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65th CONCERT SEASON WINTER-SPRING 2022 • Symphonic Genius

PROGRAM 4 • JUNE 2022 • Masterworks Series

Thursday, June 2, 2022 • 8pm | Regent Theatre Oshawa

a quick look

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CELEBRATING BEETHOVEN • PART II • HIS SYMPHONIC GENIUS • THE PASTORAL

A giant among the greats, cherished by audiences everywhere, influencer to countless composers: Beethoven is here, finally.  Having missed his 250th Anniversary due to Covid pandemic measures, we pay the great master his due.  
OP thrills with Fidelio Overture, Symphony No. 8, Overture to The Ruins of Athens and Symphony no. 6 Opus 68 in F major.  Be rendered spellbound by these symphonic masterpieces.
The Ruins of Athens Overture, Op. 113
Symphony no.6 Op. 68 in F major
Intermission
Fidelio Overture, Op. 72
Symphony no.8 Op. 93 in F major
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN

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MARCO PARISOTTO • biography

Born in Montreal of Italian lineage, Marco Parisotto is among Canada's foremost conductors on the international scene. A guest with orchestras around the globe, with unrelentingly high standards of performance, he continues to thrill audiences with his passionate musicmaking. He is the winner of seven major international competitions and crowned these achievements at the1997 “Besançon International Competition for Conductors”, being awarded both the Grand Prix as well as the Prix du Public - a historical first at this elite event.

As Artistic Director of the Ontario Philharmonic (OP), a title he has held for over two decades, he has earned praise for the orchestra’s development and adventurous performances, and he is credited with building OP to the high standard it enjoys today. Under his leadership, Ontario Philharmonic has received superlative audience and media recognition.

“…a fantastic orchestra [Ontario Philharmonic] being led by a first-rate conductor” • Musical Toronto.

Marco Parisotto’s close association with orchestras is manifested through the strong relationships he has maintained with ensembles under his leadership. In 2013,he was unanimously elected as Music Director of the Jalisco Philharmonic, transforming this ensemble into one of Latin America’s most distinguished orchestras. Under his direction, the Jalisco Philharmonic garnered international attention with its virtuosic performances and participated in recordings, tours, international festivals and major events such as Operalia, The World Opera Competition. During his tenure, the orchestra undertook major concert tours eliciting great critical and public acclaim as they visited Germany, Austria, the USA and Mexico in leading concert halls of Berlin, Munich, Essen, Vienna, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Busan and Mexico City. As well, through Maestro Parisotto, the orchestra completed significant commercial recording projects, starting with the Philharmonic’s first release under the SONY Classical label.

“Amidst this exciting pillar of sound growing constantly, stands Marco Parisotto. Under his control, directing the orchestra with the greatest finesse, like an architect he gives precise instructions that develop into a majestic edifice of sound…  He ingeniously manages the full spectrum of colors of his orchestra… We hope that this fantastic orchestra with this dynamic conductor will visit our German concert halls more frequently, bringing with them their style of spicy and fiery music-making.” •Klassik Begeistert, Raphael Eckardt

Following a special concert celebrating Canada-China relations in 1999 at the Grand Theatre in Shanghai, Marco Parisotto was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 2003.

Marco Parisotto has won critical and public praise for his interpretations of the great Austro-German repertoire - as R. Strauss, Bruckner, Wagner, and as an avid Mahlerian. He has also been acclaimed for his readings of Russian masters as Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and for his passionate performances in the operatic field. He has led productions including, among others, Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana, Carmen, Otello, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Boheme, Aida, Rigoletto, Don Giovanni and Turandot.

“The star of the evening was without a doubt Marco Parisotto…inspired, passionate and in a virtual state of grace, impressing a supreme flow and agility to this extremely challenging opera [Puccini’s Turandot].” •Opera World.

Marco Parisotto has appeared in major concert halls throughout the world, conducting many leading orchestras including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano "La Verdi", Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano, New Jersey Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, Busan Philharmonic, Osaka Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Erfurt Philharmonic, Belgrade Philharmonic, Georges Enescu Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Opéra de Bordeaux, Opéra de Marseille, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Philharmonique de Liège. He was received with great enthusiasm at the international Festivals of Evian, Menton, Besançon, Festival Cervantino, Wieniawski International Festival (Poland), May Festival of Guadalajara, Festival of Opera in Jalisco, Skaneateles Festival New York, Busan Maru International Music Festival and Bolzano Festival; at the Montreal Opera, Shanghai Opera, Opera Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste, Serbian National Theatre; in Mexico with the Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM, Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes, Orquesta Sinfonica de UANL, Camerata de Coahuila, Sinfonica Carlos Chavez, Camara de Bellas Artes, Orquesta de Baja California; in China with the Shanghai Symphony, China National Symphony and Gui Yang Symphony. He has also led to acclaim the Polish National Radio Symphony, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, Orchestra Nazionale della RAI of Torino, Orquesta de Cordoba, Orchestre de Bayonne Côte-Basque. On several occasions, at Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, he was a guest of Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux.  

Marco Parisotto is the winner of seven important international competitions. Aside from his noteworthy awards at the prestigious Besançon Competition, joining the ranks of maestros like Seiji Ozawa and Michel Plasson, other top prizes have included the Tokyo International Conductors' Competition in Japan, Constantin Silvestri Competition in Romania and the Antonio Pedrotti in Italy. He was moreover honored with all other special awards at these events.  

He took his training both as a violinist and pianist and studied conducting with eminent maestros including Leonard Bernstein. Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Brück, Yuri Temirkanov, Georg Tintner and, initially, with Raffi Armenian at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec in Montreal.

PROGRAM NOTES
by John Green

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Fidelio Overture Opus 72


It is 1804, the French Revolution has wound down, but the lofty ideas about peace, freedom and human rights the revolution raised are still being discussed throughout Europe; they are topics high on Ludwig van Beethoven’s list of ideals.
         
Such was the genesis for Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera. The work is an example of what was referred to as a “rescue opera”, popular during the composer’s time. Leonore, disguising herself as the prison guard Fidelio, fights against cruel odds to rescue her husband Florestan from a prison death.  
       
Nothing in Beethoven’s entire compositional career caused him more anguish than the effort he expended composing Fidelio. As an example, the opera’s overture struggled through four complete versions, a task that spanned ten years.            

The original overture title was Leonore, the name that Beethoven preferred. But the size and complexity of the piece overshadowed the opera itself. All of the composer’s subsequent rewrite efforts presented dramas of their own. Then in 1814, at the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, an inspired Beethoven eagerly took over the chance to once again revise the opera, including the overture. What transpired is the shorter, nonetheless powerful, piece heard today. It is hardly surprising to discover how Beethoven himself felt about the whole project:


Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 8 Opus 93 in F major


Although Beethoven remained an unmarried bachelor his entire life he was not without his share of family and social controversy. When a housekeeper was invited to share his brother Johann’s accommodation, Beethoven’s puritan sensibilities were outraged. He journeyed immediately to Linz to take the situation in hand. There he obtained a legal order demanding the girl return to Vienna. This prompted a confrontation between the brothers and in order to avoid having the young lady leave, Johann married her—much to Ludwig’s displeasure.            

It was also near this same time that the now famous “Immortal Beloved” love letter was written. Few historical documents have generated more guess work surrounding the identity of this unnamed woman. The heartbreaking letter was never delivered, only discovered in Beethoven’s estate after his death. According to one biographer it could only have been Antonie Brentano, the wife of another man, a couple Beethoven may have met in Prague.            

Ironically, from this upheaval in Beethoven’s life came a work of joy and exhilaration, the 8th Symphony. Critically, it did not spawn the kind of reaction or “create a furor, a universal delight” as did some of Beethoven’s other symphonic works. And although radically different in its structural arrangement—for instance, no slow movement—it yet remains a work of brilliance and high spirits. It is shorter than his other symphonies (just 25 minutes) and culminates in a finale that defies conventionality—full of surprises and sudden effects.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Overture: The Ruins of Athens opus 113


It seems ironic that Beethoven with his great love for theatre did not produce a wealth of music for the stage. Beyond Fidelio, his only opera, there were only five other works of any note: Egmont, King Stephen, Coriolan, TheRuins of Athens, and a ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus.

The Ruins of Athens Overture
, often referred to as The Incidental Music, came about as an idea Beethoven presented to German dramatist August von Kotzebue for an opera about Attila the Hun; the work was never written. What came about instead was a play, The Ruins of Athens, penned by Kotzebue in 1811 for the dedication of a new theatre in Pest (Budapest). At the time, most of Kotzebue’s previous works were unfavourably received by critics who dismissed them as immoral. Despite the disapproval, Kotzebue remained one of the most popular playwrights of his age, dismissing the criticism as “jealousy of his fame.” Beethoven either did not read what the critics thought or simply chose to ignore them.

His overture to The Ruins includes the “Turkish Element” a fashionable musical carryover from the 17th Century. The attraction lies in striking harmonies and instrumentation, an oriental colouring Beethoven created in the piece with trumpets, trombones, timpani, and strings. Undoubtedly the most recognized melody in the overture is the now famous “Turkish March”, the overture’s fourth movement, a suggestion possibly of a passing military band on parade.
                     
Today, few music students can escape learning Anton Rubenstein’s popular piano transcription of the march, which remains a staple in the keyboard repertoire.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 6 opus 68 in F major


Commonly referred to as the Pastoral Symphony, Beethoven’s No. 6 is an example of “program music”, an attempt by the composer to invite images correlated to what the listener hears. The term, also labelled “art music” pertains almost solely to compositions belonging to the European Classical Period—Beethoven’s era—during which time it was popular.  

As alover of nature, Beethoven spent countless hours strolling the country bywaysaround Vienna; as a result, the 6th symphony is one of his worksthat presents the pictorial elements found in programmatic music. He completedthe symphony in 1808 and although he admitted he was not a true advocate ofprogram music, it is not hard to recognize the symphony’s sounds of bird calls,country dances, and thunderstorms. In Beethoven’s own words: 
“1st piece: pleasant feelings which awaken in men on arriving in the        countryside.2d piece: scene by the brook. 3d piece: merry gathering of    country people, interrupted by 4th piece: thunder and storm, into which      breaks 5thpiece: salutary feelings combined with thanks to the Deity.”
Perhaps this musical picture recognition helps audiences to identify with the composer’s intent to a greater depth. Although the trend died out beyond the Romantic period, typical examples are still found in modern film scores: music that suggests human feelings and emotions.
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