Hartford Symphony Orchestra presents Saint-Saëns & Brahms March 12-15
Concerts feature acclaimed father-son duo, Gerard Schwarz and Julian Schwarz
Welcome the arrival of spring with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra! The HSO will present Saint-Saëns & Brahms as the sixth concert of its 2014-2015 Masterworks Series on Thursday, March 12 through Sunday, March 15 in the Belding Theater at The Bushnell in Hartford. The concerts will feature internationally-renowned conductor Gerard Schwarz and his son, accomplished cellist Julian Schwarz. The program will include Saint-Saëns’ energetic and soaring Concerto No. 1 for Violoncello in A minor, Op. 33, Brahms’ sunny Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73, and the world premiere of an original composition by Maestro Schwarz. The 2014-2015 Masterworks Series is sponsored by MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation.
About the Program
Much of the history of 19th-century music could be written in the terms of Beethoven’s influence. Not the least of his compositional legacies was the process of total musical structure. Most of the important Romantic composers followed the lead of Beethoven in finding such integrated structures for at least some of their large, symphonic works, and Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 1 for Violoncello in A minor, Op. 33 is one such example.
It begins with an impetuous theme in rushing triplets for the soloist that recurs throughout the piece like a supporting pillar. A contrasting, lyrical second theme for the cello is accompanied by a sedate, chordal accompaniment for the string choir. The vibrant motion of the opening theme soon returns and encourages the entire ensemble to join in a developmental discussion. The lyrical theme is heard again, this time as a transition to the Concerto’s central portion, a slow movement with the sweet spirit of a delicate minuet embroidered with a simple, flowing descant from the soloist. The mood of this quiet, little dance is broken by a resumption of the rushing triplet theme acting as a link to the Concerto’s last large division. After a brief pause, the finale-like section begins with the cellist’s introduction of a gently syncopated theme. The music builds on this theme, and adds another in the cello’s sonorous, low register as it calls forth increasingly brilliant pyrotechnics from the soloist. One final time, the rushing triplet theme returns, to mark the beginning of the coda and launch the Concerto on its invigorating dash to the end.
Its effortless technique, rich orchestral writing and surety of emotional effect make Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73 a splendid sequel to his First Symphony. The premiere audience had every expectation of hearing a grand, portentous statement similar in tone to the First Symphony, but was treated instead to the composer’s most gentle and sun-dappled music. After their initial befuddlement had passed, they warmed to the occasion as the performance progressed, and such was their enthusiasm at the end that they demanded an encore of the third movement. Brahms himself allowed, “[The work] sounded so merry and tender, as though it were especially written for a newly wedded couple.” Early listeners heard in it “a glimpse of Nature, a spring day amid soft mosses, springing woods, birds’ notes, and the bloom of flowers.” Richard Specht, the composer’s biographer, found it “suffused with the sunshine and warm winds playing on the waters.” Comparisons with Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony were inevitable, though Brahms never revealed any specific programmatic intention rippling among these notes. Despite its exploration of a new, gentler world of emotions, the work displays again the peerless technical mastery that marked the First Symphony.
Program notes for Maestro Schwarz’s new composition are not available at the time of this press release.
About Gerard Schwarz
Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalog of recordings, conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra and the Eastern Music Festival and is Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony. Mr. Schwarz’s latest project, The All-Star Orchestra, features a handpicked ensemble of star players from America’s leading orchestras coming together for an eight episode American Public Television series designed to encourage a greater understanding and enjoyment of classical music. The series has been awarded two Emmys and an ASCAP Award and is now released by Naxos on DVD.
His considerable discography of nearly 350 showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s greatest orchestras including Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Tokyo Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony and Seattle Symphony among others.
Schwarz began his professional career as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and has held leadership positions with Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony. As a guest conductor of both opera and symphony, he has worked with many of the world’s finest orchestras and opera companies.
Schwarz, a renowned interpreter of 19th century German, Austrian and Russian repertoire, in addition to his noted work with contemporary American composers, recently completed his final season as music director of the Seattle Symphony in 2011 after an acclaimed 26 years a period of dramatic artistic growth for the ensemble.
In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including Emmy Awards, GRAMMY nominations, ASCAP Awards and the Ditson Conductor’s Award. He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. The City of Seattle recognized his outstanding achievements by naming the street alongside the Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place.”
About Julian Schwarz
Born in Seattle into a musical family, cellist Julian Schwarz is already being ranked among the finest cellists of the 21st century. In August 2013, he was awarded first prize in the professional cello division of the inaugural Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong.
Mr. Schwarz made his orchestral debut at the age of 11 playing the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1 with the Seattle Symphony and his father, Gerard Schwarz, on the podium. Since then, he has appeared with the Seattle, San Diego, Puerto Rico, Columbus (OH), Syracuse, Virginia, Sarasota, Grand Rapids, Omaha, Wichita and Modesto symphonies among others, and performed recitals at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico and in Palm Springs.
An avid chamber musician, Julian Schwarz has performed at the Aspen, Interlochen, Eastern, California Summer and Encore music festivals. He has been the “Featured Young Artist” at both the Seattle Chamber Music Festival and the Cape Cod Music Festival and attended and performed at the prestigious Verbier Festival in Switzerland. He performed the Brahms Double at the Eastern Music Festival and the Bellingham Festival of Music in summer 2011 and returned to the Eastern Music in summer 2013 to play the premiere of a new concerto by Richard Danielpour, A Prayer For Our Time.
Julian Schwarz started piano lessons at the age of five and began his cello studies the following year with the late David Tonkonogui; subsequent teachers include Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary and Ronald Leonard. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in New York City in May 2014 where he studied with Joel Krosnick.
Hartford Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Series
SAINT-SAËNS & BRAHMS
Thursday – Sunday, March 12-15, 2015
Belding Theater at The Bushnell
Thursday 7:30pm?Friday & Saturday 8pm?Sunday 3pm
Tickets starting at $38.50; $10.00 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org
Gerard Schwarz conductor
Julian Schwarz cello
Schwarz World Premiere/Original Competition
Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 1 for Violoncello in A minor, Op. 33
Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73
Saint-Saëns energetic and soaring cello Concerto No. 1 and Brahms’ sunny Symphony No. 2 welcome the arrival of spring and an acclaimed father-son duo. Internationally-renowned conductor Gerard Schwarz leads the HSO and his son, accomplished cellist Julian Schwarz, in this program that also includes the premiere of the Maestro’s original composition for the HSO.
Season Sponsor: Travelers
Masterworks Series Sponsors:
MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation
HSO programs are funded in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Upcoming HSO Concerts
Hartford Symphony Orchestra POPS! Series
POPS! SERIES: PLAYING WITH FOOD 3!
Saturday, March 21, 2015 ? 7:30 p.m.
Mortensen Hall ? The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Ticket Information: Tickets range in price from $20-$67.50. Student tickets are $10 and $25 tickets are available for patrons age 40 and under. To purchase tickets or for more information, please call (860) 987-5900 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.
Playing With Food is back – this time, with a celebrity twist! Hartford Symphony Orchestra has cooked up a delicious event with Fabio Viviani (Fan Favorite on Bravo’s “Top Chef”), as well as chefs from m&m bistro at the Hilton Hartford, VIVO Seasonal Trattoria at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, and the Connecticut Convention Center. Maestra Kuan has prepared a fabulous menu of music inspired by our guest chefs’ creative culinary masterpieces.