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Yo-Yo Ma in Concert

Yo-Yo Ma in Concert 2018-07-25T07:51:33+00:00

Yo-Yo Ma in Concert

Thursday, 7 December 2017

DVORÁK: Cello Concerto in B Minor

Conducted by Rune Bergmann
Featured Artist: Yo-Yo Ma, Cello
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

CELLO CONCERTO IN B MINOR, OP. 104, B. 191
Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)
The greatest of all cello concertos was the final piece that Dvořák composed during his three-year term as Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. The premiere took place in London on March 16, 1896, with the composer conducting and Leo Stern as soloist. The first theme of the opening movement – sombre, almost funereal – soon bursts forth into forceful expressiveness. Solo horn introduces the highly expressive second theme. Dvořák said that it had cost him a great deal of effort, but that it moved him profoundly every time he heard it. Passing through much drama, the movement concludes with ringing fanfares. The slow second movement opens with a warm, tranquil theme introduced by the woodwinds. Dvořák gives the middle section a powerful launch, then takes up a soaring melody that he borrowed from one of his own songs. A quasi-cadenza for the soloist, with light accompaniment, precedes a return to the opening subject and a peaceful, contented coda. Strong contrasts characterize the finale, from the stern opening theme in march rhythm, through a wistful subject strongly inflected with the spirit of Czech folk music, to an expansive, elegiac reverie where themes from the previous movements reappear briefly. The concerto concludes on an exultant note.

Programme notes by Don Anderson © 2017

WAGNER: Prelude to Die Meistersinger

Conducted by Rune Bergmann
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

PRELUDE TO DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG
Richard Wagner (1813–1883)
Wagner was incapable of composing an opera that wasn’t on a grand scale – even a comedy. This ensured that The Mastersingers of Nuremberg is the longest, richest and most eloquent work of its kind. He created it from 1861 to 1867, and the first performance took place in Munich, Germany in 1868. The title characters are merchants and tradesmen, residents of the German city of Nuremberg during the sixteenth century. Their principal diversion is vocal music. To gain entry to their exclusive guild, applicants must demonstrate talent for both composing and singing, and are obliged to do so within strict, traditional guidelines. Wagner introduced Die Meistersinger with a sonorous and emotionally heartening prelude. It is constructed on themes from the opera: two noble melodies for the Mastersingers; an expressive theme representing Walther von Stolzing, which he will incorporate into the Prize Song that gains him entry into the guild; and a scherzo-like tune for the comic villain, Beckmesser.

Programme notes by Don Anderson © 2017

WAGNER: Prelude & Liebestod, from Tristan und Isolde

Conducted by Rune Bergmann
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

PRELUDE AND LIEBESTOD FROM TRISTAN UND ISOLDE
Richard Wagner.
By 1857, Wagner had become totally exhausted by his intensive labours on the quartet of operas known as The Ring of the Nibelungs. He took a break after completing the second act of third opera, Siegfried. His plan was to refresh himself by composing one or two brief, easilyproduced operas whose anticipated success would help prop up his shaky finances. Instead, he composed two of his grandest works: the searing love-drama Tristan und Isolde, and the mammoth comic opera, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. He composed Tristan und Isolde from 1856 to 1859. The first performance was given in Munich in June 1865. He based the libretto on a medieval English legend about the all-consuming passion that develops, as the result of a love-potion, between Tristan, a Cornish knight, and Isolde, an Irish princess. Their circumstances make it impossible for them to have a normal romantic relationship. It is only in death that they can know true peace and fulfillment. This concert will present a two-part orchestral sequence that joins together the opera’s opening and closing moments. The prelude is filled with restless romantic yearning and a tremendous sense of foreboding. In the opera, Isolde performs the concluding Liebestod (Love- Death) after Tristan has died. In it, her farewell to life, she sings ecstatically of the vision she sees in her mind of the perfect love that awaits them in the afterlife.

Programme notes by Don Anderson © 2017

Conducted by Rune Bergmann

Featured Artist Yo-Yo Ma, Cello

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
Diana Cohen, John Lowry, David Lakirovich, Laura Reid, Hangyul Kim, Alice Bartsch, Olga Kotova, Genevieve Micheletti, Erica Hudson, Hojean Yoo, Bonnie Louie, Andrea Neumann, Lorna Tsai, Stephanie Soltice-Johnson, Jeremy Gabbert, Adriana Lebedovich, Steven Lubiarz, Elisa Milner, Min-Kyung Kwon, Craig Hutchenreuther, Theresa Lane, Eric Auerbach, Lise Boutin, Laurent Grillet-Kim, Marcin Swoboda, Jeremy Bauman, Daniel Stone, Peter Blake, Arthur Bachmann, Michael Bursey, Carl Boychuk, Arnold Choi, Jaewon Ahn, Tom Mirhady, David Morrissey, Karen Youngquist, Janet Kuschak, Thomas Megee, Joan Kent, Sam Loeck, Patrick Staples, Graeme Mudd, Patricia Reid, Matthew Heller, Sheila Garrett, Sara Hahn, Gwen Klassen, Sarah Gieck, Jean Landa, David Sussman, June Kim, Steve Amsel, Ilana Dahl, Stan Climie, Alex Eastley, Michael Hope, John Feldberg, Robert McCosh, Austin Hitchcock, William Hopson, Laurie Matiation, Heather Wootton, Adam Zinatelli, Miranda Canonico, Richard Scholz, James Scott, Michael Thomson, David Reid, Tom McCaslin, Alex Cohen, Timothy Borton, Malcolm Lim, Tisha Murvihill