May 3 & 4, 2013
Chris Davidson & Sharon Christoph
Sun Valley Summer Symphony
Robert Franz, conductor
Jennifer Frautschi, violin
David Allen Earnest - Turbulence
Erich Wolfgang Korngold - Violin Concerto
Sergei Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2
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Avery Fisher career grant recipient violinist Jennifer Frautschi has gained acclaim as an adventurous performer with a wide-ranging repertoire. As the Chicago Tribune wrote, "the young violinist Jennifer Frautschi is molding a career with smart interpretations of both warhorses and rarities." Equally at home in the classic repertoire as well as twentieth and twenty-first century works, in the past few seasons alone she has performed the Britten Concerto, Poul Ruders' Concerto
No. 1, Steven Mackey's Violin Sonata, and Mendelssohn's rarely played d minor Concerto, along with standards such as the Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Berg Concerti.
Ms. Frautschi has created a sensation with appearances as soloist with Pierre Boulez and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival, and at Wigmore Hall and Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. She has also soloed in recent seasons with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Kansas City Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, San Diego Symphony, and Seattle Symphony, and toured the United States with the Czech Symphony Orchestra.
Selected by Carnegie Hall for its Distinctive Debuts series, she made her New York recital debut in 2004. As part of the European Concert Hall Organization's Rising Stars series, Ms. Frautschi also made debuts that year at ten of Europe's most celebrated concert venues, including London's Wigmore Hall, Salzburg Mozarteum, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna Konzerthaus, and La Cité de la Musique in Paris. She has also been heard in recital at the Ravinia Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Society, Washington's Phillips Collection, Boston's Gardner Museum, Beijing's Imperial Garden, Monnaie Opera in Brussels, La Chaux des Fonds in Switzerland, and San Miguel de Allende Festival in Mexico.
As a chamber artist, Ms. Frautschi performs often at the Boston Chamber Music Society, Caramoor (where she has appeared annually since she was first invited there at the age of 18 by Andre Previn), Chamber Music Northwest (in Portland, OR), and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Formerly a member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two, she is a frequent guest at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She has also appeared at the Charlottesville, La Jolla Summerfest, La Musica (Sarasota), Moab, Music@Menlo, Newport, and Seattle Chamber Music Festivals, as well as at New York’s Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums of Art, the 92nd Street Y, and Mainly Mozart in San Diego.
Her growing discography includes three widely-praised CDs for Artek: an orchestral recording of the Prokofiev concerti with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, and highly-acclaimed discs of music of Ravel and Stravinsky, and of 20th century works for solo violin. She has also recorded several discs for Naxos, including the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, conducted by the legendary Robert Craft, and two GRAMMY-nominated recordings with the Fred Sherry Quartet, of Schoenberg's Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra [nominated for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra)’ in 2006] and the Schoenberg third String Quartet [nominated for ‘Best Chamber Music Performance’ in 2011]. Her most recent releases are a recording of Romantic Horn Trios, with hornist Eric Ruske and pianist Stephen Prutsman, on the Albany label (fall 2010) and Stravinsky Duo Concertant with pianist Jeremy Denk on Naxos (spring 2011).
Born in Pasadena, California, Ms. Frautschi began the violin at age three and was a student of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. She subsequently attended Harvard, the New England Conservatory of Music, and The Juilliard School, where she studied with Robert Mann. She also studied the clarinet with Richard Meyer. She performs on a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin known as the "ex-Cadiz," on generous loan to her from a private American foundation.
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David Alan Earnest / b. 1960
From the composer:
This overture portrays a short, harrowing flight from Newark to O'Hare airport in Chicago, where we landed surrounded by storms, lightning, and wind. It scared me to death.
First we hear the take off, then a false sense of elation and calm as cruising altitude is reached, followed by mild turbulence as we near Chicago, then the descent into the storms and the landing. The piece ends with a sigh of relief in the clarinets and bassoon.
This piece was commissioned by the Boise Philharmonic to serve as the opener for the 2012 Children's concert series, with 9 concerts in Boise and Nampa. Since then, it has been performed in 7 concerts by the Houston Symphony. Robert Franz has conducted all performances.
This is the Boise Philharmonic’s first performance of Turbulence.
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Erich Wolfgang Korngold | May 29, 1897 – November 29, 1957
Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 35
Born during the final years of the Austrian Empire, Erich Korngold was one of the greatest prodigies of his time. His rise was rapid, with piano works, orchestra pieces, a ballet, several chamber works, and two operas to his credit as a teenager. Puccini said, “That boy’s talent is so great, he could easily give us half and still have enough left for himself.” He was an international celebrity by the time he was 13. Before long he found himself in college at the Vienna Staatsakademie -- not as a student, but as a professor.
In 1934 the film director Max Reinhardt invited Korngold to Hollywood to help with the adaptation of music for the Warner Brothers version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring Mickey Rooney and Jimmy Cagney. Korngold accepted and found himself immersed in the Hollywood studio system.
In Hollywood, Korngold composed music for seventeen films for Warner Brothers Studios, winning Academy Awards for the 1936 Fredric March and Olivia de Havilland feature Anthony Adverse and Errol Flynn’s 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood. At the end of the war, he returned to his first love, serious art music. His Violin Concerto was the first product of his new career.
Composed in the late-Romantic style, Korngold dedicated this concerto to Alma Mahler, the widow of the composer who had championed the young composer’s music in 1906 when Korngold was only nine years of age. Korngold wrote it for the legendary Jascha Heifetz, who gave the premiere performance -- but only after requesting Korngold to make it more virtuosic to fit the violinist’s prodigious talents. Paradoxically, the thematic material in the work is derived from Korngold’s earlier film scores. Heifetz became its champion, ensuring its place in the permanent repertoire.
Korngold opens with the soloist playing a passionately soaring theme drawn from the 1937 film Another Dawn. Treated tenderly at first, this melody becomes the emotional core of the movement. After an animated episode, a moving lyrical theme is presented, this time by the orchestra with a solo violin obbligato. Korngold drew this melody from his 1939 score to a Bette Davis vehicle entitled Juarez. After a brilliant cadenza, all of the themes return in a decidedly cinematic fashion.
The second movement (Romance) begins with a poignant theme in the upper register of the solo violin accompanied by a dreamy blend of harp and strings. Korngold borrowed this theme from his Oscar-winning score to Anthony Adverse. A newly composed second section introduces a tinge of storminess before the movement ends quietly with harp and strings. As with most concerti for virtuoso soloists, the finale is a brilliant technical showpiece. It is based on music from The Prince and the Pauper, a 1937 Errol Flynn and Claude Rains film.
This is the Boise Philharmonic’s first performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto.
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Sergei Rachmaninov | April 1, 1873 – March 28, 1943
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
This symphony was not written by an 18-year-old kid. Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony in E minor is unmistakably the product of a mature composer with scars on his soul. The words that best describe the essence of the first movement are yearning, wistful, lonely, somber, and longing. Much of the symphony conveys a gentle regret, but it is neither weepy nor despondent.
If you sense that the music is intensely personal, you’re right. It is. He said, “I try to make music speak simply and directly that which is in my heart at the time I am composing. If there is love there, or bitterness, or sadness, or religion, these moods become part of my music, and it becomes either beautiful or bitter or sad or religious, for music is as much a part of my living, as eating and breathing.”
Whatever it was that introduced Rachmaninov to the darker shades and shadows that permeate his music certainly did not occur at the Conservatory in Moscow, where he was the brightest of bright stars. He won gold medals for his piano playing and for his Opera Aleko which was immediately picked and played by the Bolshoi Theater. His teacher Tchaikovsky gave him the highest possible marks, placing him at the top of the Honor Roll.
But shortly after graduation, he unexpectedly crashed headlong into failure. He spent two years writing his first symphony, and its premiere was a disaster. Recognizing its deficiencies, he fled before the music stopped. The critics savaged him. He told a friend, “My dreams of a brilliant career lay shattered. My hopes and confidence were destroyed.”
In desperation, Rachmaninov became the patient of Dr. Nikolai Dahl, who treated mental disorders by means of post-hypnotic suggestion. As Rachmaninov lay in Dahl’s darkened office during sessions that lasted one full year, and which were designed to enable him to return to composing, Dr. Dahl repeated over and over again, “You will begin to write your piano concerto, you will work with great facility, it will be of excellent quality.” Miraculously, this unorthodox treatment worked, and the resulting concerto, his second, is a celebrated masterpiece. Now, wiser and older, he had arisen Phoenix-like from the ashes of failure to start on the path of becoming one of the most popular composers of all time.
Rachmaninov’s public and performing persona was dour, aristocratic, aloof. He rarely smiled in public. Stravinsky called him “a six and one-half foot scowl.” Newspaper writers respectfully called him “The Puritan.” But, he did have a sardonic sense of humor. Once, he and his friend the great violinist Fritz Kreisler were giving a recital, and Kreisler suffered a memory lapse. Kreisler sidled up to Rachmaninov and whispered urgently, “Where are we?” Back as quick as a flash came the reply from Rachmaninov: “We’re in Carnegie Hall.”
If there is an heir to Tchaikovsky, it is Rachmaninov. Both had a gift for memorable melodies that soar and seem to go on forever, effortlessly carrying us on their tireless wings.
Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 was first performed by the Boise Philharmonic on April 19, 1996. It was most recently performed on November 14, 2003.
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