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Joyful, passionate music rings in the New Year as Pacific Symphony welcomes Augustin Hadelich to perform Tchaikovsky’s exquisite Violin Concerto
Orange County, Calif. — December 22, 2014
Plus, guest conductor Leo Hussain leads the orchestra in Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 and Takemitsu’s “Requiem”
Written by a man who could express deep emotions with the sweetest singing musical lines, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is expressed through the hands of the extraordinary virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who is praised for his poetic sensitivity and gorgeous tone, during Pacific Symphony’s first concert of the new year. A star of his generation, Hadelich was featured on the cover of the May 2014 issue of Strings Magazine and is making an international presence across North America, Europe and Asia this season. The Symphony, led by guest conductor Leo Hussain, also performs Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, a piece of Nordic charm full of joyful energy. Toru Takemitsu’s “Requiem,” of which the orchestra released a recording in 1998 under the baton of Music Director Carl St.Clair, opens the program with an innovative blend of Western and Eastern musical styles. The recording was released as a tribute to the composer who passed away in 1996.
“Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto” takes place Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 8-10, 2015, at 8 p.m. in the Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, with a preview talk with Alan Chapman beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$99. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit PacificSymphony.org.
“The essence of Hadelich’s playing is beauty...revealing something from a plane beyond ours.” —The Washington Post
Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D Major makes for a luminous centerpiece with its graceful lyricism, contrasting bright and dark melodies and exuberant energy. This excitement was found in the music, but also in the composer himself. In fact, Tchaikovsky was so eager to write a violin concerto that he started composing it before he had finished his greatest opera, “Eugene Onegin.” Although its dedicatee, the great violinist Leopold Auer, first pronounced the concerto “unplayable,” it has since become one of the most beloved and programmed solo violin works in the repertoire.
“It’s easy to see why,” says violinist Hadelich, who’s been performing the piece since he was 12 years old. “It’s filled with beautiful, romantic melodies, it’s exciting and virtuosic, and its emotions are deeply felt and intense.
“It’s often been speculated that Tchaikovsky had a romantic affair with the violinist for whom he wrote the work (Josif Kotek, although he did not premiere the piece). The music seems to reflect that—it sounds like it was written by a man who is happily and passionately in love. I think his concerto is a happy work, and although there are some bittersweet, aching moments (for example in the slow movement, Canzonetta), it never takes a dark or tragic turn. It’s incredibly exhilarating to play!”
Complimenting this classic is Sibelius’ joyful Symphony No. 2, a piece that some believe reflects the political state of the composer’s homeland. If this is the case, the “Symphony of Independence” depicts Finland’s fight for cultural liberation from Russia. A bright and optimistic beginning can be heard as the people of Finland hope for their freedom. The resistance and suffering under foreign dominion is reflected in the darker second movement. A triumphant finale describes the eventual emergence of Finland as a free nation. As his most popular symphony, Sibelius’ approach to post-Beethoven symphonic form portrays a detailed projection of human creativity and the physical realm. In this work, one hears the composer’s affirmation and pleasure in the world.
The performance opens with a unique musical compilation by Japanese composer Takemitsu, whose extensive portfolio reached millions of people during his lifetime. A self-taught composer, Takemitsu discovered Western music at age 14 while living in a shelter in the mountains west of Tokyo during World War II. He wrote more than 180 concert pieces as well as scores for such Japanese films as “Ran,” “Rising Sun” and Harakiri,” and several theater and dance compositions. Takemitsu’s “Requiem” demonstrates the best of Eastern and Western thought by combining the naturalism of his Japanese culture with the urban sophistication of globalized countries. Takemitsu’s music conveys a sense of mortality in all things, good and bad, as described in the Japanese aesthetic principle of Mono no Aware. Maestro Hussain leads this 10-minute piece scored for strings and reveals the naturalness of Takemitsu’s music that makes the orchestra sound as if it is singing.
Hussain came to international attention in 2009, when he was selected to be music director at the Landestheater Salzburg. He was also acclaimed for his sensational debut at Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, in an acclaimed new production of Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre” by La Fura dels Baus. He received his training at Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music. Hussain has recently conducted debuts of “La Traviata” at Santa Fe and “L’elisir d’amore” at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. This season, he makes his debut at the Royal Danish Theater, Copenhagen for Verdi’s “Falstaff” and returns to Opera Frankfurt for “Tosca.” He has conducted major orchestras worldwide.
Violinist Hadelich is one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation, and is becoming a familiar figure in Europe and Asia. His consistency throughout the repertoire, from Paganini, to Brahms, to Bartók, to Adès, is seldom encountered in a single artist. Composed for Hadelich, his recent premiere of David Lang’s 35-minute solo violin work, “Mystery Sonatas,” at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in April 2014 was a resounding success. He is artist-in-residence with the Netherlands Philharmonic. The 2006 gold medalist of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Hadelich is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant (2009), a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in the U.K. (2011) and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award (2012). The son of German parents, Hadelich was born and raised in Italy. Residing in New York since 2004, he holds an artist diploma from The Juilliard School, where he was a student of Joel Smirnoff.
The Symphony’s Classical series performances are made possible by the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation, with additional support from Mercedes-Benz, the official vehicle; the Avenue of the Arts Wyndham Hotel; KUSC and PBS SoCal. The artist appearance of Hadelich is sponsored by Sam B. Ersan.
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