PATRICIA C. SYAK | Symphony notes Styles of Tchaikovsky, Bach will shine
From the Baroque wizard to the romantic's romantic, concertgoers at the Masterworks concerts of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 18 and Feb. 1 will experience two divergent musical styles.
On Jan. 18, concert attendees will hear the elaborate ornamented melodies identified with the later Baroque period in Bach's Brandenburg Concertos while music of the Romance period, which typically reveals the composer's innermost feelings and emotions to the listener, will be performed at the All Tchaikovsky program Feb. 1.
The lighter side of Johann Sebastian Bach's musical genius will be heard when the orchestra, directed by Isaiah Jackson, performs the composer's Six Concertos with several instruments Jan. 18 at Powers Auditorium beginning at 8 p.m. The Brandenburg Concertos, as the six pieces are affectionately called, represent Baroque music at its best.
In the winter of 1718, Bach traveled from his residence in C & ouml;then to Berlin. It was during this journey that Bach probably first met the Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg, the youngest son of the "Great Elector" Frederick William. The margrave offered Bach a commission to compose a series of works. Two years later, Bach presented the Margrave with scores titled Six Concertos with several instruments.
It appears that the margrave never heard the works that ultimately became known as the Brandenburg Concertos, for he employed an ensemble too few in numbers to encompass all the parts of the six concertos.
One cloud, however, surrounds the margrave commission. Bach scholars believe Bach originally composed these works for performances at various concerts for musicians in the court of Prince Leopold in C & ouml;then, merely presenting them as a collection to the margrave to fulfill the commission. Whatever the circumstances, the Six Brandenburg Concertos provide opportunities for artisans to demonstrate their prowess.
Guest artist Steven Lubin joins the orchestra for the Fifth Concerto in the Brandenburg series. Lubin is uniquely respected as both a masterful interpreter on the classical era fortepiano and an exciting performer on the modern piano. Lubin will perform the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto on the modern piano. Lubin's international performances take him to the world's major concert halls: He has appeared frequently as soloist in Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and Great Performers Series, at the Kennedy Center, the Ravina Festival, San Francisco's Davis Hall, and London's Barbican Center and Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Lubin is a many-faceted musician, performing as a member of the Mozartean Players Trio, leading his own period instruments orchestra in concert appearances, in solo recital as a chamber music collaborator with members of the Academy of Ancient Music and as a touring soloist with the Salzburg Mozartean Orchestra.
The Jan. 18 concert is underwritten in part by the William B. Pollock Foundation and promotional consideration is provided by Turning Point sponsor WKBN TV.
Tchaikovsky, the greatest of Russian composers and also the most tragic, will be the subject of the orchestra's Feb. 1 concert at Powers Auditorium beginning at 8 p.m.
The orchestra, with Jackson directing, will perform Symphony No. 4, considered by many to be Tchaikovsky's first symphony masterpiece. The Fourth Symphony was dedicated to Madame Von Meck, the composer's loyal confidante and benefactress. Their association has been called "the most amazing romance in musical history." That the romance was purely platonic does not make it any less amazing.
In Tchaikovsky's well-known descriptive analysis of the Fourth, many concertgoers may take him literally, or regard the analysis as irrelevant to the music or relate the narrative to the composer's private life. Others may conclude that the very essence of this Romantic symphony is the combination of the three. The orchestra will open the program with the waltz from the Sleeping Beauty ballet.
Pianist Alon Goldstein joins the YSO in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. It took something like a month for Tchaikovsky to compose his exceedingly popular concerto, which opens with one of his best loved themes -- having been given wide circulation through a motion picture and hit song "Tonight We Love."
It hasn't taken long for brilliant Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein to achieve the kind of success predicted for him. Goldstein is a pianist with unsurpassed technique and a powerful gift for communication. He is admired for his warmth of personality and his musical intelligence. Goldstein has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the symphonies of St. Louis and Houston, among others.
In his native Israel he has appeared with Zubin Mehta and the Israeli Philharmonic and the Jerusalem and Haifa Symphonies. Born in Israel in 1970, Alon Goldstein began the study of piano at age 7, graduating from the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts and continuing his studies at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel-Aviv University. A 10-time winner of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship, Goldstein studied with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
The All Tchaikovsky concert is sponsored by Ameritech. Promotional consideration is provided by Turning Point sponsor WYTV.
Tickets for both concerts are available by calling the Symphony Center box office at (330) 744-0264 or online at www.youngstownsymphony.com.
XPatricia C. Syak is executive director of the Youngstown Symphony Society.