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The Amadeus Orchestra – Louis Lohraseb, Conductor, soloist Cicely Parnas: Bruckner, Haydn, and Brahms at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Sunday, April 19, 3 pm

Cicely Parnas, Cellist
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Cicely Parnas, Cellist
Cicely Parnas, Cellist

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In 1862–63 Anton Bruckner composed the Overture in G minor. In contrast with the earlier Four Orchestral Pieces and the next Symphony in F minor, the Overture appears a much more mature work. Bruckner’s characteristics are already present: the opening subject with his octave interval in unison – as that of the main theme of the Ninth Symphony, the full orchestral chords followed by semiquaver runs, and the second slower subject with its large interval leaps, which is prefiguring the descending motive of the Adagio of the Fifth Symphony. The work contains at bars 271–275 a descending scale similar to the “Sleep leitmotiv” of the not yet composed Act 3 of Wagner’s Walküre.

The Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, by Joseph Haydn was composed around 1761-65 for longtime friend Joseph Franz Weigl, then the principal cellist of Prince Nicolaus’s Esterházy Orchestra. The work was presumed lost until 1961, when musicologist Oldrich Pulkert discovered a copy of the score at the Prague National Museum.[1] Though some doubts have been raised about the authenticity of the work, most experts believe that Haydn did compose this concerto.

This early work already shows Haydn as a master of instrumental writing. The solo cello part is thoroughly idiomatic. The concerto reflects the ritornello form of the baroque concerto as well as the emerging structure of the sonata-allegro form. As in the baroque concerto grosso, the accompanying ensemble is small: strings, two oboes, and two horns. It is possible that Weigl was the only cellist in the Esterházy Orchestra when Haydn composed the concerto, since there is only one cello line in the score, marked alternately “solo” and “tutti.”

Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68: Brahms spent at least fourteen years completing this work, whose sketches date from 1854. Brahms himself declared that the symphony, from sketches to finishing touches, took 21 years, from 1855 to 1876. The premiere of this symphony, conducted by the composer’s friend Felix Otto Dessoff, occurred on November 4, 1876, in Karlsruhe, then in the Grand Duchy of Baden.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, Il Museo di Roma a Trastevere, etc. and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

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