Page 2

about the ProGraM

strings—the movement glides to a quiet close on that subdued sound. The Vivace finale dances energetically along its 6/8 meter. Suk builds this movement on its opening idea, full of rhythmic energy and syncopated pulses, and a flowing second theme. This finale avoids the dark tensions of the opening movement and dances home in a great rush of good-spirited energy. MarTinů: Piano Trio no. 2 in D Minor, H. 327 We remember Bohuslav Martinů as one of the greatest Czech composers of the twentieth century, yet Martinů spent very little time in his Czech homeland, choosing instead to live as an exile in Paris, the United States, Italy, and Switzerland. Martinů had his early training in Prague, and he became a good enough violinist to join the Czech Philharmonic. But he sought a richer environment, and in 1923 he moved to Paris, which would be his home for the next seventeen years. The Nazi occupation drove Martinů to flee to the United States, where he would spend the next decade. Martinů found life in the United States alien, but he was welcomed here as a composer: he taught at leading music schools, and his symphonies were premiered by the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra and performed by many other orchestras. At the end of World War II, Martinů hoped to return to Czechoslovakia, but the communist takeover there eventually made that impossible. In the meantime, he suffered a catastrophic accident. Invited by Koussevitzky to teach at Tanglewood in 1946, Martinů was enjoying his summer there when on the evening of July 25 he stepped off an un-railed balcony in the dark and fell a story to the ground, crushing part of his skull and spinal chord. He was unconscious for two days and in the hospital for five weeks. His recovery was slow: he suffered from headaches and dizziness, he had to re-learn to walk, and he would never fully escape the effects of this injury. By 1948, Martinů had recovered to the point that he was able to accept a three-year appointment to the faculty of Princeton, and it was while he was teaching at Princeton that he composed his Piano Trio No. 2 in D minor. The trio, however, was commissioned by another university—Massachusetts Institute of Technology—and was first performed there on May 19, 1950, by a trio made up of MIT faculty members: violinist Klaus Liepmann, cellist George Finckel, and

pianist Gregory Tucker. The Trio in D minor is concise: its three movements span only about a quarter-hour. Some have heard the influence of Haydn, a composer Martinů very much admired, on this music, and perhaps that is true, particularly in its clarity and economy of means. But all the characteristics of Martinů’s own mature style are evident here as well: the sense of constant motion, an attractive melodic sense, endless energy, and a somber coloring. The Allegro moderato is built on the violin’s rising opening melody, which rides above an active accompaniment and glides through several different keys as it proceeds. The development is active, and the movement drives to a firm conclusion. Longest of the movements, the central Andante retains some of the subdued mood of the opening movement. The tempo may be moderate, but the movement’s spiky lyricism is underpinned throughout by the accompaniment’s steady pulse. The concluding Allegro is full of bristling energy. Martinů offers an attractive lyric interlude along the way, but the energy of the opening returns to drive the trio to its ebullient close. HaaS: MULTICULTURAL SUITE Composer Roman Haas was born in 1980 in Klatovy, Czech Republic, and began playing cello at the age of 6. He continued his studies of the instrument at the Conservatory of Pilsen, followed by composition with Bohuslav Řehoř at the Prague Conservatory. Since 2008 he has devoted his attention to teaching and composing in Prague. A representative of the younger generation of Czech composers, he is known for his communicative, directly emotional style which appeals to a large spectrum of audiences, from classical to modern. Roman Haas composed his Multicultural Suite during the last year of his studies at the Prague Conservatory. The suite, as indicated by its idiomatic title, is a set of dance movements based on folk elements of various ethnic backgrounds in which Haas finds his inspiration. Each of the movement’s names captures the essential dances of different countries and languages. Each movement begins with a thematic motif which helps indicate and distinguish the cultural mimicking. SMETana: Piano Trio in G Minor, oP. 15 Smetana wrote very little chamber music—two quartets, this trio, and a set of pieces for violin and piano—but that chamber music is particularly intense and personal. It was as if he poured his enthusiastic Czech nationalism into works like The Moldau and reserved a more personal kind of expression for chamber music. His best-known chamber work, the autobiographical String Quartet No.

Profile for Philharmonic Society of Orange County

Smetana Program  

Smetana Program  

Profile for psoc
Advertisement