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Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 8:00pm
DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Cary Hall
450 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018

Orchard Circle Inaugural concert
(duration about 90 minutes)

Elective Affinities

Berlin Philharmonic Principal harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet with
Andreas Buschatz, Concertmaster
Mathieu Dufour, Principal flute
Matthew McDonald, Principal bass
Cornelia Gartemann, violin
Julia Gartemann, viola
Moky Gibson-Lane, cello
Emma Tahmizian and Eric Moe, pianists

 

Ned Rorem                                    The United States: Seven Viewpoints (2001)

II There and Back
III A Snowless Christmas
VII An Ending

Andreas Buschatz, Cornelia Gartemann, Julia Gartemann, Moky Gibson-Lane

Sebastian Currier                          Night Time (2000)

Andreas Buschatz, Marie-Pierre Langlamet

Nathan Currier                               A Sambuca Sonata (1993)

Movement I Fast

Mathieu Dufour, Marie-Pierre Langlamet, Julia Gartemann

- pause -

The Fall of the House: Waltzing through Weimar America

(arr. N. Currier 2016, Reissiger composed 1826, all other works composed 1976-2016)

(duration: about 50 minutes)

Part 1

1. “Weber’s Last Waltz” (fragment) piano/harp (arr.)                     Carl Reissiger
2. Micro-Waltz 1, piano/harp (arr.)                                                   John Harbison
3. Duo Waltz, flute and harp                                                            Laura Schwendinger
4. Micro-Waltz 4 & 5, piano                                                              John Harbison
5. #1 Grazioso, from Waltzes for violin, viola, cello and bass     Fred Lerdahl
6. Waltz For a Happy Occasion, piano                                           Virgil Thompson
7. #2 Con brio (from Waltzes, violin, viola, cello and bass)         Fred Lerdahl
8. Modern Love Waltz (without repetition), piano                        Phillip Glass

9. #3 Cantabile (Waltzes, violin, viola, cello and bass)               Fred Lerdahl
10. Waltz from Gazebo Dances, piano 4 hands (arr.)                  John Corigliano
11. #4 Leggiero (Waltzes, violin, viola, cello and bass)               Fred Lerdahl
12. Waltz, piano                                                                                Roger Sessions
13. Waltzes for Maude (fragment, String Quartet 3)                   Daniel Brewbaker
14. Self-Similar Waltz, piano                                                          Charles Wuorinen
15. #5, Valse Triste (Waltzes, violin, viola, cello and bass)         Fred Lerdahl
16. Ghost Waltz, piano                                                                    Lowell Liebermann
17. Minute Waltz                                                                              Milton Babbitt
18. #6 Misterioso (Waltzes, violin, viola, cello and bass)           Fred Lerdahl
19. Pulaski Skyway Waltz, piano                                                   Eric Moe

Part 2

20. #7 Amoroso (Waltzes, violin, viola, cello and bass)            Fred Lerdahl
21. #8 Humoresque                                                                       Fred Lerdahl
22. #9 Vivace                                                                                  Fred Lerdahl
23. #10 Lento                                                                                  Fred Lerdahl
24. #11 Delicato                                                                              Fred Lerdahl
25. Arc of Fire Waltz (Momento mori), piano trio                       Laura Schwendinger
26. Fire Waltz (Etude), piano                                                        Augusta Read Thomas
27. #12 Waltz-Fugue (Waltzes, violin, viola, cello and bass)    Fred Lerdahl
28. Serious Not Desperate Waltz (full ensemble)                     Nathan Currier

Marie-Pierre Langlamet, Andreas Buschatz, Mathieu Dufour, Matthew McDonald,
Cornelia Gartemann, Julia Gartemann, Moky Gibson-Lane, Emma Tahmizian, Eric Moe

 


 

Further notes on the program:

[1] The idea of a "Weimar America" has been discussed during this election cycle (New York Times, Salon, Time, Washington Post).

[2] When the Berlin Philharmonic was called the “Reichsorchester” it functioned under the control of Joseph Goebbels as part of his notorious Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.


A fascinating twist to the post-Nazi story of the Berlin Philharmonic is that for a couple of months it was under the jurisdiction of the Russians, then after that run by the U.S. military during the American occupation. Leo Borchard became its conductor immediately after the war: a German born in Moscow, he was preferred by the Russians, and had been in a resistance group that hid Jews, giving him strong anti-Nazi credentials. Only two and a half weeks after Germany’s surrender he conducted their first post-war concert in a program that included Mendelssohn’s Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream, during which Soviet soldiers entered with pistols drawn. But then the orchestra's temporary hall (near the ruins of the earlier one) was taken over by the American Second Panzer Division. As Abby Anderton writes:

American authorities would use the Philharmonic in much the same way the National Socialists had: as an orchestra for the re-education of audiences. Just as the Philharmonic had once concertized in support of the Nazi war effort, giving lengthy tours throughout occupied Europe, the ensemble was also the sound of the Allied occupation.

The Berlin Philharmonic was the centerpiece of the American Military Government’s plan to re-educate the German people through culture, run by its Information Control Division (ICD). John Bitter had been a Curtis student in conducting, later became an Army Intelligence Officer, and during the occupation became head of Berlin’s Theater and Music staff at ICD.

In an amazing (and horrifying) chapter of this story, the occupying U.S. military forces accidentally shot and killed the Berlin Philharmonic’s conductor, Leo Borchard, only six weeks after they arrived, on August 23rd, 1945. Newsweek had an article about Borchard four days later in which they did not mention he had been killed. Only after a decade did the U.S. military admit that he had been a casualty of the occupation, while still putting blame on the British driver of the car he had been in when he was shot at a checkpoint.

U.S. Army Officer Bitter ended up conducting the Berlin Philharmonic himself thirty times, and the German premiere of Barber’s Adagio for Strings was conducted by Bitter, about four months after Borchard’s tragic death.

 


 

The overall title of this program comes from Goethe's novel Elective Affinities (1809). 'Elective affinities' was a term from 18th chemistry, which implied the tendency of certain molecules or atoms to aggregate and bond. Somewhat akin to E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology in recent times, Goethe's novel created controversy at the time because it seemed for many to take away the primacy of choice in human behavior. On the other hand, Max Weber later said that Elective Affinities had been important for him in his founding the modern discipline of sociology. In the novel, the actions of two couples create a metaphor for a substitution reaction in chemistry. Goethe's novel makes it explicit that the same principles at work between the individual characters were at least as strong in the elements of society as a whole. The 2016 election cycle has revealed powerful symmetries, at times almost like those in Goethe. The concept of an 'elective affinity' is also important to the concept of Orchard Circle itself - the potential for an aggregating of composers representing the 'middle ground' of contemporary music.

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