Performing this Week

David Govertsen
David Govertsen

Bart Feller
Bart Feller

Daniel Phillips
Daniel Phillips

Timothy Eddy
Timothy Eddy

Kathleen McIntosh
Kathleen McIntosh

Giora Schmidt
Giora Schmidt

Lily Francis
Lily Francis

Eric Kim
Eric Kim

Cho-Liang Lin
Cho-Liang Lin

Kuok-Wai Lio
Kuok-Wai Lio

WFMT Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Summer 2011 — Program 13

Welcome to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival radio series production blog, home of program out takes, artist commentary, and other related tangents we like to call "web extras."

The intuitive way musicians communicate with each other is one of the ingredients that enrich their performances, and in turn, enhance our enjoyment of the music they make. In the final program of our 2011 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival radio series, pianist Marc Neikrug and clarinetist Todd Levy performed Robert Schumann's Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73. They also sat down in the WFMT performance studio to play excerpts from the work, and to talk about the process of collaboration.

After the Schumann, the Orion String Quartet played Bedřich Smetana's autobiographical String Quartet in E Minor, “From My Life.” This is the piece Smetana wrote as his internal life gave way to the travails brought on by tinnitus, a chronic ringing in the ears.

My father also suffered from tinnitus and as an amateur poet shared his thoughts in some simple verses. Those poems, Marc and Todd's unedited conversation, and excerpt from Kerry Frumkin's conversation with Marc about the music on this program are among the things you can explore below.

I hope you enjoy perusing the variety of things found along the way to creating this broadcast radio from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Thanks for stopping by,
Louise Frank
Series Producer

Robert Schumann, Wien 1839. Lithographie by Joseph Kriehuber.

Robert Schumann, Wien 1839. Lithographie by Joseph Kriehuber. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

ROBERT SCHUMANN

Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73 (1849)

  • Todd Levy, clarinet
  • Marc Neikrug, piano

 

Kerry Frumkin asks Marc Neikrug why some people tend to think less of Schumann's shorter works. Marc is a great advocate of these Fantasy Pieces.

 

Kerry and Marc discuss Schumann's Fantasy Pieces, agreeing that, in these works, "he just lets his imagination go."

 

When Kerry asks Marc about performing Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73, Marc replies that the musicians playing together must understand each other without explanation.

 

Performing Schumann's Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73 requires the same spontaneity and imagination with which Schumann wrote the music, and that can require the players to understand each other without a lot of verbal explanation. So if you've ever wondered how it is that two great musicians can do that, we invited clarinetist Todd Levy to WFMT's studios where he and Marc Neikrug sat down to play parts of the work, and to talk about how it is they collaborate musically. Turns out, it's a matter of listening, breathing, multi-tasking, and intuition.

Todd Levy and Marc Neikrug on performing Schumann's Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73 (Part 1 of 5)

 

Todd Levy and Marc Neikrug on performing Schumann's Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73 (Part 2 of 5)

 

Todd Levy and Marc Neikrug on performing Schumann's Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73 (Part 3 of 5)

 

Todd Levy and Marc Neikrug on performing Schumann's Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73 (Part 4 of 5)

 

Todd Levy and Marc Neikrug on performing Schumann's Phantasiestücke for Clarinet & Piano, Op. 73 (Part 5 of 5)

 

Reading Robert Schumann's letters is a great way to learn more about his life and his music. You can find a compilation of his correspondence online at OpenLibrary.org.

Shortly after Todd Levy's new edition of the Bernstein Clarinet Sonata was published by Boosey and Hawkes he told Louise Frank about the project.

(Part 1 of 2)

Todd Levy on the Bernstein Clarinet Sonata. (Part 2 of 2)

 

Portrait of Bedřich Smetana

Portrait of Bedřich Smetana (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

BEDŘICH SMETANA

String Quartet in E Minor, T. 116, "From My Life" (1876)

  • Orion String Quartet:
    • Todd Phillips, violin
    • Daniel Phillips, violin
    • Steven Tenenbom, viola
    • Timothy Eddy, cello

 

Marc Neikrug talks about Smetana's autobiographical E Minor quartet, a piece that stands on its own musically while conveying Smetana's decent into tinnitus and mental illness.

 

Marc and Kerry understand that this is a very draining piece to play, given that "it is about a person that basically disintegrates into deafness and mental calamity."

 

My father, Gerald B. Frank, suffered from tinnitus, the same affliction Smetana expresses in "From My Life." He also fancied himself an amateur poet, and devoted much of his spare time to crafting verses about his life. Here are a few from his series about living with tinnitus.

Tinnitus Z
By Gerald B. Frank

The constant hiss of Tinnitus
is growing more and more,
Its getting louder worries me -
I wonder what’s in store?
I wake and hear my Tinnitus,
the hissing in my ears,
I walk and hear that Tinnitus
exacerbating fears!
Please, tell me what is Tinnitus,
and tell me, please, why me?
And tell me what I have to do
to be of Tinnitus free?

 

Tinnitus O
By Gerald B. Frank

The bells are ringing in my ears
As they’ve been ringing all these years,
And as I listen to their peel,
I wonder if they’re really real?
The bells are ringing in my ears -
Unreally real for all these years!

 

Tinnitus A
By Gerald B. Frank

The hissing in my ear goes on
Like an operatic song,
One by Verdi, not Bellini,
Led by Solti, not, Guilini,
Sung and played in monotone
On my ear-drum gramophone!