11-6 Orchestradoc - College of Arts and Sciences _ Conservatory

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					                                 Oberlin Orchestra
                                 Bridget-Michaele Reischl, conductor
Finney Chapel                    Yunle Feng, candidate for MM degree
November 6, 2009, 8:00 pm
Concert No. 42                   Si-Yuan Li, piano

Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43                   Ludwig van Beethoven

                                 Yunle Feng, conductor

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22                              Camille Saint-Saëns
     I. Andante sostenuto                                                   (1835–1921)
     II. Allegro scherzando
     III. Presto

                                    Si-Yuan Li, piano


Phédre, Suite symphonique tirée du ballet                                  Georges Auric

Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé                                          Maurice Ravel

          Please silence all cell phones and refrain from the use of video cameras
              unless prior arrangements have been made with the conductor.
                     The use of flash cameras is prohibited. Thank you.

Pianist Siyuan Li was born in Guangzhou, China where she began studying piano at
the age of four. As a student of Meishen Mai, Siyuan won several national and local
competitions for young pianists before entering the pre-college division of the Xinghai
Conservatory. At the age of fourteen, she was accepted into Central Conservatory in
Beijing and on two occasions was awarded “The Prize for Excellent Students”. In
2007, prior to coming to the United States, Siyuan recorded and released a CD and
DVD of Carl Czerny’s Practical Method for Beginners on the Piano, Op. 599.
Professor Pingguo Zhao, who was later to become her teacher at the Central
Conseratory, provided live descriptions for the method book.
       Siyuan Li was admitted to Oberlin College Conservatory where she has been
studying with Professor Monique Duphil since 2006. In 2007, Siyuan won the SAI
Concerto Competition at the Chautauqua Summer Festival and was invited back in
2008 on a full scholarship to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 in C Major,
Op. 15 with the Chautauqua Music School Festival Orchestra under Maestro Timothy
Muffitt. She attended the Duxbury Music Festival during the summer of 2009 where
she received second prize in the solo competition as well as second and third prizes in
the chamber music competition.

                                    Program Notes

Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43 (1801)
by Ludwig van Beethoven (Bonn, 1770 - Vienna, 1827)

By the time he was thirty, Beethoven had long achieved the status of a celebrity in
Vienna, the imperial capital where he had made his home since he was 22. With his
works written shortly before the beginning of the 19th century such as the “Pathétique”
sonata, the first six string quartets and the First Symphony, he had established his
unique position in Viennese musical life, and his fame had begun to spread beyond the
limits of the city.
        It was logical that such a prominent young composer should receive a
commission from the Imperial Theatre. In 1800, Beethoven was asked to write a ballet
score for a court entertainment conceived by Salvatore Viganò (1769-1821), an Italian-
born dancer and choreographer with a European reputation. Viganò followed the lead
of Jean-George Noverre, who had simplified the more complicated, stylized artistry of
earlier ballet masters by introducing some simple yet expressive pantomimic elements.
Viganò’s approach was at first controversial in Vienna where the earlier style had long
held sway, yet his natural, unaffected style gradually conquered the city’s ballet-lovers.
        On other occasions, Viganò had also written the music for some of his
productions. This time, however, he was embarking on a more ambitious project, for
which he needed Beethoven’s help. The choreographer had chosen the myth of the
Titan (demigod) Prometheus, for a show in which he wanted to celebrate “the power of
music and dance” (that was, in fact, the ballet’s subtitle). In Viganò’s scenario,
Prometheus is pursued by the wrath of the gods for having stolen the fire from heaven
and given it to humanity. One contemporary discussion of the ballet noted that this
pursuit “provides an opportunity for a noisy musical prelude.” (This description seems
to refer to the storm scene following the overture rather than the overture itself.)
        In the ballet, Prometheus creates two human beings, a man and a woman, out of
two statues of clay, which he imbues with heavenly fire. The statues come alive, but at
first they lack what the Age of Reason considered the most important attribute of
humanity, namely intellect. Prometheus introduces his creatures to the gods on
Parnassus. The creatures become fully human after hearing the muse Euterpe and the
divine musicians Amphion and Orpheus, who awaken them to the beauties of nature
and inspire them to show human emotions. The muse Terpsichore and the god
Dionysus teach them humans passion, and the muse Melpomene reminds them of the
inevitability of death. Finally, the muse Thalia cheers them up with a comic scene and
the ballet ends with festive dances in a celebration of life. (The music Beethoven wrote
for this finale contains the theme that later became famous as the main melody of the
last movement of the Third Symphony.)
        The overture, Beethoven’s first essay in that genre, is indebted to Mozart’s
overture to Così fan tutte, with which it shares the rapid eighth-note motion alternating
with a motif in syncopated rhythm (besides the common key of C major). But other
features of the overture are unmistakably Beethovenian and derive from the First
Symphony, also in C major, completed shortly before the ballet. The slow
introductions of both symphony and overture begin with chords outside the key: C
Major has to be arrived at, “created,” as it were, through a chain of harmonic
progressions. By the time the fast section begins, C major is firmly established in both
symphony and overture; there is another similarity here in the way each repeats its
opening motif a major second higher. Even the second themes are related; both feature
elements of imitation, woodwind solos, and syncopated rhythm. The main difference is
that the overture, like most Classical overtures, contains no development section; after
the first hearing, the sequence of themes is immediately repeated, with only a few
necessary modifications.
        In the ballet score, the overture is followed attacca (without a break) by the
storm scene. As the overture is frequently performed without the rest of the ballet, a
concert ending is normally used.

Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor (1868)
by Camille Saint-Saëns (Paris, 1835 - Algiers, 1921)

No composer has ever been able to match the unbelievable precocity of Mozart, who
wrote his first symphony at the age of eight; Saint-Saëns, however, came close. He
first played the piano in public at the age of five, and at ten gave his formal debut at
Paris’s Salle Pleyel, performing Mozart and Beethoven concertos and offering to play
any of Beethoven’s sonatas from memory as an encore. Saint-Saëns eventually grew
up to become a national institution in France, one of the country’s most prominent
composers, pianists and organists. He counted several of the greatest musicians of his
time among his friends. Berlioz admired his talents, as did Franz Liszt, who promoted
the performance of his opera Samson and Delilah in Weimar.
        The story of the G-minor Piano Concerto is typical of the man and the way he
worked. Anton Rubinstein, the Russian pianist-composer-conductor was another of
Saint-Saëns’s distinguished friends. The two had known each other since 1858, when
the 23-year-old Saint-Saëns sight-read Rubinstein’s new and gigantic “Ocean”
Symphony from the full score. Ten years later, as they gave some concerts together in
Paris, with Saint-Saëns conducting and Rubinstein as soloist, it suddenly occurred to
them to reverse their roles. As Saint-Saëns later recalled:

    I happened to be at a concert with the great pianist Anton Rubinstein in the
    Salle Pleyel when he said to me, “I haven’t conducted an orchestra in Paris
    yet. Let’s put on a concert that will give me the opportunity of taking the
    baton.” “With pleasure,” I answered. We asked when the Salle Pleyel would
    be free and we were told we should have to wait three weeks. “Very well,” I
    said. “In those three weeks I will write a concerto for the occasion.” And I
    wrote the G-Minor Concerto which accordingly had its first performance
    under such distinguished patronage.

       Writing a three-movement concerto in less than three weeks is virtually
tantamount to improvisation. The ideas must have come to Saint-Saëns with such
speed that his only difficulty was how to write them down fast enough.
       We may imagine Saint-Saëns sitting at the piano beginning to improvise the first
movement of his concerto. Having decided on the key -- G Minor --, he strikes the
lowest G on the keyborad with its upper octave, and starts playing arpeggios with his
right hand. The arpeggios take a turn that brings a certain Bach prelude to min; why
not play with that idea and develop those arpeggios in imitation of J.S. Bach’s style?
Meanwhile, the low G is still being held as a pedal point. (We should remember that
Saint-Saëns was the organist of the Madeleine church in Paris at the time of this
concerto; it is very likely that he improvised there in Bach’s style on many a Sunday.)
       Then suddenly Saint-Saëns decides it’s time to change centuries, and, without
any warning, he launches into a cascade of runs and arpeggios reminiscent of his friend
Liszt. The orchestra, silent until now, breaks in with a few chords. But we have yet to
hear a real theme, so Saint-Saëns turns his attention to the invention of a melody. After
a measure of introduction, in which we hear the accompaniment alone, a beautiful
espressivo melody unfolds.
       Even this theme could well have been improvised by a musician with Saint-
Saëns’s gifts. What follows, however, would have been hard to perform without a
great deal of practicing, even though it many have been just as easy to conceive
mentally. The structure of the entire movement remains improvisation-like; the
passagework immediately leads to the recapitulation of the theme, a cadenza, and a
short coda, in which the quasi-Bachian introductory material returns.
       The second-movement Allegro scherzando is one of the most popular things
Saint-Saëns ever wrote. Its “leggiero” (nimble) first melody jumps and prances around
in good cheer. There is a second theme of a more cantabile character. The whole
movement consists of the free alternation of the two themes.
       The sparkling third movement is based on the rhythm of the Italian tarantella
dance. Like the second movement, it has two alternating themes. The relentless drive
of the music continues unabated to the end.
       Although Saint-Saëns was able to complete the concerto in just seventeen days,
mastering the technical difficulties of his own work was another matter. “I played very
badly,” he wrote after the first performance, and, except for the scherzo, which was an
immediate success, it did not go well. The general opinion was that the first part
lacked coherence and the finale was a complete failure. The “general opinion” changed
very rapidly, however, and Saint-Saëns became more secure in performance. He
played the concerto many more times over the years at concerts including a memorable
one in London in 1893 where he shared the program with Tchaikovsky. Both
composers were in England at the tune to receive honorary degrees from Cambridge
       In the early 1900s, the septuagenarian Saint-Saëns visited the United States on a
concert tour that was a great personal triumph. At this point, he again had problems
with performing his Second Concerto. As he wrote in his article “Impressions of

    I had to endeavor to recover my fingering of past days in order to play my
    Concerto in G Minor which everybody wished to hear interpreted by the
    composer. This did not please me by any means, for nowadays young pianists
    play it better than I do; I prefer to play the Fifth, which is more symphonic and
    more fitted to my present powers.
       Well then, I played the G Minor at Washington before President [Theodore]
    Roosevelt who, after receiving me most affably, did me the rare and signal
    honor of coming to listen to my playing.
Georges Auric: Phèdre (1950)

        Since his death in 1983, Auric seems to have largely faded from the collective
memory of music historians. In saying that Auric has been forgotten, however, we play
into the tropes that dominated scholarly mentions of the musician a decade ago. There
have been few academic works dedicated primarily to Auric—and the bulk of these are
dissertations, theses, and maîtrises. Yet, his name frequently appears in the margins,
footnotes, and indexes of histories of twentieth-century French music, not to mention
monographs and biographies on the numerous composers, artists, writers, dancers, and
fashion designers who knew Auric and were influenced by his prodigal work as one of
the most highly esteemed enfant terribles of the years during and after World War I. If
he is not central to the history of French music in the last century, he is omnipresent. A
review of literature about Auric is tantamount to surveying the entirety of scholarship
on twentieth-century French culture. As the titles of works about Auric attest: he “was
there,” he was a “musician of the century,” and he knew intimately the “music of [his]
        Over the course of a seventy-year-long professional career, Auric achieved
tremendous successes as a performer, composer, critic, administrator, and advocate on
behalf of musicians. His legacy stretches beyond his association with Les Six and the
Ballets Russes, beyond his scores for dozens of highly celebrated films, and beyond the
“Waltz from Moulin Rouge,” which cemented his name in annals of popular music.
His legacy is also reflected in the changes to international copyright law introduced in
Stockholm in 1967; the expansion of SACEM, the French artists’ rights organization,
during his nearly thirty years as president; and the revitalization of the Paris Opéra and
Opéra-Comique in the 1960s, after forty years of artistic and financial decline.
        Auric’s two-dozen ballets figure prominently in his oeuvre. After a fast rise to
notoriety thanks to the publicity machine that was Les Six, Auric made his own mark
on French musical life with Les Fâcheux (1924), performed by Serge Diaghilev’s
Ballets Russes. Based on Molière’s 1661 play of the same name, the ballet’s premiere
was such a rousing success that Diaghilev commissioned another ballet from Auric
backstage after the performance. Les Matelots (1925), based on Mozart’s Così fan
tutte, met with similar success and led to a third Ballets Russes commission—a
remarkable feat equaled only by Igor Stravinsky. Diaghilev’s company, however, was
not the only avant-garde ballet troupe in Paris during those years. Auric’s early success
as a ballet composer is also measured by his commissions for Rolf de Maré’s Ballets
Suédois and Les Ballets Ida Rubinstein. Through these works, Auric’s collaborators
included such prominent figures as painter-designers Léon Bakst and Georges Braque,
and choreographers George Balanchine, Léonid Massine, and Bronislava Najinska.
        Whereas those early avant-garde ballets are firmly rooted Auric’s youthful
exploits during the years following World War I, Phèdre reveals a more mature
composer. The inside jokes destined for his elite circle of friends are gone, replaced by
a strident modernism that captured classical mythology through stark contrasts and a
certain degree of plasticity. Since the three principal collaborators—Auric, author and
designer Jean Cocteau, and choreographer Serge Lifar—had been working together for
nearly thirty years at this point, it should come as little surprise that the music closely
supports the stage design and dancing. The spare set was done completely in white,
except for the backdrop, a garishly colored temple that bore an inscription of the
ballet’s title in Greek letters and that served as theatre-within-a-theatre for the tableaux
vivants. The costumes were brutally simple—black tunics, with different colored capes
and tights distinguishing the characters. The choreography was intended to imitate
Antiquity through an emphasis on straight lines and sharp angles, a Greek chorus of
dancers that commented on the action, and tableaux vivants suggesting Grecian urns.
        The ballet’s plot, based on Jean Racine’s 1677 play of the same name, is drawn
from the myth of Phaedra and Hippolytus and is a tragedy of illicit love affairs.
Phaedra is married to Theseus, the King of Athens who at the beginning of the ballet is
fighting in the Trojan War. During his absence, Phaedra has secretly fallen in love with
her stepson, Hippolytus, the heir to the throne (Movement 2 of the ballet suite).
However, he is secretly in love with Aricia, the last surviving member of the Athenian
royal family that had been usurped by Theseus (Movement 3). Upon receiving news of
the King’s death, the nurse Œnone pressures Phaedra to declare her love, thereby
ensuring that she will remain queen (Movement 4).
        Shortly thereafter, Theseus returns home, alive and unscathed (Movement 5).
Œnone decides to protect Phaedra’s honor by informing Theseus that his son seduced
and raped the queen. In response Theseus calls upon Poseidon, god of the sea, to kill
Hippolytus in punishment for his alleged incestuous crime. Hippolytus, however,
protests to his father and tries to demonstrate his innocence by revealing his love for
Aricia, whom Theseus had forced to take a vow of chastity. Driven mad by jealousy at
this revelation, Phaedra lashes out at the “scheming” Œnone, banishing her from
Athens. Meanwhile, the two young lovers make arrangements to elope. As they
tenderly say farewell to prepare for their wedding, Theseus watches and begins to
doubt his son’s guilt. However, the wheels of fate have already been set into motion:
Œnone casts herself off a cliff into the sea and, on his way to meet Aricia, Hippolytus
is led to his death by Poseidon and his nymphs (Movement 6). In the ballet’s stunning
final scene (Movement 7), Phaedra is overcome by guilt and poisons herself. Her
parents emerge from the heavens (or from the garish temple, at least), cover her with a
blood-red cloak, and the curtain drops on a stage bereft of everything except her dead

Daphnis and Chloé: Suite No. 2 (1912)
by Maurice Ravel (Ciboure, France, 1875 – Paris, 1937)

Daphnis and Chloé is a celebration of sensual love and beauty set in an imaginary
world of ancient Greek shepherds; many a secret dream, many an amorous fantasy is
embodied in this luxuriant ballet score.
        Maurice Ravel came into contact with Sergei Diaghilev soon after the brilliant
Russian impresario, founder of the Russian Ballet, made his Paris debut in 1908. As
early as the next year, Diaghilev commissioned a ballet score from Ravel for his
company. It was decided early on that the ballet would be based on the story of
Daphnis and Chloé, after a pastoral romance by the Greek author Longus (3 rd century
A.D.) that was known in France through a 16 th-century translation by Jacques Amyot.
The romance tells about the awakening of love between two young people, both
foundlings and tending their herds together. After various adventures—amorous
rivalries, abductions by pirates, and other intrigues—it turns out that both are children
of aristocratic families and they have a grand wedding, living happily ever after.
        The composition and orchestration of Daphnis and Chloé took Ravel a full three
years; the ballet remained his most extensive work, both in terms of length and the size
of the orchestra. By the time the long-awaited score was completed, the fast-moving
Diaghilev had initiated so many new projects that Ravel’s effort seemed to be
overshadowed by other productions, including a very controversial adaptation of
Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which opened just two weeks before
Daphnis and Chloé. Stravinsky’s Firebird and Petrushka received their premieres in
1910 and 1911, respectively; Debussy’s Jeux and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring were
already in the making. Even the Greek topic had been “stolen” from Ravel with the
ballet Narcisse, another Fokine prodution with the great Vaslav Nijinsky in the title
role, premiered in 1911 with music by Nikolai Tcherepnin. Finally, Daphnis and
Chloé was premiered on June 8, 1912, two days before the end of the season, and
shown only twice before the company went on summer break.
        Early on, Ravel saw the need to establish Daphnis and Chloé as a concert work,
divorced from the ballet stage. He extracted two orchestral suites from the score; the
first of these corresponds to the middle portion of the ballet, and the second to the last
fifteen minutes. This portion, which is the most frequently performed part of the ballet,
begins with a texture of lush figurations in the flutes, clarinets, harps, and celesta,
against which the strings begin a majestic tune using the pentatonic scale (the black
keys of the piano). It is a beautifully evocative portrayal of a sunrise. Two shepherds
cross the stage, one represented by the piccolo, the other by the equally high-pitched E-
flat clarinet. The embrace of Daphnis and Chloé is marked by an orchestral climax
where the violins reach their highest register. The music winds down as the old
shepherd, Lamon, tells his story about the love between the god Pan and the nymph
Syrinx. Daphnis and Chloé proceed to enact the story as a pantomime. When the god
createsc his flute—the panpipe—from reed-stalks, we hear one of the most enchanting
flute solos in the entire orchestral literature. (Actually, the melody is divided between
two flutes, to give the musicians a chance to breathe!) Ravel’s melody follows no
classical models: it hovers around a certain pitch to which it keeps returning, then
moves and hovers around another pitch, but there seems to be no predetermined
direction in which the melody progresses; nor does it respect any fixed metric
        Daphnis and Chloé embrace one more time, and then the ecstatic Danse
générale gets underway. Large stretches of this dance were written in the
asymmetrical meter of 5/4, to which dancers and musicians in 1912 were quite
unaccustomed. (It is said that they had to scan the words “Ser-gei Dia-ghi-lev” until
they got the rhythm right.) This asymmetry and the use of ostinatos (repeated rhythmic
figure or short melodic motif) throughout this final section remind us that The Rite of
Spring is less than a year away. (Ostinatos were among Stravinsky’s favorite musical
techniques.) Both Daphnis and Chloé and The Rite of Spring end with similar
effects—short rhythmic units repeated, varied, and stirred up to a paroxysm; and the
fact that Stravinsky was to carry this effect even further takes nothing away from the
brilliance and excitement of Ravel’s finale.
                                                                       ~ Notes by Peter Laki
                              The Oberlin Orchestra
                         Bridget-Michaele Reischl, conductor
VIOLIN I                       VIOLA cont.              OBOE
Nathan Lesser                  Emily Baker-White        Nattie Chan
  concertmaster                Ryan Fox                 Rachel Messing R
Lisa Goddard                   Kyle Aungst              Pablo Moreno A
  assistant                    Rebecca Hallowell        Michelle Wong B, S
    concertmaster              Sarah Hill
Paul Hauer                                              ENGLISH HORN
Joseph Stepec                  CELLO                    Michelle Wong
Shawn LeSure                   Mikala Schmitz
Eliot Heaton                    principal               CLARINET
Sara Sasaki                    Sarah Beske              Brad Cherwin R
Dorothea                        assistant principal     Zachary Good
Chatzigeorgia                  Mary Auner               Hana Jo B, S
Erena Lee                      Shinri Tanimoto          Lin Ma A
Katherine Floriano             Stephanie Smith          David Sall
Joseph Galamba                 David Ellis
Luke Fatora                    Rebecca Lanell           Eb CLARINET
Sarah Bailey                   Eric Tannenbaum          Lin Ma
Rachel Plumb                   Scott Ness
                               Xochi John               BASS CLARINET
VIOLIN II                      David Wasilko            Brad Cherwin
Rachel Bundy                   Hallie Parkins           David Sall
  principal                    Zhuxi Wang
McKenzie Bauer                 Iva Casian-Lakos         BASSOON
  assistant principal          Helen Newby              Kelly Harrison S, R
Jirair Alex Youssefian         Rachel Grandstrand       Jake Purcell
Sundari Birdsall                                        Erica Qiao
Dorothea Talento               BASS                     Ryan Wilkins B, A
Yada Lee                       Will Robbins
Julia Ruby                      principal               CONTRA-BASSOON
Ayumi Ohishi                   Adam Bernstein           Jake Purcell
Nathan Giglierano               assistant principal     Erica Qiao
Cheng Gu                       Eugene Theriault
Zuo Yu                         Tyler Valler             HORN
Julia Conner                   Aaron Kanter             Nicolee Kuester S,R
Elizabeth Cooke                Lauren Smith             Valerie Sly B
Michael Cosimir                Andrea Beyer             Tyler Stoll A
Nicholas Bauer                                          Jaie Woodard
Violet Pena                    FLUTE
                               Laura Cocks              TRUMPET
VIOLA                          Amelia Dicks S           Matthew Benenson
Kallie Ciechomoski             Alison Duffy A           Nicholas Engelhardt
  principal                    Matthew Slaughter B      Caitlin Featherstone
DJ Cheek                       Melanie Williams         Aaron Klaus S
  assistant principal          Patrick Williams R       Emily Lawyer A
Lianna Dugan                                            Donnie McEwan R
Hannah Selin                   PICCOLO                  Jonathan Morales B
Jane Mitchell                  Laura Cocks
Sonia Oram                     Amelia Dicks             TROMBONE
Colin Wheatley                                          Katrina Lettang
Aaron Mossburg                 ALTO FLUTE               Caitlin Roseum
Cassandra Optiz                Alison Duffy             Berk Schneider A, R
Lauren Zakzook
William Holt

John Geisler



Xinxin Zhang

Caroline Nelson R
Rebekah Efthimiou A

Brad Cherwin
David Ellis
Erica Qiao
Valerie Sly

Michael Roest

Winds and Brass are
listed alphabetically.

Superscripts indicate
principal players:
  = Beethoven
  = Saint-Saëns
  = Auric
  = Ravel

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