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Amit Peled, cello



From This HourTimothy Tharaldson
   World premiere and recipient of the Minnesota Sinfonia Call for Scores with support from the McKnight Foundation

Concerto in a minor, opus 129Robert Schumann
   Amit Peled, cello

Symphony No. 2Louise Farrenc


Program Notes


From This HourTimothy Tharaldson
   World premiere and recipient of the Minnesota Sinfonia Call for Scores with support from the McKnight Foundation

From This Hour was first realized as choral work based on a text by Walt Whitman. It was premiered in the spring of 2015 by my high school choir in Alexandria, MN, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the high school having a music department. However, I have always felt that the piece would work well as an instrumental work. When Call for Scores provided the opportunity to orchestrate it for the Minnesota Sinfonia, I jumped at the chance. The Whitman text speaks of someone on a journey and the ups and downs that life brings. Musically speaking, there are tempo and dynamic changes throughout, creating the many different experiences, positive and negative of life’s journey. From this Hour is meant to reflect the many times in life we work hard to accomplish tasks and the tasks that follow afterward. The music culminates in relaxation and enjoyment of both the process and the performance. tt

Cello Concerto in a minor, opus 129Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Compared to the piano or violin, there are precious few “major” concertos for cello in the repertoire. Two each by Haydn and Saint Saens (only the first is really played with frequency), and one each by Dvorak, Elgar and Schumann, are the most prominent and often performed. Schumann’s concerto was composed during a two-week period in 1850, but it was not published until four years later, and first performed six years after that. The work is somewhat unusual, in that it was first conceived as a concert piece for solo cello and orchestra, meaning that it would have a balanced approach between the solo cello and the orchestra, as opposed to the more typical solo/accompaniment format for most other concertos. The three-movement work is played without a break (similar to Mendelssohn’s e minor violin concerto), and the opening cello theme appears in the second movement being played by the woodwinds. Schumann wrote the cadenza in the third movement, and contrary to tradition, it is accompanied by the orchestra. jf

Symphony No. 2 in D MajorLouise Farrenc (1804-1875)

Louise Farrenc was a well-known and respected pianist in 19th century France, and in fact was the only female professor at the Paris Conservatory during her time, a position she held for thirty years. Interestingly, for ten years, she was paid less than her male counterparts, until the successful performance of her nonet, after which she demanded and received equal pay. She was a gifted pianist, who had a thriving concert career, and during her early years composed almost exclusively for that instrument. She eventually started composing chamber music, which is often considered to be among her best creations.

Louise composed three symphonies, the second of which is heard on this set of performances. Unfortunately, her timing was off. Opera was the rage during this time, and even though all three symphonies are quite interesting and skillfully crafted works, they did not meet with major successes. In the words of the famous critic and biographer Francois-Joseph Fetis;

Unfortunately, the genre of large scale-instrumental music to which Madame Farrenc, by nature and formation felt herself called, involves performance resources which a composer can acquire for herself or himself only with enormous effort…. This is the reason why her oeuvre has fallen into oblivion today, when at any other epoch her works would have brought her great esteem.

Perhaps an even better explanation can be found from composer Camille Saint-Saens:

The composer who was bold enough to venture out into the field of instrumental music had only one forum for the performance of his works: a concert which he had to organize himself and to which he invited his friends and the press. One could not even think of attracting the public, the general public; the very mention of the name of a French composer on a placard—especially that of a living French composer—was enough to send everyone running.

For this set of performances, I have taken the liberty of creating an edition suitable for the Sinfonia make-up, and one that I hope you will find both charming and great fun! jf