2017-18 Pops Series

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2017-18 Pops Series


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein - September 23

Broadway star Lisa Vroman takes the stage in a special Richard Rodgers tribute for the Philharmonic’s opening night of the 17-18 Pops series.  With over 2000 performances as Christine in Phantom of the Opera under her belt, Lisa brings her incredible craftsmanship and loving admiration for the Golden Age of Broadway to the Warner stage.  With music from King and I, Sound of Music, Carousel, Oklahoma, and other greats, our opening Pops concert will delight with some of the most memorable and beloved music from the the Broadway stage.  Look for local favorites to make surprise cameos in this concert, as well.

All that Jazz with Chris Brubeck - October 28

There are few names in the jazz world that instantly evoke a special sound or even a tune in your ear, and Brubeck is one such name.  With a musical heritage unmatched, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet draw on their famous father’s songbook in hits such as Take Five and Rondo Alla Turka, while also traversing a rich history of jazz in this special concert co-presented by Jazz Erie.  Just imagine your favorite jazz standards from the past century tailored for the unique stylings of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, and you’ll have a good idea of the delights in store on this special night.     

Come Home for the Holidays - December 2

Home for the Holidays.  It’s a concert that has become a treasured Erie tradition, drawing on our own fantastic local talent and of course featuring the tunes and arrangements you love to hear at this time of year from the Erie Philharmonic.  We will again perform a one-act Saturday matinee, designed for families (and featuring a jolly old elf clad in red!), and a longer two-act version for Saturday evening, featuring the voices of the Erie Philharmonic Chorus.  This December, you will not want to miss the triumphant return of local star Daniel Cabanillas, as he sings the season’s treasures and lends his warm, sparkling tenor voice to the Philharmonic’s most popular annual tradition.  Bring your whole family to celebrate the sounds of the season, as we take you Home for the Holidays at the Warner Theatre. 

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II - February 10-11

It’s no secret where most of us heard our first taste of classic symphonic music.  It was through the inventive, madcap adventures of Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes!  In February, we bring an amazing presentation of live film, coordinating the Erie Philharmonic playing in real-time to the original, beloved cartoons that brought us our first cinematic and musical adventures.  Who can forget the classic chase scenes, the surprise scares, the hilarious misadventures of Bugs and his friends?  We expect these concerts sell-out quickly, so get your tickets early for either of two performances, Saturday evening or a Sunday matinee.  It’s a perfect way to introduce your family to the joy of great music, in a fun, exciting way that everyone can enjoy.

TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

(s17)

Greatest Fantasy Hits - March 24

Through video games, role-playing games, and the recent success of series such as Highlander, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings, music from the world of fantasy has entered the public arena in a way like never before.  With scores from Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Spamalot, and Excalibur, our tribute concert to the genre’s most popular hits will be a dramatic evening of symphonic music that can bring the full color and power of the Erie Philharmonic to the very edge of the stage.  Reserve your spot today for this Pops finale concert which will surely transport you to another time and place, filled with heraldry, bravery, wizardry, and romance! 



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2017-18 Symphonic Series

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2017-18 Symphonic Series


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


October 7 - Beethoven's Triple

We open our season with three brilliant B’s.  Samuel Barber’s Overture to the School for Scandal is the brash utterance of a young American composer looking to make his mark.  Inspired by the witty banter and chatter of Sheridan’s play, Scandal soars with remarkable melodies and fanciful flights of musical whimsy.  We then dive back into our four-year celebration of the music of Beethoven, inviting Erie favorite violinist Elena Urioste with two of her favorite collaborative partners, pianist Michael Brown and cellist Nick Canellakis.  Beethoven’s Triple Concerto is a compositional tour-de-force, deftly integrating the sound of these three solo instruments into a concerto perfectly suited to an opening night celebration.  Brahms waited until his 34th year to reveal his staggering First Symphony; he labored long to bring the work into life.  Intimidated by the enormous mountain Beethoven had already scaled with his nine symphonies, Brahms admitted that he felt the pressure before making his own contribution to the form.  Consequently, we have a brilliant combination of technical mastery coupled with depth of thought and emotion in one towering, triumphant symphony.

November 4 - Zarathustra Speaks

This evening of musical drama opens with an evocation of ancient brotherhood in Estonian Arvo Pärt’s Fratres.  Set for strings, claves, and a single bass drum, Fratres emerges as a striking example of how rich and spiritual music can evolve out of humble ingredients.  Young Armenian and former Tchaikovsky Competition-wining cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan makes his Erie Philharmonic debut with Shostakovich’s searing Cello Concerto No. 1.  We finish with Also Sprach Zarathustra; from those famous first few bars, a rumble of an organ leads to a triumphant blast of the brass.  Strauss’ infamous tone poem has appeared in numerous commercials and movie soundtracks, perhaps most notably featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  This music will erupt in sonic splendor as the Erie Philharmonic performs this score laden with orchestral majesty and invention.

Scheherazade - January 27

Inspired by tales and impressions of the sea, our January program begins with English composer Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes.  Originally designed to be performed between the acts of his opera Peter Grimes, this music churls and sprays with tempestuous force and holds its own as a stand-alone work.  Then Spanish guitar virtuoso Pablo Villegas makes his Erie Philharmonic debut in the music of one of the previous century’s premier composers for the acoustic guitar.  Steeped in rich Spanish musical tradition, Rodrigo’s Fantasia par un gentilhombre is an imaginative and richly-woven musical tale that could come from no other part of the world.  To finish this evening of musical storytelling, we present Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous Scheherazade.  Inspired by tales from the Arabian Nights, the famous Sultana is represented by a solo violin, and she avoids execution at the hands of her vengeful husband by weaving tales of infinite color and imagination.  Our own concertmaster Ken Johnston will take the virtuosic solo violin role, as the members of the Philharmonic bring Rimsky-Korsakov’s score to life in technicolor extravagance.

The Brilliance of Beethoven - March 10-11

Beethoven 4/4.  We are now well into our four-season exploration of what makes Beethoven such a musical giant, and we look forward to a major celebration of his life and works in honor of his birthday in 2020.  Along our journey, this March performance takes us through two brilliant contributions to the piano literature: his Concerto No. 4 and the Choral Fantasy.  Beloved northwest Pennsylvania piano virtuoso Alec Chien takes the solo spotlight in both works.  The Fourth Concerto marks a significant point in Beethoven’s creative life, where the heroic nature of his style is perfectly matched with an introspective and expressive voice.  The Choral Fantasy serves as a preamble of sorts: using a full chorus, soloists, and a solo piano, this work points towards how Beethoven would amass similar forces to change the symphony forever in his ‘Ode to Joy.’  Between these two works, we celebrate the birthday of the great American composer Leonard Bernstein.  Commissioned in 1965, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms is quintessentially Bernstein: richly melodic and striking in its catchy rhythms, all in the service of the evocative prayer-poetry of Kind David from the Book of Psalms. 

Simone Dinnerstein Returns - April 7

We will open our season finale concert with Sergei Prokofiev’s witty and spirited romp through the 18th century (refracted through decidedly 20th Century lenses) in his Classical Symphony.  Then Erie favorite Simone Dinnerstein returns to perform one of her specialties – the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Simone will pair one of his lively keyboard concertos with a brand new work, co-commissioned by the Erie Philharmonic, by American icon Philip Glass.  Designed for the same orchestral forces as the Bach, Glass’ new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is destined to become an important contribution to the genre.  Our evening and 17-18 season comes to a stunning close with Ravel’s music from his ballet Daphnis et Chloé.  In two suites extracted from the full ballet, Ravel chose the most sumptuous and sensuous music from his iconic ballet to feature the sheer power and sweep of an orchestra in full bloom.



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Live from Studio Q - Jenny Oaks Baker

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Live from Studio Q - Jenny Oaks Baker

Live in the studio with violinist Jenny Oaks Baker and host Brian Hannah - what a fun afternoon of music and stories!

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Disney, Mathematics and John Adams

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Disney, Mathematics and John Adams


From April 1 soloist Jenny Oaks Baker


I am very excited to come back to Erie to perform! The audiences are so warm and welcoming and performing with Maestro Meyer is always a treat! I am also thrilled to be performing this Disney program! I love music that is accessible and universal, and I think that we have put together a program that will be appreciated by both young and old! 

I have much appreciation for those parents and grandparents who introduce their children and grandchildren to the Arts and help foster within the the next generation an appreciation for them.  I learned to play the violin as a four year old, sitting on my mother's lap.  As I sat on her lap, my mother played my notes on the piano but she taught me more than just the notes. She taught me to love music, the arts and the creative process.  She taught me exactness and honor as she required that each mistake be carefully corrected. She taught me about beauty of sound and harmony in life.  She showed me how music shared can develop, enhance and solidify relationships.  My mother and I were extremely close, and this bond was largely fostered through the many hours we spent together as she patiently practiced and performed with me.  My mother died of cancer when I was 23, but she lives on through her gift of music to me.  And now I am trying to foster this same love of music with my own four children.  Here is a link to our most recent music video: http://youtu.be/fA3XjrgrD2E. Music has brought our family closer together, and I am so grateful for the way it has blessed our lives! 

John Adams, second President of the United States stated: " I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.  My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."  John Adams knew how important the Arts are to humanity and was willing to dedicate his life to politics and war so that his posterity would have the privilege of studying and enjoying music and the arts.  How much more of a priority it should be to us living in these in incredibly chaotic modern times, to give our children and grandchildren all the emotional, mental, social and intellectual benefits of a musical appreciation and education.  

I look so forward to performing all my Disney favorites for the audience in Erie! And I hope that this concert helps engender an even deeper love of music in many young and old hearts! 

~ Jenny Oaks Baker



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Musical Memories

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Musical Memories


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


Did you ever have a musical experience that stayed with you, even years after it happened?  Perhaps it was a great concert you attended that really made an impact on you.  Maybe it was a performance in which you participated – one that led you to ignite a passion for a particular instrument or composer.  One of the great pleasures of leading the Erie Philharmonic is that I get the opportunity to relive some of those memorable moments in my own musical journey. 

Edward Elgar, composer

This finale concert for our 16-17 Symphonic Season includes three such works for me.  The first is a brilliantly orchestrated version of J.S. Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in c minor.  I distinctly remember as an Assistant Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony looking for just the right piece to fit into my Young People’s Concert called ‘Musicalympics.’  The piece needed to prominently feature a fugue.  The whole concept was to teach the idea of a fugue subject and how it must be shared among the instrumental groups.  I proposed that the fugue’s subject, or recognizable first few notes, was in essence a musical baton that needed to be handed to the next group in order for the piece to continue, much like a baton is passed in an Olympic relay race.  I struggled to find just the right piece that was brief enough for a young audience, but clear enough that the students could easily follow this fugue subject as it was tossed among the orchestra.   Edward Elgar (one of my favorite composers) provided just the right piece.  He brought this very rich and compact fugue to life in a densely-packed reworking of a piece originally written for the pipe organ.  It’s brilliant and colorful, and sounds just as much like Elgar as it does Bach, and for that I deeply admire the piece.

As for Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, it is a work I had the pleasure of singing under the baton of my college mentor, Dr. William Osborne at Denison University as an undergraduate.  I found the piece to be dramatic, stormy, and serious.  It deftly weaves war poetry of Walt Whitman with phrases from the Latin rite of the Mass, and it is as touching as it is despondent.  Ultimately a call for peace, Dona Nobis Pacem delves into what we must endure in order achieve peace.  I am thrilled to be able to to lead this work from the podium, and work again the the Erie Philharmonic Chorus, Slippery Rock University Choir, and soloists from the Pittsburgh Opera.

The final work on the program is Saint-Saëns’ Third Symphony.  It’s nicknamed ‘Organ’ for its use of that instrument in the work.  It serves as a means to extend the enormous sound Saint-Saëns can draw from the orchestra, and it of course makes a huge impact on anyone who is fortunate enough to hear a live performance.  For me, it was the first work I conducted at the Aspen Music Festival as a fully-fledged ‘professional’ conductor.  It was the work my mentor David Zinman chose for me to make my debut at that festival after two years as an assistant conductor and student.  I had the great fortune of leading this work with an organ specifically tuned for the large tent at the festival, which to this day is still ringing in my ears! 

I hope you will enjoy this musical trip back into my own history as a performer and artist, and help us celebrate the finale to another wonderful season with the Erie Philharmonic.



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Pops Violin?

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Pops Violin?


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


A pops violinist?!?  It’s such an interesting proposition, because let’s face it, when you think of Symphony Pops, the first thing that comes to mind may be a crooner singing Sinatra, or Broadway stars singing hits from the New York stage.  You might even think of one of our very popular movie nights, or a rock tribute act much like the one our friends from Jeans n’ Classics bring to Erie.  But a pops violinist?  That’s something new… 

But it actually makes a lot of sense, when you get to know Jenny Oaks Baker.  She is a former violinist in the National Symphony from Washington, DC.  Her brilliant technique on the violin makes her more than qualified to play with the finest ensembles in the world, but she remembers distinctly playing in pops concerts conducted by the late Marvin Hamlisch.  She kept  thinking to herself that she could certainly perform and develop programs that would feature the solo violin.  Why not?  The violin is one of the most expressive and beloved of all the orchestral instruments, and there are plenty of instances where popular hits have been transcribed for stringed instruments.  They are so close in expression to the human voice, so the violin in particular lends itself to simulating the human voice.  Yet with the other virtuosic capabilities of the violin, there are so many more possibilities to bring these favorite hits to life in a special way.

So that is precisely what Jenny Oaks Baker did.  She developed a series of arrangements for solo violin and orchestra that fit beautifully into the pops context.  And when she came to Erie a couple years ago to perform on our Home for the Holidays concert, she made an enormous splash.  So many audience members came to me afterwards and asked if she could return as soon as possible.  I was happy to discover that she had arranged and created an entire album of Disney favorites, and I quickly surmised that with this classic music, Jenny could make a triumphant return to our Pops series and style an entire evening around her violin. 

So help me welcome this wonderful and very creative artist back to the Warner.  This concert is designed with families in mind, so if there is someone in your family you would like to introduce to the Philharmonic, this might just be the right first entry into a wonderful world of the Pops Violin!



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'Organ' Symphony Program Notes

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'Organ' Symphony Program Notes


Prepared by Ken Meltzer


Fantasia and Fugue in C minor for Solo Organ, BWV 537 (ca. 1708-17) (orch. Elgar)

Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany, on March 21, 1685, and died in Leipzig, Germany, on July 28, 1750.  The first complete performance of the Elgar orchestration of the Bach Fantasia and Fugue in C minor took place in Gloucester, England, on September 7, 1922, Edward Elgar, conducting. 

Approximate performance time is nine minutes.

In addition to his incomparable talents as a composer, Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the finest keyboard virtuosos of his day. Bach’s mastery extended to both the harpsichord and organ.  Bach’s technique was so superb that he was able to execute the most difficult passages with a minimum of visible effort.  As Bach’s first biographer, Johann Nicolaus Forkel, described:

Bach is said to have played with so easy and so small a motion of the fingers that it was hardly perceptible.  Only the first joints of the fingers were in motion; the hands retained, even in the most difficult passages, its rounded form; the fingers rose very little from the keys, hardly more than in a trill, and when one was employed the others remained quietly in position.  Still less did the other parts of his body take any share in his playing, as happens with many whose hand is not light enough.  He rendered all of his fingers, of both hands, equally strong and serviceable, so that he was able to execute not only chords and all running passages, but also single and double trills with equal ease and delicacy.

Bach’s employment as an organist occurred during his early years in Arnstadt, Mülhausen and Weimar.  It was during the Weimar years (1708-1717) that Bach composed the majority of his music for organ, including, in all likelihood, the Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537.

British composer Edward Elgar’s lavish orchestration of the Bach Fantasia and Fugue spanned the years 1921-22.  In April of 1921, Elgar orchestrated the Fugue portion, which premiered in Queen’s Hall in London on October 27, 1921, Eugene Goossens, conducting.  Elgar was hopeful that Richard Strauss would orchestrate the opening Fantasia.  But when that did not occur, Elgar orchestrated the Fantasia as well.  The Bach/Elgar Fantasia and Fugue in C minor premiered at the Gloucester Festival on September 7, 1922, under Elgar’s direction.


Dona nobis pacem, A Cantata for Soprano and Baritone Soli, Chorus and Orchestra (1936)

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in Down Ampney, England, on October 12, 1872, and died in London, England, on August 26, 1958.  The first performance of Dona nobis pacem took place at the Huddersfield Town Hall in Huddersfield, England, in on October 2, 1936.   Albert Coates conducted the Hallé Orchestra and Huddersfield Choral Society.  

Approximate performance time is thirty-six minutes.

Ralph Vaughan Williams composed his cantata, Dona nobis pacem, in 1936.  The Huddersfield Choral Society commissioned the work as part of the celebration of its 100th anniversary.  At the time, storm clouds were gathering throughout Europe with the rise of the Nazis and Fascists.  War seemed more and more inevitable with each passing day.

Vaughan Williams had been a first-hand witness to the horrors of war.  Following the outbreak of World War I, Vaughan Williams, 42 years old, enlisted in the Army.  Vaughan Williams worked in the field ambulance unit, transporting the wounded from the battlefield in the Neuville St. Vaast region.

Vaughan Williams was devastated by the deaths of many of his friends in battle, including the promising young British composer, George Butterworth (1885-1916).  Vaughan Williams confessed to Gustav Holst:

I sometimes think now that it is wrong to have made friends with people much younger than oneself—because there will only be the middle aged left and I have got out of touch with most of my contemporary friends—but then there is always you and thank Heaven we have never got out of touch and I don’t see why we ever should.

Toward the end of his life, Vaughan Williams said of the great American poet, Walt Whitman (1819-1892): “I’ve never got over him, I’m glad to say.”  Prior to the outbreak of World War I, Vaughan Williams set Whitman’s Civil War poem, Dirge for Two Veterans, for chorus and orchestra.  The Dirge became the centerpiece of the 1936 cantata, Dona nobis pacem.

For the remainder of the cantata’s text, Vaughan Williams incorporated two more Whitman Civil War poems, a portion of a House of Commons speech by John Bright given during the Crimean War, and the Old Testament.  In addition, a portion of the Latin Mass serves as a recurring leitmotif, and the source of the work’s title.

The trajectory of the text and music of Dona nobis pacem reflects hope for a brighter future.  That optimism was sorely tested by the events of World War II.  Vaughan Williams conducted Dona nobis pacem several times in England during the War and the music was, according to his widow, Ursula, “full of particular meaning for those days.”  Events since that time have done nothing to diminish the power, beauty, and relevance of Vaughan Williams’s composition, or the haunting eloquence of the soprano’s repeated prayer to “grant us peace.”


Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Opus 78 (“Organ Symphony”) (1886)

Camille Saint-Saëns was born in Paris, France, on October 9, 1835, and died in Algiers, Algeria, on December 16, 1921.  The first performance of the “Organ Symphony” took place at St. James’s Hall in London, England, on May 19, 1886, with the composer conducting the London Philharmonic Society. 

Approximate performance time is thirty-six minutes.

Camille Saint-Saëns composed his Third Symphony at the request of the Philharmonic Society of London.  Saint-Saëns had been contemplating a new symphony for some time.  A few months after the 1885 commission, the composer informed the Philharmonic that the work was:

"...well under way.  It will be terrifying, I warn you...This imp of a symphony has gone up a half-tone; it didn’t want to stay in B minor and it is now in C minor.  It will be a treat for me to conduct it.  Will it be a treat, though, for the people who hear it?  That is the question.  It’s you who asked for it.  I wash my hands of the whole thing."

The premiere of the Third Symphony took place in London’s St. James’s Hall on May 19, 1886.  The evening was a great personal triumph for Saint-Saëns.  The composer led the Philharmonic Society of London in his new Symphony, and was also the soloist in his Fourth Piano Concerto.

The London audience’s response to the Symphony was generally positive.  After the concert, Saint-Saëns was given an audience with the Prince of Wales, later crowned King Edward VII.  The January 9, 1887 Paris premiere, again conducted by Saint-Saëns, was yet another success.  After the performance, as Saint-Saëns descended the podium, composer Charles Gounod proclaimed: “There goes the French Beethoven!”

The Saint-Saëns Third, with its stunning orchestration and ingenious thematic manipulation, is one of the most important French symphonies of the second half of the nineteenth century.  Camille Saint-Saëns did not compose another symphony during the final thirty-five years of his life.  As he remarked: “I have given all that I have to give...What I have done I shall never do again.”

The Third Symphony comprises two principal sections, each with two parts.  Part I begins with a brief slow introduction (Adagio), leading to the principal Allegro moderato, and a restless string figure that will appear in various guises throughout the Symphony.  In the slow-tempo portion of Part I (Poco adagio), the organ accompanies the violins, violas, and cellos, as they play the affecting principal melody.

The opening portion of Part II (Allegro moderato), serving the function of a traditional scherzo, opens with a dialogue between the strings and thundering timpani.  A quicksilver Presto episode introduces, according to the composer, “a fantastic spirit.”  The final portion of the “Organ Symphony” (Maestoso; Allegro) brings the work to a majestic close.



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My Childhood in Germany

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My Childhood in Germany


From March 11 soloist Sari Gruber


Running through flower-speckled fields, climbing apple trees, chasing cows and chickens on the farm up the hill, playing in the hay loft, helping my mother in the vegetable garden, tasting the flavors of various flower nectars, being called back inside for the day by an alpine cow bell…such was my idyllic childhood growing up on the Berghof, the Zundel family estate majestically situated on a hill overlooking Lustnau, small farming village outside Tübingen, Germany, where my father did research in physical chemistry at the institute located on the grounds. Having both lived in Germany prior to my birth, my American parents spoke fluent German, and were happy to raise my older sister and me fully immersed in German language and culture, taking in the many musical and operatic offerings at the University of Tübingen and in nearby Stuttgart. My first language was Swabian, my second was German, and my third was English. (Why do I separate Swabian, an ancient dialect, from German? Just ask any German!) 

Every weekend, my family went for hikes or bike rides in the surrounding forests, going on mushroom hunts for stew in the fall, and grilling sausages on twigs in the summer. We bottled our own water from a special spring in the far woods, where I remember the cuckoos calling as we walked through tall-as-the-sky pines. I can still smell the pretzels being baked at the bakery in town, and hear the sound of the church bells pealing at mass. In the Spring, we ate Spargel (white asparagus) wrapped in ham with butter. (You have not lived until you have tasted it!)  We made our own apple cider every two years after picking the farmer’s apples on the Berghof, and my father would always bring me to the town’s apple press to watch the old wood and iron machine crush the apples into juice. He kept the old cider from two years prior to make “Mosht” in a big barrel in our basement – a truly awful brew, but, a chacun son gout, right?

The German culture really knows how to nurture young children, and that is a good thing since their high schools, which begin in grade 4, are quite academically rigorous. But the childhood is sacred there, and the social structure is geared towards nurturing the youngest in the herd. I had a marvelous time exploring, crafting, pretending, imagining…all to this splendid backdrop of rolling hills and forests, a close-knit community of friends and neighbors – and incredible food.

I left this bucolic childhood behind when my mother returned to the States with my sister and me when I was nine, but my vivid sensorial memories have helped me sustain a deep connection to that time in my life. Oddly enough, even though I have been a singer for a number of years, I have not had the opportunity to sing in German very often on the operatic stage where my repertoire has been predominantly Italian. Instead, I have found great joy on the recital stage singing German Lieder, and have even had the occasion to sing a few songs in Swabian (a rare treat, indeed!). 

Few pieces describe my early childhood as accurately and beautifully as Mahler’s 4th Symphony, with its childlike view of heaven from the “Knaben Wunderhorn” in the final movement. Some Schubert, Brahms, Wolf and Strauss songs come close, as do some of Mahler’s other “Wunderhorn” settings. But in Mahler’s Symphony #4, brimming with the wonders of delicious foods, beautiful nature and the safety of being cared for by various saints, the sights, sounds and simplicity of life in the world beyond sound a lot like the heaven I had on earth for those few years in Germany, and I delight in stepping briefly back into that existence. Each time I approach this work, I am so humbled by the gift Mahler gave us in this symphony, and by the fact that I am lucky enough to have tasted something pretty close to heaven in my own childhood.



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Reflection

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Reflection


From Erie Philharmonic Long Term Residency Director Sarah Lee


“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child,

and one teacher can change the world.”

- Malala Yousafzai

 

It is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to sit down and try to describe what the past 6 months have been like for all of us involved in the Erie Philharmonic’s Long-Term Residency. Starting at the end of August last fall, 60 days seemed to stretch on for such a long time; and yet here we find ourselves wrapping up the final day of the program. What I do know is this: when I read the quote spoken by Malala Yousafzai, above, I am reminded of just how great the impact of education is, how it is a vehicle for change in a community. I believe strongly that music has been this vehicle for education throughout the entire residency for these preschool students. Let me explain!

I will never forget the first day we (my co-teacher James Reinarz and I) walked into the preschool to begin the first day of our residency: it was the third day of preschool for almost all of the 50-60 children we would work with. What we now understand is that it wasn’t just the first day of preschool for many of these kids; it was a first American experience for the many refugee children attending this school. Many of the kids had not been in the country longer than a few months, weeks, or even days. We met children that first day of the residency from all over the world:  the middle east, Africa, eastern Europe, Mexico, and of course the many refugee children from Nepal. We didn’t know that day that these children had probably never been in a building like this before, that they had possibly never been alone in an English-speaking setting before. That many of them were absolutely terrified and confused about what was going on, so much so that a few couldn’t even make it to the bathroom in time (it was an event-filled first day!). Sincemany refugee families don’t sign up early enough for us to get this information before the year begins (as they don’t understand how the system works), we didn’t know any of this important information ahead of time; we only realized as the morning went on, with much surprise and no preparation for it, that many (many!) of these children did not speak English, and that they were scared. What a surprise it is to walk into a classroom of 18 children where 16 of them don’t speak English!

But let me tell you something you probably already know: music is a universal language. Of course everyone knows this! But I wish I could explain to you how real this was for us on a weekly basis, how we were able to watch kids transform from quiet, fearful children that didn’t understand a word of English to dancing, expressive, creative, singing, children that soaked up English like sponges and loved to laugh. How some children (right here in Erie) have such disruptive home lives that the only way they know how to react is aggressively or loudly or with tears, but that “music class” was something that excited them, so they chose to make good (and difficult) behavior choices so that they could participate. The incredible break-though moments when a child, who hasn’t said a word in English (or any other language!) for the entire four months we’ve known him all of a sudden starts singing. Such joy! The moment when a child who we thought wasn’t able to understand anything we’ve taught so far is suddenly able to name all four instrumental families of the orchestra. Or a child who is so tired from whatever is going on at home that he can barely make it a minute (every class) without falling asleep is able to echo a melody, matching pitch perfectly with his beautiful voice and a big smile.

I can of course inundate you with the data that shows how successful the program was - yes the children grew in the many core standards taughtin the curriculum according to our assessments, and yes they all expanded their musical knowledge and appreciation; they may even be able to name more musical instruments than you! But since you weren’t able to be there with us every day to know and love these kids, I hope this is a small picture of just how big this program was, just how important it is for the future of our city, and just how special it was for all of us with the Erie Philharmonic. The work we were able to do hand in hand with the amazing staff and teachers at St. Benedict’s will give these kids many advantages as they move forward in their education to be successful, advantages that weren’t even a possibility before they came to the school or to this country.

Thanks so much to all of you who supported, both financially and with encouragement! I hope you will consider supporting us for the first time or again as we move to impact new preschool this upcoming fall!



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A week not to be missed

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A week not to be missed


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


Emanuel Ax is without a doubt one of the finest musicians to be currently living on our planet.  He plays the piano with an unparalleled technical excellence, forms musical phrases that are simply astounding, and turns dots and dashes on a page into the most delightful music-making you can imagine.  He has collaborated with all of this century’s great musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, the Cleveland Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic.  He has made recordings that have been celebrated and most highly prized the world-over.

But of course this all doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  There must be a human being of the highest order behind those notes to make a truly great artist: a human who feels deeply, thinks deeply, and cares about the musicians and audience members around him.

Emanuel Ax is that and much more.  He brightens any room he enters with his own special sense of humor, his own positive way, his discreet but passionate care for details, be they musical or related to a collaborator or a student.  Having had the distinct pleasure of collaborating with Mr. Ax once before, I know what an amazing and transformative experience this will be for our musicians.  The chance to share the stage with him, to learn from him, to glean suggestions about phasing, to play Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with him…. That will be the chance of a lifetime, and I only hope that we open our arms to him as much as he has opened his heart to us in choosing to make Erie a stop in his rich and varied musical life.  

Mr. Ax, thanks in advance for all that you will bring to Erie in your four-day residency with us.  I, for one, cannot wait!



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Emanuel Ax Program Notes

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Emanuel Ax Program Notes

The legendary Emanuel Ax


Prepared by Ken Meltzer


Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Opus 73 (“Emperor”) (1809)

Ludwig van Beethoven was baptized in Bonn, Germany, on December 17, 1770, and died in Vienna, Austria, on March 26, 1827.  The first performance of the “Emperor” Piano Concerto took place in Leipzig, Germany, on November 28, 1811, with Friedrich Schneider as soloist, and Johann Philipp Christian Schulz conducting. 

Approximate performance time is thirty-eight minutes.

Perhaps the “Emperor” Piano Concerto is the work that most eloquently testifies to Ludwig van Beethoven’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles through the sheer force of will and genius.  Beethoven, a fiery virtuoso, had previously stunned Vienna with brilliant performances of his keyboard compositions, including four Concertos for Piano and Orchestra.  By the time Beethoven began work on his E-flat Concerto in 1808, however, increasing deafness had made public appearances all but impossible.  The “Emperor” is, in fact, the only Beethoven Piano Concerto not premiered by the composer himself.

Beethoven completed his Fifth Piano Concerto in 1809, the year Napoleon invaded Vienna.  In May, Napoleon’s forces bombarded the city.  Beethoven’s lodgings stood directly in the line of fire, and so he took refuge in a basement of another home.  During the massive shelling, Beethoven tried to protect the last remnants of his hearing by covering his ears with pillows.

The succeeding French occupation brought physical and economic chaos.  On July 26, 1809, Beethoven wrote to his publisher: “Normally I should now be having a change of scene and air—The levies are beginning this very day—What a destructive, disorderly life I see and hear around me, nothing but drums, cannons and human misery in every form....”

Through all of this turmoil and despair, Beethoven never lost his fierce sense of independence and rebellious spirit.  Once, during the occupation, a friend spied Beethoven in a café.  There the composer stood behind a French officer, shaking his fist and proclaiming: “If I were a general and knew as much about strategy as I do counterpoint, I’d give you fellows something to think about.”  And there is an undeniable pride and heroism in the E-flat Concerto, music that refuses to capitulate to the misery Beethoven suffered during its composition.

The Concerto’s nickname, “Emperor,” was first used after Beethoven’s death.  It relates not to any specific political figure, but to the work’s majestic character.  Beethoven would compose no more piano concertos during the remaining 18 years of his life.  Nevertheless, the “Emperor” is as fitting a summation of the composer’s achievements in the realm of the piano concerto as is the immortal Ninth in the symphonic repertoire.

The grand opening movement (Allegro) begins in dramatic fashion, as the orchestra’s massive chords are answered by the elaborate flourishes of the soloist.  The beautiful slow-tempo second movement (Adagio un poco mosso) features a lovely melody, introduced by the muted violins.  Toward the conclusion of the movement, one of several masterstrokes in this work creates a moment of incomparable magic.  After a sudden and unexpected shift from B to B-flat, the soloist quietly entices the listener with fragments of the principal theme of the spirited finale, which follows without pause.  The concluding movement (Rondo. Allegro) is based upon a jaunty theme, first played by the soloist, and immediately repeated by the orchestra.  Beethoven adds a touch of mystery just before the closing measures, featuring the pianist accompanied only by the timpani.  Suddenly a series of ascending flourishes by the soloist leads to an athletic restatement of the principal theme, and Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto reaches its triumphant conclusion.

Piano soloist Emanuel Ax


Symphony No. 4 in G Major (1900)

Gustav Mahler was born in Kaliště, Bohemia, on July 7, 1860, and died in Vienna, Austria, on May 18, 1911.  The first performance of the Symphony No. 4 took place in Munich, Germany, on November 25, 1901, with Margarethe Michalek, soprano, and the composer conducting the Kaim Orchestra. 

Approximate performance time is fifty-four minutes.

Gustav Mahler completed his Fourth Symphony in the summer of 1900.  The premiere took place in Munich on November 25, 1901, with the composer leading the Kaim Orchestra.  Before the opening performance, several members of the orchestra approached Mahler and confessed “they hadn’t been able to make head or tail of the work but would do their best to change their minds the following day.”

The audience and critics demonstrated a like sense of confusion.  Everyone seemed to anticipate that Mahler’s Fourth would, in the spirit of his Second and Third Symphonies, be an epic, dramatic piece.  They were decidedly taken aback by the apparent naïveté and simplicity of Mahler’s new score.  Boos mingled with—and sometimes overwhelmed—demonstrations of support for Mahler’s latest Symphony.  At the conclusion of the performance, Mahler took his bows “in a manner more furious than friendly.”

Nevertheless, the Fourth Symphony, with its abundant lyricism and relative brevity, quickly proved to be among the most accessible and popular of Mahler’s Symphonies.  Today, each of Mahler’s Symphonies has received its due, both in concert performances and recordings.  Still, the genial lyricism and grace of the Fourth, sometimes called Mahler’s “Pastorale” Symphony, continue to accord the work a favored status.  Further, close analysis reveals that beneath the seemingly naïve exterior of the Fourth Symphony is an extraordinarily intricate, sophisticated, and unified work.

The following are some of Mahler’s comments regarding the nature and meaning of his Fourth Symphony:

Portrait of Arnold Böcklin - the inspiration behind the second movement.

What I had in mind here was unbelievably difficult to do.  Imagine the uniform blue of the skies, which is more difficult to paint than all changing and contrasting shades.  This is the fundamental mood of the whole.  Only sometimes it darkens and becomes ghostly, gruesome.  But heaven itself is not so darkened, it shines on in an eternal blue.  Only to us it suddenly seems gruesome, just as on the most beautiful day in the woods, flooded with light, we are often gripped by panic and fear.  The Scherzo (second movement) is mystical, confused and eerie so that your hair will stand on end.  But in the following Adagio you will soon see that things were not so bad—everything is resolved.

In the final movement (“The Heavenly Life”), although already belonging to this higher world, the child explains how everything is meant to be.

The Symphony is in four movements.  The first (Bedächtig. Nicht eilen) opens with a “sleigh bell” motif, followed by a grazioso dotted-rhythm figure, introduced by the first violins.  Both play crucial roles in the finale.  Bruno Walter, the great German conductor and Mahler disciple, described the second movement scherzo (In gemächlicher Bewegung. Ohne Hast) as “Freund Hein spielt zum Tanz auf (‘Friend Death is striking up the Dance’).  Death fiddles rather strangely; his playing sends us up to heaven.” According to Mahler’s friend, Natalie Bauer-Lechner, the composer referred to the third movement (Ruhevoll) as: “‘The Smiling of St. Ursula’ and said that at the time he had a childhood image of his mother’s face in mind, recalling how she had laughed through grieving and had smiled through tears, for she had suffered unendingly yet had always lovingly resolved and forgiven everything.”  In the finale (Sehr behaglich), a soprano sings Mahler’s setting of the poem Das himmlische Leben (The Heavenly Life).

Soprano soloist Sari Gruber



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History Repeated

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History Repeated


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


When I step onto the Warner Theater stage, I sometimes think of a wonderful photograph from the 1940’s, taken in the Warner from the vantage point of the stage looking back out onto the house.  It’s a packed house of patrons awaiting a night of first-run films.  Everyone is dressed to the nines – the men in hats and the ladies in dresses, and I think of what it must have felt like to enter into this opulent space, have the lights dim, and settle in for an evening of cinema.  

We’re bringing that sensation back this Saturday, February 7, with a full-length screening of Casablanca.  But this time it’s with a twist.  The Erie Philharmonic, under the baton of my good friend James Fellenbaum, will be performing the full orchestral soundtrack live, while the film is projected in high definition on a huge screen suspended above the stage.  

You simply cannot experience this iconic film anywhere else, quite like this.  While I wish I could be there with you on this special night, know that I will be imagining you as you settle into your seat, following a grand tradition of Erie moviegoers who enjoy classics on the big screen, but in the Erie Philharmonic’s own unique presentation.



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Live from Studio Q - Soyeon Kate Lee

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Live from Studio Q - Soyeon Kate Lee

Live in the studio with pianist Soyeon Kate Lee and host Brian Hannah.



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Music, nature and Sibelius

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Music, nature and Sibelius


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


The Moldau

Some of my favorite music evokes landscapes or nature.  January’s concert is inspired by my fascination with how a composer can create an aural landscape inspired by his favorite environment.  I tend to look for the connections between what we see and what we hear, as well, and when it comes to creating a concert program for the Philharmonic, sometimes a visual cue can provide just the right inspiration for how seemingly disparate elements may fit together into an elegant program.  Take Smetana’s The Moldau, for instance.  The music has this wonderful, perpetual undulation designed to simulate the flow of the Danube River as it flows through the Bohemian countryside.  It’s one of Smetana’s most famous and most popular musical creations, but what makes it interesting are all of the stops or discursions Smetana allows us to take as listeners.  Indeed, if all we hear were the undulation of the river, we may get quickly bored or succumb to an invitation to fall asleep!  But among other musical ‘happenings,’ one of my favorite is a country party that emerges, complete with heavy-footed steps in a peasant polka.  It’s unexpected, delightful, and to me a musical scene not unlike the wonderful peasant scenes Peter Breughel is able to capture in his paintings.  

The visual riches certainly to not end with Smetana.  Bartok was a conscientious chronicler of the sound world around him, whether it was folk song and dance of the Hungarian countryside, or whether it was the birdsong he heard outside his window while convalescing in Asheville, North Carolina.  Listen closely to the second movement of his brilliant Third Piano Concerto to hear how he masterfully incorporates these birdsongs into a dialogue with the solo pianist, Soyeon Kate Lee.  

Iso-Syöte, Finland

Jean Sibelius was a composer who, in many ways, felt compelled to incorporate the expansive vistas of his native, frozen, Finnish landscape into his own music.  For me, much of what makes his music unusual, and a departure from the Continental traditions of Brahms and Tchaikovsky, is how he can simulate the undulation of a top-frozen but very active river, or the bubbling of a geyser, or the eruption of a storm swirling with some of the most turbulent winds you can imagine.  These evocations of nature become one with his compositional technique – the gestures become motives, the motives become phrases, the phrases intersect, overlap, and collide to create the most stunning musical effects.  In his Second Symphony, you will experience this and more.  Human meets nature, and both exist in a constantly shifting sound world that will simply sweep you away with its force.



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Happy Holidays

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Happy Holidays


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


While we are not even halfway into our 2016-17 concert season, there are so many memorable musical moments that I will cherish.  From the brilliance of Beethoven’s Eighth, Ken Johnston’s sumptuous Glazunov Concerto, how fun it was to be a rock star for a night with Jeans n’ Classics in a Police tribute, or to play the delightfully ghoulish scores from Tim Burton’s iconic films – the musical memories are rich and I am eager to come back for more.  Our Philharmonic is stronger than ever, and our musicians are coming to each new project with so much enthusiasm and a desire to attain new artistic heights.    

As we finish 2016 and embark with hope into 2017, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your passion for the Erie Philharmonic.  It is an honor to serve this community as Music Director, and I hope you and your family will continue to enjoy how our musicians bring their best to the Warner Theatre stage.  As much as we treasure the Warner as our musical home base, you know that we spend many hours in schools, the Art Museum, community resource centers, and countless other locales throughout northwestern Pennsylvania.  It is a distinct pleasure to hear how the classical music can brighten someone’s life, and we will keep dedicating ourselves to Erie in the best way we know how: through great music.

I wish you and your family the very best for a Happy New Year, and I cannot wait to get back to the stage to bring you more with our superb musicians of the Erie Philharmonic.

Cheers!

Daniel Meyer, Music Director


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Sibelius Program Notes

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Sibelius Program Notes

Sibelius' Finland


Prepared by Ken Meltzer


Vltava (The Moldau) from Má vlast (My Fatherland) (1874-1879)

Bedřich Smetana was born in Leitomischl, Bohemia (now, Litomyšl, the Czech Republic) on March 2, 1824, and died in Prague on May 12, 1884.  The first complete performance of Má Vlast took place at the National Theater in Prague on November 5, 1882, with Adolf Čech conducting. 

Approximate performance time is twelve minutes.

In the autumn of 1874, Bedřich Smetana suddenly found himself totally deaf.  Smetana was forced to resign all of his public appointments, and it appeared that the career of the first great Czech nationalist composer was at an end.  But Smetana’s passion to express unbounded love for his Czech homeland was too powerful.  This devastating period witnessed the triumphant birth of Smetana’s orchestral masterpiece, Má vlast (My Fatherland).  Smetana composed this collection of six orchestral tone poems during the period from 1874-1879.

Smetana dedicated Má vlast to the city of Prague.  The first integral performance of the work occurred on November 5, 1882, with Adolf Čech conducting.  In his biography of Smetana, Václav Zelený described the event: “Everyone rose to his feet and the same unending storm of applause was repeated after each of the six parts…At the end of (the concert) the audience was beside itself and the people could not bring themselves to take leave of the composer.”

The following is Smetana’s description of The Moldau:

Vltava (The Moldau)—

Two springs gush forth in the shade of the Bohemian forest, the one warm and swift flowing, the other cool and tranquil.  Their waters join and rush joyously down the rocky bed, glistening in the light of the morning sun.  The hurrying forest brook becomes the River Moldau (Vltava), which flows across the land of Bohemia, widening as it goes.  Passing through dark forests, the sounds of the hunter’s horn are heard ever nearer.  Through meadowlands it passes where a wedding feast is being celebrated by peasants with song and dance.  At night, water nymphs play in its gleaming depths in which are reflected fortresses and castles from the glorious past.  At the Rapids of St. John, the stream becomes a roaring cataract, beating its way through rocky chasms, widening at last into the majestic river that flows through Prague, greeted by the mighty old fortress, Vyšehrad, where it vanishes over the horizon lost to the poet’s sight.


Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra (1945)

Béla Bartók was born in Sînnicolau Mare, Hungary, on March 25, 1881, and died in New York on September 26, 1945.  The first performance of the Third Piano Concerto took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 8, 1946, with György Sándor as soloist, and Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. 

Approximate performance time is twenty-three minutes.

On October 8, 1940, one month before Hungary joined the Axis alliance, Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and his wife, pianist Ditta Pásztory, gave a farewell concert at the Academy of Music in Budapest.  The Bartóks then departed their native land for the United States, arriving in New York harbor on October 29, 1940.  During the journey to the United States, the composer wrote: “this voyage is...like plunging into the unknown from what is known but unbearable...God only knows how and for how long I’ll be able to work over there.”

Bartók’s fortunes continued to decline when he settled in New York.  His health deteriorating from the onset of leukemia, Bartók was often unable to fulfill the few commissions he received.  Still, there were some brighter moments for Bartók in the United States.  A 1943 commission from conductor Serge Koussevitsky supported the composition of one of the masterpieces of the 20th century, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.  Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra presented the world premiere of Bartók's miraculous composition at Symphony Hall on December 1, 1944.  Bartók reported: “The performance was excellent.  Koussevitsky is very enthusiastic about the piece, and says it is ‘the best orchestral piece of the last 25 years.’”

Tibor Serly

Nevertheless, Bartók realized that his life was drawing to a close.  During the summer of 1945, Bartók attempted to complete his Third Piano Concerto, a work he hoped would serve as a concert piece for his wife.  On September 21, Bartók’s friend and pupil Tibor Serly visited the composer at his apartment.  There he found Bartók in bed, desperately working on the final movement of his Piano Concerto.  The next day, Bartók was taken to West Side Hospital.  He died four days later.

Prior to his death, Bartók had, for the most part, finished the Third Piano Concerto, save the orchestration of the final seventeen bars, which Serly completed.  Despite the undeniably tragic circumstances under which Bartók composed his Third Piano Concerto, the work displays a profound strength, optimism and joy of life.  It is in that sense a triumph, albeit posthumous, for one of the 20th century’s greatest composers.

The Concerto is in three movements.  The first (Allegretto), opening with the soloist’s introduction of the expansive principal melody, features virtuoso writing throughout.  The slow-tempo second movement, in A—B—A form, juxtaposes a hushed chorale (Adagio religioso) with a central middle section (poco più mosso) suggesting the sounds of bird calls.   A reprise of the opening section leads to the finale (Allegro vivace), which follows without pause. A brief upward flourish by the soloist precedes the introduction of a syncopated figure, the recurring principal theme of this rondo finale. The work concludes with brilliant writing for the soloist, capped by a bold ascending passage.


Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Opus 43 (1902)

Jean Sibelius was born in Tavastehus, Finland, on December 8, 1865, and died in Järvenpää, Finland, on September 20, 1957.  The first performance of the Second Symphony took place in Helsinki, Finland, on March 8, 1902, with the composer conducting. 

Approximate performance time is forty-three minutes.

In the fall of 1900, Jean Sibelius and his family departed their native Finland for Italy, stopping first in Berlin.  In February 1901, they finally reached their destination—the village of Rapallo, located just south of Venice.  There, Sibelius began work on his Symphony No. 2.

In May, Sibelius and his family returned to Finland.  There, Sibelius continued to work on his Second Symphony.  In November of 1901, Sibelius informed his friend, Baron Axel Carpelan that he had almost completed the Symphony.  However, Sibelius continued to revise it, necessitating the postponement until March of the planned January 1902 premiere.

Sibelius conducted the premiere of his Second Symphony in Helsinki on March 8, 1902. It was a rousing success, and Sibelius repeated the program on March 10, 14 and 16, each time to a capacity audience.  This was a particularly tumultuous period, a time when Finland was under the grip of Russian domination.  Patriotic emotions were at a fever pitch.  Sibelius had previously composed overtly nationalistic pieces, such as Finlandia (1899), and the Finnish people were anxious to find a similar message in the new Symphony.

In an article that appeared the day after the premiere of the Symphony No. 2, Finnish conductor Robert Kajanus ascribed the following program to the last three movements of the Second Symphony:

The Andante strikes one as the most broken-hearted protest against all the injustice that threatens at the present time to deprive the sun of its light and our flowers of their scent...The scherzo gives a picture of frenetic preparation.  Everyone piles his straw on the haystack, all fibres are strained and every second seems to last an hour.  One senses in the contrasting trio section with its oboe motive in G flat major what is at stake.  The finale develops toward a triumphant conclusion intended to rouse in the listener a picture of lighter and confident prospects for the future.

Years later, conductor Georg Schnéevoigt, a close friend of Sibelius, wrote that the opening movement depicts the untroubled pastoral life of the Finnish people before the onslaught of foreign oppression.

Throughout his life, Sibelius was consistent in his emphatic denial that the Second Symphony was based upon any such programs.  Still, it is not at all surprising that the Finnish people continued to find a personal message of hope in this fiercely dramatic (and in the end, triumphant) work by their greatest composer.  More than a century after its premiere, the Symphony No. 2 remains a source of inspiration and pride for the Finnish people, as well as a mainstay of the international symphonic repertoire.

The Second Symphony is in four movements.  The first (Allegretto) opens with a repeated ascending figure in the strings, based upon a three-pitch motif that will form the nucleus for several themes throughout the Symphony.  The slow-tempo second movement (Tempo, Andante, ma rubato) incorporates music Sibelius first associated with an encounter between Don Juan and Death.  The third movement is a quicksilver scherzo (Vivacissimo), contrasting with a pastoral episode.  The concluding movement (Finale. Allegro moderato) follows without pause.   The Symphony’s opening three-note motif is now presented in an heroic transformation.  In the stunning climax, the motif undergoes its final and most eloquent transformation.



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Deconstructing Christmas

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Deconstructing Christmas


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


Thought I would unpack each element of our coming ‘Home for the Holidays’ concert for you, piece by piece, deconstructing every morsel and delight until all that’s left are a few crumbs on the cookie plate….
 
Okay, not really.
 
In fact, the best part of the show is the element of surprise.  What lovely moods can we bring with the mellifluous voices of the Erie Philharmonic Chorus?  What razamuhtazz can we reveal through the voice of Erie’s own Playhouse star Kate Neubert Lechner?  What joys abound when Penn State Behrend’s Young People’s Chorus take the stage and sing as one?  And what of our own Erie Philharmonic, in symphonic holiday splendor?

 You’ll just have to come to the Warner Theatre to find out!  The Saturday matinee concert is one act, designed for families to enjoy together in a concise but colorful format.  The evening concert is our full, two-act performance with all of the bells and whistles.  In either case, we want you to be there, because our most important mission is to get you and your family into the joyous mood of the season.  We want to celebrate all that make this 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year' with you and yours, and thank you for your support as we continue to strive to bring the best music possible to Erie.
 
May you and your family have a beautiful holiday, and we’ll see you on Saturday.
 

Yours,
 
Daniel Meyer



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