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concert program v: concert Programs American Visions July 31 Thursday, July 31, 8:00 p.m., The Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton Program...

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American Visions July 31 Thursday, July 31, 8:00 p.m., The Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton

Program Overview Having achieved great renown for cultivating a distinctly Czech musical idiom, Antonín Dvořák accepted an invitation in 1891 to lead the National Conservatory in New York and guide a rising generation of American composers. Upon arrival, he found exciting potential for a truly American voice through Native and African American melodies, rhythms, and harmonies. Seeking to lead by example, Dvořák composed his famous symphony From the New World and American-inspired chamber music including this program’s Sonatina for Violin and Piano. The jovial spirit of Dvořák was echoed by the great American innovator Charles Ives, whose songs lifted this unfolding folk idiom to new heights. Continuing to mine America’s folk music in our own time, modern maverick George Crumb turns his kaleidoscopic ear to the American songbook, reimagining such tunes as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Go Down, Moses” into ethereal soundscapes. This program is underwritten by Michael Jacobson and Trine Sorensen through their gift to the Tenth-Anniversary Campaign.

SPECIAL THANKS [email protected] dedicates this performance to Michael Jacobson and Trine Sorensen with gratitude for their generous support.

Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975). Threshing Wheat, 1938–1939. Lithograph. © VAGA, NY. Photo credit: Art Resource, NY

LOUIS MOREAU GOTTSCHALK (1829–1869) The Union, op. 48 (1862) Gilles Vonsattel, piano

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841–1904) Sonatina in G Major for Violin and Piano, op. 100 (1893) Allegro risoluto Larghetto Scherzo: Molto vivace Finale: Allegro Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Wu Han, piano

CHARLES IVES (1874–1954) Selected Songs for Baritone and Piano

“The Circus Band” (1894) “In Flanders Fields” (1917) “The Things Our Fathers Loved” (1917) “Charlie Rutlage” (1920) “The Indians” (1921) “The Housatonic at Stockbridge” (1903–1914, rev. 1929)

Randall Scarlata, baritone; Gilbert Kalish, piano

Intermission

GEORGE CRUMB (b. 1929) American Songbook II: A Journey beyond Time (2002)

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” “Joshua Fit de Battle ob Jericho” “Steal Away” “Oh, a-Rock-a My Soul” “The Pregnant Earth: A Psalm for Noontide” (instrumental interlude) “Sit Down, Sister” “Nobody Knows de Trouble I See” “Go Down, Moses” “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”

Randall Scarlata, baritone; Gilbert Kalish, piano; Florian Conzetti, Christopher Froh, Ayano Kataoka, Ian Rosenbaum, percussion

Program Notes: American Visions LOUIS MOREAU GOTTSCHALK

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK

(Born May 8, 1829, New Orleans; died December 18, 1869, Tijuca, Brazil) The Union, op. 48

(Born September 8, 1841, Nelahozeves, near Kralupy; died May 1, 1904, Prague)

Composed: 1862

Sonatina in G Major for Violin and Piano, op. 100

Other works from this period: Le banjo, op. 15 (1854–1855); Souvenir de Porto Rico, op. 31 (1857–1858); Berceuse, op. 47 (1861); Battle Cry of Freedom, op. 55 (1834–1864); La brise (1865)

Composed: 1893

Approximate duration: 9 minutes

Other works from this period: Te Deum (1892); Symphony no. 9 in e minor, op. 95, From the New World (1894); String Quartet no. 12 in F Major, op. 96, American (1893); String Quintet in E-flat Major, op. 97, American (1893); Suite in A Major for Piano, op. 98 (1894); Biblické písně (Biblical Songs), op. 99 (1894)

*Bolded terms are defined in the glossary, which begins on page 100.

First performance: January 10, 1896, Brno

Approximate duration: 19 minutes In June 1891, Antonín Dvořák received a letter from the American classical music patron Jeanette Thurber offering him the post of Artistic Director and Professor of Composition at New York’s National Conservatory of Music. Dvořák was weary of leaving his native Bohemia, but the substantial offer of $15,000 (twenty-five times what he was paid at the Prague Conservatory, equivalent today to approximately $400,000) persuaded him to take the transatlantic voyage to New York, arriving with his wife and two children on September 26, 1892. Thurber’s aspiration for Dvořák was that he not only lead the conservatory but, on a broader scale, help an emerging generation of American composers establish a national musical identity. Soon after his arrival, Dvořák wrote to a friend in Prague: The Americans expect great things of me. I am to show them the way into the Promised Land, the realm of a new, independent art, in short, a national style of music!…This will certainly be a great and lofty task, and I hope that with God’s help I shall succeed in it. I have plenty of encouragement to do so. While Dvořák contemplated the new American idiom that he had been charged with fostering, Thurber presented him with an opera libretto based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1855 epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha. The work’s romanticized tales of the Midwestern Ojibwe Indians intrigued Dvořák, and he began sketches of a full-scale opera based on Longfellow’s poem in the spring of 1893. During the summer, Dvořák and his family vacationed in Spillville, Iowa, an area with a large Czech population, making visits to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and Minnehaha Falls in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dvořák wrote, “We went to the valley and saw little Minnehaha Falls, a place that Longfellow celebrated in his famous poem. It is not possible to express how bewitching it was.” While standing amid the spray of the waterfall, Dvořák took down a melody on his shirt cuffs per a lack of paper. That melody later became the theme of the Larghetto movement of his Sonatina in G Major for Violin and Piano, op. 100. Dvořák’s visits to Spillville and St. Paul moreover inspired a host of his most acclaimed American works: the New World Symphony, the American Quartet, and the Sonatina in G Major completed in December 1893. When sending the work to his publisher, Dvořák described the sonatina, which he dedicated to his children, as “a piece for children but suitable also for adults.” The first movement begins with a buoyant, country-like melody, contrasted by the second theme in the relative key of e minor. The music intensifies in the Larghetto, which has been nicknamed “Indians lament.” Dvořák, though excited by his work in the United States, was deeply homesick. His trip to the densely Czech-populated Midwest stirred sentiments of nationalism, which can be heard in the slow movements of his American works. The famed Largo of the New World Symphony was notably arranged for voice and piano by Dvořák’s student

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American pianist and composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk was born in New Orleans to a family of merchants. Recognizing his musical precocity, his father sent the twelve-year-old Gottschalk to Paris to further his studies at the prestigious Paris Conservatoire. The Director of the Piano Department, Pierre Zimmerman, did not consider Americans worthy of such a high art, once offering that “America is the land of steam engines, not musicians,” and Gottschalk was denied admission. He instead studied privately with Camille Stamaty and made his Paris debut at the Salle Pleyel on April 2, 1845, on which occasion Fryderyk Chopin proclaimed, “I predict you will become the king of pianists.” That same year, Gottschalk embarked on a European tour, soon becoming one of Europe’s most celebrated virtuosos. Gottschalk returned to the United States in 1853, settling in New York but traveling constantly for seven years throughout North America and the Caribbean. He notably toured with two ten-foot Chickering grand pianos, which many rural areas had never seen or heard before. In 1859, he was lured by the beauty of the Antillean Islands, to which he vanished for a year. Many American newspapers, jumping to the wrong conclusion from his sudden disappearance, printed an obituary. However, with the onset of the Civil War in 1861, Gottschalk, a staunch Unionist, rushed back to New York to concertize in support of the North. In the three years between 1862 and the war’s end in 1865, he traveled 95,000 miles and played over 1,100 recitals. His performances would often consist of both Classical and popular works—including songs by Stephen Foster—along with his patriotic 1862 composition, The Union. Dedicated to Union General George B. McClellan, the composition was performed in front of Abraham Lincoln on March 24, 1864, and on the steamboat Constitution immediately following the president’s assassination. The Union is a brilliant compilation of three American patriotic tunes: “Yankee Doodle,” “Hail Columbia,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” (which would become the national anthem in 1913). The work begins with an exhilarating barrage of octaves, followed by a dynamic Romantic interlude displaying a rich sweep of technical and emotional temperament. A series of virtuosic arpeggios flows seamlessly into an unadorned section of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Gottschalk then adds staccato to the tune, giving it an even more exposed sensibility before the theme is gallantly concluded with epic breadth. The grandiose opening theme returns, and a similar recitation of “Hail Columbia” follows. The second alteration contains a droll drum that rolls no fewer than seventysix times, followed by a series of vibrant trumpet calls. Gottschalk then combines “Hail Columbia” in the right hand with “Yankee Doodle” in the left, ending the work in another triumphant eruption of octaves. Gottschalk arrived in San Francisco to play a series of concerts in September 1865; he was presented with a gold medal for being “the first musician in America,” according to one local newspaper. Days later he was accused of compromising a student at the Oakville Female Seminary and once again fled the United States. He enjoyed four successful years in South America before finally succumbing to malaria in Brazil in 1869. —Andrew Goldstein

Published: 1894

William Arms Fisher with the lyrics “Goin’ home, goin’ home, I’m a goin’ home.” In the sonatina, the Larghetto shares this deep tenderness and affection for Dvořák’s native Bohemia. The third movement, a scherzo, returns the work to the charming charisma of the first movement. The opening theme, however, seems distant from the hectic nature of a typical scherzo. The second theme—a rustic country-dance—is followed by a brief, stormy trio. The finale, in sonata form, contains a number of “American” characteristics. Aside from the occasional sliding blue note in the violin and piano parts, Dvořák’s melody, rather than landing on the tonic scale degree, brushes past tonic pitches to arrive on submediant pitches. This practice serves to mimic Native American folk songs, in which phrases often end on the sixth scale degree. A reprise of the theme rushes the work to a riveting conclusion. —Andrew Goldstein

Charles Ives (Born October 20, 1874, Danbury, Connecticut; died May 19, 1954, New York) Selected Songs for Baritone and Piano Composed: Between 1894 and 1921

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Other works from this period: String Quartet no. 1, From the Salvation Army (1898–1900); Symphony no. 1 (ca. 1898–1908); The Unanswered Question (1908); String Quartet no. 2 (1913–1915); Symphony no. 6, Universe (1915–1928) Approximate duration: 14 minutes Charles Ives is widely regarded as America’s first modernist composer and the catalyst for much of America’s musical development in the early twentieth century. During his lifetime, Ives devoted himself half to a career in the insurance industry and half to his compositional endeavors. However, he was by no means an amateur in either capacity. He learned piano from an early age and, at fourteen, became the youngest salaried church organist in Connecticut. His father, Edward Ives, was the conductor of a marching band in Danbury, in which Ives played the drums. Ives learned harmony and counterpoint from his father, who encouraged experimentation in bitonal harmonization as training exercises. Such exercises involved playing tunes like “London Bridge” or songs by the popular American songwriter Stephen Foster in two or more keys simultaneously. For much of his early life, Ives considered these compositions a training exercise and did not foresee commercial success with such experimental work. But with the encouragement of close friends, Ives began to self-publish his music in 1920. In 1927, after achieving some renown for his innovative music, Ives ceased composing new music and focused instead on revising his previous work. To conceal how much time he was spending on music from his business colleagues, he also altered the dates of composition, thus making it very difficult to chart the progression of his compositional style. In 1922, Ives privately published a book of 114 Songs, which reveals a harmonic maturing over time. Despite the altered dates, arranging these songs in chronological order nevertheless illustrates the development from Ives’s early sacred compositions as a church organist to his late modernist works. Set to popular texts, hymn tunes, or original poems, Ives’s songs have been cherished as some of his finest compositions. The selection of songs on this evening’s program begins with “The Circus Band” (1894), a spirited march originally scored for solo piano. From 1894 to 1898, Ives was a student at Yale University, belonging to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He was an accomplished music student but nearly failed in every other discipline. “The Circus Band,” written during Ives’s freshman year, perfectly captures this carefree attitude, resembling his fraternity songs with themes of pride, glee, and lust. All summer long we boys dreamed ’bout circus joys! Down Main Street comes the band,

Oh! “ain’t it a grand and glorious noise!” Horses are prancing, Knights advancing Helmets gleaming, Pennants streaming, Cleopatra’s on her throne! That golden hair is all her own. Where is the lady all in pink? Last year she waved to me I think, Can she have died? Can! that! rot! She is passing but she sees me not. “In Flanders Fields” (1917) was written as the United States entered World War I. Though Ives supported the nation’s intervention in the conflict, the text, based on a famous poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, depicts his inner conflict over the tragedy of war. The music shares this torn sentiment; the tonality of the piano remains unstable until the baritone enters. Unpredictable shifts continue to occur between major and minor keys, before the piece suddenly fades away like a bad dream. “The Things Our Fathers Loved” (1917) intermingles hymns like “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” with such American tunes as “The Battle Cry of Freedom” to form a distinctly Ivesian voice. The lyrics, written by Ives, convey a truly American spirit. One of Ives’s most loved songs, “Charlie Rutlage” (1920), is a boisterous piece set to text collected by American ethnomusicologist John Avery Lomax (1867–1948). Much like Bartók and Kodály in Hungary, Lomax traveled through Appalachia in hopes of capturing a distinctly American voice through rural folk songs. The song is a trotting and romantic tale of the ill-fated Charlie Rutlage on the XIT Ranch, a cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle which operated from 1885 to 1912. Another good cowpuncher has gone to meet his fate, I hope he’ll find a resting place, within the golden gate. Another place is vacant on the ranch of the XIT, ’Twill be hard to find another that’s liked as well as he. The first that died was Kid White, a man both tough and brave, While Charlie Rutlage makes the third to be sent to his grave, Caused by a cowhorse falling, while running after stock; ’Twas on the spring round up, a place where death men mock, He went forward one morning on a circle through the hills, He was gay and full of glee, and free from earthly ills; But when it came to finish up the work on which he went, Nothing came back from him; his time on earth was spent. ’Twas as he rode the round up, a XIT turned back to the herd; Poor Charlie shoved him in again, his cutting horse he spurred; Another turned; at that moment his horse the creature spied And turned and fell with him, beneath poor Charlie died, His relations in Texas his face never more will see, But I hope he’ll meet his loved ones beyond in eternity, I hope he’ll meet his parents, will meet them face to face, And that they’ll grasp him by the right hand at the shining throne of grace. “The Indians” (1921), with a text from Charles Sprague’s Golden Numbers: A Book of Verse for Youth (1909), is a quiet reflection on the Pilgrims’ decimation of the Native American Indians. The work alternates between three time signatures: 3/8, 4/8, and 5/8, creating a mystifying ambience. The haunting opening piano melody is matched by the baritone’s final phrase. (Italic phrases of original text below are omitted in Ives’s song.) Alas! for them, their day is o’er, Their fires are out from hill and shore; No more for them the wild deer bounds; The plough is on their hunting grounds;

The set closes with “The Housatonic at Stockbridge,” a haunting song adapted from Ives’s orchestral piece Three Places in New England. Ives wrote in a journal, “‘The Housatonic at Stockbridge’ was suggested by a Sunday morning walk that Mrs. Ives and I took near Stockbridge, the summer after we were married. We walked in the meadows along the river and heard the distant singing from the church across the river. The mist had not entirely left the river bed, and the colors, the running water, the banks and elm trees were something that one would always remember.” In his mature life, Ives was fascinated with philosopher William James’s “stream of consciousness” concept, a literary device depicting the thoughts and feelings that pass through the narrator’s conscious mind. Ives incorporates this into his Three Places in New England, painting vivid images of the Housatonic River, Boston Common, and Putnam’s Camp as he organically perceived them. Contented river in thy dreamy realm The cloudy willow and the plumy elm: Thou beautiful! from ev’ry dreamy hill What eye but wanders with thee at thy will. Contented river! And yet overshy To mask thy beauty from the eager eye; Hast thou a thought to hide from field and town? In some deep current of the sunlit brown. Ah! There’s a restive ripple, And kind the swift red leaves September’s firstlings faster drift; Wouldst thou away, dear stream? Come, whisper near! I also of much resting have a fear; Let me tomorrow thy companion be, By fall and shallow to the adventurous sea! —Andrew Goldstein

George Crumb (Born October 24, 1929, Charleston, West Virginia) American Songbook II: A Journey beyond Time Composed: 2002 Published: 2003 First performance: November 15, 2003, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Other works from this period: Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik for Amplified Piano (2001); American Songbook III: Unto the Hills (2001); Other Worldly Resonances for Two Amplified Pianos (2002, rev. 2005); American Songbook I: River of Life (2003); American Songbook IV: Winds of Destiny (2004) Approximate duration: 35 minutes George Crumb first rose to prominence in the 1960s and became possibly the most widely performed American composer of the mid-1980s. Crumb largely made his reputation as a great innovator of instrumental timbre and extended techniques. His best-known works include the string quartet Black Angels, which requires the players to shout, bow crystal glasses, and otherwise produce sounds not commonly associated with the quartet

repertoire, and Music for a Summer Evening, a work for two pianos and a large percussion battery, which likewise displays Crumb’s endlessly imaginative approach to musical sound. Since 2001, George Crumb has produced six installments of his American Songbook arrangements. Each is set for voice, amplified piano, and a large battery of percussion (requiring four players). Crumb has offered the following reflection on the nature of music: I have always considered music to be a very strange substance, a substance endowed with magical properties. Music is tangible, almost palpable, and yet unreal, illusive. Music is analyzable only on the most mechanistic level; the important elements— the spiritual impulse, the psychological curve, the metaphysical implications—are understandable only in terms of the music itself. I feel intuitively that music must have been the primeval cell from which language, science, and religion originated. The impetus behind these fantastical arrangements was the composer’s daughter, the singer and actress Ann Crumb. George Crumb explains: The original impulse to compose a cycle of Appalachian folk song settings came about through a suggestion of my daughter, Ann, who had long been interested in American folk music and in particular those haunting tunes associated with Appalachia. She hoped I might find inspiration for an extended work suitable for concert performance. In undertaking the task I was, in a sense, returning to my own Appalachian roots. Indeed, these beautiful and haunting melodies were always a part of my musical psyche, and in many of my earlier compositions I had quoted fragments of these tunes as a sort of symbolic and very personal musical “signature.” This present work represents a selection of my very favorite pieces of the genre. In confronting these songs head-on, so to speak, I determined to leave the beautiful melodies intact…since one could not hope to “improve” on their pristine perfection. In the matter of the folk song texts, I found a huge variety of alternate versions and my daughter and I simply chose our favorites. I have attempted to heighten the expressiveness of this music by scoring the work for a rather unusual “orchestra” consisting of a quartet of percussionists (who play a number of rather unconventional instruments in addition to the more common ones) and amplified piano. By means of a wide range of timbres and textures together with the use of an extended chromaticism and occasionally unusual rhythmic patterns, I have attempted to bring out the psychological depth and mysticism and also the humor (both whimsical and ironic) inherent in Appalachian folklore. If my settings of these wonderful songs will enhance the listener’s enjoyment, I would feel that my creative efforts were truly rewarded. One of the set’s most compelling moments is Crumb’s setting of “Go Down, Moses.” Crumb sets the story of Moses demanding the freedom of the Israelites to a fearsome-sounding battery of bass drums, tamtams, bells, gongs, and lion’s roar. Crumb marks the music to be played “Dramatically; in an oracular, apocalyptic style.” The piano signals the severity of the scene, playing the Gregorian Dies irae plainchant melody. —Patrick Castillo

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The pale man’s axe rings through their woods, The pale man’s sail skims o’er their floods, Their pleasant springs are dry; Their children—look, by power oppressed, Beyond the mountains of the west, Their children go—to die.