Masters of Europe

October 15 & 16 2016

The Temple Hill Symphony Orchestra presents Masters of Europe, including works by:

Grieg Peer Gynt Suite No 1 Op. 46 *3222 4231 tmp+2 str

Grieg was born in Bergen, Norway on June 15, 1843 and died there on Sept. 4, 1907. He is counted among Norway’s most favored sons. The Peer Gynt Suite was written as incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s five-act play, written in verse, about the legendary exploits of the Norwegian Folk Hero, Peer Gynt. The music begins expressing the tranquil morning life of a small Norwegian village where Peer Gynt, a charming but mischievous and selfish young man wants to see the world and seek his fortune. In the second movement, Peer’s Mother, Åse, dies, and Peer is rebuffed by the parents of beautiful Solveig, the love of his life. In the third movement, he travels to exotic places and in Arabia encounters the temptress, Anitra, who not only steals his money but also his horse! Finally, Peer wanders deep into a mountain cave where he discovers a kingdom of trolls ruled by the Mountain King. He flees for his life, escapes and returns to his beginnings and finds Solveig, who still loves him and saves him from “nothingness,” as he is judged too selfish for heaven, but not bad enough for hell.

Sibelius Violin concerto in d min Op. 47 (1st movement) 2222 4230 tmp str Allegro Moderato

Introducing Joseph Wong, Violin

Jean Sibelius was born in Finland on December 8, 1865. Died: Sept. 20, 1957 near Helsinki. Sibelius completed the Violin Concerto in 1905 and his final revised edition was performed in Berlin, with Richard Strauss conducting and the solo violin played by the concertmaster, Karel Halíř. Sibelius had intentions of playing the concerto himself, but had troubled times in Helsinki and was known for drinking and procrastinating. Finally, he was disappointed in his own shortcomings as a violinist. The concerto is known as a “virtuoso” concerto and was beyond the skills of Sibelius. He considered the opening of the concerto “a marvelous idea” and wrote so to his wife, Aino. The concerto is considered “masterful” and a tribute to the composing abilities and sensitivities of Sibelius. The concerto was performed in 2014 with the San Francisco Symphony and is regularly played by virtuoso violinists throughout the classical music world.

Chopin Piano concerto No 1 in e minor Op. 11(first 2mvmt) 2222 4210 tmp strAllegro Maestoso Romanze

Featuring: Janette Beverley, piano

Chopin was born near Warsaw, in 1810. He died, 1849, in Paris, France. The failed Polish rebellion against Russia prevented him from returning to his homeland. He was a child prodigy, performing in public from age 10. His first Piano Concerto was completed as he turned 20, just shortly before departing for Paris to perform a series of concerts. He was well received in France as well as Germany, gaining respect and friendship from musicians such as Liszt, Rossini, Berlioz and Mendelssohn. A Paris review called him the “Ariel of the Piano” as his style was lyrical, sensitive and less “bombastic” than some popular modes of the time. He completed some 230 compositions for piano, which established, by all accounts, the piano as a solo instrument. He died at age 39 in Paris and at his request his heart was removed from his body and carried back to Warsaw by his sister, where it is entombed in a public shrine. The Polish people consider him a national hero. He said of the Romanze of the first concerto: “It is a kind of reverie in the moonlight on a beautiful spring evening.”

Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A Major Op. 92 2222 2200 tmp str

Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, 1770 and died in Vienna, Austria, 1827. His Seventh Symphony was presented in Vienna, Dec. 8, 1813 at a premiere honoring Austrian and Bavarian soldiers who won the battle of Hanau against Napoleon. Beethoven was nearly deaf at the time, but the orchestra consisted of the most famous and skilled musicians of Vienna, playing with more regard to the music than to Beethoven’s conducting. The premiere was a success, with encores and standing ovations. The symphony is in four movements with a performance time of about 38 minutes. The first movement, Poco sostenuto and Vivace, sketches the grand plan of the entire piece and introduces the musicians and listeners to the profound understanding of human emotions that was an inherent core of Beethoven’s musical genius. His technical execution of all aspects of musical theory, then and now, stands true. The second movement, Allegretto, was so well received that the audience demanded a repeat of the entire movement. In the third and fourth movements, Presto and Allegro con brio, tension returns with understatement and then a driving force suggesting ominous events seeming to change to better possibilities. There is a steadfast rhythm, perhaps the marching of usurpers, but the Allegro con brio bursts forth with a fury overcoming doubt and defeat as Beethoven and his Seventh Symphony triumph.

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