Vivaldi, Monteverdi, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante
Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 7:30pm
Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall
Chamber Orchestra of New York celebrates Claudio Monteverdi’s 450th birth anniversary with his Orfeo Toccata & Ritornello. Corelli’s Concerto Grosso No. 4 is paired with Music Director Salvatore Di Vittorio‘s own Ode Corelliana. The program includes guitarist Piotr Pakhomkin in Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto in D, and principals of the orchestra – Burt Mason in Albrechtsberger’s Trombone Concerto, and (concertmaster) Kelly Hall-Tompkins and Maggie Snyder in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola.
Salvatore Di Vittorio, conductor; Burt Mason, trombone; Piotr Pakhomkin, guitar; Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin; Maggie Snyder, viola
MOZART, Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola
ORFEO, TOCCATA E RITORNELLO
COMPOSER DETAILS: Claudio Monteverdi (Cremona, 1567 – Venice, 1643; Italian) HIGHLIGHTS: Claudio Monteverdi is one of the most prolific composers of all time, whose musical output includes eight operas, ballets, and stage works, as well as many sacred works including masses, and nine books of madrigals. His music, especially his vocal music such as his madrigals, has inspired hundreds of composers. Monteverdi is considered a transitional figure in musical history, bridging the gap between the Renaissnace and Baroque periods.
WORK YEAR/DURATION: 1607/2017 (Orchestrated by Di Vittorio); 4 minutes
HISTORICAL NOTES: Claudio Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo (Orpheus) is the earliest surviving opera performed to this day. On a libretto by Alessandro Striggio, Orfeo is based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, telling the story of Orpheus’ travels to the underworld of hades to rescue his wife Eurydice. The introduction to the opera has two sections, a Toccata and a Ritornello, often referred to as the overture. Orchestras have rarely performed any of the music from the opera due to the lack of printed editions. The Orfeo, Toccata e Ritornello was orchestrated by Di Vittorio in honor of the 450th Anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s birth in 2017.
CONCERTO GROSSO NO. 4
COMPOSER DETAILS: Arcangelo Corelli (Fusignano, 1653 – Rome, 1713; Italian) HIGHLIGHTS: Arcangelo Corelli was known in his day as an extraordinary violinist. Corelli’s comparatively small body of work is largely restricted to three genres: the solo sonata, the trio sonata, and the concerto grosso. He was the first composer to achieve widespread fame purely for instrumental music, never composing an opera or (as far as we can tell) any vocal music whatsoever. His concerti grossi have influenced all composers from J.S. Bach to modern times.
WORK YEAR/DURATION: 1714; 11 minutes
HISTORICAL NOTES: Corelli’s twelve concerti grossi were likely composed during the last two decades of his life and first performed at the composer’s weekly concerts in Rome. Corelli began revising and preparing them for publication in 1708; the preface is dated December 3, 1712. They were published posthumously, in 1714. Each concerto is scored for a solo concertino of two violins and cello, with string orchestra and continuo.
CONCERTO FOR TROMBONE COMPOSER DETAILS: Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (Klosterneuburg, 1736 – Vienna, 1809; Austrian) HIGHLIGHTS: Albrechtsberger was a student of music and philosophy, and became one of the most skilled composers of counterpoint and music theory of his generation. His most prominent student was a young Ludwig van Beethoven.
WORK YEAR/DURATION: 1765(?); 15 minutes
HISTORICAL NOTES: Albrechtsberger’s Trombone Concerto has remained a staple of the orchestral repertoire, as the first notable concerto for an instrument which few composers have endeavored to complete successfully. It is quite significant that a classical period composer, such as Albrechtsberger, could achieve this in an era preceeding Beethoven’s contribution in adding the trombone to the orchestra itself. With this concerto, Albrechtsberger also demonstrates his gift for strict counterpoint.
CONCERTO FOR GUITAR
COMPOSER DETAILS: Antonio Vivaldi (Venice, 1678 – Vienna, 1741; Italian) HIGHLIGHTS: Antonio Vivaldi, nicknamed “the red priest”, is recognized as one of the most important composers of the early Baroque period, leading the way to J.S. Bach and others in the late Baroque. He is especially revered for his instrumental concerti, primarily written for the violin. Vivaldi also wrote many sacred choral works and over forty operas. Equally important, Vivaldi is seen as one of the pioneers of program music, or the tone poem and program symphony, firmly established later by Franz Lizst (1811-1886) and advanced by composers such as Hector Berlioz, Richard Strauss and Vivaldi’s compatriot Ottorino Respighi. Vivaldi achieved this feat with a set of twelve violin concerti published in 1725 under the title Il Cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione. The group of works was intended to strike a balance between harmony and creative imagination.
WORK YEAR/DURATION: 1730; 10 minutes
HISTORICAL NOTES: Vivaldi’s Lute Concerto in D is in modern times regularly performed with the guitar substituting for the lute. It is one of the most memorable, popular guitar concerti. And this is no surprise given its incredibly pleasing melodies, happy spirit and galloping rhythms. The music is naturally well-balanced between the agile guitar and light, effective scoring of the ensemble. The galant and expressive Largo movement is well defined, and full of energy.
COMPOSER DETAILS: Salvatore Di Vittorio (Palermo, 1967; Italian)
HIGHLIGHTS: See Biography on page 30
WORK YEAR/DURATION: 2016; 6 minutes
HIGHLIGHTS: Ode Corelliana is based on Di Vittorio’s affection for the music of the Italian Baroque. The work is an homage to Arcangelo Corelli, and his Concerto Grosso No. 8 “Christmas”. It was written for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Di Vittorio conducted its world premiere on March 26-27, 2017 at Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. There is one musical quote at the beginning of the work, a variation of the ending of the Adagio to Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. The themes and melodies are original throughout the composition, yet Di Vittorio makes use of Corelli’s musical inflections and rhythms to carry the music to its finale.
SINFONIA CONCERTANTE, FOR VIOLIN AND VIOLA
COMPOSER DETAILS: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzburg, 1756 – Vienna, 1791; Austrian)
HIGHLIGHTS: W. A. Mozart was a prolific and incredibly influential composer, with over 600 works ranging from some of the most beloved operas (21), 41 symphonies, dozens of concerti (27 for piano alone), as well as a great number of important choral works and chamber music.
WORK YEAR/DURATION: 1779; 30 minutes
HISTORICAL NOTES: Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante was composed during a tour of Europe, including Paris where the concertante style was in fashion. The resulting work has been lauded for centuries as an ideal structure, somewhere between a symphony and a concerto. Mozart treats interractions between the soloists and the orchestra quite delicately, leaning on symphonic models. The work is majestic, and memorable in its ability to reserve surprises from soloists to orchestra and vice versa. Historians account the maturity in part to Mozart falling in love during this European voyage, together with the loss of his mother who passed away in Paris. It is considered one of Mozart’s masterpieces, a faith no doubt secured by its beautiful slow and eloquent, yet melancholy, second movement.