than a little bit of timing involved.”

Flutists Jennifer Nitchman (left) and Andrea Kaplan


If these concerts have inspired you to learn more, here is suggested source material with which to continue your explorations. Search “Richard Strauss Conducting” YouTube Rare film of Strauss conducting Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, with often humorous commentary by George Szell and others Thomas Adès: Full of Noises: Conversations with Tom Service Farrar, Straus and Giroux Interviews with the composer by an excellent British music journalist Paul Hindemith, A Composer’s World: Horizons and Limitations Schott The composer talks about his art in terms musicians and non-musicians can readily comprehend

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


Macy’s, Inc. is one of the nation’s premier retailers. With approximately 166,000 employees, the company operates about 850 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, as well as the macys.com and bloomingdales. com websites. The company’s roots stretch back to 1858 when R.H. Macy & Co. opened in New York City. Who are your customers? Our stores offer merchandise for the entire family—men, women, teens and children—plus an extensive collection of merchandise for the home. What does Macy’s, Inc. look for when choosing organizations to support? Our primary objective is to give back to the communities where our employees work and live. It’s part of our heritage to be a responsible neighbor and to work toward making our hometowns stronger and more vibrant. In fact, “give back” is one of our brand values and it is a legacy we honor every day. We also have five focus areas for our Macy’s, Inc. presents the St. Louis Symphony philanthropic support and the arts is Holiday Celebration, December 21-23. one of those areas. Why does Macy’s, Inc. support the St. Louis Symphony? Macy’s, Inc. believes that a strong arts culture can inspire widely diverse audiences in our communities, touching each individual in deeply meaningful ways. The St. Louis Symphony is a prime example. It’s a jewel in the cultural life of St. Louis, and we are proud that our support will help continue to make it accessible to everyone. What value does Macy’s, Inc. receive by supporting the St. Louis Symphony? A renowned orchestra such as the St. Louis Symphony and the other exceptional arts organizations in this city contribute mightily to enriching the energy and quality of life here—for our customers and associates. Why should other organizations support the St. Louis Symphony? To help keep the St. Louis metropolitan region attractive as a place to work and live, we need to ensure the community is vibrant, energetic and stimulating. Support for the excellence that is the St. Louis Symphony is an important step toward that achievement.

Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm; Weekday and Saturday concert evenings through intermission; Sunday concert days 12:30pm through intermission.

You may store your personal belongings in lockers located on the Orchestra and Grand Tier Levels at a cost of 25 cents. Infrared listening headsets are available at Customer Service. Cameras and recording devices are distracting for the performers and audience members. Audio and video recording and photography are strictly prohibited during the concert. Patrons are welcome to take photos before the concert, during intermission, and after the concert. Please turn off all watch alarms, cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices before the start of the concert. All those arriving after the start of the concert will be seated at the discretion of the House Manager. Age for admission to STL Symphony and Live at Powell Hall concerts vary, however, for most events the recommended age is five or older. All patrons, regardless of age, must have their own tickets and be seated for all concerts. All children must be seated with an adult. Admission to concerts is at the discretion of the House Manager. Outside food and drink are not permitted in Powell Hall. No food or drink is allowed inside the auditorium, except for select concerts.

Box Office: 314-534-1700 Toll Free: 1-800-232-1880 Online: stlsymphony.org Fax: 314-286-4111 A service charge is added to all telephone and online orders.

If you can’t use your season tickets, simply exchange them for another Wells Fargo Advisors subscription concert up to one hour prior to your concert date. To exchange your tickets, please call the Box Office at 314-5341700 and be sure to have your tickets with you when calling.

314-286-4155 or 1-800-232-1880 Any group of 20 is eligible for a discount on tickets for select Orchestral, Holiday, or Live at Powell Hall concerts. Call for pricing. Special discount ticket programs are available for students, seniors, and police and public-safety employees. Visit stlsymphony.org for more information.

Powell Hall is not responsible for the loss or theft of personal property. To inquire about lost items, call 314-286-4166. POWELL HALL RENTALS
Select elegant Powell Hall for your next special occasion. Visit stlsymphony.org/rentals for more information.


































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