TRADITIONAL St. Anthony Chorale
HAYDN Excerpts from The Seven Last Words of Christ
BRAHMS Song of Destiny and Liebeslieder Waltzes
BRAHMS Haydn Variations
BRAHMS Violin Concerto
CHAD HOOPES violin
NEAL GITTLEMAN conductor WEBSITE
DAYTON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
In March, you’ll enjoy a variety of different expressions of Johannes Brahms’ genius, carefully gathered together like a rare collection of precious gemstones. Reflected in the vivid coloration are folk influences and the music of Franz Joseph Haydn. Neal calls on the prodigious skills of the Orchestra alongside choral forces under the direction of Hank Dahlman, Director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Choir.
The program opens with a simple but deeply melodic piece, the St. Anthony Chorale, the origins of which are obscured by time, but which may have started life as a traditional tune before it found its way into a wind ensemble composition attributed to Haydn. Scholars now believe that the piece was not actually written by Haydn but only marked as such by a publisher. You'll hear it here in a delicate arrangement for chorus.
Whatever its origin, it was then picked up by Brahms and used as a theme for his first orchestral work, now known as Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, also performed on this program. The theme is gorgeous, and the set of variations that Brahms creates are magnificent examples of his art.
Haydn created settings of The Seven Last Words of Christ in many different forms for both orchestra and chorus. Using five choice excerpts, Neal alternates orchestra with a cappella vocals to create a dramatic and compact narrative.
Next on the program we come back to Brahms for two works that explore his marvelous facility with voice.
Brahms' Song of Destiny (Schicksalslied) is one of his finest choral works, ranking alongside A German Requiem (Ein Deutsches Requiem). The three-movement work is packed with drama yet economical, the typical performance lasting 16 minutes. It is followed here by what is very probably an expression of love to his dear, lifelong friend Clara Schumann. The texts for Liebeslieder Waltzes are from G. F. Daumer's Polydora, a collection of folk songs and love poems. These lovely songs are performed here in their orchestra-and-chorus versions.
The previously mentioned Haydn Variations are next, transporting us to one of the most beloved works in all of the classical repertory: Brahms' glorious Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 77.
We have watched our good friend violinist Chad Hoopes grow from amazing prodigy to full-fledged master of his art in just a handful of years. We are proud to say that Neal and the DPO have been more than incidental in helping usher this talented artist to the world stage. Now he is back to take the lead on the Brahms masterpiece.
It is a work that ranks with those of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and Bruch as one of The Big Five all-time violin concertos—and rightly so, as it is replete with beautiful melody, rhythmic surprise and heartfelt emotion. Despite its bold strokes and crackling energy, it is also a very subtle, nuanced work. But face it: all the words in the dictionary cannot portray the experience of hearing it live, in our resonant concert hall with a great soloist backed by one of the best orchestras anywhere.
Come join us and peek into this treasure chest of riches.