Alan Gilbert

אלן גילברט

Date

27.2.2019

Wednesday 20:00

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Artists

Alan Gilbert, conductor 

Lisa Batiashvili, violinist 

Concert Program

Weber: Oberon Overture
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto no. 2
Dvorak: Symphony no. 9 (“New World”)

Event Info

The name Alan Gilbert (born 1967) became recognizable almost overnight after he was appointed Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009, an appointment that was not the obvious one. He was the first New York native to be appointed to this position. Born in New York, he lived near Lincoln Center and spent countless hours there—and not only because his two parents were violinists in the orchestra. Gilbert brought a new spirit to the orchestra by programming and commissioning contemporary works, creating new Artist-in-Residence and Composer-in-Residence roles for the orchestra, emphasizing educational and community work, and understanding that this orchestra should renew and influence musical life in New York, the United States, and around the world. When Gilbert finished his term as Music Director in 2017, there was no doubt he had significantly changed the face of the New York Philharmonic.

The program he brings to his concert series with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra demonstrates how Gilbert combines well-known works (such as those by Weber, Rachmaninoff, and Dvořák) with lesser-known works (as in Nielsen's Third Symphony) and new works (such as Exquisite Corpse by Swedish composer Anders Hillborg).

It turns out that 1979 produced an impressive crop of soloists. Lisa (Elisabeth) Batiashvili was born (like Barnatan) in 1979 in Tbilisi, Georgia. At the age of 11 she moved with her family to Germany and continued her studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. She is considered one of the most fascinating soloists of our time, and was artist-in-residence at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra between the years 2014-2015 (during Alan Gilbert's time as a musical director). Alongside the classical repertoire, she commissioned and played concert performances by composers such as Magnus Lindberg and Giya Kancheli.

Weber composed the opera “Oberon” in 1826 for London’s Covent Garden Opera House. The plot resembles “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but the work is based on a poem by German poet Christoph Martin Wieland. From the first notes of the overture, Weber beautifully evokes the elves and fairies that abound in the forest. The London audience was thrilled with the work and demanded the orchestra return on stage to play the overture again. Veterans of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra (now the IPO) remember well the blast of Horst Salomon’s horn in the overture.

Perhaps the most interesting story about Prokofiev's Second Concerto for Violin relates to what immediately followed its premiere (in Madrid on December 1, 1935). Prokofiev made the decision to return to the Soviet Union, after a self-imposed exile that began immediately after the First World War. This fact seems to be of musical importance, as one notices in this concerto the relatively simple writing, but with an extremely emotional and expressive attitude. Did Prokofiev consciously or unconsciously end his affair with the European avant-garde? Was there an aesthetic declaration of intent that preceded his concrete decision to return to his homeland? Prokofiev was often perceived as an ironic, biting, and sarcastic composer (for which he was praised by American and European musicians). He succeeded in harnessing the appeal of classic tonalities in service of garnering appeal for his "biting" expressions, and with this concerto, he presents a different aspect of his personality. A closer examination of his biography shows that he had an interest in reaching broad audiences and not limiting himself to the circles of the musical elite, as evidenced by an article he wrote in 1934, "In Praise of Melody." Here, Prokofiev raised the idea that simplicity is an important musical value, but he urged composers to think of simplicity not as a nostalgic matter or an imitation of the past, but to create a "new, fresh simplicity." The second violin concerto seems to be an excellent example of the application if these ideas. This concerto, seemingly less complex than the first concerto, is nonetheless special and original. The expressive opening of the solo instruments, the fresh and captivating melodic line in the second movement, and the "sarcastic" harmonies in the third movement, which gives an impressive role to the percussion instruments, leave no room for doubt as to the originality and uniqueness of the composer.

Five really unimportant things to know about Dvořák (prior to the performance of his Ninth Symphony):

  • His height was 1.78
  • He lived 62 years 7 months and 23 days
  • To listen to all his compositions in sequence requires three and a half days (about 85 hours)
  • He conduced 112 concerts
  • In 1901 he was appointed member of the Austrian parliament.

And four things that one should know about Dvořák in preparation for the Ninth Symphony, "From the New World":

Dvořák arrived in New York at the invitation of New York socialite Jeanette Thurber, who asked the well-known composer to run the National Conservatory. Dvořák's condition was that talented black and Native American students who could not pay the tuition would be taught free of charge. His relations with these minority populations were also fruitful in terms of the influence of their music on his works, and this is evident in various works written by him at the time, including the Ninth Symphony.

About a year after his arrival in the United States, a large orchestral work was commissioned from him for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, thus his ninth and final symphony was born.

Dvořák claimed that he did not quote melodies from American music, but composed his own melodies in the same style.

Dvořák 's Symphony No. 9 has become one of the most successful works in the world and is often performed in concert halls. Especially famous is the second movement, Largo, which has become a favorite and popular tune among classical music lovers.

Price Range

180-550 nis

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Price range

180-550 nis

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