DAYTON, OH (August 30, 2018) – On Friday, September 28 at 8:00 pm and Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 8:00 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present a lovely presentation of music in the 2018–2019 Premier Health Masterworks Series, Pictures at an Exhibition. The DPO is pleased to welcome back to the stage guest violinist Yevgeny Kutik for this performance.
Yevgeny Kutik is the Louis S. Cantor, Rose Sorokin Cantor, Samuel L Cantor, and Lena Cantor Endowed Guest Artist. Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s Innovation Partner for this 2018–2019 Vistas Season is the DP&L Foundation: Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts.
Rich with romance and orchestral color, this Masterworks program illustrates the power of music to create elaborate visions in the mind and deep feelings in the heart. Of course, each of us conjures different imagery when we hear certain sounds, rhythms, melodies and harmonies. That is the attraction of these three masterpieces: to take audiences to three very different places. The program is also notable in that two of the works started life as solo piano compositions and were subsequently given their opulent orchestral attire by a second composer. Also, the same two works were inspired by visual art!
The first example is Debussy’s piano piece L’isle joyeuse (The Joyful Island), which was initially inspired by Antoine Watteau’s painting L’Embarquement de Cythère. This happy scene depicts a group of revelers as they depart for the mythical island of Cythera, birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love. The music also came to symbolize the Channel Island of Jersey, off the coast of Normandy, France, where Debussy escaped with Emma Bardac, who became his second wife. He revised L’isle joyeuse there. The music was later transcribed by Italian composer Bernardino Molinari, who employed strings, harps, celesta, a large percussion section, and full wind and brass sections to create an otherworldly atmosphere.
Next, violin soloist Yevgeny Kutik joins the Orchestra for a veritable musical declaration of the romantic soul: Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. The pinnacle of his composing career, Bruch’s concerto is a marvel of craft, employing great clarity of design, romantic sonority, and graceful melody. The result is a piece of music that cannot fail to move the heart.
Hailed for his dazzling command of the violin and its repertoire, as well as a communicative immediacy that harkens back to the legendary Romantic masters, Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik has become a highly sought-after artist on the concert stage worldwide. The New York Times has described Kutik as having “an old-fashioned rhapsodic style, which is magnified by his rich, sweet tone.”
The DPO then concludes this opening concert with the second work of the night inspired by the visual arts. The death of Russian architect and painter Viktor Hartmann in 1874 triggered a chain of events that led to the creation of one of the most beloved compositions in the whole of classical literature, Pictures at an Exhibition. Composer Modest Mussorgsky and Hartmann were dear friends, and the composer’s grief led him and another associate, Vladimir Stasoff, to mount a memorial exhibition of Hartmann’s work. This energized Mussorgsky, who fell to work feverishly creating a piano suite depicting the paintings and honoring his departed friend.
Our story then turns to Boston in 1922 and its accomplished orchestra. Its maestro, Serge Koussevitzky, commissioned the famous French composer Maurice Ravel to orchestrate Mussorgsky’s piano piece. It was a perfect match; Mussorgsky provided the impetus, and Ravel’s agile mind and keen orchestral knowledge brought an explosion of color, contrast and dramatic dynamics to the picture.
This is programmatic music at its most literal. The flow of the musical narrative follows a walk through a gallery as we “see” an exhibition of ten paintings. The paintings are interspersed here and there with a “promenade” theme that moves us along. Mussorgsky’s music is so enjoyable to those of all ages that the DPO will be reprising two of the movements in the upcoming annual Family Concert, PhilharMonster. Pictures at an Exhibition concludes a perfect night of classical music at its very finest from the Dayton Philharmonic.
Tickets for Pictures at an Exhibition range from $12 to $65 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org