Boreyko, Tchaikovsky & Falla
*Please silence your cell phone & turn down the brightness*
Andrey Boreyko, conductor
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Taras Bulba Overture, Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912)
ed. Levko Revutsky
Fuego Fatuo, Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Allegro ma non troppo
Allegro, tempo di tarantella
Allegro ma non troppo
Andante, molto tranquillo
– Intermission –
Suite No.3 in G major, op.55, Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Theme and Variations
Program Notes by: James Manishen
Andrey Boreyko, conductor
2021/22 marks Andrey Boreyko’s third season as Music and Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Their planned engagements this season include performances at the Eufonie Festival, the final and prize winners’ concerts of the 18th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, and the orchestra’s 120th birthday celebration. They also plan to tour across Poland and the US.
Now in his eighth and final season as Music Director of Artis—Naples, Andrey Boreyko’s inspiring leadership has raised the artistic standard of the Naples Philharmonic. Boreyko concludes his tenure as Music Director by continuing to explore connections between art forms through interdisciplinary thematic programming. Significant projects he has led include pairing Ballet Russes-inspired contemporary visual artworks of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave with performances of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and The Firebird, commissioning a series of compact pieces by composers including Giya Kancheli to pair with an art exhibition featuring small yet personal works by artists such as Picasso and Calder that were created as special gifts for the renowned collector Olga Hirshhorn.
Highlights of previous seasons have included major tours with The State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (to Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich) and the Filarmonica della Scalla (to Ljubljana, Rheingau, Gstaad, and Grafenegg festivals). Guest engagements from recent seasons include Seoul Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Sinfonica Nazionale RAI, Sinfonia Varsovia (with whom he appeared in the Budapest Palace of Arts’ Bridging Europe Festival with Piotr Anderszewski), Salzburg Mozarteum Orchester, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Frankfurt Museumsgesellschaft, Sydney, Toronto, Seattle, Minnesota, San Francisco, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas and Detroit Symphony orchestras. In 2019, he conducted the Cleveland Orchestra.
Other orchestras he has worked with include the Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewan dhausorchester, Wiener Symphoniker, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bamberger Symphoniker, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Royal Concertgebouw, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Rotterdam Philharmonic.
An advocate for modern works, Boreyko championed compositions by Victoria Borisova-Ollas in an extensive concert and recording project with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017.
Notable amongst Boreyko’s discography with the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR (of whom he was Principal Guest Conductor) are Arvo Pärt’s Lamentate and Valentin Silvestrov’s Symphony No. 6 (both for ECM records), the premiere recording of his original version of the Suite from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Shostakovich symphonies No. 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 15, both on Hänssler Classics. He has also recorded Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, and Lutosławski’s Chain 2 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Yarling Records. Nonesuch released a recording of the Górecki’s Symphony No. 4 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, shortly after Andrey Boreyko conducted the world premiere inconcert with them, subsequently performing the American premiere with Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Overture to Taras Bulba
b. March 22, 1842 / Hrynky, Poltava gubernia
d. November 6, 1912 / Kyiv, Ukraine
First performance: 1924 (Kyiv)
Last WSO performance: 1996, Bramwell Tovey, conductor
Taras Bulba is a four-act opera by Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko. The libretto was written by Mykhailo Starytsky (the composer’s cousin), and was based on the novel Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol. The story was about a Cossack who kills his son after he betrayed those fighting for their freedom.
Lysenko worked on Taras Bulba during 1880-1891, but it was his insistence on the use of the original Ukrainian text for performance that prevented any productions during his lifetime. He was so intent on elevating Ukrainian culture to European standards that he refused to allow the opera to be translated.
The opera, which Lysenko also maintained was too ambitious for Ukrainian opera houses, was eventually staged during the Soviet period in Moscow after it was re-orchestrated by Levko Revutsky.
Shortly after completing the opera, Lysenko played the score for Tchaikovsky, who reportedly listened to the whole opera with rapt attention, and particularly liked the passages in which national, Ukrainian touches were most vivid. Tchaikovsky embraced Lysenko and congratulated him on his talented composition.
The opera, which was un-revised at the time of the composer’s death in 1912, was first performed in 1924. However, present-day performances are based on thorough revisions which modified the text, the music, and the orchestrations. These revisions were completed in the 1930s and 1950s.
The opera remains in the repertory of the Kyiv Opera House and traditionally performs it at the end of each operatic season in Kyiv.
Historical Recap 1880-1891
1882 Overture, Tchaikovsky
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
North-West Rebellion and execution of Louis Riel
Eruption of Krakatoa
Manuel de Falla
b. Cadiz, Spain / November 23, 1876
d. Alta Gracia, Argentina / November 14, 1946
No composer has been more associated with his homeland than Manuel de Falla. Born in Cadiz, he studied in Spain, won a national prize for his opera La Vida Breve in 1905 and then went off to Paris for seven years where he was transfixed by the diverse musical life of that city. During the First World War he returned to Spain where he composed his famous ballets El Amor Brujo and El Sombrero de Tres Picos plus Nights in the Gardens of Spain for piano and orchestra. All of these along with his Seven Popular Spanish Songs are popular repertoire standards today, Spanish to the core.
So how and why does a composer with roots like this this come to memorialize the beloved piano music of Frédéric Chopin? From Falla’s early musical beginnings he loved the music of Chopin and in 1918 through 1919 he undertook to adapt a group of the Polish master’s best-known piano pieces for a three-act ópera cómica to a libretto by María Martínez Sierra as a theatrical tribute to Chopin’s memory.
Falla told Martínez Sierra which pieces he had selected, leaving her to come up with a plot and lyrics around them. The result was a confused mess of aristocratic intrigue in 19th century Naples. The story failed to inspire the management of Madrid’s Teatro Eslava to produce the piece. The middle act of Fuego Fatuo (“Will o’the Wisp”) remained unorchestrated, and soon the composer moved on.
In 1976 Antoni Ros Marbà produced a nine-movement symphonic suite from the completed orchestrations, replacing the vocal lines with instrumental solos. Falla did not take complete Chopin pieces as he found them, but rewrote melodies and harmonies, even blending different works together. Pizzicato strings, stabbing brass, piano and percussion adds to Falla’s jewel-like orchestral seasoning and the end product bears the personality of the adaptor as much as the adapted. Some of Chopin’s most famous waltzes, mazurkas, études and the rest emerge into the Spanish light in an overlay of impressionistic techniques and sophisticated charm.
Historical Recap 1918-1919
L’Histoire du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale), Igor Stravinsky
Cello Concerto, Edward Elgar
The Return of the Soldier, Rebecca West
Night and Day, Virginia Woolf
Start of Spanish Flu pandemic
End of First World War
Winnipeg General Strike
Suite No. 3
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky
b. Votkinsk, Russia / May 7, 1840
d. St. Petersburg, Russia / November 6, 1893
First performance: January 24, 1885 (Saint Petersburg), conducted by Hans von Bülow
Last WSO performance: 1989; Kazuhiro Koizumi, conductor
Tchaikovsky’s four orchestral suites were composed during the years between his Fourth and Fifth Symphonies (1877-1887). Today, performances of those Symphonies far outnumber the Suites and one begs the question why, since the Suites certainly hold their ground in quality, invention and mastery of orchestration. “I meant to write a symphony, but the title is of no importance”, Tchaikovsky wrote to his colleague, composer Sergei Taneyev during a stay with a wealthy friend in Kamenka, Ukraine in 1884.
Tchaikovsky had been considering a piano concerto and a symphony but neither plan really took hold. Strolling in the estate’s gardens, he was drawn to designing another suite, its inclination to charm and please as he had achieved in his first two, each suite ripe with flowing lyricism, sweeping melody and more than a hint of the dance of which he was famously empathetic with his ballet Swan Lake.
Tchaikovsky was already acclaimed in Western Europe as Russia’s greatest composer, but his diary showed no resting on the spoils of fame. Tchaikovsky struggled over the new Suite. Progress came slowly as he was clearly after something more coherent and less casual in structure than in the Second Suite, and with a firmer narrative than the freedom he experienced in writing the First Suite six years earlier. Tchaikovsky chose a darker overall tone for his Third Suite, lending a more personal and perhaps symphonic leaning. He completed the whole Suite in five weeks.
Tchaikovsky was present at the St. Petersburg premiere conducted by Hans von Bülow on January 24, 1885. He was thrilled on witnessing the tremendous enthusiasm by the audience and wrote to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck: “I could see that the entire audience was moved and grateful to me. Such moments are the finest ornaments of an artist’s life.”
The Third Suite has four movements, the Theme and Variations finale almost as long as the first three combined. The Suite is also lengthier than the previous two and it was Tchaikovsky himself who programmed the Theme and Variations finale by itself on his first concert tour, setting the stage for future performances of the movement “excerpted” from the whole Suite. For ballet aficionados, the finale’s music is easily recognizeable from Balanchine’s classic ballet Theme and Variations, commissioned by the American Ballet Theater to display its celebrated dancers Igor Youskevitch and Alicia Alonso and premiered in New York on November 26, 1947.
The opening Elegy is in a free rondo form, where the theme keeps returning – a quiet, flowing theme followed by a second extensive melody. Horns bring in a third statement. Solo violin gently arrives shortly before the end.
The second movement Melancholy Waltz has a principal theme marked by a brief unsettling phrase that comes first each time it’s heard. The orchestration is especially vivid here as groups of instruments in contrasting registers leap in opposing directions.
The third movement Scherzo is in an A-B-A form. Its principal theme suggests an unbridled tarantella dance but hints of martial tang keep the theme more seriously focused. Trombones and percussion are heard for the first time, playing the main roles in the quiet middle section.
Now comes the extensive Theme and Variations, whose memorable theme occurs in the violins to set the stage of the 12 variations that follow:
Variation I (Andante con moto): Pizzicato strings play the theme while woodwinds weave a double counterpoint above.
Variation II (Molto più mosso): A whirling perpetuum mobile in an ornamental version of the theme for strings.
Variation III: (Andante con moto): Scored for woodwind septet, the first flute carries the melody over the second flute’s decoration. In the middle, the second clarinet takes the tune.
Variation IV: (Andante con moto): The full orchestra is heard for the first time in an assertive statement. The theme elaborates in B minor with cellos, clarinets and English horn in unison, then flutes and oboes, and finally passing on to the upper strings as the mood of the opening returns. Listen for a quote of the famous Dies Irae theme.
Variation V: (Allegro risoluto): A brief fugato, scored for for woodwind and strings.
Variation VI: (Allegro vivace): The full orchestra reminds of the theme over emphatic staccato chords. The violins have it in the middle section.
Variation VII: (Moderato): A woodwind chorale plays just the theme’s first part.
Variation VIII: (Largo): Only 11 bars, this variation follows the previous one without a break, with an English horn solo over the strings.
Variation IX: (Allegro molto vivace): Again no break from the last variation. A lively dance ending with a cadenza for the solo violin that leads into the next variation.
Variation X: (Allegro vivo e un poco rubato): “Lively but with some freedom” the tempo says. The solo violin is featured except for the middle section scored for woodwinds alone.
Variation XI: (Moderato mosso): Violins and flutes play a proud version of the theme over a held note in the main key in the bass for suspense. The final bars form a link to the final variation.
Variation XII: (Polacca, Moderato assai-Tempo di Polacca, molto brillante): A movement in itself – a lengthy introduction leads to a grand polonaise ending with one of the composers most spectacular finishes.
Historical Recap 1884
Symphony No. 2, Richard Strauss
Manon, Jules Massenet
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Ramona, Helen Hunt Jackson
Statue of Liberty presented to US in Paris
First block of pavement laid in Winnipeg
Gwen Hoebig, Concertmaster
The Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté Memorial Chair, endowed by the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation
Karl Stobbe, Associate Concertmaster
Jeff Dyrda, Assistant Concertmaster
Trevor Kirczenow (guest)
Hong Tian Jia
Chris Anstey, Principal
Elation Pauls, Assistant Principal
Momoko Matsumura **
Liudmyla Prysiazhniuk (guest)
Erika Sloos (guest)
Elise Lavallée, Acting Principal
Marie-Elyse Badeau, Acting Assistant Principal
Michaela Kleer (guest)
Dmytro Kreshchenskyi **
Yuri Hooker, Principal
Emma Quackenbush, Acting Assistant Principal
Grace An **
Samuel Nadurak **
Meredith Johnson, Principal
Andrew Goodlett, Assistant Principal
Taras Pivniak (guest)
Jan Kocman, Principal
Supported by Gordon & Audrey Fogg
Laura MacDougall (guest)
Alex Conway, Principal
Beverly Wang, Principal
Tamsin Johnston (guest)
Robin MacMillan, Principal
Micah Heilbrunn, Principal
The James Thomson Memorial Chair
Colin Mehmel (guest)
Cathy Wood (guest)
Allen Harrington (guest)
Kathryn Brooks, Principal *
Mark Kreshchenskyi, Acting Principal **
Elizabeth Mee **
Patricia Evans, Principal
Ken MacDonald, Associate Principal
The Hilda Schelberger Memorial Chair
Chris Fensom, Principal
Paul Jeffrey, Associate Principal
The Patty Kirk Memorial Chair
Steven Dyer, Principal
The Stuart Bremner Memorial Chair
Francois Godere (guest)
Isabelle Lavoie, Acting Principal **
Justin Hickmott (guest)
Andrew Johnson, Principal
Matt Moore (guest)
Ben Reimer (guest)
Brendan Thompson (guest)
Cameron Denby (guest)
Richard Turner, Principal
Endowed by W.H. & S.E. Loewen
Darryl Friesen (guest)
Naomi Woo (guest)
* On Leave
** 1 year appointment