String Orchestra - With Yuzuko Horigome and Marc Tooten
Willem Hijstek Hall - Bonnefantenstraat 15
Students and teachers of Coservatorium Maastricht are welcome.
Unfortunately due to the Corona measures, the concert is not accessible for an external audience.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) – Symfonie nr.10
– piu presto
Gara Garaev (1918-1982) – Drie Miniaturen
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) – Divertimento, Sz.113
- Allegro non troppo
- Molto adagio
- Allegro assai
About the Concert
Mendelssohn as a fourteen-year-old
A fourteen-year-old who writes a piece that is still performed almost two hundred years after his death. That is a rarity, but Felix Mendelssohn was a rarity. He was a child prodigy like Mozart was. But where Mozart soon pushed boundaries and opened the doors to Romanticism ajar, Mendelssohn was taught in the style of the old masters Haydn and Bach. In his early symphonies for string orchestra, he seems to have been inspired by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who wrote symphonies for the same line-up. The slow introduction of Mendelssohn's Tenth Symphony is again strongly reminiscent of Haydn. In this symphony, as in the ten other symphonies that Mendelssohn wrote between the ages of twelve and fourteen, we hear a composer playing. Playing with diverse groups within the orchestra, playing one energetic melody after another. And all with a natural ease; in this too he is strongly reminiscent of Mozart. Mendelssohn was also fortunate that every symphony was performed directly at his home. The house of the wealthy banking family Mendelssohn was a gathering place for intellectuals and musicians. After each performance, Mendelssohn had new ideas for his next symphony. It is sometimes claimed that Mendelssohn was not very innovative. Indeed: he has never been ground-breaking like Beethoven or storming heaven like Mahler. On the other hand, few composers have ever expressed such energy and ease in their music. Moreover, if Mendelssohn had not worked thoroughly with early music, we might not even have known Bach's St Matthew Passion today.
Garayev and his love for Azerbaijan
"In sun, rain or fog, Baku is the most beautiful city in the world." Signed: Gara Garayev. Azerbaijan was more to him than just the country where he was born. With a heavy heart, he left Baku to study with Dmitri Shostakovich in Moscow. Shostakovich about his student: 'a brilliant talent, with an extremely profound knowledge of instrumentation and polyphony. He has a great future.” Those words turned out to be prophetic: Garayev twice won the prestigious Stalin Prize and was also given the title Hero of Socialist Labor. As director of the conservatory in Baku, he ensured that Azerbaijani folk music was given a solid place in the courses. We also hear this in the Three Miniatures for string orchestra that are on the program today. Although Garayev also wrote operas and symphonic repertoire, his music is best appreciated in the small character pieces. The first miniature is dreamy in nature, the second, with the pizzicato performed rhythm in the cello, is reminiscent of the Habanera from Carmen by Bizet. In the lively final miniature, Danse, we hear that Garayev was inspired by folk music. More precisely, the folk music of the country he liked most and where his body was flown immediately after he died in Moscow: Azerbaijan.
A cheerful Bartók in dark times
A spacious chalet in Switzerland as a workplace, with a beautiful piano and a cook who is ready to cook for you all day long: it could be worse. It happened to Bartók when he started his Divertimento for string orchestra. The sponsor was Paul Sacher, a Swiss conductor and patron of the arts. Bartók wrote to his son that he felt like 'a composer from the past': 'I am the guest of a patron, who even sent a piano from Bern. He oversees everything, but luckily from a distance.” Bartók worked diligently and fifteen days later the piece of almost half an hour was already finished. Haste was in this case good, because Bartók wrote his Divertimento with the greatest care. He has indicated down to the second how long the various parts last and in the 74 bars of the second part he has noted at least fourteen different metronome numbers. In some cases, such a tempo lasts only one bar.
As Sacher wished, Bartók has written a freely accessible work with his Divertimento, which can be seen from the title alone: a divertimento was originally intended as pure entertainment for audiences and performers and was extremely popular in the time of Mozart and Haydn. In short, Bartók's Divertimento is classical in form and modern in rhythm and harmony. In the first part, for example, we hear an alternation between solo parts and tutti passages, reminiscent of the Baroque concerto grosso. Within the classical sonata form in this movement, however, we hear a kind of waltz with irregular accents and surprising syncopated rhythms. Hungarian folk music, Bartók's greatest source of inspiration, is never far away in this part. In the second part, we hear Bartók's 'night music', which is described as 'eerie dissonances that provide a backdrop to sounds of nature and lonely melodies'. The last part of the Divertimento is less dissonant than the second and with a fugue Bartók returns to an old compositional technique. Certainly, by Bartók's standards, the finale has a cheerful character: we rarely hear him so exuberant. According to Sacher, who also knew the composer well personally, Bartók was 'reserved, but occasionally laughed aloud in a fit of boyish cheerfulness'. And that while Bartók was very worried on the eve of the Second World War. He wrote to his son, “Just one thing has to happen, and I might not even be able to come home. I can only close myself off from it if I do my very best.' In the third part of the Divertimento, he succeeded wonderfully, but it would be one of the last times that we hear Bartók so cheerful. The sixth string quartet, which he wrote immediately after the Divertimento, is a dark work. Shortly afterwards he fled to the United States, where he would spend his last years sick and broken by homesickness.