"Contrasts in a Decade” 

SEASON FINALE

May 23, 2022

7:30 pm

Laurel Heights Church

227 West Woodlawn Ave., SA, TX

Marika Bournaki, piano

Mark Teplitsky, flute

Christine Kim, oboe

Ilya Shterenberg, clarinet 

Sharon Kuster, bassoon

Eric Gratz, violin

Adam Unsworth, horn

Igor Stravinsky - Rite of Spring for Woodwind Quintet (arr. Jonathan Russell)  

     I. 1re Tableaux  

     II. 2me Tableaux 

 

Claude Debussy - Sonata for Violin and Piano L. 140  

     I. Allegro Vivo 

     II. Intèrmede: Fantasque et léger 

     III. Finale: Tres animé 

 

INTERMISSION 

 

Bela Bartok - Suite for Piano, Sz. 62 Op. 14 

     I. Allegretto  

     II. Scherzo 

     III. Allegro molto 

     IV. Sostenuto 

 

Hans Huber - Piano Sextet in B-flat Major 

     I. Adagio non troppo 

     II. Allegro molto vivace 

     III. Adagio ma non troppo 

     IV. Allegro vivace con brio 

This concert is sponsored in part by Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt

*programs and personnel subject to change

Program notes, written by Mark Teplitsky

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Rite of Spring for Woodwind Quintet (arr. Jonathan Russell)  

 

Perhaps one of the most influential, unpredictable, and shocking works to have been premiered in the early 20th century, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring forged the way for Modernism with its bipolar and primordial sounds. Composed by Russian born composer Igor Stravinsky, the work is scored for an enormous orchestra and choreographed for, what was at the time, an inconceivably contemporary ballet. Premiered in Paris in 1913, where the young Stravinsky already resided, the performance received a mixed reception. Nevertheless, Stravinsky was recognized for his genius, mixing primal sounding folk themes from Eastern Europe and Impressionist French composition, all with the added difficulty of the then uncommon and challenging time signatures. The original 35 minute work demonstrates the most extreme ranges of colors from the extremely delicate to the almost violent. Tonight’s arrangement for woodwind quintet by Jonathan Russell is an excellent re-interpretation of the Rite of Spring for the five instruments most heavily featured in the original ballet. 

 

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Sonata for Violin and Piano L. 140  

 

Composed at the very end of his career, after his diagnosis of colorectal cancer, Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano was intended as one of six sonatas for various instruments. The final of these sonatas was to feature all the instruments of the previous five in tandem, but, sadly, the third of these six sonatas, the Violin Sonata, was the last major composition Debussy was to compose. The weakened Debussy wrote in his journal that “this sonata will be interesting from a documentary point of view and as an example of what may be produced by a sick man in time of war.” And yet, despite Debussy’s depression over his health and the severe state of France, the Sonata radiates in light and joy. The work is noted for its brevity, less then 15 minutes in length, and is written in three short movements. It was premiered in 1917 by violinist Gaston Poulet and Debussy himself at the piano, his last public performance.

 

Béla Bártok (1881-1945)

Suite for Piano, Sz. 62 Op. 14 

 

Considered one of Bártok’s more significant compositions, the Suite for Piano was completed in 1916, early into Bartok’s oeuvre. Although Bartok does not directly use folk melodies in this Suite, as he is so well known to do in most of his music, he uses quite a few global folk-like elements through the four short movements. The first movement, titled Allegretto, resembles a syncopated Ardeleana, a fast Romanian rhythm danced in columns. The second movement, titled Scherzo, uses a twelve-tone row, a Serialist technique that Bártok is only known to have used in this piano work. The third movement, titled Allegro molto, is Bártok’s first attempt at drawing influence from music outside of the European tradition, specifically North African scale patterns. Finally, the last movement, titled Sostenuto, still retains it’s Bártokian charm ending the work in an ironically calm fashion. The work is a post-Romantic exploration of piano technique, with Bártok aiming to treat the piano as a percussive instrument.

 

Hans Huber (1852-1921)

Piano Sextett in B-flat Major 

 

A rare Swiss composer, Hans Huber showed talent from an early age, proficiently playing piano and violin. An alumnus of the Leipzig Conservatory, Hans Huber studied closely with a composer often featured in Olmos Ensemble concerts, Carl Reinecke. His eventual career as composer faculty and conductor at the Basel Conservatory led Huber to compose 8 symphonies, 5 operas, 6 choral cantatas, a handful of chamber music, and several tomes of choral works. The Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano in B flat Major was completed in 1898 and first performed at the turn of the century in the year 1900 in Basel. In theme with tonight’s concert, the Sextet uses Swiss folk themes that Huber cherished in his childhood. While recognized for his ability to compose in any genre, Huber chose to firmly ingrain the Sextet in 19th century Romantic tradition. The work has programmatic attributes with the first movement titled Echoes, the second Fountains, third Remembrance, and last Celebrations. Thank you for coming to our last Olmos Ensemble concert of the season and I hope that we will see you all soon in August!