Wagner Prelude to Die Meistersinger

Wagner Prelude to Die Meistersinger Program Notes Wagner’s  comic  opera  Meistersinger  of  Nurenburg  is  his  most  human opera,  since  it  omits  gods,  potions,  and  mythic  journeys.    He  wrote  it  during  an  extended  break  from  his  four-opera  Ring  of  the  Nibelung,  as  a  Vienna  premiere  of  Tristan  &  Isolde was  falling Read more…

Vaughan Williams Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1

Vaughan Williams Norfolk Rhapsody Program Notes The  Rhapsody  evokes  Norfolk  County  in  Northern  England,  and  its  seaside  town,  Norwich.    Vaughan  Williams  was  one  of  the  first  to  collect  and  publish  English  folk  songs,  and  quotes  two  in  this  piece.    The  first  is  a  sad  ballad,  The  Captain’s  Apprentice,  introduced Read more…

Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending

Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending Program Notes English  poet  George  Meredith  (1828-1909)  wrote  his  beautiful  pastoral  poem  The  Lark  Ascending in  1881.    The  61 rhyming couplets  of  the  poem,  over  one  sentence,  depict  the  voice  of  a  lark,  celebrating  life,  nature  and  the countryside over  which  he  flies.    Vaughan  Williams Read more…

Tchaikovsky The Tempest

Tchaikovsky The Tempest Program Notes Tchaikovsky’s  reading  of  Shakespeare’s  final,  and  most  mysterious  play,  led  to  this  Fantasy-Overture,  perhaps  a  deeper  work  than  the  more  popular  Romeo  &  Juliet.    It  presents  the  major  characters  and  themes  programmatically,  and  also  suggests  the  moral  ambiguity  of  nature.  Prospero,  the  Duke  of  Milan, Read more…

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 1

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 1 Program Notes Tchaikovsky  waited  until  his  twenties  before  devoting  himself  to  composition,  quitting  his  Civil  Service  law  job  to  study  music  at  the  St.  Petersburg  Conservatory.  In  1860s  St.  Petersburg,  he  would  have  heard  the  concerts  given  by  Hector  Berlioz,  and  the  French  composer’s  innovations  in  orchestral Read more…

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 Program Notes Ten  years  before  this  Fifth  symphony,  Tchaikovsky’s  Fourth  stood  out  from  the  three  earlier  symphonies,  with  its  fatalistic,  anxious,  and  unsettled  first  movement.  It  was  written  in  a  time  of  personal  crisis  and  despair,  which  included  his  unsuccessful  marriage  to  a  former  student  (two  and Read more…

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 3

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 3 Program Notes While  not  one  of  Tchaikovsky’s  three  final,  fatalistic  and  most  performed  symphonies,  the  Third  is  rightly  popular,  not  least  for  its  use  by  George  Balanchine  in  his  1967  evening-length  ballet  Jewels.    Interestingly,  Tchaikovsky  had  ballet  on  the  mind  when  composing  the  Third  Symphony,  as Read more…