Saturday, November
6, 2021, 8 pm
 at
New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall

Presenting

Stella Chen, violinist
Henry Kramer, pianist











 

 



 

 


 




~ Program ~
 

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Sonata for Solo Violin Sz. 117, BB 124
Tempo di ciaccona
Fuga: Risoluto, non troppo vivo
Melodia: Adagio
Presto
(28')
 
Franz Schubert
(1797-1828)
"Ständchen" from Schwanengesang, D. 957, No. 4
(arr. Mischa Elman)
Sei mir gegrüßt, D. 741
(arr. by Stella Chen)
(8')
 
Eleanor Alberga
(1949-)
No-Man’s-Land Lullaby
(11')
 
Richard Strauss
(1864-1949)
 Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18
Allegro, ma non troppo
Improvisation: Andante cantabile
Finale: Andante — Allegro
(28')




Foundation for
Chinese Performing Arts

 
 
 
"Sculptured-Sounding Duo Wows Jordan Hall"  -Julie Ingelfinger, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

"Violinist Stella Chen, both alone and with pianist Henry Kramer, offered a varied, stirring, and depthful program to a fortunate, well distanced crowd.

"Chen is possessed of a brilliant, thoughtful approach likely to fulfill the promise of her first name. Kramer has developed into a sensitive, eloquent collaborator and also a stirring soloist.

"Chen opened with an incisive yet lyrical account of the Bartók Sonata for Solo Violin, Chen’s traversal surely equaled any others I have heard, and, further, created a palpable sense of the composer’s intent.

"Chen and Kramer together offered two Schubert lieder transcribed for violin and piano.... though the mutually attentive partners enchanted with their expressive interpretations.

"The duo segued into the little known but compelling 1996 No-Man’s Land Lullaby by Jamaican-born composer- pianist Eleanor Alberga, The duo conveyed the breadth of the piece with its palpable sadness yet promise of new life.

"Richard Strauss’s 1887 Violin Sonata E-flat major opus 18 capped the evening. Kramer’s fitting fanfare entrance provided an initial platform for Chen’s energetic yet lyrical entrance. The ostinato aspects of the first theme allowed strong collaboration and were followed by the expansive range of the second theme, before a return to the rhythmicity of the first.

"Chen’s painterly tone on her responsive 1700 ex-Petri Stradivarius resonated expansively in the hall.  ... the two crafted a passionate Allegro, followed by bravos.

"Without doubt we will hear much more from these two superb musicians. In my view, it can’t be soon enough."




 

 









photos: Chi Wei Lo,Xiaopei Xu and Chung Cheng

Stella Chen, violinist
First Prize, 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition
https://stellachen.com

"Her performance sounded fresh and spontaneous, yet emotionally profound and intellectually well-structured." -The Jerusalem Post

"Stella Chen looks to tell a story and does it with beautiful nuances and beautiful intentions." -Le Soir(translated from French)

Praised for her "phenomenal maturity" and "fresh and spontaneous, yet emotionally profound and intellectually well-structured performance" (Jerusalem Post), American violinist Stella Chen garnered worldwide attention with her first-prize win at the 2019 Queen Elizabeth International Violin Competition, followed by the 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant and 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award. 

Following debuts with the Chicago Symphony and Chamber Orchestra of Europe in summer 2021, her auspicious 2021-22 season sees her recital debut at Carnegie Hall and recital, concerto, and chamber music appearances throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, including debuts with Kremerata Baltica, German State Philharmonic, and New Japan Philharmonic, as well as appearances with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center both in New York and on tour.   

Stella’s most recent engagements include appearances with the Belgian National Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic and the Luxembourg Philharmonic and at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, Salzburg Mozarteum, Ravinia, and Kronberg Academy Festivals. Stella has appeared as a chamber musician in festivals including the Perlman Music Program, Music@Menlo, the Sarasota Festival, and YellowBarn. 

She is the first recipient of the Robert Levin Award from Harvard University, the top prize winner of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition and youngest ever prize winner of the Menuhin Competition. Stella plays on the 1700 ex-Petri Stradivarius, on generous loan from Dr. Ryuji Ueno and Rare Violins In Consortium, Artists and Benefactors Collaborative. 

2021/2022 authorized by artist management.


Henry Kramer, pianist
http://www.henrykramerpiano.com

"…a pianist of enormous talent…[he] personalized interpretations to such a degree that works emerged anew. He is a big personality."
PETER DOBRIN, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

The winner of the Second Prize at the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Competition and a recipient of a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant, pianist Henry Kramer is establishing himself as one of the most exciting American musicians of his generation. His performances have been praised by critics as "triumphant" and "thrilling" (The New York Times), and "technically effortless" (La Presse, Montreal).
Henry has been invited to play with orchestras across the globe including the National Belgian Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in Ankara, Turkey, the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Montreal, and the Yale Philharmonia. He has soloed under the batons of preeminent conductors Marin Alsop, Jan Pascal Tortelier, and Stéphane Dénève.

Henry holds both a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he received the 2015 William Petschek Recital Debut Award, and an Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music, where he received the Charles S. Miller Prize for the most outstanding first-year pianist. In 2018, he earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music.

Dr. Kramer currently holds the L. Rexford Whiddon Distinguished Chair in Piano at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.

 


NOTES ON THE PROGRAM
By Dr. Jannie Burdeti
Copyright©1999-2021 Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
 

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Sonata for Solo Violin Sz. 117, BB 124

Tempo di ciaccona
Fuga: Risoluto, non troppo vivo
Melodia: Adagio
Presto

(28')

Yehudi Menuhin received the manuscript of Bartók’s Sonata for solo violin in March 1944 at the age of twenty-seven. He later wrote, "Little did I foresee that he would write me one of the masterpieces of all time. . . . I admit I was shaken. It seemed to me almost unplayable." However, after a few months of study, the celebrated violinist revised his initial view: "The Solo Sonata is eminently playable, beautifully composed for the violin, one of the most dramatic and fulfilling works that I know of, [and the] most important composition for violin alone since Bach." A decade prior, the young Menuhin had been the first violinist in history to undertake the monumental task of recording the complete set of Partitas and Sonatas for solo violin by Bach. Moreover, one of the first pieces that Bartók heard Menuhin perform live was Bach’s unaccompanied Sonata in C Major. Perhaps inspired by the violinist’s playing, when he was approached by Menuhin for a commission—"not hoping for a third concerto, just a work for violin alone"—Bartók modeled his solo sonata on Bach’s solo violin works, which follow the structure of Italian church sonatas (sonata da chiesa): a slow introduction followed by a fugue, a lyrical slow movement, and a fast finale.

Bartók’s first movement, titled Tempo di ciaccona, makes use of the pacing of the chaconne genre, the gravitational tendency toward the second beat, and a similar eight-bar phrase construction. In addition, Bartók would no doubt have also had in his mind’s ear the Sonata in B Minor for solo cello, by his friend and fellow Hungarian Zoltán Kodály, written a few decades earlier, which opens with a similar panache. Not unlike Kodálys work, Bartók’s Tempo di ciaccona requires the performer to be almost constantly playing double, triple, or quadruple stops.

The steely fugal movement opens with an austere subject punctuated by silences. Menuhin remarked that he found this to be the most brutal music he ever encountered. It is a four-voice fugue, and although its exposition proceeds as expected, the voices soon converse freely. Musicologist Halsey Stevens describes it as a "fugal fantasy."

The third movement, Melodia, features music that Bartók had jotted down in his "Arab field book." It begins with a haunting chromatic melody. As is characteristic of many of his slow movements, Bartók features "night music," evoking the colorful sounds of nature after sunset.

In the original manuscript of the final movement, Bartók notates quarter tones (smaller subdivisions of the scale than the twelve-note Western system), illustrated by arrows. Menuhin writes: "[He] gave me the option of playing these passages in half tones [as in the Western scale], and given that I had only weeks to prepare the Sonata, I found the demand of accurate quarter tones in fast tempo too intimidating and chose his alternative." Today, both versions are performed. Elements from previous movements peek through the frenzy of constant sixteenth notes. After the whirlwind, the sonata finishes fearlessly on a triumphant G-major chord.

Not unlike Mozart and Schubert, Bartók, despite his fame, faced great financial troubles during the final years of his life. He wrote to his son Péter: "Here am I with my ‘world-fame,’ and in such misery. Of course, one can not fill ones stomach with world-fame!" To avoid the Nazis in Hungary, Bartók moved to the United States in 1940 as a political exile. The last five years of his life, from 1940 to 1945, were fraught with difficulties finding performances and paying bills, as well as ill health that prevented him from composing, all while doctors struggled to diagnose and treat his leukemia. His last works included his Solo Violin Sonata, Third Piano Concerto, Concerto for Orchestra, and a sketch of his Viola Concerto.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
"Ständchen" from Schwanengesang, D. 957, No. 4

(arr. Mischa Elman)

Written during the last months of the composers brief life of thirty-one years, Ständchen remains one of Schubert’s most well-loved songs, composed for voice and piano. Tobias Haslinger published it after Schubert’s death as the fourth piece of his song cycle Schwanengesang (Swan Song). Written by poet and music critic Ludwig Rellstab, the poetry exudes the passionate yearning of a lover for the beloved. It begins, "Softly my songs plead / through the night to you; / down into the silent grove, / beloved, come to me!"

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Sei mir gegrüßt, D. 741
(arr. by Stella Chen)

Not unlike Ständchen in both its meter and piano accompaniment, Sei mir gegrüßt (I greet you) appeared a few years earlier, in 1822. The poet was Friedrich Rückert, who with his poetry inspired not only Schubert but also Robert and Clara Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Bartók, and many others. Rückert was fluent in thirty languages, and his translations of Asian poetry are widely celebrated.

Sei mir gegrüßt conveys the ecstasy of love with such surges of emotion as "You who were torn from me and my kisses, / I greet you! / I kiss you! . . . One breath of love dissolves time and space, / and I am with you, / you are with me; / I hold you closely in my arms’ embrace, / I greet you! / I kiss you!"

Eleanor Alberga (1949-)
No-Man’s-Land Lullaby

(11')

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1949, Eleanor Alberga decided at the early age of five, when she began lessons, that she would become a concert pianist. In her words, at twelve, she suddenly fell madly in love with the music of Bartók, who holds a powerful influence on her to this day. Her strongest musical influences include the tonality and rhythms of her native Caribbean heritage, as well as contemporary European music, and she finds much inspiration in her dreams, in nature, and in dance. Alberga lives in the UK with her husband, violinist Thomas Bowes.

Of her work No-Man’s-Land Lullaby, she writes:

"Setting about writing a new work for violin and piano in the summer of 1996, I had planned a somewhat lightweight and predominately up-beat piece. However, I was to receive visitations which ensured that the piece which emerged as No-Mans-Land Lullaby has neither of these qualities. Indeed, for me the work became a kind of acknowledgement of European-ness and a realization that her two World Wars were part of my heritage also.

"Visiting parts of Europe over that summer of 1996 I was struck by the almost unreal beauty of the landscapes, yet I received a heavy sadness in the atmosphere that took me back to the events of half a century ago, some of which had been played out against this very scenery. At the same time I was visited by a melody. It arrived unbidden and would not leave me alone. It seemed however, to offer comfort.

"It was the imagery of the First World War that seemed finally to bring these things together, especially the image of men dying slowly and uncomforted in a place called No-Mans-Land. The piece is cast in three sections and is entirely based on the melody that emerges most identifiably towards the end."

The melody that is revealed near the end hints at Brahms’s famous Wiegenlied (Lullaby). An alternate title of this piece appears on Alberga’s website as "No Man’s Medley."

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 18
Allegro, ma non troppo
Improvisation: Andante cantabile
Finale: Andante — Allegro

(28')

Under the tutelage of his father, Franz—a French horn player so accomplished that he was dubbed the "Joachim of the horn"—Richard Strauss was nourished on the music of the classical masters: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. He began learning the piano at three years old and violin at eight. Written in 1887 and preceded by Op. 5 and Op. 6 (a piano and cello sonata, respectively), Richard Strauss’s Violin Sonata marks the last of his early instrumental works and an end to his use of classical forms.

During the conception of his violin sonata, Strauss perfected his mastery of orchestral writing, and indeed, this sonata boasts epic proportions, breadth, and an intoxicating intensity of Romantic fervor, evoking the full spectrum of symphonic colors. Significant influences may have been his extensive exposure to orchestral music during this time period: he joined his father’s amateur orchestra as a violinist in 1882, trained with Hans von Bülow in the rival schools of Brahms and Wagner (which was considered quite unusual), and held the position as the third conductor in the Munich Court Opera between 1886-1889. The nature of his extremely Romantic writing during this period is also said to result from his love for Pauline de Ahna, his wife-to-be.

The first movement of the sonata opens with a heroic gesture, reminiscent of a brass section. Its energetic rhythmic motive returns in various guises in a "truly symphonic treatment either in Lisztian unison, declamatory phrases, cumulative imitation, or through the tension of ostinato," as noted by Norman Del Mar. The music is filled with moments of great tenderness and intimacy, as well as an abundance of melodic material. The second theme is a soaring melody that spans two and a half octaves. Soon after, the development reestablishes the obsessive rhythmic element first heard in the beginning.

Steeped in lyrical elegance, the central movement, "Improvisation," opens like a song without words. A stormy section follows, quoting Schubert’s Erlking and later dissolving into a reprise of the opening melody. Del Mar writes that, despite its ABA form, the moniker of "improvisation" stems from its middle section, after the storm, "in the sudden disintegration . . . into an infinitely delicate lace-work of rapid Chopinesque figures." The coda sneaks in a hidden quote from the Adagio of Beethovens Pathétique Sonata.

After a foreboding and somber piano introduction, where Strauss anticipates the principal theme of the ensuing Allegro, the finale makes a return to the bravura character of the first movement, calling to mind his tone poem Don Juan. He includes a reference to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde amid the rapidly rising figures. Following the vigorous and adventurous development section, a tremendous flourish for the piano heralds the recapitulation. The completion of this violin sonata of symphonic scope was a stepping stone for Strauss, as he would for the next years turn his attention toward the symphonic tone poem.

Copyright©1999-2021 Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts

 


新聞稿

Stella Chen + Henry Kramer
11-06-2021@ NEC's Jordan Hall

中華表演藝術基金會第33屆音樂季第二場音樂會,將於116日週六晚8時,繼續在新英格蘭音樂學院喬頓廳(Jordan Hall)舉行。由2019年伊莉莎白皇后國際小提琴大賽第一名Stella Chen,及2016年伊莉莎白皇后國際鋼琴大賽第二名Henry Kramer聯合演出。曲目包括巴爾托克(Bartok),舒伯特,Alberga,及史特勞斯(Strauss)著名的降E大調第18號小提琴及鋼琴奏鳴曲等。90分鐘演出沒有中場休息。座位有限。觀眾及演出者皆須戴口罩。須出示打過疫苗或測試陰性證明方可入場。票價為 $15 (7-13)$30$50。提供學生免費票(14歲以上),及非學生贈送卷。需事前預訂。6歲以下兒童請勿入場。詳情請查官網

小提琴家Stella Chen2019年伊莉莎白皇后國際小提琴大賽的第一名。2020年獲得Avery Fisher Career Grant,也是2020年林肯中心傑出新秀獎(Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award)獲獎者。同年被邀請加入林肯中心室內樂團。她經甄試進入最具挑戰性的哈佛新英格蘭音樂學院五年聯合項目,由哈佛心理系以榮譽學士學位畢業,同時獲得新英格蘭音樂學院的音樂碩士學位。現繼續在茱莉雅音樂學院進修博士,同時在Kronberg學院研讀專業學位 (Professional Studies)。在哈佛期間,她是第一位得到Robert Levin獎章,也是2017Tibor Varga國際小提琴大賽第二名,及梅紐因(Menuehin) 國際小提琴大賽成年組最年輕的獲獎者。

Stella Chen 已多次在世界各大音樂廳與著名指揮及樂團合作演出。耶路撒冷郵報(The Jurusalem Post) 稱讚她「成熟清新自然,情感深厚,有智慧且平衡。」Musical America稱她「音色高雅柔美,觀眾屏息傾聽,不敢錯過她的任何輕微的細節。」她所用的1708Stradivarius "Huggins" 名琴是由日本Nippon 基金會提供。

鋼琴家 Henry Kramer2016年伊莉莎白皇后國際鋼琴大賽的第二名,及2019Avery Fisher Career Grant的獲獎者。紐約時報(The New York Times)稱他的演出「感人並震撼。」費城詢問者(The Philadelphia Inquirer) 稱他「這位31歲的鋼琴家具有極大的才華,他對樂曲清新的研釋,展現大師的風範。」

Henry Kramer 2010年美國蕭邦大賽的獲獎者,也得到其他很多國際獎項。2014年被選入「星光藝術家」(Astral Artists)名單中。此名單每年選列出弦樂、鋼琴、木管及聲樂最傑出的青年音樂家,頗受世界重視。他不負眾望次年就獲得Hones國際鋼琴大賽的首獎。

Henry Kramer與世界級大師、名指揮及樂團合作活躍於世界樂壇。除了繁忙演出外,他也認真教導學生。2018年起擔任喬治亞州哥倫比亞大學Schmob音樂學院鋼琴系主任,並兼任密蘇里大學Kansas市音樂學院的教授。他畢業於茱莉雅音樂學院,並得到耶魯大學的音樂博士學位。

小提琴家Stella Chen 和鋼琴家Henry Kramer音樂會後新聞稿

中華表演藝術基金會第三十三屆音樂季第二場音樂會,於116日在新英格蘭音樂學院喬頓廳Jordan Hall盛大成功舉行。小提琴家Stella Chen 和鋼琴家Henry Kramer 都曾在波士頓求學。雖然兩人都已獲得世界性大獎,在全球各地巡迴演出,在重要的音樂廳中登台無數次,但重回母校喬頓廳的感覺不同。面對這許多位坐在觀眾席中既是名師又是嚴師,沒有他們多年的調教,也不會有今日的成熟。還有昔日在哈佛及新英格蘭音樂學院一起排練演出的同窗好友,包括George Li 等在內多人,雖然如今都各自有成就,仍歡心前來祝賀。兩位演出者的父母和親友們,由各方遠道而來欣賞。三百位熱情觀眾歡呼掌聲不斷,欲罷不能。

當晚在場的音樂界重量級人物,包括鋼琴家Robert Levin 小提琴名師 Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Lynn Chang ,名指揮 Mark Churchill等等, 都在疫情限制及繁忙日程中親自出席。演出者在台上也特別認真,又興奮又緊張。有別於其他任何場地的演出。演出後在後台接受熱情真心的祝賀。場面溫馨感動,歡愉之情溢於言表。

當晚的曲目包括難度極高的巴爾托克(Bartok)小提琴曲代表作品,二首舒伯特名歌改編的小提琴曲,其中一首是Stella Chen 自己改編的,及史特勞斯(Strauss) 著名的降E大調第18號小提琴及鋼琴奏鳴曲等。曲目中還包括一首由1949年在Jamaica 出生的作曲家 Alberga所寫的,很少人聽過的"無人地的搖籃曲",緬懷在第一次世界大戰古戰場上,孤單寂寞陣亡的青年將士們。以搖籃曲慰祭他們在天之靈,十分感人。

波士頓音樂情報(Boston Musical Intelligencer) 樂評 Julie Ingelfinger :"能在現場親自聽到2019年伊麗莎白皇后小提琴大賽第一名Stella Chen 2016年伊麗莎白皇后鋼琴大賽第二名Henry Kramer在喬頓廳演出的都是幸運的觀眾。這兩位都是Avery Fisher Career Grant 的獲獎人。他們有名校的資歷,舞台經驗。大家對他們的表現有很高的期望。當晚他們的演出精彩輝煌,深思熟慮,不負眾望。且更超出大家的預期!』

樂評接下來將每首曲子從頭到尾,以專業的眼光,仔細評估,鉅細無遺。並給予很高的讚賞。在結論時樂評說: 『儘管觀眾很強烈的要求再加安可,但兩位演出者只有接受獻花,深深鞠躬致謝,沒有加奏一曲。無疑的,我們會很快地再聽到這兩位傑出的音樂家的演出。我希望越快越好!』

主辦單位下一場喬頓廳的音樂會,已定在新年129日週六晚八時舉行,由鋼琴家莊雅婓獨奏演出,90分鐘曲目沒有中場休息。門票 $15-$50 六歲以下兒童不可入場。 學生免費票及非學生贈送券,可在官網登記。疫情安全規格詳情請查:http://www.chineseperformingarts.net/contents/season/20220129/index.html
 









 

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中華表演藝術基金會
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln, Massachusetts
updated 2021