Saratoga Chamber Music Festival and
Pianist Stephen Hough to Present "The Romantics"
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The music of Yaddo composer Lowell Liebermann will be among the featured pieces when the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival presents pianist Stephen Hough in a program of romantic music from several centuries on Sunday, August 20, at 2:15 p.m. in the Spa Little Theater.
Mr. Liebermann, the 2000 Composer-in-Residence for the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival's 10th anniversary year, is considered one of the leading composers of his generation. Critics have described his music as "neo-romantic" and have credited him with bringing a modern sensibility to the structures of the past. Mr. Liebermann has been in residence at Yaddo six times, beginning in 1982 and most recently in 1998. He is a Director of The Corporation of Yaddo.
Violinists Chantal Juillet, Jonathan Bieler and David Kim, violists Roberto Diaz and Margaret Flanagan, and cellists Antonio Lysy and Peter Stumpf will join Hough in performances of works by Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann in addition to the work by Mr. Liebermann in a program entitled "The Romantics."
Clara Wieck Schumann's Four Romances for violin and piano will begin the program. She first made her mark on the music world as a pianist, debuting as a performer in public when she was 9 years old. The day before her 21st birthday, she married composer Robert Schumann, despite the vehement objections of her father. Although known as an excellent composer in her own right, Clara Schumann's compositions all date from before Robert Schumann's death in 1856. The Four Romances for violin and piano, written in 1853, was among the last works she wrote.
Mr. Liebermann's Quintet for piano and strings was written in 1990 on commission by the New England Presenters, Inc. The first performance of the work took place on February 2, 1991, at The Peace Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina. The four movements of the work alternate between driving rhythms and melodic lyricism, with the first and third movements featuring a Chopinesque melody alternating between the piano and strings.
Concluding the August 20 program will be Johannes Brahms' Sextet No. 1 in B-flat major, op. 18. The sextet is the first of two such pieces Brahms wrote, making its first public debut in 1860 - the same year in which Brahms signed a manifesto opposing the "new" music of Liszt and Wagner. The four-movement work has been described as "Romantic emotion bridled by Classical form." Both the second and third movements contain apparent references to Beethoven symphonies. Brahms, who often destroyed or significantly rewrote his compositions, had asked Clara Schumann to burn the work.
Stephen Hough, who delighted a Saratoga Springs audience when he performed at the Yaddo Saratoga Summer Benefit in 1998, is an unusual combination of performer and scholar. He is an internationally acclaimed pianist who has appeared with most of the major orchestras in North America and Europe and has worked with many of today's most prominent conductors. He regularly gives recitals in major halls and series throughout the world and has been a frequent guest at many international festivals. Mr. Hough presented a recital May 4 at Alice Tully Hall in New York City in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Yaddo and the many Yaddo composers with whom he works. He has made over 30 recordings, many of which have won international prizes. Mr. Hough also is a scholar, whose research into the works of pianist-composers of the late 19th century has helped spotlight some of the unusual works of the era.
Chantal Juillet, serving her 10th season as Music Director of the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, also has a connection to Yaddo, having helped to organize and performed at the 2000 Yaddo Saratoga Centennial Benefit held July 8 at Yaddo. Recognized as one of Canada's most brilliant musicians, she plays regularly with leading symphony orchestras throughout the world. She also was one of the first musicians from the West to play as a soloist with the China National Symphony in Beijing. Ms. Juillet is an award-winning recording artist and has given the first public performances of several new compositions. In August, she will premiere Richard Danielpour's Violin Concerto, written for her and The Philadelphia Orchestra in commemoration of the 100th anniversaries of the Orchestra and Yaddo. Mr. Danielpour, also a former Yaddo guest artist, was the 1999 Saratoga Chamber Music Festival Composer-in-Residence.
Tickets for the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival August 20 performance are $27.50 and $22.50. Tickets are available at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Box Office, the Spa Little Theater Box Office, and all Ticketmaster locations. The SPAC Box Office is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and opens at 1 p.m. on performance Sundays. The Spa Little Theater Box Office opens one hour prior to each performance. The Ticketmaster Phone Charge number is 518/476-1000 and the SPAC Phone Charge number is 518/587-3330 (Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
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