Saturday, March 4 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 5 at 3:00pm
Saturday, March 4 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 5 at 3:00pm
Saturday, March 4 at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 5 at 3:00pm
The Palace Theatre
61 Atlantic Street, Stamford, CT 06901
2 hours with a 20
About this performance
Jump back to 1808, with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, which he explicitly intended to evoke nature, including bird calls, the murmuring of gurgling streams, and the thunder of a sudden storm. It has not lost any of its ability to transport us. Juan Ramirez’s sensual and passionate Suite Latina, for string quartet and string orchestra, is a perfect vehicle for the high-octane Dali Quartet.
Michael Stern, conductor
Dalí String Quartet
Ari Isaacman-Beck, Carlos Rubio, violins, Adriana Linares, viola, Jesús Morales, cello
Behind the Baton
Learn more about the program during this pre-concert talk hosted by Music Director Michael Stern. Behind the Baton begins one hour before each concert at the Palace Theater.
A 40-minute, interactive pre-concert activity for families led by an Orchestra musician. MusiKids begins one hour before our Sunday concerts at The Palace Theatre.
This event is FREE with your ticket to the concert.
Sunday tickets for kids (ages 17 and under) are only $4 with the purchase of a regular ticket.
Musical Program to include
Ralph Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending
Juan Ramirez Suite Latina
Sonia Morales-Matos Fiesta No. 2 for Strings and Percussion
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 6, Pastorale
Dalí String Quartet
The Dalí Quartet is acclaimed for bringing Latin American quartet repertoire to an equal standing alongside the Classical and Romantic canon. Tours of its Classical Roots, Latin Soul programming have reached enthusiastic audiences across the U.S., Canada and South America. Its fresh approach has been sought out by distinguished series in New York, Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, San Juan and countless communities beyond. The quartet has been called upon for return engagements at the National Gallery of Art, Friends of Chamber Music in Portland, and Chamber Music at Beall, among others. This season the Dalí tours from Philadelphia and DC all the way to Oaxaca, Mexico, including two Midwest residencies – at the University of Iowa and for the Chamber Music Society of St. Cloud.
The quartet enjoys an ongoing performance collaboration with Van Cliburn Gold Medal-winning pianist Olga Kern, with whom they have toured from coast to coast and recorded the piano quintets of Brahms and Shostakovich released on the Delos label. The Dalí has recorded the Weber Clarinet Quintet with Ricardo Morales, famed principal clarinetist of The Philadelphia Orchestra with whom they perform for very select dates. New programming for 2022-2023 season includes ‘The Eight Seasons’ and ‘Folias de Tango’ with Giampaolo Bandini, guitar and Cesare Chiacchiaretta accordion & bandoneón.
The Dalí Quartet is the 2021 recipient of the Guarneri String Quartet Residency, funded by the Sewell Family Foundation, and the 2021 Silver Medal at the inaugural Piazzolla Music Competition. The quartet is the 2019 recipient of the Atlanta Symphony’s esteemed Aspire Award for accomplished African American and Latino Musicians. They founded the much admired Dalí Quartet International Music Festival in 2004 which develops the performance skills of musicians through semi-professional level. Currently Quartet in Residence at West Chester University, the Dalí has also served as a resident ensemble at Lehigh University and given mini residencies at countless colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada.
Trained by world-renowned artists, members of the Dalí Quartet are from Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the US, and have studied at esteemed institutions such as the Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University Bloomington, the New England Conservatory, Juilliard and the Simón Bolivar Conservatory in Caracas, Venezuela. The quartet is based in Philadelphia, PA.
The Dalí Quartet members are violinists Ari Isaacman-Beck and Carlos Rubio, violist Adriana Linares, and cellist Jesús Morales. Full biographies and more information at: www.DaliQuartet.com
The Lark Ascending
The Lark Ascending is a poem dating from 1881 by the English poet George Meredith. Ursula Vaughan Williams, herself a poet, wrote that in The Lark Ascending Vaughan Williams had “taken a literary idea on which to build his musical thought … and had made the violin become both the bird’s song and its flight.” At the head of the score, Vaughan Williams wrote out twelve lines from Meredith’s 122-line poem:
He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake.
For singing till his heaven fills,
‘Tis love of earth that he instils,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup
And he the wine which overflows
to lift us with him as he goes.
Till lost on his aerial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings
In 1914, perhaps ominously on the eve of World War I, Vaughan Williams was inspired to write a Romance for violin and piano. It did not receive its first performance until 1920 when it was played by the violinist Marie Hall. A year later he scored the work for violin and orchestra and Hall gave the first performance at the Queen’s Hall, London in June 1921, conducted by Adrian Boult. The orchestral version is scored for two flutes, one oboe, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, triangle and strings.
Musicologist Michael Kennedy described the work as unique, but often underrated “possibly because its very simplicity is deceptive”. The critic Paul Conway writes that it “depicts a pastoral scene with the violin imitating the titular songbird and the orchestra … representing the landscape beneath”. Christopher Mark similarly sees a distinction between the airborne solo part and the orchestral sections, finding the “folk-like melody” for the flute “shifting the focus from the sky to ground-level and human activity.”
Frank Howes, in his The Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams written towards the end of the composer’s life, observes that the work is distinctively Vaughan Williams’s own and “like nothing else in music – Beethoven’s two Romances for violin and orchestra are the nearest parallels”. Like other commentators, Howes remarks on the composer’s choice of the term “A Romance” for the piece. It was a term he applied to some of his most profoundly lyrical utterances such as the slow movements of the Piano Concerto and the Fifth Symphony. Howes adds, “‘Romance’ for Vaughan Williams is devoid of erotic connotation … the lark may be calling to his mate but it sounds more like joie de vivre on a spring morning with a slight haze in the air.”
The Lark Ascending has become beloved by audiences worldwide, frequently topping the UK’s Classic FM annual ” Hall of Fame” poll. In 2011, in a radio poll of New Yorkers for preferences of music to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, The Lark Ascending ranked second.
Juan R. Ramirez
Mexican violinist, conductor and composer Juan R. Ramírez Hernández is a long-time violinist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has performed and conducted in Mexico and throughout Europe.
Ramirez has been a great advocate of music education, founding the Music for Success! program in Atlanta, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Sphinx Organization. He served for 19 years as conductor f the Atlanta Community Symphony. In addition to the violin, he plays the guitar, mandolin and marimba.
Most of Ramirez compositions are based on the music of his native land. He composed the three-movement Suite Latina in 2001 for string quartet. The version for string quartet and string orchestra premiered in 2016. The three movements contain over half a dozen Latina dance rhythms:
I. Latin Steps
II. Milonga and Tango a la Piazzolla
III. Danza Morena
Fiesta No. 2,
for string quartet, string orchestra, and percussion
Sonia Ivette Morales-Matos
“Fiesta No. 2, for string quartet, string orchestra, and percussion” was commissioned by the Dalí Quartet, to be premiered in March 2023 with the Lumos Orchestra. This composition is a high energy and festive work that features popular dance rhythms from different countries and cultures of Latin America, in a new classical setting. The composer invites the listener to be immersed in Latin American sounds that have become more present in the fabric of American music, especially in the genres of film, commercial music, and Broadway. The reminiscent rhythm of the Puerto Rican plena, a dance genre that is also the preferred musical genre for social, political, sports, and arts discourse in the worldwide Puerto Rican community, opens and closes this new composition. The symbolic inclusion of the people who dance and sing to the plena are musically represented with the counterpoint in the quartet’s part. The composition also features a section of mambo, or salsa, as the dance genre is known in the dance halls of New York City. During this section, the quartet’s violinists are challenged to speak to each other musically in a very intricate, rhythmic exchange that imitates some of the improvisational skills required from the performers of the genre. The mambo/salsa section is followed by a Cuban rumba, where the quartet’s cello plays a legato and melodic line accompanied, in some instances, by the viola. The rumba is followed by a hint of the romantic and international bolero, the famous Argentinian tango, and the Caribbean but European influenced danza. In “Fiesta No. 2, for string quartet, string orchestra, and percussion”, the composer invites the audience to enter a fantastic place where everybody gathers in a special party or fiesta, to celebrate in unity, peace, and hope, despite their differences; a high energy party, where everybody is accepted, and where we can celebrate each other as friends.
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68
Ludwig van Beethoven
While many of Beethoven’s symphonies broke new ground, the Sixth is both innovative – as it prefigures the Romantic tone poems – and traditional. Beethoven and his audience were readily able to attach literary, emotional or extra-musical concepts to music. His Wellington’s Victory was the latest in a long tradition of musical battles dating back to the Renaissance. And of course, there were musical models for many of the images in the Sixth Symphony – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and bucolic Christmas pastorals with bagpipe drones, as in Handel’s Messiah or Corelli’s Christmas Concerto – not to mention an extensive vocabulary of rhetorical musical figures from the Baroque, bird calls and other perennial tone painting devices.
But Beethoven seemed to be searching for something different, an ideal way to portray and “express” nature. “Any painting, if it is carried too far in instrumental music, loses expressive quality…The overall content, consisting of more feelings than of tone paintings, will be recognized even without further description,” he wrote in his sketchbook while working on the Sixth Symphony. This and other notes to himself as he worked reveal the Symphony as more than a sentimental outpouring. Here was another of the composer’s creative challenges to be met in the context of his trajectory of self-fulfillment as an artist. As Beethoven’s biographer, Barry Cooper, puts it: “He was faced with two main problems in writing a symphony in the pastoral style: the first was to prevent the music from degenerating into scene-painting or story-telling; the second was to combine the pastoral style, leisurely and undramatic, with the thrust and dynamism of the symphonic style.”
Beethoven wrote more words about the Sixth Symphony than about any of his other compositions. He provided descriptive titles to each of the five movements, while at the same time commenting that the music was self-explanatory and needed no titles. The first movement, “Cheerful feelings awakened on arriving in the country,” builds up none of the intense tension so common in Beethoven’s first movements, being instead an unhurried study in tranquility. The murmuring accompaniment in the second movement, “Scene by the brook,” captures the sound of a flowing brook interspersed with the birdcalls and chirping insects – all within a tradition in tone painting common since the Renaissance.
In a break with the classical symphonic structure, the last three movements run together as a continuous quasi-narrative entity. The third movement, “Merry gathering of country folk,” suggests a village band with the lower strings imitating the drone of a bagpipe. The dance is interrupted by the “Thunderstorm,” a superb impressionistic evocation of lightning, thunder and howling winds. As the storm approaches, the thunderclaps come faster and faster, then slow down as the storm passes. After the final rumbles, a solo clarinet, followed by a solo horn, lead into the “Shepherd’s song: Happy and thankful feelings after the storm.” Instead of a traditional rousing Finale, the bucolic scene ends with the shepherd’s pipe figure fading away into the distance.
Beethoven started to work on the Symphony in the summer of 1807 and finished it in June 1808. It was premiered at a concert (Musikalische Akademie) of his recent compositions in the Imperial Theater in Vienna on December 22, 1808. The program, which was over four hours long, also included the premiere of the Fifth Symphony, the Fourth Piano Concerto, the concert aria “Ah Perfido,” some piano improvisations by the composer, three movements from the Mass in C major and, to top it all off, the Choral Fantasia, which Beethoven composed as a grand finale to the occasion. Such monster concerts were the norm in the early nineteenth century, with people coming and going in the middle as they pleased. Not surprisingly, few stayed for the duration.
The gentle atmosphere of the Sixth Symphony is in sharp contrast to the high-voltage intensity of the Fifth, completed only a few weeks earlier. Although Beethoven fought, quarreled and argued with everyone, friend, foe or patron, with nature he was at peace.
Program notes by:
Joseph & Elizabeth Kahn
*artists and programs subject to change