PROGRAM NOTES

Ritual Fire Dance   

from
El amor brujo

1915 

Manuel de Falla

1876 - 1946

Born in Cadiz and educated in Madrid, Manuel de Falla embraced the traditional musical styles of his Spanish homeland, particularly the folk music of his native Andalusia. His early compositional efforts garnered some encouraging competition victories and publishing offers, but only after a stint in Paris (where he rubbed elbows with Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, and others) and his subsequent return to Madrid at the outbreak of World War I, did he establish himself (along with Turina, perhaps) as the leading Spanish composer of his generation. 

El amor brujo comes from this period immediately after his return to Spain. Commissioned by a famous flamenco dancer, the work had a tortuous composition history, finally settling into its final form as a “ballet-pantomime” in 1924.

 

The story follows a Roma woman who loves one man but is promised to another. When her husband dies, he continues to haunt her, preventing her from pursuing a relationship with her beloved. The Ritual Fire Dance, the ballet’s most famous work and indeed Falla’s most popular composition, is an unsuccessful effort to exorcise her husband’s ghost.

Vocalise

1915 / 1918 

Sergei Rachmaninoff

1873 - 1943

Sergei Rachmaninoff's career as a pianist and composer is striking both in its success and its non-linearity: obstacles both external and internal seemed to perpetually derail his path. Political instability in early 20th-century Russia drove him to a peripatetic existence, in which he rarely held a stable position for more than a year or two. Additionally, a badly received premiere could damage his confidence so strongly that he
might not write a new work for years at a time. He achieved his most consistent success at
the end of life as a concertizing pianist in the United States.

When he did find the inspiration to compose, Rachmaninoff produced some of the most beloved compositions of the early 20th century, firmly embracing the Romanticism of his childhood mentors, including Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. 

Rachmaninoff composed the original version of his famous Vocalise (a song without words) in 1915, adding it to a collection of thirteen songs he had written in 1912. Lacking text, the Vocalise lends itself to instrumental treatment, and he created a purely orchestral setting of this melancholy masterpiece in 1918.

Manuel de Falla

Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Max Bruch

Double Concerto in E minor
for Violin and Viola

1911
Max Bruch

1838 - 1920

Even more firmly entrenched within the Romantic musical tradition was German composer and educator Max Bruch. While his 19th-century output would have been considered conservative (though not archaic) at the time, his early 20th-century compositions come across as downright old-fashioned. Bruch’s fame today rests primarily on a trio of concertante works for strings: the First Violin Concerto; the Scottish Fantasy (also for violin); and Kol Nidrei, a cello feature based on Jewish themes. He also left a strong legacy as a teacher, attracting students from all over Europe, including the likes of Respighi and Vaughan Williams.


Bruch composed the Double Concerto for his clarinetist son (later adapting the part for the violin) and the violist Willy Hess, a colleague at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik.

"Through the rhapsodic beauty of this piece, the vibrant violin and rich tones of the viola blend to express warmth and affection."

Alyssa Roggow

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Czech Suite in D major

1879

Antonín Dvořák

b. 1947

Antonín Dvořák had perhaps the most amicable compositional approach of any major composer of his time and place. While the radicals (personified by Wagner and Liszt) vied with the conservatives (Brahms and Bruch) over the best way to write music, Dvořák freely employed techniques from both schools into his works. Whichever side he happened to come down on for any given piece, however, he rarely failed to instill the music with the character of his native Bohemia, basing his Lisztian tone poems on Czech folk tales and bringing traditional Czech dances into his Brahmsian symphonies.


Dvořák Bohemianness comes out in full force in his Czech Suite of 1879. The first and fourth movements may be thought of as rural
scene-setters, gentle morning contrasting with pensive evening. The remaining movements are based in the rhythms of three Czech folk dances: a polka by turns graceful and rustic, an elegant sousedska resembling a minuet, and a fiery furiant that drives the work to a close.

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Antonín Dvořák

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FOR SUBSCRIBERS

Free tickets will be available to 2019-2020 subscribers one week before the general public: FEBRUARY 1 - 5. Due to the fact that we cannot guarantee seats this year, free tickets will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

 

FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC

Free tickets will be available to the general public (as capacity allows) the week prior to the live concerts: FEBRUARY 8 - 12.

WHERE TO GET TICKETS

Pick up free tickets at the Mansfield Box Office:

M - F 11:00am to 4:30pm.

No phone or online ordering for non-subscribers.

Only 200 will be seated for each performance: 100 on the main floor and 100 in the balcony.

Tickets and masks are required to be seated.

Grant Harville Music Director & Conductor

SYMPHONY PREVIEW with Maestro Grant Harville February 11 at 12pm. Click here to watch on YouTube Live.

LIVE February 13

ONLINE February 21

2021

GRANT HARVILLE
MUSIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR
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