Mozart & Prokofiev

Livestreamed on  November 6 - available online until December 4

Nurhan Arman, Conductor

Mozart's sparkling Salzburg symphonies and a Prokofiev masterpiece full of lively Russian folk tunes
MOZART  Three Salzburg Symphonies
PROKOFIEV  Chamber Symphony op. 92a 'The Kabardinian'
To watch Nurhan Arman's program commentary click here
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Media Sponsor LUDWIG VAN

To view this virtual concert anytime between November 6 and December 2, 2020 

Program notes
Three Salzburg Symphonies           Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) 
Mozart wrote three pieces of light, entertainment music to take along on his trip to Milan in 1772, to have ready in case he was asked for some orchestral works while staying there. Scholars are not sure whether Mozart himself called this delightful work and its two companions K 137 and K 138 divertimentos; the question is raised because divertimentos usually had more than three movements. However in the 18th Century the terms divertimento, serenade, notturno and cassation were not used very strictly; any of these could identify a work such as this, intended to offer a pleasant musical diversion during an event at court.

Chamber Symphony op. 92a (The Kabardinian)      Sergei Prokofiev  (1891-1956)
Orchestral version by Nurhan Arman                                            

In 1941 the Soviet government evacuated artists from major cities. Prokofiev was sent to Nalchik, a town in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic near the border with Georgia. In his autobiography, Prokofiev wrote that a government official told him to write a quartet on Kabardino-Balkar folk tunes, saying “You have a gold mine of untapped folk music in this region. If you take advantage of your stay here to work up this material, you will be laying the foundation of a Kabardinian music.”  The official gave Prokofiev songs collected by earlier visitors, including several from Sergei Taneyev, one of Prokofiev’s teachers at the Moscow Conservatory.

Prokofiev made excellent use of this mandatory folk material while also maintaining his own personal style. The first movement’s powerful rhythms and full-bodied scoring make the quartet a natural choice for a full string orchestra arrangement, supporting folk themes which are easily identifiable as the violins lead a series of dances with clear and vigorous melodies.

The second movement is more delicate, projecting a sweet atmosphere with a tinge of tension that hints at vast, remote spaces. A central section references the region’s contacts with East Asia in a simple melody with pizzicato accompaniment. 

The finale is based on a lively mountain dance, and may remind listeners of Bartók’s spirited folk dances. It is even stronger and more robust than the first movement. A few minor-key passages are not enough to suggest the ravages that were taking place on the front, they are only piquant notes that highlight Prokofiev’s pleasure in his rustic surroundings and the exotic regional themes he was working with.

Sinfonia Toronto now in its 22nd season, has toured twice in Europe, in the US, South America and China, receiving glowing reviews. It has released four CD’s, including a JUNO Award winner, and performs in many Ontario cities. Its extensive repertoire includes all the major string orchestra works of the 18th through 21st centuries, and it has premiered many new works. Under the baton of Nurhan Arman the orchestra’s performances present outstanding international guest artists and prominent Canadian musicians.  

Maestro Nurhan Arman has conducted throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Canada and the US, returning regularly to many orchestras in Europe. Among the orchestras Maestro Arman has conducted are the Moscow Philharmonic, Deutsches Kammerorchester Frankfurt, Filarmonica Italiana, St. Petersburg State Hermitage Orchestra, Orchestre Regional d’Ile de France, Hungarian Symphony, Arpeggione Kammerorchester, Milano Classica and Belgrade Philharmonic.

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