Ballet Music and Sinfonias from Ariodante, HWV33
1. Overture I
2. Overture II
3. Sinfonia from Act I
4. Ballet from Act I: Gavotte - Musette I - Musette II - Allegro
5. Sinfonia from Act II
6. Ballet from Act II: Entrée des Songes agréables / Entrée des Songes funestes / Entrée des Songes agréables effrayès / Le combat des Songes funestes et agréables
7. Rondeau from Act III
Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Opus 22
: I. Allegro moderato (12’)*
Concerto for Piano and Violin in D minor
: II. Adagio (9’)*
Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, K595
: III. Allegro (9’)*
Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, D125
*Indicates approximate performance duration.
Program subject to change.
This afternoon’s unique collaboration of mother and son will give each musician a solo spotlight, and a chance to unite. We have crafted a complete “concerto” out of the first movement of a work by Polish violin virtuoso Henryk Wieniawski, the slow movement from a concerto that features both violin and piano, and finishing with the final movement of a piano concerto.
Ariodante, HWV 33: Ballet Music and Sinfonias
George Frideric Handel (b. Halle, 1685 / d. London, 1759)
Not many Handel operas contain full-fledged ballet scenes, making Ariodante
one of the exceptions. Tonight’s suite is made up of several instrumental extracts that were used either as interludes between acts, or as music for the dance. The story comes from the epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando furioso (“Mad Orlando”), one of a handful of epic texts which have provided inspiration for countless other dramatic treatments. Ariodante is one of the stories told within the larger story, the tale of a betrothed princess (Ginevra) falsely accused of infidelity, and the vassal prince (Ariodante) who loves her.
was the opening opera in Handel’s first season at the Covent Garden theatre in London (it opened January 8, 1735, and ran for a respectable dozen performances). Each act contains a brief ballet, designed to add a sense of spectacle to the proceedings. The ballet in Act I is both preceded and followed by a chorus built on the same musical idea, making for a self-contained scene in its own right that was rare in Handel’s works. The Sinfonia for Act II is meant to depict the rising of the moon, while the Act II ballet depicts a scene in which Ginerva’s good and bad dreams are acted out.
Violin Concerto No.2 in D minor, Op.22: 1st movement
Henryk Wieniawski (b. Lublin, 1835 / d. Moscow, 1880)
Wieniawski was a touring virtuoso by the time he was 15, and was a great success in a highly competitive profession. There were many such violin “pop stars” of the day, including the Spaniard Pablo de Sarasate. Like many of them, Wieniawski wrote many works designed to showcase his amazing gifts, including two concertos. The concerto dates from 1870, and was dedicated, amazingly, to Sarasate. In only a few years, the two men would be rivals for public attention. A more substantial work than his flashier First Concerto
, the Second Concerto
opens with a passionate orchestral exposition, followed by the violin’s moody and elegant variation on it. While the violin part certainly has its share of fireworks and displays, it is much more integrated with the orchestra than many such showcase vehicles. There is no cadenza in the movement, which unfolds at a stately Allegro moderato pace.
Concerto for Piano and Violin in D minor: 2nd movement
Felix Mendelssohn (b. Hamburg, 1809 / d. Leipzig, 1847)
There are very few concertos out there that combine and contrast two such structurally different instruments. So that such a work could have been conceived and, even more shockingly, made to work so beautifully, by a mere 14-year-old is truly remarkable. Felix Mendelssohn was one of the great child prodigies in music, and had the good fortune to come from a home blessed by a good fortune. His genius was nurtured privately and carefully, allowing the budding musician’s talent to blossom.
The entire concerto is a substantial work. Even the middle movement – the one we will hear tonight – is a nine-minute Adagio begun by the orchestral strings (the entire work is scored for the two soloists, piano and violin, accompanied only by strings) with a classical elegance to it. The strings finish, and the piano enters alone, playing a tender response to the string melody, though punctured by some unexpected chords. The solo violin joins the piano, and an extended duet ensues, emerging as the “B” section of this A-B-A movement. The strings bring back their opening material as the final section of the movement begins, and it is only here that the soloists play with the ensemble – a whispered background for the piano and violin.
Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, K.595: 3rd movement
Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (b. Salzburg, 1756 / d. Vienna, 1791)
First performed: March 4, 1791 in Vienna
Last ESO performance: May 2011
Much of the year 1790 was not a happy one for Mozart, but he began to feel a sense of rejuvenation as the new year – the final year of his life – approached. Early in 1791, he began composing prolifically once again, and among the compositions from this time was the first piano concerto he had written in three years. It was to be his last.
The finale is in a favourite Mozart form: a 6/8 Rondo. The melody skips merrily out of the piano at its first appearance, and the material which contrasts with the recurring theme does little to change the happy – though hardly riotous – mood. This is Mozart at his elegant best, keeping a charge to the music through unexpected rhythms and the occasional left turn into unusual keys, but maintaining unity of melody and pacing by never overstating anything. The cadenza is a virtuosic series of brief meditations on the rondo melody, the strings gently joining its last moments before ushering in the coda.
Symphony No. 2 in B-flat Major, D 125
Franz Schubert (b. Vienna, 1797 / d. Vienna, 1828)
A precociously gifted youngster, Franz Schubert quickly outpaced what his first music instructors could teach him, and found himself at the Imperial and Royal Seminary, The Konvikt. Not only was he a chorister there, Schubert was also part of the student orchestra, which presented an overture and a symphony every day after the evening meal. He was exposed to a great deal of music, and became a fervent admirer of Mozart.
So it’s hardly surprising that he was soon trying his hand at orchestral composition, and as early as 1811 (when he was 14), he began sketching one out. His First Symphony
was completed in 1813, and he started straight away on another, which he finished on March 14, 1815. It was dedicated to Schubert’s Konvikt headmaster, leading scholars to believe that it is likely his student orchestra performed the work. And already, there is considerable maturity and development in the B-flat Major Symphony, which opens dramatically before settling into a Largo of pensive drama. An Allegro vivace follows soon after, rhythmic and exciting, with the feel of an operatic overture to it. The movement’s secondary subject is set in E-flat (the subdominant, for those who keep track of that sort of thing), and while some of the transitional passages reveal a student working out the formalities of structure, there is an unmistakable lyricism, showing that Schubert’s melodic gifts were ever with him. The recapitulation shows innovative thinking as Schubert deftly manoeuvres around the home key before bringing the movement to a bracing conclusion.
The slow movement is a set of five variations on a simple, genteel Andante melody Haydn might have been happy to call his own. Another Haydnesque touch is the third movement, a traditional Menuet and Trio design, with a brusque and propulsive main subject in a very unexpected C minor. The trio brings back the subdominant key of E-flat with an woodwind-tinged Ländler-style theme. The Presto vivace finale really is a daring one for the emerging composer. The main subject emerges as almost a gallop, its jaunty rhythm based on a “dactyl,” in which one note is followed by two notes half its length. As in the first movement, the secondary theme is in E-flat, then moves uniquely to the dominant (F Major) when the main subject returns. Yet another harmonic surprise awaits in the recapitulation, in which the secondary theme is presented in a minor key – darkening the finale’s overall hue just before its sunny conclusion.
Program notes © 2012 by D.T. Baker
Lucas Waldin, conductor
Lucas Waldin serves as ESO Community Ambassador & Artist in Residence for the 2012-2013 Season. Mr. Waldin graduated in 2006 from the Cleveland Institute of Music with a Masters in Conducting. He has performed with L'Orchestre du Festival Beaulieu-Sur-Mer (Monaco), Staatstheater Cottbus (Brandenburg), and Bachakademie Stuttgart. Lucas was assistant conductor of the contemporary orchestra RED (Cleveland), director of the Cleveland Bach Consort, and a Discovery Series Conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival. In 2007, he was invited to conduct the Miami-based New World Symphony Orchestra in masterclasses given by Michael Tilson Thomas. In Lucerne in 2009, he also participated in a masterclass led by Bernard Haitink, with the Lucerne Festival Strings.
A native of Toronto, Lucas Waldin has spent summers studying in Europe, including studies at the International Music Academy in Leipzig, the Bayreuth Youth Orchestra, and the Acanthes New Music Festival in France. On this continent, he has studied under the renowned Bach conductor Helmut Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival, and has attended conducting masterclasses with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto. Mr. Waldin received a Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance from the Cleveland Institute, studying with Joshua Smith.
Mikolaj Warszynski, piano
Mikolaj Warszynski, D.Mus
, has performed as piano soloist in Austria, U.S.A., Holland, Italy, Poland, and Canada. Highlights of the 2012 season include a solo piano recital at the new Kielce Philharmonic Hall in Poland, and an all-Chopin recital at Montréal’s Place des Arts. As part of the celebrations associated with the Chopin bicentennial, he performed the Chopin’s music in recitals and lectures across Canada. Mr. Warszynski performs frequently around Alberta in collaboration with Mazurka Music, giving chamber music recitals, multimedia lecture recitals, as well as premiering the Chopin F minor Concerto in the string quintet version. As part of the ‘Warszynski Trio’, Mikolaj recorded the CD Devil's Dance
, featuring music of contemporary Canadian composers under the auspices of the Tonus Vivus Society for new music.
Mikolaj Warszynski was born in Gdansk, Poland and immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of four. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta with Marek Jablonski, and made his debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performing Ludwig van Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto. Mr. Warszynski continued studies at the Conservatory of Music in Rotterdam, receiving a Neuimejer scholarship and awarded a Sauter grand piano on loan from the National Instrument Foundation in Amsterdam. He was Artist in Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts upon his return to Canada in 2004. He spent multiple summers at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, on scholarship from the Johann Strauss Foundation. He was a gold medalist in the Festival de Musique du Royaume in Québec. Mr. Warszynski recently completed his doctorate at the University of Montréal in 2011. In addition to a distinguished performing career, Mr. Warszynski has been an active educator, teaching piano at the Université de Montréal and at the Cégep de Drummondville. He has been heard on radio and television broadcasts across Canada on CBC, CKUA, CJSR and OMNI TV, and in the USA on WPRB.
Tatiana Warszynski, a native of Poland and graduate of the Academy of Music in Gdansk, where she obtained her Master in Music, has been a violinist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra since 1984. She has participated in a number of international summer masterclasses, and has performed with the Von Karajan Chamber Orchestra and the Festival Symphony Orchestra (Berlin, Germany), the Chamber Music Orchestra (Gdansk) and Gdansk Philharmonic Orchestra (Poland), and the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra (Germany). Tatiana has been an ardent supporter of Canadian composers, and has commissioned, premiered and performed many of their works over the years.
Ms. Warszynksi participated in both the Edmonton and Saskatchewan New Music Festivals, and has performed in chamber and solo recital appearances. From 2007 to 2009, she served as Concertmaster of the Edmonton Chamber Players, an orchestra that predominantly performed contemporary Canadian music. She is also a member of the Warszynski Trio, which was founded to commission and play Canadian and international contemporary works. The Warszynski Trio released their first CD Devil’s Dance
in February 2009. Mrs. Warszynski is also a founding member of Mazurka Musik and Art – an organization dedicated to the promotion and production of music and visual art projects. Tatiana and her husband, Tadeusz, a visual artist and printmaker, have four children and live in Edmonton.