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Goldstein & Mozart – Amazing!

Alon Goldstein, piano

Fri. Mar 11 Roseville Lutheran Church 7pm
1215 Roselawn Avenue West, Roseville, 55113

Sat. Mar 12 Basilica of St. Mary 2pm
1600 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, 55403



Passage of the LostStephen Elsinger
   World premiere and recipient of the Minnesota Sinfonia Call for Scores with support from the McKnight Foundation

Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459
   Alon Goldstein, pianoWolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major, op. 60Ludwig van Beethoven


Program Notes


Passage of the LostStephen Elsinger (b. 2005)
   World premiere and recipient of the Minnesota Sinfonia Call for Scores with support from the McKnight Foundation

Passage of the Lost is a piece containing a variety of tones and rhythms. The main theme is a waltz and the secondary theme is a calmer pastoral song. Together, they combine to create what I hope is an enjoyable listening experience.

This music was not attached to other projects, as it was something I did specifically for this competition. When I started composing, I did not have an overarching message or story in my head, but I did want to create music that could have different interpretations. As the writing progressed, I found myself creating a mix of darker and calmer sections which I think helped to achieve my original goal. In the past, my music would often sound either triumphant or sinister, which I often associated with heroism and evil. However, with this piece, I relied less on those musical inclinations which for me was a challenge, but I think led to an overall better result. se

Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

This concerto was the last of six that were all composed in 1784. Although likely performed soon after it was finished, the first edition published after Mozart’s death had on its title page that it was played (suggesting for the first time) on October 15th, 1790, during and for the coronation of Emperor Leopold II. Perhaps this was the “official” premiere.

The concerto is unusual for several reasons. The first movement moves along at a brisk clip with a rhythmic (march-like) pattern, that according to an analysis by Neal Zaslaw, appears 165 times in the movement’s 410 measures. It is a pattern that Mozart used often in many works, but because of his genius and orchestrating skills, it never seems to become old or boring. The second movement, instead of being a typical andante (walking) tempo, is marked as “allegretto,” which suggests a quicker and more playful feeling than what one normally would expect. The last movement is fast to be sure but is distinguished by its constant use of fugal/canonic writing – that is when one voice (perhaps a cello) starts playing a motif and is quickly followed by a second voice – perhaps the viola, and then maybe a third or even a fourth voice – a violin, the piano or some other instrument playing the same motif, so they pile on top of one another. This technique, called poly (many) phonic (sounds), is a throwback to the baroque – the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries. Regardless, if this was an “old-fashioned” technique, it works brilliantly in this music and offers a magnificent ending to a very lively and entertaining concerto. jf

Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major, opus 60Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

A great deal has been written about Beethoven, his concertos and symphonies. He was of course one of the most innovative of all composers, and his use of the orchestra – the way he combined the instruments to create what became new sounds for his audiences – was a marvel. What is even more fascinating about these works is their general make-up. If one analyses them, s/he finds mostly scales and arpeggios, and often some very simple motives. Yet, from what one would think is nondescript materials, Beethoven fashioned some of the most exciting and dramatic music in the entire repertoire.

Beethoven’s symphonies extended the boundaries of the “classical symphonic form” that were established by Haydn and Mozart. His mastery and creative use of harmonies and orchestration, and his sense of drama and timing (sudden softs, louds, driving rhythms, and clever use of accents), allowed him to compose some of the most enduring and beloved masterpieces in the entire orchestral repertoire. In fact, many of the great composers who followed him would not compose more than nine symphonies, in deference to the nine that he created.

The fourth symphony had the misfortune of coming between two giants – the third symphony, the Eroica – which originally was to be dedicated to Napoleon – and the fifth symphony, which up until that time was undoubtedly the most dramatic symphony ever written. The fourth symphony is often portrayed as having a “sunny” disposition, and it certainly did not have the dramatic gravitas of the third and fifth. Hence it has not been considered the “powerhouse” like the aforementioned.

Like all of Beethoven’s works, it does have some unusual moments, including the very beginning, which Leonard Bernstein describes as a

mysterious introduction which hovers around minor modes, tip-toeing its tenuous weight through ambiguous unrelated keys and so reluctant to settle down into its final B♭ major.

Accolades came from across the spectrum, and the following are but a few that were written by other famous composers:

French composer Hector Berlioz suggested that the second movement had to have been composed by the archangel Michael, and that

it seems to elude analysis. Its form is so pure and the expression of its melody so angelic and of such irresistible tenderness that the prodigious art by which this perfection is attained disappears completely. From the very first bars we are overtaken by an emotion which, towards the close, becomes so overpowering in its intensity that only amongst the giants of poetic art can we find anything to compare with this sublime page of the giant of music.

Composer Robert Schumann wrote that this Symphony was

a slender Greek maiden between two Norse giants

Famous Beethoven scholar Alexander Thayer called it

placid and serene – the most perfect in form of all the symphonies

As a stand-alone composition, the fourth symphony is a great piece of music. For Beethoven, it was just one of many. jf