PROGRAM SCHEDULE 2011-2012
Beethoven: “Emperor” Concerto
This programme has been CANCELLED.
Elektra - Live!
Ever since its première over a century ago in 1909. Richard Strauss”s Elektra has excited and shocked its audience through a combination of cutting-edge, shattering music and over-the-top drama. A number of recent recordings (both video and audio) of live performances have approached this work from very different viewpoints, each trying to outdo the other. The program will examine excerpts from contrasting recordings which we hope will stimulate an interesting discussion on a work which continues to astonish after all these years.
Pinchas & the Concerto (Program 1)
What better way to experience some of the greatest music ever written for the violin than through the ears of one of the finest violinists of our time! Join Maestro Pinchas Zukerman, musical director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and CBC Radio Two host Eric Friesen for 10 hours of conversation, in studio demonstrations and recordings
In this series of five programs, each program will feature two one-hour presentations. In Program 1 we will hear 'The Building Blocks to Greatness', music by Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart, then after the break, the Bruch Concerto No. 1 and Scottish Fantasy.
“As I sat, hour after hour, with Pinchas Zukerman and his Guarnerius del Gesu fiddle, I was overwhelmed by his generosity in revealing to us a lifetime spent with the great violin concertos and admitting us to the inner circle of the great interpreters of the 20th century. These conversations reveal the real Pinchas; billiant, funny, passionate, honest, humble in the presence of other greatness and as always, the finest player of his generation.”
- Eric Friesen
Conductors Series: Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel (b. 1981) has taken the classical music world by storm, first through his outstanding work as artistic director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela and then more recently as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Himself a product of the famous Venezuelan musical education program El Sistema, he successfully won prestigious conducting competitions attracting the attention of conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado, both of whom accepted invitations to conduct the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Venezuela.
Dudamel began his tenure as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in September 2009. He conducted his official inaugural concert featuring the world premiere of John Adams' “City Noir” and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with his new orchestra in Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 8.
In the program we will have the opportunity to see this dynamic and charismatic young conductor in his inaugural concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as with renowned tenor Juan Diego Florez. Also featured will be the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Venezuela performing Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
Each year, the Classical Music Club Toronto holds a Christmas party for members and their guests. We hold the party to a FRIDAY night because Saturdays in December tend to be fully booked for many of the Classical Music Club Toronto members.
Details of location and how to RSVP are provided to members via electronic or traditional mail. This is a 'Pot Luck' party. To avoid duplicates, in your RSVP indicate the food you intend to bring. Your friends are welcome. Please bring your own drinks.
ANNUAL CD EXCHANGE: Please wrap a CD you would like to share with other members.
The Classical Music Club will be entering into a friendly competition with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra when both will be presenting Mozart’s Requiem in 2012. For the session on Sunday January 15, the CMC has assembled a stellar cast:
- Arleen Auger, Cecilia Bartoli, Vinson Cole and Rene Pape
- Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
- Winener Philharmoniker
- And by special invitation, Sir Georg Solti
- The setting is Vienna’s magnificent St Stephen’s Cathedral
Time permitting, there will also be a bonus presentation on the story behind the Requiem.
To familiarise yourself with the Requiem, the motion picture Amadeus will be an interesting watch prior to attending this CMC session.
Pinchas & the Concerto (Program 2)
In this series of five programs, each program will feature two
one-hour presentations. In the first half of Program 2 we will hear
the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35. First movement
by Pinchas Zukerman / Bavarian, second movement by
Pinchas Zukerman / Israel, third movement by Gil Shaham /
National Arts Centre and third movement by Pinchas Zucherman / London Symphony.
After the break, the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2. The first movement
(opening) will be by Zoltan Szekely / Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the
first movement complete by Pinchas Zukerman / St. Louis, second movement
by Isaac Stern / New York, finale (alternate ending) by Pinchas Zukerman
/ St. Louis, finale by Pinchas Zuckerman / St. Louis.
Anniversary Celebration: Delius & Debussy
The year 2012 is an opportunity for us to celebrate
the 150th anniversary of the births of two celebrated 20th-century
composers: Claude Debussy and Frederick Delius. Both are masters
of the late-Romantic orchestral style but are also noted for
their work in smaller forms, such as piano solos and songs.
Although Debussy’s music is performed more often in concerts
and recitals these days, there is a case to be made for experiencing
the rarely heard lush, chromatic world of Delius. The program will be
in two parts with each composer being showcased separately.
Manon: Fleming, Netrebko, Dessay
Three of the greatest singers of the current day —
Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko, and Natalie Dessay —
will be profiled in this program. Manon (in the 1884
work of Jules Massenet) has been a signature role for
all these superstar sopranos and outstanding DVDs were
recorded for every one of them. Exciting and colourful
opera settings enable each singer’s artistic characters
to be fully demonstrated.
True & Real Opera Heroines
In this programme I will present a couple of feminine
characters who, even though they are not the ostensible
focus of the opera, are its most compelling and interesting
characters; they are the true and real heroines. The first
character is the Countess from Mozart’s The Marriage
of Figaro. Although a secondary figure in the drama, she
undergoes the most profound character and musical transformation.
The other figure I’ll present is Brünnhilde in Wagner’s
Ring Cycle. Although she is the title character in one of the
operas of the cycle, she plays a key role in
Götterdämmerung, the last opera of the Ring, which
ostensibly concentrates on the character of Siegfried. However,
it is Brünnhilde who turns out to be the “free
agent” who does the right things and puts right
Wotan’s wrongs, and it is she who, through courage,
elicits the most sympathy.
Brahms: Symphony No. 2
Composed in the summer of 1877, the creation of Brahms’
Second Symphony was surprisingly short when compared with the
fifteen years he laboured over his First Symphony.
Often compared to Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, the 2nd Symphony
conjures up the lyric beauty of nature while adhering to the
strict structural requirements of sonata form throughout
each of the four movements.
The melodies are all derived from a small number of themes
which are structured into a complex network of counterpoint.
The beauty of the musical motifs keeps the complexity from
becoming bewildering while the complexity ensures that the
melodies are not merely pretty.
In the program we will have the opportunity to sample a
selection of video and audio performances.
Slavic String Quartets
The string quartet originated in Italy from the baroque
Trio Sonata and it arose to prominence with the work of Haydn.
Ever since Haydn’s day, the string quartet has been prestigious
and considered a true test of the composer’s art, but until
the second half of the 19th century the popularity of this
musical form was limited to the German-speaking realm.
As “national schools” of music started to evolve in the late
19th century the string quartet was taken up with enthusiasm
by composers all over Europe, especially in the Slavic countries
who gave the string quartet a very distinctive musical flavour
and developed it in very original ways, especially in the 20th
century. This program will present selections from string quartets
by Czech and Russian composers.
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11
Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 is subtitled
“The Year 1905”, a reference to the events of the Russian
Revolution of 1905. Composed in four movements which are performed
without a break, the symphony describes the massacre which occurred
on January 22, 1905 in Saint Petersburg. The final two movements
consist of a lament for the victims of violence and a call to arms
against tyranny. A special feature in the composition is the nine
revolutionary songs which act as a thematic thread.
I was introduced to this work during the early days of the
Classical Music Club and can still clearly remember that Sunday
afternoon. At that time, I knew very little about Shostakovich
and was completely overwhelmed by the power of this work. It
has since become a favourite and I have many recordings by some
of the great conductors of the 20th century.
The first part of the program will consist of several other
works by Shostakovich followed by a brief movement-by-movement
discussion of the main work. A complete recording of the symphony
will complete the program.