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October 12-14, 2012
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor Pascal Rogé, piano
Symphony No. 6 in F major, op. 68, “Pastorale” (1808)
Awakening of cheerful feelings on arriving in the country (Allegro ma non troppo) Scene by the brook (Andante molto mosso) Merry gathering of country folk (Allegro)— Thunderstorm (Allegro)— Shepherd’s Song: Happy and grateful feelings after the storm (Allegretto)
INTERM I SS I O N
Piano Concerto in G major (1929-31)
Allegramente Adagio assai Presto Pascal Rogé, piano
La Mer (1903-05)
De l’aube à midi sur la mer (From Dawn to Noon on the Sea) Jeux des vagues (Play of the Waves) Dialogue du vent et de la mer (Dialogue of Wind and the Sea)
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos is the Laura and Bill Orthwein Guest Artist. Pascal Rogé is the Ellen Atwood Armstrong Guest Artist. The concert of Friday, October 12, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Barry H. Beracha. The concert of Saturday, October 13, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. David A. Baetz. The concert of Sunday, October 14, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mrs. Clinton W. Lane Jr. 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.
FROM THE STAGE
Principal Flute Mark Sparks on Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos: “He seems to get better with age. To try to describe what he does—there is an X factor; he has a way of getting voluptuous and beautiful sound almost solely through movement, through being. He also brings an incredible balance to the sound. He can be precise and at the same time conduct with feeling, for the romantic repertoire especially. He has a great ear for intonation, so we wind players really need to be on the ball. “In the very first minutes with him you sense an imposing maestro—a true maestro of the Old School. You feel profound respect, a little bit of fear—and wonder.”
STEVE J. SHERMAN
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
BY PA U L SC H I AVO
1808 BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F major, op. 68, “Pastorale” Haydn’s The Seasons premieres in Vienna 1903-05 DEBUSSY La Mer Picasso creates his “Blue Period” paintings 1929-31 RAVEL Piano Concerto in G major Stock market crash precipitates worldwide economic depression
“It was the feeling they had of the inner structure of Nature,” Thomas Carlyle observed admiringly of the ancient Greeks, “that the soul of all her voices and utterances was perfect music.” The Scottish poet concurred with this Hellenic view. “See deep enough and you see musically,” Carlyle wrote, “the heart of Nature being everywhere music.” Carlyle is hardly unique in sensing an affinity between music and the natural realm. Musicians have long intuited a connection between their art and the natural world. Since at least the Renaissance composers have sought to make that connection evident, evoking natural phenomena in their work. Some of these phenomena can be rendered explicitly—the singing of birds or the fury of a storm, for example—and the most famous examples of “nature music” have used a repertory of musical figures signifying these and other concrete aspects of the natural world. But some composers have sought to go beyond the superficial manifestations of nature apparent to our senses, seeking instead to express what we might call the soul of nature, as well as a spiritual bond between nature and mankind. Last week, the St. Louis Symphony performed Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony, a composition conceived by its author as a hymn to nature, even though it contains nothing in the way of picturesque figuration suggesting rustling leaves, the voices of birds, or other natural events. This concert presents two more works inspired by the natural world. Beethoven’s “Pastorale” Symphony employs familiar sorts of musical mimicry to indicate birdsong, rain, and thunder. Yet Beethoven himself declared that this work has less to do with such tone painting than with his feelings for nature. Claude Debussy’s symphonic seascape La Mer is even more abstract. Yet it captures something of the ever-changing appearance of the ocean and, in the end, its violent majesty. In contrast, many compositions evince an urbane outlook. Such a work is Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. With its French suavity and references to jazz, this piece serves as a contrasting interlude between the nature-inspired music that opens and concludes the program.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F major, op. 68, “Pastorale” EXPRESSING THE ECSTASY OF THE WOODS Beethoven’s love of the outdoors has been amply documented. “He loved to be alone with nature, to make her his only confidante,” reported one of Beethoven’s closer companions. Another acquaintance confirmed that he “had never met anyone who so ... thoroughly enjoyed flowers or clouds or other natural objects.” Each summer Beethoven moved his lodging to a rural area outside of Vienna, where he took long walks through the fields and forests, an activity that rarely failed to lift his spirits. “It seems as if in the country every tree said to me ‘Holy! Holy!’” the composer once confessed. “Who can give complete expression to the ecstasy of the woods?” Who, indeed, if not Beethoven himself? In 1803 the composer made preliminary sketches for a symphony intended to convey the glories of a sylvan landscape, but he did not complete this, his Sixth Symphony, for another five years. The composer himself devised the title “Pastorale Symphony, or a recollection of country life.” He also provided the descriptive headings that precede each of the five movements. Even without these guides, there could hardly be any mistaking the pictorial qualities of this composition. It draws on a well-established repertory of musical onomatopoeia to convey natural bird calls, a storm, and more. Yet Beethoven evidently worried that listeners would give too much attention to these pictorial elements. He therefore appended a caveat to the symphony’s title: “More an expression of feelings than tone painting.” The qualification is important. Nature clearly meant more to Beethoven than just a pleasing landscape or woodland sounds that could be imitated through clever musical imagery. It was, rather, a wellspring of purity and beauty, something to be held in reverence. And it is the composer’s great feeling for nature, far more than tonal allusions to brooks and birds and storms, which lie at the heart of the “Pastorale” Symphony. LANDSCAPE, DRAMA, EMOTION The first movement, entitled “Awakening of cheerful
Born Bonn, December 16, 1770 Died Vienna, March 26, 1827 First Performance Vienna, December 22, 1808, in Vienna; Beethoven conducted STL Symphony Premiere December 16, 1910, Max Zach conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance March 15, 2009, Nicholas McGegan conducting at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Scoring 2 flutes piccolo 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 2 horns 2 trumpets 2 trombones timpani strings Performance Time approximately 39 minutes
feelings on arriving in the country,” seems expansive and unhurried despite its Allegro tempo indication. Certain critics have complained of a static quality in much of this music, and it can seem that very little happens. Harmonies remain unchanged for dozens of measures at a time, and motifs are repeated at length without variation. But in fact a great deal happens. The repeated figures never lack a strong sense of direction and are dappled with ever-changing orchestral colors. The slow harmonic motion lends each change of chord a heightened significance. “Scene by the brook” reads Beethoven’s heading for the second movement, and a stream of flowing melody runs through its pages. The hint of bird calls suggested through woodwind arpeggios and violin trills becomes explicit in the final measures. Beethoven, in the score, even identifies his collaborators: a nightingale (flute), quail (oboe), and cuckoo (clarinet). The final three movements—“Merry gathering of country folk,” “Thunderstorm,” and “Shepherd’s Song: Happy and grateful feelings after the storm”—are linked by a continuous dramatic thread. The scherzo third movement has the robust quality of the peasant dances that Beethoven undoubtedly encountered on his rambles through the countryside. But the “merry gathering” is interrupted by an ominous rumbling in the low strings. This is a wonderfully dramatic moment, hushed and perfectly timed. A musical tempest then breaks out in full symphonic fury. Calls from the clarinet and horn signal the end of the storm and lead to a radiant theme in the strings, the principal subject of the finale. This melody is child-like in its simplicity, entailing almost nothing but the outlines of the most primary chords, yet sublime in its beauty. It conveys innocent gratitude and transcendent joy. Beethoven attributes these feelings to his imaginary shepherd, but they are, of course, his own. And it is these feelings, these very human feelings, which distinguish the “Pastorale” Symphony from countless other musical depictions of nature penned by composers throughout the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. By now, the significance of this composition comes clearly into focus. The traveler arriving in the countryside, the peasants dancing, the shepherd singing after the storm—throughout his symphony, Beethoven, that great humanist, celebrates not just nature but mankind in nature.
MAURICE RAVEL Piano Concerto in G major IN THE SPIRIT OF MOZART AND SAINT-SAËNS Ravel composed his G-major Piano Concerto late in his career, following a concert tour of the United States he undertook in 1928. That visit proved so successful that the composer immediately began planning for a second one, during which he hoped to perform a concerto of his own with American orchestras. After returning to his home, near Paris, Ravel began writing the new work toward the end of 1929. Ravel was a painstakingly slow worker. As a result of his habitual diligence and the necessity to complete other projects, the concerto was not finished until November 1931. By this time Ravel had abandoned his plans for a second American tour. He therefore presented the concerto to his friend Marguerite Long, a well-known French pianist, who gave the first performance. Ravel described the piece as “a concerto in the strict sense, written in the spirit of Mozart and Saint-Saëns. I believe that a concerto can be gay and brilliant without necessarily being profound or aiming at dramatic effect.” He added that the music “uses certain effects borrowed from jazz, but only in moderation.” IN THE SPIRIT OF GERSHWIN AND SATIE The jazz references mentioned by Ravel are evident in the first movement. Here, several passages call to mind Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, which the composer had heard in New York. Still, with its Gallic wit and iridescent orchestration, the movement as a whole is vintage Ravel. The proceedings include a substantial solo cadenza late in the movement. There follows a leisurely Adagio that begins with a long meditation for the piano. The simplicity and modal flavor of the melody, the slow triple-pulse meter, the lack of dynamic contrast, and the unchanging rhythm of the chordal accompaniment all bear an obvious resemblance to the famous Gymnopédies of Erik Satie, a composer Ravel had known and admired. When at last the orchestra takes up the melody, the accompanying figurations in the piano take on a more classical gravity. The finale, by contrast, conveys a sense of raucous satire and offers further hints of jazz.
Born Ciboure, southwest France, March 7, 1875 Died Paris, December 28, 1937 First Performance Paris, January 14, 1932; Marguerite Long was the soloist, and Ravel conducted the Lamoureux Orchestra STL Symphony Premiere February 17, 1945, Leonard Bernstein was soloist and conducted from the keyboard Most Recent STL Symphony Performance January 16, 2010, Ingrid Fliter was soloist, with Susanna Mälkki conducting Scoring solo piano flute piccolo oboe English horn clarinet E-flat clarinet 2 bassoons 2 horns trumpet trombone timpani percussion harp strings Performance Time approximately 23 minutes
CLAUDE DEBUSSY La Mer MEMORIES OF THE SEA “I am working on three symphonic sketches under the title La Mer ... You may not know that I was supposed to have been a sailor, and only by chance did fate lead me in another direction. But I have always retained a passionate love for the sea.” So wrote Claude Debussy to a friend in September 1903. Two more years would pass before the composer—who indeed had been urged by his father to consider a career in the merchant marine service—completed the great symphonic seascape to which his letter refers. The sea was a natural subject for Debussy. He carried, he once said, “an endless store of memories” of the ocean gleaned from childhood sojourns on the Mediterranean and later visits to the Brittany coast. The movement of the waves, the play of sunlight on the water, the vast expanse of sea and sky surely would have impressed someone of Debussy’s manifest sensitivity to nature’s colors and rhythms. IMPRESSIONISM AND WATER SCENES Although this attraction to the sea certainly had its roots in personal experience, it mirrored certain creative concerns that Debussy shared with other French artists of his day, particularly the French Impressionist painters. Water provided these and other artists of the day with ever-changing patterns of light and form. They delighted in its visual ambiguities—its soft and shimmering reflections, its tremulous motion—and water scenes appear frequently in their work. Debussy similarly was fascinated by harmonic ambiguities and fluid, subtle rhythms. And like the Impressionist painters, he found inspiration in the irregular movement and muted colors of water. Far from being an isolated example, La Mer crowns a body of water music by Debussy that includes the “Sirènes” movement from his orchestral Nocturnes and piano pieces bearing such titles as “In the Boat,” “Reflections in the Water,” “Gardens in the Rain,” and “The Sunken Cathedral.”
Born Saint Germaine-en-Laye, near Paris, August 22, 1862 Died Paris, March 25, 1918 First Performance Paris, October 15, 1905, Camille Chevillard conducted the Lamoureux Orchestra STL Symphony Premiere January 23, 1914, Max Zach conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance February 3, 2007, Susanna Mälkki conducting Scoring 2 flutes piccolo 2 oboes English horn 2 clarinets 3 bassoons contrabassoon 4 horns 3 trumpets 2 cornets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion 2 harps strings Performance Time approximately 23 minutes
A SYMPHONY IN ALL BUT NAME The composer’s description of the three movements of La Mer as “sketches” is an understatement that belies the true nature of the piece. Although it sounds nothing like the symphonies of Beethoven or Brahms, let alone those of Debussy contemporaries Mahler and Sibelius, the workings of this composition justify our thinking of it, at least to some extent, as symphonic. Each of its three movements is carefully executed on a large scale, and the important thematic cross-references that occur within movements, and between the first and third movements, reveal a unified, overarching conception. The opening measures, besides being a musical picture of dawn, present several motifs that prove to be the musical seeds from which the entire work springs. The rising-and-falling contours of melodies that Debussy fashions from these motivic kernels frequently suggest the shape or movement of waves. (A notable example is the cello theme that appears midway through the first movement.) Each movement has a distinctive character. The first features pentatonic melodies and other oriental references, and it is telling in this regard that Debussy chose a quintessentially Japanese image, Hokusai’s famous print “The Wave,” to appear on the cover of the first edition of the La Mer score. There follows a sprightly and dance-like second movement, whereas the third is, for Debussy, surprisingly violent. Together these “sketches” form a convincing triptych that remains, even today, remarkable in both its compositional craftsmanship and its originality.
RAFAEL FRÜBECK DE BURGOS
LAURA AND BILL ORTHWEIN GUEST ARTIST
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos most recently conducted the St. Louis Symphony in December 2010.
A regular guest with North America’s top orchestras, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos will conduct the New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Toronto symphony orchestras in the 2012-13 season. He appears annually at the Tanglewood Music Festival and regularly with the Chicago, National, and Philadelphia orchestras. Born in Burgos, Spain in 1933, Frühbeck studied violin, piano, music theory, and composition at the conservatories in Bilbao and Madrid, and conducting at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik, where he graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the Richard Strauss Prize. From 2004-11 he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dresden Philharmonic, and in the 2012-13 season begins his post as Chief Conductor of the Danish National Orchestra. Named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, other numerous honors and distinctions include the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Republic of Austria and Germany, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, Spain’s most important musical award, conferred in 1997 by the Queen of Spain. In 1998 Frühbeck received the appointment of Emeritus Conductor by the Spanish National Orchestra. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra in Spain. Since 1975 he has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. Frühbeck has recorded extensively for EMI, Decca, Deutsche Gramophone, Spanish Columbia, and Orfeo. Several of his recordings are considered to be classics, including his interpretations of Mendelssohn’s Elijah and St. Paul, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina burana, Bizet’s Carmen, and the complete works of Manual de Falla.
ELLEN ATWOOD ARMSTRONG GUEST ARTIST
Pascal Rogé exemplifies the finest in French pianism. As the last student to be mentored by the great Nadia Boulanger, his playing of Poulenc, Satie, Fauré, Saint-Saëns and especially Ravel, is characterized by its elegance, beauty, and stylistically perfect phrasing. A native of Paris, Rogé has performed in almost every major concert hall in the world and with major orchestras across the globe—notably every major London orchestra. International engagments include Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony; and in North America, the orchestras of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Toronto. He has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Lorin Maazel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Alan Gilbert, David Zinman, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Sir Andrew Davis, and others. Rogé became an exclusive Decca recording artist at the age of 17. Since then, he has won many prestigious awards, including two Gramophone Awards, a Grand Prix du Disque, and an Edison Award for his interpretations of the concertos of Ravel and Saint-Saëns. Other recordings include the complete piano works of Poulenc and Ravel, four albums of Satie, two of Debussy, one of Faure, and a Bartók cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra Several years ago, Rogé began an ambitious recording project for Onyx called the Rogé Edition. This includes five CDs of his first complete Debussy piano music cycle. With the Vienna Radio Symphony under Bertrand de Billy, he has recently recorded two CDs of both of the Ravel piano concertos, as well as Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue. For more information, visit pascalroge.com.
Pascal Rogé most recently performed with the St. Louis Symphony in March 1996.
A BRIEF EXPLANATION
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. Here is Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, movement by movement. Allegramente: brightly, which is a nice way to begin a concerto Adagio assai: a slow movement is often referred to as “adagio,” Ravel’s second movement is very slow Presto: you know how this works, contrast the slow second movement with the very fast, or quick, final movement
STUFF MUSICIANS SAY:
If you don’t know what it means (allegramente, for example) just watch the conductor.
STEVE J. SHERMAN
YOU TAKE IT FROM HERE
If these concerts have inspired you to learn more, here is suggested source material with which to continue your explorations. Edmund Morris, Beethoven: The Universal Composer (Eminent Lives Series) Harper Collins A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian offers a condensed and vivid portrait Maynard Solomon, Beethoven Schirmer Expansive, highly readable, brilliant Roger Nichols, Ravel Yale University Press A new biography that is already being hailed as a landmark work Ted Libbey and Fred Child, “Waves of Sound: Debussy’s La Mer” npr.org/2011/07/18/105417197/waves-ofsound-debussys-la-mer From 2009 “NPR Classical 50” series, Libbey and Child are enthusiastic and fun
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
CORPORATE DONOR SPOTLIGHT
THE BOEING COMPANY
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), headquartered in St. Louis with nearly 15,000 employees, is the largest manufacturer in the state and the second largest employer in the region. Employees at BDS perform work and build products that are crucial to national security and global markets. But a company the size and scope of Boeing does not succeed by resting on its laurels; company leaders and employees are constantly re-examining capabilities and processes to ensure the company is as strong and vital as its heritage. In fact, Boeing’s culture mirrors the heritage of aviation itself, built on a foundation of innovation, aspiration, and imagination. In addition, Boeing also has a responsibility to its stakeholders— including the communities where its employees live and work—to be a good “corporate citizen” and lead by example. Corporate citizenship at Boeing means creating positive changes in all the company does—through the products and services it provides and the way employees operate their business in the interconnected world in which they live. Boeing’s relationship with the St. Louis Symphony goes back several years and reflects company values promoting arts and culture among its employees and also within the community. Recent Boeing corporate grants to the Symphony include the 2012 funding for Music of Led Zeppelin and support for the symphony’s Classical Detours program. Boeing also supports a program that encourages local college students to become patrons of the symphony The St. Louis Employee Community Fund (ECF) has supported both Express the Music (ETM) and Picture the Music (PTM) in recent years. ECF is a unique employee-owned and directed giving program that allows employees to support the needs of the St. Louis community via tax deductible recurring payroll deductions or one-time gifts. Boeing pays all administrative costs for the ECF so that 100 percent of every employee dollar contributed goes to support the community. ETM and PTM are competitions for area students involving creative responses to listening to a selection of music. Both programs are administered by the Symphony Volunteer Association.
BOX OFFICE HOURS
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.
TO PURCHASE TICKETS
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.
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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.
GROUP AND DISCOUNT TICKETS
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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