Pacific Overtures. December, 2017.
Here’s my colleague’s December update on Pacific Symphony concerts, bad sweater and all.
Sonata form is a rich and complex subject, often considered beyond the understanding of all except well schooled musicians. But some of the basics are pretty easy to understand and, more important, hear.
First, there are three main sections in the sonata form. There is the Exposition, in which two or more themes are presented, in different keys. The Exposition is often repeated.
Then comes the Development section, in which musical elements of the Exposition are “developed” by various means, including through sequential repetition and harmonic instability.
The Development leads to the Recapitulation, which is a restatement of the Exposition, now all “resolved” into the home key. Usually a Coda of some kind caps off a sonata form movement. You can read more about sonata form here.
My intention here is merely to give you the timings in the recording below of where these things happen in the first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1.
Before the Exposition begins, Beethoven gives us a slow introduction, a prelude.
The Exposition proper starts with the first theme at 1:20. The tempo is Allegro con brio.
The second theme arrives at 2:04.
The repeat of the Exposition begins at 3:14. It is a literal repeat of the entire Exposition, without the slow introduction.
The Development is launched at 5:10.
The Recapitulation happens at 6:32, with the second theme (now in the home key of C major) arriving at 7:05.
You will sense that the movement could end at 8:12, but at 8:13 Beethoven adds the Coda.
(After that, the recording includes the other three movements. Enjoy.)
Take a hike with composer John Adams in the Sierras, the setting for his new opera on the Gold Rush, “Girls of the Golden West.”…
The artistic director of the venerable Ojai Music Festival is stepping down.…
The Los Angeles Philharmonic has a new CEO, with some tough shoes to fill….
A Pulitzer Prize-winning composer writes a Symphony for a Broken Orchestra so that a school district can get its instruments repaired….
In the wake of Brexit, the European Commission has cancelled the UK’s opportunity to host the European Capital of Culture….
OC Music & Dance community arts school has created a partnership to enhance The Artist of the Year competition for local high school students….
A new box set of Glenn Gould’s brilliant 1955 recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” also includes, controversially, the outtakes of the recording sessions.
Estonian conductor Anu Tali, recently picked by The Washington Post as one of the top “Female conductors to watch,” makes her debut with the orchestra in a program of Czech and American music (Nov. 30; Dec. 1-2). Smetana’s cherished tone poem “The Moldau” opens the proceedings, and Dvorák’s powerful and undervalued Symphony No. 7 caps them. In between, Gershwin’s Concerto in F gets a ride with noted Chinese pianist Xiayin Wang in the solo seat. Tickets here
Then the holiday programming gets underway. First, there’s “Nutcracker for Kids!” on Dec. 2, a condensed version of the classic ballet featuring Festival Ballet Theatre, Pacific Symphony, conductor Roger Kalia and a visit from Santa Claus. Tickets here
The annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” (Dec. 3) is this year led by a very special guest, conductor John Alexander, recently retired from Pacific Chorale after 45 years as its artistic director. He leads the Symphony, Chorale and soloists in a complete performance. Tickets here
Pacific Symphony will be in the pit at Segerstrom Hall for 13 performances of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” with American Ballet Theatre between Dec. 7 and Dec. 17. That’s a lot of sugar plums. Tickets here
The “Holiday Organ Spectacular” rumbles in Dec. 19. Todd Wilson, head of the Organ Department at The Cleveland Institute of Music, takes charge of the mammoth Gillespie Concert Organ and Symphony musicians Ben Smolen (flute), Elliott Moreau (bassoon and saxophone), Barry Perkins (trumpet), Mindy Ball (harp), Robert Slack (percussion) and Timothy Landauer (cello) make guest appearances. Tickets here
Finally, the multi-talented Seth MacFarlane arrives (Dec. 22-23) to sing holiday tunes and selections from the American Songbook, all in the cool style of the Rat Pack. Actor Gavin McLeod is also on hand for “The Night Before Christmas.” Richard Kaufman conducts. Tickets here
This has long been one of my favorite pieces of Kleiberiana — “The Huntsmen’s Chorus” from Weber’s “Der Freischutz.”
It’ll make you feel good. You’re welcome.
A young Carlo Maria Giulini conducts the “Limoges” section of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
This seems appropriate for the day, one of my favorite recordings of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, with Carlo Maria Giulini conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Happy Thanksgiving.
Anu Tali is on the line from her home in Sarasota, FL, where she is music director of the orchestra (though not for much longer), and we ask her about being named recently as one of the world’s top “Female Conductors to Watch” by The Washington Post.
“There are two ways of answering your question — if female conductors should be named separately, or if I’m happy to be nominated,” the Estonian conductor, 45, says in elegant accent. “An answer: I’m happy to be nominated. Because I’m just grateful when people notice my work. And I think I am done and over with complaining every time your name comes in one or the other row,” i.e. male or female.
There’s no use fighting it, anyway, with women conductors on the rise internationally, and therefore much in the news. It’s just that Tali, who makes her debut conducting the Pacific Symphony next week, doesn’t see the world in terms of gender, she explains.
“For me, there are interesting male and female artists and people, if you please. For me it is one big stock of artists, not separated.”
The conductor recently announced her departure at the end of next season from the Sarasota Orchestra, where she has served as music director since 2013, saying she wanted to focus on her international career and guest conducting. She’s open to another music directorship, too, but isn’t in a hurry.
“I don’t like planning my life ahead so that I can’t breathe anymore. For me, it’s very important to keep options open because I still have two years here. So it’s quite a long time to do your job properly and I’m not going to go al niente diminuendo (diminish to nothing) you know. We want to gradually grow and It’s very important for me to leave Sarasota Orchestra to the next hands in a very good position to raise from there.”