UMD Chamber Concert

October 13, 2016, 6 PM

Music Room

Standing at the intersection of tonality, modality, and serialism, Henri Dutilleux (1916–2013) came of age in France during the Second World War. He absorbed and mastered all the dominant strands of European musical tradition and garnered an esteemed reputation as a composer. Dutilleux created a new musical language of beauty, exoticism, and passion from the wreckage of postwar Europe. The UMD School of Music offers an engaging cross-disciplinary retrospective highlighting some of the composer’s most important works, presented with works of Debussy and Ravel, in celebration of Dutilleux’s centenary.

PROGRAM:

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Études (1915)
     Pour les sonorités opposes

Préludes, Book 2 (1912-1913)
     La puerta del Vino
     La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune
     Feux d’artifice

HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916-2013)
Deux sonnets de Jean Cassou (1954)
     Il n’y avait que des toncs déchirés
     J’ai rêvé que je vous portais entre mes bras

HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916-2013)
Préludes pour piano
     D’ombre et de silence
     Sur un même accord
     Le jeu des contraires

Intermission

MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Chansons madécasses
     Nahandove
     Méfiez-vous des blancs
     Il est doux

HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916-2013)
Ainsi la nuit
     Introduction
     I. Nocturne 1
     Parenthése 1
     II. Miroir d’espace
     Parenthése 2
     III. Litanies 1
     Parenthése 3
     IV. Litanies 2
     Parenthése 4
     V. Constellations
     VI. Nocturne 2
     VII. Temps Suspendu      
  

Larissa Dedova began piano studies at the age of five, and trained at the renowned Gnessin School of Music, and the Moscow State Conservatory under the guidance of Lev Oborin and Eugene Malinin. In 1976, she won the title of Laureate and the Silver Medal at the J.S. Bach International Competition in Leipzig. In a long and illustrious career, Larissa Dedova has since performed or collaborated with luminaries such as Dmitry Kabalevsky, Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Spivakov and the Guarneri Quartet, and she has mentored a new generation of rising stars including Ivo Pogorelich, Valentina Igoshina and Robert Henry.

 In the hands of an artist who relishes the muscular brushstrokes of the Russian romantics, or the architectonic perfection of Bach and Brahms, Debussy might seem not just vague and elusive, but almost dreamily effete. But for Dedova, his impressionistic immediacy, evocative timbers, the palette of shades and moods offers up a seductive template for the free-spirited iconoclast. “Debussy feels always new,” she notes - a limitless soundscape for playful and poetic ideation. As a pianist noted for her “color, big sound and freedom of phrase,” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Dedova and Debussy are then a match made, if not in heaven, then in an airy, sonoric cloudworld just below.

Delores Ziegler’s career takes her to every major theater in the world and into collaboration with the great directors and conductors of our time. Many of these extraordinary performances have been recorded and released as audio recordings and on video and film. With a repertoire that extends from bel canto to verismo, Ms. Ziegler has appeared in the world's greatest opera houses including the Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, the Salzburg Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Bastille in Paris, the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Cologne, Bonn, Hamburg, Florence May Festival and Athens Festival. In South America she has performed at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro. The Georgia native has appeared with virtually every important opera company in the US including the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the San Francisco Opera.

Delores Ziegler has a discography of twenty-eight recordings with prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony, with conductors including James Levine, Riccardo Muti, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Robert Shaw, Claudio Schimone, Armen Jordan and James Conlon. Ms. Ziegler is currently Professor of Voice in the Voice/Opera Division of the School of Music at the University of Maryland.

Rita Sloan is acknowledged internationally as a leading teacher of piano, collaborative piano and chamber music. In 1999, she was appointed a piano faculty member and director of the collaborative piano program at the University of Maryland. As an Artist Faculty Member at the Aspen Music Festival, Ms. Sloan founded their Collaborative Piano Program. She has performed as a soloist with both the Aspen Festival Orchestra and Chamber Symphony as well as in chamber music with many of Aspen’s distinguished guest artists including pianists Wu Han and Orli Shaham, violinists Sarah Chang and Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, cellist Gary Hoffman, bassist Edgar Meyer and flutist Emmanuel Pahud. Teaching residencies and master class presentations have included Tainan National University of the Arts and National Normal University in Taiwan, China Conservatory in Beijing, China, leading universities in Seoul, Korea, London’s Royal College of Music, American universities and conservatories including numerous visits to the Juilliard School in New York. Ms. Sloan has performed with orchestra, in recital, and in chamber music throughout the U.S., Europe, South America and Japan. She has been a guest in many chamber music venues and has performed with members of the Emerson and Guarneri String Quartets. Born in Russia to Polish parents, Ms. Sloan graduated from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Martin Canin and Rosina Lhévinne. Further studies were with Leon Fleisher, Aube Tzerko, Herbert Stessin and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Audrey Andrist is a Canadian pianist who has thrilled audiences from North America to Japan and Germany. She grew up in Saskatchewan, and while in high school traveled three hours one-way for piano lessons with William Moore, himself a former student of famed musicians Cécile Genhart and Rosina Lhévinne. She later studied at the Juilliard School with Herbert Stessin, winning first prizes at the Mozart International, San Antonio International, and Juilliard Concerto Competitions. She is a member of Strata, a trio with her husband, violinist James Stern, and clarinetist Nathan Williams. Ms. Andrist can be heard on over a dozen recordings of both standard and modern repertoire, including a critically acclaimed solo Schumann CD for Centaur Records. She serves on the faculties of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and the Washington Conservatory, and is in constant demand as a performer in the DC area.

Aaron Goldman, Principal Flute of the National Symphony Orchestra since January 2013, joined the orchestra as Assistant Principal Flute in September 2006. Prior to joining the NSO, he was Principal Flute of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed as guest principal with the Baltimore Symphony.

An active soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Goldman has performed concertos with the National Symphony, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, Arlington Philharmonic, Orlando Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Florida, and has performed at several National Flute Association’s annual conventions. Mr. Goldman has appeared as guest artist at universities and flute festivals and has given lectures at the Carnegie Institute and the Smithsonian Institution, such as “The Magical Flute” and “Math and Music: Closer Than You Think” alongside former NSO cellist Yvonne Caruthers. Mr. Goldman is on the faculty of the University of Maryland and received his BM at the Eastman School of Music.

The Left Bank Quartet, with their diverse and colorful backgrounds, came together through the auspices of the Theater Chamber Players, and rather unexpectedly discovered the joys of a vibrant and enthusiastic collaboration. They have been The Left Bank Quartet since 1999, taking their name from the fact that the Kennedy Center, their first regular venue, is situated on the left bank of the Potomac River. Their combined experiences include participation in the major festivals of the musical world — Aspen, Banff, Chautauqua, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Prussia Cove, Ravinia, Santa Fe, Spoleto and Yellow Barn, to name just a few. Their teaching experiences, collaborations, national and international tours, recital and concerto performances, and success in international competitions give this quartet a rich and varied tapestry as they weave their musical message. The Left Bank Quartet’s repertoire encompasses an eclectic range, with quartets of composers such as Chavez, Crumb, Durkó, Dutilleux, Ginastera, Jalbert, Kirchner, Kurtág, Korngold, Ligeti, Meriläinen, Nancarrow and Revueltes augmenting the standard fare. Compositions written for and premiered by the quartet include Mark Wilson’s Time Variations, (Capstone Records) and String Quartet No. 4 by Lawrence Moss, recently released on the Innova label. Gramaphone Magazine’s review praised the composition for its “charm” and “dazzle,” stating, “Moss uses the instruments with idiomatic mastery, ranging from kittenish endearments to electric flashes of energy…played by the Left Bank Quartet with brilliant focus and timbral variety.”

David Salness (Violin) has toured extensively, attaining international recognition as a performer and teacher. His performances have been broadcast by NPR, Bayerische Rundfunk, and the British and Canadian Broadcast Corporations. Mr. Salness’s critically acclaimed recordings are found on the RCA, Telarc, and Centaur Labels among others. Mr. Salness was for twelve years a member of the Audubon Quartet and won the Deuxieme Grand Prix as a member of Nisaika in the 1984 Evian International String Quartet Competition. Currently he is a member of the Left Bank Quartet and has collaborated with many ensembles including the Orford, Moscow, Guarneri and Cleveland Quartets. Mr. Salness has participated in Aspen’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies and in the Newport, Banff, and Mostly Mozart Festivals. Formerly on the Artist Faculty of the Meadowmount School and Distinguished Teacher of Violin at the Brevard Music Center, Mr. Salness is Professor of Violin and Director of Chamber Music at the University of Maryland.

Sally McLain (Violin) received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees with High Distinction from Indiana University. Critically hailed as a “violinist with lots of style” by the Washington Post, Ms. McLain served as concertmaster of the Washington Chamber Symphony for ten seasons and is currently concertmaster of the International Chamber Orchestra of Washington. She was a member of the Theater Chamber Players, as well as the Potomac String Quartet, which recorded the complete quartets of David Diamond and Quincy Porter for Albany Records. She is currently a member of the Left Bank Quartet and the Third Millennium Ensemble.

Katherine Murdock (Viola) has performed throughout the world with such groups as the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Music from Marlboro, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has been a guest of the Guarneri, Emerson, and Vermeer string quartets, and has performed live for West German Radio, BBC, NPR “Performance Today,” “St. Paul Sunday,” and NBC’s “Today Show.” Currently Associate Professor at University of Maryland, she has served on the faculties of SUNY Stony Brook, Boston Conservatory, Hartt School, and five years as Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University. In the summers she is on the artist faculty of the Yellow Barn and Kneisel Hall festivals. She is a member of the Left Bank Quartet and for twenty-one years was a member of the Los Angeles Piano Quartet. In the last several years she been invited to tour Turkey, Taiwan, and Brazil to perform and present master classes.

Eric Kutz (Cello) has captivated audiences across both North America and Europe.  He joined the faculty of University of Maryland School of Music in 2015, coming from Luther College, where he served on the faculty since 2002 as a Professor and Artist in Residence. At UMD, Kutz is the recipient of the Barbara K. Steppel Memorial Faculty Fellowship in Cello. His diverse collaborations cut across musical styles, and have ranged from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to jazz great Ornette Coleman.  Kutz is also a founding member of the Murasaki Duo, a cello and piano ensemble that has released two commercial CD’s and performs on chamber music series throughout the nation.  Duo Virtuoso, their latest release, was the winner of the 2016 Violoncello Foundation’s “Listeners’ Choice Award.” 

As an orchestral musician, Kutz summers in Chicago as a member of the Grant Park Orchestra’s cello section.  He has also appeared in the sections of the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  Kutz has premiered over two-dozen works, and has been broadcast live on WQXR and WNYC, both of New York City, WFMT Chicago, as well as nationally on PBS television’s Live from Lincoln Center.  He holds degrees from the Juilliard School and Rice University.

Notes by Nigel Simeone

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Études (1915)
     Pour les sonorités opposés

Préludes, Book 2 (1912-1913)
     La puerta del Vino
     La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune
     Feux d'artifice

Debussy’s Études are his last major works for piano. Not entirely seriously, he described these extremely difficult pieces as “a warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands.” While many of these studies are concerned with testing particular aspects of piano technique, Pour les sonorités opposés deals with the contrasts of sound in a piece of breathtaking beauty and subtlety. Harmonies seem to ramble dreamily, but they are anchored by a hushed, fanfare-like figure marked “distant, but clear and joyful.”

The second book of twelve Préludes was completed in 1913. Le puerta del Vino took its inspiration from a postcard of the “Wine Gate” at the Alhambra in Granada, and is imbued with the sounds of Spain. Marked Mouvement de Habanera it is marked by sudden outbursts that disrupt the sultry atmosphere.

La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune has a more surprising inspiration: a newspaper article describing the great gathering at which King George V was crowned Emperor of India. It’s hard to hear that in Debussy’s music: voluptuous, delicate and mostly very quiet. Feux d’artifice is the last of the set: a dazzling evocation of a fireworks display on Bastille Day in France. It ends quietly, and magically, as a phrase from “La Marseillaise” is heard in the far distance.

HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916-2013)
Deux sonnets de Jean Cassou (1954)
     Il n'y avait que des toncs déchirés
     
J'ai rêvé que je vous portais entre mes bras

Jean Cassou (1897–1986) was a writer and art historian, dismissed by the Vichy regime from his position at the fledgling Musée Dational d’Art Moderne in September 1940. He was an early member of the French Resistance, and during the war he spent a year in prison for his resistant activities. It was there that he created a series of sonnets, composing them in his head as he had no paper. The Trente-trois sonnets composés au secret were published by Éditions de Minuit in 1944, under the pseudonym “Jean Noir”.  Henri Dutilleux got to know these poems soon after publication, and set one of them at once, “La Geôle” (The Jail). A decade later, in 1954, he set three more poems for baritone and piano, two of which were published (he later made an orchestral version). The first is “Il n’y avait que des troncs déchirés” (“There was nothing but splintered tree-trunks”) in which Dutilleux evokes the poet’s description of a desolate landscape ravaged by violence and war. The second song is “J’ai rêvé que je vous portais entre mes bras” (“I dreamt I was carrying you in my arms”), a more expansive song in which sad recollections are mingled with hope for the future. After the Liberation of Paris in 1944, and a lengthy period of recuperation from his wartime experience, Cassou was reinstated at the Musée National d’Art Moderne and did much to expand the collection (in part through friendships with artists such as Braque and Picasso), developing it into the internationally important museum that is now housed at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Many years after writing these songs, Dutilleux later met Jean Cassou: “In 1982, it was a very moving experience for me to stand next to him at a ceremony at the Elysée Palace, when we were both decorated by François Mitterrand. But on that occasion it was not only the poet that the president was honoring, it was the great Resistance leader – ‘Jean Noir’, to give him his underground name.”
         

HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916-2013)
Préludes pour piano
     D'ombre et de silence
     Sur un même accord
     Le jeu des contraires

Dutilleux’s three preludes were not conceived as a set, but as individual pieces, composed between 1973 and 1994.  When the three were published together, Dutilleux extended Le jeu des contraires, adding a coda. Each of the preludes is dedicated to a pianist: Arthur Rubinstein, Claude Helffer and Eugene Istomin. D’ombre et de silence is a ravishing exploration of piano sonorities, from clusters to more open chords, occasionally punctuated by an idea in the bass that suggests the sound of a gong. Sur un meme accord takes a single chord as its starting point and throughout the piece it presented this chord in numerous ways: in different parts of the piano register, with the notes arranged and spaced differently, and so on. It’s a highly ingenious piece that shifts from driving energy to hushed mystery. Le jeu des contraires refers to contrary motion in the broadest sense: the contrary motion of hands on the piano, but also palindromic fragments, and chords that mirror each other in some way. It is the longest of the preludes and Dutilleux includes allusions to the first two pieces, before a dazzling close in which the music seems to escape in flight from the upper reaches of the piano. The origin of this piece was a short fragment Dutilleux wrote for the magazine Le Monde de la musique, published in 1987. This was the seed from which a much larger work grew, when he was commissioned to write a test piece for the William Kappell Piano Competition at the University of Maryland in 1988. The final stage of composition was before publication in 1994, when Dutilleux expanded Le jeu des contraires to its current form.       

MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)
Chansons madécasses
     Nahandove
     Aoua! Méfiez-vous des blancs
     Il est doux

Ravel composed the Chansons madécasses in 1925–1926, dedicating them to the great American musical patron, Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, who commissioned the work in April 1925. The poems are by Evariste de Parny (1753–1814). In a fascinating introduction, de Parny explained that “The island of Madagascar is divided into an endless number of small territories which belong to various princes. These princes are always fighting each other so that they can take prisoners to sell to Europeans. Thus, without us, these people would be peaceful and happy.” He goes on to describe the people of the island as essentially happy and peaceful, then describes their language and music. But it turns out de Parny never visited Madagascar, and in fact wrote these poems in India. Even so, they exerted a powerful influence on Ravel, who wrote that his settings of them enabled him to create something different and new: “the songs introduce a new element – dramatic, even erotic – resulting from the subject matter of Parny’s poems. The songs form a sort of quartet in which the voice plays the role of the main instrument. Simplicity is all everything in this music.” Scored for an unusual ensemble of voice, flute, violin and cello, the three songs have a sound and character that underline the “new element” to which Ravel referred: a kind of erotic sensuality, combined with a sense of exoticism and strangeness. The first song describes an encounter with Nahandove, a beautiful woman (the phrase “ô belle Nahandove” recurs several times). Given that de Parny’s poems first appeared in 1787, the powerful anti-slavery message of the second song (“Aoua! Don’t trust the white men, you who live on the coast”) must have shocked contemporary readers, and Ravel’s setting of its opening cry is similarly shocking to this day: extremes of dissonance, an a mood heavy with violence and threats. The use of different keys at the same time helps to create a sense of disorientation and unease, and this immensely powerful and disturbing song ends in a state of ambiguity. The third song, “Il est doux”, is much less troubled – a evocation of a man lying under the shade of a tree on a hot afternoon,  hoping that girls will pass by singing and dancing. Less intense than the first song, and far less anguished than the second, “Il est doux” has a quiet and bewitching beauty, but there is no easy enchantment here, and Ravel’s harmonies remain unresolved at the end.

HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916–2013)
Ainsi la nuit: String Quartet
     I. Nocturne
     Parenthèse 1
     II. Miroir d'espace
     Parenthèse 2
     III. Litanies
     Parenthèse 3
     IV. Litanies 2
     Parenthèse 4
     V. Constellations
     VI. Nocturne 2
     VII. Temps suspendu

A note printed in the front of the score of Ainsi la nuit explains how the work came to be composed, and something about its unusual structure.

Commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation, this work is dedicated to the memory of a friend of the composer, Ernest Sussman, and written in homage to Olga Koussevitzky. The work received its first European performance by the Parrenin Quartet on January 6, 1977; the Juilliard String Quartet presented it for the first time in the United States on April 13, 1978 in the presence of the composer (Library of Congress, Washington).

Ainsi la nuit is divided into seven sections linked for the most part by parentheses, often very short but important because of the organic role which falls upon them. Allusions as to what is to follow – or to what went before – find their place there and are situated in the manner of reference points. Here, as in other works by Henri Dutilleux, the memory concept intervenes, together with everything associated with it (prefiguarations, variations, etc.) and this notion implies a particular subdivision of time, and thus of the form adopted.

The different titles, including the general title, refer to a certain poetic or spiritual atmosphere but not in any way to an anecdotal idea. The seven sections are played practically without interruption. However, one important pause is recommended between the third section, “Litanies”, and “Parenthèse 3”.

Dutilleux was a fastidious and fiercely self-critical composer; his patient reflection and exquisite craftsmanship produced highly distinctive music. While his works are unfettered by doctrinaire theories, they were conceived by a musician with an endlessly inquiring intellect and a phenomenally subtle ear for musical color and harmony. Asked in 2010 about his musical influences, Dutilleux stated that, as a student, the music of Debussy and Ravel made a particularly deep impact. Their legacy – refined sensibilities and characteristic harmonies – remained important throughout his career. So, too, did French poetry, particularly Charles Baudelaire, whose poetic universe is memorably evoked in Dutilleux’s cello concerto, Tout un monde lointain.

In the same 2010 interview, Dutilleux was asked which pieces of music he would take to a desert island. One was Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (a work also beloved by two of Dutilleux’s French contemporaries, Messiaen and Boulez); his other choice was Beethoven’s late quartets: “They didn’t move me right away. It took some time before I understood what a revelation they were to me, what they represent in the history of music, among Beethoven’s richest pieces.”  They were to prove a fertile source of inspiration when Dutilleux began work on Ainsi la nuit in 1973. So, too, were several twentieth-century works including the six quartets of Bartók, Berg’s Lyric Suite and Webern’s short, crystalline Bagatelles Op. 9.

According to Dutilleux, he began work on Ainsi la nuit with a group of short studies in sonority: “each dealing with the various kinds of string sound: one study in pizzicato, others in harmonics, dynamics, contrasts, opposition of register and so on.” Other musical factors help to bind the work together, particularly its first chord, which is made up of perfect fifths, superimposed on each other. This chord returns in various guises throughout the quartet. Dutilleux also delights in playing with musical structures: he told Roger Nichols: “in the movement called ‘Miroir d’espace’, there’s a perfect palindrome, not only from the point of view of pitch but for durations too. But elsewhere in the work the palindromes are deliberately not perfect.” Dutilleux once reflected that “you could say there’s no longer any point in writing for string quartet, but that’s really rather a narrow point of view … I think the medium still offers opportunities to express oneself.” In Ainsi la nuit, Dutilleux demonstrates that beyond doubt.