Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: McPherson, Beethoven, and Magnard

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Behzod Abduraimov (piano)

Winspear Centre, Edmonton
Friday, January 27, 2017

John McPherson: Triune (Grief/Peace/Liberation) (first performance)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘The Emperor’
Albéric Magnard: Symphony No. 4


Beethoven’s famous Piano Concerto No.5, ‘The Emperor’, completed in 1811, is usually seen – and played – as one of the great works that ushered in the age of Romanticism in music. It also, of course, represented the death-knell of the Classical age, as the young Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov reminded us on Friday in the Edmonton Symphony’s wide-ranging Winspear concert. There was a new work by the orchestra’s composer-in-residence, and a French symphony that probably very few in the audience had ever heard of, let alone heard.

For what Abduraimov gave us – entirely supported by conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni – was Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto played as a Classical concerto rather than as a Romantic prototype. Continue reading “Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: McPherson, Beethoven, and Magnard”

A Rossini Cenerentola program note

As Edmonton Opera no longer carries historical program notes in its opera program booklets (instead there are always interesting introductions by the director of the production), we’ve included here an historical program note on Rossini’s Cenerentola (Cinderella), as an introduction to Edmonton Opera’s new production.

Rossini: Cenerentola (Cinderella)
Edmonton Opera
Saturday, February 4, 8 pm
Tuesday, February 7, 7.30 pm
Thursday, February 9, 7.30 pm
tickets: www.edmontonopera.com

Program note
Mark Morris

The Cinderella story has long captured the imagination of composers, notably of Massenet in his opera Cendrillon of 1899, Wolf-Ferrari in his Cenerentola of 1900, and Prokofiev in his ballet of 1940. All the musical treatments can be ultimately be traced back to a 1697 collection of stories, ostensibly by the French writer Charles Perrault, a major celebrant of the Golden Age of King Louis XIV, but quite possibly co-authored with his son. A Cinderella opera by Laruette appeared in Paris in 1759, followed by three in the early 1810s: one by Isuoard in Paris (1810), with a libretto by Étienne, set simultaneously by Seibelt for a St.Petersburg opera in the same year, and, most celebrated of all, Rossini’s La Cenerentola of 1817.

The composition of La Cenerentola must constitute something of a record. Rossini’s librettist, Jacop Ferretti, wrote the libretto in three weeks. Rossini took twenty-four days for the music. Continue reading “A Rossini Cenerentola program note”

St. Lawrence String Quartet

St. Lawrence String Quartet
left to right: Lesley Robertson, Owen Dalby, Chris Costanza, Geoff Nuttall : Photo by Leonardo Mascaro

St. Lawrence String Quartet
Geoff Nuttall, Owen Danby (violins), Lesley Robertson (viola), Christopher Costanza (cello)

Edmonton Recital Society
Muttart Hall, Alberta College
Saturday, January 14, 2017

Joseph Haydn: String Quartet No. 25, Op. 20 No. 2
John Adams: Selections from Alleged Dances
Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 4, Op. 44 No. 2

The St. Lawrence String Quartet is perhaps the very model of a modern string quartet. Formed in Toronto in 1989, it quickly established itself as one of Canada’s leading young chamber groups, winning competitions along the way – notably the fourth Banff International String Quartet Competition in 1992 – and picking up a Juno award in 2000 for their CD of Schumann string quartets (EMI Classics 5 56797 2). Since then it has solidified a reputation in North America and beyond. Continue reading “St. Lawrence String Quartet”