To celebrate our 60th Happy Anniversary, Cape Symphony! Jung-Ho Pak, Artistic Director & Conductor, and the musicians of today’s Cape Symphony presents a reimagining of the orchestra’s first performance on April 2 & 3, 2022.
Table of Contents
In Memory of David Cole
1934 – 2009
This performance was made possible in part by the
David Bruce Cole Classical Music Fund of The Cape Cod Foundation.
OVERTURE to THE IMPRESARIO
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
FANTASIA ON GREENSLEEVES
Ralph Vaughan Williams
DEPUIS LE JOUR (SINCE THE DAY) from LOUISE
TOCCATA IN THE STYLE OF FRESCOBALDI
UNA VOCE POCO FA (A VOICE A LITTLE WHILE AGO) from THE BARBER OF SEVILLE
CONCERTO NO. 1 FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Steinway piano provided by M. Steinert & Sons.
The Cape Symphony’s inaugural concert in April 1962 featured a wide variety of composers, from Austria, Italy, France, Spain, England, and Russia, and musical types from opera to concerto to rhapsody to toccata. The program was a delightful musical smorgasbord, and we’re delighted to present it to you, re-imagined for 2022.
The Impresario was a musical comedy by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, written at the request of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II to be performed for guests at a private luncheon in Vienna. There was more to it than that, though – the Emperor set up a competition between Mozart and his rival Antonio Salieri. Salieri’s piece was called Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the music, then the words), and made fun of the relationship between Mozart and his librettist (i.e. lyricist). In Mozart’s piece, an opera company manager hires two sopranos who fight over who will star and how much they’ll be paid, each singing an aria to prove her worth. Both works were performed at the Emperor’s luncheon, and although Salieri’s piece was judged the best, as we know, Mozart triumphed in the end. The “Overture” to The Impresario is a staple of symphonic concerts and was played at the first Cape Symphony concert, along with the other pieces on our anniversary program.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was one of the most famous British composers ever, and he loved collecting English folk songs and incorporating them into his pieces. Williams composed for over sixty years, writing nine symphonies and many operas, ballets, chamber music, and other works. Interestingly, Charles Darwin was his great-uncle! In 1928, he wrote an opera based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, called Sir John in Love. One of the merry wives sings the folk song “Greensleeves” as she awaits a visit from Falstaff, the Sir John of the title. Of course, “Greensleeves” is familiar to us today, both as a folk song and as the music for the Christmas carol “What Child is This?” Williams created his “Fantasia on Greensleeves” incorporating that traditional tune as well as another folk song he used in Sir John, called “Lovely Joan.”
Gaspar Cassadó was an early twentieth century Spanish cellist and composer. At age nine, Pablo Casals was in the audience when Gaspar performed in a recital: the legendary cellist took him on as a student. The work of Cassadó’s that was performed in our 1962 concert and again this weekend, Toccata in the Style of Frescobaldi, was the subject of some controversy. Cassadó claimed that he transcribed a piece of music he found in a Barcelona archive with Girolamo Frescobaldi’s name on it. However, it’s believed that the 1925 piece was actually Cassadó’s original composition and has nothing to do with the 17th century Italian composer. In 1978, a professor at the University of Northern Colorado proved that there was no connection to the music of Frescobaldi. Why did Cassadó claim it was Frescobaldi’s work? To attract attention!
España Rhapsody is the most famous work of French composer Emmanuel Chabrier. In 1882, Chabrier and his wife toured Spain for six months, and the composer found inspiration in the regional music and dance. Returning to Paris, he began composing a piano duet which evolved into a work for full orchestra. Chabrier became an overnight success and inspired other French composers including Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel to incorporate the music of Spain into their work. Oddly enough, España Rhapsody may be the basis for the popular 1950s song “Hot Diggity,” made famous by Perry Como.
The anniversary concert includes two arias for soprano, originally performed by Beverly Sills at the 1962 event. Abigail Rethwisch makes her Cape Symphony debut, performing the acrobatic “Una Voce Poco Fa (A voice a little while ago),” one of the most famous arias ever, from Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera The Barber of Seville. In the song, Rosina has just heard the voice of the young count she wants to marry, although she’s expected to marry her guardian. She swears that although she might be a docile and respectful woman, she’s going to make sure that the young count is hers!
Abigail will also perform the lush “Depuis le Jour (Since the Day)” from Louise by French composer Gustave Charpentier. You may not be familiar with the opera, but this aria is the “one-hit wonder” that came out of it. In the story, Louise has run away with Julien, the poet she loves (against her family’s wishes, of course). Louise sings, “I know that now I’m not dreaming! Ah, I’m truly happy!”
Returning to the Cape Symphony stage for the first time since 2015 will be fan favorite pianist Jon Nakamatsu. Nakamatsu is also celebrating a major anniversary: 25 years since his stunning Gold Medal victory at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Nakamatsu is well-known locally as the co-artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. Jon will perform the masterpiece most associated with Van Cliburn himself: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s iconic Piano Concerto No. 1.
Tchaikovsky composed his first piano concerto in the late 1870s, and it’s not only one of his most popular works but also one of the best-known piano concerti. Recently, part of the concerto has been used as the anthem of the Russian Olympic Committee, substituting for Russia’s actual anthem, as the country has been engulfed in doping scandals for several years.
The Piano Concerto No. 1 has three movements:
- Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso (fast but not too fast and very majestic) – Allegro con spirit (lively with spirit)
- Andantino semplice (plain and slightly slow) – Prestissimo (very quick) – Tempo I
- Allegro con fuoco (fast with fire) – Molto meno mosso (much less movement) – Allegro vivo (fast and lively)
Interestingly, two Ukrainian folk songs are part of the themes or motifs found throughout the first movement.
At the age of 24, Van Cliburn performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, held in the Soviet Union, and won! It was an astounding achievement, particularly for an American. Cliburn’s recording of the piece won the 1958 Grammy and eventually became the first classical album to go platinum. Also in 1958, while Van Cliburn was still only 24, the National Guild of Piano Teachers announced a piano competition named in his honor. The first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was held in 1962 and is still ongoing, with 30 of the finest young pianists in the world competing every four years for the Gold Medal.
Jon Nakamatsu was a high school German teacher who had not attended a music conservatory when he won the Van Cliburn Gold Medal in 1997. At Happy Anniversary, Cape Symphony!, it all comes full circle as Jon performs Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 for us all.
In this video, Jung-Ho Pak and Jon Nakamatsu reminisce about Van Cliburn and look forward to the Happy Anniversary concert. Jon finds the Cape Symphony audience “so warm and so welcoming, I’m really excited about being back!”
If you have your tickets, we look forward to welcoming you to Happy Anniversary, Cape Symphony! – and if you don’t have tickets yet, we encourage you to join us for this wonderful show!
The Cape Symphony is proud to present Happy Anniversary, Cape Symphony! on Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, April 3 at 3:00 PM at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center, 744 West Main Street, Hyannis. Doors open forty-five minutes before the show. Our health and safety policies will be in place for this event. Please read the details here: Welcoming You Back, Safely.