Signature Concert Series
Schumann & Stravinsky - June 18 to July 2
Ashkenazy & the Artistic Collegium
Thursday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.
First Baptist Church, Portland
Dimitri Ashkenazy, clarinet/Director
Alexander Velinzon, violin
Carla Trynchuk, violin
Ada Meinich, viola
Meehae Ryo, violoncello
Monica Ohuchi, piano
Steve Reich: Different Trains
Schumann: Piano Quintet
About the music
Come and enjoy the extraordinary.
Our Artistic Collegium, composed of our esteemed local, national and international resident artists, always set themselves a challenge, and this year you’re in for a treat.
The concert opens with Steve Reich’s Different Trains. Composed in 1988, Reich blended his childhood memories of taking the train during WWII between the homes of his separated parents with the adult realization that had he been in Europe at the time, the train would have likely been taking him to a death camp. Reich interviewed and recorded Americans and Europeans about the year leading up to and following WWII, and blended recordings of their voices with live instrumentation, giving rise to a genre some have called “music documentary” or “narrative music”.
We follow with Schumann’s Piano Quintet, considered one of the most important works of the nineteenth century. You’ll hear a bustling conversation between instruments as they argue and finish each other’s sentences, descending into a whirlpool of light and dark resolving itself into lament ended by an exclamation of terror, and an optimistic and triumphant third movement marching to heroic conclusion.
We end the evening with Stravinsky’s Octet, a piece which began his neoclassical phase, urbane and cheerful to start, disassembling itself into a dizzying array of variations including everything from waltz to cancan. It ends in a khorovad, the Russian dance whose rhythm shows up in the Firebird and Rite of Spring. Aaron Copeland attended the premiere and characterized the frustrations of the audience watching Stravinsky veer from his more primeval and wild works into “a mess of 18th-century mannerisms". Widely regarded as a bad joke, the Octet, and Stravinsky, have survived this criticism, and we’re pleased to present it to you.