Hatzis & Beethoven

Friday May 3, 2019 8 pm Toronto Centre for the Arts

ANDREA TYNIEC Violinist  /  TODD YANIW Pianist

A Toronto icon’s picturesque, personal life story
and one of Beethoven’s most genial creations

HATZIS Arabesque for Violin, Piano and Orchestra 
PUCCINI Crisantemi
BEETHOVEN Sinfonia opus 18, no. 6a

Tickets will be available at the door.

Violinist Andréa Tyniec
has created a versatile performance career as a soloist and as a collaborator with dance and theatre; and is recognized as a promoter of contemporary music, particularly of Canadian new works. Acclaimed for her “exceptional musicality and intensity” (La Presse), she has performed as a soloist internationally and across Canada with orchestras such as l’Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, Sinfonia Toronto, the Niagara Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Münchener Kammerorchester (Germany), I Virtuosi Italiani (Italy), and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra (Turkey).  

Andréa premiered and recorded André Ristic’s violin Concerto with the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, and toured Canada with the ECM to premiere Alec Hall’s violin concerto. She released her "simply stunning" (The WholeNote) recording of the Six Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe in 2015. She plays on the Baumgartner Stradivari (1689), on loan by the Musical Instrument Bank of the Canada Council for the arts. 

Her latest performances include the premiere of her show "Forgiveness is Freedom", a performance and healing ritual for brave audiences in collaboration with Dany Lyne; a reprise of her role in the play Infinity by Hannah Moscovitch in Toronto and on tour in Ontario; and a performance of the sublime "Distant Light" violin concerto by Peteris Vasks with Sinfonia Toronto. In the 2017/18 season, Andréa premiered Ana Sokolovic's Violin Concerto with l'Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal. 

Among the many awards and honors she has received, Andréa is the 1st Prize winner of Italy’s Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition 2008. Andréa performed her Debut recital at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 2009, and has performed internationally in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Poland, Turkey, and in the USA. 

Born to Polish and Bolivian parents and raised in Montreal, Canada, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Music Performance at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Professor Sonia Jelinkova, followed by a master’s degree in Music Performance at Michigan State University. While she was based in Europe, Andréa completed her Solistendiplom at the Hochschule Musik und Theater Zürich and her Konzertexamen at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe with Professor Josef Rissin. She also participated in masterclasses with Salvatore Accardo at the Fondazione Walter Stauffer in Cremona, Italy, and was greatly inspired by her studies with Professor Ana Chumachenco. She is a graduate Fellow of the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Canadian pianist Todd Yaniw is a young artist praised for his “atmospheric contrast of poetry and power … a hair-raising performance”. Since his debut with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at age 13, Mr. Yaniw has performed frequently in Alberta and Ontario; at festivals and venues including the Banff Centre for Music, Edmonton’s Winspear Centre for Music, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Toronto’s Arts & Letters Club, the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, and Koerner Hall. Mr. Yaniw has performed with the symphony orchestras of Edmonton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, and Guelph. Mr. Yaniw toured the Canadian maritime provinces as a soloist in February 2013, under the auspices of Debut Atlantic. Todd has been interviewed and broadcast on several occasions on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC], and Toronto’s Classical 96.3 FM. In December 2012, Todd recorded a one-hour program for the CBC as part of its NEXT series, a radio program that promotes talent on the rise. Internationally, Todd has performed at the Monte Carlo Opera House in Monaco, the Jamaica School of Music in Kingston, Jamaica, several concert halls in China and Italy, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. James’s Piccadilly in London England, and the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York. Yaniw’s debut CD, “Todd Yaniw: Scriabin, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Chopin” was released on the Chestnut Hall Music label in September 2006.

Todd’s extensive prize list includes Winner of the Roy Thomson Hall First Prize at the 2005 Toronto Symphony Volunteer Committee’s TD National Piano Competition; two-time national winner of the Canadian Music Competition, as well as silver medalist at the Eastman International Piano Competition. Mr. Yaniw has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and was a recipient of the 2010 and 2012 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Awards.

Todd Yaniw was born in Edmonton, Alberta and his teachers include Michael Massey, Dr. James Parker, Professor James Anagnoson (The Glenn Gould School), and Dr. Jon Kimura Parker (Rice University). Mr. Yaniw completed his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked with Dr. Anton Nel.

Arabesque for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra Christos Hatzis (1953 -    )
Notes by Christos Hatzis:
In many respects, Arabesque is an autobiographical work, but its four movements can also be seen as a metaphorical depiction of four stages of one’s life cycle, starting with the childhood purity and innocence of the first movement, through the rambunctious, disco-like exuberance of the second, in which the first seeds of introspection are also sown, to the introverted, moody, coming-of-age third movement and, finally, to the defiant refusal to surrender in the finale, which at the very end nods briefly to the main theme of the first movement. (This “nod” signifies the re-discovery of the innocence of childhood and the understanding that only through such rediscovery is it possible to move forward and grow further). The various contradictory musical genres coexisting in Arabesque point to a post-“post-modern” understanding of structure as metaphor: of some lessons learned; of some wisdom gained; of willingness to apply all this towards renewed action.

Sinfonia Op. 18, No.6a                                            Ludwig van Beethoven  (1770-1827)
String orchestra version by Nurhan Arman                               

In 1798 Beethoven received a commission from Prince Franz Maximilian Lobkowitz for six string quartets. Viennese society had a strong appetite for string quartets, especially those by Haydn and Mozart; Lobkowitz was buying into the trend. String quartets had a certain snob value as well: appreciated by connoisseurs and the well educated. This was certain entry into the higher echelons of society, an entry Beethoven solicited and craved. Herein lay not only audiences but also patronage. By this time, Beethoven was respected by the Viennese community and viewed as a real up and coming composer worthy of attention. His music had a commanding hold on the aristocratic interest. 

For two years Beethoven focused diligently on string quartet writing, a new field for him, a new sound concept, and new challenges within the texture of four strings. His contemporary notebooks reveal intense practice in quartet writing, intense self-criticism, and intense dedication. Beethoven was a competitor, and he was determined to surpass the towering quartet literature of Mozart and Haydn “He was launching a planned attack on every territory of music.” (Joseph Kerman)

The outcome of the commission was Opus 18, a set of six string quartets. “The Opus 18 are technically simple, but the problem is that if you play a wrong note it sounds awful. (The quartets) are very exposed, and it has to be perfect, and it has to be free. It is like playing Mozart: it is either really good or it is garbage.” (Basically Beethoven, by Bonnie Vanaman quoting Michael Reynolds of the Muir Quartet, Washington Times, October 10, 1996) 

Beethoven intentionally added some new twists to the “entertainment” value of the string quartet genre. He impregnated the medium with depth, seriousness, dramatic silences, romantic yearnings, emotions, darker palettes, and power. In the area of counterpoint, he eschewed the witty, light touches used by Haydn, and opted for more scholarly forms: fugues, canons, and contrapuntal simultaneous inversions, far different from “the facile classic style.” And he did all these things on purpose, writing, “I have taken from my elders and respect what they have done, but am ready to express myself. ” This self expression was a major consideration. “The single aesthetic problem he faced in these years was how to find his own strong compositional voice when he had grown up steeped in the music of two predecessors as great as Haydn and Mozart.” (Lewis Lockwood: Inside Beethoven’s String Quartets.)

A New Trend
“Halfway through the composition of opus 18, a process of disruption would appear to have set in--to generalize from signs such as experimentation with novel kinds of movements, modeling on other compositions, dipping back into older material and falling back on some indifferent standards of work. Characteristically, Beethoven was beginning to question the very nature of the undertaking he was engaged in….”(Joseph Kerman, The Beethoven Quartets) What happened was that Beethoven no longer wished to “polish classical medallions” but to move into new, more interesting content and procedures. For example: using a title (La Malinconia) implying a description of an emotional state.)

The first movement of Number Six behaves politely within classical sonata-allegro architecture. Beethoven’s exposition introduces two clearly defined contrasting themes, the first marked allegro con brio is a bright, ascending shape built on the B flat triad. A small bridge moves to a more melancholy second theme, in the dominant F major, introduced by a small pause. Then, Beethoven takes a strange turn: momentarily sinking into f minor, adding a sudden seriousness, and then quickly jumps back into F major.

The development focuses on a small motif of the first theme: a four note grouping heard first on beat four. He visits several keys, throws in a surprise stop at one point, and then allows the first theme to re-appear, as a path to the recapitulation. The recap is again a predictable behavior of themes to close the movement, sin coda.

Movement Two opens in a relaxed adagio ma non troppo pace, with tidy traditional four bar phrases. The first violin has a staring role in presenting the gentle main idea. Immediately following, the other instruments take turns at decoration. A second theme in e minor is sung by first violin and cello. Throughout this section coloration, via mode changes, unexpected accentuations, contrapuntal textures underscore a new, perhaps more thoughtful approach to traditional second movement content.

The Scherzo is a fascinating essay in rhythmic ambiguity, using the old hemiola procedure in which six notes are divided into sets of two and sets of three. Here we are in new ground, “one which must have struck many a player and listener in 1801 as rude indeed.” (Michael Steinberg) A tiny trio offers a bit of whimsy whimsical before the recap da capo.

His final movement marked “la Melancolia” is the weightiest of the quartet’s segments. The composer advised that the movement be played “with utmost delicacy.” A long opening of 43 bars establishes the melancholy atmosphere, but with a long pause on the dominant B flat, he suddenly plunges into a brisk country dance. From this point on, the listener is catapulted between these two extremes: jolly and energetic and suddenly melancholy and resigned. Unexpected silences interrupt the momentum at various points. Finally, Beethoven unleashes all the stops for a prestissimo racing ending.

In 1806 the continued success of the Op. 18 encouraged Simrock of Bonn to publish the six quartets arranged as piano sonatas with violin obbligato and 'cello ad lib. The Leipziger Zeitung warned, “It must be remarked that these sonatas are really the much talked-of quartets of which one scarcely tires, in spite of their harsh and rugged style. Pianists who wish to make a mark as technicians will do well not to choose them.”

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