Performing this Week
Liang Wang, oboe
Marc Neikrug, piano
Bella Hristova, violin
Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
Giora Schmidt, violin
Teng Li, viola
Lily Francis, viola
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Summer 2010 — Week 4
In week 4 of our concerts from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival we hear music by Beethoven, and a couple of unusual duets, too. Jennifer Frautschi, Giora Schmidt, Teng Li, Lily Francis, and Sophie Shao join together to play Beethoven's C Major String Quintet known as "The Storm." Bella Hristova and Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt perform Johan Halversen's Passacaglia after Handel, and Liang Wang collaborates with festival artistic director Marc Neikrug for a performance of Witold Lutoslowski's Epitaph for oboe and piano.
Scroll below to listen to excerpts from Kerry Frumkin and Marc Neikrug's conversation about this week's program, and to explore associated web extras. There's an interview excerpt in which Liang Wang describes the challenges and rewards of participating in this Festival, and a video clip in which he casually discusses the importance of good posture. That, and more...
So, welcome to the home of items rescued from the "cutting room floor," and other related tangents found along the way to creating the radio programs. These pages will be updated each week, so I hope you'll come back again.
Thanks for stopping by,
WITOLD LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994)
Liang Wang, oboe; Marc Neikrug, piano
EPITAPH was written in 1979 at the request of the late Janet Craxton as a memorial to her husband Alan Richardson and was first performed by Janet Craxton and Ian Brown in 1980. James Rushton had this to say in his 1982 program notes:
Epitaph is the result of a master working in miniature. Whilst never forgetting the intimate nature of his commission, Lutoslawski paints a startling array of colour and emotion within a simple but strictly organized structure. The elegiac opening phrase of the oboe, repeated on four occasions, dominates the mood of the work. After each repetition, the secondary, contrasting material is developed in increasingly adventurous fashion. Employed here are some of the new oboe sounds discovered in the contemporary Double Concerto and also other older techniques involving a certain freedom of synchronization between the players. The piano, prompting, colouring and responding to the oboe throughout, is the perfect partner.
Marc tells Kerry that Liang Wang is "fantastically interested in being a great oboe player." It's a "fiendishly difficult instrument," and yet its also "unusual in that you can always find different ways of doing things." That combination makes Liang a perfect match for this composition by Lutoslawski.
Oboe player Liang Wang is a frequent participant at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. In this clip, producer Louise Frank asks him to describe some of the challenges and rewards of his busy schedule here.
JOHAN HALVORSEN (1864-1935)
Passacaglia for Violin & Viola (after Handel) (1897)
Bella Hristova, violin; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola
Halvorsen described this work as being "after Handel" because the fundamental thematic material is derived from the passacaglia and sarabande movements of Handel's Suite No. 7 in G minor, composed for harpsichord around 1720. In his version, composed in 1897, Halvorsen transforms the keyboard music into a duo for violin and viola that maintains the solemn eight-bar progression of the original, yet extends the source with a number of techniques dear to the hearts of string players: double-stopping, pizzicato, and dazzling runs.
Although they are still in conservatory – Ms. Hristova with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University, and Ms. van de Stadt at the Curtis Institute of Music – both are already in demand as soloists and chamber musicians.
Born in Bulgaria, Bella Hristova, won First Prize in the 2008-09 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and is currently studying with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University. Ms. Hristova plays a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin, once owned by the violinist Louis Krasner. Still a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, Milena Parajo-van de Stadt is already much in demand as a soloist and chamber musician.
Bella recorded music by Charles de Beriot for a Naxos CD.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
String Quintet in C Major (1801)
- Allegro moderato
- Adagio molto espressivo
- Scherzo: Allegro
Jennifer Frautschi, violin; Giora Schmidt, violin; Teng Li, viola; Lily Francis, viola; Sophie Shao, cello
Beethoven's String Quintet in C Major is his only completed string quintet, and is considered somewhat of a transitional work between his so-called early and middle periods.
A great deal of confusion surrounded the publication of this piece. In addition to dedicating the work to his patrons, he often obtained commissions by promising them something of an exclusivity clause such as a delay of six months or a year between the delivery of the finished work in manuscript and its publication. Beethoven's nephew, Carl Beethoven, explained this system in a letter to his uncle's publisher, the firm of Breitkopf and Härtel:
"He who wants a piece pays a specified sum for exclusive possession for a half or a whole year, or even longer, and bids himself not to give the manuscript to anybody. After this period the author is free to do as he wishes with the piece. This was the understanding with the Count Fries."
Count Moritz von Fries may have "misunderstood." Beethoven composed the Opus 29 Quintet in 1801, and Breitkopf and Härtel published it in 1802. Not long after that, another publisher, Artaria, came out with a different version, thought to have come from Count Fries and which Beethoven described as "very faulty, incorrect, and utterly useless to players." Artaria sued Beethoven and demanded a retraction, which, of course, Beethoven never did.
"Mozart wrote some of his greatest ever music for string quintet. Haydn nothing. And Beethoven one," says Marc. "I'm a bit surprised he never went back to this. With all of the string quartets, this is the only one."