November 16, 2014
Sunday at 3:00pm
Adam Golka, piano
Symphony No. 4, Op. 60, B-Flat major- Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30, D minor- Rachmaninoff
Adam Golka, piano
Today’s concert is sponsored by Arthur and Carole Schreiber in recognition
of Karla Atkinson’s dedicated service to Brevard Philharmonic.
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30, D minor is sponsored by Ronnie & Pete Peterman
Born and raised in Texas to a family of musicians from Poland, 26 year old pianist Adam Golka has won widespread critical and popular acclaim with his “brilliant technique and real emotional depth” (The Washington Post). He has garnered international prizes including the 2008 Gilmore Young Artist Award, first prize in the 2003 China Shanghai International Piano Competition and the 2009 Max I. Allen Classical Fellowship Award of the American Pianists Association.
With his extensive concerto repertoire, beginning with Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Liszt, and now fully embracing Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and Bartok, Golka has appeared as a soloist with the Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, San Diego, Fort Worth, Syracuse, Pensacola, Lansing, Knoxville, Albany, South Dakota, and Grand Rapids symphonies, and with the Grand Teton and Colorado Music Festival orchestras. Internationally, he has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Warsaw Philharmonic, Orchestre Poitou-Charentes, and the Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco with conductors including Donald Runnicles, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Pinchas Zukerman, Mark Wigglesworth, Michael Christie, Andreas Delfs, Edwin Outwater, David Lockington, Daniel Hege, Julian Kuerti, Michael Morgan, Timothy Muffitt, Ryan McAdams, as well as his brother, conductor Tomasz Golka.
Following a summer at Marlboro, the New York based Golka kicks off the 2013/14 season with a recital at Ravinia, and solo and chamber music concerts at Bargemusic in Brooklyn. He returns to the Fort Worth Symphony for a week of Brahms 2 performances with Joshua Weilerstein, followed by his debut at the New Jersey Symphony playing the Ravel G Major concerto. with Music Director, Jacques Lacombe. The Ann Arbor Symphony sees him back for performances of Beethoven 2nd piano concerto.
Last summer Adam Golka made his debut at Caramoor in a Beethoven program with Colin Jacobsen, and at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in pre-concert recitals of Lutoslawski and Brahms. Recitals followed across the 2012/13 season in New York, Ohio, Boston, Florida and in Wroclaw, Poland; plus guest artist performances with the Szymanowski Quartet at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. He opened the Omaha Symphony’s season playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto. No. 2, joined the Jacksonville Symphony for Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto., and played Mozart k. 491 with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto. No. 1 with the Riverside County Philharmonic.
Adam Golka has played all five Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Lubbock Symphony, and concertos by Mozart, Liszt and Ravel with the symphony orchestras in Phoenix, Duluth-Superior, Eugene, Fairfax, and Santa Fe. In 2010, Golka made his Isaac Stern Auditorium debut at Carnegie Hall, playing Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto with the New York Youth Symphony and, in 2011, joined a Ravinia Steans Institute tour, with dates in Boston, Chicago, New York City, Stamford, and at the Highland Park Music Festival.
Further afield, he has played solo and chamber music concerts at the Concertgebouw’s Kleine Zaal, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Musashino Civic Cultural Hall in Tokyo, Nakanoshima Hall in Osaka, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, and at prestigious festivals such as the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Ravinia Festival, Music@Menlo, the New York City International Keyboard Festival at Mannes, the Newport Music Festival, and the Duszniki Chopin festival.
Adam Golka has premiered solo works written for him by Richard Danielpour and Michael Brown, and is an avid chamber musician and lieder partner. After studying with his mother, pianist Anna Golka, and Dariusz Pawlas of Rice University, Adam moved to Fort Worth to pursue studies with José Feghali at Texas Christian University. In 2012 he received an Artist’s Diploma from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, studying with the legendary Leon Fleisher, and has contined his work in masterclasses with Andras Schiff, Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida.
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, op. 60
Ludwig van Beethoven
Born in Bonn, baptized December 17, 1770; died in Vienna, March 26, 1827
The Fourth Symphony was only one in a steady stream of wonders that flowed from Beethoven’s pen in 1806 and 1807, including the three ground-breaking Razumovsky String Quartets, the Violin Concerto, the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Coriolan Overture, and parts of the Fifth Symphony. The Fourth Symphony was composed mostly in September and October of 1806 while Beethoven was a guest at Prince Lichnowsky’s summer castle near Troppau, Silesia. Though the visit was extremely productive, it also caused a temporary rupture in Beethoven’s friendship with the prince: having been jestingly threatened with house arrest after refusing to play one evening, Beethoven stormed out of the castle. He made his way on foot in the pouring rain to Lichnowsky’s physician’s house where he spent the night and dashed off the following celebrated note: “Prince! What you are, you are by accident of birth. What I am, I am through myself. There have been and will be thousands of princes. There is only one Beethoven.”
The Fourth Symphony was dedicated to another of Lichnowsky’s guests that summer, Count Franz von Oppersdorf, who was said to have hired servants only if they could play an instrument in his orchestra. The work may have been performed privately by the Count’s orchestra, but the first documented performance occurred in March 1807 at the Vienna residence of another of Beethoven’s patrons, Prince Lobkowitz. The newly composed Coriolan Overture and Fourth Piano Concerto received their premieres on the same concert.
Beethoven’s even-numbered symphonies, with the exception of the Pastoral, have been overshadowed by the “more dramatic” odd-numbered symphonies, but each of them contains its share of innovation and drama. The introduction to the first movement of the Fourth Symphony is unique in the repertoire for its searching quality and suspension of motion. The pianissimo dynamic and the unstable harmonies that move at an incredibly slow rate set the stage for one of the most exuberant fast movements that Beethoven ever composed.
The buoyancy of the Allegro is maintained by a wealth of contrasts: sudden fortissimo outbursts next to quiet bubbly motion, fast harmonic motion next to passages of slowly changing harmony, and juxtapositions of differing phrase lengths. Another supreme dramatic stroke is played out in the hush followed by a crescendo leading to the recapitulation, of which Berlioz wrote: “This astonishing crescendo is one of the most skillfully contrived things we know of in music. . . . You might compare it to a river whose calm waters suddenly disappear and only leave the subterranean bed to plunge with a roar in a foaming waterfall.”
Beethoven’s slow movement exhibits a unique form best described as sonata form with an unusually placed development section. The lovely main theme, featuring a decorated descending scale, returns after the exposition in ornamented fashion, lulling us into expecting the traditional slow-movement sonata form, that is, exposition and recapitulation with no real development. But then Beethoven’s development storms in, interrupting the recapitulation and heightening the drama. This miraculous section, one of Beethoven’s most imaginative, together with the first-movement introduction, provides the only somber contrast in the otherwise sunny Symphony. Beethoven ingeniously employs the introductory, quietly pulsing rhythmic figure throughout the movement, eventually entrusting it pianissimo to the timpani.
Up to this time Beethoven had employed the scheme scherzo-trio-scherzo, in keeping with the traditional form of the scherzo’s predecessor, the minuet. In the present third movement—for the first time in any symphony—he repeated the trio followed by another return of the scherzo, resulting in the form A-B-A-B-A. In this way a scherzo, moving at a faster rate than a minuet, would not result in a movement that was too short in proportion to the others. Beethoven’s rhythmic play with groupings of two beats within triple meter delight the ears as do the violins’ impish answers to the winds and horns in the trio sections. The movement merrily concludes with a cleverly shortened last return of the scherzo.
The finale opens with a whirlwind of sixteenth notes in perpetual-motion style. Comic effects abound in this high-spirited movement, such as the drawing out of this theme by means of longer note values and pauses, and a particularly effervescent return of the theme in the solo bassoon.
—©Jane Vial Jaffe
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, op. 30
Born in Semyonovo, April 1, 1873; died in Beverly Hills, March 28, 1943
During the summer of 1909 Rachmaninoff wrote his Third Piano Concerto in preparation for his first American tour—he was to perform over twenty concerts of his own works as conductor and pianist. When he left for the United States in October, he carried the manuscript of the just-completed work and a dummy keyboard so he could practice aboard ship. He premiered the Concerto on November 28 with the New York Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Damrosch and performed it again a month and a half later with the New York Philharmonic under Gustav Mahler. Rachmaninoff was so impressed by Mahler’s painstaking rehearsal of the new score that he recalled the incident years later:
The rehearsal began at ten o’clock. I was to join it at eleven, and arrived in good time. But we did not begin to work until twelve, when there was only half an hour left, during which I did my utmost to play through a composition which usually lasts thirty-six minutes [most performances take even longer]. . . . We played and played. . . . Half an hour was long past, but Mahler did not pay the slightest attention to this fact. . . .
Forty-five minutes later Mahler announced “Now we will repeat the first movement.”
My heart froze within me. I expected a dreadful row, or at least a heated protest from the orchestra. This would certainly have happened in any other orchestra, but here I did not notice a single sign of displeasure. The musicians played the first movement with a keen or perhaps even closer application than the previous time.
Many commentators have remarked on the ingenuity of Rachmaninoff’s construction in this Concerto—the degree of thematic integration stands out among his works. The quiet pulsing rhythm that opens the Concerto, for example, becomes one of its unifying features. The lyrical main theme, of very narrow range, has been likened to a Russian folk song or something liturgical, possibly the Russian monastic chant “Thy tomb, O Savior, soldiers guarding.” Any likeness, however, was subconscious, for Rachmaninoff stated explicitly that it was “borrowed neither from folk songs nor from church sources. It simply ‘wrote itself!’ . . . I was thinking only of sound. I wanted to ‘sing’ the melody on the piano as a singer would sing it.”
Rachmaninoff positioned his unusually lengthy and difficult cadenza at the end of the development. He published two versions of the first part of this cadenza, one (most frequently played, following Rachmaninoff and Horowitz’s example) light and fleet, the other more weighty and chordal. Having treated both main themes extensively in the development and in the cadenza, he foreshortens the recapitulation to the point that it seems like a coda.
The slow Intermezzo presents a sorrowful, even tragic main theme characterized by a distinctive falling third. Rachmaninoff treats it rhapsodically rather than in strict variations. His scherzo-like interlude provides thematic integration, not only in the clarinet and bassoon solo which transforms the first movement’s main theme, but in the piano filigree, also based on the opening theme.
Connected to the preceding movement without pause, the dramatic finale relates to the opening rhythmic motive in both of its main ideas. The second theme’s pounding quality unexpectedly opens out into a broad lyrical theme, which Rachmaninoff, master of the “big tune,” uses with apotheotic quality at the movement’s end—one of the most memorable moments in the Romantic concerto repertoire.
The Third Concerto, one of the most demanding of all virtuoso showcases, was held at arm’s length by critics, audiences, and pianists for at least two decades, in the shadow of the more popular Second. Rachmaninoff had dedicated it to the Polish pianist Josef Hofmann, who never performed it, partly perhaps because of his small hands, but largely because he thought it “cut up” and lacking in form. The Third finally came to rival the Second in appeal, primarily through Horowitz, who, despite the age difference, formed a great friendship with the composer. Rachmaninoff considered Horowitz the greatest pianist of the century; Horowitz considered his mastery of the Third Concerto his proudest achievement.
—©Jane Vial Jaffe