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Mendelssohn & Beethoven

Kayoko Dan, conductor Spencer Myer, piano BEETHOVEN            Piano Concerto No. 4 MENDELSSOHN      Symphony No. 3

Program Change for Masterworks 3/7/19

In order to maintain our standard of artistic excellence, we will be revising our program for tomorrow evening's Masterworks concert. We will be replacing Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, with guest artist Spencer Myer. A review in the May 1809 edition of the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung states that "[this concerto] is the most admirable, singular, artistic and complex Beethoven concerto ever". However, after its first performance, which was Beethoven's last appearance as a soloist with orchestra, the piece was neglected until 1836, when it was revived by Felix Mendelssohn. Today, the work is widely performed and recorded, and is considered to be one of the central works of the piano concerto literature. While program changes are very infrequent, we know that you will still enjoy this wonderful Beethoven piano concerto paired with Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony. The Beethoven will be performed first on the program, with the Mendelssohn performed on the second half. Join us for a Spotlight Talk with Dr. Lynn Worcester Jones beginning at 6:45 in the Tivoli Dance Studio, free with concert ticket. If you have any concerns or questions about this program change, please contact the box office at 423.267.8583.  

Spencer Myer, piano

Lauded for “superb playing” and “poised, alert musicianship” by The Boston Globe and labeled “definitely a man to watch” by London’s The Independent, American pianist SPENCER MYER is one of the most respected and sought-after artists on today’s concert stages. Adding to his North American credentials, Spencer Myer includes in his current season debuts with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, The Omaha Symphony, Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra and Canada’s Windsor Symphony Orchestra, as well as return engagements with the Canton, Chattanooga and Richmond (IN) symphony orchestras. His solo recitals and chamber music collaborations take him throughout the United States, and he continues as half of the Daurov/Myer Duo, having teamed up with the award-winning cellist Adrian Daurov in 2012. Spencer Myer’s orchestral, recital and chamber music performances have been heard throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Asia. He has been soloist with, among many others, The Cleveland Orchestra, Boise, Dayton, Evansville, Louisiana and Rhode Island philharmonic orchestras, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, the Altoona, Baton Rouge, Bozeman, Canton, Chattanooga, Duluth Superior, Flagstaff, Grand Junction, Indianapolis, Juneau, Knoxville, Longmont, Macon, Missoula, New Haven, Phoenix, Ridgefield, San Juan, Santa Fe, Springfield (MA, MO, OH), Traverse, Tucson and Wyoming symphony orchestras, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Ohio’s ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, New York City’s The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, Mexico’s Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, South Africa’s Cape Town and Johannesburg philharmonic orchestras and Beijing’s China National Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with, among others, conductors David Bernard, Nicholas Cleobury, Kayoko Dan, David Danzmayr, Robert Franz, Neal Gittleman, Bernhard Gueller, Jacques Lacombe, Jahja Ling, Dirk Meyer, Elliot Moore, Timothy Muffitt, Maurice Peress, Kyle Wiley Pickett, Arthur Post, Kevin Rhodes, Lucas Richman, Matthew Savery, Alfred Savia, Klauspeter Seibel, Steven Smith, Gerald Steichen, Arjan Tien, Peter Stafford Wilson and Victor Yampolsky. His 2005 recital/orchestral tour of South Africa included a performance of the five piano concerti of Beethoven with the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa, followed by return orchestra and recital tours in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2018. Spencer Myer’s recital appearances have been presented in New York City’s Weill Recital Hall, 92nd Street Y and Steinway Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and London’s Wigmore Hall, while many of his performances have been broadcast on WQXR (New York City), WHYY (Philadelphia), WCLV (Cleveland) and WFMT (Chicago). An in-demand chamber musician, he appeared for five summers at the Lev Aronson Legacy Festival in Dallas with cellists Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Amit Peled and Brian Thornton, and enjoys a recurring partnership with the Miami String Quartet at the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Other artistic partners include clarinetist David Shifrin, Cardiff Singer of the World winner Nicole Cabell, the Jupiter, Manhattan and Pacifica string quartets and the Dorian Wind Quintet. Festival appearances have included those of the Bard, Blossom, Cape Cod Chamber, Colorado, Mendocino and Skaneateles music festivals, Canada’s Concerts aux Iles du Bic, Spain’s Gijon International Piano Festival and Valencia International Piano Academy, and Indonesia’s Yogyakarta International Music Festival. Spencer Myer’s career was launched with three important prizes: First Prize in the 2004 UNISA International Piano Competition in South Africa, the 2006 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship from the American Pianists Association and the Gold Medal from the 2008 New Orleans International Piano Competition. Additionally, he is a laureate of the 2007 William Kapell, 2005 Cleveland and 2005 Busoni international piano competitions. He also enjoys an expanding reputation as a vocal collaborator since winning the 2000 Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition. Mr. Myer was a member of Astral Artists’ performance roster from 2003-2010. An enthusiastic supporter of the education of young musicians, Spencer Myer has been a frequent guest artist at workshops for students and teachers, and has served on the faculties of the Baldwin-Wallace University and Oberlin College conservatories of music. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University. In the fall of 2016, Mr. Myer was appointed Artist-Teacher in Piano and Collaborative Piano at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Spencer Myer’s debut CD for harmonia mundi usa - solo music of Busoni, Copland, Debussy and Kohs - was released in the fall of 2007 to critical acclaim by Fanfare and Gramophone magazines. He can also be heard on a composer-conducted Naxos CD in performances of three concerti from Huang Ruo’s Chamber Concerto Cycle and in a performance of Ravel’s Chansons madécasses, included on "Intimate Masterpieces," a 2013 CD featuring faculty and alumni of the Oberlin Conservatory and issued by Oberlin Music. Mr. Myer’s most recent recordings – "William Bolcom: Piano Rags" and the Brahms Cello Sonatas with Brian Thornton – were both released in 2017 on the Steinway & Sons label. Spencer Myer is a Steinway Artist.

Program Notes

PROGRAM NOTES Felix Mendelssohn (February 3, 1809 in Hamburg; d. November 4, 1847 in Leipzig) Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56 When parents name a child they reveal aspirations that may or may not be fulfilled. Felix, meaning fortunate or happy, did portend a charmed life for Mendelssohn although it ended too soon, at only 38. Felix also was a name that has been most popular as a Christian name far back into history. Felix’s Jewish parents had no reason to imagine their son would convert to Christianity and go on to write wonderful Christian oratorios like Elijah, but his given name fit perfectly. In Mendelssohn's privileged young life his teachers and friends were among the greatest minds of his time. The boy with his prodigious talent took full advantage. One of his earliest teachers was landscape artist Johann Gottlob Samuel Rosel who saw in Felix such artistic talent he imagined his pupil might make his name by drawing. As a youth Felix sketched incessantly and never stopped entirely even as his musical pursuits became his central preoccupation. As if the well-read, well-traveled retinue of polymaths around him weren’t enough to instill a hunger to see the world, his parents took 14-year-old Mendelssohn to Switzerland, a visit that gave him musical fodder for two of his early string symphonies and began the lifelong interconnections of art and music through travel. In 1829 Mendelssohn took his first trip abroad as an adult, arriving in England in April. In July he set off on vacation to Scotland with his friend Karl Klingemann, the secretary of the Hanover Legation in London. It was mostly a hiking outing and Mendelssohn’s written record and some sketches make clear he was dazzled. The first day in Edinburgh he wrote, “Many Highlanders came in costume from church victoriously leading their sweethearts in their Sunday attire and casting magnificent and important looks over the world[.]” Soon at Mary Stuart’s castle Holyrood: “This is the staircase the murderers ascended and, finding Rizzio [probably Mary's Italian lover] ... drew him out [and] killed him.” He continued, “The chapel close to it is now roofless, grass and ivy grow there … Everything around is broken and moldering and the bright sky shines in. I believe I have found today in that old chapel the beginning of my Scottish symphony.” Mendelssohn loved his time in the UK and the people there returned his affection. He would return to the UK nine more times in his life, but on this trip, he barely got a few themes jotted down before he was off to Italy, his next stop on something of a 5-year grand tour of Europe. While in Italy he managed to finish Fingal’s Cave, inspired by his visit to the Hebrides, but his Scottish symphony would wait. He finally picked it up again and finished it in January 1842, the last of his five symphonies, indeed his last orchestral work, to be completed. (No. 3 reflects only the order of publication.) Mendelssohn had abandoned the “Scottish” nickname. In the way Beethoven judged his Pastoral symphony "more of feeling than of painting," we must intuit stern landscapes and melancholy Mendelssohn had soaked up years before. His great admirer Queen Victoria granted him permission to dedicate the symphony to her. The symphony is nominally in four movements although the first edition divides only with tempo indications and Mendelssohn was very clear that the entire work should proceed without pause. The brooding introduction marked Andante con moto presents a theme that Mendelssohn sketched at Holyrood. The theme recurs in many guises through the whole symphony. The sonata-form meat of the movement begins fast and gets faster and includes a sea-stormy section likely evocative of his Scottish experience. The second movement is a scintillating, sunny scherzo but in 2/4 time instead of the usual triple meter. Most of the third movement is trademark Mendelssohn, a song without words. A few martial outbursts foreshadow what is coming in the finale. Mendelssohn originally wrote guerriero (warlike) describing the last movement starting tempo—a good fit, although much of it is fleet afoot, like shock troops perhaps. The majestic coda in A-major is a jubilant victory song that Mendelssohn likened to a men’s chorus.   (c) 2019 by Steven Hollingsworth, Creative Commons Public Attribution 3.0 United States License. Contact
In recognition of UNUM's continued support of the CSO and our education programs, all UNUM employees are eligible for a discount on single tickets to this concert. Join us in recognizing UNUM and thanking them for their support of the CSO!  
Tivoli Theatre
Thursday, March 07, 2019 07:30 PM
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