NEW YORK –– Emmanuel Villaume returns to conduct the Juilliard Orchestraon Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 8 p.m. in Alice Tully Hall. The program features Stravinsky’s Feu d’artifice (Fireworks), Op. 4; Ravel’s La valse; Glazunov’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 82 with Juilliard violinist Lifan Zhu; and Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky (arr. Ravel). Mr. Villaume conducted Juilliard Opera’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon in April 2014 to critical acclaim: “Emmanuel Villaume, the seasoned specialist on the podium, conveyed equal parts savoir-faire and inspiration.” (The Financial Times, Martin Bernheimer)
About the Program:
The world premieres of Stravinsky’s two orchestral pieces, Scherzo fantastiqueand Feu d’artifice, took place in St. Petersburg in 1909. It was at this concert that Serge Diaghilev, director of the Ballets Russes, discovered Stravinsky, laying the foundation for their long and fruitful collaboration. The title of the short orchestral fantasia Feu d’Artifice promises musical fireworks and contains many elements that are characteristic of Stravinsky – the rhythmic conciseness, brilliant instrumentation and the arrangement of motifs in layers.
Ravel composed his 20-minute tone poem La valse in 1919-20. He intended the piece to serve as a ballet score for the Ballets Russes, but it was not to be. The piece was eventually staged, first by Nijinska for the Ida Rubinstein troupe in 1929 and later by George Balanchine in 1951.
Glazunov’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 82 was written for the virtuoso Leopold Auer. The work dates from 1904 just before Glazunov became director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The premiere took place on March 4, 1905 in St. Petersburg with Leopold Auer as the soloist. Glazunov’s concerto borrowed from Mendelssohn and Liszt by linking the three traditional movements into an uninterrupted whole. The soloist launches into the theme immediately without an orchestral introduction, and the melody suggests folk music.
Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition was inspired by a visit to an art exhibition. It was originally composed in 1874 for piano and later orchestrated by Ravel in 1922. Mussorgsky composed Pictures as a memorial to his friend, Russian artist Viktor Hartmann, who died in 1873 at age 39. Mussorgsky visited a retrospective exhibit of Hartmann’s sketches, stage designs, and architectural studies. The suite features musical depictions of ten paintings by Hartmann, interspersed with the recurring “Promenade” theme that represents the visitor strolling through the exhibition.