PCMF with Heifetz on Tour
Songs, Dances, and Romances
Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | 8 PM
Portland Conservatory of Music | 28 Neal St, Portland
Introducing an exciting new collaboration! PCMF Artistic Director Melissa Reardon joins Heifetz on Tour, which pairs professional musicians with promising young alumni of the Heifetz International Music Institute, connecting “rising stars” of the chamber music world with diverse communities around the country.
In “Songs, Dances, and Romances,” violin, viola and cello each take a turn in the spotlight, then all join together for a powerful Piano Quartet by Brahms. Clara Schumann’s Three Romances, lush and poignant, are followed by a set of Spanish folk songs that all deal with the theme of love and courtship. A passionately expressive movement of a Robert Schumann violin sonata makes for an intriguing pairing with a virtuosic Rondo by Sicong Ma, known in China as “King of the Violinists.” Clara Schumann herself played the piano part in the 1861 premiere of Brahms’s captivating G minor Piano Quartet, with its famously rip-roaring “Gypsy rondo” finale.
Clara Schumann Three Romances, Op. 22 (1853)
I. Andante molto
II. Allegretto: Mit zartem Vortrage
III. Leidenschaftlich schnell
Melissa Reardon, viola; Dina Vainshtein, piano
Manuel de Falla Suite Populaire Espagnole (1914)
I. El paño moruno
Andres Sanchez, cello; Dina Vainshtein, piano
Robert Schumann Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 105 (1851)
I. Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck
Angela Sin Ying Chan, violin; Dina Vainshtein, piano
Sicong Ma Rondo No. 2 (1950)
Angela Sin Ying Chan, violin; Dina Vainshtein, piano
Johannes Brahms Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25 (1856-1861)
II. Intermezzo. Allegro ma non troppo — Trio. Animato
III. Andante con moto
IV. Rondo all Zingarese. Presto
Angela Sin Ying Chan, violin; Melissa Reardon, viola; Andres Sanchez, cello; Dina Vainshtein, piano
This concert will be repeated on Thursday, October 12 at the Mountain Top Music Center in Conway, NH. Both programs are made possible thanks to generous support from The Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation.
Meet the Musicians
Born in Hong Kong, Angela Chan (Heifetz alum) started playing the violin at the age of 3 and is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. She is currently studying with Donald Weilerstein on full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, and has gained praise for her ability to synthesize western and eastern culture in her performances. Top prize winner of the Singapore, Louis Spohr, Shanghai Isaac Stern, Harbin, Nomea, ArsClassica, and Michael Hill International Competitions, Angela is also a founder of the AYA Piano Trio.
Grammy-nominated violist Melissa Reardon is an internationally renowned performer whose solo and chamber playing spans all musical genres. Melissa is the Artistic Director of the Portland Chamber Music Festival, violist of the Borromeo String Quartet, Artist in Residence at Bard College and Conservatory, and a founding member and Executive Director of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra.
Cellist Andrés Sanchez (Heifetz alum), born in Allentown PA, began his cello studies at the age of eight and graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2020. He is continuing his studies at the New England Conservatory under the guidance of Paul Katz. As principal cellist of the Curtis Opera Orchestra Andres has performed at Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Helsinki’s Musiikkitalo, Dresdner Philarmonie, and Weiner Concert Hall, and as cellist of the AYA Trio he has performed across the U.S. in many esteemed series including Concerts International (Memphis TN), the Brevard (NC) Music Center and at New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall.
Boston-based pianist Dina Vainshtein is known for her sensitive and virtuosic collaborations. A longtime Faculty Pianist for the Heifetz Institute, she is the daughter of two pianists, and received the Special Prize for the Best Collaborative Pianist at the 1998 Tchaikovsky International Competition. For nearly a decade, Dina has been affiliated with the New England Conservatory and the Walnut Hill School, where she teaches chamber music.
Meet The Composers
Clara Schumann was a German pianist, composer, and piano teacher who is regarded as one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital from displays of virtuosity to programs of serious works. She also composed solo piano pieces, a piano concerto (her Op. 7), chamber music, choral pieces, and songs.
Schumann's Three Romances for Violin and Piano, composed in 1853, were among the last pieces she would ever write. They were dedicated to the famous violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim, a good friend of the Schumanns as well as Johannes Brahms. PCMF Artistic Director Melissa Reardon has arranged the Three Romances for viola and piano.
Manuel de Falla
Manuel de Falla was an Andalusian Spanish composer and pianist. Despite a relatively modest compositional output, he is often considered Spain's greatest composer of the 20th century.
Suite Populaire Espagnole is a set of traditional Spanish songs, originally arranged as a set of seven for soprano and piano by the composer, and then further adapted (omitting No. 2) and re-arranged with the aide of Polish composer and arranger Paul Kochanski. Besides being de Falla's most-arranged composition and one of his most popular works, it is also one of the most frequently performed sets of Spanish-language art songs. The styles and provenance of the six songs are strikingly diverse, hailing from different parts of Spain.
Robert Schumann was a German composer, pianist, and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist, but when a hand injury ended this dream, he focused his musical energies on composing instead.
The Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Minor was written in one week in September 1851. Schumann was reported to have expressed displeasure with the work ("I did not like the first Sonata for Violin and Piano; so I wrote a second one, which I hope has turned out better"). It was given its official premiere by Clara Schumann and Ferdinand David in March 1852, and it was only when violinist Joseph Joachim played the Sonata while visiting the Schumanns in September 1853 that the composer was fully satisfied, writing that "it struck the inmost strings of the heart."
Sicong Ma was a Chinese violinist and composer. He was referred to in China as "The King of Violinists." His Nostalgia for violin, composed in 1937 as part of the Inner Mongolia Suite, is considered a favorite piece of 20th century China. When the Cultural Revolution broke out in June 1966, Ma became a target of the Chinese government, and managed to escape to Hong Kong by boat, and eventually traveled to the United States where he lived until his death in 1987.
Ma's Rondo No. 2, which draws heavily on Chinese folk music, starts cheerfully with a skittish melody that seems carefree, even when Ma pushes the violin into angular rhythms. Basic cells repeat throughout the piece, but the overall mood remains forward-thinking and positive.
Johannes Brahms was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the mid-Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, he composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, voice, and chorus. Also a virtuoso pianist, Brahms premiered many of his own works. He worked with leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim (the three were close friends).
A twenty-eight-year-old Brahms wrote his ambitious Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor between 1856 and 1861. The piece enjoys a fine reputation, largely due to the vigorously effective Gypsy Rondo fourth movement. The finale is indeed a tour-de-force of rhythmic and melodic bravado where the sectional form of the rondo serves as a brilliant vehicle for dynamic contrast of the very sort found in traditional Hungarian dances and Bartók's rhapsodies. No less than Arnold Schoenberg found the quartet worthy of his own orchestral transcription!