Thursday, March 17, 2016

March Masterworks: Beethoven's 2nd - Sturm, Drang und Lebenslust

Beethoven, 1803
Who: The Harrisburg Symphony with Stuart Malina and guest cellist Zuill Bailey
What: The March Masterworks Concert with Beethoven's 2nd Symphony, Nicolas Bacri's 4th Symphony (“Classical Sturm und Drang”) and Dmitri Shostakovich's 1st Cello Concerto
When: This Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm (a pre-concert talk an hour before each performance)
Where: The Forum, behind the State Capitol, at 5th & Walnut Streets, Harrisburg PA
Why: Well, aside from just hearing the orchestra play which is reason enough, there's Zuill Bailey returning to Central PA to play one of the most demanding concertos for the cello, an exciting, edgy work by Shostakovich; there's a Beethoven symphony – and probably one you don't hear that often (Beethoven's symphonies are often described of the Himalayas of the symphonic repertoire, but even if some of the “even-numbered” symphonies aren't quite as epic as the “odd-numbered” ones, it's still quite a magnificent mountain); and you get to hear something you've probably never heard before, a brief, “classically-lined” symphony from the 1990s looking back on the past, by a composer you've probably never heard (or, in this country, heard of) before.

You can read more about Zuill Bailey and the concerto he'll play in this post, here. And you can find out more about Nicolas Bacri and his 4th Symphony in this post, here.

While Bacri's 1995 symphony refers to the Sturm und Drang or Storm and Stress "movement" popular in the 1770s, a bit of emotional romanticism at the height of proper classicism, I've entitled this post about Beethoven's symphony on the program Sturm, Drang und Lebenslust because, in Beethoven's 2nd, there is not only a fair bit of storm and stress on the surface (far more behind the scenes, though), there is also an affirmation of "love for life" that permeates every measure of this music. What is it behind the music that makes this symphony what it is?

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Yes, there's something about Beethoven – he isn't considered “the greatest composer who ever lived” by so many music-lovers in the world for nothing; but that very superlative invites protest from those who think he's overplayed or has been turned into some idealized superhero.

Even in 1810, before Beethoven had completed his 7th Symphony, E.T.A. Hoffman wrote of his 5th Symphony, first heard five years earlier, “Beethoven’s music sets in motion the machinery of awe, of fear, of terror, of pain.”

When Brahms was a young man in the 1850s, hearing the “tramp of a giant like Beethoven behind you” was enough to make him cautious about jumping too soon into the competition with the likes of him – and Beethoven had only been dead for 24 years when Robert Schumann anointed young Brahms his heir.

Composers ever since have reacted to Beethoven, either “with” him or “against” him. Even today, if you've read Alex Ross's The Rest Is Noise (and if you haven't, you should), with its 14th Chapter called “Beethoven Was Wrong (Bop, Rock, and the Minimalists),” it's clear that many composers today are still reacting to Beethoven, perhaps in a different way: if Beethoven's Path was the one most German composers took in the 19th on into the 20th Centuries, not to mention his impact on composers of other nationalities, today many composers have chosen the opposite path if only to see what the view might be like from there.

It was this “search for a new path” that led Beethoven to the 2nd Symphony in the first place, leaving behind the giants of the previous generation – Haydn directly, Mozart above all – to find his own way. The year 1800 seemed as good a time as any.

Let's begin with the music: here is a performance of Beethoven's 2nd Symphony complete in one clip, recorded at the London Proms in 2012 with Daniel Barenboim conducting his West-East Divan Orchestra, comprised of young Arab and Israeli musicians:
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When Stuart Malina introduced this program – music for people who enjoy “stormy music” – you would certainly think this is a “dramatic” symphony, certainly in the first movement. The slow movement has its dramatic moments, but the third movement is the first of his earthy symphonic “scherzos” (literally, a “joke” in Italian) rather than the old-fashioned, aristocratic minuet.

The fourth movement, rather than being a lively set of delightful variations or a heroic finale, sounds like another scherzo, starting off with a loud if not rude-sounding whoop that several commentators have called “a hiccup.”

One critic, writing for the Newspaper for the Elegant World, famously described it as “a hideously writhing, wounded dragon that refuses to die, but writhing in its last agonies... in the fourth movement, bleed[s] to death.”

And yet a noted commentator in a respectably scholarly work more recently wrote, “the peaceful mood of the 2nd Symphony is unruffled throughout.”

Which only proves how dangerous it is to try to describe music in words... (Really? “unruffled”?)

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Not long after the premiere of his 1st Symphony in 1800 and the recent completion of a set of piano sonatas (Op. 28, the “Pastorale,” not quite as popular as its predecessor, the “Moonlight”), Beethoven wrote to a friend, “I am only a little satisfied with my previous works. From today I will take a new path.”

Beethoven was now in his 30s and, following the publication of such groundbreaking works as his Op. 18 String Quartets and the Symphony No. 1, in the midst of a surge of creativity that by 1802 resulted in the ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus, eight piano sonatas, five violin sonatas, a string quintet, his 3rd Piano Concerto, the 2nd Symphony and an oratorio (Christ on the Mount of Olives). The following year, he would complete his 3rd Symphony, the Eroica – “new path,” indeed!

The 2nd Symphony is often overlooked between the sheer audacity of the 1st, coming out of its Haydnesque world into the new century, and the Eroica that followed it. At its premiere, the 1st Symphony did not sit well with the critics; after his Eroica, critics suggested he return to the more acceptable world of his first two symphonies. There is still something “classical” about this 2nd Symphony but only because we know what came after it – yes, by comparison, it would seem a “Classical” symphony, not a “Romantic” one that relies more on the sheer impact of its emotional, subjective response rather than on intellectual, objective ones, a typical aspect of “classical” music, literature, architecture and painting.

Things would change radically – and soon. But, for the moment, that is all in the future – well, most of it.

Beethoven was a painstaking creator – we have his sketchbooks to prove that: where Mozart seemed to write spontaneously, famously writing the Overture to his opera, The Marriage of Figaro, the night before its premiere, Beethoven labored over the shape of his thematic material not so much to find the right “tune” but to create the most productive idea that could generate what he was looking for. And the heart of this is that aspect of “Romantic” music we call development or, in his day, the “working-out.” Sometimes, with “tunes,” all you get is something you can only repeat over and over again; but with a “theme” based on a “generating motive” (like the 5th Symphony's famous opening notes), you could go far beyond the statement of the original idea.

As an example, Ferdinand Ries, one of Beethoven's few students, recalled seeing the manuscript of the 2nd Symphony's slow movement, a movement he thought “so beautifully, so purely and happily conceived and the melodic line so natural that one can hardly imagine anything in it was ever changed.” Yet the manuscript was a barely legible splotch of notes. Expecting to learn something about the composer's craft, Ries asked him why he made the changes he'd made. All Beethoven said was, “it's better this way.”

As an improviser at the piano – something many performers, especially composers, did in those days – the idea of being given a theme to improvise on was a typical challenge in a performance. In the days before TV and reality shows, people might attend “duels” between rival pianists (imagine that!).

One example from one such duel in 1800 involved a popular virtuoso named Daniel Steibelt. Beethoven was not impressed with either Steibelt's quintet that had just been performed or with the improvisation he had just offered (and clearly he didn't think much of the man, either). When asked to improvise something himself, Beethoven grabbed the cello part from Steibelt's quintet, sauntered over to the piano, put it on the rack then made a show of turning the page upside down, plunked out a few notes and then tore into a lengthy set of variations, all of which harkened back to these few notes from Steibelt's cello part. Often, such a “given theme” might just be the starting place for flights of fancy, but Beethoven stayed close to the idea of his chosen material so he could show the audience what all could be done with this simple fragment of “raw material” and make something out of it better than anything Steibelt had done with it, rightside up.

Suffice it to say, Steibelt had left the room before Beethoven had even finished.

I mention this for two reasons, aside from it being a great story: it shows what Beethoven was looking for in his material; and it shows how his creative energy worked, in this case when inspired by anger.

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Another thing to mention, given the writing of this symphony, is what was going on in his life.

In the midst of writing that last movement of his 2nd Symphony in October of 1802 – not to mention dealing with an impending concert for the following April which would premiere not only his new symphony but a new piano concerto and a new oratorio, none of which were yet complete – he wrote a letter to his brothers. Given the conviviality if not the hilarity of the music he was working on at the time, reading this letter is heart-rending. It is known as the “Heiligenstadt Testament.”

The first symptoms of his impending deafness appeared when he was 28, at first occasional buzzing and humming heard in his left ear, then in both. He did not “go deaf” as we normally think it, completely losing his hearing, until later in his life, but his hearing from then on was never “normal,” often afflicted by bouts of this buzzing and what we might call “being hard-of-hearing.” Given the medical treatment available today, it's possible he might have been cured. But the question remains – remember that story about Steibelt? – how much of the music we know is the product of the man who was facing losing his hearing throughout his career? Was this burst of creativity, this level of creativity the product of his fear of becoming deaf?

In June of 1801, he wrote to a close friend still living in distant Bonn, “My hearing has grown steadily worse over the last three years... For two years I have avoided almost all social gatherings because it is impossible for me to say to people 'I am deaf.' If I belonged to any other profession it would be easier, but in my profession it is a frightful state... It is curious that in conversation there are people who do not notice my condition at all; since I have generally been absent-minded, they account for it in that way. Often I can scarcely hear someone speaking softly, the tones yes, but not the words. However, as soon as anyone shouts it becomes intolerable...”

Beethoven's Heiligenstadt neighborhood (in 1898)
So, in April of 1802, Beethoven's doctor advised him to spend some time in the bucolic little country town outside Vienna called Heiligenstadt (since 1892, part of the expanding modern city of Vienna). Here, amidst wooded paths and rural walkways, he would wander during the day, and work out details for all this music that was in him, everything he had brought with him – not just the 2nd Symphony, most of which was finalized and eventually completed here.

In October, he wrote a three-page letter to his two brothers, both now living in or near Vienna (though he doesn't mention Johann by name), that explains his condition, a last will and testament that at times reads like a suicide note. It begins,

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O ye men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly do ye wrong me, you do not know the secret causes of my seeming... that for six years I have been a hopeless case, aggravated by senseless physicians, cheated year after year in the hope of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible)... I was compelled early to isolate myself, to live in loneliness... and yet it was impossible for me to say to men speak louder, shout, for I am deaf.
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It continues,

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“...what a humiliation when one stood beside me and heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard the shepherd singing and again I heard nothing, such incidents brought me to the verge of despair, but little more and I would have put an end to my life - only art it was that withheld me, ah it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had produced all that I felt called upon me to produce, and so I endured this wretched existence - truly wretched...”
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Four days later, he added this,

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“For my brothers Carl and [blank space instead of mentioning Johann by name] to be read and executed after my death.

Heiligenstadt, October 10, 1802, thus do I take my farewell of thee - and indeed sadly - yes that beloved hope - which I brought with me when I came here to be cured at least in a degree - I must wholly abandon, as the leaves of autumn fall and are withered so hope has been blighted, almost as I came - I go away - even the high courage - which often inspired me in the beautiful days of summer - has disappeared - O Providence - grant me at least but on e day of pure joy - it is so long since real joy echoed in my heart - O when - O when, O Divine One - shall I find it again in the temple of nature and of men - Never? no - O that would be too hard.”
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And yet he was in the midst of finalizing the last movement of the 2nd Symphony! Is there anywhere in this music you hear that tone?

It speaks not only to his ability to “compartmentalize,” not to give in to self-pity, perhaps, to continue with the work he had planned as planned.
pages from the Heiligenstadt Testament

But, in November, 1801, he had already written to his friend in Bonn about his impending deafness and said defiantly - prophetically - "I will seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely."

By the end of his Heiligenstadt crisis a year later, Beethoven had decided on the path of resignation, perhaps, but with a determination to resist.

I can think of a similar instance in classical music, Tchaikovsky and his Pathetique aside: when a 20-year-old student named Alexander Scriabin, writing his 1st piano sonata in 1892, concluded it with the gloomiest of funeral marches, after he had lost the use of his right hand through an injury (excessive practicing, ironically), and had imagined his career, barely begun, already over. (You can listen to the movement, here.)

This is, perhaps, how a “normal human being” would react to such a crisis. Perhaps Beethoven's response to his is what makes him seem like a super-hero in our eyes. It is, certainly, something to wonder about...

- Dick Strawser

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Zuill Bailey Returns - with the Shostakovich 1st Cello Concerto

Zuill Bailey
Who: The Harrisburg Symphony with Stuart Malina
What: Masterworks Concert with guest cellist, Zuill Bailey - with Beethoven's 2nd Symphony (which you can read about, here), Shostakovich's 1st Cello Concerto, and Nicolas Bacri's Symphony No. 4 (which you can read about, here)
When: Saturday, March 19th at 8pm, Sunday, March 20th at 3pm (a pre-concert talk an hour before each performance)
Where: The Forum, behind the State Capitol, at 5th & Walnut Streets, Harrisburg PA

Why: Because Zuill Bailey returns to Harrisburg for the 1st Cello Concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich, a work he recorded for his debut on the Telarc label, a program of “Russian Masterpieces” which included Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme. Already familiar from appearances with Market Square Concerts and the Next Generation Festival which began in 1997, he played the Dvořák Concerto the last time he was on stage at the Forum a couple seasons ago.

He plays a cello made by Matteo Gofriller in 1693, previously owned by the cellist of the legendary Budapest String Quartet. Here, Zuill plays the Prelude from Bach's 2nd Suite for Solo Cello, one of six suites Bach composed around the time Zuill's cello was 27 years old:
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The Shostakovich Concerto is a more recent piece, composed in 1959, in the years following Stalin's death, a time when the composer was feeling rejuvenated creatively after years of not just artistic repression during Stalin's regime. It was composed for his friend, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and the idea for it probably came to him when the two had toured with his Cello Sonata in the mid-1950s and which they recorded (it was released in 1957). As Rostropovich related the story in Elizabeth Wilson's Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, ever since 1946, the young cellist had wanted to gather up the nerve to ask Shostakovich to write a piece for him but the composer's wife, Irina, explained, if he really wanted that, the best thing was not to ask him directly and never talk to him about it.

It took thirteen years – but one day, Rostropovich was reading an interview with Shostakovich in the newspaper saying he was working on a cello concerto, and completed it the next month. About two weeks later, Rostropovich shows up at Shostakovich's dacha outside Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and is given the score, and asked to play through it four days later.

On a hot August day, the cellist and his pianist showed up at the arranged time and while Shostakovich was rummaging around to find the music stand, Rostropovich said he wouldn't need that.

“What do you mean, you don't need a music stand?”

“You know, I'll play it from memory.”

“Impossible, impossible,” Shostakovich muttered. And then he listened to his new concerto played through – from memory. The cellist had learned the entire piece and memorized it, too, all in four days.

After they'd played the piece through and worked on a few spots, they sat around having some drinks with a few friends when Shostakovich remembered he hadn't written the dedication in the score, writing Rostropovich's name on the title page. Not only did the cellist finally have a work written for him by the great Shostakovich, it was even dedicated to him.

On October 4th, 1959, Rostropovich premiered the work with Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic. This performance, with Charles Groves conducting the London Symphony, was recorded two years after the world premiere:
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Scored for a “reduced” orchestra – to better balance the cello – with only double woodwinds, one horn and no trumpets or low brass, the concerto is regarded as one of the more challenging in the repertoire, along with Prokofiev's Symphony-Concertante for Cello and Orchestra which Rostropovich had frequently performed and which Shostakovich loved.

As Rostropovich recalled, “there are a host of connections [between the two works]... Not only are many details of the Symphony-Concertante reflected in the First Concerto, but indeed, whole sections of the piece (admittedly much transformed) found their way into Shostakovich's work.” One such connection was the use of “rhetorical bangs on the timpani.”

For instance, “At the end of the finale [of the Prokofiev], the cello ascends the heights as if spiraling up to the very summit of a domed roof; on reaching the highest note it is silenced by one bang of the timpani which puts an end to the frenzied madness.”

Now listen to the end of the first movement of Shostakovich's cello concerto, from 6:00-6:24, where the lone timpani strike seems to tell the soloist, “okay, enough.”

Shostakovich, Rostropovich & Rozhdestvensky rehearsing

Much has been made of “secret programs” or “hidden themes” in many of Shostakovich's works – the famous ending of the 5th Symphony, for one; various quotations of song fragments in the 10th Symphony; not to mention the psychological implications in his use of his own “signature tune” based on the notes D-S-C-H (D, E-flat, C, B in German, from his initials, ДШ or D.Sh, turned into D.SCH in German) – and many dismiss these as mere conjecture since the composer never admitted as such (but then, he notoriously said little about his music or himself).

However, in this instance, we have Rostropovich's recollection of one such admission: in the final movement, shortly after the long solo cadenza ends with the return of strings and winds in a rough, almost rude take-off on what sounds like a folk-song.

In the above video, at 22:49 there begins an exchange between strings in one bar, answered by winds (complete with “rhetorical bangs on the timpani”) that Shostakovich pointed out to the cellist.

“The first time [he] hummed this passage through to me, he laughed and said, 'Slava, have you noticed?' [Shostakovich referred to him by the nickname for Mstislav.]

“I hadn't noticed anything.

“'Where is my dear Suliko, Suliko?...'

“I doubt I would have detected this quote if Dmitri Dmitriyevich [the composer] hadn't pointed it out to me.”

It also recurs later in the finale (at 26:55 to the end, along with the opening motive). Wilson's biography includes pages of the score where Rostropovich circled references to the tune (see pp.538-540).

So, what is the importance of “Suliko”?

It was Stalin's favorite song and Shostakovich had parodied it once before in a satirical work called Rayók which means literally “peep show” or “little paradise,” a parody of the Stalinist days probably written in 1957 but only intended for private performance and not for publication (still a concern even after Stalin died).

“These allusions,” the cellist recalls, “are undoubtedly not accidental, but they are camouflaged so craftily that even I didn't notice them to begin with.” [Quoted in Elizabeth Wilson, p.365.]

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Holy Fool (by Surikov, 1885)
In Russian culture, there is this character of the “Holy Fool,” the religious mad-men who were viewed not as “village idiots” as we might in the West but as divinely inspired and therefore closer to God and therefore able to say truths which others normally could not get away with.” The most famous of these iurodiviy is probably St. Basil (the one for whom that most famous of Russian cathedrals is named in Moscow's Red Square) who once rebuked no less than Ivan the Terrible but was not taken off and executed as a Western autocrat might have ordered. In Mussorgsky's opera, Boris Godunov there is a scene between the “Simpleton” (a.k.a. Holy Fool) and Boris when the poor man accuses the tsar of having murdered Ivan the Terrible's son in order to succeed to the throne himself. Instead of ordering his arrest, Boris asks the fool to pray for him.

Dostoievsky novels are full of such characters (the main character of The Idiot, Prince Myshkin, for one, so innocent yet someone who makes others uncomfortable by his innocence). Pasternak, a friend of Shostakovich's, viewed himself as a kind of iurodiviy where the role became an ambiguous form of protest in the subtlety of its sub-text, “by deliberately communicating banalities on the surface level. This concept shaped Russian cultural consciousness during the years of totalitarian rule” [E. Wilson, p.484].

Shostakovich, in rendering unto Caesar what was Caesar's often with an open sense of cynicism, turned his back on much of the reality of his world, the better to avoid open conflict which was not part of his nature. When asked to deliver a speech on Beethoven, government officials “corrected” it, being experts on such things as “Beethoven and Revolution,” but the friend who'd helped him with the original speech described listening to Shostakovich read the speech. “How alien and artificial seemed the text he was pronouncing. Banal, journalistic phrases, textbook quotations, cumbersome and wordy statements. And the way he read this all out! In a quick patter, omitting all punctuation marks and with an intonation that seemed intentionally lacking in sense. It was as if he was poking fun at himself in the role of official orator” [Daniil Zhitomirksy, quoted in E. Wilson's Shostakovich, p.370-371].

Now, consider the opening four-note motive in the solo cello. G – E – B (or -H) – B-flat (or -B)? It doesn't really seem to spell out anything – if Shostakovich used D-S-C-H to represent himself as he already had done in the 10th Symphony (his first post-Stalin symphony) and would clearly do again in his 8th String Quartet written the following year, does this motive have any significance here? It permeates the entire work, after all. Is it a “variation” on D-S-C-H? Or... just a coincidence?

Or is there a bit of Rayók (a work that could only have been written by a “holy fool”) smiling out from behind all the manic energy of the first movement, set aside during the long, introspective, indeed tragic slow movement that builds up through the increasingly manic cadenza to erupt into one more nose-thumbing dance of the Holy Fool?

Or you could just say it makes for a smashing ending.

- Dick Strawser

Introducing March Masterworks: A Classical Symphony by Nicolas Bacri

Nicolas Bacri
Who: The Harrisburg Symphony with Stuart Malina
What: The March Masterworks Concert with cellist Zuill Bailey - Nicolas Bacri's Symphony No. 4, Shostakovich's 1st Cello Concerto (which you can read about, here), and Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D Major (which you can read about, here)
When: Saturday March 19th, at 8pm; Sunday March 20th, at 3pm (with a pre-concert talk an hour before each performance)
Where: The Forum, behind the State Capitol, at 5th & Walnut Streets, Harrisburg PA

Call it March Madness or that unsettled time of year when Winter is reluctant to give way to Spring, but this weekend's Masterworks Concert, as Stuart Malina says, is for those who like their music dramatic:

March Masterworks from Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra on Vimeo.

That said, the first work on the program, by a composer probably unfamiliar to most concert-goers in Harrisburg, might inspire anxiety at the unexpected. Even though Nicolas Bacri's Symphony No. 4 is subtitled “Classical Sturm und Drang” – and that refers to the “storm and stress” style that was popular during the 1770s (Mozart's highly dramatic Symphony No. 25, the “Little” G Minor, is such a piece) – I think the composer may be having a little fun at the expense of those who may be experiencing a little “storm and stress” with another new piece of music.

Considering we think of Romanticism as being super-emotional, this was how the Classical composers of France and Germany dealt with “emotion” in an age pre-occupied with form and content – and it was considered by many of their contemporaries as “modern music” in the way too many people today still fear “modern music.” The Prussian king, Frederick the Great (himself a flutist and composer), loathed this music, calling it noise, but then he had little good to say about either Haydn or Mozart in general.

Perhaps with a nod to the 1st Symphony of Sergei Prokofiev from 1917, his “Classical Symphony,” Bacri's little chamber symphony, composed in 1995, is in four brief, neo-classical movements, each one an homage to some great composer from the other end of the 20th Century: Richard Strauss at his post-Rosenkavalier most classical; Stravinsky in his middle-period style (itself an imitation of classical and baroque styles rather than the more familiar style of Petrushka or the Rite of Spring); Schoenberg in, ironically, the most old-fashioned movement, a minuet that is a little spikier than what most neo-classicists would have been delving into in the 1920s (it reminds me more of something between his Chamber Symphony, Op. 9, nominally in E Major and still very Straussian, and the Minuet from his serial Suite, Op. 25, rather than anything he's more infamous for); and finally, Kurt Weill but not the composer of “Mack the Knife” as much as his 2nd Symphony which, still, is a very classical work but with the edge we'd expect from the composer of The Three-Penny Opera.

The symphony is available in two versions: one, for standard but Classically-sized chamber orchestra, which the Harrisburg Symphony will be performing; and the other, for piano, clarinet, horn and string trio. The only recording I can find on-line to sample for you is this second sextet version, but here's the second movement, the Arietta a la Stravinksy, as an example of what to expect:
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As one writer has noted, quoting from the composer's website, “Nicolas Bacri is an artistically restless composer driven to continuously question the goals of his art and his compositions habits, an attitude that has resulted in aesthetic choices that are consequences of carefully weighed musical reflection and practice (as opposed to the outcome of ideological presuppositions). This is particularly noticeable in his quartet production, which has yielded starkly contrasting works.”

Born in Paris in 1961, Bacri has written a surprisingly large amount of works including seven symphonies, nine string quartets, four violin concertos, cantatas and sonatas and a number of other large scale works. His most recent work is his serenade, “Homage to Fujita,” for flute and string trio, Op.141. That's a very high number for any composer, these days, and he's only 54 years old.

Though I've only heard a little of his music and out of some 140 published works would not know what is to be considered “typical” of his style, I would, however, recommend for anyone interested in other works by him checking out the concluding section of his “Prayer” for violin and orchestra of the mid '90s or his brief Symphony No. 6 of 1998.

You can read about Zuill Bailey and the Shostakovich Cello Concerto, here and about Beethoven's 2nd Symphony, here.

- Dick Strawser