May 15 & 16, 2016
Sunday, May 15 | 2:30PM
Monday, May 16 | 7:30PM
Lana Trotovsek, violin
Slovenian-born, London-based violinist Lana Trotovsek, described as “radiant” by Washington Post was a student of Ruggiero Ricci. In September 2014 she appeared in two concerts with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and made her debut with Valery Gergiev and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in 2012 with Prokofiev Concerto No.1.
Trotovsek has performed in the Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw Frits Phillips in Eindhoven and elsewhere in Europe, China, UAE and USA. Her performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Arte TV (France) and RTV (Slovenia). Lana has recorded for Meridian, Signum, Champs Hill and Hedone records.
Her performances in 2015/16 include a coffee concert recital in the Wigmore Hall in June, Tchaikovsky concerto with RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra and conductor George Pehlivanian, Tchaikovsky concerto with Sarajevo Philharmonic and conductor Uros Lajovic, Brahms concerto with Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Michigan in USA, Beethoven concerto with Zagreb Philharmonic in Lisinski Hall with conductor Hans Graf and Mendelssohn concerto with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Dirk Brosse in USA. Trotovsek has already performed with a number of orchestras including the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Moscow Soloists, Slovenian Philharmonic, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, RTS Symphony Orchestra Belgrade, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Concert Verein Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Slovenian Philharmonic among others.
Trotovsek has an extensive chamber music repertoire. She was the violinist of the Greenwich Trio, whose cellist was Stjepan Hauser (now member of the 2cellos) and pianist Yoko Misumi. They have won a number of prizes and awards including the George Solti Award and the Tunnell Trust Award and were protégées of Bernard Greenhouse. From 2011- 213, Lana was also the leading violinist of the Badke Quartet, the winners of Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.
She started to play the violin when she was 4. At the age of 17, Lana was taken under the auspices of Ruggiero Ricci, who was her mentor for 18 months. She has also been guided by Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel, Pierre Amoyal, Tasmin Little, Georgy Pauk, Edith Peinemann, Bernard Greenhouse and Menahem Pressler and has studied with Vasko Vassilev and Rivka Golani at Trinity College of Music and at the Royal College of Music in London with Itzhak Rashkovsky.
Lana Trotovsek was the recipient of the Prešseren Award of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, which she received for her performance of the Khachaturian violin concerto in Slovenian Philharmonic Hall with Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under the button of George Pehlivanian in 2005.
She plays on Pietro Antonio dalla Costa violin made in 1750 on a loan from a private benefactor.
Venus and Adonis (World Premiere)
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Echoes of Silent Voices
To the Colors (World Premiere)
Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385 (“Haffner”)
From Music Director Dirk Brossé’s tribute to the victims of the Holocaust to Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto featuring Lana Trotovsek, the Chamber Orchestra closes the season with a striking musical display. Mozart’s expanded symphonic serenade demonstrates his transition into his mature artistry. Meanwhile, composer Salvatore di Vittorio recreates the Venus and Adonis love story that ultimately ends in tragedy.
SALVATORE DI VITTORIO (b. 1967)
VENUS AND ADONIS
Born in Palermo, Italy, composer and conductor Salvatore Di Vittorio has achieved international recognition, hailed “a lyrical musical spirit, respectful of the ancient Italian tradition”, “following in the footsteps of Ottorino Respighi”–Luigi Verdi, Philharmonic Academy of Bologna. He gained considerable attention with his completion of Respighi’s first Violin Concerto (in A) and other works, a commission from Respighi’s great nieces. He is Music Director of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, which holds its concert series at Carnegie Hall.
The composer has provided the following notes for Venus and Adonis, which enjoys its world premiere in these concerts:
“Venus and Adonis for small orchestra was originally conceived as the second movement of Sinfonia N. 4 Metamorfosi…The symphony as a whole highlights the magical stories in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with each of the three movements drawing inspiration from an Italian painting related to the stories: The Triumph of Bacchus by Ciro Ferri, Venus and Adonis by Titian Vecellio, and Aeneas Escapes from Troy by Federico Barocci.”
This single movement Venus and Adonis is a pavane for orchestra, primarily based on Titian’s masterful painting. Centering on Venus’ loving attempt to keep Adonis from his fatal hunt, the music follows in the tradition of pavanes by well-known composers such as Maurice Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess and Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane.
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
CONCERTO IN E MINOR FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA, OP. 64
“Schon wieder, schon wieder, das Mendelssohn Konzert” (“Again and yet again, that Mendelssohn concerto”) was a little ditty sung to the opening bars of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, a testament to its immense popularity. At the time, Mendelssohn had long been the most celebrated musician in Europe when the work was premiered in 1845. He was one of the great virtuosos as a pianist and organist, had composed a steady stream of masterpieces, and was also the first “modern” conductor, shaping nuances with baton in hand.
At the helm of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the composer recruited violin prodigy and childhood friend Ferdinand David as the orchestra’s concertmaster. In 1838, Mendelssohn proposed composing a violin concerto for David; yet, despite having quickly sketched the general layout of the concerto, the composer’s hectic workload delayed completion by five years. Nevertheless, it was well worth the wait. David premiered the concerto in 1845 to great acclaim, and the work quickly entered the standard repertoire.
While the Violin Concerto boasts Mendelssohn’s characteristic lyricism and elegance, it is conceptually progressive and served as a model for Romantic violin concertos in years to come. The first movement, “Allegro con appassionato,” opens under the command of the solo violin which persists in developing the theme sans orchestra. Winds follow suit as the violin daringly holds a pedal tone on the low open G string. Notably, Mendelssohn places the cadenza at an unusual spot—between the development and recapitulation sections of the first movement—and leaves no room for the soloist to improvise. As the orchestra arrives at the opening movement’s closing cadence, the bassoon holds a low B, which finally moves up a half step to C, welcoming the beautifully lyrical second movement. The first theme soars and sings. Echoes of “Nocturne” from Mendelssohn’s interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream surface. Once again, he provides a musical bridge, a brief modulatory passage, to the next movement. The orchestral fanfares that follow announce the impending finale, “Allegro molto vivace.” Buoyant, exuberant, rapid, the violin races at breakneck speed. The soloist’s virtuosity and technique are on display, and the coda is appropriately brilliant.
DIRK BROSSÉ (b. 1960)
ECHOES OF SILENT VOICES
Composer and conductor Dirk Brossé is truly a musicien sans frontières. He has conducted major symphony orchestras around the world, served as the principal conductor for world tours, and is Music Director of the Filmfestival Ghent. Having composed a wide variety of works in myriad genres and more than 80 CD recordings, Brossé is prolific, multi-faceted, and highly regarded.
Echoes of Silent Voices was composed in 2010 for Belgian violinist Leonard Schreiber and makes its American premiere in this program. It is a concerto in one movement, with three sections of contrasting mood and color, the last two separated by a cadenza. The music is organized around a single, expressive theme heard immediately. In this way, the piece is alternately plaintive, both agitated and anguished, and wistful. It suggests the contour of a traditional Jewish melody in the form of a nigun, a Hasidic tune meant to express feelings and emotions too powerful for words.
Echoes of Silent Voices has been recorded by Schreiber and Brossé with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Highgate Music label. With regards to his composition, Maestro Brossé has provided the following notes:
“I wrote Echoes of Silent Voices after Belgian violinist Leonard Schreiber told me about the grandparents he had never met, as they had passed away before his birth. Though his grandparents had survived the horrors of the Second World War and their concentration camps, they later perished in a tragic car accident. Deeply moved by this retelling, I felt compelled to compose something.
“Not long after, I experienced a profound dream in which reality was blurred; yet, illusion and delusion somehow seemed lucid, concrete, even tangible. The shadows in my dream spoke vividly of truths and tales despite their own inky depths. Voices, male and female, young and old, emerged. Long forgotten, ignored, silenced, and exploited, these spirit-sounds shared their colors. Putting pen to stave, I sought to capture their essence, their message, and I realized that only through the voice of a violin could these echoes be heard.
“I dedicate Echoes of Silent Voices to the victims of the Holocaust and to all people who are suffering from war, hatred, and racism. I seek to honor those who have their voices—their liberty, autonomy, and very humanity—suppressed by forces that deem such songs unworthy.”
A. MOZART (1756-1791)
SYMPHONY NO. 35 IN D MAJOR (“HAFFNER”), K. 385
Mozart had taken a risky gamble when he embarked on a career as an independent composer and pianist in 1781. Despite his initial estimates of costs and fees, he hadn’t quite factored in the amount of work that was required, or that he might fall madly in love and become engaged. Thus, when his father Leopold wrote in the summer of 1782 with a commission for a serenade to celebrate the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner, Mozart could reasonably complain that he was “up to [his] eyeballs in work.” However, Mozart ultimately acquiesced. He knew Haffner and had previously written a serenade (The Haffner Serenade, K. 250) for his sister’s wedding. Over the course of a week, the young Austrian composed a six-movement serenade in D major and immediately sent the finished movements to his father. As usual, Mozart wrote out the music as he composed it in his head without drafts or rough copies.
Seeking to repurpose the original serenade as a symphony, Mozart cut a march and a minuet, added extra winds, and premiered the work at a prominent concert tense with family drama and romantic politics. Regardless, the concert was enthusiastically received, even by Emperor Joseph II who not only was in attendance, but reportedly stayed for the entire program.
The full orchestra dramatically opens the symphony with dotted rhythms with octave leaps. Influenced by Haydn, Mozart employs but a single theme in the opening movement—though its subsequent inversion might suggest otherwise. In this way, unity reigns the dominant mood. However, as the movements change, so do the melodies. “Andante” is elegant and graceful, blending the songs of the first violins, gently undulating arpeggiated accompaniment in the low strings, and long, chorale-like phrases from the winds. By comparison, “Menuetto” is a robust, full-bodied dance paired with a more gentle and lyrical “Trio.” According to Mozart’s instructions for the final movement, “Presto” surges forwards “as fast as possible.” The short thematic reference and three-beat pause suggest a collective, figurative breath before plunging into the fray. Hints reminiscent of Osmin’s aria from Die Entführung aus dem Serail are scattered particularly throughout the first movement, which is unsurprising given the opera’s concurrent composition. Upon reviewing the score, Mozart wrote, “My new ‘Haffner’ Symphony has positively amazed me… It must surely produce a good effect.” With that, we can certainly all agree.
©  — The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.