Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
William Eddins, conductor
Jason Vieaux, guitar (pictured)
From the daring, war-inspired Concierto del Sur of Manuel Ponce to the pop-influenced Concierto de Dance Hits of Aaron Jay Kernis, this concert displays the classical guitar’s extraordinary range of expression. Rich orchestral showpieces by Respighi and Rota complete the program.
Respighi – Church Windows
Ponce – Concierto del Sur
Kernis – Concierto de Dance Hits
Rota – Concerto for Orchestra “Festivo”
Arrive early for Symphony Prelude, an in-depth presentation about musical works to help make the most of your concert experience, starting at 7 pm in Enmax Hall (Main Performance Chamber), free to all ticket holders.
$79 Dress Circle (A)
$69 Terrace (B)
$59 Orchestra (C)
$39 Upper Circle (D)
$29 Gallery (E)
Tickets subject to applicable service charges.
Concerto for Orchestra in F major “Concerto festivo” (17’)* (ESO premiere)
Concierto del sur for Guitar and Orchestra (25’) (ESO premiere)
AARON JAY KERNIS
Concierto de Dance Hits for Guitar and Orchestra (12')* (ESO premiere)
Vetrate di Chiesa / Church Windows (27’)*
*Indicates approximate performance duration
Program subject to change
Concerto for Orchestra in F Major “Concerto festivo”
(b. Milan, 1911 / d. Rome, 1979)
First performed: November 1962 in Rome
This is the ESO premiere of the piece
The many beautiful melodies we remember from Nino Rota’s classic film scores were no accident – and he paid a price for that. The same melodic inventiveness which yielded the haunting score to The Godfather, and even made it to pop radio with Romeo and Juliet was part of Rota’s art. So at a time of musical exploration and experimentation, his “accessible” style was considered outdated and pandering. “His association with film music and his insistence on tonality led to his being branded by European critics as a reactionary composer whose light and frothy concert music was hardly worthy of respect,” wrote musicologist Joseph Stevenson. Time has, however, given us a perspective in which to appreciate Rota’s concert music anew.
His Concerto for Orchestra dates from 1962, and is in five short movements. The first movement bristles with anticipation – churning strings and brass accents yielding only briefly to contrasting ideas with their own pent-up energy. The second movement’s aria is somber, flowing, and ominous – dominated by a string melody underpinned by a brass counter-melody.
In the Italian bel canto tradition of an opera solo, an aria is often followed by a cabaletta – a slow and beautiful passage succeeded by one of lightness and agility. And so it is with Rota’s concerto, the third movement of which is marked Cabaletta. Its woodwind-dominated sense of mischief is totally at odds with the serious longing of the previous movement. Another slow movement follows, marked as an “elegy,” bringing to mind the idea of a sorrowful and ceremonial homage. The rich brass lend certainly bring that image to mind, and the often unison strings add to the stark landscape. The final movement also begins with brass, but now in fanfare, ushering in the rest of the orchestra for a dashing and heroic finish, though the occasional comments from woodwinds lend an air of cheeky commentary on the otherwise bracing landscape.
Concierto del Sur
(b. Fresnillo, Zacatecas, 1882 / d. Mexico City, 1948)
First performed: October 4, 1941 in Montevideo
This is the ESO premiere of the piece
The gifts Manuel Ponce demonstrated for music from a very early age led, not surprisingly, to studies in Europe, far away from his Mexican homeland. But to home he would return and, with the exception of a few residencies elsewhere, Mexico is where he remained, infusing his classically-trained music with the traditions to which he was born and raised. While he dreamed of a musical “revolution” in Mexico, his own style remained quite reactionary, tied to the late romantic school in whch he was taught abroad (by, among others, Paul Dukas).
It makes sense that the quintessentially Spanish instrument the guitar would figure into a large part of Ponce’s musical output – and so it does. Many of his guitar pieces were written for Andrès Segovia, to whom Ponce dedicated his only work for guitar and orchestra. The Concierto del Sur (“Concerto of the South”) dates from 1941, and Segovia was the soloist at its premiere. The first movement is based largely on a triplet idea both thematically and rhythmically. The second movement’s Spanish roots show in its Arabian influenced theme. The final movement is the most Mexican, a vivacious and constantly driving finale. The guitar’s delicate sound is matched to a small orchestra of strings, single woodwinds, timpani, and tambourine.
Concierto de Dance Hits
Aaron Jay Kernis
(b. Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania, 1960)
First performed: 1999
This is the ESO premiere of the piece
American composer Aaron Jay Kernis intended 100 Greatest Dance Hits, for guitar and string quartet (1993), to be a reflection of 90s popular styles. He confesses that while composing it, the sounds of 70s music rose to the surface most strongly. The piece begins with the guitarist and quartet literally drumming out motivic rhythms on their instruments. In the final movement, voiced percussion sounds bring this charming work to a close aboard the "Disco Motorboat"- the composer's nod to the "Soul Train." The echoes of everyday music that form the source material for this work are a reminder that we are surrounded by unceasing music - at the mall, being gaily serenaded by smarmy, unseen violins; on the phone, consigned to eternal hold with its assuasive Muzak; and at home, being lulled to sleep by the television.
The three movements of Concierto de Dance Hits are drawn from Kernis’s 100 Greatest Dance Hits. The three sections, Double Echo, Slow Dance Ballad, and Salsa Posada form an imaginative and, at times, humorously inventive adaptation of pop sounds and dance rhythms for this combination of guitar and string orchestra.
Vetrate di chiesa
(b. Bologna, 1879 / d. Rome, 1936)
First performed: February 27, 1927 in Boston
Last ESO performance: November 2000
The orchestral music of Ottorino Respighi owes much to visual stimulation – his Roman trilogy, for example, is a series of impressions of actual places throughout his adopted city – as it does to the music of the ancients. Some of his finest works are based on melodies from the Baroque, the Renaissance, and even earlier. His Vetrate di chiesa (“Church Windows”) of 1926 contains elements of both. Inspired more than once by Gregorian chant, Respighi wrote Three Piano Preludes on Gregorian Melodies in 1921, and soon after, set to work orchestrating them. According to Respighi’s widow, it was a friend of the composer, a professor of literature, who suggested that the orchestral cycle be called “Church Windows,” but unlike the real sites from which Respighi drew inspiration in other works, the windows of his orchestral cycle were “windows of the imagination.”
Nevertheless, quotations from church writings accompany the movements. The first, written in a Phrygian mode, has a quote from Matthew appended to it: “…the little caravan proceeded through the desert…carrying the Treasure of the world.” It is imbued with a sense of hushed awe and reverence. By contrast, the strident and powerful second movement, St. Michael Archangel, quotes Revelations, telling of the battle against the Dragon fought by Michael and his angelic army. It is one of those fabulously orchestrated, long crescendos at which Respighi excelled, finishing with a loud crash on tam-tam – the piercing gong-like instrument struck by a mallet.
The third movement takes its inspiration from the story of the 13th-century nun who would become St. Clare, miraculously taken from her sick bed to the church of St. Francis, so that she might be able to attend Matins (the morning service). Its delicacy and grace are in marked contrast to the battle of the preceding movement. The finale is named for the very pope for whom Gregorian chant is named – a resplendent and glittering affair that begins quietly in the orchestra, but builds on a fragment of the theme from the Gloria from the Mass for the Angels to a powerful conclusion – with a rich and ceremonial solo for organ in the middle of the movement. “Ecce Pontifex Maximus!...Bless the Lord…sing the Hymn to God. Alleluia!” is on the preface of this movement, quoting the Graduale Romanum.
Program notes © 2016 by D.T. Baker
Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “among the elite of today's classical guitarists” (Gramophone), is the guitarist that goes beyond the classical. NPR describes Vieaux as, “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” His most recent solo album, Play, won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. In June 2014, NPR named “Zapateado” from the album as one of its “50 Favorite Songs of 2014 (So Far).”
Vieaux has earned a reputation for putting his expressiveness and virtuosity at the service of a remarkably wide range of music, and his schedule of performing, teaching, and recording commitments is distinguished throughout the U.S. and abroad. His solo recitals have been a feature at every major guitar series in North America and at many of the important guitar festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico. Recent and future highlights include returns to the Caramoor Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and New York's 92Y, as well as his Ravinia Festival debut and performances at Argentina’s Teatro Colon and Oslo, Norway’s Classical Music Fest. Vieaux’s appearances for Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bard Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Strings Music Festival, Grand Teton, and many others have forged his reputation as a first-rate chamber musician and programmer. He collaborates in recitals this season with Escher Quartet, acclaimed harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, and accordion/bandoneón virtuoso Julien Labro. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres of works by Dan Visconti, Vivian Fung, Keith Fitch, Kinan Abou-Afach, David Ludwig, Jerod Tate, Eric Sessler, José Luis Merlin and Gary Schocker.
Jason Vieaux has performed as concerto soloist with nearly 100 orchestras, including Cleveland, Houston, Toronto, San Diego, Ft. Worth, Charlotte, Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Kitchener-Waterloo, Richmond, IRIS Chamber, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Chautauqua Festival, and New Hampshire Music Festival. Some of the conductors he has worked with include David Robertson, Donato Cabrera, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jahja Ling, Stefan Sanderling, Michael Stern, David Lockington, Steven Smith, and Edwin Outwater. During the 2016-2017 season, Jason Vieaux will make appearances with more than a dozen symphony orchestras throughout the US and Canada. These include return engagements with the Santa Fe and Edmonton Symphonies, an appearance with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra with conductor Gerard Schwarz, and a Piazzolla Double Concerto with Julien Labro and the Arkansas Symphony. Vieaux will also be performing Dan Visconti’s new guitar concerto, Living Language, which he premiered with California Symphony in May 2016, with the symphonies of Reading, Fort Wayne, and Richmond.
Vieaux continues to bring important repertoire alive in the recording studio as well. His latest album Together, with harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, was released in January 2015. Of his Grammy-winning 2014 solo album Play, Soundboard Magazine writes, “If you ever want to give a friend a disc that will cement his or her love for the guitar, this is a perfect candidate,” while Premier Guitar claims, “You’d be hard pressed to find versions performed with more confidence, better tone, and a more complete understanding of the material.” Vieaux recently recorded Alberto Ginastera’s Sonata for Guitar Op. 47 for a Ginastera Centennial album produced by Yolanda Kondonassis, which will be released in fall 2016 on Oberlin Music. Vieaux’s album with bandoneonist Julien Labro will also be released in fall 2016 on Azica Records.
Vieaux’s previous eleven albums include a recording of Astor Piazzolla’s music with Julien Labro and A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra; Bach: Works for Lute, Vol. 1, which hit No. 13 on Billboard’s Classical Chart after its first week and received rave reviews by Gramophone, The Absolute Sound, and Soundboard; Images of Metheny, featuring music by American jazz legend Pat Metheny (who after hearing this landmark recording declared: “I am flattered to be included in Jason's musical world”); and Sevilla: The Music of Isaac Albeniz, which made several Top Ten lists the year of its release. Vieaux’s albums and live performances are regularly heard on radio and internet around the world, and his work is the subject of feature articles in print and online around the world, including such magazines as Acoustic Guitar, MUSO, Gramophone, and on NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence.” Vieaux was the first classical musician to be featured on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series, on which he made a rare repeat performance in 2015 with Yolanda Kondonassis.
In 2012, the Jason Vieaux School of Classical Guitar was launched with ArtistWorks Inc., an unprecedented technological interface that provides one-on-one online study with Vieaux for guitar students around the world. In 2011, he co-founded the guitar department at The Curtis Institute of Music, and in 2015 was invited to inaugurate the guitar program at the Eastern Music Festival. Vieaux has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1997, heading the guitar department since 2001.
Vieaux is affiliated with Philadelphia’s Astral Artists. His primary teachers were Jeremy Sparks and John Holmquist. In 1992 he was awarded the prestigious GFA International Guitar Competition First Prize, the event’s youngest winner ever. He is also honored with a Naumburg Foundation top prize, a Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement Award, and a Salon di Virtuosi Career Grant. In 1995, Vieaux was an Artistic Ambassador of the U.S. to Southeast Asia.
Jason Vieaux is represented by Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd and plays a 2013 Gernot Wagner guitar.
For more information, visit www.jasonvieaux.com.
Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is on the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street, in the heart of The Arts District in downtown Edmonton. It is readily accessible by car, Edmonton Transit (bus and LRT), and the Pedway system.
The City of Edmonton provides over 1500 convenient parking stalls within a 5-minute walk from Winspear Centre, The Citadel Theatre and Shaw Conference Centre. The Library, Canada Place and City Hall Parkades provide heated underground parking with pedway connections to the event venues. Parking is also available at on-street meters in the vicinity.
Nearly every level of the Winspear Centre is able to accommodate patrons with wheelchairs. Please advise our Box Office staff when you purchase your tickets that access to wheelchair seating will be necessary.
The Winspear Centre can provide an assistive listening device if you require one. Please visit the concierge desk in the main lobby.
Dining Near the Winspear
The Winspear Centre's downtown location is ideally situated for some of the best dining experiences Edmonton has to offer. Whether you're seeking dinner before the show or a late night treat after, you can find it at one of these restaurants located within a few blocks of the Winspear Centre.
At the Event
What to Wear
For some, an event at a world-class facility like the Winspear Centre is a great excuse to dress to the nines. But it’s hardly necessary. If that’s your style – go for it! If it’s not – hey, you paid for the ticket, so do what makes you feel comfortable. You’ll see a wide range of dress, from casual to pretty classy, depending on the kind of event it is. Business casual is probably a great middle ground for most Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concerts.
Perfume & Scents
In consideration to your fellow patrons who may have sensitivities or allergies to scented products, we ask that you use such products with great discretion. If, as a patron, you experience difficulty due to another patron’s use of fragrance, please alert our front of house staff, who will do everything possible to accommodate you.
Food & Beverage
The Winspear Centre has a number of stations in operation pre-show and during intermission. Bars, coffee bars, dessert stations and a martini bar are waiting for you. A good bet for intermission is to pre-order your drink before the show, and it will be waiting for you, so you can avoid lining up during the break.
Click here for more information on planning your experience.