Travel back to the 16th century with Gabrieli’s magnificent works for brass. Experience Gubaidulina’s staggering array of sounds and textures. Imagine the paintings transformed through Mussorgsky’s sumptuous score.
6:30 pm – Box Office/Will Call and Cafe Zellerbach open*
7:00 pm – Pre-concert talk in the main hall (free to all ticket holders)
8:00 pm – Concert begins
*To make a reservation at Cafe Zellerbach, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 841-2800, x301.
ProgramGabrieli: Canzon septimi et octavi toni
Sonata pian e forte
Janet & Marcos Maestre
The performance of Sofia Gubaidulina's Fachwerk is made possible through the generous support of Margaret Dorfman & the Ralph I. Dorfman Family Fund and the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation
About the Soloist
Geir Draugsvoll is considered to be one of the most important musicians on his instrument, the bayan, or classical accordion. The last decade, he has caused headlines like “Breaking Borders”, “Breathtaking”, “Masterful” and “Musical Sensation”. With a repertoire ranging from Bach, Mozart, Grieg and Stravinsky to contemporary classics like Gubaidulina, Hosokawa, Berio, Nørgaard and Piazzolla, he has performed all over Europe, and also toured China and Japan. Born in 1967, Mr. Draugsvoll is Norwegian, but now lives in Copenhagen where he is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music.
Born in the early to mid-1550s in Venice; died on August 12, 1612, in Venice.
Gabrieli published both the Canzon septimi et octavi toni and the Sonata pian e forte in 1597 as part of the influential collection Sacrae symphoniae, which includes vocal as well as instrumental compositions.
Venice at this time was a crucible of change. The Basilica of San Marco where Giovanni Gabrieli worked became the epicenter for experiments that would lead music from the High Renaissance to the early Baroque.
The two pieces we hear are for instruments alone: for two (Sonata pian e forte) and three (Canzon septimi et octavi toni) choirs. While the instrumentalists were often used to accompany singers in liturgical music, Gabrieli also experimented with using them independently, sometimes even specifying the exact instrumentation he had in mind. In either case, the antiphonal disposition of the musical architecture results in a kind of early-music surround sound. Separating and then combining his choirs allowed Gabrieli to use instrumental weight and register to further conjure an illusion of space — comparable to the development of dramatic visual perspective perfected by the Italian Renaissance painters.
Sofia Gubaidulina was born on October 24, 1931 in Chistopol in the Tatar Republic of the Soviet Union. In 1992 she resettled in Appen, a small village north of Hamburg in Germany. Gubaidulina composed Fachwerk in 2009 for the accordion virtuoso Geir Draugsvoll, who gave the world premiere in 2009, scoring for an orchestra of percussion and strings. This performance with the Berkeley Symphony marks the U.S. premiere.
From her mixed heritage growing up in the former Soviet Union, Sofia Gubaidulina emerged as one of the most original and probing voices today, using music as a vehicle for profound explorations of spiritual and existential questions. Many of Gubaidulina’s scores reveal a relationship between conjuring unusual sonic environments and her religious, even mystical, preoccupations. Characteristically, in Fachwerk instruments are stretched to their limits, at times not sounding “like” themselves, expressionist glissandi abound, and the solo bayan — the Russian version of the accordion, which uses buttons rather than a keyboard — is poised between multiple identities.
The German title Fachwerk refers to a timber construction that does not hide the constructive elements behind a facade but shows them openly. Gubaidulina explains: “The constructive elements which are indispensable for such a building, such as wall struts, window and door latches and beam ceilings, form different kinds of geometrical patterns which become an aesthetic phenomenon. And at times, a still more profound phenomenon shines through from behind this beauty, an essential, intrinsic phenomenon.”
Born on March 21, 1839, in Karevo, Russia; died on March 26, 1881, in St. Petersburg.
Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition in a brief period in June 1874, inspired by a recent retrospective of the works of his artist friend Viktor Hartmann. He wrote Pictures for solo piano, but dozens of composers have tried their hand at translating it for full orchestra. The most successful orchestration remains the version Ravel prepared in the 1920s.
In the summer of 1873, Modest Mussorgsky, who himself would die at a relatively young age as a result of alcoholism, suffered the premature death of the artist Viktor Hartmann (1834-1873), a close friend. Hartmann was one of those rare souls with whom the lonely composer seemed able to express shared artistic aspirations. His art, some of which belonged to Mussorgsky’s own collection, was multi-faceted and ranged from painting to costume design and architecture. The loss occasioned by his death in 1873 profoundly affected the composer.
A retrospective exhibit of Hartmann’s career the following year inspired Mussorgsky to translate his reactions into his own art. Mussorgsky was an intensely visual person who was interested in connections between the arts — not so much in Wagner’s sense of a synthesis as in mutual explorations of similar themes. Hartmann’s delectably quirky and varied works included watercolors, oil paintings, costume designs, architectural sketches, and the like and ranged from Russia to France and medieval Italy — thus the motley objects covered in Pictures at an Exhibition.