Season Opener is the “Perfect Introduction to Classical Music” with Superstar Chopin Pianist
For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Kelly Kapaun/Juliana Minsky, 805/687-3322
“Fliter plays with such grace and heartfelt sincerity...if an artist cannot engage your emotions in the oft-recorded, oft-heard music then they might as well go away and breed chickens. Fliter, by whatever magical means, touches the heart.” – Gramophone
Santa Barbara, CA, September 25, 2014 – Maestro Nir Kabaretti leads the Santa Barbara Symphony and special guest artist Ingrid Fliter in the powerful introduction to the 2014-2015 Season, designed to reconnect the classics to people who love music. The Season opens with possibly the perfect introduction to classical music, including Rachmaninoff and Chopin – both works that are easily accessible to new audiences. The “Rachmaninoff and Chopin” concerts will be held in The Granada Theatre on Saturday, October 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 19 at 3 p.m.
Kabaretti opens with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, followed by guest soloist Ingrid Fliter performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Rachmaninoff’s hauntingly beautiful Symphony No. 2; completes the evening with themes of hope and redemption.
“Classical Music has never been more vibrant, energetic and relevant to our lives” said Music Director Nir Kabaretti. “I wanted to start off our season with a fun night out to help Santa Barbarans reconnect with great music.”
What to listen for:
Shostakovich’s Festive Overture: The genuinely festive Festive Overture of 1954 was very likely inspired by the death of Shostakovich’s tormentor, Joseph Stalin, in 1953. It is seen as a musical celebration of the end of the Stalin era.
Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2: The second movement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 has a piano melody that cuts right to the heart. It is perhaps the most perfect musical embodiment of unrequited love in all of Western music.
Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2: Rachmaninoff as 1970’s pop star? Eric Carmen’s 1976 hit song “Never Gonna Fall In Love Again” is based on the third movement (main theme) from Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No.2 You’ll recognize the melody instantly and enjoy the deeper exploration of the tune.
Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter sprang to international attention when she was awarded the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, one of only a handful of pianists to have received this honor. The Gilmore Artist Award is presented to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses profound musicianship and charisma and who sustains a career as a major international concert artist. Fliter has established a reputation as one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Chopin.
THE PROGRAM: Rachmaninoff and Chopin
Evening: Saturday, October 18, 8:00 pm
Matinee: Sunday, October 19, 3:00 pm
Nir Kabaretti, Conductor
Ingrid Fliter, Piano
Shostakovich: Festive Overture
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2
Ticket prices: $28 to $133, with special rates for seniors, students and groups. Discounted student tickets are available for $10 with valid student ID.
Ticketholders are also invited to “Behind the Music,” the popular Pre-Concert Talk hosted by musician and music scholar Ramón Araïza and offering a fresh and fascinating insight into the musical program. These lively, interactive, informal talks, which last for approximately 30 minutes, are open to all ticketholders and are held one hour before each Symphony concert begins.
GUEST ARTIST: Ingrid Fliter, Piano
Ingrid Fliter sprang to international attention when she was awarded the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, one of only a handful of pianists to have received this honor. The Gilmore Artist Award is presented to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses profound musicianship and charisma and who sustains a career as a major international concert artist.
Born in Buenos Aires, Fliter began her piano studies in Argentina with Elizabeth Westerkamp. In 1992 she moved to Europe where she continued her studies at the Freiburg Musikhochschule with Vitaly Margulis, then in Rome with Carlo Bruno and with Franco Scala and Boris Petrushansky at the Academy “Incontri col Maestro” in Imola. She was a laureate of the Ferruccio Busoni Competition in Italy and was awarded the silver medal at the 2000 Frederic Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Fliter was also selected as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist from 2007-2009, working with several of the BBC orchestras under the auspices of this program.
Fliter now divides her time between Europe and the USA, where she works with orchestras such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
In recital, Fliter has performed at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Museé d’Orsay, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Cologne Philharmonie, Salzburg Festspielhaus, Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, and at London’s Wigmore Hall and the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Recital highlights in North America have included New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum, in Fort Worth for the Van Cliburn Foundation and in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Vancouver, Montreal and Santa Barbara. Festival highlights include La Roque D’Antheron, Prague Autumn, Valdemossa Chopin Festival, Cheltenham Festival, City of London Festival and the World Pianist Series in Tokyo. She has also appeared at the Mostly Mozart, Grant Park, Aspen and Blossom festivals.
Fliter has established a reputation as one of the pre-eminent interpreters of Chopin, her two all-Chopin discs on EMI Classics a testament to this. Her recording of the complete Chopin Waltzes received five star reviews and was named the Daily Telegraph’s CD of the Week and was chosen as Editor’s Choice in both Gramophone and Classic FM Magazine and was described in Gramophone, “Ingrid Fliter sets a new benchmark for the complete waltzes. From beginning to end, this is among the finest Chopin recordings of recent years.” (Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone).
Fliter recently released on CD her Chopin Piano Concerti recorded with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Jun Märkl and will soon release the complete Chopin Preludes, both on Linn Records. Live recordings of Fliter performing works by Beethoven and Chopin at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw as well as in recital at the Miami International Piano Festival are also available on the VAI Audio label.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Festive Overture, Op. 96 (1954)
Among the grand symphonies, concertos, operas and chamber works that Dmitri Shostakovich produced are also many occasional pieces: film scores, tone poems, jingoistic anthems, brief instrumental compositions. Though most of these works are unfamiliar in the West, one — the Festive Overture — has been a favorite since it was written in the autumn of 1954. Shostakovich composed it specifically for a concert on November 7, 1954 commemorating the 37th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, but its jubilant nature suggests it may also have been conceived as an outpouring of relief at the death of Joseph Stalin one year earlier. Shostakovich was convinced that Stalin was behind the painful censures he had received in 1936 and 1948, and he had determined after the second episode not to issue any substantive works until the dictator was gone. The superb Tenth Symphony, completed within months of Stalin’s passing on March 5, 1953, served as a testament of Shostakovich’s renewed artistic creativity, and the composer Dmitri Kabalevsky noted that the finale of that work “has much in common with the Festive Overture (including the basic melodic seeds).” One critic suggested that the Overture was “a gay picture of streets and squares packed with a young and happy throng.”
As its title suggests, the Festive Overture is a brilliant affair, full of fanfare and bursting spirits. It begins with a stentorian proclamation from the brass as preface to the racing main theme of the piece. Contrast is provided by a broad melody initiated by the horns, but the breathless celebration of the music continues to the end.
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 (1829)
During his student days at the Warsaw Conservatory in the late 1820s, Chopin met a comely young singer named Constantia Gladowska and for the first time in his life, fell in love. In his biography of the composer, Casimir Wierzynski wrote, “She was considered one of the school’s best pupils, and also said to be one of the prettiest. Her regular, full face, framed in blond hair, was an epitome of youth, health and vigor, and her beauty was conspicuous in the Conservatory chorus.” Chopin followed Constantia to her performances and caught glimpses of her when she appeared at the theater or in church, but he never approached her. His love manifested itself in giddily immature ways. He raved about Constantia’s virtues to his friends. He invited one Mrs. Beyer to dinner simply because her given name was the same as that of his beloved. He reported “tingling with pleasure” whenever he saw a handkerchief embroidered with her name. He broke off one of his letters abruptly with the syllable “Con — ,” explaining, “No, I cannot complete her name, my hand is too unworthy.” After yet another half year of such maudlin goings-on, Chopin finally met — actually talked with — Constantia in April 1830. She was pleasant to him and they became friends, but he was never convinced that she fully returned his love. She took part in his farewell concert in Warsaw on October 11 before he headed west to seek his fame and fortune (he settled in Paris and never returned to Poland), and he kept up a correspondence with her for a while through an intermediary. (He felt it improper to write directly to a young woman without her parents’ permission.) Her marriage to a Warsaw merchant in 1832 caused him intense but impermanent grief, which soon evaporated in the glittering social whirl of Paris. The emotional rush of young love Chopin experienced over Constantia played a seminal role in the two piano concertos he wrote in 1829 and 1830, works full of melody and ardent emotion.
Chopin based his concertos on the Romantic piano style of Hummel, Kalkbrenner, Field and Ries rather than on the weightier abstract forms of Beethoven. The orchestra in these virtuoso works is, truly, accompaniment and it is virtually excluded from the musical argument once the pianist enters. The center of attention is the soloist, and it says much about the quality of Chopin’s writing for the piano that his concertos continue to be heard while literally shelves-full of their contemporary creations have not been displayed for nearly two centuries. In the opening movement of the Second Concerto, most of the orchestra’s participation occurs in the introduction, in which are presented the main theme (a rather dolorous tune with dotted rhythms played immediately by violins) and the second theme, a brighter strain given by woodwinds led by the oboe. The piano enters and, with the exception of orchestral interludes surrounding the development section and the concluding coda, dominates the remainder of the movement.
Franz Liszt thought the second movement “of a perfection almost ideal; its expression, now radiant with light, now full of tender pathos.” Robert Schumann — writer, publisher, editor as well as composer — mused, “What are ten editorial crowns compared to one such Adagio as that of the Second Concerto!” Composed under the spell of his first love, this movement was a special favorite of Chopin himself. A description of the movement’s form — three-part (A–B–A) with wide-ranging harmonic excursions in the center section — is too clinical to convey the moonlit poetry and quiet intensity of this beautiful music. In both its technique and its tender emotionalism, it breathes the rarefied air of Chopin’s greatest works.
Chopin’s biographer Frederick Niecks noted the finale’s “feminine softness and rounded contours, its graceful, gyrating, dance-like motions, its sprightliness and frolicsomeness.” The theme was inspired by the mazurka, the Polish national dance that also served Chopin as the basis for more than 50 stylized compositions for solo piano. The movement brims with dazzling virtuosity. Its structure comprises a series of episodes rounded off by the return of the beguiling main theme and a cheerful coda in F major heralded by a call from the solo horn.
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 (1906-1907)
Early in 1906, Rachmaninoff decided to sweep away the rapidly accumulating obligations of conducting, concertizing and socializing that cluttered his life in Moscow in order to find some quiet place in which to devote himself to composition. His determination may have been strengthened by the political unrest beginning to rumble under the foundations of the aristocratic Russian political system. The uprising of 1905 was among the first signs of trouble for those of his noble class (his eventual move to the United States was a direct result of the swallowing of his family’s estate and resources by the 1917 Revolution), and he probably thought it a good time to start looking for a quiet haven.
A few years before, Rachmaninoff had been overwhelmed by an inspired performance of Die Meistersinger he heard at the Dresden Opera. The memory of that evening and the aura of dignity and repose exuded by the city had remained with him, and Dresden, at that time in his life, seemed like a good place to be. The atmosphere in Dresden was so conducive to composition that within a few months of his arrival he was working on the Second Symphony, First Piano Sonata, Op. 6 Russian folk songs and symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead. The Second Symphony was unanimously cheered when it was premiered under the composer’s direction in St. Petersburg on January 26, 1908.
The majestic scale of the Symphony is established at the outset by a slow, brooding introduction. A smooth transition to a faster tempo signals the arrival of the main theme, an extended and quickened transformation of the basses’ opening motive. The expressive second theme enters in the woodwinds. The development deals with the vigorous main theme to such an extent that the beginning of the formal recapitulation is engulfed by its surging sweep. The second movement is the most nimble essay to be found in Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works. After two preparatory measures, the horns hurl forth the main theme, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Dies Irae (“Day of Wrath”), the ancient chant from the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead that haunted the composer for many years. The vital nature of the music, however, does not support any morbid interpretation. Eventually, the rhythmic bustle is suppressed and finally silenced to make way for the movement’s central section, whose skipping lines embody some of Rachmaninoff’s best fugal writing.
The rapturous Adagio is music of heightened passion that resembles nothing so much as an ecstatic operatic love scene. Alternating with the joyous principal melody is an important theme from the first movement, heard prominently in the central portion and the coda of this movement. The finale bursts forth in the whirling dance rhythm of an Italian tarantella. The propulsive urgency subsides to allow another of Rachmaninoff’s wonderful, sweeping melodic inspirations to enter. A development of the tarantella motives follows, into which are embroidered thematic reminiscences from each of the three preceding movements. The several elements of the finale are gathered together in the closing pages.
Principal Concert Sponsor for the October 2014 concert is Montecito Bank & Trust, the Concert Sponsor is Westmont College, the Artist Sponsors are Dr. and Mrs. H. Wallace Vandever, and the Selection Sponsors are Barbara Burger and Paul Munch.
Concert Schedules and Ticketing:
2014-2015 Individual Tickets and 2014-2015 Season subscriptions
All Saturday concerts begin at 8 p.m. and all Sunday concerts begin at 3 p.m. with a dynamic pre-concert talk, “Behind the Music” starting one hour before the concert. The Symphony offers options to make it easy for the community to sample one or more concerts or subscribe to the full Season. Full 7-series and “Flex” 4-series subscriptions are now available for the 2014-15 season. Subscriptions, including seven Saturday concerts are available from $150 to $432 for new subscribers, and subscriptions including seven Sunday concerts from $150 to $360 for new subscribers. For renewing subscribers, Saturday subscription concerts are available from $170 to $549, and Sunday concert subscriptions from $170-459. Single tickets are also available starting on September 15. To purchase subscriptions, call the Symphony office at (805) 898-9386 or order online at www.thesymphony.org.
About The Santa Barbara Symphony
Celebrating 62 years of great music, the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association was founded on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra. The Symphony has been celebrated for its unique ability to deliver brilliant orchestral concerts while maintaining a strong commitment to education and community engagement. With audiences almost twice the size of any orchestra in the Santa Barbara area, the Santa Barbara Symphony is, according to Mayor Helene Schneider, “A jewel in Santa Barbara’s crown.” For more information, please go to www.thesymphony.org.