Zuill Bailey, cello
Natasha Paremski, piano

The World of Richard Strauss: Kindred Paths

Saturday, July 26, 2014, 6:30 pm

program

Suite Italienne (1932)
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Introduzione
Serenata
Aria
Tarantella
Minuetto e Finale: Moderato – Molto vivace

Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 36 (1913/1931) Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Allegro agitato
Non allegro
Allegro molto

intermission

Romance in F Major (1883)
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Sonata for Cello and Piano in F Major, Op. 6
(1880-1883)
Strauss

Allegro con brio
Andante ma non troppo
Finale: Allegro vivo

tomorrow

Sunday, July 27, 4 pm

Latitude 41 Piano Trio

American Landscapes VI: Platt and Dvořák
Music of Schubert, Dvořák, and Russell Platt

next week

Saturday, August 2, 11 am

Young People’s Concert
Marc Black, vocals and guitar

Saturday, August 2, 8 pm

Jazz at the Maverick
Fred Hersch, piano, with Julian Lage, guitar

Sunday, August 3, 4 pm

Modigliani Quartet
Music of Schumann, Saint-Saëns, and Ravel

 


LOGO
Program Notes © 2014 by Miriam Villchur Berg*

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Zuill Bailey (born 1972, Alexandria, Virginia) is an American cellist, chamber musician, and artistic director. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a professor of cello at the University of Texas at El Paso, and he has an exclusive international recording contract with the Telarc label.

As a concerto soloist, Zuill has performed with major symphony orchestras around the United States and abroad. He has collaborated with renowned conductors including Grant Llewellyn, Itzhak Perlman, James De Priest, and Stanisław Skrowaczewski, and has performed with pianist Leon Fleisher, the Juilliard String Quartet, violinist Jaime Laredo, and cellists Lynn Harrell, Janos Starker, and David Martín.

In his sold-out New York recital debut, Zuill performed the complete Beethoven sonatas with pianist Simone Dinnerstein at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has appeared at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and Carnegie Hall.

Zuill is a member of the Perlman/Quint/Bailey Trio, along with pianist Navah Perlman and violinist Philippe Quint. He performs regularly with long-time duo partner pianist Awadagin Pratt.

Network television appearances have included a recurring role on the HBO series Oz, in addition to features on NBC, A&E, and NHK in Japan. He has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, Saint Paul Sunday, the BBC’s In Tune, XM Radio’s Live from Studio II, Sirius Satellite Radio, and RTHK Radio Hong Kong.

Zuill performs on a 1693 Matteo Gofriller Cello formerly owned by Mischa Schneider of the Budapest String Quartet. In addition to extensive touring engagements and his academic position, Zuill is the artistic director of El Paso Pro Musica and the Sitka (Alaska) Music Festival.

Born in Moscow, pianist Natasha Paremski moved to the United States at the age of eight. She was awarded the Gilmore Young Artists prize in 2006, the Prix Montblanc in 2007, and the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year for 2010.

Natasha began her piano studies at the age of four. At the age of fifteen she debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and recorded two discs with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.

Her first recital album debuted at No. 9 on the 2011 Billboard Traditional Classical chart. Natasha has performed with major orchestras in North America and Europe, toured with the Kremerata Baltica, and played with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. She has given recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Louvre, and major venues throughout the U.S., in Buenos Aires, and in Tokyo.

In the 2010-2011 season, she played the world premiere of a sonata written for her by Gabriel Kahane. At the suggestion of John Corigliano, she performed his Piano Concerto with the Colorado Symphony.

In 2008, Natasha performed in choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s Danse Concertantes at New York’s Joyce Theater. She was featured in a film for BBC Television on the life and work of Tchaikovsky, shot on location in St. Petersburg, Russia. She performed in Twin Spirits, a project starring Sting and Trudie Styler that explores the music and writing of Robert and Clara Schumann.

 


 


 


ABOUT THE MUSIC

The great ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev wanted, for his Ballets Russes, a piece based on the commedia dell’arte, the Italian theatrical tradition with its roots in the Renaissance. He found music by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736), and asked Igor Stravinsky to make it into a ballet called Pulcinella. Although reluctant at first, Stravinsky liked the score, wrote the ballet, then transformed pieces of it into the Suite Italienne for violin and piano. He made one further transformation of the piece, working with cellist Gregor Piatigorsky to create a duet for cello and piano. Later research revealed that the source music was not in fact by Pergolesi, but the Suite nonetheless stands as a creation by Stravinsky, whose melding of Baroque models with modern harmonies and styles produced an entirely new and exciting composition. Stravinsky himself liked the work, saying that it was “the epiphany through which the whole of my late work became possible.”

The brief Introduzione moves with a marcato (accented) stateliness. The Serenata combines the lilt of 6/8 meter with the wistfulness of a minor key. The piano takes the melody briefly, but the cello is the star. In the movement named Aria, the instruments play a fiery dance before arriving at the sweet song suggested by the title. The Tarantella is a wild ride, named for the dance that was thought either to cure the bite of a poisonous spider (tarantula) or to mimic the paroxysms of one who has been bitten. In the Minuetto e Finale, the opening dance combines staccato piano with legato cello in a seemingly incongruous admixture, leading to a bright, upbeat finish.

A world-famous pianist and composer during his lifetime, Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the last representatives of Russian Romanticism. His early works were not well received, and that, combined with the sudden death of Tchaikovsky, sent him into a deep depression. He dedicated his Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18, to a therapist who helped him recover, and it has become one of the most frequently played concertos in the repertoire. The Russian revolution of 1917 resulted in the loss of Rachmaninoff’s estate and his ability to earn a living in his homeland. He traveled to Scandinavia and then to the U.S., where he performed on tour for the rest of his life. He was close friends with Vladimir Horowitz, and they often gave two-piano recitals in Rachmaninoff’s home in Los Angeles.

Although the Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 36, is for the solo instrument, its lavish textures and opulent sonorities give it an orchestral feeling. Rachmaninoff composed it in 1913, then revised it in 1931, removing about six minutes of music. It is this revised version that is played here today. The first theme in the Allegro agitato is stormy, followed by a second, more lyrical, chorale-like tune. In the slow movement (Non allegro), a long slow melody is accompanied by sumptuous chords and cascades of notes. The finale (Allegro molto) requires a high degree of pianistic technique. Throughout the sonata, the music is intense and dramatic, in true Russian style.

Richard Strauss was a child prodigy, performing and composing from age six and continuing for nearly eight decades, right up to his dying days. He emerged as a composer soon after the deaths of Wagner and Brahms, and was influenced by both sides of that musical dichotomy—the modernists and the traditionalists. He was internationally famous as a conductor, and used his influence to fight for the rights of contemporary composers to copyright their work, helping to form a society for that purpose. He also helped establish the Mozart festival in Salzburg, which has been operating since then (1920) to this day. In December 1999, The New Yorker named him Composer of the Century. Although he is now best known for his lieder, his tone poems (including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Don Quixote), and his fifteen operas (including Der Rosenkavalier, Salome, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Die Frau ohne Schatten), in his early years he wrote a substantial body of chamber works.

The Sonata for Cello and Piano in F Major, Op. 6, was written, like much of Strauss’ music for solo instruments, with a specific person in mind—in this case, Hans Wilhan, a close friend and the principal cellist of the Munich court orchestra. The opening movement (Allegro con brio) combines a bright theme in 6/8 meter with another that is broad and legato. Cello and piano share the lead, often playing in dialogue, and the two themes are played one on top of the other.

In the slow movement (Andante ma non troppo) Strauss moves to the key of D minor. The music is somber, but with excursions into the major that prevent it from becoming too funereal.

The Finale: Allegro vivo shows the influence of Mendelssohn in its lighthearted airiness. Strauss was only seventeen when he wrote this piece, but his talent was already apparent. He wrote to his mother after the Nuremburg premiere (with Strauss at the piano), telling her that the audience received the piece with enthusiastic applause from all sides.

The Romance in F Major for Cello and Piano was also written in Strauss’s teenage years. It was originally scored for cello and orchestra, like a concerto. The cello is featured throughout, except when it sustains a long note, whereupon the piano part takes on more importance. A gently wafting cello melody opens the piece, after which a more intense, dramatic middle section breaks the reverie. The calm mood is restored with the return of the lilting main theme.

All program notes are copyright Miriam Villchur Berg. It is permissible to quote short excerpts for reviews. For permission to quote more extensive portions, or to copy,  publish, or make other use of these program notes, please contact her at miriam@hvc.rr.com. Program Notes © 2014 by Miriam Villchur Berg