Lahav Shani, conductor

להב שני

The concert has been cancelled due to the security situation.
An alternate date will be announced soon.

Date

13.5.2021

Thursday 22:00

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Artists

Lahav Shani, conductor 

Itai Hermann, presenter 

Concert Program

Ben-Haim: Concerto for Strings
Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra

Event Info

Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984)
Concerto for Strings, op. 40
Paul Ben-Haim, one of the most distinguished Israeli composers and leader of the Eastern Mediterranean school, was born in Munich, where he began his musical studies at the age of nine, studying violin and, later, piano, harmony and counterpoint. Between 1920 and 1924 he was an assistant conductor at the Bavarian State Opera, where he worked under Bruno Walter and Hans Knappertsbusch. After that he conducted the Augsburg Opera until 1931. Following his abrupt dismissal from the Augsburg Opera, he was unable to find a similar post elsewhere in Europe, and he could hardly perform or present his own works. The growing anti-Semitism during that period and the anti-Jewish restrictions and persecutions of the rising Nazi regime led to his decision to leave for Palestine. In October 1933 he settled in Tel Aviv, where he changed his name from Frankenburger to Ben-Haim. His essentially late Romantic style took on a more local flavor after he moved to the Middle East. Within a few years he became an influential composer and the founder of a new musical tradition. He was awarded the Engel Prize twice (1941 and 1953) and in 1957 he received the Israel Prize for Music. He earned international fame through commissions and performances of his works by prominent musicians, including Yehudi Menuhin, Menahem Pressler, Leonard Bernstein, Jascha Heifetz and Uzi Wiesel.
The Concerto for Strings was composed in 1947 “with the intention of employing all the musical and technical possibilities of the noblest of instruments.” The style is neo-classical (or rather neo-baroque) and each of the four movements is based on a single musical theme. The music is influenced by melodic and rhythmic elements of Middle-Eastern folk music, yet doesn’t quote directly from folk songs.

Bela Bartók (1881-1945)
Concerto for Orchestra
In October 1940, Bartók and his wife Dita left Hungary and settled in the USA. This forced departure made him very unhappy. In addition, the composer suffered from a grave illness (leukemia), of which he did die five years later. During the trip to the USA Bartók wrote that “this trip is… like crossing from the known to the unknown but unbearable… only God knows how and for how long I can work there.” Given his poor health, Bartók‘s output in the last five years of his life is remarkable. The list of his “American” works includes an adaptation of the Sonata for two pianos and percussion for two pianos and orchestra, and new works such as the Concerto for Orchestra, Sonata for solo violin, Concerto no. 3 for piano and orchestra and the unfinished Concerto for viola and orchestra.
In early 1943, Bartók’s condition was so bleak that two of his friends, violinist Joseph Szigeti and conductor Fritz Reiner, asked the great conductor Serge Koussevitzky to commission an orchestral piece from Bartók in memory of his late wife, Natalie Koussevitzky. Koussevitzky surprised Bartók one day while undergoing tests at a New York hospital, suggesting he write a piece for him, with a $1,000 grant from the Koussevitzky Foundation. Bartók initially agreed to receive only half the sum because he feared his illness would prevent him from fulfilling Koussevitzky’s wish.
The Concerto for Orchestra was composed at a private sanatorium in New York, between August 15 and October 8, 1943 (“I worked on it… actually day and night,” Bartók wrote to Szigeti), and is Bartók’s greatest pure orchestral composition. This is also the composer’s last complete work (he did not finish the Viola Concerto). Koussevitzky conducted the world premiere with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on 1 December 1944. Bartók was unable to attend the premiere, but he persuaded his doctors to allow him to travel to Boston for further performances of the piece on December 29 and 30. In all these concerts the work was a great success with the audience and Koussevitzky said to the composer that he had written “the best work of the last twenty-five years.” Since then the piece has become a staple of the symphonic repertoire.

Price Range

160-440 nis

Duration

approx 70 minutes, no intermission

Duration

approx 70 minutes, no intermission

Price range

160-440 nis

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