Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 3:00 p.m.
Keith Lockhart, conductor
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin
Ticket holders may attend The PreConcert, a free recital in Thomas Hall, which begins one hour before the performance.
WEILL Much Ado About Love: A Suite of Dances from The Firebrand of Florence
MORRICONE "Love Theme" from Cinema Paradiso
GERSHWIN Someone to Watch Over Me
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Kurt Weill (1900-1950)
Much Ado About Love: A Suite of Dances from The Firebird of Florence
The 1945 Broadway operetta The Firebrand of Florence, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, was Weill's worst box-office failure in America. It lasted only just 43 performances, a casualty of the wartime generic disfavor of costume operetta on Broadway, a weak book based on Edwin Justus Mayer's play about Benvenuto Cellini entitled The Firebrand (1924), and miscasting from the top down, including Weill's insistence that the role of the Duchess be played by his wife Lotte Lenya. Recorded live in London in 2000 utilizing the first critical edition of an American musical theater work, it has thereafter enjoyed a number of well-received concert performances on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as a highly successful German stage adaptation in Dresden.
The present suite is indeed a premiere, in that it incorporates passages of the score that have never been gathered in this way previously, with only a few editorial enhancements of orchestration and continuity. Its title, "Much Ado about Love," adopts that of the operetta when it debuted at the Colonial Theatre in Boston in February, prior to its Broadway premiere a month later as The Firebrand of Florence. The five movements are indeed a suite of dances: a prelude based on the "Come to Florence" section of the opening number (arguably the longest continuous musical sequence in Broadway history up till then); a Gigue from the end of the show; the waltz from the trial scene, itself an expansion of a vocal number with the memorable Gershwin lyric "You Have to Do What You Do Do"; a sarabande again from the Act II finale; and the Tarantella from the Act I finale. The suite of dances gives some sense of the verve of invention implicit in even this least successful of Weill's Broadway efforts.
- Kim H. Kowalke
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Premiered on October 19, 1924, in Amsterdam with Pierre Monteux conducting and Samuel Dushkin as soloist.
"This Tzigane must be a piece of great virtuosity. Certain passages can produce brilliant effects, provided that it is possible to perform then—which I'm not always sure of." Ravel's comment is not reassuring, if you are the violinist Yelly d'Arányi for whom the piece was composed. Ravel was a curious musician, interested in many styles of music. At first, it was jazz and the music of Gershwin that had inspired him. But when Ravel met the British-Hungarian violinist d'Arányi, he fell under the spell of her renditions of gypsy music. In the grand-niece of the famous Joseph Joachim, Ravel had found the perfect partner for exploring yet another style. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of Liszt, Brahms and, of course, Joachim.
Tzigane, which means "gypsy" in French, is just about all one needs to know to enjoy the work. Composed initially for violin and piano—or actually the luthéal (a keyboard instrument that approximates the sound or a dulcimer)—Ravel was intent on creating a rhapsodic work that would explore as much the timbres and technical boundaries of the violin as it does the expressive qualities of gypsy music. D'Arányi premiered the work in London on April 26, 1924. Ravel realized quickly that only an orchestration would truly illuminate the rich textures and hues of his only work in a gypsy style. One wonders what popular styles Ravel would explore if he was alive today...
Selections from Serenade: The Love Album
In 2015, Ms. Meyers joined forces with Keith Lockhart and the London Symphony Orchestra to produce an album of beloved love songs. Designed to coincide with the celebration of her parent's 50th wedding anniversary, Serenade: The Love Album salutes Anne's love of jazz, blues, and classic movies. Today's selections represent a few of Keith and Anne's favorites from this wonderful collaboration.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Premiered on June 13, 1911 in Paris.
Petrushka is all about make-believe—with a twist. The magician makes his three puppets, Petrushka (a clown-like figure), the Ballerina, and the Moor, appear life-like to the fairground audience. The twist, of course, is that in Scenes II and III we learn that the puppets are alive. Then the magician makes Petrushka (and the other two puppets) believe that his clownish appearance is hideous. The twist here is that this leads to rejection by the Ballerina and eventual "murder" by the Moor. Yet Petrushka's "death" leads to the biggest twist of all, as the magician learns—to his horror—that Petrushka had not only come to life but that he had a soul, which is taunting him as the curtain falls.
Musically, the ballet functions much the same way. Stravinsky makes us believe that Scenes I and IV represent the real world by using Russian folk music and a simple harmonic language. The twist is that mechanical patterns, without any real development, make the real world seem rather lifeless. The weird (octatonic) and complex musical language of Scenes II and III ought to make us believe that we've entered the unreal world of the puppets. The twist is that this music is much more expressive, giving voice to the wide range of emotions felt by the puppets. The result is that reality and make-believe are turned upside down, allowing Stravinsky to draw the audience into the emotional world of Petrushka. From a stylistic perspective, the biggest twist is that Stravinsky's new weird (octatonic) style becomes not just acceptable but expressive to our ears.
Petrushka has been heralded as Stravinsky's first mature work, where his own, unmistakable, modernist style is on full display. Yet it was quickly overshadowed by Stravinsky's next work, The Rite of Spring. Stravinsky was actually working on both works at the same time, as Petrushka had become a diversion or secondary outlet while working on the more intense and serious Rite of Spring. Given the level of humor, deception, and creativity outlined above, it might be more appropriate to view both ballet scores as two sides of the same coin.
- Siegwart Reichwald
BMC proudly salutes music of the celebrated German-born composer Kurt Weill through a series of concerts, operas, lectures, and book readings, providing rich context around the influential composer's music.
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In 2007, Keith Lockhart succeeded David Effron as Artistic Director of the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival. Lockhart’s appointment solidified an already special relationship with BMC; having attended as a teenager for two summers (1974, 1975), Lockhart was first featured as a guest conductor in 1996 and had since returned numerous times. He continues to serve as the Conductor of The Boston Pops Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London.
Keith Lockhart has conducted nearly every major orchestra in North America, as well as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the NHK Symphony in Tokyo, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In October 2012, he made his London Philharmonic debut in Royal Albert Hall. In the opera pit, Maestro Lockhart has conducted productions with the Atlanta Opera, Washington Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Utah Opera. 2015-2016 highlights included debut appearances with the Czech Philharmonic, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Vienna Radio Symphony, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He also completed a recording of the Bernstein Serenade with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and the London Symphony Orchestra.
In February 1995, Lockhart was named the 20th conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. Now in his 23rd season, he has conducted over 1800 concerts and made 77 television shows, including 38 new programs for PBS’s Evening at Pops, and the annual July Fourth spectacular, broadcast nationally for many years. The Boston Pops’ 2002 July Fourth broadcast was Emmy-nominated, and the Evening at Pops telecast of “Fiddlers Three” won the 2002 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. He has led the orchestra on four overseas tours of Japan and Korea, and 42 national tours in the US, reaching 35 states and 146 cities (including performances at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and sports arenas across the country) and extending to the pre-game show of Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Since November 2004, he and the Boston Pops have released six self-produced recordings: 2017’s Lights, Camera…Music! Six Decades of John Williams, A Boston Pops Christmas—Live from Symphony Hall, Sleigh Ride, America, Oscar & Tony, and The Red Sox Album. Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra have also recorded eight albums with RCA Victor—Runnin’ Wild: Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops Orchestra Play Glenn Miller, American Visions, the Grammy-nominated The Celtic Album, Holiday Pops, A Splash of Pops, Encore!, the Latin Grammy-nominated The Latin Album, and My Favorite Things: A Richard Rodgers Celebration.
Highlights of his tenure as the seventh Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra (2010) include critically acclaimed North American tours (2010/2011 and 2012/2013, and 2014/2015), conducting annual performances at The Proms, and celebrating the orchestra’s 60th year in 2012. In June of that same year, Keith Lockhart conducted the orchestra during Queen Elizabeth II’s gala Diamond Jubilee Concert, which was broadcast around the world.
In 2009, Keith Lockhart concluded eleven seasons as Music Director of the Utah Symphony. He led that orchestra through the complete symphonic works of Gustav Mahler, brought them to Europe on tour for the first time in two decades, and directed multiple appearances at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He stood at the front of that organization’s historic merger with the Utah Opera to create the first-ever joint administrative arts entity of the Utah Symphony and Opera. Under his baton, the Utah Symphony released its first recording in two decades, Symphonic Dances, in April 2006, garnered an Emmy award for a “Salute to Symphony” regional broadcast, and performed in a national PBS broadcast of Vaughn Williams’ oratorio Hodie.
Keith Lockhart served as Music Director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra for seven years, completing his tenure in 1999. During his leadership, the orchestra doubled its number of performances, released recordings, and developed a reputation for innovative and accessible programming. Maestro Lockhart also served as Associate Conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra from 1990 to 1995.
Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, Maestro Lockhart began his musical studies on piano at the age of 7, and holds degrees from Furman University and Carnegie Mellon University, and also holds honorary doctorates from the Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Northeastern University, Furman University, and Carnegie Mellon University, among others. He was the 2006 recipient of the Bob Hope Patriot Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and was a recipient of the 2017 Commonwealth Award, Massachusetts highest cultural honor.
More information is available at www.KeithLockhart.com and www.cami.com.
Anne Akiko Meyers
Violin superstar Anne Akiko Meyers has actively maintained an extensive touring schedule for three decades and was the top-selling traditional classical instrumental soloist on the Billboard charts in 2014. Regularly performing as guest soloist with many of the world's top orchestras, she presents ground-breaking recitals and is a best-selling recording artist who has released 34 albums.
Anne appeared in a nationwide PBS broadcast special and on a Naxos DVD featuring the world premiere of the Samuel Jones Violin Concerto with the All-Star Orchestra led by Gerard Schwarz and the French premiere of the Mason Bates Violin Concerto with Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre de Lyon. Two new recordings and a box set were released – "Passacaglia: Arvo Pärt", works for violin and orchestra in which she collaborated closely with the composer, and "Serenade: The Love Album", an album featuring Leonard Bernstein's Serenade and ten newly arranged pieces from the American Songbook and classic movies, with the London Symphony Orchestra, Keith Lockhart conducting. Anne's complete RCA Red Seal recordings are now available on Sony Music.
A champion of living composers, Meyers has actively added new works to the violin repertoire by commissioning and premiering works by composers such as Mason Bates, Jakub Ciupinski, John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon, Samuel Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Akira Miyoshi, Arvo Pärt, Gene Pritsker, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Huang Ruo, Somei Satoh, Adam Schoenberg, and Joseph Schwantner.
Anne has collaborated with a diverse array of artists outside of traditional classical, including jazz icons Chris Botti and Wynton Marsalis, avant-garde musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita, pop-era act Il Divo and singer Michael Bolton. She studied with Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, Josef Gingold at Indiana University, and Felix Galimir, Masao Kawasaki and Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School. She received the Avery Fisher Career Grant, "The Luminary Award" for her support of the Pasadena Symphony, and the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Colburn School of Music.