Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 6/12/2011 @ 2:30 p.m.

Max Huls, violin solo

Spiritual Flights / Spanish Flair

Jean-Delphin Alard (1815-1888)
Étude-caprice, op. 41, no.24 ("Boléro")

Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881)
6 Morceaux, Op. 61
--No. 1. Andante
--No. 2. Moderato
--No. 3. Prélude (Andante)
--No. 4. Tempo di Minuetto
--No. 5. Andante
--No. 6. Introduction et fugue

Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931)
Sonata No. 6 ("Manuel Quiroga")

Violinist Max Huls joined the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in 1993 and was introduced to the First Coast as soloist in Bartók’s Second Rhapsody, for violin and orchestra. Mr. Huls is on the faculty of the Prelude Chamber Music Camp, is a violin coach for the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra, and, in addition to his core membership in the JSO, he is Concertmaster of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia. He appeared variously as concertmaster, soloist and conductor with the Savannah Symphony, and was concertmaster of the Memphis Symphony and Opera Memphis. Max was on the faculty of the University of Memphis and Rhodes College, and while living in Tennessee was much sought after as a studio musician, working with the rock group The Replacements, and soul legends Patti LaBelle and Al Green, among many others

Since 1983, Max has played principal second violin for Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin. He also has participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, Missouri Symphony Society, Eastern Music Festival, and Memphis Chamber Music Society.

Since age 16, Max has shared the solo violin's celebrated masterpieces and forgotten treasures in recital. Repertoire includes Bach's Six Sonatas and Partitas, the Six Sonatas by Eugène Ysaÿe, and the works of Bartók, Nielsen, Franck and Paganini. He appears frequently in local concerts and recitals, and has regularly contributed his time and talent to Jacksonville Public Library's Intermezzo and Music@Main concert series.  As a member of Duo Proto, Max plays alongside his son Victor Minke Huls, who in turn plays a number of instruments including flute, cello, mandolin and piano. As a member of The Huls Clark Duo, Max performs in recital with pianist Christine Clark.

Hometown: Jefferson City, Missouri
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music and Philosophy from Stephens College; Master of Music from University of Memphis

PROGRAM NOTES, by Ed Lein, Music Librarian
Both as a performer and as a teacher, Jean-Delphin Alard (1815-1888) achieved fame as the foremost representative of the modern French school of violin playing of his generation. Born in the French Basque town of Bayonne, very near the Spanish border, a 10-year-old Delphin so impressed his neighbors with a prodigious public performance of a violin concerto by Viotti that the whole town chipped in to send the poor lad to Paris, where, at age 12, he entered the Paris Conservatory. By 1831, Alard had begun accumulating prizes for his playing, earning the reputation as a great performer; in 1840 he was appointed solo violinist in King Louis Philippe's Royal Band; and from 1843 until his retirement in 1875, he returned to the Conservatory as a leading professor whose students included the brilliant Spanish violinist and composer Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908). Alard was made a Chevalier of France's Légion d'honneur in 1850, and was 1st violinist in the Imperial Chapel from 1853 until the fall of Napoleon III, in 1873.

Alard's compositions are now mostly forgotten, but they were very popular in France during his lifetime. Not surprisingly, they mostly showcase the violin, and include bravura concertos and concert pieces, duos for two violins, and exercises and studies for violin students. His pedagogical treatise, Ecole du violon (School of the Violin) was adopted by the Paris Conservatory, and was translated into several languages, becoming a standard guide for aspiring virtuosi throughout Europe.

For the most part, the two books comprising Alard's 24 Études-caprices, op. 41, are perhaps better suited to the practice room than to the concert hall. But the concluding Boléro, the only study in the second book given a title, is an exception that recalls the composer's Basque heritage, with his home-region's ties to Spanish culture.

Score (pdf)--Alard: Etudes-caprices Nos. 13-24

Much like his contemporary Alard, the Belgian composer and violinist Henri Vieuxtemps (1820–1881) was a child prodigy who famously performed a concerto at age six, and who likewise went on to gain an international reputation as both performer and teacher. Vieuxtemps was a student and eventually professor at the Brussels Conservatory, and he represented the Franco-Belgian school of violin playing. He lived in Russia for five years (1846-51), where he founded the violin school at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, while also serving as principal violinist in the court of Czar Nicholas I. Vieuxtemps' solo performances throughout Europe brought him into friendly and admiring contact with the likes of Schumann, Berlioz, Wagner and Paganini, and he also toured the United States. He was widely admired as a performer of chamber music, particularly of string quartets by Beethoven.

In 1871, Vieuxtemps accepted an appointment at the Brussels Conservatory, but he suffered a stroke that affected his bowing arm, effectively ending his concert career and interrupting his teaching. A second stroke in 1879 made even teaching impossible, and he retired to Algeria to be near his daughter and son-in-law, but he still continued to compose. Most of Vieuxtemps' compositions feature the solo violin, and he is most remembered for his seven violin concertos, with which he helped redefine Romantic concertos as works of symphonic scope rather than merely vehicles for virtuosic display. Other works of note include two cello concertos, three string quartets, and several works featuring the viola, another instrument of which Vieuxtemps had been a master.

Among these is Capriccio in C minor "Hommage à Paganini" for Viola Solo, Op. 55, which was published posthumously with the Six Morceaux (Six Pieces) for solo violin featured on today's recital, as 6 Morceaux suivis d'un capriccio (Six Pieces followed by a Capriccio). Although publishers have used “Op. 55” for the entire collection, The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and other sources identify the combined set as “Op. 61,” his highest opus number, suggesting that it is the composer's valedictory composition.

Score (pdf)--Vieuxtemps: 6 Morceaux

Considered one of the greatest violinists of all time, the Belgian Eugène Ysaÿe (1858–1931) began lessons with his father at age five, and entered the Royal Conservatory in his hometown of Liège two years later. But, unlike Alard and Vieuxtemps, Ysaÿe was not a prodigious success, and he was soon asked to leave when his lessons did not progress satisfactorily--it seems that in order to help support his impoverished family, young Eugène had to play full-time in two local orchestras, unfortunately leaving little time to practice. But he continued studying on his own, and, as the story goes, by chance Henri Vieuxtemps passed by where Ysaÿe was practicing and, so impressed by what he heard, he got the 12-year-old youth readmitted to the Conservatory. Ysaÿe’s teachers included the Polish virtuoso and composer Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880) as well as Vieuxtemps himself, but Ysaÿe credited his father as the teacher who had the greatest impact on the way he performed.

Ysaÿe began his post-student career as concertmaster of Benjamin Bilse's orchestra (which would later become the Berlin Philharmonic). His playing impressed many of the day's leading musicians, including Anton Rubinstein (1828-1894), and the famous pianist invited the young violinist to accompany him on tour. But Ysaÿe's solo career really took off in 1885, when he was invited to perform works by Lalo and Saint-Saëns in Paris, and Ysaÿe soon became a favorite of many leading composers, including Debussy and Franck. From 1886-1898 Ysaÿe was a professor at the Brussels Conservatory, and he continued to expand his fame as a performer. Even after leaving the Conservatory he continued to teach into his final years, and he also gained fame as a conductor. Ysaÿe was invited to lead the New York Philharmonic in 1898, but he declined due to the demands of his solo career. But as health issues began to affect his playing more and more, he accepted the conductorship of the Cincinnati Symphony from 1918-1922, and he devoted more time to composing.

Among the best-known of Ysaÿe’s compositions are the technically demanding Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27, composed in 1923. In addition to incorporating contemporary compositional techniques such as the use of microtones and whole tone scales in some of them, each sonata is dedicated to a different virtuoso whose playing inspired the style of the sonata. Sonata No. 6 takes the form of a one-movement habanera, and is dedicated to the Spanish virtuoso Manuel Quiroga Losada (1892-1961), who, however, apparently never performed the sonata that is identified with him.

Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata No. 6 on YouTube (Hilary Hahn performing)

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 5/8/2011 @ 2:30 p.m.

Marion Wilkinson Scott & Rosa Villar Scott

Music for Piano Solo & Piano 4-Hands

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
    Fantasiestücke, Op.12 (1837)
1. Des Abends (In the Evening)
2. Aufschwung (Soaring Upward)
3. Warum? (Why?)
4. Grillen (Whims)
5. In der Nacht (In the night)
6. Fabel
7. Traumeswirren (Troubled Dreams)
8. Ende vom Lied (End of the Song)
        Marion Wilkinson Scott

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
    Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1
        Rosa Villar Scott

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
    Fantasia in F Minor for Piano Duo, D.940
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
    Hungarian Dances, Nos. 1-2
    Waltzes, Op. 39, Nos. 1-5
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
    3 Slavonic Dances, from Op. 46
        Marion and Rosa Scott

Jacksonville native Marion Wilkinson Scott made his debut at the age of 14 under the baton of Roger Nuremberg. Since that time, Mr. Scott has established himself as a leader among a new generation of young pianists. In 2006 his musicality and technical prowess earned first prize at the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition and second prize at the Zimmerli Foundation International Piano Competition. Most recently, Mr. Scott was named the winner of the 2010 International Piano Competition hosted by the Steinway Society of Massachusetts.

In addition to solo performance, Mr. Scott is an enthusiast for chamber music playing. As a member of the Trio d’Exuberance, he has also performed in noted concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, Kilbourn Hall and Crouse Hall.

As an advocate for music outreach programs, Mr. Scott has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts in community venues such as libraries, elementary schools and nursing homes. As an educator, Mr. Scott has served as a teaching fellow for the Piano Minors program at the Juilliard School and as a teaching assistant for theory classes at the Juilliard School and the Brevard Music Center. He has also received such prestigious scholarships as the Irene Diamond Scholarship (The Juilliard School) and the Howard Hanson Scholarship (The Eastman School of Music).

Mr. Scott holds a Masters Degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelors Degree from the Eastman School of Music. His primary teachers at these schools include noted pedagogues Martin Canin (The Juilliard School) and Douglas Humpherys (The Eastman School of Music). Currently, Mr. Scott is a Doctoral Candidate at the Frost School of Music under the instruction of the concert pianist Tian Ying. Mr. Scott is married to the brilliant and beautiful pianist Rosa Villar. Together, they enjoy performing duo concerts and making wonderful music.

Since her debut with the National Orchestra of Peru at the age of twelve, Rosa Villar Scott has performed in concert halls across the Americas and Europe as recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician. The Peruvian-Spanish pianist has won many awards in the United States, including prizes in the Bradshaw & Buono International Competition, National Society of Arts and Letters (Florida Chapter), the Central Florida Symphony Concerto Competition, the NYU Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and Tutte le Corde (Music after 1950). Additionally, in her Peruvian homeland she garnered first prize in the National Concerto Competition, and received the Southern Perú Corporation Music Award in recognition of her accomplishments.

Rosa Villar Scott has appeared in master classes given by such world-renowned artists as Vladimir Feldsman, Mischa Dichter, John Perry, Arthur Pizarro, Glenn Dicterow, Daniel Epstein, Ursula Oppens, Donald Berman, Seymour Bernstein, Joaquin Achucarro, Mark Durand, Julian Martin, Robert McDonald, Ann Schein, and Isaac Stern. She has been awarded scholarships to participate in noted music festivals, including Marguess International Music Festival in Switzerland, the Gijón Festival in Spain, the International Institute for Young Musicians in Kansas City, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes School in New York.

Elena Ichikawa at the National Conservatory of Music in Peru was Rosa’s first piano teacher in her home city of Lima. Since moving to the U.S., her teachers have included Susan Starr, Kemal Gekic, and Nina Svetlanova. She also spent two years in Italy studying with the French pianist Marylene Mouquet and the Italian pianist Sergio Perticaroli, and while there was awarded a music grant by the province of Rome. Upon returning to New York, she received scholarships from the Marion and Eubie Blake scholarship award, and the Steinhardt department at NYU to study with Miyoko Lotto. She attended the Manhattan School of Music and New York University for her Master's degree, and recently was awarded a scholarship to study with Dr. Jonathan Bass at the Boston Conservatory.

Last year Rosa married award-winning pianist Marion Scott, and the pair now perform as a duo throughout the United States and abroad. This recital marks her Jacksonville debut.

The hopes of German Romantic composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856) to become a concert pianist were dashed in his early twenties when he permanently damaged his hand, so he redirected his energies to both composing and music criticism, and excelled in both pursuits. Schumann identified two separate (but complimentary) aspects of his personality that directed his composing, and went so far as to name them: “Eusebius” was the name for his lyrical, reflective self; and “Florestan” was his passionate side. In Schumann’s eight Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, he credits Eusebius with the 1st and 3rd pieces, and Florestan with the 2nd and 4th, with the remaining pieces bringing the two together (but with Eusebius having the final say). Composed in 1837, the Fantasiestücke were dedicated to Scottish pianist Anna Robena Laidlaw (1819–1901), but the real inspiration was the celebrated pianist Clara Wieck (1819-1896), who became Mrs. Robert Schumann in 1840. When Schumann wrote the Fantasiestücke the proposed union was by no means a certainty—Friedrich Wieck, the father of the teenaged Clara (and Robert’s former piano teacher), refused his consent, so the matter was tied up in the courts. Robert described the concluding End of the Song movement as combining wedding bells with funeral knells, which was, as he explained in a letter to Clara, the result of his anxiety over their as yet undetermined fate.

At a time when it was fashionable to write programmatic music that illustrated specific scenes, poems or stories, the great German composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was recognized by his admirers as “Beethoven’s true heir” (Grove Concise Dictionary of Music) by demonstrating that established abstract formal procedures could still be used to organize musical discourse without sacrificing the passion and deeply individualistic expression that defines music of the Romantic period.

The opening measures of Brahms’ Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 1 (1853), pay obvious homage to Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata, and upon hearing Brahms, the famous composer and influential music critic Robert Schumann (1810-1856) became the first to publicly hail the young and unknown composer as Beethoven’s heir apparent. Brahms was himself a virtuoso pianist, so it is not surprising that his earliest works are for his own instrument. But despite its being published as the composer’s “Opus 1,” the C-major Sonata was not Brahms’ actual “first work”—it was written after both the Scherzo, Op. 4 (1851), and the Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 2 (1853). Since it was Schumann who recommended Brahms to the music publisher Breitkopf und Härtel, it was perhaps also Schumann who first suggested that the “stronger” C-major Sonata be published first, to better introduce Brahms to the public with a work that would readily bring Beethoven to mind. Like Beethoven, Brahms was a master of the variation form which he demonstrates in his 2nd movement Andante, using as the theme the old German song, Verstohlen geht der Mond auf (The Moon Steals Out). And, also like Beethoven, Brahms inserts a Scherzo movement before the rondo Finale, which in turn uses a principal theme derived from the Sonata’s first movement.

For the most part, Brahms arranged his 21 Hungarian Dances from existing tunes (only nos. 11, 14 and 16 are not adaptations), so he didn’t assign an opus number to them—but they still out-sold any of his other works!

Brahms originally wrote his 16 short Waltzes, Op. 39, in 1865 for piano 4-hands, and by the time they were published in 1867, he also had prepared two different solo piano versions (one easy, the other harder). Brahms wasn’t expecting much of a reaction from the public—after all, he was competing with the “Waltz King” Strausses—so he was pleasantly surprised by the successes he had with all three versions.

In addition to numerous symphonies, chamber works, masses, and solo piano music, the Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed over 600 songs in his short life. His music was performed regularly in private concerts for Vienna’s musical elite, and his genius was touted by no less than Beethoven (although the two masters apparently never met). Still, Schubert was never able to secure a publisher for the bulk of his masterworks, so he depended on his devoted circle of friends for maintaining his finances. Schubert’s Fantasie in F Minor, D. 940, was written during the last year of his life, and it is widely regarded as among his finest works. Similar in structure to Schubert’s famous Wanderer Fantasy for piano solo, the four movements of the 4-handed work are connected, with no breaks between the movements. This formal device is said to have had particular influence on the compositions of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), and in the development of the tone poem as a “new” musical form.

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) is an immensely popular Czech composer who fused melodic and rhythmic elements of Bohemian folk music with classical symphonic forms. Brahms was an early supporter of, and mentor to Dvořák, and in 1878 he was instrumental in getting the younger composer his first publishing deal, for the Moravian Duets for voices with piano. With the success of the of Duets, the publisher (Franz Simrock) requested a lively dance piece to follow-up, which resulted in the 4-handed piano Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. Although Dvořák took the Brahms Hungarian Dances as a model, Dvořák, unlike Brahms, composed original tunes for all eight dances of his Opus 46. The work so impressed Simrock that he immediately asked for orchestral arrangements, and both versions rather suddenly brought the virtually unknown composer to international prominence. Among the many successes that followed, Dvořák was invited to New York City to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music from 1892 to 1895, during which time he wrote the famous New World Symphony.