David Robertson, conductor Joshua Bell, violin

November 29-30, December 1, 2013

SMETANA Vyšehrad from Má vlast (c. 1872-74) (1824-1884) SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47 (1903-04) (1865-1957)
Allegro moderato Adagio di molto Allegro, ma non tanto Joshua Bell, violin INTERMISSION

DVOŘÁK In Nature’s Realm, op. 91 (1891) (1841-1904) EINOJUHANI Lintukoto (Isle of Bliss) (1995) RAUTAVAARA (b. 1928) SMETANA Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast (1874)


David Robertson is the Beofor Music Director and Conductor. Joshua Bell is presented by the Whitaker Foundation. Join David Robertson following the concert of Friday, November 28, for a Q&A sponsored by University College at Washington University professional and continuing education. The concert of Saturday, November 29, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Walter G. Shifrin. The concert of Saturday, November 30, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. H. Chandler Taylor. The concert of Sunday, December 1, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from The Honorable and Mrs. Sam Fox. Pre-Concert Conversations are sponsored by Washington University Physicians. These concerts are presented by Long Pharmaceuticals. These concerts are part of the Wells Fargo Advisors series. Large print program notes are provided through the generosity of Delmar Gardens and are located at the Customer Service table in the foyer.


Allegra Lilly, Principal Harp, on Vyšehrad from Má vlast: “The B-flat, E-flat, B motif, played by the harp, is representative of ‘The High Castle,’ Vyšehrad. The castle is also represented by a minstrel singer, and the harp is his lyre. A descending passage near the end of the piece represents the collapse of the castle. When the theme returns, it is a memory of what it was before. “Vyšehrad contains two elements reflective of harp writing: big, rolled chords, which are interspersed with arpeggiated passages. Even more than glissandi, these create a magical sound, a mystical element appropriate to the piece. “David Robertson told me that my predecessor, Frances Tietov, played this on her very first program with the Symphony. Quite a part for your first time.”


Frances Tietov, the Symphony’s previous Principal Harp, joined the orchestra in 1970.



BEDŘICH SMETANA Vyšehrad and Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast

1874 SMETANA Má vlast David Stanley crosses Africa through the Congo River basin 1891 DVOŘÁK In Nature’s Realm, op. 91 New York City’s Carnegie Hall opens with Tchaikovsky as guest conductor 1903-04 SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47 Pierre and Marie Curie receive Nobel Prize for discovery of radioactivity 1995 EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA Lintukoto (Isle of Bliss) Dayton Peace Accord brings end to wars in former Yugoslavia

BECOMING BOHEMIAN To define his country’s cultural identity, Bedřich Smetana first had to find his own inner Bohemian. This invention of self and country required both determination and a wild optimism. The region that we know today as the Czech Republic had not been independent for centuries. The composer, whose first language was German, was not even fluent in Czech until he was 40. But after working in Sweden for about five years, he returned to Prague in 1861, lured by rumors that a new venue offering Czechlanguage opera was about to open. He immersed himself in the language and folklore of his homeland and then began creating a repertoire for the Provisional Theater. As its principal conductor from 1866 until 1874, he introduced more than 40 new works. In 1874 Smetana began to write Má vlast (My Country), a cycle of six symphonic poems glorifying the landscape, mythology, history, and imagined future of his native land. For many years, the region had been under Austrian control; although the concept of an independent Bohemia seems prophetic in hindsight, it must have struck many of Smetana’s contemporaries as faintly delusional. The first work, Vyšehrad (The High Castle), is a musical portrait of the royal palace of Prague, the legendary seat of the earliest Czech dynasty. It begins with two harps playing a delicate arpeggiated pattern, and then soft brass, winds, and strings each introduce a brief motif that represents the castle. This theme resurfaces in some of the following works, including Vltava (The Moldau), which celebrates the famous river in Bohemia. The best-known piece in Má vlast, Vltava depicts both the sounds of the water and its course through the surrounding countryside. In his written preface, Smetana describes its progress “through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer’s wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in

the night’s moonshine: on the nearby rocks look proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft.” A SAD, SUDDEN END Smetana was in the middle of composing Vyšehrad when he began to lose his hearing. Despite several torturous and futile treatments, he was soon left with nothing but a constant rushing noise in his ears. Like Beethoven, he continued to write, becoming if anything more prolific. But sadly, the syphilis that caused his deafness would destroy his memory as well, leaving him unable to work. He died in the Prague Lunatic Asylum in 1884, just five years after he finished Má vlast.

Smetana statue in Litomyšl, Czech Republic

Born March 2, 1824, Litomyšl, Bohemia Died May 12, 1884, Prague First Performance March 14, 1875, in Prague by the National Theater Orchestra STL Symphony Premiere December 30, 1910, Max Zach conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance Vyšehrad: April 10, 1999, Libor Pešek conducting Vltava (The Moldau): April 13, 2008, Delta David Gier conducting, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri Scoring 2 flutes piccolo 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 4 horns 2 trumpets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion 2 harps Vyšehrad harp Vltava (The Moldau) strings Performance Time approximately 12 minutes


JEAN SIBELIUS Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47 STYMIED VIRTUOSO Before Jean Sibelius became Finland’s greatest composer, he wanted to be his generation’s Joshua Bell. The odds were against him. Although he played violin as a child, he did not begin formal lessons until he was 14. “The violin took me by storm,” he wrote later, “and for the next ten years it was my dearest wish, my greatest ambition, to become a great virtuoso.” At 25, after years of study in Helsinki, Berlin, and Vienna, he auditioned for a place in the Vienna Philharmonic and was rejected. He turned to composition instead. By 1903, when he started writing his only concerto, he had abandoned all hope of being a star performer, but he could still dazzle his wife, Aino, with bravura turns at the violin while churning out theme after theme for the work in progress. Sibelius was often drunk, and his domestic and professional lives always seemed to be on the verge of collapse, but he spent hours composing. “He has such a multitude of themes in his head that he has been literally quite dizzy,” Aino wrote in a letter. “He stays awake all night, plays incredibly beautifully, cannot tear himself away from the delightful melodies—he has so many ideas that it is hard to believe it.” After a disastrous premiere in early 1904, Sibelius radically revised the concerto, carving away its extraneously showy bits to reveal the sinews beneath. Late the next year, Richard Strauss (yes, that Richard Strauss) conducted the debut of the version we know today. THRILLING SYMPHONIST Dramatic, romantic, and fluent in the idiomatic particularities of the featured instrument, Sibelius’s Violin Concerto is by some accounts the most frequently performed and recorded concerto written in the 20th century. With its fearsome runs, double stops, and finger acrobatics, it is a virtuoso’s rite of passage. But it is more than a show-off’s showpiece. The sinuous, incantatory opening theme—Sibelius wastes no time introducing it early in the first movement—is a gorgeous melody in its own right, one of many. The nervy energy of the Allegro moderato is followed by the luminous, songlike Adagio, which juxtaposes tender

Born December 8, 1865, Hämeenlinna, Finland Died September 20, 1957, Järvenpää, Finland First Performance October 19, 1905, in Berlin; the German violinist Karl Halir was the soloist, and Richard Strauss conducted STL Symphony Premiere December 7, 1934, Scipione Guidi was soloist, with Vladimir Golschmann conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance January 22, 2012, Christian Tetzlaff was soloist, with David Robertson conducting Scoring solo violin 2 flutes 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 4 horns 2 trumpets 3 trombones timpani strings Performance Time approximately 31 minutes

woodwinds and bracingly dissonant brass. The finale leaps and sprints through the work’s most notoriously tricky solo parts, but it also thrills symphonically. With its dark orchestral textures and powerful concision, the last movement reasserts the artistry of the symphonist even during the soloist’s most virtuosic feats. ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK In Nature’s Realm, op. 91 NATIONALISM AND NATURE, COUNTRY, AND COUNTRYSIDE Like his countryman Smetana, Antonín Dvořák was a proud Bohemian whose patriotism found its voice in the Romantic musical nationalism of the 19th century. An accomplished musician, he was appointed principal viola of the newly founded Provisional Theater in 1862, and he remained with that orchestra until 1871, performing in many concerts that Smetana conducted. Although Dvořák shared the older composer’s dream of creating a national repertoire that was characteristically Czech, he went about it differently, without all the ideological fetters of the nascent Bohemian Nationalist movement. His impressive catalog— 13 operas, nine symphonies, three concertos, and countless orchestral and chamber pieces—reveals a sensibility steeped in native folk traditions but ultimately stateless. As demonstrated by his most famous work, Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” U.S. landscapes could inspire him, too. For Dvořák, love of country often dissolved into love of countryside, an almost pagan reverence for the natural world. In Nature’s Realm finds the great nature composer at his most ecstatic and reverent. It begins and ends with a pulsing, almost insect-like energy, a fecund throbbing. This procreative impulse informs the mood of the piece, the sensuous drift from anticipation to fulfillment. Dvořák’s pure woodwind colors and richly layered strings perfectly evoke the cries of birds, the murmuring of woodland streams, the sighing of wind in the trees. The piece may have been inspired by the composer’s country home in Vysoká, but its elemental beauties know no borders.

Born September 8, 1841, Nelahozeves, Bohemia Died May 1, 1904, Prague First Performance April 28, 1892, in Prague, Dvořák conducted the orchestra of the Czech National Theater STL Symphony Premiere September 27, 1974, Walter Susskind conducting Most Recent STL Symphony Performance January 9, 2000, Jesus LopezCobos conducting Scoring 2 flutes 2 oboes English horn 2 clarinets bass clarinet 2 bassoons 4 horns 2 trumpets 3 trombones tuba timpani percussion strings Performance Time approximately 12 minutes

Born October 9, 1928, Helsinki First Performance May 31, 1995, in Loha, Finland, Markus Lehtinen conducted the Tapiola Youth Symphony Orchestra STL Symphony Premiere October 5, 2001, Osmo Vänskä conducting the only previous Symphony performance Scoring 2 flutes 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 2 horns trumpet trombone timpani percussion harp strings Performance Time approximately 11 minutes

NATURE, LIFE, AND LOVE In Nature’s Realm is the first of three thematically linked concert overtures Dvořák wrote before embarking to the United States in 1892. That spring he debuted the trilogy at a farewell concert in his beloved Prague; later that year he brought it to New York’s almost-new Carnegie Hall. Originally intended as a threemovement symphonic poem called Nature, Life, and Love, today the overtures (which include Carnival and Othello) are seldom presented on the same program. EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA Lintukoto (Isle of Bliss) SIBELIUS’S SHADOW All Finnish composers must contend with the long shadow of Sibelius. Einojuhani Rautavaara, for instance, studied composition at the Sibelius Academy, and then, in 1955, when he was in his late 20s, was nominated for a grant to study in the United States by Sibelius himself, then 90. Comparisons to the great man are inevitable, and easy: Rautavaara shares his devotion to the natural world and an unwillingness to sacrifice the pleasures of tonality. Both composers have created a great deal of unapologetically sensuous music. NORDIC FANTASY Rautavaara described 1995’s single-movement Isle of Bliss as an “orchestral fantasia” and explained that he took inspiration from a Finnish poem, by Aleksis Kivi, about an island paradise called Lintukoto, or Home of the Birds. Incidentally, within the borders of Finland there are 789 islands, many of which have no road connection to the mainland. The piece begins with a sparkling seascape, in the tradition of Debussy’s La Mer or Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides. Glittering harp glissandi, rattling percussion, bright little woodwind squalls: We are swooping down toward the island, flying the way we always fly in our dreams; we are drunk on shades of blue. It is the end of an exhausted era. As we descend, we cast long dissonant shadows. Then we hurtle back a hundred years, to some velvety Late Romantic idyll, where we suck all the sweetness out of the 19th century’s last vibrato-kissed chord. This is ripeness,

we think. This is Lotus-land. This is 1950s Hollywood in Technicolor, with a score by someone who probably studied with Glazunov. But in accordance with the bylaws of all enchanted isles, Homeric, Shakespearean, Tennysonian, Gilligan, time can’t be put off forever. The orchestration darkens, grows turbulent. The first theme circles back, feral. The clattery percussion returns, more insistent than before. And finally the harp glissandi—only now they’ve shattered, Sibelian fragments flung at the silence. A NOTE ABOUT RAUTAVAARA Now 85, the Helsinki-born composer has produced an impressive body of work: eight symphonies, nine operas (on Vincent van Gogh and Rasputin, among others), a dozen concertos, and countless choral, chamber, and orchestral pieces. He is best known for 1972’s Cantus Arcticus, a concerto for birdsong and orchestra; like several of his other compositions, it incorporates field recordings.

Program notes © 2013 by René Spencer Saller




David Robertson studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting.

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 2013, Robertson launched his ninth season as Music Director of the 134-year-old St. Louis Symphony. While continuing as Music Director with St. Louis, in January 2014, Robertson assumes the post of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia. In 2012-13, Robertson led the St. Louis Symphony on two major tours: his first European tour with the orchestra—its first European engagements since 1998—in fall 2012, which included critically-acclaimed appearances at London’s BBC Proms, at the Berlin and Lucerne Festivals, and at Paris’s Salle Pleyel; and a spring 2013 California tour which included a three day residency at the University of California-Davis and performances at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and venues in Costa Mesa, Palm Desert and Santa Barbara. Highlights of his 2013-14 season with St. Louis include the recording of a St. Louis Symphony co-commission, John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto. Nonesuch Records will release the disc featuring the concerto, along with the orchestra’s performance of Adams’ City Noir, in 2014. In addition, Robertson and the Symphony just returned from a historic performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes at Carnegie Hall. Robertson is a frequent guest conductor with major orchestras and opera houses around the world. In the 2013-14 season, in addition to launching his first year at the helm of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson conducted the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera.




Often referred to as the “poet of the violin,” Joshua Bell is one of the world’s most celebrated violinists. He continues to enchant audiences with his breathtaking virtuosity, tone of sheer beauty, and charismatic stage presence. Recently named the Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Bell is the first person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. Equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and orchestra leader, Bell’s 2013 summer highlights included performances with the Israeli Philharmonic and at Eastern, Brevard, Tanglewood, and Mostly Mozart festivals. As the featured soloist he toured for the inaugural season of the National Youth Orchestra of the U.S.A. with Valery Gergiev to New York, Washington, D.C., London, Moscow, and St. Petersburg; with the Australian Youth Orchestra in Australia and Europe; and with the San Diego Symphony to China. He performed a South American recital tour with pianist Alessio Bax and a European tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell recently performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall. In 2014 Bell reunites with his beloved Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, directing Beethoven’s Third and Fifth Symphonies and recording the violin concertos of Bach. He will also perform the Brahms concerto with the legendary Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Paavo Järvi, and the Sibelius with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A U.S. recital tour with Sam Haywood, a performance at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra, and dates with the Los Angeles Philharmonic round out the season. Joshua Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th-century French bow by François Tourte. He is an exclusive Sony Classical artist. For more information, visit



Joshua Bell most recently performed with the St. Louis Symphony in September 2010.

You don’t need to know what “andante” means or what a glockenspiel is to enjoy a St. Louis concert, but it’s always fun to know stuff. For example, what are “glissandi”? Glissando/Glissandi: it’s one of those things that you know what it is when you hear it, but you just didn’t know it had a name; glissando (singular), glissandi (plural), from the French glisser, “to slide,” it’s the sound you hear when fingers are run across piano keys or harp strings, but it is also relevant for trombone and string instruments, see “slurring” (the musical kind, not the rude kind)


“Even many orchestral musicians don’t know this: the pinky fingers are not used to play the harp. It may be the least-known fact about harp playing. It’s because of the weakness and shortness of those fingers. I used to play piano quite a bit and my pinkies have completely atrophied. “The other lesser-known fact is that the harp has pedals, many of them. They exist like black keys on the piano. There is a pedal for every note on the scale: DCBEFGA. There are three notches for each pedal: highest is flat, middle is natural, bottom is sharp. Although this is more complicated than the ancient lyre, there was a chromatic harp that was made with two sets of strings that crossed in the middle. It weighed a ton.”

Allegra Lilly


If these concerts have inspired you to learn more, here are suggested source materials with which to continue your explorations. Franz Kafka, The Castle & Vaclav Havel, To the Castle and Back Oxford University Press & Vintage Two Czech castles of the 20th century, a history from which Smetana and Dvořák were spared Glenda Dawn Goss, Sibelius: A Composer’s Life and the Awakening of Finland University of Chicago Press Sibelius’s music, and silence, placed in political and social context Alex Ross, “Apparition in the Woods” Google: A Critic at Large: Apparition in the Woods Ross on Sibelius “Evasion à Helsinki” search Composer Rautavaara A video produced by classiquenews on the rise of Finnish music, including an interview with the composer

Read the program notes online at Keep up with the backstage life of the St. Louis Symphony, as chronicled by Symphony staffer Eddie Silva, via The St. Louis Symphony is on


What are Sigma-Aldrich’s philanthropic ideals and priorities? Sigma-Aldrich has four areas of focus for charitable giving: STEM Education, Scientific Research, Economic Development through Science, and Civic Investments. Within these areas of focus, we concentrate our efforts on organizations our employees can partner with to increase the impact of what we do and to increase employee engagement in our endeavors. How does the Foundation’s support of the Symphony fit into your communitywide funding strategy? Sigma-Aldrich knows the importance of giving back to the communities where we operate. These communities are home to our employees, our shareholders, and our customers. We see our support of the Symphony as an investment that makes St. Louis a more vibrant and culturally relevant community, which is key in attracting the talent Sigma-Aldrich needs for its continued success. What value does Sigma-Aldrich receive by supporting the St. Louis Symphony? Sigma-Aldrich’s mission is focused on improving quality of life. We applied the manner in which the Symphony improves and enriches the lives of St. Louis residents and visitors alike. St. Louis’s cultural institutions are one of its greatest assets and we are proud to play a part in their continued success. Why should other organizations support the St. Louis Symphony? Cultural institutions like the Symphony are businesses that generate economic activity ranging from employment, to tax revenues, to tourism. But, they also have the unique ability to inspire us, to foster civic engagement, to improve connectivity, and to shape the minds of the future. We think that it is vital that we support these organizations as we work to build a stronger community and we encourage other companies to do the same.


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