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Yevgeny Kutik, Violin

Yevgeny Kutik, violin


Thu. Apr 25 Metropolitan State University 7pm
700 East 7th Street, St. Paul, 55106

Sat. Apr 27 Basilica of St. Mary 2pm
1600 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 55403



Slavonic Dance opus 46, No. 1Antonín Dvořák

A Romp between Serious ThoughtsJay Fishman

Violin Concerto No. 1 in g minorMax Bruch
   Yevgeny Kutik, violin

Symphony No. 36, “Linz”Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Program Notes


Slavonic Dance Opus 46, Number 1Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)

Antonin Dvořák composed his Slavonic Dances (opus 46) in 1878 for a commission by Nikolaus Simrock, the famous German publisher and friend of Johannes Brahms. Dvořák had already composed five symphonies, but at the time his reputation did not extend beyond his native land (now the Czech Republic). Simrock had made a lot of money by publishing Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, and he had hopes that Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances would be just as successful. The commission was for piano four hands (two players), but even as Dvořák was composing, he already started to think in orchestral terms, and soon created the full orchestrations. Unlike Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, which were (more or less) arrangements of folk songs that Brahms heard played by Gypsy violinists in the coffee houses, Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances were original compositions, but relying heavily on his native Czech musical heritage of harmonies and rhythms.

The Slavonic Dances received enthusiastic reviews from the well-respected German critic Louis Ehlert, which in turn helped to foster acceptance by the German and English public. This was important, as it allowed Dvořák to meet and then work with some of the most notable musicians of the day, including conductor Hans van Bulow, violinist Joseph Joachim and the Florentine Quartet. These musicians’ performances, and their friendship with Dvořák, helped the composer establish a broad public standing, and enough security so that he could devote his energies solely to his compositional endeavors.

Many years ago I arranged the sixth and seventh dances from the opus 46 for the Sinfonia. A few years later I added number eight, which was followed even later by numbers one and three. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy these works and had great fun making these arrangements. jf

A Romp between Serious ThoughtsJay Fishman (b. 1947)

This work was composed for the dedication of the Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center. As many of you know, the Sinfonia has a long-standing and very close relationship with the University, and when we were asked to play a concert for the dedication, I immediately offered to write piece honoring the event.

As it turned out, the genesis of this work had a complication that I did not foresee, which in turn says a lot about how I go about composing. Over the past 30 years, I have had two dogs as pets. Both were malamutes, and both were very helpful to me in my creative moments. How (or, better yet, why), you ask? The reason is simple. I took the dogs on regular and long outings (running for the first 25 years, and then – as the second dog aged and my back and knees started to give – walks), which in turn was my creative time. It was during these times that I would generally (or at least sometimes) come up with tunes and/or motives that I would use in my latest endeavors. The problem for the Romp was that Sobaka II (yes, I actually did name the dog as a sequel to my first) had aged so much that he could no longer take the long walks necessary for me to get my act (or thoughts) together. What’s more, when we did walk, he would move so slowly, and I would have to half drag him along, that the time we spent together was not really conducive to composing. The long and short of it was that he and I both struggled.

One day, when I was bicycling – without the dog – I came up with a tune that I thought might work for this piece. Hopefully I am right, and that you will find it enjoyable. I meant for this piece to be light-hearted, and certainly not in the tradition of another dedicatory work, Beethoven’s Consecration of the House Overture. With that in mind, I came up with a tongue-in-cheek and somewhat suitable title. The Romp is dedicated to the University’s president, Wilson Bradshaw; its provost and one of the Sinfonia’s Board members, William Lowe; and my many friends at Metro who have been so supportive and helpful to the Sinfonia. jf

Violin Concerto No.1. in g minorMax Bruch (1838-1920)

Max Burch’s first violin concerto is one of the most popular works in the entire repertoire. However, when he was writing it, Bruch was very unhappy with his creation, revised it a half dozen times, and generally felt that it would not be a success. Before the first public performance, Bruch brought the concerto to Brahms for the master’s approval. Brahms also was not very impressed and was not encouraging. History has proven both Brahms and Bruch wrong. From the first performance, in fact, the concerto became immensely popular. So much so, that it overshadowed all of Bruch’s other work. The composer became so frustrated with this success, that in a satiric note he wrote:

Police prohibition concerning M. B.’s First Concerto. As very recently, the astonishing fact has emerged that violins played the First Concerto by themselves, with the utmost dispatch we make it known, for the relief of anguished souls, that we hereby seriously ban the said concerto.

The famous Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim helped work out the solo violin part to this concerto, as he also did for Johannes Brahms’ violin concerto. He wrote:

The Germans have four violin concertos. The greatest, without any reservations at all comes from Beethoven. That by Brahms, in its seriousness, contends with Beethoven. Max Bruch wrote the richest and most bewitching… But the most intimate, the heart’s jewel, is by Mendelssohn. jf

Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K. 425 LinzWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote forty numbered symphonies and a few others that were listed as serenades, divertimenti, etc. His last six symphonies, of which number 36 is the second – #37 was really composed by Michael Haydn, with a few finishing touches by Mozart – are generally considered to be the best of his orchestral output. Most of Mozart’s music was written quickly, with few corrections or changes. He seemed to churn out masterpiece after masterpiece. In fact, his last three symphonies were published sequentially in June, July and August of 1788.

The 36th symphony, subtitled the Linz, has an interesting history. Mozart and his new wife Costanza were leaving Salzburg to go to Vienna, and they traveled through and stayed in Linz for several days. In a letter to his father, Wolfgang wrote:

When we reached the gates of Linz … we found a servant waiting there to drive us to Count Thun’s, at whose house we are now staying. I really cannot tell you what kindnesses the family are showering on us. On Tuesday, November 4, I am giving a concert in the theater here and, as I have not a single symphony with me, I am writing a new one at break-neck speed, which must be finished by that time. Well, I must close, because I really must set to work.

It took him only four days to complete this symphony, copy the parts, and of course do a rehearsal. Even though the symphony was written very quickly, it is a masterpiece. The slow and dramatic beginning of the first movement suggests anything but haste. The symphony has bows to Haydn – especially in the third movement’s minuet and the last movement’s presto – and their forms and approaches are similar to those of the older master. But this is clearly Mozart, and really great fun to prepare and to perform. jf