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NAVO CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

SHAH SADIKOV - conductor

Steven Spooner, piano

Véronique Mathieu, violin

GUSTAV MAHLER

Adagietto (from Symphony No. 5)

ALFRED SCHNITTKE

Concerto for Piano and Strings (1979)

Steven Spooner, piano 

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA

Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas

(The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires)   

/arr. by L. Desyatnikov

Véronique Mathieu, violin 

Pre-concert talk: 30 min before the concert

with Steven Spooner,  Véronique Mathieu

and Shah Sadikov 

“Anything added to Steven Spooner’s dazzling, blurry-handed sweeps of the entire piano would have been dizzying.”

“Canadian violinist Véronique Mathieu has positive mojo in spades: chops to burn, rock solid musicianship, solo and concerto gigs around the world and a doctorate in music. ”

PROGRAM GUIDE 

Adagietto

Adagietto – 4th Movement from Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.5

 

The fourth movement may be Mahler's most famous composition and is the most frequently performed of his works. The British premiere of Symphony No. 5 came 36 years after that of the Adagietto, conducted by Henry Wood at a Proms concert in 1909. It is said to represent Mahler's love song to his wife Alma. According to a letter she wrote to Willem Mengelberg, the composer left a small poem:

"Wie ich Dich liebe, Du meine Sonne,
ich kann mit Worten Dir's nicht sagen.
Nur meine Sehnsucht kann ich Dir klagen
und meine Liebe, meine Wonne!"

 

(How much I love you, you my sun,
I cannot tell you that with words.
I can only lament to you my longing
and my love, my bliss!)

It lasts for approximately 10 minutes, and Mahler's instruction is Sehr langsam (very slowly). 

 

Leonard Bernstein conducted it during the funeral Mass for Robert F. Kennedy at St. Patrick's CathedralManhattan, on 8 June 1968,[5] and he also briefly discusses this section along with the opening bars of the second movement in his Charles Eliot Norton lectures from 1973.

It was used in the 1971 Luchino Visconti film Death in Venice. The Adagietto has been used by figure skaters. 

Ekaterina Gordeeva commemorated her deceased husband, 

Sergei Grinkov, at the 1996 "Celebration of a Life". Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, from Canada,performed their free dance at both the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2010 World Championships, winning the gold medal at both events.

It was used during a scene in the 1992 film, Lorenzo's Oil. In Emmerdale in 2003, The Adagietto was used in Chris Tate's final scene. In 2016, The Adagietto was also used in a Gucci perfume add, starring Jared Leto. It was also used on January 10, 2017 in the opening scene of "Broken Promises", the ninth episode of Season 4 of the ABC television show Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

 

Mahler's composing cottage in Maiernigg Mahler wrote his fifth symphony during the summers of 1901 and 1902. In February 1901 Mahler had suffered a sudden major 

hemorrhage and his doctor later told him that he had come within an hour of bleeding to death. The composer spent quite a while recuperating. He moved into his own lakeside villa in the southern Austrian province of Carinthia in June 1901. Mahler was delighted with his newfound status as the owner of a grand villa. According to friends, he could hardly believe how far he had come from his humble beginnings. He was director of the Vienna Court Opera and the principal conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic. His own music was also starting to be successful. Later in 1901 he met Alma Schindler and by the time he returned to his summer villa in summer 1902, they were married and she was expecting their first child.

Symphonies Nos. 5, 6 and 7, which all belong to this period, have much in common and are markedly different from the first four, which all have strong links to vocal music. The middle symphonies, by contrast, are pure orchestral works and are, by Mahler’s standards, taut and lean.

Counterpoint also becomes a more important element in Mahler’s music from Symphony No. 5 onwards. The ability to write good counterpoint was highly cherished by Baroque 

composers and Johann Sebastian Bach is regarded as the greatest composer of contrapuntal music. Bach played an important part in Mahler's musical life at this time. He subscribed to the edition of Bach's collected works that was being published at the turn of the century, and later conducted and arranged works by Bach for performance. Mahler's renewed interest in counterpoint can best be heard in the second, third and fifth movements of this symphony.

Concerto for Piano and Strings 

Alfred Schnittke wrote his Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra in one extended movement. It begins with a long, slow introduction from the piano. When the strings enter, the piano joins them to play various fragments of melody. These fragments are repeated and elaborated upon, and then seem to drop out of sight. This portion of the work includes a passage that resembles a Russian Orthodox hymn and a passage reminiscent of Prokofiev. The work comes to a quasi-climax, but immediately after the massed fortissimo there follows only silence. After this false climax, the piano has a cadenza reminiscent of the introduction, but which also includes echoes of the earlier music. The music moves to a frenzied climax again, and this time the climax is a true one. After it ends, however, the music becomes slower and bleaker. This section features a lamenting string quartet with occasional virtuoso figurations from the piano. The work ends in an ambiguous mood, reminiscent of what has come before, but also suggestive that there is hope for what comes after. Schnittke's piano writing is idiomatic and virtuosic, and much of the writing for the strings has a tonal character, making the Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra one of Schnittke's more accessible works. It is recommended for anyone wanting an introduction to this unique composer.

Description by Andrew Lindemann Malone

Estaciones Porteñas

The Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, also known as the Estaciones Porteñas or The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, are a set of four tango compositions written by Ástor Piazzolla, which were originally conceived and treated as different compositions rather than one suite, although Piazzolla performed them together from time to time. The pieces were scored for his quintet of violin (viola), piano, electric guitar, double bass and bandoneón. By giving the adjective porteño, referring to those born in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital city, Piazzolla gives an impression of the four seasons in Buenos Aires.

The Seasons

  1. Verano Porteño (Buenos Aires Summer)
    written in 1965, originally as incidental music for the play 'Melenita de Oro' by Alberto Rodríguez Muñoz.

  2. Otoño Porteño (Buenos Aires Autumn)
    written in 1969.

  3. Primavera Porteña (Buenos Aires Spring)
    written in 1970, contains counterpoint.

  4. Invierno Porteño (Buenos Aires Winter)
    written in 1970.

In 1996-1998, the Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov made a new arrangement of the above four pieces with more obvious link between Vivaldi and Piazzolla, by converting each of pieces into three-section pieces, and re-arranging for solo violin and string orchestra. In each piece he included several quotations from original Vivaldi's work but due to seasons being inverted between northern and southern hemispheres, thus, for example, Verano Porteño had added elements of L'inverno (Winter) of Vivaldi.