The second subscription concert of Series C brings together Ludwig van Beethoven, who enchanted the nobility of Vienna with his talent as a young composer, and Béla Bartók, whose Viola Concerto was one of the final works composed at the end of his life. Baron Gottfried van Swieten was the patron behind Beethoven’s First Symphony, while Bartók wrote his concert at the request of a performer, the Scottish violist William Primrose. In his fresh, energetic symphony, Beethoven proudly paid tribute to his teacher Joseph Haydn, who was his equal in terms of the quantity and originality of his musical ideas. In his Viola Concerto, Bartók could build upon on a lifetime of compositional mastery, but he was unable to finish the work. He was in the last stages of his battle with leukaemia, but he still wrote to William Primrose that the concerto was nearly finished. Bartók’s friend Tibor Serly put the finishing touches on the concerto, and the composer’s son and the American violist Paul Neubauer made later revisions.
The concert will open with Music for Ensemble and Orchestra by Steve Reich, which was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The conductor of the premiere was Susanna Mälkki. Reich works with an extended form of the Baroque concerto grosso, in which there are twenty solo instruments including vibraphone and two pianos. The tempo of the five-movement composition remains constant, while there are changing note values in the pulsating parts for the two pianos. Thematically, the work is based on Reich’s earlier composition Runner.
Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21
Antoine Tamestit has achieved the rare distinction as a violist of playing at the highest level with orchestra and being constantly in demand as a chamber musician and recitalist.
Tamestit’s repertoire ranges from the Baroque period to the contemporary and he has performed and recorded several world premieres including George Benjamin’s Viola, Viola with Tabea Zimmermann for Nimbus Records, and the Concerto for Two Violas by Bruno Mantovani written for Tabea Zimmermann and himself, which was premiered with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the WDR Cologne. In 2009, the Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth wrote her concerto for Tamestit which he premiered in Vienna, Berlin, and Tokyo.
As soloist, Antoine Tamestit has worked with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, RSO Stuttgart, with major French orchestras and with the several BBC symphony orchestras.
Chamber music and recitals are an important element of Antoine Tamestitʼs work and life and he is a regular guest in major halls across the world. He plays in a string trio with Frank Peter Zimmermann and Christian Poltera with whom he has appeared at the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals and recorded Mozart Divertimento and Beethoven Trio Op. 9 for Bis Records, and in a trio with Jörg Widmann and Francesco Piemontesi. He plays in chamber music with artists including Leonidas Kavakos, Gautier Capucon, Emmanuel Ax, Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Emmanuel Pahud, Nicholas Angelich, the Ebene and the Hagen Quartets, Cédric Tiberghien, Martin Fröst and Shai Wosner.
Future engagements include performances with the WDR Köln, Bamberger Symphoniker, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and at the Festival d’Automne, twice at the Wigmore Hall, and in chamber concerts with Anne Sofie von Otter, Francesco Piemontesi and Jörg Widmann and the Trio Zimmermann. In the 2015/16 season Antoine Tamestit will premiere a concerto written for him by Jörg Widmann with the Orchestra de Paris and Paavo Järvi, and the Bayerischer Rundfunk and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Harding.
Antoine Tamestit has a distinguished discography. His recording of Hindemith solo and concertante works recorded with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Paavo Järvi, released in 2014, was awarded five stars by BBC Music Magazine. Other notable recordings by Antoine Tamestit include solo works by Bach and Ligeti, Mozartʼs Sinfonia Concertante with Renaud Capuçon, Louis Langrée and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Schnittke Concerto with Warsaw Philharmonic and Kitajenko.
Antoine Tamestit is professor at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris. He plays on a viola made by Stradivarius in 1672, loaned by the Habisreutinger Foundation. Together with Nobuko Imai, Antoine Tamestit is co-artistic director of the Viola Space Festival in Tokyo, focusing on the development of viola repertoire and proposing education programs.
Born in Paris, Antoine Tamestit studied with Jesse Levine at Yale University and with Tabea Zimmermann. He was the recipient of several coveted prizes including the William Primrose Competition and the first prize at the Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions, BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme, Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2009.
A consummate musician, masterful programmer, and dynamic presence, American maestro David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music-making and stimulating ideas. David Robertson launched his 11th season as music director of the St. Louis Symphony in the fall of 2015; he has also served as chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since January 2014.
Highlights of the 2015/16 season with the St. Louis Symphony included a California tour featuring Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux étoiles..., with video imagery by photographer Deborah O’Grady, and soloist Timothy McAllister performing John Adams’s Saxophone Concerto. The concerto was part of the latest St. Louis Symphony recording, City Noir, on Nonesuch, which received the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Other highlights for Mr. Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony were the U.S. Premiere of Tan Dun’s Contrabass Concerto and John Adams’s most recent symphony for violin, Scheherazade.2 – dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra, performed by Leila Josefowicz (co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw). The Scheherazade.2 performances were recorded live by Nonesuch for future release.
To celebrate his decade-long tenure with the St. Louis Symphony in 2014/15, David Robertson showcased 50 of the orchestra’s musicians in solo or solo-ensemble performances throughout the season. Other highlights included a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida featuring video enhancements by S. Katy Tucker, and a return to Carnegie Hall with a program featuring the music of Meredith Monk. In 2013/14 David Robertson led the St. Louis Symphony at Carnegie Hall in Britten’s Peter Grimes on the Britten centennial. In March 2015, David Robertson led a performance of Holst’s The Planets with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and a “Global Orchestra,” in which musicians around Australia performed along through the Internet.
Born in California, David Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to conducting. He received Columbia University’s 2006 Ditson Conductor’s Award, and he and the St. Louis Symphony are recipients of several major awards from ASCAP and the League of American Orchestras, including the 2008/09 Award for Programming of Contemporary Music as well as the 2005/06 Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming. Musical America named David Robertson Conductor of the Year in 2000. In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and that same year he received the Excellence in the Arts award from the St. Louis Arts and Education Council. In 2011 he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his first symphony in 1799–1800. By that time he had been living in Vienna for seven years, but he did not find it easy to establish himself among his local musical competitors. In terms of both form and expression, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C major Op. 21 is a development of the model provided by Haydn’s and Mozart’s symphonies, and in a way it pays homage to these illustrious predecessors. It was first performed at a concert held at Vienna’s Court Theatre on 2 April 1800.
The first movement opens with an introduction (Adagio molto) commencing, unusually, with the dominant seventh of F major (i.e. a C7 chord) and unclear tonal grounding, followed by an Allegro in sonata form and a second movement, again in sonata form, with a pastoral theme and a fugato. The third movement, traditionally a minuet, is in this instance more redolent of a scherzo. The work concludes with a joyous finale. At the premiere Beethoven performed as the conductor, pianist and improviser, presenting along with the symphony his Septet Op. 20 and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in C major. As early as 1801 Hoffmeister & Comp published the orchestral parts of the symphony. The work was originally to be dedicated to Maximilian Franz von Österreich, but due to his unexpected death in 1801 Beethoven switched the dedication to his patron, Baron Gottfried van Swieten.
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