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February 11, 1995

Falla: El Amor Brujo Suite | Schubert: Unfinished Symphony | Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
El Amor Brujo Suite

Introduccion y Escena
Danza ritural de Fuego
Canción del Fuego Fatuo
Danse du Jeu d' Amour
Final:  Les cloches du Marin
En la Cueva:  La Noche

Perhaps more than any other composer, Manuel de Falla expresses the sol (sunshine) and sombra (shadow) of Spain. His music is born of the folk idioms of his native Andalusia which is influenced by the history of Moors and gypsies. The ballet El Amor Brujo (Love the Magician) was written 1914-15, soon after the composer had returned to Spain from an extended stay in France. The premiere of the work was less than successful, but following Falla's 1916 revision of the work into an orchestral suite it has been a favorite of concertgoers -- particularly the popular Ritual Fire Dance. The story or the ballet depicts the beautiful gypsy girl, Candelas, whose love for Carmelo is haunted by the spectre of her dead lover. The intervention of her friend Lucia allows Candelas and Carmelo to overcome the spectre of the past and unite to the sound of the church bells. This colorful music is full of fire and rhythms influenced by folk music, but original with Falla.  The piece is scored for flutes, piccolo, clarinets, bassoon, horns, trumpets, piano, timpani, chimes, and strings.

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Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Symphony No. 8 in B minor "Unfinished"

Andante con moto
Allegro moderato

Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor (Unfinished) holds a place of honor in the development of music, and is also his most popular symphonic work. The composer's unique lyrical genius was first manifest in his songs. As he matured, this lyricism was also displayed in his orchestral and chamber works, bringing a truly romantic feeling to these classical forms. In 1823, Schubert sent the manuscript of two completed movements of the b minor symphony with sketches of a third to Josef Hüttenbrenner to be given to his brother Anselm as a gift. Thirty-seven years later it finally came to light, being handed over to the conductor of the orchestra of the Musikverein in Vienna. Many theories abound as to why or even if the symphony was unfinished. Today we enjoy the piece as it stands. Music critic, Hanslick, reported the Viennese reception of its first performance in 1865. "When, after the introductory bars, the oboe and clarinet give out their suave tune in unison over the quiet murmur of the violins, any child could have recognized the authorship, and a stifled exclamation, almost a whisper, ran through the hall:  'Schubert!'  Before he has scarcely entered, they know him by his step, by the way he lifts the latch."  With these two most perfect movements, Schubert ushered in the age of the romantic symphony.

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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15

Rondo:  Allegro
Allegro con brio

The young Beethoven made his name as an pianist, improvisor, and composer for the piano. In addition to the five piano concertos, he actually left several other works in the medium, an uncompleted Concerto in E-flat, WoO 4, a Rondo for piano and orchestra, WoO 6, a piano version of his violin concerto, the Choral Fantasia for piano, chorus, and orchestra, and the Triple Concerto. Most of the C Major concerto was completed in 1795. He first performed it on a concert in Vienna (scholars are uncertain as to whether it was the concert of 1795 or 1800). In the Concerto in C,  Op. 15, as well as the earlier B-flat concerto, Op. 18, Beethoven followed the classical concerto model of Mozart and Haydn. It is scored for 1 flute, pairs of oboes, bassoons, and trumpets, timpani and strings. Listen for the martial mood of the first movement (long-short-short), the beautiful clarinet duo with the piano of the second movement, and the final rollicking Rondo.

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Program notes by Linda Mack. Copyright 1995.
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Program notes home Alphabetical Index of Composers Chronological Index of Concerts