PERFORMANCES & TICKETS
Britt Orchestra: Bernstein Centennial & Anthony Marwood
Friday, August 10 • 7:30 p.m.
PROGRAM: Anthony Marwood, violin
NOTICE: This Britt Orchestra concert has been cancelled. Learn more about the cancellation decision and tickets here.
LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Candide: Overture
LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Serenade (After Plato's "Symposium") • Anthony Marwood, violin
(Guest Artist Sponsor: Pacific Retirement Services)
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 10 in E minor
TICKETS: Premium Reserved $45 | Standard Reserved $25 | Lawn $20 | Child/Student Lawn $10
GATES OPEN: @ 5:30 Early Entry | 5:45 General Public
PRE-CONCERT TALK: 6:30 p.m. in the Performance Garden
Program: Bernstein Centennial Celebration with Anthony Marwood, violin
LEONARD BERNSTEIN – Candide: Overture
LEONARD BERNSTEIN - Serenade (After Plato's "Symposium") • Anthony Marwood, violin
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH - Symphony No. 10 in E minor
Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)
Overture to Candide
Instrumentation: piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, three clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, two percussionists, harp, and strings.
The following notes were taken from the Leonard Bernstein Office’s website: leonardbernstein.com/works/view/10/ candide & eonardbernstein.com/works/view/75/overture-to- candide
In 1953, the renowned playwright Lillian Hellman proposed to Leonard Bernstein that they adapt Voltaire’s Candide for the musical theater. Voltaire’s 1758 novella satirized the fashionable philosophies of his day and, especially, the Catholic Church whose Inquisition routinely tortured and killed “heretics” in a ghastly event known as an “Auto da Fé” (“act of faith”). Hellman observed a sinister parallel between the Inquisition’s church-sponsored purges and the “Washington Witch Trials,” fueled by anti-Communist hysteria and waged by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Charged with rage and indignition, she began her adaptation of Voltaire’s with lyricist John LaTouche and Bernstein, who wrote numerous musical sketches. Before long, LaTouche was replaced by poet Richard Wilbur. Hellman, Bernstein, and Wilbur worked periodically over the next two years but labored in earnest through 1956, a year when Bernstein was simultaneously composing West Side Story. By October 1956, Candide was ready for performances in Boston, where Dorothy Parker contributed lyrics to “The Venice Gavotte” while Bernstein and Hellman had also added lyrics of their own to other numbers. The lyricist credits were already beginning to mount up.
Although the theme of political aggression originally attracted Lillian Hellman to the project, her sharpest writing on the topic was ironically jettisoned while the show was still out of town. The director, Tyrone Guthrie, became too nervous about her “Auto da Fé” scene specifically, as it directly satirized the House Un-American Activities Committee. It would appear that the urgent political impetus for writing the musical was the one aspect of the work that didn’t stand up to the test of time. The original Broadway production, with sets by Oliver Smith and costumes by Irene Sharaff, opened at the Martin Beck Theater in New York on December 1, 1956 to mixed reviews and closed on February 2, 1957. Fortunately, the original cast album was recorded by Columbia Records, so the music thrived. The recording sold well, and Bernstein’s score gained a sort of cult status.
Candide (1956) is operetta in the vein of Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan. Its music has all the wit, élan, and sophistication that is associated with that genre. This is immediately apparent in the Overture (who ever wrote a special overture—in sonata form, no less—for a musical comedy?). It begins with a fanfare built on the interval of a minor seventh, followed by a major second—typically Bernstein, which serves as a motto and as a basis for development, throughout the entire operetta. This seventh sets up an expectation of B-flat major; but, instead, there is a stumbling, like a pratfall, into E-flat. This, in the body of the show, becomes “battle scene” music. Next, a lyrical contrast from the duet “Oh Happy We” is stated. This entire section is then repeated with lighter orchestration (note the devilish glee of the solo violin) and is succeeded by a brilliant codetta derived from the end of the aria “glitter and Be Gay.” The Overture concludes with a shower of musical sparks utilizing fragments of everything already heard.
© by Jack Gottlieb, 1964
Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)
Serenade (After Plato’s Symposium)
Phaedrus: Pausanias (lento - allegro)
Socrates: Alcibiades (molto tenuto - allegro molto vivace)
Instrumentation: harp, timpani, percussion, strings, and solo violin.
The following notes were taken from the Leonard Bernstein Office’s website: leonardbernstein.com/works/view/23/ serenade-after-platos-symposium
On August 8, 1954, the day after completing his score, Bernstein wrote the following descriptions for each movement as a suggested series of “guideposts” for the listener:
I. Phaedrus; Pausanias (Lento; Allegro marcato). Phaedrus opens the symposium with a lyrical oration in praise of Eros, the god of love. (Fugato, begun by the solo violin.) Pausanias continues by describing the duality of the lover as compared with the beloved. This is expressed in a classical sonata- allegro, based on the material of the opening fugato.
[The second theme of this sonata movement incorporates disjunct grace-note figures and dissonant intervals in the elegant solo violin part.]
II. Aristophanes (Allegretto). Aristophanes does not play the role of clown in this dialogue, but instead that of the bedtime-storyteller, invoking the fairy-tale mythology of love. The atmosphere is one of quiet charm.
[Aristophanes sees love as satisfying a basic human need. Much of the musical material derives from the grace-note theme of the first movement. The middle section of this movement incorporates a melody for the lower strings (marked “singing”) played in close canon.]
III. Eryximachus (Presto). The physician speaks of bodily harmony as a scientific model for the workings of love- patterns. This is an extremely short fugato-scherzo, born of a blend of mystery and humor.
[This section contains music that corresponds thematically to the canon of the previous movement, Aristophanes]
IV. Agathon (Adagio). Perhaps the most moving speech of the dialogue, Agathon’s panegyric embraces all aspects of love’s powers, charms and functions. This movement is a simple three-part song.
V. Socrates; Alcibiades (Molto tenuto; Allegro molto vivace). Socrates describes his visit to the seer Diotima, quoting her speech on the demonology of love. Love as a daemon is Socrates’ image for the profundity of love; and his seniority adds to the feeling of didactic soberness in an otherwise pleasant and convivial after-dinner discussion. This is a slow introduction of greater weight than any of the preceding movements, and serves as a highly developed reprise of the middle section of the Agathon movement, thus suggesting a hidden sonata-form. The famous interruption by Alcibiades and his band of drunken revelers ushers in the Allegro, which is an extended rondo ranging in spirit from agitation through jig-like dance music to joyful celebration. If there is a hint of jazz in the celebration, I hope it will not be taken as anachronistic Greek party-music, but rather the natural expression of a contemporary American composer imbued with the spirit of that timeless dinner party.
[Speaking through the voice of Diotima, Socrates proposes the notion that the most virtuous form of love is the love for wisdom (philosophy).]
Despite this correlation between the music and the text, Bernstein biographer Humphrey Burton suggests that the composer introduced the Platonic connection later in the compositional process; a comparison of The Symposium and Serenade reveals discrepancies in the arrangement of the speakers and their underlying emotional character. For example, in Plato, Socrates has the most important and lengthy speech, while in Serenade, the fourth movement of Agathon contains the most weighty music. It seems likely that Bernstein superimposed Plato’s episodes over a fully developed work. It is also possible that Bernstein decided upon the name Serenade well into the work’s development: in the months preceding its completion, Bernstein refers frequently to an unnamed “concerto.”
Serenade was only one triumph during a flurry of major successes during this period in Bernstein’s life. The Broadway opening of Wonderful Town in 1953 directly preceded it. The first performance of Serenade took place just two weeks after the premiere of Bernstein’s film score to On the Waterfront. The celebrated “Omnibus” telecasts began shortly afterward, in November 1954, while 1955 saw the European premiere of Wonderful Town; the birth of his second child, Alexander; and the premiere of Symphonic Suite from On The Waterfront. By December 1, 1956, he would also sign his first long-term contract with Columbia Records; would earn a post as one of the two principal conductors (along with Dimitri Mitropoulos) of the New York Philharmonic 1957-58 season; and, finally, would witness the premiere of Candide on Broadway. Within a year after the opening of Candide, the curtain would go up on West Side Story. [The Serenade] confirms Bernstein’s authority as a composer of symphonic music, and helped define what is possibly the most varied and storied period of the composer’s life.
Dmitri Dmitrieivich Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Symphony No. 10 in E minor
Instrumentation: 2 flutes and piccolo (2nd flute also doubling piccolo), 2 oboes and English horn (doubling 3rd oboe), 2 clarinets and E-flat clarinet (doubling 3rd clarinet), 2 bassoons and contrabassoon (doubling 3rd bassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle, tambourine, snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, tam-tam, xylophone, and strings.
Dmitri Shostakovich spent most of his career falling in and out of favor with the Communist authorities. His Symphony No. 1 launched him on a promising career upon his graduation, in 1926, from the conservatory in his native Saint Petersburg, and he started turning heads as a pianist, too. But within a few years of this debut, his satirical opera The Nose (staged in 1930) ran afoul of Soviet politicos, and the powerful Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians denounced its “bourgeois decadence.” He redeemed himself with his charming, often brash Piano Concerto No. 1 of 1933, but things turned sour again in early 1936, when Stalin decided to see the Shostakovich opera everyone was talking about, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Denounced in the press, Shostakovich contritely offered his Fifth Symphony (1937) as “the creative reply of a Soviet artist to justified criticism” (not really Shostakovich’s words, though often attributed to him). The regime accepted his apology and awarded him the Stalin Prize twice in succession, in 1940 for his Piano Quintet and in 1941 for his Symphony No. 7 (the Leningrad, which memorialized that city’s suffering under Hitler's siege). Then, in 1945, his star fell again when his Ninth Symphony struck the bureaucrats as insufficiently reflecting the glory of Russia’s victory over the Nazis. By 1948, Shostakovich found himself condemned along with other composers for “formalist perversions and antidemocratic tendencies in music, alien to the Soviet people and its artistic tastes.” He responded with a pathetic acknowledgement of guilt and the next year redeemed himself with Song of the Forests, a nationalist oratorio that gained him yet another Stalin Prize.
After Stalin’s death, in 1953, the Soviet government stopped bullying artists quite so much. But by then Shostakovich had grown indelibly traumatized and paranoid. He retreated to a somewhat conservative creative stance, and until 1960 he contented himself with writing generally lighter fare, keeping his musical behavior in check as if he suspected the Soviet cultural thaw were simply an illusion that might reverse itself at any moment. In 1960, however, his Seventh and Eighth String Quartets launched a late period of productivity that would include many notable works of searing honesty.
Shostakovich began his Symphony No. 10 only a few months after Stalin’s death. Or perhaps earlier. The pianist Tatyana Nikolaeva, one of his confidants, insisted that the symphony—and unquestionably its first movement--dates from 1951, and that the piece, like so many others, was withheld until after Stalin’s death. In 1979, the musicologist Solomon Volkov published the much-discussed book Testimony, which he presented as Shostakovich’s “as-related-to” memoirs. The authenticity of the book has been loudly disputed both pro and con (mirroring the political disputes that so often swirled around the composer himself), and many scholars have questioned whether Shostakovich’s scores are really filled with as many covert anti-Stalin protests as Volkov’s book maintains. Regarding the Tenth Symphony, Volkov has Shostakovich relating: “I did depict Stalin in . . . the Tenth. I wrote it right after Stalin’s death, and no one has yet guessed what the symphony is about. It’s about Stalin and the Stalin years. The second part, the scherzo, is a musical portrait of Stalin, roughly speaking. Of course, there are many other things in it, but that’s the basis.”
Among those who agree with this reading is the conductor Kurt Sanderling, who attended the preparations and premiere of the work and met with the composer while the piece was being created. Responding to a query about the Tenth Symphony as a Stalin portrait, Sanderling said in 1995: “I think this is quite true. And it was indeed a portrait of Stalin for all of us who had lived through the horrors of that time. But for the listener of today, it is perhaps more like a portrait of a dictatorship in general, of a system of oppression.”
Although Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony was overwhelmingly successful at its premiere, some listeners were perplexed by its tone. This gave rise to defenses from prominent figures. The composer Dmitri Kabalevsky declared, “I am deeply convinced that the conflict it portrays arises from the tension now existing throughout the world.” And the violinist David Oistrakh said, “The Symphony is imbued with the lofty ethical principles, deep humanity and genuine feeling of a great artist and patriot. Its strength lies in its enormous dramatic effect, its sharp conflicts, and the captivating beauty and propriety of its language.”
The symphony scored a notable success at its premiere as well as at subsequent performances in Moscow. It was perhaps inevitable that so prominent a new work should come under the close scrutiny of the Composer’s Union, which pondered it over the course of three days in April 1954. Shostakovich, by then adept at apologizing publicly for his music, diplomatically acknowledged that, at the distance of a year, he did sense certain shortcomings in the piece, and that he might write some things differently if he had it to do over. But he didn’t go so far as to volunteer to actually re-write his symphony. The hard-line commissar types lambasted it for being “non-realistic” and ultimately pessimistic, hardly the thing for hopeful Soviet society. By the end of the debate, however, a more liberal faction managed to fashion a compromise position to which the Union’s members could agree, defining the piece in most curious terms as “an optimistic tragedy.”
-Notes: James M. Keller
Guest Artist: Anthony Marwood, violin
Guest Artist Sponsor:
British violinist Anthony Marwood is known worldwide as an artist of exceptional expressive force. His energetic and collaborative nature places him in great demand as soloist/director with chamber orchestras worldwide.
He is Principal Artistic Partner of the celebrated Canadian chamber orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, a post he took up in 2015. In the 16/17 season, he was Artist in Residence at the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. His eminence as a soloist has brought him to work with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Sir Andrew Davis, Thomas Søndergård, David Robertson, Gerard Korsten, Ilan Volkov, Jaime Martin, Bernard Labadie and Douglas Boyd. In recent years, engagements have included the Boston Symphony, St Louis Symphony and Vienna Radio Symphony, as well as the New Zealand and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Last season included performances of Kurt Weill’s concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia, play/direct projects with the Aurora Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall and with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, a return to the Amsterdam Sinfonietta for a tour of the Netherlands, and a performance of Brahms’s Double Concerto with Alexander Rudin and Musica Viva Moscow.
Marwood is a renowned champion of contemporary music, alongside more traditional repertoire. Among those new works composed for him is Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto “Concentric Paths”. Marwood premiered the work in Berlin and at the BBC Proms with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe with Ades conducting. They followed these performances with many national premieres around the globe and a release on EMI in 2010. Last season, he performed it with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Andrew Manze. Also composed for Marwood were Steven Mackey’s “Four Iconoclastic Episodes”, premiered in 2009 with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and Sally Beamish’s 1995 violin concerto, premiered by Marwood with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins. The most recent work written for Marwood is Samuel Adams’ Violin Concerto, premiered in 2014 by the Berkeley Symphony in California under Joana Carneiro to critical acclaim.
Another facet of Marwood’s career is genre-bending presentations, such as the Academy of St Martin in the Fields’ fully-staged production of Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale”, in which Marwood acted the role of the Soldier and played the violin part. He also enjoyed a successful collaboration with award-winning Indian classical dancer Mayuri Boonham.
Born in London, Anthony Marwood studied with Emanuel Hurwitz at the Royal Academy of Music, David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music, and took lessons from Sándor Végh and Daniel Phillips at IMS Prussia Cove. He was named Instrumentalist of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2006 and was the violinist of the Florestan Trio for sixteen years. He is co-Artistic Director of the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival in East Sussex, performs annually at the Yellow Barn Festival in Vermont, and enjoys a close association with the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. Marwood was appointed a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music in 2013. He plays a 1736 Carlo Bergonzi violin, kindly bought by a syndicate of purchasers.
Pre-concert talk: Anthony Marwood
Begins in the Britt Performance Garden at 6:30 p.m.