Klaus Mäkelä

Klaus Mäkelä
Klaus Mäkelä, conductor & cellist. Photo by Heikki Tuuli (2015)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Camille Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux | Paul Dukas: L'apprenti sorcier | Erik Satie: Gymnopédies Nos. 1 & 3 | Jacques Offenbach: Gaîté Parisienne – Christina and Michelle Naughton, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin – Sunday, February 18, 2018, 03:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / 10:00 PM EET (UTC+2) – Live on Livestream

Christina and Michelle Naughton

The French flair for illustration through music turned Mickey into an infamous young sorcerer, conjures up a zoological tour of the animal kingdom, and drifts into Satie's ambient soundscapes. A program of picturesque music concludes with a celebration of the spirt of Paris in Offenbach's Gaite Parisieine, complete with the flourish and high-stepping energy of Can-Can dancers on stage in Orchestra Hall!

The award-winning piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton will perform Camille Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals.

Sunday, February 18
Los Angeles: 12:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 03:00 PM
Brasília: 06:00 PM
London: 08:00 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw: 09:00 PM
Kiev, Jerusalem, Athens: 10:00 PM
Moscow: 11:00 PM

Monday, February 19

Beijing: 04:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 05:00 AM

Live on Livestream


Paul Dukas (1865-1935)

♪ L'apprenti sorcier / The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1897)

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

♪ Le carnaval des animaux / Carnival of the Animals (1886)

i. Introduction et marche royale du Lion (Introduction and Royal March of the Lion)
ii. Poules et Coqs (Hens and Cocks)
iii. Hémiones (animaux véloces) (Wild Asses)
iv. Tortues (Tortoises)
v. L'Éléphant (The Elephant)
vi. Kangourous (Kangaroos)
vii. Aquarium
viii. Personnages à longues oreilles (Personages with Long Ears)
ix. Le coucou au fond des bois (The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods)
x. Volière (Aviary)
xi. Pianistes (Pianists)
xii. Fossiles (Fossils)
xiii. Le Cygne (The Swan)
xiv. Finale

Erik Satie (1866-1925)

♪ Gymnopédies (1888)

i. Gymnopédie No.1
ii. Gymnopédie No.3

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)

♪ Gaîté Parisienne / Parisian Gaiety (1938)

Christina and Michelle Naughton, piano duo

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

(HD 720p)

Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

Sunday, February 18, 2018, 03:00 PM EST (UTC-5) / 10:00 PM EET (UTC+2)

Live on Livestream

Christina and Michelle Naughton have been hailed by the San Francisco Examiner for their "stellar musicianship, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring artistry". The Naughtons made their European debut at Herkulesaal in Munich, where the Süddeutsche Zeitung proclaimed them "an outstanding piano duo". They made their Asian debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, where the Sing Tao Daily said of their performance "Joining two hearts and four hands at two grand pianos, the Naughton sisters created an electrifying and moving musical performance". An appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra led the Philadelphia Inquirer to characterize their playing as "paired to perfection", while the Saarbrücker Zeitung exclaimed "this double star could soon prove to be a supernova". They have captivated audiences throughout the globe with the unity created by their mystical musical communication, as featured by the Wall Street Journal in their own words "There are times I forget we are two people playing together".

The Naughtons open their 2017-2018 season with recital appearances at the La Jolla Music Society and the Ravinia Festival. Additional engagements include the duo's Lincoln Center debut as well as appearances at the Gilmore Festival, Rockefeller Evening Concerts, Purdue Convocations, Portland Piano International, Society of the Four Arts, Sharon Lynn Wilson Center, Virginia Arts Festival and the National Gallery. Orchestral season highlights include performances with the Detroit, St Louis, San Diego, Midland and Puerto Rico Symphonies. The duo will also be seen in recital and orchestral engagements throughout New Zealand, Brazil, Belgium and Spain.

The Naughtons opened their 2016-2017 season with their debut at The Royal Concertgebouw playing Mozart's Double Piano Concerto with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Other season highlights included performances across the United States with the Milwaukee, Madison and San Antonio Symphonies in addition to recital engagements at the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Grand Tetons Festival, the Gardner Museum, Big Arts in Sanibel Island and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. The duo was seen in recital and orchestral engagements throughout Germany, Spain and Portugal including an appearance at the Ruhr Piano Festival.

In February of 2016 the Naughtons released their debut record on the Warner Classics label titled "Visions", featuring the music of Messiaen, Bach and Adams. The album received much critical acclaim with The Washington Post hailing them as one of the "greatest piano duos of our time".

Highlights from the Naughtons' 2015-2016 season included performances presented by the New World Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall, at the Classic Festival and the Bonlieu Scène Nationale in Annecy, France, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and at the Grand Teton Music Festival. In addition to recital tours of Latin America and China, the sisters appeared with the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonica do Estado Sao Paulo, the Netherlands Philharmonic, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the Frankfurter Opern, and Museumsorchester and the Atlanta Symphony.

Previous orchestral engagements include appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston, Milwaukee, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nashville, Virginia, Hawaii, Maryland, Toledo, Delaware, El Paso, Napa Valley, Wichita, Tulsa, Gulf Coast, and Madison Symphonies; the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland's Red Orchestra, Chicago's Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic; as well as with ensembles such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic in Belgium, Solistes Europeens Luxembourg, Hamburg Chorus, Kiel Philharmonic, and Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock. Past and future seasons feature collaborations under the batons of conductors such as Stephane Deneve, Edo deWaart, Charles Dutoit, JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Emanuel Krivine, Cristian Macelaru, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Michael Stern and Leonard Slatkin.

Christina and Michelle's recitals have included venues in America such as the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, New York City's Naumburg Orchestral Concert Series at the Historic Naumberg Bandshell (Central Park) and Le Poisson Rouge, the Schubert Club in St Paul, Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Wharton Center, Houston's Cullen Theater, South Orange Performing Arts Center, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Ramsey Hall in Athens, and Rockefeller University; as well as on series such as the Fortas Chamber Music Festival, Detroit Chamber Music Series, Harriman Jewell Series,  Steinway Society-The Bay Area, Artist Series of Sarasota, UAB Piano Series, Chamber Music San Francisco Series,  Louisville's Speed Museum Series, Kingston Chamber Music Festival.

European recital highlights for the Naughtons include the Parc Du Chateau de Florans at France's La Roque d'Antheron Festival, the Sociedad de Conciertos de Valencia in Spain, Zurich's Tonhalle,  Prague's Strings of Autumn Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Rheingau Musik Festival, Dresden's Musikfestpiele, Kissinger Sommer, Berlin's Kammermusiksaal, Munich's Herkulesaal, Dusseldorf's Tonhalle, in Hannover's Kleiner Sendesaal, Ingoldstadt's Konzertverein, Reutlingen's Freidrich-List-Halle, Pullach's Burgerhaus, Concert Series in Ludwigshafen, on the Homburg-Saar series, the Bremen Music Festival, Nohant Festival Chopin and Festival Berlioz La Cote de Saint Andre, Casa da Musica Porto, Fundacion Juan March, Auditoria Teluda Moraira and Enclave de Camera in Ourense, Spain.

Recital engagements in Asia and South America have included appearances at the Beijing Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall in China, Pallacio de las Bellas Artes, Biblioteca de Luis Angel and Sala Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The Naughtons recorded their first album in the Sendesaal in Bremen Germany; which was released  worldwide in Fall 2012 by label ORFEO. The album has been praised by Der Spiegel Magazine for "stand(ing) out with unique harmony, and sing(ing) out with stylistic confidence", and described by ClassicsToday as a "Dynamic Duo Debut". Their performances have been broadcast on American Public Media's Performance Today, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, New York's WQXR, Chicago's WFMT, Philadelphia's WHYY,  Boston's WQED, Atlanta's WABE, Hong Kong's RTHK, Latvia's Latvijas Radio 3, Netherland's Radio 4 Concerthuis; and Germany's Bayerischen Rudfunks, Nordwest-RadioBremen, WDR and NDR Radio.

Born in 1989 in Princeton, New Jersey, to parents of European and Chinese descent; Christina and Michelle are graduates of Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, where they were each awarded the Festorazzi Prize. They are Steinway Artists and currently reside in New York City.

Source: christinaandmichellenaughton.com

Paul Dukas: L'apprenti sorcier / The Sorcerer's Apprentice

On January 3, 1897, the premiere of Dukas' great Symphony in C met with a cool reception. An impressive Beethovenian overture, Polyeucte (inspired by Corneille's play), had been heard in 1892, the year in which Dukas began his career as a critic, covering productions of Wagner operas in London. Behind him lay an undistinguished apprenticeship at the Paris Conservatoire and a year's military service. Older colleagues, d'Indy and Saint-Saëns foremost, recognized his talent. The latter tapped him to orchestrate Guiraud's uncompleted Frédégonde, and edit several operas for a new Rameau edition, despite the fact that he lacked a public profile. That literally changed overnight on May 18, 1897, with the premiere of The Sorcerer's Apprentice; it became one of the most popular orchestral works ever penned, long before Disney's animated version for the 1940 film Fantasia.

The public has always responded avidly to pictorial and literary associations in music. In matching Goethe's laconic ballad Das Zauberlehrling with an orchestral showpiece, Dukas found unmistakable musical equivalents for the events of the poem, and did so with formal concision. Teasingly called a scherzo by its composer, this resourceful, brilliantly orchestrated work is cast as a compact sonata movement with four themes that are tenuously alluded to in a brief introduction depicting an aura of mystery as the old sorcerer leaves his atelier. Quietly descending thirds in the strings suggest magic – and later the water that magic summons – yielding to the softly enunciated broomstick theme on clarinets. The apprentice makes a sudden appearance in a skittering, vacillating rush before quiet descends again, and the commanding theme of the master's spell is heard as if from a distance, on muted brass. With startling abruptness, the spell motif rings out on trumpets combined with the broomstick motif pizzicato. The magic has been worked and the introduction ends with a single tympani stroke. The exposition proper begins now as the lurching broomstick theme gradually shudders to strident, march-like life, drawing in the descending minor thirds signifying water and sorcery. Development proceeds relentlessly with the enchanted broomstick filling the apprentice's bath, which overflows, becoming an inundation. Despite his frantic cries and the partial enunciation of the spell motif – or the apprentice has forgotten the words – the broomstick heedlessly continues. To a mighty climax, he seizes an axe and cuts the broom in two. For a moment this seems to have worked. But slowly, shudderingly, "two" brooms – the theme in canon – begin to draw water, initiating the recapitulation. Tension escalates even more alarmingly, but this time the climax is capped by the authoritative pronouncement of the spell motif, signaling the master's return, at which a crashing orchestral tutti brings all to a halt. The mysterious quiet of the beginning returns as the waters dissipate and the apprentice's theme, now supplicating, is heard twice before a triplet rush to the final "once upon a time" chord.

The indebtedness of the stormier parts of The Sorcerer's Apprentice to the Ride of the Valkyries has been noted a number of times, while the adroit use of Wagner-like motifs is self-evident. Nietzsche referred to Wagner as "the old Sorcerer" – it is not too much to see in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a masterpiece demonstrating that Dukas had not only learned "the lessons of the Master", but cunningly combined them with the French penchant for formal clarity.

Source: Adrian Corleonis (allmusic.com)

Camille Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux / Carnival of the Animals

In 1885 Saint-Saëns wrote a witty, uncomplicated piece called Wedding Cake (1885), which to his chagrin became so popular that he gained a temporary reputation as a "light" composer. Because he wanted to be considered a composer of serious, substantial music, he suppressed Carnival of the Animals shortly after its premiere in the following year. However, this "zoological fantasy", one of the most successful examples of humourously themed music in the repertory, has become one of the composer's most popular works. Carnival of the Animals, cast as a suite of 14 short pieces, is scored for an ensemble comprising two pianos, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, and glockenspiel.

The work begins with a roar from the two pianos and low strings, an appropriate introduction to the "Royal March of the Lions". The crowing and pecking of strings effectively evokes the clamor of hens and roosters, while the depiction of tortoises takes the form of a sly musical joke: a drastically slowed-down version of the famous can-can from Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers (1858). Saint-Saëns continues to parody his countrymen when he uses the "Waltz of the Sylphs" from Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust (1846) in depicting elephants. Graceful and rapid leaps on the keyboard naturally describe kangaroos. Liquid, rippling sounds on the piano and a magical, serene melody characterize one of the loveliest sections of the work, a sound portrait of an aquarium. Sliding string figures give voice to mules, whose braying is sharply contrasted with the deeply mysterious beauty of the clarinet in its imitation of a cuckoo. This single bird becomes an entire aviary aflutter with airy flute solos and rapid keyboard passagework. Saint-Saëns admits pianists themselves into the menagerie, good-naturedly mocking their hours of practice with a passage that unfolds as a ponderous keyboard exercise. "Fossils" pays homage to those creatures which have suffered extinction with the suggestion of rattling bones in the xylophone, including a quotation from the composer's own Danse macabre (1874). This is followed by the most famous movement, one so lovely that the composer permitted its publication as a solo work. "The Swan" has become a staple of every cellist's repertoire and a favorite accompaniment for dance works. The brisk finale includes a spirited, exuberant reprise of all of the animals' themes.

Source: Joseph Stevenson (allmusic.com)

Erik Satie: Gymnopédies Nos. 1 & 3

Trois gymnopédies, three pieces for solo piano by French composer Erik Satie, written in 1888. The word gymnopédies was derived from a festival of ancient Sparta at which young men danced and competed against each other unencumbered by clothing, and the name was a (presumably) droll reference to Satie's gentle, dreamy, and far-from-strenuous piano exercises. (Satie is known to have introduced himself as a gymnopédiste.) The Trois gymnopédies are the best-known of Satie's piano pieces.

Satie's vision of the piano's strengths was minimalist and abstract. The mood of the three works is stately and serene, almost drifting from one moment to the next. Each of the three examines a common theme from a different perspective. Claude Debussy, who was an older contemporary and a friend, later orchestrated Gymnopédies No.3 and No.1.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)

Jacques Offenbach: Gaîté Parisienne / Parisian Gaiety

Jacques Offenbach died in 1880, yet it is his name that is attached to this ballet that first appeared in 1938. While the tunes in Gaîté Parisienne are his, much of the orchestration, as well as the arrangement of the numbers, was done by Manuel Rosenthal. The idea for the ballet was conceived by the talented trio of choreographer Leonid Massine, the well-known impresario Sol Hurok, and René Blum, director of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo, who together engaged the services of Rosenthal after they had selected the Offenbach tunes for him to use. The scenario they contrived was taken from Offenbach's operetta La Vie Parisienne.

The story concerns the seedy patrons of a Paris bistro called Tortoni's Restaurant, an actual business establishment. There are many amorous adventures in the ballet, with the story centering on two men: a baron who chases after a young woman selling gloves, and a Peruvian who pursues a relationship with a flower girl. It is all quite mischievous fun, colorfully packaged and brilliantly suited by the Offenbach/Rosenthal score. The premiere on April 5, 1938, at the Théâtre de Monte Carlo, was a great success and the music has been in the standard repertory ever since, often presented in "pops" concerts.

Much of the music in Gaîté Parisienne, of course, was already familiar when it was first presented, which may have aided its success. The popular "Can-Can", for example, is taken from Offenbach's operetta, Orpheus in the Underworld (1858; rev. 1874). The familiar Barcarolle, which closes the ballet, comes from the Tales of Hoffman (1881), his last operetta.

There is much other attractive music in Gaîté Parisienne, all of it in a light vein. There are two colorful polkas, five waltzes, a Ländler, and many other dances, most frothy and joyous, all quite tuneful and direct. In sum, this is unpretentious, well-crafted music, and while it will not appeal to those exclusively interested in serious listening, it is undeniably masterful within its genre. It should be noted that not all the music in the score is from Offenbach: Rosenthal himself wrote No.14, "The Duel". He was a young composer of modest success when he took on the project, and would later become better known as a conductor, for a time leading the French National Radio Orchestra and later the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Rosenthal himself recorded this score twice.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)

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