Friday, June 20, 2014

Tuesday Serenade : June 2 @ 7pm

Min Young Cho, violin & Eun Mi Lee, Piano

Sonata for Unaccompanied Viola,  op.25, no. 1
  1. Breit. Viertel
  2. Sehr frisch und straff. (Viertel)
  3. Sehr langsam
  4. Rasendes Zeitmaß. Wild. Tonschönheit ist Nebensache
  5. Langsam, mit viel Ausdruck
Adagio & Allegro, op. 70

Sonata in E-flat Major for Piano with Accompaniment of Viola, op. 5, no. 3 
       I. Allegro moderato.
       II. Adagio e cantabile. 
       III. Rondo. Con moto

Dr. Min Young Cho is a native of Seoul, Korea, and she has performed with many orchestras in her homeland, including the Korean-American Youth Orchestra, Gwacheon Youth Orchestra, Seoul National Symphony Orchestra, Korean Philharmonic Orchestra and Gangneung Philharmonic Orchestra. Her talent as an ensemble player remains much in demand, and she often serves as concertmaster or assistant concertmaster for many of the orchestras she plays with. She regularly performs with a number of chamber and symphony orchestras in North Florida, including Tallahassee Bach Parley, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Gulf Coast, as well as with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and Panama City Pops Orchestra. As a guest solo artist, other recital engagements have included appearances at Chipola College (Marianna, Florida) and Valdosta State University (Valdosta, Georgia), and  Jacksonville Public Library's Music @ Main.

As a winner of the American Fine Arts Festival, Dr. Cho performed at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall), and also was awarded an AFAF Summer Music Courses in Europe scholarship. Other competition wins include the Korea Music Competition, the Chungbu Conservatory Competition, and the Music World Newspaper Company’s Competition. Dr. Cho received her Bachelor of Music degree from Dankook University in Korea, and both her master's and doctoral degrees from Florida State University, where she also has taught as a Graduate Assistant. Her principal teachers have included Corinne Stillwell, Karen Clarke and Daesik Kang.

In her native South Korea, Eun Mi Lee received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano from Ewha Women’s University, and a Master of Music degree in Piano Accompanying on scholarship at Sungshin Women’s University.  In 2007, Ms. Lee was accepted into the Master’s program at Florida State University's College of Music, working closely with Valerie M. Trujillo, the Grammy-nominated associate professor of vocal coaching and accompanying.  Eun Mi Lee is continuing her post-graduate studies at FSU, where she is a doctoral candidate.

A passionate accompanist and teacher, she began working with faculty artists and student performers at Baekseok Conservatory, Muyngji University, and University of Seoul, and she has been a member of Korea Collaborative Pianists Association since 2002. Much in demand as a collaborative artist, Ms. Lee has pursued an interest in performing new music, and recorded Soo Jin Cho's 2-piano work, Exodus, released by the Society of Composers, Inc., in March 2010, on an album entitled Mosaic.

Along with Stravinsky, Bartók and Schoenberg, German composer, teacher, and music theorist Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) is often cited by musicologists as a central figure in music of the first half of the 20th Century, so it is perhaps surprising that performances of his works have become relatively rare. Although some of his first works approached the expressionistic atonality of early Schoenberg, Hindemith’s mature style, while still highly chromatic, is decidedly tonal. And although Hindemith frequently used formal procedures of the Baroque and Classical periods, his music is nonetheless removed from the "Neoclassical" movement centered around Stravinsky — whereas Stravinsky parodied earlier styles in an often ironic reaction against the perceived excesses of 19th-Century composers, Hindemith built on tradition as a continuation of the Teutonic musical heritage that runs from the Bach family through Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and Reger.
Hindemith was also the virtuoso violist who premiered William Walton's gorgeous Viola Concerto in 1929. Seven years earlier he had written the Sonata for Unaccompanied Viola, op. 25, no.1 primarily for his own recital performances, and he made a recording of it in 1934. Describing the work as "vigorous" might be something of an understatement--Hindemith's performance notes include the observation: Raging tempo. Wild. Beauty of tone is of secondary importance. So, with apologies to Bette Davis, fasten your seatbelts!

The hopes of the great German Romantic composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856) to become a concert pianist were dashed in his twenties when he permanently damaged his hand, so he redirected his energies to both composing and music criticism. From childhood he was torn between literature and music, but he managed to combine these two loves even in some of his purely instrumental music by using poetry and dramatic narrative to color and direct the musical discourse.
Schumann's Adagio and Allegro, op. 70 is among the numerous and varied works he wrote in 1849.  Originally composed to show off the expanding capabilities of the valve horn, Schumann's showpiece has become a frequently-performed favorite of violists and cellists as well.

Though little-known today, during his lifetime Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) was among Europe's most famous and respected musicians. He made his public debut at age nine sharing the concert stage with W.A. Mozart, with whom he studied (and resided) for two years. Joseph Haydn, whom Hummel would succeed as Kapellmeister to Prince Esterhazy, wrote a piano sonata for him when Hummel was barely a teenager, and later accepted him among his few composition students. Hummel became lifelong friends with Haydn's most famous pupil--Beethoven--such that among Beethoven's dying wishes was a request that Hummel perform at his funeral.  It was at that sad occasion that Hummel met Schubert, inspiring the younger composer to dedicate his final three piano sonatas to the famous virtuoso; however, the sonatas were not published until after both Schubert and Hummel had died, and the publisher changed the dedication to Robert Schumann. 
Hummel was around 20 years old when he composed his Sonata in E-flat Major for Piano with Accompaniment of Viola, op. 5, no. 3. Mozart's influence is unmistakable in the gracious charm it exudes, and Mozart might also have provided the impetus for featuring the viola.  Typical of the time, the first two of Hummel's three sonatas comprising his Opus 5 are for piano with obbligato violin, but his change of obbligato in the third sonata was by no means "expected" because use of viola as a solo instrument was uncommon, to say the least. (Bach's sixth Brandenburg Concerto likely was never performed prior to its publication in 1850, and, although Telemann's Viola Concerto is fairly well-known today it hardly would have been a repertoire staple in 1798.)  Mozart however, himself a fine violist, had began featuring the viola in his chamber music and especially in the magnificent Sinfonia Concertante (1779), and this may well have inspired Hummel to create what is perhaps the earliest sonata for the modern viola and piano.

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