Performing this Week
Tara Helen O'Connor
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Summer 2009 — Week 7
You might say Week 7 of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival radio series explores the theme of elegies. We have one by Gabriel Fauré for nobody in particular, one by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco for a very remarkable donkey, and also a work by Erwin Schulhoff who became sick and died in a concentration camp during World War 2. Once again, the web entries this week include some artists' remarks that didn't make it into this week's program, as well as some other things I found en route to the things I was looking for.
Thanks for stopping by...
Elegy in C Minor
Eric Kim, cello, Marc Neikrug, piano
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was a pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns at the Ecole Niedermeyer and served as organist at various Paris churches, including finally the Madeleine, but had no teaching position until 1897 at the Conservatoire, where his pupils included Ravel and Enescu. He died in Paris in 1924. Fauré appears to have had no specific loss or person in mind when he wrote his Elegy. Originally intended as the slow movement for a cello sonata he began in 1880, when the outer movements didn't work out so well, Fauré ultimately published the piece on its own, calling it Elegy to reflect the somber mood.
Here is an excerpt from a vintage Bell Telephone Hour television special in which Gregor Piatigorsky performs the Fauré Elegy with an orchestral accompaniment.
Concertino for Flute, Viola and Bass
Tara Helen O'Connor, flute; Daniel Phillips, viola; Marji Danilow, bass
Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) was a prolific and multi-faceted creative figure whose work embraced a full panoply of styles and influences. Initially held in the Prague YMCA, Schulhoff was deported to a concentration camp in Wülzburg, Bavaria, where he died of tuberculosis in August 1942. Read more about Erwin Schulhoff
Schulhoff's Concertino of 1925 is a fascinating piece. You hear Debussy in it. You hear Stravinsky. You hear folk material, and Jazz. What you don't hear is the foreshadowing of the catastrophic events which were about to transform Europe. Marc and Kerry discuss.
Violinist Daniel Phillips enjoys a versatile career as an established chamber musician, solo artist and teacher. Born into a musical family, Mr. Phillips began violin studies at age four with his father Eugene Phillips, a composer and former violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. In this clip he explains why it's not so unusual for him to play the viola in this piece.
Platero y yo
Jonathan Richards, narrator; Simon Wynberg, guitar
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was born into a Florentine Jewish family. In 1939, because of the unstable political situation in Italy, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and his family emigrated to the United States with the assistance of both Heifetz and Toscanini. He eventually settled in Beverly Hills, where he composed over a hundred – mostly uncredited – scores for motion pictures. He was well regarded as a teacher by other composers such as André Previn and John Williams, and incidentally, Marc Neikrug's mother.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco's long association with guitarist Andrés Segovia inspired him to compose a significant number of works for guitar including Platero y yo. He wrote it in 1960, setting to music 28 poems by Juan Ramón Jiménez, the Spanish poet who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1956. In this program Jonathan Richards recites a selection of these poems while Simon Wynberg plays the guitar.
You can follow author, journalist, actor, and cartoonist Jonathan Richards' blog on the Huffington Post
Simon Wynberg enjoys a diverse career as a guitarist and chamber musician, and is the artistic director of ARC, the Artists of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He is the curator of ARC's musical projects including the "Music in Exile" series, and executive producer of all ARC recordings. Simon also has edited over 60 volumes of hitherto unknown guitar music. Here are some photos he sent of his recent trip to Spain and his visit to the Jimenez Museum and Platero's birthplace.
The text to Platero y yo is available online, both in English and Spanish.