Haydn Schubert Ravel

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  • HaydnSchubertRavel

    Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic

    201112 Season

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    Alan Gilbert, ConductorAnne Sophie von Otter, Mezzo-Soprano

    Recorded live December 2830, 2011Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

    HAYDN (17321809) Symphony No. 88 in G major (Hob. I:88) (1787) 19:47 Adagio Allegro 6:34

    Largo 5:22

    Menuetto (Allegretto) Trio 4:17

    Finale (Allegro con spirito) 3:34

    SCHUBERT (17971828) Six Orchestrated Songs 22:25Die Forelle (The Trout), D.550 (1817; orch. Britten, date unknown) 2:27

    Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel), D.118

    (1814; orch. Reger, 1915) 4:08

    Im Abendrot (In Evenings Glow), D.799 (182425; orch. Reger,

    ca.1914) 4:11

    Gesang An Silvia (Song To Sylvia), D.891 (1826; orch. unknown) 2:53

    Nacht und Trume (Night and Dreams), D.827 (1825?; orch. Reger,

    ca. 191415) 4:34

    Erlknig (Erl King), D.328 (1815; orch. Reger, date unknown) 4:12

    New York PhilharmonicAlan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic 201112 Season

    Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic: 201112 Season twelve live recordings of performances conducted by the Music Director, two of which feature guest con-ductors reflects the passion and curiosity that marks the Orchestra today. Alan Gil-berts third season with the New York Phil-harmonic continues a voyage of exploration of the new and unfamiliar while reveling in the greatness of the past, in works that the Music Director has combined to form telling and intriguing programs.

    Every performance reveals the chemistry that has developed between Alan Gilbert and the musicians, whom he has praised for having a unique ethic, a spirit of want-ing to play at the highest level no matter what the music is, and that trans lates into an ability to treat an incredible variety of styles brilliantly. He feels that audi-ences are aware of this, adding, I have noticed that at the end of performances the ovations are often the loud est when

    the Philharmonic musicians stand for their bow: this is both an acknowledgment of the power and beauty with which they per-form, and of their dedication and commit-ment and their inspiration throughout the season.

    These high-quality recordings of almost 30 works, available internationally, reflect Alan Gilberts approach to programming which combines works as diverse as One Sweet Morning a song cycle by Ameri-can master composer John Corigliano exploring the nature of war on the tenth anniversary of the events of 9/11 with cornerstones of the repertoire, such as Dvorks lyrical yet brooding Seventh Symphony. The bonus content includes audio recordings of Alan Gilberts onstage commentaries, program notes published in each concerts Playbill, and encores given by todays leading soloists.

    For more information about the series, visit nyphil.org/recordings.


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    Alan Gilbert on This Program

    This concert opens with Haydns Symphony No. 88, one of the most charming and delightful works by one of my favorite composers. We continue with a set of Schubert songs, which are arguably the greatest group in that genre of music for voice and piano, so it is no surprise that people have wanted to find ways to bring that music to the or-chestral concert world. The different approaches reflected in the orchestrations we are performing remain true to Schubert, although each has a slightly different twist. The set as a whole might fall into the category of how great art can retain its integrity despite a variety of interpretations and rethinking.

    The second half of the concert is all Ravel, and while people do love his music I think there is a lack of appreciation for him. His brilliance as an orchestrator is understood, and for good reason: the range of colors that he created by using the normal, standard instruments in the orchestra is really staggering. The Mother Goose ballet is an absolutely gorgeous piece written for a relatively small orchestra, and the way he brings these little vignettes to life musically is uncanny, and often makes the audience feel that there must be 200 musicians onstage, even if there might only be 40. In La Valse he creates a swirl of sounds that really tells a story about the end of an era, with the image of a ballroom that starts out as a dream but becomes more bizarre and unhealthy, until it literally falls apart at the end it echoes what the world was experiencing at the end of that gilded age. But I have heard people say that Ravel is merely a craftsman and his music lacks soul, but that couldnt be further from the truth. There is deep feeling sometimes an overwhelming sense of loss, of searching. It is truly great music.

    RAVEL (18751937) Ma Mre loye (Mother Goose), Complete Ballet (190810; orch. 1911) 27:44Prelude

    Dance of the Spinning Wheel and Scene 7:11

    Pavane of Sleeping Beauty; Interlude 2:20

    Conversations of Beauty and the Beast; Interlude 4:51

    Tom Thumb; Interlude 4:56

    Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas; Interlude

    Apotheosis. The Enchanted Garden 8:26

    RAVEL La Valse (191920) 12:48

    New York Philharmonic

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    New York Philharmonic

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    violinist of the Esterhzy Orchestra, left his position to develop a business venture as a music agent in, of all places, Paris. Haydns stock was riding very high there thanks to the premieres being given by the Orches-tre de la Loge Olympique, and Tost had no trouble selling the French publishing rights for Haydns next two symphonies to Jean-Georges Sieber, a German who had opened a publishing firm in Paris. Tost brokered four Haydn symphonies (including No. 88) to Sieber, plus some piano sonatas and six string quartets (Opp. 54 and 55) and while he was at it, he sold him another completed Haydn symphony that wasnt by Haydn at all. Tost turned out to be a bad egg, and as his commercial aspirations increased he became more and more mercenary: at one point he proposed a business venture at the Esterhzy court that would enable him to purvey black market copies of unpublished works by Haydn, a scheme he tried to engi-neer completely behind the composers back.

    Haydns Symphony No. 88 is a work of characteristic verve and charm, and early on it gained affection, particularly among English and American audiences. It is easy to understand why one would embrace this piece. Its opening movement is one of Haydns most brilliantly worked out, its Lar-go is spectacularly beautiful, the Menuetto displays real peasant vigor (with a trio that is truly folklike with its musette-like drones), and the Finale is a sparkling combination of intellect and wit.

    Instrumentation: flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings.

    Listen for ... the Trumpets and Timpani

    Trumpets and timpani made occasional visits in Haydns middle-period sympho-nies, but they were not yet standard mem-bers of his orchestras. When he did use them it was normally to forceful effect, to launch and punctuate his fast movements with special brilliance; they were almost always banished from slow movements, where they were considered too strident for an inherently gentle expanse.

    We can always count on Haydn for a surprise: in his Symphony No. 88, these instruments dont figure in the opening movement at all. Haydn withholds them precisely until the slow movement (Largo), where their outbursts lend a splendid sense of drama while a complicated set of variations unfolds. He continues to employ them in the rest of the piece, even spot-lighting the timpani with a few soloistic moments in the Menuetto.

    The Largo, where the trumpets and timpani make their first appearance, is unusually inventive even by Haydns standards, as the solo oboe and cello at its opening suggest the spirit of a sinfonia concertante. It was of this slow movement, very evolved in its approach to variation form, that Johannes Brahms would later say, I want my Ninth Sym-phony to sound like that.

    Notes on the ProgramBy James M. Keller, Program AnnotatorThe Leni and Peter May Chair

    Symphony No. 88 in G major (Hob. I:88)Joseph Haydn

    When Joseph Haydn was approached in 1784 with a commission to write a group of symphonies for a concert series in Paris for the Concerts de la Loge Olympique (which held its performances in the guard-room of the Tuileries palace in Paris), he was frankly astonished. It seems the composer had not really noticed that, while working diligently for a quarter of a cen-tury as a court musical director for the Es-terhzy princes in Austria and Hungary, he had gradually grown famous in the world outside. He could only marvel at the sum the Parisian group proposed to him: 25 louis dor for each of six symphonies, plus another five for the right to publish them. That was five times what they normally paid for a symphony; in todays currency, 25 louis dor would translate to something around $60,000. That a major concert presenter in the heady cultural center of Paris should approach Haydn on such terms served as a reminder to him that he had come up quite a bit in the world in the 52 years since he had been born in an Austrian village to a father who was a wheelwright and a mother who worked as a cook for the local count until she started giving birth to her 12 children.

    The income would have been wel-come, of course, but surely Haydn was additionally thrilled at the prospect of writing symphonies for a large cosmo-politan orchestra. At the Esterhzy court

    he could count on an orchestra of about 24 instrumentalists the exact count fluctuated a bit over the years which was a good-sized orchestra at that time. Still, the Orchestre de la Loge Olympique was enormous in comparison, boasting a string section with fully 40