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August 4 Program Notes

July 27, 2017

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 3  in G Major, BWV 1048 In 1721, Bach was growing weary of his post as Kapellmeister for Prince Leopold in the city of Köthen, where he had worked since 1717. Despite the prestige of the post, Bach felt unfulfilled by the scope of the city’s musical tradition, and so he began seeking patronage el ...

August 2 Program Notes

July 27, 2017

LOUISE FARRENC Piano Quintet No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 30 Louise Farrenc, née Dumont, was born into an artistic family: the Dumonts, extending back to her great-great-grandfather Pierre and including her brother Auguste, were successful sculptors. Louise, however, took up studies on the piano, where her precocious talent was immediately evident. She ...

July 31 Program Notes

July 24, 2017

FELIX MENDELSSOHN String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13 In 1827, Beethoven’s late string quartets were published, and Mendelssohn, 18 years old, was studying the complex scores voraciously. Although the late quartets of Beethoven were received in most musical circles with skepticism or perplexity, Mendelssohn was keenly moved by them, touched ...

Next Week at the Festival: July 29-August 4

July 21, 2017

There has been so much tremendous music, and there are still unforgettable performances ahead. Program highlights include Beethoven and Brahms; works by contemporary composer Andrew Norman; and performances by Jeffrey Zeigler, Phillip Ying, Kurt Muroki, Steven Doane, and the Borromeo String Quartet. The season finale will present Beethoven’s gorgeous Fift ...

July 28 Program Notes

July 19, 2017

SERGEI PROKOFIEV Five Melodies, Op. 35 In the aftermath of the October Revolution of 1917, Prokofiev, despite the fame (or notoriety) he had achieved in Moscow and St. Petersburg for his radically progressive style, grew pessimistic about the opportunities for a young musician in Russia. As he later reflected in his autobiography, “the idea of ...

This Week at the Festival: July 22-28

July 18, 2017

Program highlights include Beethoven and Brahms;  and performances by Jeffrey Zeigler, Phillip Ying, Kurt Muroki, Steven Doane, and the Jupiter String Quartet. Monday, July 24: Jupiter String Quartet The Festival is delighted to welcome back the Jupiter String Quartet this season for their own concert program. Artists-in-residence at the University of Il ...

July 26 Program Notes

July 18, 2017

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN String Trio in C Minor, Op. 9, No. 3 Beethoven’s three String Trios, Op. 9, were composed, like the Op. 18 quartet performed Monday evening, in the early years following Beethoven’s arrival to Vienna. Having left Bonn at age 21 for the city of Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven sought to establish himself in Viennese musical cir ...

July 24 Program Notes

July 18, 2017

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2 When Prince Lobkowitz commissioned Beethoven to compose a set of six string quartets in 1798, the task facing Beethoven was daunting. Beethoven, in his late twenties, had been making a name for himself since moving to Vienna in 1792. His skills as a virtuosic pianist and improvis ...

July 21 Program Notes

July 14, 2017

MAURICE RAVEL Sonatine In 1903, a short-lived Anglo-French periodical called the Weekly Critical Review launched a contest, calling for composers to submit a piano sonatina of under 75 measures. The music critic and translator Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi, a frequent contributor to the journal, urged his good friend Ravel to submit something to th ...

July 19 Program Notes

July 14, 2017

carl nielsen Serenata in vano Although Carl Nielsen, Denmark’s best-known composer, is particularly famed for his cycle of six symphonies, he had a remarkably prolific career, including a substantial output of operas and songs, concerti, and incidental music. He composed Serenata in vano just before embarking upon his Symphony No. 4 – a drama ...