Just two days after their Beethoven Sonatas marathon at Tully Hall, David and Wu Han were back in the spotlight, this time in the Society’s Rose Rehearsal Studio. The occasion was the announcing of the Chamber Music Society’s coming season to the press, industry executives, donors, board members and staff.
in David’s words…
Backed by a lavish and complex Power Point presentation created by CMS Director of Artistic Programs Michael Lawrence, we took the microphone to lead the audience through the coming season (for the most complete look at 2010-11, please visit the CMS website.
We began with an explanation of how the entire season came to have a title, the first season title in CMS’s 41-year history. Here is our introductory speech:
“As we begin unveiling next season, we’d like to announce a new idea that evolved as we and our artistic team explored the many possibilities for programs. As we worked together on our Winter Festival, a single musical thread emerged that we discovered could guide our entire season: the phenomenon of musical inheritance. Inspired by the concept, other programs soon came together and works came to light that also illustrated how composers both inherit and deal with the work of their musical ancestors. And soon, a season theme was born, one that would bind together a wide variety of works performed often months apart.”
Next season’s Winter Festival, Manifest Legacy, is all about two of history’s greatest composers.
We have always been fascinated by the close connections between Beethoven and Brahms. Although they never knew each other, they were in many ways like brothers, separated by many generations. Both men were intensely committed to their music, never enjoyed marriage or family, were moody, rude and irascible, and produced a tightly-controlled output of music that is universally regarded as the epitome of the art.
Even at a young age, the talented and industrious Johannes Brahms had a lot of pressure put on him. He was expected, by distinguished musicians and the press, to take the place left empty by Beethoven. The expectation that his first symphony would be, in effect, Beethoven’s 10th, made him so cautious that it took him decade to finish it. His music is was composed in the twilight of the romantic age, and is romantic in nature. But it is as rigorously constructed as the music of the classical era. It is amazing to compare works of both men to hear how Brahms actually did, in many ways, inherit and continue the spirit and musical traditions of Beethoven.
Having introduced the concept, we then played recorded excerpts of the opening of Beethoven’s Archduke Trio, followed by the opening of Brahms’s Sextet in Bb, and the opening of his B major Trio. The similarities – the steady eighth note accompaniments, the regal melodies, the tempos and the moods – are strikingly similar. The effect of Beethoven on Brahms is so palpable that one can almost imagine Brahms writing with Beethoven looking over his shoulder. The series will have five concerts and will likely sell out quickly.
From there we moved to our other festivals: the Baroque, with guest appearances by violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Stephen Prutsman; the two-part Folk Traditions, with guest pianist Jeremy Denk, featuring the music of Middle Europe; and our Striking Sounds festival in the spring, a percussion extravaganza featuring music of Bartok, Crumb, Tan Dun and Xenakis, with guest baritone Thomas Hampson.
Opening Night brings the great American violinist Gil Shaham for a program of Haydn, Dohnanyi and Brahms. Pianists Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki visit for a tribute to Schubert. Russian Voices pairs classics of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with a new sextet by Lera Auerbach. French Winds is an entire evening devoted to the colorful wind music from France, and Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng is creating a new cello/piano work for former CMS Two stars Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan. And, a whole evening of Mozart will herald the next visit of the young Finnish phenom, pianist Juho Pohjonen, and also of veteran violinist Shmuel Ashkenazi for a performance of Mozart’s magisterial Divertimento.
The Belcea Quartet returns for a visit, having captivated our audiences last spring in the Tully opening festival, and Philip Setzer, Wu Han and I will close the season with our performance of the Schubert Trios, on tour this year to fifteen cities across America.
The remainder of our presentation detailed our two series in the Rose Studio, the many activities of the Society’s education programs, our activities and innovations in new media, and a summary of coming tour locations and international residencies, including Wigmore Hall in London, the Mecklenburg Festival in Germany, and music cruises in China and the Greek islands.
OUR THANKS goes to, first and foremost, our artistic planning team, Valerie Guy and Michael Lawrence; to our new, vibrant Director of Marketing Lauren Bailey and her co-workers Trent Casey and Michael Lonardo who assembled, on schedule, a beautiful brochure and who have been selling out one concert after another; to our production team, principally Lana Mione and Jihyun Kim for event design and audio-visuals; to our graphic designer Nick Stone for another stunning brochure, his fifth for CMS; and to visual artist Doug Glovaski whose ethereal work graces the cover of the brochure and will be a graphic presence throughout our coming season.