Amy Beach's Gaelic Symphony
*Please silence your cell phone & turn down the brightness*
Daniel Raiskin, conductor
Demarre McGill, flute
Michael Tilson Thomas, b. 1944
Notturno for flute, harp and strings
- Demarre McGill
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756 – 1791
Concerto No.1 in G major for Flute & Orchestra
Adagio non troppo
Rondo: Tempo di menuetto
- Demarre McGill
– Intermission –
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach, 1867 – 1944
Symphony in E minor, op.32, Gaelic
Allegro con fuoco
Alla siciliana; Allegro vivace
Lento con molto espressione
Allegro di molto
Daniel Raiskin, conductor
Known for cultivating a broad repertoire and looking beyond the mainstream for his strikingly conceived programmes, Daniel Raiskin has been the music director for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra since the 2018/19 season.
Daniel grew up in St. Petersburg, the son of a prominent musicologist, where he attended the celebrated conservatory in his native city. He continued his studies in Amsterdam and Freiburg, first focusing on the viola but was later inspired to take up the conductor’s baton. He studied with maestri such as Mariss Jansons, Neeme Järvi, Milan Horvat, Woldemar Nelson and Jorma Panula.
Along with the WSO, Daniel was appointed Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in 2020/21, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016/17.
Some recent and upcoming guest engagements include the Warsaw and Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestras, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Russian National Orchestra, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orchestra (Hague Philharmonic, NL), Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Symphony Orchestra and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.
During the 2021/22 season, Daniel took the Slovak Philharmonic and participated in a successful residency at at InClassica Festival in Dubai where they shared the stage with Rudolf Buchbinder, Gil Shaham, Daniel Hope and Andreas Ottensamer. The Philharmonic also toured Germany and Austria this past spring (2022) under Daniel’s leadership.
Demarre McGill, flute
Demarre McGill has gained international recognition as a soloist, recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, he has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Seattle, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Grant Park, San Diego and Baltimore symphony orchestras and, at age 15, the Chicago Symphony.
Now principal flute of the Seattle Symphony, he previously served as principal flute of the Dallas Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He recently served as acting principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and earlier with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
As an educator, Demarre has performed, coached and presented master classes in South Africa, Korea, Japan, Quebec and throughout the United States. With his brother Anthony, he was a speaker and performer at the 2018 League of American Orchestras Conference. He has also served on the faculties of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) at the University of Maryland, the Orford Music Festival, and participated in Summerfests at the Curtis Institute of Music. In August of 2019, he was named Associate Professor of Flute at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is an artist-faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School.
A founding member of The Myriad Trio, and former member of Chamber Music Society Two, Demarre has participated in the Santa Fe, Marlboro, Seattle and Stellenbosch chamber music festivals, to name a few. He is the co-founder of The Art of Élan and, along with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Michael McHale, founded the McGill/McHale Trio in 2014. Their first CD Portraits released in August 2017, has received rave reviews. As has Winged Creatures, his recording with Anthony McGill and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2019-20 the McGill/McHale Trio performed at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, as well as in Washington D.C. and on chamber music series throughout the Midwest.
Media credits include appearances on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center, A & E Network’s The Gifted Ones, NBC’s Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, with his brother Anthony when they were teenagers, on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
A native of Chicago, Demarre McGill began studying the flute at age 7 and attended the Merit School of Music. In the years that followed, until he left Chicago, he studied with Susan Levitin. Demarre received his Bachelor’s degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and a Master’s degree at The Juilliard School.
MASTERWORKS | Written by James Manishen
Michael Tilson Thomas
b. December 21,1944 / Los Angeles
First performance: April 2005 New York City; Paula Robison, flute
“Notturno for flute, harp and strings is a virtuoso piece evoking the lyrical world of Italian music. Its shape recalls concert arias, études de concert and salon pieces — creations of a bygone world that I still hold in great esteem. I remember the great care and attention that Piatigorsky and Heifetz lavished on such pieces and some of the seemingly effortless charm of that genre has found its way into this work.
The piece has a subtext. It’s about the role music plays in the life of a musician and the role we musicians play (must play?) in life. It’s about musicians first discovering the wonder of music and their own unique voice. Then, of course, there’s the profession: the concerts, gigs, the routine, and the wear and tear that can lead you to ask, “Why am I carrying on with all this trilling and arpeggiating?” But we play what we must play with excellence and commitment, even if it drives us nearly over the edge. The great part is, if we have the chance to take a little breath, we discover that the wonder never goes away.
Notturno was written for the American flutist Paula Robison and in tribute to Paul Renzi, who was for fifty years first/principal flutist of the San Francisco Symphony.” – Michael Tilson Thomas
Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
b. Salzburg / January 27, 1756
d. Vienna / December 5, 1791
Mozart never seemed to have any luck in his search for a Kapellmeistership. In September 1777, he left Salzburg with Paris as his ultimate destination. Maybe, he and his father thought, a position would materialize along the way, or at least an opera commission.
The city of Mannheim turned out to be a musical and personal balm for Mozart. He stayed there for four months. The Mannheim Orchestra was the talk of Europe and it was there that he met and fell in love with Aloysia Weber. Though that didn’t work out, Mozart eventually married Aloysia’s sister Constanze and it was a bond of deep affection for the rest of his short life.
The Mannheim Orchestra was not only an ensemble of virtuoso players but highly innovative for its day, with a bold expressive range adapted from French and Italian opera. The orchestra also had a precision of ensemble, an arsenal of unusual repertoire and a dramatic manner of volume changes that supplanted the Baroque style of distinct contrasted dynamics.
Mozart was entranced by the Mannheim Orchestra and quickly won the support of the brilliant court flutist Johann Baptist Wendling and the orchestra’s conductor Christian Cannabich. It was through Wendling’s recommendation that Mozart made contact with the wealthy Dutch amateur flutist Ferdinand de Jean, who commissioned Mozart to write three “easy concertos and a few quartets for the flute.”
Though the full commission was neither fully executed nor fully paid for, Mozart produced two Concertos for Flute, one in G major (K. 313) and a reworking of his earlier Oboe Concerto to make his second Flute Concerto, in D major (K. 314).
Mozart’s state of mind was combative at the time, especially in view of the letters he was receiving from his father scolding him on the expenses he was running up on the trip. That plus the movement’s flowing and inventive material seem to cancel out Mozart’s comment that “I am obliged to write for an instrument which I cannot bear.” A bit of rebelliousness towards his father perhaps?
There certainly is no evidence of disdain in the G major Concerto. The music is full of warmth, high spirits and refinement, giving every possible opportunity for a fine soloist to shine without exceeding the capabilities of the instrument of the time. Mozart studied the flute’s technical advances and, as with all his wind concertos, assimilated the instrument’s character beautifully.
The opening movement has an engaging, slightly martial subject, perhaps more tongue-in-cheek here as its tempo marking of Allegro maestoso runs seemingly counterintuitive to the flute.
The gentle slow movement provides a sensuous melody for the solo over muted strings. Here Mozart replaces his oboes with two flutes whose soft sounds provide a warm cushion to the soloist. The Finale is an elegant minuet in sonata rondo form whose congenial style stands out over the more common display showings that end concertos of the time.
Historical Notes 1778
Little Organ Mass, Joseph Haydn
Symphony No. 31 in D “Paris”, W. A. Mozart
Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World, Fanny Burney
The Old English Baron, Clara Reeve
American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
Capt. James Cook makes first European discovery of Hawaiian Islands
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach
b. September 5, 1867 / Henniker, New Hampshire, United States
d. December 27, 1944 / New York City
First performance: October 30, 1896 (Boston); Emil Paur, conductor
Amy Beach was the first American woman to succeed as a composer of larger orchestral forms. Even as a child born with immense musical talent – perfect pitch, unusual keyboard facility and a gift for composition – Beach was mature enough to recognize that a career in music would be a problem for a woman during an era when a woman’s role was deemed as purely domestic, reinforced by her parents. But a professional musical career was a strong draw for her and despite the limitations of her family and society, Amy succeeded.
Her childhood and early teens were devoted to piano studies. She made her piano debut at age seven. At age 16, Amy’s mother allowed her to play Moscheles’ Second Piano Concerto with orchestra in which she received enthusiastic reviews. In 1885, she made her début with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Critics called her playing of Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto “perfect.”
At the age of eighteen Amy married Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, M.D., 25 years her senior and her new authority figure. He wanted Amy to limit her performing and concentrate on composition under her new name Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. Amy was denied a composition teacher, so she used her natural talents to successfully teach herself composition and orchestration.
During her 25 years of marriage, Amy Beach composed not only the Gaelic Symphony and a piano concerto but also songs, chamber, choral and solo piano music. Widowed at 43, she went to Germany to present her compositions and revive her career as a pianist, under the name Amy Beach. On her triumphant return to Boston in 1914, she devoted herself to concert tours and composition, completing the balance of her three hundred works, almost all published and performed. Long a hero to women composers, she died 1944 in New York City at the age of 77.
Beach’s Gaelic Symphony of 1896 drew on Irish thematic material as a source and model, reflecting her own heritage. This was a massive milestone in women’s music as Beach became the first American woman to compose and then further publish a symphony. Dedicated to Emil Paur, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it was first performed on 30th October 1896 by the Boston orchestra, which repeated it four times. During Beach’s lifetime, the symphony was given by the Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Hamburg, and Leipzig orchestras, among others.
When Antonin Dvořák was brought over from Bohemia in 1893 to direct the National Conservatory of Music in New York, he was tasked with sourcing and displaying the issue of American musical nationalism. His advocacy of African and Native American traditional songs as sources for concert music was challenged by Beach, who suggested that American composers choose traditional music from their own heritage. After hearing the Boston première of Dvořák’s Symphony From the New World, Beach was inspired to use four traditional Irish tunes of “simple, rugged and unpretentious beauty” as themes for her symphony. The original themes she composed “in the same idiom and spirit”.
Beach began composing the symphony in 1894 and decided to use a Celtic theme taken from one of her songs. Dark is the Night is about a turbulent sea voyage and provides much of the first movement’s music, its rumbling introduction, the first two themes, and the development section. The closing theme of the exposition, however, is an Irish jig.
The second movement recalls Dvořák in the outer Andante sections flanking an inner scherzo. A lyrical Irish tune played by solo oboe is featured. The middle section is a variation of the borrowed melody.
Beach wrote that the third movement, Lento con molta espressione, conveys “the laments… romance and… dreams” of the Irish people. In two sections, each has an Irish melody as theme.
The entire fourth movement, Allegro di molto, is spun out of two measures from the first movement. Beach writes that it is about the Celtic people, “their sturdy daily life, their passions and battles”. The movement opens with a triumphant martial theme. After its development the orchestra slows down for the second theme, marked by expressive leaps characteristic of Irish melodies. A number of themes enter the mix. The music moves to its heroic close, the whole orchestra uniting for the final time.
Historical Notes 1894
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Claude Debussy
Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”, Gustav Mahler
Billboard magazine begins publication
The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
US experiences first Polio epidemic
Coca-Cola is sold in bottles for first time
Gwen Hoebig, Concertmaster
The Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté Memorial Chair, endowed by the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation
Karl Stobbe, Associate Concertmaster
Hong Tian Jia
Erica Sloos (guest)
Chris Anstey, Principal
Elation Pauls, Assistant Principal
Momoko Matsumura **
Liudmyla Prysiazhniuk (guest)
Elise Lavallée, Acting Principal
Dmytro Kreshchenskyi, Acting Assistant Principal**
Alexander Moroz (guest)
Yuri Hooker, Principal
Emma Quackenbush, Acting Assistant Principal
Grace An **
Samuel Nadurak **
Gabriella Oliveira (guest)
Meredith Johnson, Principal
Taras Pivniak (guest)
Jan Kocman, Principal
Supported by Gordon & Audrey Fogg
Laurel Ridd (guest)
Beverly Wang, Principal
Renz Eulric (guest)
Yevhenii Yeromenko (guest)
Micah Heilbrunn, Principal
Graham Lord (guest)
Tom Weston (guest)
Kathryn Brooks, Principal *
Mark Kreshchenskyi, Acting Principal **
Elizabeth Mee **
Ken MacDonald, Associate Principal
The Hilda Schelberger Memorial Chair
Micajah Sturgess (guest)
Chris Fensom, Principal
Paul Jeffrey, Associate Principal
The Patty Kirk Memorial Chair
Justine Auger (guest)
Richard Scholz (guest)
Steven Dyer, Principal
Justin Gruber, Principal
Andrew Johnson, Principal
Brendan Thompson (guest)
Richard Turner, Principal
Endowed by W.H. & S.E. Loewen
* On Leave
** 1 year appointment