Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
A founding member of the Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center
RobeRt Spano, Music Director
DonalD RunnicleS, Principal Guest Conductor
Delta ClassiCal series ConCerts
thursday, Friday and saturday, May 20, 21 and 22, 2010, at 8 p.m.
oliver knussen, Conductor
BriCe anDrus, Horn
susan Welty, Horn
riCHarD Deane, Horn
tHoMas Witte, Horn
lisa saFFer, soprano
roBert sCHuMann (1810-1856)
Konzertstück in F Major for Four Horns and orchestra, opus 86 (1849)
ii. Romanze. Ziemlich langsam doch nicht schleppend
iii. Sehr lebhaft
BriCe anDrus, Horn
susan Welty, Horn
riCHarD Deane, Horn
tHoMas Witte, Horn
oliver knussen (b. 1952)
Whitman Settings, opus 25a (1991-2)
i. When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
ii. A Noiseless Patient Spider
iii. The Dalliance of the Eagles
iv. The Voice of the Rain
lisa saFFer, soprano
luDWiG van BeetHoven (1770-1827)
Symphony no. 5 in c minor, opus 67 (1808)
i. Allegro con brio
ii. Andante con moto
“insiDe tHe MusiC” preview of the concert, thursday at 7 p.m.,
presented by ken Meltzer, aso insider and Program annotator.
the use of cameras or recording devices during the concert is strictly prohibited.
Atlanta’s Performing Arts Publication 19
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
is proud to sponsor the Delta classical Series
of the atlanta Symphony orchestra.
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Major funding for the atlanta symphony orchestra is provided by the Fulton County
Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County arts Council.
solo pianos used by the aso are gifts of the atlanta steinway society and in
memory of David Goldwasser. the Hamburg steinway piano is a gift received
by the aso in honor of rosi Fiedotin.
the yamaha custom six-quarter tuba is a gift received by the aso in honor
of Principal tuba player Michael Moore from the antinori Foundation.
this performance is being recorded for broadcast at a later time.
aso concert broadcasts are heard each week on atlanta’s WaBe FM-90.1 and Georgia
Public Broadcasting’s statewide network.
the aso records for telarc. other aso recordings are available on the argo, Deutsche
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notes on tHe ProGraM
By Ken Meltzer
Konzertstück in F Major for Four Horns
and Orchestra, opus 86 (1849)
RObeRt ScHuMAnn was born in Zwickau, Germany, on June 8, 1810, and died in
endenich, Germany, on July 29, 1856. in addition to the four solo horns, the Konzertstück is
scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets,
three trombones, timpani and strings. approximate performance time is nineteen minutes.
These are the first ASO Classical Subscription Performances.
1 849 was an incredibly prolific year for robert schumann, despite the chaos that
swept throughout europe as result of the revolutions and their aftermath. on
april 10, 1849, schumann wrote to the conductor and composer, Ferdinand Hiller: “For
some time now i’ve been very busy — it’s been my most fruitful year — it seemed as if
the outer storms impelled me to turn inward, and only therein did i find a counterforce
against the forces breaking in so frightfully from without.” in a letter to Franz liszt,
schumann revealed: “recently and in the whole preceding year i’ve been incessantly
active — quite a bit, large and small will soon appear.”
schumann’s compositions from 1849 are remarkable for their sheer number, as well as
their breadth, variety and high level of inspiration. among the more than 30 compositions
schumann completed that year are an adaptation of Goethe’s Faust for soloists, chorus and
orchestra, along with various pieces featuring solo instruments, orchestra, chamber ensemble,
chorus and solo voice.
in 1849, schumann also composed three pieces that showcased the horn. in February,
schumann completed his Adagio and Allegro for Horn and Piano, opus 70. it is a work that
features the valve horn, a 19th-century invention that ultimately replaced the natural horn. in
May of 1849, schumann completed his Five Songs from H. Laubes Jagdbrevier, scored for
men’s voices and four horns.
But it was in February and March of 1849 that robert schumann composed his most ambitious
work that explored the unique beauties of the horn—his Concert Piece for Four Horns and
orchestra in F Major, opus 86.
schumann himself praised his Konzertstück as one of his “best things.” and it is a brilliant
creation, one that places tremendous demands upon the four horn soloists. as a result,
performances of the schumann Konzertstück are rare events, and when they occur, true
causes for celebration.
i. Lebhaft (Lively) — the Konzertstück opens with two forte orchestral chords. the horns then
offer a bold, fortissimo statement that juxtaposes ascending triplets with a flowing passage.
this brief statement provides the nucleus for the opening movement’s thematic material.
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the orchestra repeats and develops this statement, leading to the horns’ introduction of a
wide-ranging, legato melody. the triplets serve as the bridge to another legato theme, again
played by the horns. the development section features elements of mystery, as well as
storm and stress. the horns’ opening statement heralds the recapitulation. the triplet motif
predominates the heroic closing measures.
ii. Romanze. Ziemlich langsam doch nicht schleppend (Romance. Rather slow, but not
dragging) — the D-minor Romance begins with a brooding prelude, featuring a repeated
undulating dotted-rhythm motif, played both by the orchestra and soloists. the first and
second horns (the latter joined by the trombones) then sing (in canon) an extended, haunting
melody. a lovely contrasting section, in B-flat Major, soon follows. the conclusion of the
Romance features a brief reprise of the opening section. in the final measures, trumpet
fanfares herald the finale, which follows without pause.
iii. Sehr lebhaft (Very lively) — the finale opens with a repeated motif, consisting of two
sixteenth notes and an eighth note. this motif serves as the driving force throughout the finale,
notable for its irrepressible energy, virtuoso writing for the soloists, and rapid-fire exchanges
between the horns and orchestra. a whirlwind coda brings the schumann Konzertstück to a
Whitman Settings, for Soprano and Orchestra,
opus 25a (1991-2)
OliveR KnuSSen was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 12, 1952. the first
performance of the orchestral version of the Whitman Settings took place at the barbican
concert Hall in london, england on March 5, 1992, with soprano lucy Shelton and the bbc
Symphony orchestra, conducted by the composer. in addition to the soprano solo, the Whitman
Settings are scored for piccolo, three flutes, oboe, english horn, two clarinets, contrabass
clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, vibraphone, bass drum, snare
drum, orchestra bells, antique cymbals, chimes, triangle, xylophone, suspended cymbals, tam-
tams, whip, harp, celeste and strings. approximate performance time is twelve minutes.
These are the first ASO Classical Subscription Performances.
a biography of Mr. knussen may be found at page 27.
the composer provided the following commentary on Whitman Settings:
the Whitman Settings, commissioned by the amphion Foundation and written
for lucy shelton, were originally composed for voice and piano during 1991.
these characteristically powerful but unusually short poems of Walt Whitman
attracted me because they deal with grand natural phenomena on small
canvases. the idea of making a parallel version with orchestra came later, while
puzzling over how some unusually wide chord-spacings could be achieved
without a piano. as it turned out, the original vocal line is supported by the most
intricate and kaleidoscopic orchestral score i’ve ever done (although the actual
notes remain faithful to the original), and i like to think of the result as a concise
four-movement vocal symphony. all four poems muse on things in space or the
sky, and all four songs grow out of the idea heard in the very first bar.
— oliver knussen
i. When i Heard the learn’d astronomer
When i heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When i was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When i sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the
How soon unaccountable i became tired and sick,
till rising and gliding out i wander’d off by myself,
in the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
2. a noiseless patient Spider
a noiseless patient spider,
i mark’d where, on a little promontory it stood, isolated,
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
it launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
and you o my soul where you stand,
surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, o my soul.
3. the Dalliance of the eagles
skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,)
skyward in air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance of the eagles,
the rushing amorous contact high in space together,
the clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel,
Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling,
in tumbling turning clustering loops, straight downward falling,
till o’er the river pois’d, the twain yet one, a moment’s lull,
a motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons loosing,
upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate diverse flight,
she hers, he his, pursuing.
4. the Voice of the Rain
and who art thou? said i to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
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i am the Poem of earth, said the voice of the rain,
eternal i rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
upward to heav’n, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether changed, and yet the same,
i descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
and all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
and forever, by day and night, i give back life to my own origin, and make pure and
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, wandering,
reck’d or unreck’d, duly with love returns.)
— Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Symphony no. 5 in c minor, opus 67 (1808)
ludwig vAn beetHOven was baptized in bonn, Germany, on December 17,
1770, and died in Vienna, austria, on March 26, 1827. the first performance of the Fifth
Symphony took place in Vienna at the theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808, with the
composer conducting. the Symphony no. 5 is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, two horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani
and strings. approximate performance time is thirty-three minutes.
First ASO Classical Subscription Performance: December 17, 1949, Henry Sopkin, Conductor.
Most Recent ASO Classical Subscription Performances: October 2, 3 and 4, 2008,
Robert Spano, Conductor.
“A bloody record of a tremendous inner battle”
b eethoven’s immortal Fifth symphony is a work that continues to astonish
listeners with its elemental power, taut drama, and, above all else, a sense of
absolute inevitability. and yet, there was nothing inevitable about the process of the
symphony’s creation. Beethoven composed the Fifth over a span of approximately
four years (1804-1808). During that time, Beethoven wrote and rewrote passages,
filling sketchbook upon sketchbook with ideas for the symphony. as leonard Bernstein
commented in his superb 1956 lecture on Beethoven’s Fifth: “the man rejected, rewrote,
scratched out, tore up, and sometimes altered a passage as many as twenty times.
Beethoven’s manuscript looks like a bloody record of a tremendous inner battle.”
“Too much of a good thing”
Beethoven completed his Fifth symphony in the spring of 1808. the premiere took place at
a December 22, 1808 concert, sponsored by the composer, and held at the theater an der
Wien. in addition to the first performance of the Fifth symphony, the vienna concert featured
the premieres of Beethoven’s sixth symphony (“Pastorale”) and the Choral Fantasy, the first
public performance of his Fourth Piano Concerto, four movements from the composer’s Mass
in C, and the soprano aria, Ah! Perfido. all told, the concert included four hours of music.
Beethoven served as both conductor and piano soloist.
Perhaps a music lover who had access to a time machine might choose this concert as his first
destination. imagine the opportunity to witness Beethoven performing several of his greatest
masterworks! By all accounts, however, the event was far from a triumph. a lack of sufficient
rehearsal time, coupled with Beethoven’s failings as a conductor, led to performances that
were haphazard at best, and disasters at worst (during the premiere of the Choral Fantasy,
the orchestra was forced to stop in the middle of the piece and begin a section over again).
the audience endured this marathon concert — held in the dead of winter — in an unheated
theater. as German musician, Johann reichardt, recalled: “there we continued, in the bitterest
cold, too, from half past six to half past ten, and experienced the truth that one can easily have
too much of a good thing — and still more of the loud.”
Early Reactions to the Fifth
today, of course, the Beethoven Fifth maintains its status as one of the greatest and most
popular symphonies. However, the extraordinary power and revolutionary nature of the work
at first inspired confusion, awe, and even fear on the part of some music lovers. Composer
ludwig spohr, who heard Beethoven conduct the Fifth several times in vienna, felt that “with
all its individual beauties (the C-minor symphony) does not form a classical whole.” spohr
described the triumphant finale of the Fifth symphony as “empty noise.” in 1814, the london
Philharmonic rehearsed the work for the first time, and the musicians burst into laughter at
the famous opening measures.
in 1830, Felix Mendelssohn visited Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at the great author’s Weimar
home. there, Mendelssohn played excerpts on the piano of the opening movement of the
Beethoven Fifth. the composer described Goethe’s reaction:
at first he said, “But it does not move one at all; it merely astounds; it is
grandiose”, and then went on growling to himself, until after a long time he
began again: “that is very great, quite mad, one is almost afraid the house will
fall down; and only imagine when they are all playing together!”
in his Memoirs, Hector Berlioz recalled an 1828 performance of the Beethoven Fifth in Paris,
attended by one of the young composer’s teachers at the Conservatoire, Jean-François
lesueur. after the concert, Berlioz rushed to lesueur, anxious to learn his professor’s opinion:
i went striding up and down the passage with flushed cheeks. “Well, dear
master?”...”Hush! i want air; i must go outside. it is incredible, wonderful! it
stirred and affected and disturbed me to such a degree that when i came out of
the box and tried to put on my hat i could not find my own head! Do not speak
to me until tomorrow.”...
the next day i rushed off to his house, and we at once fell to talking about the
masterpiece which had stirred us so deeply...it was easy to see that i was talking
to a quite different being from the man of the day before, and that the subject
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was painful to him. But i persisted until lesueur, after again admitting how
deeply the symphony had affected him, shook his head with a curious smile,
and said, “all the same, such music ought not to be written.” to which i replied,
“Don’t be afraid, dear master, there will never be too much of it.”
i. Allegro con brio — the symphony opens with the clarinets and strings proclaiming the
famous “short-short-short-long” motif—the seed from which the entire work will grow. (anton
schindler quoted the composer as describing the opening of the Fifth symphony in the
following manner: “thus fate knocks at the door!” However, the authenticity of this quote has
long been a subject of dispute.) a terse sequence, based almost exclusively upon this motif,
leads to the introduction of the flowing, second subject by the first violins and winds (here, the
central four-note motif serves as accompaniment, played by the lower strings). a repetition
of the four-note motif by the horns and clarinets, in dialogue with the strings, inaugurates
the development section. a mysterious exchange between the strings and winds leads to the
recapitulation, which seems to move in conventional terms, until suddenly, the orchestra halts,
and the oboe plays a brief, haunting solo. the momentum now resumes, and a fierce coda
brings the opening movement to a stunning conclusion.
ii. Andante con moto — the slow movement is in the form of variations on two themes. the violas
and cellos introduce the lyrical first theme, marked “dolce.” the second theme incorporates the
central four-note motif. after an initial, piano statement by the clarinets and bassoons, the
orchestra presents a bold, martial repetition of that theme. a series of three variations follows.
the coda begins in subdued fashion, but finally draws to an empathetic close.
iii. Allegro — the principal section of the third-movement scherzo is based upon two
contrasting elements. the first is a whispered, ascending and descending figure that appears
at the outset of the movement. suddenly, the horns offer a fortissimo proclamation, once
again based upon the symphony’s central four-note motif. these two themes alternate until
the arrival of the trio section, featuring a lumbering contrapuntal passage, initiated by the
lower strings. the principal scherzo material returns, but now all is couched in hushed mystery.
in a breathtaking transitional passage, the timpanist softly repeats the four-note motif. the
first violins intone echoes of the scherzo, as the orchestra moves inexorably to the glorious
finale, which follows without pause.
iv. Allegro — the orchestra boldly announces the finale’s initial principal theme (the scoring of
this finale includes piccolo, contrabassoon and trombones—all making their first appearance
in a Beethoven symphony). subsidiary material (again featuring the four-note motif ) finally
leads to the second principal theme — a broad, descending melody, introduced by the winds
and violas. the stormy development section is suddenly interrupted by a quiet reprise of the
scherzo. a crescendo serves as a bridge to the recapitulation. From this point to the Presto
conclusion, everything glows in the brightest sunlight.
OliveR KnuSSen, Conductor
A n acclaimed and much-invited conductor, oliver
knussen’s influence on contemporary music has
been felt in many parts of the world. “no figure in British
contemporary music is more respected than oliver knussen,”
says the Guardian. known for his astonishing insights into the
classics as well as new scores, he has sustained his position
throughout his musical life in a succession of prestigious and
influential appointments. Hailed as “a profoundly influential Oliver Knussen
composer, conductor and educator of today’s musical culture”
by the selection committee of the nemmers Prize, he currently holds titles with the BBC
symphony orchestra, london sinfonietta and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
bRice AndRuS, Principal Horn
M r. andrus joined the atlanta symphony orchestra
in 1966 while still a student at Georgia state
university, and moved up to the principal’s chair in 1975. He
holds the aso’s endowed sandra and John Glover Chair. in
1967, he traveled to the Middle east for a two-month tour with
the Georgia state university Brass ensemble, performing in
afghanistan, Cyprus, egypt, iran, Jordan, lebanon, Pakistan,
and syria. Mr. andrus’ solo appearances with the orchestra brice Andrus
include works by Britten, Dukas, knussen, Mozart, and Franz
and richard strauss. He has performed in music festivals at amelia island, Fla., Madison, Ga.,
Highlands-Cashiers, n.C., and Bellingham, Wash.
SuSAn welty, Horn
S usan Welty joined the atlanta symphony orchestra
in 1988. a native of illinois, she graduated from
northwestern university with a bachelor’s degree in music
performance. While studying there, she was a member of
the Civic orchestra of Chicago. Her teachers include Dale
Clevenger, norman schweikert, and richard oldberg, all of the
Chicago symphony orchestra.
Ms. Welty has been a featured guest artist at the international Susan welty
Horn Workshop and has performed at the amelia island (Fla.)
and Bellingham (Wash.) Music Festivals. in addition to her duties with the orchestra, she
frequently appears as a soloist with local orchestras, as well as performing with chamber
ensembles in the atlanta area.
Atlanta’s Performing Arts Publication 27
RicHARd deAne, Horn
R ichard Deane has been third Horn of the atlanta
symphony orchestra since 1987. Mr. Deane is
a native of richmond, ky., where he began his horn studies
with stanley lawson. Mr. Deane received a Master of Music
degree from the Juilliard school and a Bachelor of Music degree
summa cum laude, from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory
of Music. Mr. Deane was a first prize winner in the american
Horn Competition in 1987. He has played principal horn with the Richard deane
Colorado Philharmonic and the Concerto soloists of Philadelphia,
and has performed with the new york Philharmonic, Cincinnati symphony orchestra, soloisti new
york, and the lexington, ky. Philharmonic. in atlanta, Mr. Deane has performed with the atlanta
Chamber Players, and is a member of the atlanta symphony Brass Quintet, touring norway with
that group as part of the olympic cultural exchange between lillehammer and atlanta.
tHOMAS witte, Horn
S econd Horn with the atlanta symphony orchestra
since 1973, thomas Witte began his professional
playing career at the age of twenty. Before moving to atlanta,
he was a member of the toledo symphony, the san antonio
symphony, and the santa Fe opera orchestra. in 1988, he
performed as a member of the World Philharmonic. Born in
augsburg, Germany, Mr. Witte spent his childhood in Michigan
where his music teachers were seymour okun and Charles thomas witte
Weaver, then second Horn with the Detroit symphony. He is
a graduate of the university of Michigan, where he studied horn with louis stout, and Harry
Berv. Mr. Witte has recorded more than 80 orchestral works with the orchestra on the telarc
liSA SAFFeR, soprano
d ue to her supreme musicality, stellar dramatic
instincts, and solid vocal technique, american
soprano lisa saffer is in demand worldwide for opera roles
as diverse as Berg’s lulu and Handel’s Cleopatra. Her concert
work has taken her to virtually all of the leading american
orchestras and she also appears throughout europe. on
the concert stage, Ms. saffer is particularly in demand for
the works of oliver knussen. she is a recipient of the royal lisa Saffer
Philharmonic society award and was nominated for an olivier
award, london’s equivalent of new york’s tony award.