Bachtoberfest: Hartford’s Bach and Organ Music Festival

October 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

hso-bachtoberfest-music-festival

To kick off our 70th Anniversary Season, we are presenting Bachtoberfest, a new music festival featuring music by Bach and music written for organ, October 4-12, 2013. The Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is the primary community partner for the festival; their members will be featured prominently on many of the performances and events. The festival will culminate with our 70thAnniversary Opening Night Concerts at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts on October 11 & 12.

The festival includes free concerts and events at the Austin Organ Factory, Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Congregation Beth Israel, Hartford Public Library, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick St. Anthony, St. Brigid’s Church, First Church of Christ, United Methodist of West Hartford, and Central Baptist Church, amongst others.

HSO President & CEO Carrie Hammond says, “The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to fostering musical performances and inspiring others to present community-minded concerts. Bachtoberfest celebrates the uniquely rich musical offerings that are available in this area throughout the year. Hartford possesses a hidden gem in the Austin Organ Company, which has produced organs since 1893. Scattered throughout this region, including The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, are these world renowned instruments and performers who are drawn to this area to play them. We are thrilled to present this week-long series of events with the Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.”

BACHTOBERFEST CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Austin Organ Factory Tour
Hartford
11:00 a.m.
A behind the scenes tour of the history Austin Organ Company and factory. Closed event for HSO subscribers;  events@hartfordsymphony.org for more information.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Organ Tour: United Methodist Church of Hartford
Hartford
10:00 a.m.
Cheryl Wadsworth, organ

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bach Prelude, Postlude and Choral Anthem: First Church of Christ
Wethersfield
8:45 and 10:30 a.m.
David Spicer, organ
First Church of Christ Choir
8:45 a.m.
Bach Prelude
10:30 a.m.
Bach Postlude and Choral Anthem

Bach Prelude: Hilltop Covenant Church
Cromwell
9:30 a.m.
Carolyn Johnson, organ
Prelude (Fantasia) in G minor, BWV 542

Bach Prelude: First Church of Christ, Congregational
Farmington
10:00 a.m.
Edward Clark, organ
Hartford Symphony organist Edward Clark will perform Bach’s Chorale Prelude on “An Wasserflüssen Babylon,” BWV 653 on his morning service. Get a sneak peak of the talent that will be featured on the HSO’s Opening Night Performances October 11 & 12!

Organ Recital: Cathedral of Saint Joseph
Hartford
10:00 a.m.
Dr. Ezequiel Menéndez, organ

Bach Prelude, Postlude and Choral Anthem: Christ Church Cathedral
Hartford
10:00 a.m.
Deniz Uz, organ; Joshua Slater, music director
Choral Anthem: BWV 106b, O Jesu Christ meins Lebens Licht; Postlude: Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548

Bach Prelude: First Church of Christ, Congregational
Farmington
10:00 a.m.
Edward Clark, organ
Hartford Symphony organist Edward Clark will perform Bach’s Chorale Prelude on “An Wasserflüssen Babylon,” BWV 653 on his morning service. Get a sneak peak of the talent that will be featured on the HSO’s Opening Night Performances October 11 & 12!

Bach Prelude and Postlude: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Manchester
10:00 a.m.
Deborah Gemma, organ

Bach Prelude, Postlude and Choral Anthem: St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church
Hartford
10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. Mass
Organ Prelude:
Prelude in E Major (BWV 854), from The Well-Tempered Clavier
The Gallery Choir directed by Gabriel Löfvall, will sing Jesu, Meine Freunde, BVW 227
Organ Postlude:
Prelude in G major (BWV 860), from The Well-Tempered Clavier
5:00 p.m. Mass
Same organ prelude and postlude as at 10:00 a.m. Mass, plus:
The Treble Clef Choir directed by Pamela Johnson, Gabriel Löfvall, will sing Liebster Jesu, Wir Sind Hier, BVW 373, and Den Tod, from Cantata BWV 4 (Christ lag in Todes Banden).

Bach Prelude & Postlude: St. John’s Episcopal Church
West Hartford
10:30 a.m.
Peter Berton, organ; Tanya Anisimova, cello
Prelude: All glory be to God on high, BWV 676, Postlude: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007,VI. Gigue

Bach Prelude, Postlude & Choral Anthem: St. Brigid’s Catholic Church
West Hartford
11:00 a.m.
Natasha Ulyanovsky, organ

Choral Sing-Along: St. Brigid’s Catholic Church
West Hartford
6:20 p.m.
Join the St. Brigid choir and soloists Kelly and David Boudreaux for this public sing along of Bach’s choral works.

Monday, October 7, 2013

HSO Musical Dialogues Series: Bach’s Lunch
Hartford Symphony Orchestra String Quartet
Hartford Public Library, Downtown Branch
12:00 noon
HSO Musicians will discuss and perform works by Bach at this free lunchtime concert. Repertoire will include Bach’s Contrapunctus I, IV, & IX from The Art of the Fugue, Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, and Aria & Variations 1-8 from Goldberg Variations, plus Robert Schumann’s Fugues No. 3 & 5 from “Six Fugues on B-A-C-H” and Clara Schumann’s  Three Fugues on Themes of J.S. Bach.
Sponsored by Travelers

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Organ Recital: Happy Recollections at Congregation Beth Israel
West Hartford
1:00 p.m.
Natasha Ulyanovsky, organ; Peter Dzialo, cello
Program to include Toccata by Theodore Dubois, Happy Recollections by David Popper; Sonata in D Major by J.S.Bach; Strange Meadow Lark by Dave Brubeck; La Folia by Arcangelo Corelli; and Peacherine Rag by Scott Joplin.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Organ Recital: Midday Music at Central Baptist Church
Hartford
12:00 noon
Kari Miller and Jason Roberts, organists
Program to include Bach’s Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland (‘Savior of the Heathen, Come’), BWV 659 and Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (‘All Glory Be to God on High’), BWV 662, plus Vivaldi’s Concerto in A Minor, BWV 593

Friday, October 11, 2013

Organ Recital: Aetna
11:30 a.m.
Brian Parks, organ
Concert is closed for Aetna employees only.

Friday & Saturday, October 11 & 12, 2013

HSO Masterworks Series & Special Event: 70th Anniversary Opening Night!
Mortensen Hall at the The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
8:00 p.m.
Hartford Symphony Orchestra; Carolyn Kuan, conductor; Edward Clark, organ; Connecticut Youth Symphony, Daniel D’Addio, music director; Wu Man, pipa
We’re rolling out the red carpet for Opening Night! Two of the most famous works in the organ repertoire, Saint-Saëns’ massive Symphony No. 3 and Bach’s glorious Toccata and Fugue in D minor, will be played on The Bushnell’s historic, Hartford-made Austin pipe organ with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

Rite of Spring Turns 100

May 24th, 2013 § Comments Off on Rite of Spring Turns 100 § permalink

Wednesday, May 29 will mark the 100 anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

happy-birthday

So why do we care?

Because this premiere was a game-changer. Many scholars would argue that, along with the premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, no other work in this history of Western music had the seismic effect that Rite of Spring had at its premiere.

What happened at the premiere?

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Stravinsky’s conception for Rite came to him as he was finishing The Firebird in 1910. He had a vision of “a solemn pagan rite; wise elders, seated in a circle, watching a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring.” Stravinsky knew that Nicholas Roerich, a friend who was an archeologist and an authority on the ancient Slavs, would be interested in his idea, and he mentioned it to him. Stravinsky also shared the vision with Serge Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballet Russe, the company that had commissionedThe Firebird. All three men were excited by the possibilities of the project — Diaghilev promised a production and encouraged Stravinsky to begin work immediately.

“What I was trying to convey in The Rite,” said Stravinsky, “was the surge of spring, the magnificent upsurge of nature reborn.” Inspired by childhood memories of the coming of spring to Russia (“which seemed to begin in an hour and was like the whole earth cracking,” he remembered), he worked with Roerich to devise a libretto which would, in Roerich’s words, “present a number of scenes of earthly joy and celestial triumph as understood by the ancient Slavs.” Stravinsky labored feverishly on the score through the winter of 1911-1912, realizing by that time that he was composing an important piece in a startling new style. “I was guided by no system whatever in The Rite of Spring,” he wrote. “Very little immediate tradition lies behind it. [Debussy was the only influence he admitted.] I had only my ear to help me. I heard, and I wrote what I heard. I am the vessel through which The Ritepassed.”

Diaghilev scheduled the premiere for May 1913, and Nijinsky was chosen to do the choreography. Stravinsky, however,

objected to Nijinsky’s selection because of the dancer’s inexperience as a choreographer and his lack of understanding of the technical aspects of the music, but preparations were begun and continued through more than 120 rehearsals. Pierre Monteux drilled the orchestra to the point of anxious readiness. The guests invited to the final dress rehearsal seemed to appreciate the striking modernity of the work, but gave no hint of the donnybrook that was to roar through the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées at the public premiere on May 29th.

Almost as soon as the curtain rose, a riot broke out the like of which had not been inspired by a piece of music since Nero’s song of antiquity. Shouts, catcalls, whistles, even fisticuffs grew so menacing that often the orchestra could not be heard. Diaghilev flashed the house lights on and off in a vain attempt to restore order; Nijinsky, when he was not on stage, pounded wildly on the scenery with his fists to keep the dancers together; Stravinsky ran out of the auditorium (“as angry as I have ever been in my life”) and spent most of the evening backstage pacing in the wings. Somehow Monteux (“cool as a crocodile,” recalled Stravinsky) guided the performance through to the end. Puccini thought The Rite “might be the creation of a madman” and the critic of the New York Sun nominated the composer as “the cave man of music.”

No one could deny, however, the ferocious, overwhelming power of the music, and when audiences began to listen to the work on its own, revolutionary terms, they could not help but be swept away by its awesome and wonderful maelstrom of exquisitely executed sound. Within a year of its stage premiere, Koussevitzky in Russia and Monteux in Paris had conducted concert performances of The Rite, and the work’s position in the orchestral repertory was soon secured.*

Rite’s choreography struck a nerve with audiences as well. Nijinsky asked the dancers to break all the rules of traditional ballet by having them stand pigeon toed with their other limbs at sharp angles.

nijinsky_vaslav

the-joffrey-ballet-the-rite-of-spring joffrey_ballet_le_sacre_du_printemps_photo_herbert_migdoll_1 hartt-ros

The sets and costumes from the original production were designed and created by the mystical painter and professional ethnographer Nikolai Roerich. Three of the original costumes and a sketch by Roerich will be on display at theWadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford starting from May 29-June 23. Patrons who visit the museum from May 29-June 2 may present their admission receipt in person at HSO Ticket Services on May 29- 31 or at The Bushnell Box Office from May 29-June 2 to receive $5 off an adult ticket (does not apply to previously purchased tickets). Additionally, HSO audiences will be able to present their Rite of Spring performance ticket stub at the Wadsworth Atheneum from May 31-June 23 to receive $5 off museum/adult admission. For more information about the Wadsworth Atheneum, please visit www.thewadsworth.org.

As with stage performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the lore and mystery surrounding this premiere is still carried by performers today. HSO Maestra Carolyn Kuan said in a recent tweet, “Immersed in the world of #RiteofSpring and feeling intoxicated with that wonderful artistic madness.” Like a scar, the wildness of the premiere forever ensured that all future performances would be possessed by a chaotic, haunting character.

joffrey

The HSO will honor this groundbreaking premiere 100 years later with four full performances of Rite of Spring, featuring more than 100 musicians onstage and two soloists from The Hartt School Dance Division on Thursday, May 30 – Sunday, June 2, 2013 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.hartfordsymphony.org.

(*Taken from Program Notes by Dr. Richard Rodda)

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