Scheherazade

Fri, July 26, 2024 6:30 pm
Sat, July 27, 2024 7:30 pm

PROGRAM

Grant Park Orchestra

Grant Park Chorus

Eric Jacobsen, conductor

Christopher Bell, chorus director

Lindsey Reynolds, soprano

LILI BOULANGER

D’un matin de printemps (Of a Spring Morning)


FRANCIS POULENC

Stabat Mater
Stabat Mater dolorosa
Cujus animam gementem
O quam tristis
Quae moerebat
Quis est homo
Vidit suum
Eja Mater
Fac et Ardeat
Sancta Mater
Fac ut portem
Inflammatus et accensus
Quando corpus 

Lindsey Reynolds, soprano

INTERMISSION


NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

Scheherazade
The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship
The Tale of Prince Kalendar
The Young Prince and the Princess
The Festival at Baghdad; The Sea; The Ship Goes to Pieces on a Rock 

LOCATION

Jay Pritzker Pavilion


RUN TIME

Approx. 120 minutes including 20 minute intermission


SPONSORS

This program is generously sponsored by Colleen and Lloyd Fry and the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation and supported as part of the Dehmlow Choral Music Series.

The appearance of Lindsey Reynolds is graciously made possible with support from the David H. Whitney and Juliana Y. Chyu Next Generation Vocalist Fund.

MEET THE ARTISTS

Eric Jacobsen

Conductor

Just 40 years old and already well-established as one of classical music’s most exciting and innovative young conductors, Eric Jacobsen combines fresh interpretations of the traditional canon with cutting-edge collaborations across musical genres. Hailed by the New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” Eric, as both a conductor and a cellist, has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative programming.

Eric joined the Virginia Symphony Orchestra as Music Director in 2021, being named the twelfth music director in the orchestra’s 100+ year history. Recent and upcoming projects include a recording project of Dvorak and Coleridge-Taylor with Gil Shaham, and a world premiere of a new mandolin concerto by Chris Thile.

Eric is in his eighth season as Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, as he continues to pioneer the orchestra’s programming and community engagement in new and exciting directions. The 22-23 season saw the return of the Resonate Festival, a unique blend of old and new orchestral and chamber works, performed in standard and more intimate concert formats. Featuring Artist-in-Residence Anthony McGill, one of the most poetic clarinetists ever, in what will be a truly remarkable and inspiring set of concerts.

Eric is also artistic director and co-founder of The Knights, the uniquely adventurous NYC-based chamber orchestra. The ensemble, founded with his brother, violinist Colin Jacobsen, grew out of late-night music reading parties with friends, good food and drink, and conversation. As conductor, Jacobsen has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (New York Times) at venues throughout New York City and surrounding areas, at major summer festivals, and on tour nationally and internationally. Under Jacobsen’s baton, The Knights have developed an extensive recording collection, which includes the critically acclaimed albums Azul, with longtime collaborator Yo-Yo Ma, as well as a recent album featuring Gil Shaham in performances of the Beethoven and Brahms Violin Concertos.

A frequent guest conductor, Eric has established continuing relationships with the Colorado Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Dresden Musikfestspiele. This season’s engagements also include concerts with the Omaha Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and Grant Park Festival.

Eric brings joy, storytelling, and a touch of humor to what he describes as “musical conversations” that delight audiences around the world, including those who do not traditionally attend classical music concerts. Jacobsen is married to Grammy-Winner singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and they have a five-year-old daughter, Ivy Jo.

Lindsey Reynolds

Soprano

American soprano Lindsey Reynolds is currently pursuing her Master of Music at the Curtis Institute of Music, under the tutelage of Julia Faulkner. She is a recipient of the Florence Kirk Keppel Fellow.

A versatile artist, Reynolds repertoire encompasses opera, concerts, and interarts collaboration. In her 2020/21 season, Ms. Reynolds will be a featured soloist in Opera Philadelphia’s Lawrence Brownlee and Friends Concert, Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito, and select scenes as Gilda and Adina in Curtis Opera Theatre’s Opera on Demand. This summer, Lindsey looks forward to being a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where she will sing Soprano Soloist in Highway 1, USA, cover Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and be featured in the Center Stage Showcase. In her the 2019/2020 season, she debuted as Miss. Wordsworth in Albert Herring, and Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito (Postponed due to COVID-19). Also, Lindsey sang in the Curtis Symphony Orchestra concert of Mozart Scenes under the baton of Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin where she sang Despina in Cosi fan tutte’s Act 1 Finale and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro’s Act 4 Finale. Lindsey was selected as a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where she would have debuted the role of Lily in the world premiere of Awakenings by Tobias Picker and Aryeh Lev Stollman (Canceled due to COVID-19).

She has participated in masterclasses with Maestro Steven Osgood, Stephanie Blyth, and composer Ben Moore, and has worked with conductors Corrado Rovaris, Stéphane Denève, Geoffrey McDonald, among others. Ms. Reynolds has performed in historic venues such as the Perelman Theater, Prince Theater, Chautauqua Amphitheater and Verizon Hall. Her most recent performances include Soloist in Barnes/ Stokowski Festivals with The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Stéphane Denève. Notable past roles include Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir D’amore, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Monica in Menotti’s The Medium, Carrie in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, Cathleen in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea, Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd and Witch two in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Une pastourelle/La chouette in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo (abridged version).

Award numerous times nationally, recently Ms. Reynolds has been awarded First Place in the Camille Coloratura Awards, James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, Young Patronesses of the Opera/ Florida Grand Opera Competition, Hal Leonard Art Song Competition, the National Association of Negro Musicians Competition and an Emerging Artist Award from Opera Index. Also, she received second place in the George Shirley Vocal Competition in 2018, was a National YoungArts Foundation Classical Voice Finalist and Silver winner in 2017, and the second place winner in the National Classical Singer competition in 2015. She was also selected to be a featured artist on National Public Radio’s From the Top in 2015 performing “Una Donna a quindici anni” for Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte.

She has received scholarships from The National Society of Arts: Shirley Rabb Winston Voice Scholarship, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Gordon Parks Foundation, The New Orleans Opera Association’s Wood Operatic Advancement Grant, and the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts Institute.

Mrs. Reynolds is from New Orleans, Louisiana and currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In May 2020, Lindsey received her undergraduate degree from Curtis Institute of Music.

PROGRAM NOTES

 

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)  

D’un matin de printemps (1918)  

Scored for: three flutes including piccolo, three oboes including English Horn, three clarinets including bass clarinet, three bassoons, four French horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, percussion, harp, celesta, and strings

Performance time: 5 minutes 

First Grant Park Orchestra performance 

The story of Lili Boulanger is both inspiring and tragic. Born to a musical family, the talented musician composed a number of masterworks during her short life before passing away at twenty-four. Her older sister, Nadia, who eventually became one of the most influential composition teachers of the twentieth century, claimed her sister was “the first important woman composer.” Obviously, her statement is hyperbolic, but had Lili lived a full life, who knows what glass ceilings she could have broken.  

After becoming the first woman to win the coveted Prix de Rome in 1913, Lili devoted what little time she had left to coming to terms with her failing health through composition. She had always been frail. Bronchial pneumonia as a child had weakened her immune system and led to a lifelong battle with Crohn’s disease. In 1917, Lili composed two short related works, D’un soir triste (“Of a Sad Evening”) and D’un matin de printemps (“Of a Spring Morning”), which Nadia helped transcribe as Lili’s health worsened. Given that Lili completed Of a Spring Morning just two months before she died, the work is surprisingly optimistic and vibrant. Demonstrating her own take on French Impressionism, the piece is replete with colorful wind writing for the winds and unique textures. For instance, the low opening flute solo is set against the tingling of the triangle and quietly thrumming strings. This charming melodic figure then passes between various wind instruments before building to a climax. Boulanger showcases remarkable variety within the scope of such a short piece, thinning the instrumentation to a chamber-like configuration before crescendoing to a cinematic finish, complete with harp glissando and orchestral pop. 

This work was provided by the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)  

Stabat Mater (1950)  

Scored for: three flutes including piccolo, three oboes including English Horn, three clarinets including bass clarinet, three bassoons, four French horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, two harps, strings, chorus, and solo soprano

Performance time: 31 minutes 

First Grant Park Orchestra performance: July 27, 1977; Thomas Peck, conductor; Kathleen Battle, soprano 

In August 1936, Francis Poulenc’s friend and fellow composer Pierre-Octave Ferroud died in a grizzly car accident. To process his grief, Poulenc made a pilgrimage to the ancient shrine of the Black Virgin at Notre-Dame de Rocamadour. The religious experience he had there was transformative, leading him back to the Roman Catholic faith of his childhood. Throughout the rest of his career, Poulenc produced a steady stream of sacred choral works. In 1950, Poulenc composed his largest-scale religious work to date, Stabat Mater. Again, the death of a friend—the painter and set designer Christian Bérard—spurred its composition. A liturgical Requiem setting seemed too formal and cold to memorialize a friend with whom Poulenc had attended costume balls and other entertainments. So, he turned to Stabat Mater, a thirteenth-century poem by Jacopone da Todi that has inspired numerous musical settings by composers from Pergolesi to Dvořák. While no less solemn than a Requiem, Stabat Mater depicts a more human expression of grief as Mary mourns the death of her son, Jesus, at the foot of the cross.  

While similar to the later Gloria (1959) in configuration as a sacred concert work for mixed chorus, soprano soloist, and full orchestra, Stabat Mater is quite different in tone. This is not surprising given that the Gloria is a hymn of praise, whereas Stabat Mater is a meditation on Christ’s Passion. The greatest difference lies in Poulenc’s treatment of the choral forces. “My Stabat is an a capella chorus, while my Gloria is a large choral symphony,” he explained. Five of the twelve movements of Stabat Mater feature the chorus singing unaccompanied, and when the orchestra does appear, it is relatively restrained and deferential to the text. For instance, in “Fac, ut ardeat,” the orchestra only plays a short interlude between choral statements and punctuates the movement with a final chord. The texture of this movement is also paired down in its omission of the choral basses and stark polyphony. 

Stabat Mater is driven by the drama inherent in the text. Poulenc combines the twenty stanzas of the original poem into twelve movements, perhaps in a nod to the twelve apostles. He captures the different moods of each stanza by employing varying textures, dynamics, and tempos within the span of one movement. For instance, in “Quis est homo, qui non fleret,” Poulenc paints the weeping of those who contemplate Mary’s suffering (“Is there anyone who would not weep upon seeing the Mother of Christ in such great distress?”) with anguished descending vocal lines over an agitated orchestra. Suddenly, the wailing stops as the choir whispers, “Quis? Quis?” (“Who? Who?”). The fury resumes as Poulenc portrays the flogging of Jesus with violent accents and slurred figures.  

In typical Poulenc fashion, even the darkest texts are treated with touches of light, as in the blithe setting of “Quæ mœrebat.” While these sudden shifts in affect are not as pronounced as in the Gloria, they still reflect Poulenc’s famously dualistic nature as “half monk, half rascal.” To explain this hallmark of his musical character, Poulenc said, “[The French] realize that somberness and good humor are not mutually exclusive. Our composers, too, write profound music, but when they do, it is leavened with that lightness of spirit without which life would be unendurable.” 

 

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)  

Scheherazade, op.35 (1888)  

Scored for: three flutes including piccolo, two oboes including English Horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four French horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, harp, and strings

Performance time: 42 minutes 

First Grant Park Orchestra performance: August 1, 1935; Eric DeLamarter, conductor 

The collection of Middle Eastern folktales One Thousand and One Nights has inspired countless works of art and adaptations for over a millennium. Though its history is murky, the stories were likely collected and translated into Arabic from sources across North Africa and West, Central, and South Asia during the “Islamic Golden Age” of the eighth through fourteenth centuries. One Thousand and One Nights, colloquially known as Arabian Nights, features the following framing story: the cruel Sultan Shahryar believes all women are unfaithful. To enact his revenge on the entire sex, he takes a new wife each day, executing her the next morning before she has a chance to betray him. The cycle of violence finally breaks when he marries Scheherazade. A cunning woman, she saves herself by weaving enchanting tales of adventure, ending each night in the middle of a story to ensure her survival until the next day. She does this for 1,001 nights until the Sultan pardons her. 

The work captured the European imagination when Antoine Gallard adapted and translated it for a French audience in the early 1700s. Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908) likely used Gallard’s version as inspiration for his most famous work, Scheherazade, written in 1888. Instead of telling specific stories from Arabian Nights, Rimsky-Korsakov scatters separate, unrelated episodes throughout the four movements. The connecting thread between them is the recurrence of the solo violin, which embodies Scheherazade, our intrepid narrator. Rimsky-Korsakov explained his intentions: “Developing the musical material quite freely, I had in view the creation of an orchestral suite in four movements, closely knit by the community of its themes and motifs, yet presenting, as it were, a kaleidoscope of fairy-tale images and designs of Oriental character.” Instead of distracting the listener with a specific program, Rimsky-Korsakov provides evocative titles for each movement to “direct the listeners’ fancy.” 

Despite the lack of an explicit program, it is easy to hear the bombastic opening as a depiction of the brutal Sultan and the following violin solo as the flattering Scheherazade trying to save her skin. After the introduction of the work’s main characters, the first movement, titled “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship,” paints a visceral picture of the churning sea (something Rimsky-Korsakov was intimately familiar with as a former naval officer) with a rocking cello accompaniment and chromatic melody in the violins. Scheherazade’s violin again opens the second movement, titled “The Story of the Kalendar Palace.” In this movement, Rimsky-Korsakov displays his brilliance as an orchestrator. His use of unique orchestral effects, such as the clarinet recitative over plucked strings, would directly influence composers such as Debussy and Ravel.  

“The Young Price and the Young Princess” shows Rimsky-Korsakov at his most lyrical. Instead of introducing the movement, Scheherazade’s theme comes in the middle, as if a theatrical aside, then blends with the themes of the prince and the princess. The fourth movement carries the most descriptive and lengthy title: “Festival at Bagdad. The Sea. The Ships Break Against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman.” It opens like the first movement by depicting the contrast between the Sultan and Scheherazade. Melodies from the second and third movements recur during the festivities. Then, as the spectacle reaches its zenith, the stormy sea music from the first movement rolls in. Scheherazade’s solo emerges from the ensuing shipwreck, soaring into the stratosphere, finally freed from the Sultan’s tyrannical clutches.  

 

Program Notes by Katherine Buzard

 

CHORAL TEXT

Francis Poulenc
Stabat Mater

Catholic Hymn

I.

Stabat Mater dolorosa
juxta crucem lacrymosa
dum pendebat Filius.

I.

The mother was standing full of sorrow,
weeping near the cross,
while on it her son was hanging.

II.

Cuius aninam gementem,
contristatam ac dolentem
pertransivit gladius.

II.

A sword pierced
her sighing soul,
saddened and suffering,

III. 

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigeniti! 

III.

Oh how sad and afflicted
was that blessed one,
the Mother of the Only Begotten!

IV.

Quae moerebat et dolebat
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati poenas inclyti. 

IV.

The virtuous mother lamented and grieved,
while she saw
the punishments of her glorious Son. 

V.

Quis est homo qui non fleret
Matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari,
Matrem Christi contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?  

Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Jesum in tormentis
et flagellis subditum. 

V.

Who is there who would not weep
to see the Mother of Christ
in such torture? 

Who cannot be saddened,
the contemplate the Mother of Christ
grieving with her Son? 

For the sins of his people,
she saw Jesus placed in torments
and scourges. 

VI.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
morientem desolatum
dum emisit spiritum.

VI.

She saw her sweet Son
dying desolate
while he sent forth his spirit. 

VII.

Eia Mater, fons amoris,
me sentire vim doloris,
fac, ut tecum lugeam. 

VII.

Ah Mother, fountain of love,
make me feel the force of your sorrow,
so that I may mourn with you.

VIII.

Fac ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum,
ut sibi complacaem.

VIII.

Make my heart be on fire
in loving Christ, my God,
so that I may please him also. 

IX.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi figi plagas
cordi meo valide.

Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide. 

Fac me tecum vere flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero. 

Juxta crucem tecum stare,
te libenter sociare
in planctu desidero. 

Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara:
fac me tecum plangere. 

IX.

Holy Mother, do that,
fix strongly on my heart
the wounds of the Crucifixed One.

Share with me the punishments
of your wounded Son
who so deigned to suffer for me.

Make me truly weep with you,
to suffer with the Crucified One,
as long as I shall live.

I wish to stand near the cross with you,
to share willingly
in the lamentation.

Distinguished virgin of virgins,
be not bitter to me now:
let me grieve with you.

X.

Fac ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem
et plagas recollere. 

Fac me plagis vulnerari,
cruce hac inebriari
ob amorem Filii.

X.

Make me bear the death of Christ,
make me be a sharer of his passion
and recollect his blows. 

Make me wounded with the blows,
to be inebriated by this cross
because of love of the Son. 

XI.

Inflammatus et accensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii. 

Christe, cum sit hunc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae. 

XI.

Kindled and inflamed
for you, Virgin, may I be defended
on the day of judgment. 

Christ, when I must go hence,
let me come for the sake of Your Mother
to the palm of victory.

XII.

Quando corpus morietur,
fac ut animae donetur,
paradisi gloria.
Amen! 

XII.

When my body dies,
grant that the glory of paradise
be given to my soul.
Amen!

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