Classics Up-Close

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Classics Up-Close

September 10, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

HSO is grateful to Pablo Mahave-Veglia for stepping in to play on this concert.  The previously scheduled guitar soloist is unable to perform.

Friday, September 10, 2021 at 7:30pm

First United Methodist Church (general seating)

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)
Ancient Airs and Dances: Suite 3

  1. Anon. (late 16th century): Italiana
    2.  Giovanni Battista Besardo (17th century): Arie di Corte
    3. Anon. (late 17th century): Siciliana
    4. Lodovico Roncalli (1692): Passacaglia


Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Rococo Variations, op. 33 (original version)

Pablo Mahave-Veglia, cello


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Symphony No. 35, K. 385, in D Major, “Haffner”

  1. Allegro con spirito
  2. Andante
  3. Menuetto
  4. Presto

HSO’s Classics Up-Close concert will give the audience a very unique opportunity to sit “up close” to the orchestra.  The orchestra will play works both contemporary and classic in a small setting at the First United Methodist Church…a lovely and lively space for orchestral music.

There will be spoken “program notes” by the conductor during the concert (therefore no pre-concert talk or Classical Chat).

Tickets are available online, at the Symphony office or at the door the evening of the concert (if available).

Cost: $22 Adults, $5 Students through college. General admission.

Cellist Pablo Mahave-Veglia resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is a Professor at Grand Valley State University. Mr. Mahave-Veglia is a cellist and teacher of broad interests whose repertoire ranges from the early baroque, performed on period instruments, to his ongoing interest in researching, performing and recording the work of contemporary Latin-American composers. He counts among his musical influences his late mother, the noted piano pedagogue Mercedes Veglia, as well as such artists/teachers as Arnaldo Fuentes, Steven Doane, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Janos Starker and Uri Vardi.

Over the last couple of seasons he has been much in demand as a chamber musician, joining the roster for the Ontario-based “Magisterra Soloist” for a tour of eastern Canada, as well as performing as a member of the Harlem Chamber Players during their residency at the University of Iowa. This last year he played the complete Vivaldi Sonatas with harpsichordist Gregory Crowell at the “Music at Penn Alps” in Maryland, as well as travelling to his native Chile to play a recital at the Frutillar Festival, and play the Saint-Saëns Concerto with orchestras in Antofagasta and La Serena.

Dr. Mahave-Veglia performs his own edition of the Boccherini G Major Concerto, and likewise it has been used by others including the Berlin Radio Symphony. His current research on the 1934 Cello Concerto by American composer Leo Sowerby has a forthcoming publication.

Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 3

Ottorino Respighi
Born: July 9, 1879, Bologna, Italy
Died: April 18, 1936, Rome, Italy
Written: 1931
Premiered: January, 1932, Milan, Italy
Approximate Duration: 18 minutes

Instrumentation: Strings

Italian composer Ottorino Respighi is well-known for some huge, ground-breaking pieces.  Compositions like Pines of Rome, Roman Festivals, and Fountains of Rome call for massive orchestras and paint colorful musical portraits in a totally new musical language for Respighi’s time.  

Respighi also liked looking back in time and borrowing older forms and textures, especially early Italian music, which he loved.  In his three Ancient Airs and Dances suites, written from 1917-1932, he transcribed lute pieces from the 1500s and 1600s using colors from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  In these transcriptions listeners can observe Respighi's talents in orchestration.  The lute is a quiet, plucked instrument, known for an intimate quality.  Respighi orchestrated these in an intimate way, using small groups of instruments most of the time and reserving the use of the full orchestra for the most dramatic moments.

The third suite is the only one he wrote for only strings.  It is darker in tone than the other two suites.  

  1. Italiana: This is a galliard (a lively dance with complicated steps) set in a gentle triple meter.  It is based on an anonymous sixteenth century song.
  2. Arie di corte: This is a brief suite of six songs attributed to Giovanni Battista Besard (ca.1567-after 1617).  It begins with a viola song.  Hymn-like melodies, lively dances over bagpipe-like drones, and rustic-sounding celebrations unfold before a return to more somber music.
  3. Siciliana: This movement’s form is more commonly known as Spagnoletta in seventeenth century Spain and Italy.  It is based on a piece by Santino Garsi da Parma (1542-1604).  The music is in a gentle triple meter and moves from calm to turbulence. 
  4. Passacaglia: This movement is a theme and variations based on a baroque guitar work by Count Ludovico Roncalli (1654-1713).  Respighi mirrors the original work’s variety of strumming and plucking techniques in his orchestration.  

Click here to listen to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra, Opus 33 (original version)

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Born: May 7, 1840, Kamsko-Votkinsk, Vyatka Province, Russia
Died: November 6, 1893, St. Petersburg, Russia
Written: December 1876
Premiered: Moscow, December 30, 1877, Wilhelm Fitzenhagen
Approximate duration: 19 minutes
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clari­nets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, strings

Tchaikovsky wrote his Variations on a Rococo Theme at a difficult time in his life.  Several performances, including his opera, Vakula the Smith, failed miserably.  Even though he was well-known and respected at this time, he was struggling with self-doubt as he was trying to write symphonies.  By this time in his life, though, Tchaikovsky learned how to escape his depression through writing music, so late in 1876 he began writing a piece for his friend, Wilhelm Karl Friedrich Fitzenhagen, the twenty-eight year old principal cellist of the Orchestra of the Imperial Russian Music Society in Moscow and the professor at the Moscow Conservatory.  Tchaikovsky initially wrote a cello and piano version of the piece.  Fitzenhagen worked with Tchaikovsky and edited the solo part significantly.  This sort of partnership was relatively common at the time, especially when a composer didn’t play the instrument featured in a piece.  Tchaikovsky incorporated Fitzhagen’s suggestions and orchestrated the piece, finishing it in 1877.  Fitzenhagen played the premiere in Moscow, and the piece and performance were received very well.  Fitzenhagen subsequently decided to do even more editing.  When Fitzenhagen submitted the score directly to the publisher, without consulting Tchaikovsky, he had changed the order of variations, omitted one variation, and made other cuts and alterations, all under Tchaikvosky’s name.  The publisher had strong words for Tchaikovsky: “Horrible Fitzenhagen insists on changing your cello piece. He wants to ‘cello’ it up and claims you gave him permission. Good God!”  Tchaikovsky, still struggling with self-doubt, consented to the alterations.  Fitzenhagen’s version of Rococo Variations is the one that is usually performed today, but tonight we are privileged to hear the original version, which was reconstructed in 1941.

Tchaikovsky was a thoroughly Romantic composer, known and loved today for his colorful ballet scores and lush, deeply emotional symphonies, but he liked to look back and borrow from past musical times.  He often wrote of his admiration of Mozart.  The Rococo period, sometimes called the pre-Classical period, was a brief time from approximately 1750 to 1775 that included some of Bach’s children and youthful works of Mozart and Haydn.  The word “rococo” comes from the French rocaille, or shellwork, and refers to a style of asymmetrical highly ornamented art.  In music, rococo music is light in texture and highly ornamented.  In this piece, the orchestra introduces Tchaikovsky’s graceful and innocent theme.  Eight variations follow, exploring the full range and technical abilities of cellos and their performers.

Click here to listen to the original version.

Click here to listen to the Fitzenhagen version.

Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385, “Haffner”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Born: January 27, 1756, Salzburg, Austria
Died:  December 5,  1791, Vienna, Austria 
Written: July and August, 1782
Premiered: March 23, 1783, in Vienna
Approximate duration: 18 minutes
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clari­nets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings

Thanks to John Canfield and Sharon Dwyer for underwriting the purchase of this piece.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Sigmund Haffner were childhood friends.  They were born in Salzburg, Austria in the same year.  The Haffners were one of the city’s wealthiest and most prominent families.  Although the Mozarts were in a different social class, regarded by high society as performers and entertainers, the two boys maintained a friendship.  Sigmund asked Mozart to write a piece for his sister’s marriage in July, 1776.  Mozart wrote a large-scale serenade, today known as the Haffner Serenade, that was performed the evening before the wedding.  The Haffner family commissioned another serenade in 1782, after Mozart had moved to Vienna, to honor Sigmund Haffner, Jr.’s elevation to the nobility.  Mozart was extremely busy at that time--preparing for his own marriage and moving to a new house.  He wrote to his father, “I am up to my eyes in work,” but he took on the assignment anyway.  Mozart completed the assignment late, missing Sigmund’s July 29 ennoblement, and the serenade was put aside.

In December of that year, Mozart looked at the score again and decided to revise it.  He added flutes and clarinets to the instrumentation.  He removed a March movement that opened and closed the work, as well as a second Minuet and Trio movement, transforming the piece into a standard four-movement symphony.  He conducted the symphony’s premiere on March 23, 1783.  The audience received it enthusiastically.  

The first movement is based on one theme instead of the typical two themes.  A large octave leap sets the stage for a remarkable display of Mozart’s ability to develop a simple theme.  Leaping octaves, exciting scales, and joyful fanfares permeate the energetic and humorous music.  The second movement is graceful and elegant.  This is in a traditional sonata form, with two contrasting themes.  The third movement looks back to the courtly traditions of Salzburg, with Mozart adhering to the formal structures.  Mozart instructed that the last movement should be played “as fast as possible.”  The main theme is a direct quotation from the aria, “Ah, How I Shall Triumph,” from Mozart’s opera, The Abduction of the Seraglio.  

Click here to listen.

HSO thanks these business partners for their support of this concert!

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September 10, 2021
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


First United Methodist Church
57 W. 10th Street
Holland, MI 49423 United States
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