Time to Celebrate Zubin Mehta with Leonidas Kavakos

זובין מהטה

Date

03.10.2019

Thursday 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

Zubin Mehta, conductor 

Leonidas Kavakos, violinist 

Concert Program

Ben-Haim: Psalm
Korngold: Violin Concerto
Schubert: Symphony no. 9 (“The Great”)

Event Info

A historical celebration requires a historical look. The "End of the Jubilee Celebration" is one full of performers and works which have had a lasting imprint on the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Maestro Zubin Mehta.

1967 was an important year for the State of Israel, the IPO, and Zubin Mehta. When the Six Day War broke out, the young conductor—then Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra—boarded a cargo plane and came to Israel to share in days of anxiety and joy with the orchestra musicians and all of Israel. That very year, not far away in Athens, one of the most important violinists of our generation was born—Leonidas Kavakos.

Two important composers from the film world are featured during the “End of the Jubilee Celebration” at the opening of the orchestra's season: one, probably familiar to today's film buff, is John Williams, composer of the Schindler’s List Soundtrack, is featured in the final concert. The other is Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the undisputed king of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s.

 

Korngold's story is fascinating. He was the son of a well-known music critic in Vienna and was rightly declared a genius composer at the age of 9. At 20, he had already composed one of his most important works—his opera Die tote Stadt (“The Dead City"). Alongside this serious and dramatic composition, young Korngold was attracted to the magic of “light” music, especially to that of Johann Strauss. Through his collaboration with the important director of the era Max Reinhardt in orchestrating Strauss’s "Die Fledermaus," Reinhart recognized the young composer's diverse skills, and he recommended him to Hollywood film studios. When Korngold arrived in Hollywood, he became a star composer almost overnight and, like other "serious" composers such as Kurt Weil who moved to the popular realm, seemed to be in tune with the musical path he chose. But towards the end of the 1930s, Korngold seemed to want to combine his various musical loves; he wrote his third string quartet and began working on his Violin Concerto. He wrote the work for his close friend, violinist Bronislaw Huberman, founder of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. But by the time the concerto was completed in 1939, Huberman was already too ill to perform the work, and he gave his blessing for Jascha Heifetz to premiere the piece in his stead.  

 

Korngold's multiple skills helped him to write a truly unique piece. The themes that Korngold used were taken from long-forgotten soundtracks he wrote for films; the treatment of the material is reminiscent of a Straussian/Mahlerian style (the work is dedicated to Alma Mahler); and the development and structural thought follow the concerto tradition of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries in a way that renders this concerto a fusion between the concert world and the drama of Hollywood. 

 

The curious listener can find interesting connections between Strauss's "Ein Heldenleben," Korngold’s Violin Concerto, and the Theme Music from "Schindler's List" by master Hollywood symphonic composer John Williams.

Music history is full of stories about compositions and composers whose beginnings were difficult and unsuccessful, and only much later on became success stories. Members of the Vienna Music Amateurs Association, which gathered to perform Schubert's Ninth Symphony, gave up after only two rehearsals because they found the piece "too complicated." Poor Schubert! His life was short and difficult, and only in his final years did he begin to receive the recognition he deserved. Apparently the "God of musical justice" has his own way. It was Robert Schumann, a fan of Schubert's work, who heard that Schubert's brother, Ferdinand, had found a manuscript of a symphonic work that had never been published. Schumann traveled especially to examine the score, and was so enthusiastic about it that he declared it "Beethovenian quality." He passed it on to his friend Felix Mendelssohn, who was passionate about performing and conducting its debut with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in 1839, about ten years after the composer's death. In this piece you can find all the well-known qualities of Schubert. Wonderful melodies, musical drama, but also optimism and grace, which may be a result of the work being written during a rare vacation that the composer took in the Austrian mountains in 1825. This work is one of the most interesting examples of symphonic writing in the post-Beethoven period, as it brings the symphony back to its more organized form, with structural patterns—some more banal and some more groundbreaking—while also filling the symphony with beautiful and compelling musical content. As for the difficulty of the symphony? The thousands of performances and hundreds of recordings of the piece seem to prove that even in this case the initial judgment of this important music was fundamentally wrong.

 

 

Price Range

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Price range

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