This concert is sponsored by Beth Threatt

Arnaud Sussmann's appearance sponsored in part by Luann Bangsund

Holberg Suite, op. 40

Edvard Grieg

Born in 1843 in Bergen, Norway. Died in 1907 in Bergen, Norway.

Composed in 1884 | 21 minutes
5 movements: 1. Prelude; 2. Sarabande; 3. Gavotte and Musette; 4. Air; 5. Rigaudon
Scored for string orchestra

Peer Gynt: Suite No. 1, op. 46

Edvard Grieg

Born in 1843 in Bergen, Norway. Died in 1907 in Bergen, Norway.

Composed and revised between 1874 and 1885 | 15 minutes
4 movements: 1. Morning; 2. Ase's Death; 3. Anitra's Dance; 4. In the Hall of the Mountain King
Scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, and strings

Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47

featuring Arnaud Sussmann, violin

Jean Sibelius

Born in 1865 in Hämeenlinna, Finland. Died in 1957 in Järvenpää, Finland

Composed between 1903 and 1905 | 35 minutes
3 movements: 1. Allegro moderato; 2. Adagio di molto; 3. Allegro, ma non tanto
Scored for solo violin, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings

Program Notes: Notes from the North

HOLBERG SUITE

Edvard Grieg's Holberg Suite stands as a masterpiece within the realm of neoclassical composition, reflecting the composer's profound admiration for the Baroque era while infusing it with his unique Nordic sensibility. Composed in 1884 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the renowned Danish-Norwegian playwright Ludvig Holberg, the suite showcases Grieg's ability to blend historical forms with his own distinctive voice.

The suite is comprised of five movements, each offering a delightful exploration of Baroque dance forms imbued with Grieg's characteristic lush harmonies and melodic inventiveness. The first movement, "Praeludium," opens the suite with a stately introduction, evoking the grandeur of the Baroque period while introducing motifs that will recur throughout the work. Following the prelude, the suite unfolds with the lively "Sarabande," characterized by its graceful triple meter and intricate interplay of melodic lines. Grieg's skillful orchestration brings a vibrant energy to this movement, capturing the spirit of the dance form while infusing it with his own expressive flair.

The third movement, "Gavotte," offers a charming contrast with its playful, dance-like character. Here, Grieg's use of folk-inspired melodies and rhythmic motifs adds a touch of whimsy, inviting listeners into a world of rustic charm and pastoral beauty. Next, the suite transitions into the introspective "Air," a poignant interlude marked by its lyrical melodies and rich harmonies. In this movement, Grieg demonstrates his ability to evoke profound emotion through his music, weaving a tapestry of sound that is both tender and deeply affecting. The suite reaches its triumphant conclusion with the exhilarating "Rigaudon," a spirited dance movement that showcases Grieg's virtuosic orchestration and dynamic flair. Here, the composer unleashes a whirlwind of energy, bringing the suite to a thrilling close with its dazzling displays of musical mastery.

Throughout the Holberg Suite, Grieg pays homage to the spirit of the Baroque era while infusing it with his own distinctively Nordic voice. With its rich harmonies, lyrical melodies, and vibrant orchestration, the suite stands as a testament to Grieg's genius as a composer and remains a beloved staple of the orchestral repertoire.

PEER GYNT SUITE NO. 1

Derived from Grieg's larger incidental music for Henrik Ibsen's play "Peer Gynt," the suite encapsulates the essence of Norwegian folk culture while vividly portraying the adventures and misadventures of its titular character, Peer Gynt. The suite consists of four movements, each evoking a distinct scene from the play. The first movement, "Morning Mood," is perhaps the most famous and immediately recognizable. Grieg paints a serene and tranquil landscape as the sun rises over the Norwegian fjords. The gentle strings and woodwinds create a sense of peaceful awakening, with delicate melodies that capture the beauty of the natural world.

Following the tranquility of the first movement, the second movement, "The Death of Åse," takes a darker turn. Grieg conveys a sense of mourning and loss as Peer Gynt's mother, Åse, passes away. The music is characterized by mournful strings and poignant melodies, reflecting the sorrow and grief of the scene. The third movement, "Anitra's Dance," introduces a lively and exotic atmosphere. Inspired by Middle Eastern rhythms and melodies, Grieg creates a vivid depiction of Peer Gynt's encounter with the seductive Anitra. The music is infused with energy and passion, featuring rhythmic percussion and playful woodwind solos that transport the listener to a world of intrigue and allure.

Finally, the suite concludes with "In the Hall of the Mountain King," arguably the most dramatic and thrilling movement. Grieg masterfully builds tension and excitement as Peer Gynt finds himself in the perilous realm of the trolls. The relentless rhythmic ostinato, gradually increasing in intensity, creates a sense of mounting danger and suspense, culminating in a triumphant and exhilarating finale. Through its evocative melodies and vivid orchestration, Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 transports audiences to the enchanting world of Norwegian folklore, capturing the essence of adventure, love, and the human spirit.

VIOLIN CONCERTO IN D MINOR

Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, stands as one of the most beloved and enduring works in the violin repertoire, showcasing the composer's distinctive voice and mastery of orchestration. Composed in 1904 and revised in 1905, the concerto represents a pinnacle of Finnish Romanticism, capturing the essence of Sibelius' native landscapes while exploring the virtuosic capabilities of the violin.

The concerto is structured in three movements, each offering a compelling exploration of melodic richness, emotional depth, and technical brilliance. The first movement opens with a solemn orchestral introduction, setting the stage for the entrance of the solo violin. From the outset, the violin takes center stage, embarking on a dramatic journey characterized by soaring melodies, intricate passagework, and passionate intensity. Sibelius' skillful orchestration provides a rich tapestry of sound, with the orchestra serving as both accompaniment and counterpart to the soloist's virtuosic display. The second movement unfolds as a lyrical and introspective interlude, with the solo violin spinning out long, singing lines over a backdrop of shimmering strings and woodwinds. Here, Sibelius explores themes of melancholy and nostalgia, weaving a delicate web of emotions that captivates the listener with its poignant beauty. The movement builds to a climax of emotional intensity before subsiding into a tranquil coda, leaving a lingering sense of yearning in its wake. The final movement bursts forth with exuberance and energy, as the soloist and orchestra engage in a thrilling display of musical fireworks. Sibelius' dynamic rhythms and rousing melodies propel the concerto to its triumphant conclusion, leaving audiences exhilarated by the sheer virtuosity and vitality of the music.

Throughout the Violin Concerto, Sibelius demonstrates his remarkable ability to blend technical brilliance with emotional depth, creating a work that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant. Drawing inspiration from the folk traditions of his native Finland, Sibelius infuses the concerto with echoes of Finnish melodies and landscapes, imbuing the music with a sense of national identity and cultural heritage. Today, Sibelius' Violin Concerto remains a cornerstone of the violin repertoire, cherished by audiences and performers alike for its beauty, passion, and profound emotional resonance. With its soaring melodies, lush orchestration, and breathtaking virtuosity, the concerto stands as a testament to Sibelius' genius as a composer and continues to captivate listeners with its timeless allure.

Meet Arnuad Sussmann

Winner of a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Arnaud Sussmann has distinguished himself with his unique sound, bravura and profound musicianship. Minnesota’s Pioneer Press writes, “Sussmann has an old-school sound reminiscent of what you'll hear on vintage recordings by Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler, a rare combination of sweet and smooth that can hypnotize a listener. His clear tone [is] a thing of awe-inspiring beauty, his phrasing spellbinding.”

A thrilling young musician capturing the attention of classical critics and audiences around the world, Sussmann has appeared with major orchestras including the American Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Paris Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, and the Vancouver Symphony. Further solo appearances in recent seasons included a tour of Israel and concerts at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Dresden Music Festival in Germany and at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Sussmann has been presented in recital at notable national series in Boston, Denver, New Orleans, Omaha, and Palm Beach, as well as at the Tel Aviv at the Museum of Art and at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He has also given concerts at the OK Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest and Moritzburg festivals and appears regularly at the Beare’s Premiere, Caramoor, Music@Menlo, La Jolla SummerFest, Seattle Chamber Music, Moab Music, and Saratoga Springs Chamber Music festivals.

Recent concerto appearances include performances with Maestro Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra at the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, the Alabama Symphony, Albany Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and Santa Rosa Symphony. Over the past two seasons, chamber music performances included tours with Music@Menlo to Florence, Italy and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to Colombia’s Teatro Mayor, Korea’s LG Arts Center, Shanghai’s Oriental Center, and Hong Kong’s Music Academy.

Sussmann has performed with many of today’s leading artists including Itzhak Perlman, Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Wu Han, David Finckel, Jan Vogler, and members of the Emerson String Quartet. He has worked with conductors such as Cristian Macelaru, Gemma New, Marcelo Lehninger, Rune Bergmann, and Leon Botstein. A dedicated chamber musician, he has been a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2006 and has regularly appeared with them in New York and on tour, including a recent concert at London’s Wigmore Hall.  

A frequent recording artist, Sussmann has released albums on Deutsche Grammophon’s DG Concert Series, Naxos, Albany Records and CMS Studio Recordings labels. His solo debut disc, featuring three Brahms Violin Sonatas with pianist Orion Weiss, was released in December 2014 on the Telos Music Label, and his most recent feature recording featuring works by Beethoven, Bloch, Fauré, and Mendelssohn was released in 2019 on the Music@Menlo LIVE label. He has been featured on multiple PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts alongside Itzhak Perlman and the Perlman Music Program and with musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Born in Strasbourg, France and based now in New York City, Sussmann trained at the Conservatoire de Paris and the Juilliard School with Boris Garlitsky and Itzhak Perlman. Winner of several international competitions, including the Andrea Postacchini of Italy and Vatelot/Rampal of France, he was named a Starling Fellow in 2006, an honor which allowed him to be Mr. Perlman’s teaching assistant for two years. Sussmann currently teaches at Stony Brook University on Long Island and was recently named Co-Artistic Director of Music@Menlo’s International Music Program and Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach.

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