Matinée 3

Thursday 18.2.2021 14.00 Matinée
FROM 20/18/18 €, INCL. COFFEE AND PASTRY Espoo Cultural Centre
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Thursday 18.2.2021 14.00 FROM 20/18/18 €, INCL. COFFEE AND PASTRY Espoo Cultural Centre

Clemens Schuldt, conductor
Jukka Rantamäki, host

Hans Abrahamsen: Ten preludes
Joseph Haydn: Symphony no 90 in C major C

The programme features two evocative works written about 200 years apart. Ten Preludes by Danish contemporary composer Hans Abrahamsen is a collection of brief pieces with multiple stylistic approaches. Joseph Haydn’s Symphony no. 90 is a treasure trove of innovative musical insights and prominent solos for wind instruments.

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The program is subject to change.

Artists

Program

Hans Abrahamsen

Ten preludes

Hans Abrahamsen, one of Denmark’s most prominent composers, wrote his first pieces in the late 1960s, before he had even begun to study composition. In his early works, he aligned himself with the influential ‘New Simplicity’ movement, which aimed to establish an opposing force to complex central European modernism, particularly the ‘Darmstadt School’. They valued clarity, translucency in texture, the use of specific stylistic elements and objectivity in approach. From the late 1970s onwards, Abrahamsen began to employ an approach that was more subjective, described as “poetic” or “romantic”, and he adhered to this even after returning to composition after a hiatus that lasted for nearly all of the 1990s.
Ten Preludes for string quartet (1973) is one of the key works of Abrahamsen’s early period and the first in his series of four string quartets. It represents the ideals of ‘New Simplicity’, and, as the composer said, “it consists of ten short pieces – or maybe beginnings written in a new simplistic (or minimalistic) and poly-stylistical style”. In 2010, he adapted the work for orchestra under the title Ten Sinfonias.
The movements display a variety of stylistic approaches: the opening movement, for instance, erupts with an edgy dissonance, but there are also more emotional and minimalist repetitive movements with a very simple texture. The movements are separated by very brief pauses (quasi attacca) or longer pauses (non attacca) or, in the case of the transition to the last movement, with no pause at all (attacca subito). The stylistic palette becomes clearer as the work progresses; the penultimate movement is a monophonic melody resembling a folk tune, and the final movement is a vivacious Baroque dance pastiche down to the binary form with repeats.

Joseph Haydn

Symphony no. 90 C

Although Haydn spent much of his career writing music in isolation from the musical world at large at the court of Prince Esterházy, his music began to be known around Europe early on. He began to expand his symphonic empire in the 1780s, his employer having granted him permission to write symphonies for outside commissioners. It was at this time that he wrote a large number of pieces for French performers, first the Paris Symphonies (nos. 82–87) in 1785–1786 and then the next five symphonies in two batches. The Paris Symphonies were commissioned by the distinguished French concert institution Le Concert de la Loge, one of whose founding members, Comte Claude-François-Marie Rigoley d’Ogny, personally commissioned Haydn’s Symphonies nos. 90–92 (1788–1789).
Symphony no. 90 may not be one of Haydn’s best-known works, but it boasts original and creative musical solutions. In the first movement, Haydn established unity between the slow introduction and the fast main section by taking one of the motifs in the introduction and using it to begin the main subject of the main section. The second subject is performed first on a flute, then on an oboe, and overall there are plenty of solos and independent wind parts in the Symphony. The slow movement follows a favourite structure of Haydn’s: variations on two alternating themes. The differing characters of the themes lends character to the movement: the first is in a bright F major, the second in a dramatic F minor. Here, too, there are prominent solo passages: a flute solo in a variation of the major-key theme and a cello solo in a variation of the minor-key theme.
The Minuet is in keeping with the French ideals of elegant ceremony, perhaps in a deliberate nod to the Comte d’Ogny. An oboe solo takes centre stage in the pastoral Trio section. The energetic finale is built around a single theme. For the end, Haydn has one more surprise up his sleeve: a false ending, a four-measure pause and then a transition to D flat major and an adventure through an unusually expanded coda back to the terra firma of the home key, C major.

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