BOCA RATON PHILHARMONIC SYMPHONIA
March 12, 2006
FAU University Theater

MISCHA SANTORA, Conductor
ILYA ITIN, Pianist

Program:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 
Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Concerto No.27 in B-flat Major, K.595 
I. Allegro
II. Larghetto
III. Allegro
Ilya Itin

Intermission

Charles Ives
Symphony No.3 (“The Camp Meeting)* 
I. Old Folks Gatherin’: Andante maestoso
II. Children’s Day: Allegro
III. Communion: Largo

Sergei Prokofiev
Symphony No.1 in D Major, Op.25 (“Classical”) 
I. Allegro
II. Intermezzo: Larghetto
III. Gavotte: Non troppo allegro 
IV. Finale: Molto vivace

First local performance

Program Notes:


By Lawrence Budmen

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) 
Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” 


Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro – one of his true operatic masterpieces – was first performed on May 1, 1786. The libretto was by Lorenzo da Ponte, adapted from the second of the trilogy of plays by Count Frederic de Beaumarchais. Beaumarchais’s comedy of manners was a scathing social critique of the ruling classes. Mozart and da Ponte sanitized the libretto by omitting the main character’s call to revolution. Yet their opera still preserves the essence of the play – a tale of a nobleman being brought to his knees by his servants. None of the thematic material in the overture appears in the opera proper but the score establishes the musico-dramatic mood – nervous, busy, aristocratic elegance threatened by larger, more powerful forces. 

The overture opens with a repetitive motif in the strings which is answered by the horns; a full orchestral tutti (including clarinets) ensues. An elegant secondary subject is introduced by the winds. A grand crescendo worthy of Rossini introduces the brief coda. The entire piece is a lively curtain raiser for both concert and operatic venues.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No.27 in B-flat Major, K.595
 

The twenty seven piano concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart constitute one of music’s monumental cycles. Mozart reinvented the concerto form. He imbued it with new depth and emotion and expanded its formal structure. The later concertos also provided a much richer orchestral texture than any previous composer (including Haydn) 
had ever lavished on the genre. 

The Concerto No.27 in B-flat Major was finished in January, 1791 – the beginning of Mozart’s tragic final year of life. The composer’s creative energies remained inspired until the end. Also dating from that year are two operatic masterpieces (The Magic Flute and La Clemenza di Tito), two autumnal works for clarinet (the Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet), and the unfinished Requiem. The clarinetist Joseph Bahr played a major role in Mozart’s creative work during that period. Mozart played the concerto on March 4, 1791 at a concert for Bahr. 

Mozart’s final piano concerto is scored for an ensemble without trumpets or percussion. After the orchestral introduction, the piano plays the first subject. There are beautifully realized modulations between major and minor that lead to the movement’s second theme. Despite the music’s high spirits, undertones of melancholy and poignance inform the score’s subtext. In this concerto (unlike many of the others) Mozart composed a cadenza for the soloist near the end of the first movement. (In some of the other concertos, the pianist must improvise a cadenza. Some noted composers have published cadenzas for these works.) The piano takes the lead in the songful Larghetto. The theme is repeated between contrasting episodes – essentially a modified rondo. The principal 
subject of the finale is similar to many of the themes in the final movements of Mozart’s Horn Concertos. There are broad contrasts of mood. At times the music reveals surprising emotional depth. The bravura piano writing of this final movement marks a stellar conclusion to a series of landmark keyboard works. 

Charles Ives (1874-1954) 
Symphony No.3 (“The Camp Meeting”) 

Charles Ives was a true American original. Trained at Yale University in the traditional Austro-German language of classicism, he experimented with polytonality, cross rhythms, shifting meters, and musical collages long before Schoenberg or Stravinsky. Ives was, in many ways, a private composer. He was highly successful in the insurance business. Composing was an avocation, albeit an intense one. Despite his daring creativity Ives rarely sought performances of his scores. His music only reached the concert halls through the enthusiastic promulgation of such 
artists as harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick and conductors Nikolas Slonimsky, Leopold Stokowski, Bernard Hermann, and, later, Leonard Bernstein. 

Ives’s Third Symphony belongs to the composer’s Americana phase. Writing in 1932 Ives described the symphony as “a kind of crossway between the older ways and the newer ways” in his creative oeuvre. Inspired by the country bands and revival meetings in Danbury, Connecticut (where Ives spent his youth), the score is based on three organ works (now lost) that Ives composed in 1901 when he was organist at New York’s Central Presbyterian Church. The symphony was written between 1902 and 1904 with further revisions in 1909. The score’s belated first performance took place in 1946 at Carnegie Recital Hall by the Little Symphony of New York conducted by the visionary 
composer Lou Harrison (himself an American original). Ives received the Pulitzer Prize for the symphony. In 1947 Harrison supervised the first publication of the score (from a copy specially made for the premiere performance). In 1964 the composer Henry Cowell produced a new, corrected edition for Associated Music Publishers. Harrison and 
Cowell (as well as Ives’s copyists) did not have access to Ives’s sketches or notebooks which are now catalogued at Yale University’s Ives Collection. In 1974 the Ives Society was formed to produce critical editions of the composer’s works and to encourage performances based on authentic musicological research. (Among the founders of the Ives 
Society were conductors James Sinclair and Michael Tilson Thomas.) Kenneth Singleton has prepared a definitive edition of the Third Symphony based on all extant manuscripts, notes, and other sources from the composer’s archives. 

The symphony’s three movements follow the progress of a gospel meeting. The music is based on hymns that Ives played as a church organist and later formed the basis of Ives’s early organ fantasias. The first movement Old Folks Gatherin’ features a fugue on Lowell Mason’s hymn O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing. The lightness of second 
movement is aptly titled Children’s Day and quotes Andrew Young’s chorale There Is a Happy Land. The final Communion movement is intense. The work concludes with an orchestral statement of William Bradbury’s hymn Just as I Am which still concludes many Protestant services today. 

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Symphony No.1 in D Major, Op.25 (“Classical”) 


In 1917 Prokofiev took a summer holiday in the countryside to work on several scores. Two of those works marked a major change in his compositional style. His early scores were noted for their modernist, avant garde tendencies and difficult instrumental writing. With the composition of his First Violin Concerto and Classical Symphony 
Prokofiev revealed a new simplicity of form and structure, a rich orchestral palette, and a new melodic sensibility. While the composer was undergoing this (temporary) stylistic metamorphosis the forces of revolution were sweeping through Russia. 

The Symphony No.1 is one of the early examples of musical neo-classicism. Prokofiev builds his score around the classical symphonic structure established by Haydn. The orchestration consists of strings, timpani, and pairs of winds – similar to the scoring of a Haydn or Mozart symphony. The driving rhythmic urgency of the outer movements, the 
piquant harmonies, and the angular melodic lines speak in 20th century terms. Prokofiev conducted the highly successful premiere in April, 1918 in Petrograd. Serge Koussevitzky (a lifelong champion of Prokofiev’s music) conducted the American premiere with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

The sprightly opening theme of the first Allegro is succeeded by a sly, wryly sardonic second theme in the strings. Dissonant harmonies work their way through the development before matters are classically resolved in the recapitulation. A soaring string melody dominates the Larghetto. Instead of a Minuet Prokofiev turns to the French rococo for a Gavotte in the third movement - a witty melodic confection with a trio of stately angularity. The Molto vivace finale moves at a brisk clip with tangy commentary by the timpani. The entire score reveals remarkable 
clarity and transparency of orchestral timbres and vivacious rhythmic and melodic zest. This symphony speaks with the musical fizz of sparkling champagne.


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