Charley talks to Longmont Symphony music director Robert Olson about their season finale tomorrow.
Giacomo Puccini: “Nessun dorma” from Act III of Turandot 3:24
Longmont Symphony Orchestra
Robert Olson, conductor; Paul Hartfield, tenor (Recorded 3/3/07)
Also, Longmont Symphony Orchestra
Robert Olson, conductor
Georges Enesco: Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A major, Opus 11 12:49 (Recorded 10/6/07)
Paul Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber 21:34 (Recorded 3/3/07)
Georges Enesco (1881-1955): Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A major, Opus 11
Enesco once described himself as ``a savage, whom nothing could fully discipline, a staunch adept of independence, who accepted no constraint and did not recognize any school.'' He studied first at the Vienna Conservatory, and later at the Paris Conservatory. His teachers included Massenet and Fauré, and his own pupils included Dinu Lipatti and Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin called him ``the one man to whom I owe everything.''
Despite his internationalism, he maintained ties with his native Rumania, serving as court violinist to the Queen of Rumania, conductor of the Bucharest Philharmonic and founder of the Enesco Prize for composition. He said Rumanian folk music ``is influenced not by the neighboring Slavs, but by the Indian and Egyptian folk songs introduced by the members of these remote races, now classed as gypsies, brought to Rumania as servants of the Roman conquerors. The deeply Oriental character of our own folk music derives from these sources and possesses a flavor as singular as it is beautiful.''
The two Rumanian Rhapsodies appeared in 1901. Both were introduced at a Pablo Casals concert in Paris on Feb 7, 1908 with Enesco conducting. A drinking song (I Have a Coin and I Want a Drink) and four other national melodies appear in No. 1, which S.W. Bennett describes as ``all jollity, from its opening `call' by clarinets and oboe through its chain of rousing dance motifs, and without ever losing its earthly folk quality, it achieves near the end a Dionysiac rapture.''
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963): Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber
II. Turandot Scherzo: Moderato
In 1940, Hindemith settled permanently in the United States--``this land of limited impossibilities'' he called it. One of his earliest projects here was a collaboration with Léonide Massine on a ballet based on Carl Maria von Weber's music.
Composer and choreographer met in April in Buffalo, New York, where Massine's company danced to the Bacchanale from Wagner's Tannhäuser. According to its creator, the piece consisted of ``a series of weird hallucinatory images.'' The set, by Salvador Dali, included a black swan and an enormous black umbrella decorated with a skull. Hindemith found the entire enterprise ``quite simply stupid.''
By the end of the month, Hindemith reported to his publisher: ``I have broken off relations with Massine, for artistic reasons.'' Massine had objected to the music on Weber themes for being ``too personal.'' When Massine announced his intention to use Dali in the new ballet, Hindemith had had enough.
However, the music was not wasted. During August of 1943, he completed the score, calling it ``Symphonic Metamorphosis.'' It was first performed at Carnegie Hall on January 20, 1944 by Artur Rodzinski and the New York Philharmonic.
The Weber themes that Hindemith used are mostly found in a volume of four-hand piano music. The opening movement is based on an Allegro in A minor, No. 4 of Eight Pieces for Piano Four Hands, Opus 60. The second movement derives from a Chinese melody found in Rousseau's Dictionary of Music. Weber had employed it in his incidental music to Schiller's adaptation of Gozzi's play Turandot. The third movement comes from an Andantino in C minor, one of Weber's Six Pieces for Piano Four Hands, Opus 10. The Finale is based on the March in G minor, the seventh of the Eight Pieces, Opus 60.
The score calls for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombonews, tuba, timpani, percussion, and strings.
Copyright 2010, Charley Samson