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Vista Philharmonic Orchestra: 49th Season

Bruce Hangen, Conductor & Artistic Director

Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 7:30pm

The Concert Hall at Groton Hill

PROGRAM

Danse négre: from African Suite, Op. 35
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra in B-flat Major
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)

I. Largo – Allegro
II. Largo
III. Allegretto grazioso
IV. Hornpipe

Borromeo String Quartet
Nicholas Kitchen, violin
Kristopher Tong, violin
Melissa Reardin, viola
Yeesun Kim, cello

Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Minor, BWV 849
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
arr. Nicholas Kitchen 

Borromeo String Quartet
Nicholas Kitchen, violin
Kristopher Tong, violin
Melissa Reardin, viola
Yeesun Kim, cello

∼ INTERMISSION ∼

Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

I. Andante sostenuto
II. Andantino in modo di canzona
III. Scherzo, Allegro
IV. Allegro con fuoco

Vista Philharmonic Orchestra

Bruce Hangen, Artistic Director & Conductor
Stone Family Endowed Music Director’s Chair

Violin I
*Alice Hallstrom, Concertmaster
Tony Morales, Associate Concertmaster
Shuang Yang
Allan Espinosa
Cindy Cummings
Mona Rashad
Rebecca Hawkins
Jane Dimitry
Anabelle Hangen
Stacey Alden
Lauren Cless
Elizabeth Whitfield
Joanne Sadler

Violin II
*Stanley Silverman
Lynn Basila
Angel Hernandez
Susan Turcotte-Gavriel
Caterina Yetto
John Guarino
Todd Hamelin
Laura Papandrea
Nicki Payne
Job Salazar

Viola
*Peter Sulski
Darcy Montaldi
Steven Sergi
Robert Kennedy
Lauren Nelson
Dorcas McCall
Oleg Soloviev
Caroline Drozdiak

Cello
*Young Sook Lee
Shay Rudolph
Nathan Kimball
Susan Randazzo
Priscilla Chew
Ben Swartz
George Hughen
Miguel Vasquez

Bass
*Kevin Green
Robb Aistrup
Joseph Higgins
Michael Simon
Justin McCarty
Kate Foss

Flute
*Melissa Mielens
Jessica Lizak
Caitlyn Schmidt

Oboe
*Amanda Hardy
Elizabeth England

Clarinet
*Kelli O’Connor
Sandra Halberstadt

Bassoon
*Andrew Flurer
Susannah Telsey

Horn
*Michael Bellofatto
Hazel Dean Davis
Nick Auer
Laura Crook Brisson

Trumpet
*Mark Emery
Kyle Spraker

Trombone
*Peter Cirelli
Alexei Doohovskoy
Donald Robinson

Tuba
*Michael Stephan

Timpani
*Karl Seyferth

Percussion
*Michael Ambroszewski
Aaron Trant
Greg Simonds

Harp
*Maria Rindenello-Spraker

Piano
*Bonnie Anderson

*Principal

Librarian: Kate Weiss

PROGRAM NOTES by Maestro Bruce Hangen

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) has a greater reputation for one of his more rarely performed large-scale works for chorus and orchestra based on Longfellow’s “Hiawatha” than necessarily for his orchestral works. But I have found his Danse Nègre (1898) to be a thoroughly delightful addition to orchestral concerts. Originally composed for piano, Coleridge-Taylor himself arranged the piece for orchestra. As with much of his music, the Danse Nègre is tuneful, entertaining, lively and well-written for orchestra, demonstrating his innate orchestrational skill and creativity. As for the Vista Philharmonic, I look forward to presenting as many of his works as possible in future seasons, even including his “Hiawatha” masterpiece.

It is fairly well-documented that Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), composer of many so-called “12-tone” (i.e., non-harmonic) original compositions, actually was an admirer of older, traditional composers, such as J. S. Bach and even, to a degree, George Frederic Handel. His limited appreciation of Handel’s music comes from the belief that Handel’s skill at counterpoint technique came nowhere near the sophistication of Bach’s, despite the overwhelming popularity of Handel’s music. Consequently, Schoenberg decided to treat, to arrange, to re-orchestrate, revise and “improve” for a contemporary audience this Handel concerto grosso as a Concerto for String Quartet (1933) with orchestral accompaniment. Based extensively—and often sounding almost completely like the original—Schoenberg nevertheless transports Handel’s music 200 years to a newer, fresher and more adventuresome composition than Handel ever could have imagined. 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) composed the first book of his Well-Tempered Clavier (1722) “for the profit and use of the studious musical young, and also for the special diversion of those who are already skillful in this study.” It is easy to see how Bach intended this music as a study—not necessarily for performance—as it’s a collection of twelve pairs of pieces, both a Prelude and a Fugue, in every musical key possible. Beginning in the key of C major, continuing with C minor, then C-sharp major and minor, D major and minor, etc. through all twelve notes (keys) in our western musical scale. It’s title “well-tempered” signifies that Johann Sebastian actually created his own tuning for keyboard instruments which heretofore had been unable to play in more than a single key without sounding out of tune. The Borromeo Quartet has chosen to balance their solo work in the Schoenberg with first violinist Nicholas Kitchen’s own transcription of Bach’s C-sharp Minor Prelude and Fugue.

The Symphony No. 4 (1877) of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) surely will be tonight’s most familiar work to a symphony audience. In four movements, the work was quickly composed at a crucial time in Tchaikovsky’s life and career. On the one hand, concurrent with the work’s composition came the offer from Madame Nadezhda von Meck who deposited 500 rubles in Tchaikovsky’s bank account every month for 13 years. This was due to her love of his music, though it came with the stipulation that they were never to meet in person. On the other hand, this is the same year Tchaikovsky married but fled the marriage after just two weeks, returned later in the year to give it another try, but fled again in less than two weeks! This is Tchaikovsky’s “Fate” symphony, featuring an opening salvo in the brass that returns in the fourth movement finale. That last movement includes Tchaikovsky’s setting of a Russian folksong, “In the Meadow Stood a Little Birch Tree.” The entire symphony is dedicated to Madame von Meck, as Tchaikovsky would refer to the music as “her” symphony.

ABOUT OUR GUEST ARTISTS

Borromeo String Quartet

Each visionary performance of the award-winning Borromeo String Quartet strengthens and deepens its reputation as one of the most important ensembles of our time. Admired and sought after for both its fresh interpretations of the classical music canon and its championing of works by 20th and 21st century composers, the ensemble has been hailed for its “edge-of-the-seat performances,” by the Boston Globe, which called it “simply the best.” Inspiring audiences for more than 25 years, the Borromeo continues to be a pioneer in its use of technology, and has the trailblazing distinction of being the first string quartet to utilize laptop computers on the concert stage. Reading music this way helps push artistic boundaries, allowing the artists to perform solely from 4-part scores and composers’ manuscripts, a revealing and metamorphic experience which these dedicated musicians now teach to students around the world. The BSQ has been ensemble-in-residence at the New England Conservatory and Taos School of Music, and has enjoyed a long-term relationship with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where it regularly appears. It is quartet-in-residence at the Heifetz International Music Institute, where first violinist Nicholas Kitchen is Artistic Director. The quartet was also in residence at the Library of Congress, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Kansas University, the San Francisco Conservatory, and Colorado State University.

THIS CONCERT IS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF:

Fred and Joan Reynolds and family

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT:

Camilla Blackman
Bruce and Sue Bonner
Peter and Karen Burk
Barbara and John Chickosky
Priscilla Endicott
Matt and Judy Fichtenbaum family
Phil and Carolyn Francisco
David Gaynor and Bernice Goldman
Bruce Hauben and Joyce Brinton/The Helen G. Hauben Foundation
Mark and Jeanne Hubelbank
Mary Jennings and Jim Simko
Simon Jones and Richard Gioiosa
Bob and Sue Lotz
Carole and Art Prest
Pam and Griff Resor
The Riggert Family
Phil and Dorothy Robbins
Shepherd’s of Townsend
David and Bobbie Spiegelman
Randy Steere and Paul Landry

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