Concert Program for January 21 and 22, 2012

David Robertson, conductor Christian Tetzlaff, violin St. Louis Symphony Chorus Amy Kaiser, director

WAGNER
(1813-1883)

Prelude to Act I from Parsifal (1877)

SIBELIUS
(1865-1957)

Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47 (1903-05) Allegro moderato Adagio di molto Allegro ma non tanto Christian Tetzlaff, violin

Intermission JOHN ADAMS
(b. 1947)

Harmonium (1980-81) Negative Love Because I Could Not Stop for Death— Wild Nights St. Louis Symphony Chorus Amy Kaiser, director

David Robertson is the Beofor Music Director and Conductor. Christian Tetzlaff is the Carolyn and Jay Henges Guest Artist. Amy Kaiser is the AT&T Foundation Chair. The concert of Saturday, January 21, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Jan K. Ver Hagen. The concert of Sunday, January 22, is underwritten in part by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Ted W. Beaty. Pre-Concert Conversations are presented by Washington University Physicians. These concerts are part of the Wells Fargo Advisors Series.

David Robertson Beofor Music Director and Conductor 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 knowledge of 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 2011, Robertson began his seventh season as Music Director of the 132-year-old St. Louis Symphony, while continuing as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2005. Robertson’s guest engagements in the U.S. include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Ensemble ACJW, and the New York Philharmonic, where Robertson is a regular guest conductor. In May 2012, Robertson returns to the Metropolitan Opera to conduct Britten’s Billy Budd with Nathan Gunn and James Morris in the leading roles. Internationally, guest engagements include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, where Robertson appears regularly, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, as part of Music Viva, and several concerts with the BBC Symphony. In addition to his fresh interpretations of traditional repertoire, this season Robertson conducts world premieres of Graham Fitkin’s Cello Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and cellist YoYo Ma; John Cage’s Eighty with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Providence, a newly commissioned work by Dutch composer Klaas de Vries, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; and new works by Yann Robin and Michael Jarrell with the New York Philharmonic. A champion of young musicians, Robertson has devoted time to working with students and young artists throughout his career. On February 5, 2012, he conducts the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and a chorus of New York City students in the Carmina Burana Choral Project at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. The program will include Orff’s cantata, as well as new works written by three high school-aged composers based on musical themes of Carmina burana.

Michael TaMMaro

Christian Tetzlaff Carolyn and Jay Henges Guest Artist An artist known for his musical integrity, technical assurance, and intelligent, compelling interpretations, Christian Tetzlaff is internationally recognized as one of the most important violinists of his generation. Born in Hamburg in 1966, music occupied a central place in his family and his three siblings are all professional musicians. Tetzlaff began playing the violin and piano at age six, but pursued a regular academic education while continuing his musical studies. He did not begin intensive study of the violin until making his concert debut playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the age of 14. He attributes the establishment of his musical outlook to his teacher at the conservatory in Lübeck, Uwe-Martin Haiberg, who placed equal stress on interpretation and technique. Tetzlaff came to the United States during the 1985-86 academic year to work with Walter Levine at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and also spent two summers at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Highlights of Tetzlaff’s 2011-12 season in North America include appearances with the San Francisco and Cincinnati symphonies; an East Coast recital tour with frequent collaborator Lars Vogt; a Twin Cities residency in which he solos with the Minnesota Orchestra, play/conducts the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and plays a recital at the Schubert Club; and a return to Carnegie Hall with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra during which he plays the Mozart Adagio and the Mendelssohn and Schoenberg concertos. In addition, he was a featured soloist on the opening concert of the 2011 Mostly Mozart Festival. Other highlights include tours to South America with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, throughout Asia with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Daniel Harding, and with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelson to France and Spain; performances with the London Symphony and Pierre Boulez in London, Paris, and Brussels; and performances with the Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen in Vienna and Paris. Tetzlaff makes his home near Frankfurt with his wife, a clarinetist with the Frankfurt Opera, and their three children. He currently performs on a violin modeled after a Guarneri del Gesu made by the German violin maker, Peter Greiner. In honor of his artistic achievements, Musical America named Tetzlaff Instrumentalist of the Year in 2005. Christian Tetzlaff most recently performed with the St. Louis Symphony in January 2010.

alexandra Vosding

Amy Kaiser AT&T Foundation Chair 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 twentyfive 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 recently led master classes in choral conducting at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, served as faculty for a conducting workshop with Chorus America 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 PreConcert Perspectives at Powell Hall. In April she presents a series of talks, “Illuminating Opera,” at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. 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 the 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.

St. Louis Symphony Chorus 2011-2012
Amy Kaiser Director Leon Burke, III Assistant Director Gail Hintz Accompanist Susan Patterson Manager Nancy Davenport Allison Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian Nick Beary Rudi J. Bertrand Annemarie Bethel-Pelton Paula N. Bittle Jerry Bolain Michael Bouman Richard F. Boyd Keith Boyer Pamela A. Branson Marella Briones Daniel Brodsky Leon Burke, III Cherstin Byers Buron F. Buffkin, Jr. Leslie Caplan Maureen Carlson Victoria Carmichael Christopher Catlin Mark P. Cereghino Jay Lucas Chacon Timothy A. Cole Dan Cook Drew L. Cowell Derek Dahlke Laurel Ellison Dantas Deborah Dawson Mary C. Donald Stephanie Engelmeyer Ladd Faszold Jasmine Fazzari Heather Fehl Robin Fish, Jr. Alan Freed Mark Freiman Amy Telford Garcés Lara Gerassi Susan Goris Susan H. Hagen Rebecca Hatlelid Nancy Helmich Ellen Henschen Jeffrey Heyl Allison Hoppe Mary Huebner Heather Humphrey Kerry Jenkins Paul V. Kunnath Alexander J. Laurie Kendra Lee Debby Lennon Sharon Lightfoot Gregory C. Lundberg Gina Malone Jan Marra Lee Martin Alicia Matkovich Matthew Mayfield Dan Mayo Rachael McCreery Andrew McDermott Elizabeth Casey McKinney Scott Meidroth Lolita K. Nero Elsa Toby Newburger Michael Oelkers Duane L. Olson Nicole Orr Heather McKenzie Patterson Susan Patterson Matt Pentecost Shelly Ragan Pickard Sarah Price Valerie Christy Reichert Kate Reimann Samuel Reinhardt David Ressler Gregory J. Riddle Patti Ruff Riggle John Michael M. Rotello Terree Rowbottom Marushka Royse Jennifer Ryrie Susan Sampson Patricia A. Scanlon Samantha Schmid Paula K. Schweitzer Holley Sherwood Lisa Sienkiewicz Janice Simmons-Johnson John William Simon Steven S. Slusher Charles G. Smith Shirley Bynum Smith Rachel L. Smith Joshua J. Stanton Adam Stefo J. David Stephens Greg Storkan Maureen Taylor Natanja Tomich Pamela Triplett David R. Truman Greg Upchurch Caetlyn Van Buren Samantha Wagner Nancy Maxwell Walther Keith Wehmeier Nicole Weiss Donna Westervelt Paul A. Williams Christopher Wise Mary Wissinger Young Ok Woo Young Ran Woo Lucy Wortham Susan Donahue Yates Elena Zaring Carl S. Zimmerman

Love, Faith, Hope
BY PAUL SCHIAVO

Ideas at Play

Of the many reasons to cherish music, none is perhaps so compelling as its apparent ability to express the thoughts and sentiments that we feel are most closely connected to our spiritual life. Music certainly affords sensual pleasure. It can ravish the ear, its rhythms can stir our limbs, and its sonic energy can quicken the pulse and make us feel intensely alive. But music also can convey more lofty feelings: bliss, serenity, religious devotion, even love in its most exalted forms. The two compositions that frame our program aspire to this higher musical purpose. In the prelude that precedes his opera Parsifal, Richard Wagner intimates the spiritual ardor and faith that sustains a band of medieval knights who guard the chalice of the Holy Grail. Wagner even suggests that sacred vessel through the quotation of a venerable ecclesiastic melody. Wagner named love as one of the themes of his opera. Given that the title character renounces romantic love for his knightly calling, it is clearly no ordinary sensual attachment that the composer had in mind. John Adams also considers Platonic love and a rejection of mere physicality in the first movement of his choral cantata Harmonium; later he gives voice to a longing for sensual love that is just out of reach. The central movement of Harmonium takes up a theme that Wagner also addressed in Parsifal, the inevitability of death and the contemplation of eternity. Unlike these two compositions, whose texts make clear their connection with such matters as love and faith, Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto is a piece of purely instrumental music and carries no programmatic concept or explicit narrative. Listeners might well sense a kind of rapture in its soaring melodic lines, and it is impossible to say that this quality is not an expression of love — if nothing else, a love of music and the joy a composer experiences in creating it. Sibelius worked long and hard on this concerto, and while doing so he could not be assured of the outcome of his labor. He could only have faith in his artistic instincts and hope for the composition’s success.

Richard Wagner Prelude to Act I from Parsifal
Born: Leipzig, May 22, 1813 Died: Venice, February 13, 1883 First performance: Parsifal received its first performance on July 26, 1882, at the Festival Theater in Bayreuth, Bavaria, conducted by Hermann Levi; however, the Act I Prelude had previously been given a private performance STL Symphony premiere: January 1, 1915, Max Zach conducting Most recent STL Symphony performance: April 8, 1990, Erich Leinsdorf conducting Scoring: Three flutes, three oboes and English horn, three clarinets, three bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, and strings Performance time: Approximately 13 minutes

In Context 1877 Thomas Edison records a human voice for the first time; Serbia joins Russia in war against Turkey; Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 premieres in Vienna During the 19th century, tales of knightly valor held enormous appeal for readers throughout Europe. Sir Walter Scott’s novels Ivanhoe and The Lady of the Lake, for example, enjoyed international popularity. Not surprisingly, such tales also inspired a number of composers, none more so than Richard Wagner, who Wagner evoked the world of the medieval romances in several of his operas. The first of these was Tannhäuser, written during the early 1840s. Wagner followed that work with Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal, each based on verse romances dating from the Middle Ages. Parsifal, Wagner’s last opera, tells a tale with strong religious overtones. It concerns a brotherhood of knights devoted to preserving the Holy Grail, the chalice which, according to legend, Christ used to serve wine to His disciples at the Last Supper. The once strong band of Grail knights has fallen victim to the dark magic of the sorcerer Klingsor. A young knight, Parsifal, arrives in their realm an innocent, ignorant of the world and even of his true name.  This very quality permits him to defeat Klingsor and restore the strength and spirit of the Grail knights. Among Wagner’s innovations was to bring a symphonic style of orchestral music to his operas. In his theatrical works, the orchestra provides an unusually rich and meaningful accompaniment to the declarations of the singers; moreover, substantial stretches of music for orchestra alone enrich all of his mature stage works. This is certainly true of Parsifal, which features orchestral episodes of uncommon beauty and profundity. The Music The prelude that precedes the opera’s first act establishes not only the prevailing mood of Parsifal but three musical themes that carry essential dramatic meaning. The first, presented at the very outset, is a subject associated throughout the opera with the Last Supper, a ceremony of particular importance to the Grail knights. Heard first as a spare and solemn melodic line played by the strings, it takes on glowing radiance and deeply expressive harmonies with further appearances.

Wagner

After considering this initial theme for some time, Wagner pauses, then introduces a new idea, a brief bit of hymn-like melody marked by a signal figure of four notes ascending scale-wise. Stated first by the brass and immediately echoed by woodwinds, this is not an original invention but an ecclesiastic melody known as the “Dresden Amen.” In Parsifal, the “Dresden Amen” melody is consistently associated with the idea of the Holy Grail. Wagner follows up the initial statement of the “Dresden Amen” theme with a third idea, given out in stentorian tones by the trombones. In a letter to his patron, King Ludwig of Bavaria, the composer identified this subject as signifying faith. And with these three themes established, Wagner goes on to expand them into a musical meditation on, as he also told King Ludwig, “love, faith, hope.”

Jean Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47
Born: Hämeenlinna, Finland, on December 8, 1865 Died: Järvenpää, Finland, on September 20, 1957 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: September 23, 2007, Vadim Repin was soloist, with David Robertson conducting Scoring: Solo violin and an orchestra of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, and strings Performance time: Approximately 31 minutes

In Context 1903-05 Trans-Siberian railroad completed; Russia and Japan go to war; Monet paints Water Lilies Jean Sibelius was and, to a great extent, remains the musical voice of Finland. More than his homeland’s first major composer, Sibelius managed to express something essential about the Finnish people, their romantic spirit, their deep affinity with their forests, snow-covered fields, and folklore. When one considers that Sibelius’s output consists Sibelius chiefly of orchestral music, it seems surprising that he composed only one concerto. What is not surprising is that this singular piece features the violin. Sibelius himself was a more than competent violinist. Indeed, his youthful ambition was to become a virtuoso performer on the instrument. Only after years of practice and a painful realization that he would not have a career as a professional soloist did he turn to composition. Like many of Sibelius’s works, the Violin Concerto did not come easily into the world. The composer wrote an initial version of the piece in 1903, but after conducting the music with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in February of the following year, he pronounced himself dissatisfied

Sibelius

and withdrew the score for revision. Not until October 1905, when it was played in Berlin under the direction of Richard Strauss, did the concerto assume its definitive form. Although it has emerged as one of the most popular works of its kind, this concerto once drew harsh criticism from unsympathetic commentators. “Sentimental” used to be a frequently applied epithet, especially during the 1920s and ’30s, when Sibelius’s music drew fire in the polemical battles between advocates of modernism and those clinging to the Romanticism of the previous century. Even then, however, so discriminating an observer as the English conductor and writer Donald Francis Tovey championed the work. After acknowledging the special status of the classic concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, Tovey declared: “But in the easier and looser concerto forms invented by Mendelssohn and Schumann I have not met with a more original, a more masterly, and a more exhilarating work than the Sibelius Violin Concerto.” The Music As do most latterday concertos, this one dispenses with the convention of the orchestral exposition, leaving the presentation of the work’s initial subject to the solo instrument. More unusually, each of the first movement’s two themes—a long, rhapsodic idea sung by the violin and a secondary subject introduced by the orchestra—conclude with cadenza passages for the solo instrument. A third theme, somewhat like a folk song, presently leads to a brief development passage that culminates in a still more extended cadenza. This is no sooner concluded than Sibelius begins his recapitulation of the three themes. (The first reappears not in the solo violin but in the bassoon, at least initially.) In the second movement, Sibelius builds the main melody into a great lyrical outpouring.  The finale begins with timpani and basses establishing a rhythmic figure whose heavyfooted character prompted the aforementioned Professor Tovey to describe the ensuing music as “a polonaise for polar bears.” Sibelius thought it a different kind of dance. Acknowledging the somewhat sinister character of the theme played by the solo violin over the galumphing accompaniment, he called the movement a “danse macabre.” However one characterizes it, this initial idea soon is countered by a rhythmically lively second subject, and Sibelius juxtaposes and develops the two themes in a loose rondo format.

John Adams Harmonium
Born: Worcester, Massachusetts, February 15, 1947 Now resides: Berkeley, California First performance: April 15, 1981, in San Francisco; Edo De Waart conducted the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus STL Symphony premiere: February 11, 1984, with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, Thomas Peck, director, and Leonard Slatkin conducting Most recent STL Symphony performance: March 30, 1984, the Symphony and Chorus performed the New York premiere of Harmonium at Carnegie Hall Scoring: Mixed chorus and an orchestra of four flutes and three piccolos, three oboes, three clarinets and bass clarinet, three bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, four trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani and other percussion, celesta, piano, and synthesizer, harp, and strings Performance time: Approximately 33 minutes

In Context 1980-81 Ronald Reagan sworn in as President of the United States; Americans held hostage at U.S. Embassy in Tehran released after 444 days captivity; Pope John Paul II shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square The music of John Adams has become familiar to those who regularly attend St. Louis Symphony concerts. During the past dozen years, and especially under David Robertson’s tenure as Music Director, the orchestra has performed more than a few of Adams’s compositions. These John Adams include the oratorios El Niño and On the Transmigration of Souls; the piano concerto Century Rolls; and the orchestral pieces Doctor Atomic Symphony, Harmonielehre, Naive and Sentimental Music, Slonimsky’s Earbox, and The Dharma at Big Sur. The Symphony’s commitment to Adams’s music is in keeping with its author’s stature as the pre-eminent American composer of recent years. During the past three decades and more, Adams has produced a substantial and varied body of work that has won over many listeners, even those who normally approach new music with some skepticism. Colorful, energetic, and accessible in the best sense of that term, Adams’s music draws on the virtues of different traditions: the expansive sonic architecture of the Romantic masters, the harmonic sophistication of 20th-century composers, the rhythmic drive and momentum of American popular music, the shimmering textures of the so-called “minimalist” school, and the delight in new discoveries that has always characterized the American avant-garde. In addition to his concert music, Adams has written four large-scale and highly regarded operas (Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, Doctor Atomic, and A Flowering Tree), as well as several shorter theater pieces and works for small ensembles. These compositions have brought Adams the prestigious Grawemeyer Award, a Pulitzer Prize, and the distinction of being the most frequently performed living American composer. He has also been active as a conductor, having appeared as guest conductor with many of this country’s major orchestras.

deborah o’grady

Adams

Written for the San Francisco Symphony while serving as composerin-residence with that organization, Harmonium is a setting for chorus and orchestra of three poems, one by John Donne, the other two by Emily Dickinson. Around 1980, when he composed this work, Adams was investigating the Minimalist style developed by such musicians as Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass. Adams adopted the Minimalist technique of layering brief motifs to create a pulsating, harmonically static musical surface that changes slowly and incrementally over time. His innovation was to use this idiom for large-scale concert pieces entailing a more wide and varied range of expression than the Minimalist pioneers had managed. The characteristic palpitating texture of classic Minimalist music provided an aural image that guided the writing of Harmonium. “That image,” Adams explains, “was of human voices—many of them—riding upon waves of rippling sound.” The Music The first movement of the piece sets Donne’s poem “Negative Love.” Adams notes that this work considers different kinds of love, ascending, as it were, from the base to the sublime. The composer therefore sought to trace a comparable ascent musically, starting with a single pulsating tone that expands through the accumulation of further tones. Eventually the music grows into what Adams describes as “a huge, calmly rippling current of sound that takes on energy and mass until it finally crests on an immense cataract of sound some ten minutes later.” Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” provides the text for the slow central movement of Harmonium. This portion of the piece begins with a quiet tolling in the orchestra and modal, chant-like phrases for the voices, establishing an elegiac atmosphere that Adams maintains over the course of the movement. A transition passage of mounting energy leads to the finale, which sets a Dickinson poem of very different character. “Wild Nights” presents the poet’s ecstatic side, her longing to lose herself in passion and oblivion. Adams’s music is, at the start, no less unbridled, but the final part of the movement hints at the calm of “a heart in port,” one that is “Done with the compass,/ Done with the chart.”
Program notes © 2012 by Paul Schiavo

Harmonium Texts
Negative Love
BY JOHN DONNE

I never stoop’d so low, as they Which on an eye, cheek, lip can prey. Seldom to them, which soar no higher Than virtue or the mind to admire. For sense, and understanding may Know what gives fuel to their fire: My love, though silly, is more brave, For may I miss, when’er I crave, If I know yet, what I would have. If that be simply perfectest Which can by no way be express’d But Negatives, my love is so. To All, which all love, I say no. If any who deciphers best, What we know not, our selves, can know, Let him teach me that nothing; this As yet my ease and comfort is, Though I speed not, I cannot miss.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death
BY EMILY DICKINSON

Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. We slowly drove, he knew no haste, And I put away My labor, and my leisure too, For his civility. We passed the school where children played At wrestling in a ring; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun. We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground: The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound. Since then ‘tis centuries; but each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses’ heads Were toward eternity.

Wild Nights

BY EMILY DICKINSON

Wild Nights–Wild Nights! Were I with thee Wild Nights should be Our Luxury! Futile–the winds– To a Heart in port– Done with the Compass– Done with the Chart! Rowing in Eden– Ah, the sea! Might I but moor–Tonight– In thee!

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