Saturday, October 20, 2018 8 pm
Toronto Centre for the Arts ~ 5040 Yonge St.
SERGEI NAKARIAKOV Trumpeter 
MARIA MEEROVICH Pianist
SINFONIA TORONTO / NURHAN ARMAN Conductor

“The Paganini of the Trumpet” and a superb pianist kick off
our 20th Anniversary season with two brilliant favourites

Program
MOZART Horn Concerto No. 4 
SHOSTAKOVICH Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Orchestra 
BEETHOVEN Kreutzer Sonata  

Tickets: $42 adult; $35 senior (60+); $15 student
To buy tickets by phone call TCA box office 416-250-3708
To buy online click here 

SERGEI NAKARIAKOV, Trumpeter
"He plays the trumpet the way the rest of us breathe – if we are lucky," the San Francisco Chronicle wrote after the US appearance of the virtuouso trumpeter Sergei Nakariakov. Dubbed "the Paganini of the trumpet", "the Caruso of the trumpet" and other laudatory names, Sergei Nakariakov has been playing the trumpet since childhood. As a matter of fact, his first musical instrument was the piano. However, after suffering a spinal injury and doctors' advice against sitting, the young prodigy tried the trumpet and has never regretted it. "I just like it," the musician smilingly admits. He didn't have to wait long for success: at the age of ten, Sergei Nakariakov started to appear with orchestras at major venues of the former Soviet Union. When a year later he got a diploma at a brass competition for adults it became clear that his own country is too small for the talented boy. His family moved to Israel to enable Sergei pursue international career.

Sergei Nakariakov ranks as one of the world's five most influential trumpeters and is sought after in the foremost concert venues around the globe. Partnering the greatest international symphony orchestras, he has appeared at Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles, New York Lincoln Center, the Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London, Théâtre des Champs Élysées Paris, to name a few. The trumpeter continues to get great reviews: "Nakariakov's control of tone and dynamics – he can be loud but never shrill – and supple phrasing are marvellous, and he makes the music he plays hauntingly eloquent." (The Sunday Times)

Sergei Nakariakov's performance is generously sponsored by Long & McQuade





MARIA MEEROVICH, Pianist
Maria Meerovich studied at the Rimsky-Korsakov St Petersburg State Conservatory. In 1990, after receiving scholarships from the Fond A.de Vries and Y.Menuhin Foundation, she moved to Belgium. The musician graduated from the Royal Antwerp Conservatory and was immediately invited to continue teaching there.

Maria Meerovich is the winner of such competitions as the J.B.Viotti (Italy) and Ch.Henneen (the Netherlands). She has performed at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Paris), Opera City Hall (Tokyo), the Teatro Municipal (Rio de Janeiro), the National Center for Performing Arts (Beijing) with orchestras such as the London Philharmonic, the Sofia Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Novosibirsk Symphony, the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, the Arpeggione Kammerorchester and the National Symphony of Taiwan. She has taken part in music festivals in Schleswig-Holstein and Bad Kissingen (Germany), in Aix-en-Provence and Beauvais (France), in New Port (USA), as well as in M.Argerich festivals in Beppu (Japan) and Lugano (Switzerland).

She has performed chamber music with partners like Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Repin, Pinchas Zukerman, Sergei Nakariakov, Boris Berezovsky, Martha Argerich and others.

PROGRAM NOTES

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 495 
Chamber version by Nurhan Arman  Mozart wrote this concerto in June 1786, a few weeks after the first performances of his opera The Marriage of Figaro.  This would make it his second horn concerto, according to current scholarship, even though it has come down to us as No. 4.  All four of his horn concertos were written for his friend Joseph Leutgeb, the most eminent hornist in Europe. In addition to Mozart, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Johann Georg Hoffmann, Michael Haydn and the great Josef Haydn all wrote music for him. Leutgeb eventually settled in Vienna after inheriting a cheese shop there but remained in too much demand to abandon his musical career.In Mozart’s own catalogue of his works, he described this as a concerto for waldhorn, literally a “forest horn,” an alternative name that is reminiscent of the concert instrument’s hunting horn ancestry. The concerto’s playful first movement Allegro Moderato and lilting second movement Romanza are followed by a third movement rondo Allegro Vivace whose theme does indeed evoke the lively calls of hunting horns.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Concerto in C minor for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra, Op. 35   
When Shostakovich introduced this work soon after his 27th birthday, he was already an established composer with an international reputation. His brilliant First Symphony had brought him attention  while he was still in his teens, and in his twenties he had written two more symphonies, two ballets, several film scores and incidental music suites for plays and a satirical opera based on Gogol’s novel The Nose. He was well-regarded by Soviet political authorities, after having received a mild warning at 23 for his clever, jazzy orchestration of "Tea for Two," a dangerously decadent song from the capitalist musical comedy No, No, Nanette. 

Shostakovich himself played the solo part in the premiere of this concerto with the Leningrad Philharmonic - almost exactly 85 years ago - on October 15, 1933.
The concerto is a sparkling jeu d'esprit, with many playful, almost sarcastic passages in its first and last movements, not unlike the music-hall atmosphere of Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos, which was composed around the same time. It is not a fully double concerto like the Poulenc, or Bach’s and Mozart’s double concertos, but the trumpet is not anchored within the orchestra; it is an independent voice, breaking in to chat with the piano or pronounce comments on the state of musical affairs, rather like the role of the chorus in the ancient Greek theatre. Whenever Shostakovich performed the piano part he insisted that the trumpeter should be positioned near him at the front of the stage, not at the instrument’s normal place in the orchestra: this has become the regular practice ever since.

Shostakovich often quoted passages from his own and other composers’ works. There are paraphrases from Rossini and Wagner in his Symphony No. 15, a reference to Lehar's Merry Widow in No. 7, quotations from folk songs in many of his other symphonies, and from his own symphonies in his string quartets. In this concerto there are two nods to Beethoven and one to Haydn and echoes from Shostakovich’s own recent works: from his incidental music for Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Op. 32), a circus sketch Allegedly Murdered (Op. 31), and the 24 Preludes for Piano (Op. 24), which he finished just days before beginning this concerto.

The piano and trumpet open the first movement robustly. The piano goes on to introduces the first theme, an audible variant of the opening of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in F minor, the famous Appassionata. A more animated second theme drives the movement forward until it stops abruptly and then ends with a return of the opening theme.

The second movement is more relaxed and introspective, a fine contrast to the flirting and sarcasm of the first movement. Muted strings project a hint of melancholy; the piano breathes a simple, austere melody; and the trumpet is muted as it enters only after the brief climax.

Although the concerto contains four movements, the third is barely more than an introduction to the finale, a rowdy party of almost-familiar tunes and rapidly changing rhythms. The trumpet takes a more active role, and several passages might be right out of a boisterous music hall. For the finale’s cadenza, Shostakovich let himself go and wrote a wild paraphrase of Beethoven's Rondo a capriccio in G major, "Rage over a Lost Penny." The tremendous momentum accumulated throughout the finale then thrusts towards a dynamic conclusion.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

‘Kreutzer’ Sonata in A Major, Op. 47a
Orchestra version by Nurhan Arman
This ninth of the ten wonderful sonatas Beethoven composed for violin and piano stands out for its length, difficulty, rich textures, depth of conception and the unusually equal importance given both instruments.  As well, only the Kreutzer Sonata begins with a slow introduction, a feature more typical of grand, imposing works for larger ensembles. 

The first movement embodies Beethoven’s description on his manuscript, “Sonata for piano and violin obbligato, written in a very concertante style, almost like a concerto.” It combines the vigorous dialogue and structural proportions of a concerto with the detailed subtlety of chamber music. This movement is mainly in minor, contradicting the major key indicated in its title while preparing the way for heightened delight when A major shines forth later. 

The Second Movement, Andante con Variazioni, is a set of four variations on an elegant theme, mostly in F major.  It is the longest movement in all ten sonatas. Although this is the sonata’s slower middle movement, Beethoven incorporated a whimsey and humour, writing off-beats, pizzicatos and long trills. He also included many passages with very rapid notes, rather unusual for a “slow movement,” but indicated smooth and graceful execution, to maintain the over-arching tranquility of the movement.

After a powerfully resonant A major chord from the piano, the violin launches a Finale in the style of an Italian tarantella, a rapid dance with a continuous long-short-long-short rhythm. In contrast with the first movement’s dramatic, turbulent atmosphere, here Beethoven pushes joyously forward, though a few moments of deceptive calm and on to a triumphant conclusion.

Beethoven barely completed the sonata before curtain time for its premiere in Vienna in 1803. He played the piano part, with violinist George Polgreen Bridgetower as his partner. Both artists had to fill in parts of their performance in the first two movements from a very sketchy manuscript. 

At the time of this hectic premiere Beethoven was quite friendly with Bridgetower, a multi-racial virtuoso in the service of the Prince of Wales. But soon afterwards both men became interested in the same woman and their friendship ended. When the sonata was to be published Beethoven removed Bridgetower's name and re-dedicated it to another virtuoso, Rudolphe Kreutzer. Kreutzer is still famous, for a set of 42 exercises practiced to this day by aspiring violinists all over the world. He never performed the sonata, however; he did not comprehend its profound depths and called it “outrageously unintelligible.”