News Release - September 26, 2013
A 100th Birthday Triple-Play
While the jury is still out on the fate of much twentieth century classical music, a centenary celebration is underway for three composers who won’t be landing in the historic dustbin anytime soon. Sonoma State University’s music department presents music by Britten, Lutoslawski and Stravinsky, performed by the charismatic members of its resident artists, Trio Ariadne, at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 in Weill Hall. The concert, under the aegis of Sonoma Musica Viva, will also include works by composition students.
The program features clarinetist Carol McGonnell on Lutoslawski’s Five Dance Preludes; cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir performing Britten’s Third Cello Suite; and the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo in Stravinsky’s explosive Rite of Spring, performed in its original 1913 version for piano, four hands. Tickets are $10-$15 and parking is included.
Britten: Cello Suite No. 3, Op. 87
Lutoslawski: Five Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (original version for piano, four hands)
To buy tickets click here.
Weill Hall at the Green Music Center is located at the north campus entrance off Rohnert Park Expressway. Park in Lots O and L.
Carol McGonnell http://carolmcgonnell.net
Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir http://www.saeunn.com/Audio.html
Anderson & Roe http://www.andersonroe.com/news/
Trio Ariadne http://www.sonoma.edu/newscenter/2013/08/trio-ariadne-set-to-begin-year-long-residency-at-ssu.html
Britten: Cello Suite No. 3, Op. 87
Following the release of her recording of Britten’s three Suites for Cello in 2011, cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir has performed in some of the world’s greatest halls including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall and Disney Hall. “The third suite is the most interesting,” Thorsteinsdóttir says. “It is in reverse variation form; meaning that it starts with the variations and works towards a statement of them at the end.” A Naumburg prizewinner and doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University, Sæunn is currently living at Sonoma State University as an artist in residence with Trio Ariadne.
English composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) wrote some of the most appealing classical music of the twentieth century. He is hailed as one of the all-time great opera composers, who, with his partner, the singer Peter Pears, achieved international fame with his operas Peter Grimes, Billy Budd, and The Turn of the Screw. Breaking with the romantic, nationalist school of Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams, Britten recreated English music in a fresh, modern form.
Britten composed five cello works for the Russian master Mstislav Rostropovich, including three Cello Suites, the Cello Symphony and Cello Sonata. Britten composed the Third Suite in 1971, inspired by Rostropovich's playing of the unaccompanied cello suites of Bach. Rostropovich first performed the suite in Suffolk, England, on 21 December 1974. It is in nine movements, performed without pause:
• Introduzione: Lento
• Marcia: Allegro
• Canto: Con Moto
• Barcarolla: Lento
• Dialogo: Allegretto
• Fuga: Andante espressivo
• Recitativo: Fantastico
• Moto perpetuo: Presto
• Passacaglia: Lento solenne
The work incorporates four Russian themes, including three arrangements of folksongs by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky reminiscent of Beethoven's use of Russian themes in the Razumovsky quartets. The final Russian tune, stated simply at the end of the set, is the Kontakion, the Russian Orthodox Hymn for the Dead. Third Suite is considered to be the most passionate of the three.
Lutoslawski: 5 Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano
The Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994) was the most significant Polish composer after Szymanowski and one of the major European musical figures of the twentieth century. During the Second World War, Lutoslawski formed a piano duo partnership with Andrzej Panufnik which played in war-torn Warsaw, but much of his music from this period was destroyed. Some of his post-war work, such as his First Symphony, was branded "formalist" by the ruling Soviet authorities, so Lutoslawski concentrated on producing functional music and mostly folk-based pieces. The Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano, which he later orchestrated, date from 1954. This was a year after Stalin's death, which signaled the beginning of a thaw in cultural totalitarianism; that same year Lutoslawski finished his Concerto for Orchestra, the work which established his international reputation. These Dances, alternately fast and slow, celebrate the rhythms and tunes of folk dances from North Poland; Lutoslawski called them his "farewell to folklore." The composer has referred to it as “My farewell to folklore for an indefinite period” and it completed what had been one of the most difficult times of his career. —Andrew Lyle
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
Arguably one of the defining works of the twentieth century (and of all time), Igor Stravinsky’s (1882-1971) Rite of Spring remains as startling and powerful as ever. From its legendary 1913 premiere in Paris – which, like many compositions of that era, sparked a riotous uproar – to nearly a century later, this masterwork continues to electrify with its savage rhythms, harmonic daring, and mythical weightiness.
Narratively based on the rituals and sacrifices performed by a pagan tribe to win the benevolence of the gods of spring, the piece culminates with the offering of a young virgin who dances herself to death. At its core, The Rite of Spring is about primitive instincts and emotions, from the brooding omens at the work’s opening to the terrifying abandon of “Dancing Out of the Earth” heard at the conclusion to Part I.
This work bears a greater symbolic import as an encapsulation of the tumultuous sociopolitical climate of the early 20th century. Perhaps this is why the work resonates with such fierce impact in our own complex age. Furthermore, the music bespeaks a certain rite of passage that is universal in the human experience: the loss of innocence, the poignancy of discovery, the claiming (or reclaiming) of personal liberation.
The Rite of Spring transformed the face of culture, and Stravinsky’s version for piano/four hands brilliantly brings the music’s clashing dissonances, percussive edge and overwhelming force to the fore. — Elizabeth Joy Roe
Media ContactRuth Wilson
Lecturer in Horn
Music Department Publicity
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928