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Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 59th Season

Music of the Masters

Sunday, October 26th, 1997
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture to Rosamunde, Op. 26 Franz Schubert  
  (Celebrating the bicentennial of the composer's birth)  
  Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky  

I. Allegro Moderato
II. Canzonetta
III. Allegro vivacissimo

  Carla Trynchuk, violin  
  Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 Ludwig van Beethoven  

I. Adagio Molto; Allegro con brio
II. Andante Cantabile con moto
III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
IV. Adagio; Allegro molto e vivace


Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to Rosamunde, Op. 26, D. 797 Franz Schubert

Schubert's incidental music to the play Rosamunde was a failure in his lifetime. It was played only three times: once in rehearsal, and twice for the play, which lasted for a "run" of two nights. In fact, the score was promptly lost, to be found many years later by Sir George Grove and Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan) on the floor of a closet in Vienna. It was through their efforts that the music finally found its large audience.

The Overture is the most popular of the suite known as "Incidental Music to Rosamunde," though, ironically, it does not figure among the eleven pieces Schubert wrote for that play. It was, in fact, written for another obscure play called Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp). Be that as it may, it is delightful music with many changes of mood, thoroughly theatrical, and easily enjoyed.

It begins with fierce, brassy chords, and suddenly turns plaintive, as the woodwinds enter. This is quickly followed by a waltz-like episode, then a sweet melody in the strings, and finally a return to the fierce sounds of the opening. This section ends with four pianissimo phrases followed by a fortissimo chord.

The mood again changes to a light, rapid melody dominated by the strings, before being taken up by the full orchestra. After a modulation, the woodwinds take it up and lead into a galloping theme with the violins echoed in the lower strings, backed by triple-tongued trumpets. The light melody in the strings returns, and climax, reminding one of a Saturday morning movie serial ("Will the Lone Eagle escape the clutches of the Night-Riders?". I mean no disrespect: The Finale of Rossini's William Tell did as much for the "Lone Ranger."

The music returns to a pastoral mood before galloping off again into the sunset.

  Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky was born into a well-to-do family. His father was a Major General. His mother was a cultivated woman of French descent who spoke French and German, and was somewhat musical. However, neither his father nor his mother approved of a musical career, and it was decided that he would train for the law. For four years he worked as a clerk in the Ministry of Justice, and although he had no intention of becoming a professional musician, he continued to play and to compose. At this time, he began studies at the newly formed St. petersburg conservatory. While correcting one of Tchaikovsky's exercises, Anton Rubinstein commented that he had a talent for improvisation, a remark that determined him to resign his post and begin the serious study of composition.

Tchaikovsky led a troubled life. He hated social intercourse, finding hypocrisy a necessary, but intolerable social talent. He frequently retreated even from his circle of friends. His sense of responsibility to those who cared for him led him into a disastrous marriage to a young woman who adored him. He was desolate on his wedding day, but reported in letters that his wife understood his problem perfectly, and wanted nothing more than to care for him and be near him. They parted in nine weeks.

Tchaikovsky's music is replete with longing, nostalgia, and melancholy. His deadh was (and is) a subject of controversy. The official story is that he died of cholera, in spite of which his Requiem Mass was open to the public, and one of his best friends kissed him repeatedly as he lay in state. That fact alone raised suspicions which later led to the assertion that he was forced to commit suicide to avoid a public scandal.

The violin concerto was written early in his career, as was his popular first piano concerto. He wrote only one for the violin, and really only two forthe piano, the third having been cobbled together from bits of an unfinished symphony. There is speculation that events in his troubled life led him to a disillusionment, and a feeling that the individual could NOT expect to triumph against a hostile society, a viewpoint which, given his attitude to the concerto form, made it impossible for him to continue. What WAS his attitude to the concerto?

The word concerto really suggests conflict rather than cooperation. That was the idea of the concerto grosso of the Baroque period, and it carried on into the Classical. Tchaikovsky's idol was the classicist Mozart. Tchaikovsky strongly believed in the antagonist aspect of the concerto. Writing about the piano concerto, he said "Here we are dealing with two equal opponents; the orchestra with its power, and inexhaustible variety of color, opposed by the small but high-mettled piano, which often comes off victorious in the hands of a gifted executant." He almost certainly had the same idea about the combative ability of the violin.

The critic Eduard hanslick wrote about the premiere of the violin concerto, "The violin is no longer played. It is yanked about, it is torn asunder, it is beaten black and blue." For Tchaikovsky, the violin was David and the orchestra was Goliath. In his youth, Tchaikovsky thought that David could win. As he grew older, he doubted that David could prevail against Goliath, and lost interest in the concerto as a medium of expression.

The Concerto in D is extremely taxing. It was written for the famous violinist Leopold Auer, who immediately declared it unplayable. It wasn't until three years later that Tchaikovsky's friend Adolf Brodsky played it in Vienna, prompting critic Charles O'Connell to use the concerto as one more example of a work at first condemned and later praised. But even Brodsky thought parts should be changed, and Auer did play the work after altering some passages and dropping others, so it is unlikely that what we hear today is what Tchaikovsky wrote.

The first movement is in standard sonata-allegro form. During the exposition, the second theme provides the soloist an opportunity to show the range of the instrument by running through its entire compass. The development is marked by a rather military version of the opening of the first main theme which leads to the cadenza. A cadenza is a solo part in a concerto, designed to show the virtuosity of the performer. It always has an improvisational character to it (and, indeed, in earlier concerti the cadenza was improvised by the soloist), as well as being technically demanding.

The second movement of this concerto (like most) is slow. In this case, rather melancholy. It has a distinctive Slavic quality, almost an Hebraic longing ... at least in the first theme, the second theme offering a note of mild optimism. The movement is called Canzonetta, or "song-like," and it is easy to see why. In Brahms' Violin concerto in D, written the same year, the second movement is more like an Austrian folksong. These two very different composers are showing a strain of nationalism each in his own way. This is particularly interesting since Tchaikovsky is often said to be a Western composer, not affiliated with the nationalist movement of the Russian Five.

The final movement is lively and clearly to be thought of as a dance. If it hasn't been appropriated by the ballet community, it well could be. One can almost see the dancers whirling, and the accelerando of the soloist reminds us of so many episodes in Tchaikovsky's ballets.

  Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 Ludwig van Beethoven

Although this is the first large-scale orchestral work composed by Beethoven, and is hardly daring in formal structure, following as it does principles already well established by Haydn, it does show an inventiveness in orchestral timbre and key change that provide hints of the Beethoven to come. The musicologist Grove implies that these hints are faint indeed, and that we are aware of them only in retrospect. Both he and Berlioz suggest that if this had been Beethoven's last work, though we might still admire it as a capstone to the development of the symphonic form as elaborated by Mozart and Haydn, we would not consider it as presaging any great advance in the form.

Berlioz, in his treatise on the nine symphonies of Beethoven, has very little to say about it. From his viewpoint, it is little more than a rehash of Mozart -- charming and inventive, but a rehash, nonetheless. He describes the final rondo as "a genuine instance of musical childishness." "In a word," he says, "this is not Beethoven."

The first movement has a rather formless introduction of twelve bars, short in comparison to the extended introductions to his Second, Fourth, and Seventh, but in keeping with the form Haydn had established. However, at the time, there was controversy over the wisdom of opening a work purporting to be in C with a discordant F, followed shortly by G. Grove points out that this sort of thing had been done before by both Haydn and J.S. Bach, though he doesn't think Beethoven knew that. The fact that the practice was hardly unprecedented supports Berlioz's view that the symphony breaks little new ground. After the introduction, the Allegro establishes the key by the direct means of reiterating the notes of the tonic chord, a technique which became rather a trademark of Beethoven's. As Dr. Hubert Parry put it, "the principal key shall be so strongly established that even the most stupid persons shall be able to realize it." The second subject is, as to be expected from the sonata-allegro form, in the dominant key of G. The movement ends with an extended coda, perhaps inspired by Mozart; Grove thinks from the "Jupiter" Symphony, but Berlioz thinks from "Don Giovanni." In any case, this type of coda became a favorite device of Beethoven's

There is attractive contrapuntal work in the second movement, reflecting the influence of Beethoven's teacher, Albrechtsberger. The kettle-drums are used here in an interesting way. Berlioz is favorably impressed, and points out that, while this wasn't the first time kettle-drums were used in a symphony, it may be the first time they were used well. What is unusual is that the drums are not tuned in the tonic, but in the dominant.

Perhaps the most notable movement is the third, or Menuetto. In fact, Berlioz declares it "the one truly original thing in this symphony." There is nothing startling about having a minuet for the third movement of a symphony. Almost all Haydn's four-movement symphonies had a minuet for the third. Beethoven startles by doubling the speed, and turning it into a forerunner of the scherzo which became such a feature of his later symphonies.

The final movement begins with a rising theme presented hesitantly, a few notes at a time, almost as if the orchestra were getting up its courage. This opening so displeased Türk, conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, that he routinely omitted these opening notes because he thought the audience would be provoked to laughter. Berlioz, too, thought little of this movement, and some critics of the period disliked the whole work, one describing it as "a caricature of Haydn pushed to absurdity." But the public liked it, and it finally began to draw extravagant praise.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

Linda Kanzawa Ard, Concertmaster
Dessie Arnold *
Matt Baker +^
Martha Barker
Christina Beyer +^
Joyce Dubach
Jaime Eller +^
Sherry Gajewski
Matt Hendryx
Sandra Neel
Margaret Piety
Moo Il Rhee
Ilona Sherman

Naida MacDermid *
Bethany Bruss
Peter Collins
Tim O'Neil
Eric Stalter +^

Earle E. Perez *
Nicholas Bond
Beth Joseph +
Tim Spahr
Tony Spahr
Preston Thomas +^

Darrel Fiene *
George Scheerer

Kathy Urbani *
Madalyn Metzger +^
Barbi Pyrah
Rita Kimberley *
George Donner

Lila D. Hammer *
Jane Grandstaff

Erich Zummack *
Michael Trentacosti

Nancy A. Bremer *
Bryan Gibson
John Morse
John Higgins

Steven Hammer *
Scott D. Steenburg *+^ (co-)
Shawn Sollenberger +^

Larry Dockter *
Jon Hartman
Jeremy Dawkins +^

Mark Sternberg +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student
^ Denotes MSS Scholarship recipient
Carla TrynchukA native of Canada, Carla Trynchuk was granted the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School, where she was the recipient of a Helena Rubinstein Foundation Scholarship studying with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang. Her early violin studies were under John Loban at the University of British Columbia, continuing in Boston with Robert Koff, a founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet. In addition, she has coached chamber music with Joel Smirnoff and Joel Krosnick of the Juilliard String Quartet, Rostislav Dubinsky (Indiana University-Bloomington), Martin Lovett (Amadeus String Quartet), and Charles Castleman (Eastman School of Music).

Ms. Trynchuk has been a winner in Canadian local, provincial, and national competitions. Among her orchestral appearances, she has been a soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic, Thayer Symphony Orchestra, Michiana Symphony Orchestra, St. Joseph Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the Loma Linda Chamber Orchestra, and the Andrews University Chamber Orchestra. During the 1996-1997 season she performed Stravinsky's Concerto in D with the Camellia Symphony (CA), and Bruch's Concerto No. 1 in G minor with the Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra (AZ).

As recitalist, Ms. Trynchuk has performed throughout Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, including appearances in New York City at Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall. An accomplished chamber musician, she is first violinist of the Amherest String Quartet, currently in-residence at Andrews University. The Quartet has performed in numerous concerts throughout the United States, including New York City's Lincoln Center.

Ms. Trynchuk is currently Assistant Professor of Violin and Director of both the String Program and Chamber orchestra at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.