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Music@Menlo

Every summer, some of the world's finest musicians gather on the San Francisco peninsula to bring the beauty and power of chamber music to enthusiastic audiences. The Music@Menlo concerts take place in the sun-washed communities of Menlo Park, Atherton, and Palo Alto, located about half an hour south of "The City." The venues are perfect for the intimacy of chamber music: small churches with stained-glass windows that get propped open to let Pacific breezes meld with the music.
Performance Today and American Public Media have been proud media partners of Music@Menlo since its first season in 2003. These live-concert recordings have been an important part of our radio offerings for audiences across the nation.

Concerts

CONCERT VII - DVORÁK'S AMERICA
Universally renowned at the end of the nineteenth century as one of the supreme composers of his generation as well as the greatest champion of his native Czech music, Antonín Dvorák received an invitation in 1891 to lead the National Conservatory in New York and guide America's composers in discovering their own musical language. With the help of the African American singer and composer Harry T. Burleigh, whose arrangements and performances of Negro spirituals Dvorák lovingly absorbed, the Czech master became fluent in the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic traits of American folk styles. During the summer of 1893, while living in the Czech community of Spillville, Iowa, Dvorák captured the essence of Americana in two classic chamber works: his Opus 96 String Quartet and Opus 97 String Quintet, both nicknamed American. The program also illustrates the evolution of American song since Dvorák's time, featuring music by twentieth-century American masters Samuel Barber and William Bolcom. Performing artists: Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Wu Han, piano; Erin Keefe, violin; Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Beth Guterman, viola; Laurence Lesser, cello; Jupiter String Quartet

PROGRAM:
Antonín Dvorák (1841–1904) - String Quartet no. 12 in F Major, op. 96, American (1893)
Performed by Jupiter String Quartet
Henry T. Burleigh (1866–1949) - Selected spirituals
Performed by Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Wu Han, piano
William Bolcom (b. 1938) - Selected cabaret songs
Performed by Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Wu Han, piano
Samuel Barber (1910–1981) - Four Songs, op. 13 (1940)
Performed by Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Wu Han, piano
Antonín Dvorák - Quintet for Two Violins, Two Violas, and Cello in E-flat Major, op. 97, American (1893)
Performed by Erin Keefe, violin; Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Beth Guterman, viola; Laurence Lesser, cello

CONCERT VI - SPANISH INSPIRATIONS
Mining a multifaceted, centuries-old musical heritage cultivated in relative isolation from the rest of Western Europe, the composers of Spain around the turn of the twentieth century wove a rich tapestry from the diverse strands of their country's musical traditions: its ecstatic sacred music, the dramatic fervor of Spanish opera and zarzuela, and the hot-blooded intensity of flamenco. "Spanish Inspirations" brings together music by three of the country's most influential voices during this time: Isaac Albéniz, Joaquín Turina, and the country's greatest composer of the twentieth century, Manuel de Falla, whose Siete canciones populares españolas illustrate Spain's seductive folk music. The program also features chamber music masterpieces by the foremost French composers of the day, who fell under the spell of their Spanish counterparts. The hypnotic second movement of Claude Debussy's String Quartet, a seminal work of the Impressionist style, evokes the sound of Spanish guitars, while Maurice Ravel's sensuous Piano Trio recalls the folk dances of the composer's own Basque ancestry. Performing artists: Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Alessio Bax, piano; Jason Vieaux, guitar; Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Laurence Lesser, cello; Jupiter String Quartet

PROGRAM:
Manuel de Falla (1876–1946) - Siete canciones populares españolas (1914)
Performed by Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Jason Vieaux, guitar
Claude Debussy (1862–1918) - String Quartet in g minor, op. 10 (1893)
Performed by Jupiter String Quartet
Joaquín Turina (1882–1949) - La oración del torero (1925)
Performed by Jupiter String Quartet
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) - Piano Trio (1914)
Performed by Alessio Bax, piano; Arnaud Sussmann, violin; Laurence Lesser, cello

CONCERT V - LA VILLE-LUMIÈRE: PARIS, 1920–1928
Paris in the 1920s was a cauldron of modern ideas, stirred by the Western world's visionary artists and thinkers. Gertrude Stein's salon hosted fellow American émigrés Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound; Picasso kept a home in Montparnasse, where he fraternized with Guillaume Apollinaire and Jean Cocteau. Musically, Paris marked the intersection of Gabriel Fauré's nineteenth-century elegance, the Impressionist stylings adopted by his student Maurice Ravel, and France's emerging avant-garde, epitomized by the irresistible sophistication of Francis Poulenc and Darius Milhaud, whose jazz ballet La création du monde begins Concert Program V. "La Ville-Lumière" celebrates this exciting period and includes works by some of the many expatriate composers who made Paris their adoptive home: the Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev's devilish Opus 39 Quintet for Winds and Strings, music by America's populist ambassador Aaron Copland, and reigning enfant terrible George Antheil's notorious Second Violin Sonata. The evening ends fittingly with the perennial George Gershwin favorite An American in Paris in the composer's version for two pianos.
Performing artists: Jonathan Fischer, oboe; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Dennis Godburn, bassoon; Alessio Bax, piano; Ken Noda, piano; Wu Han, piano; Jorja Fleezanis, violin; Erin Keefe, violin; Beth Guterman, viola; Scott Pingel, bass; Jupiter String Quartet

PROGRAM:
Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) - La création du monde (1923)
Performed by Wu Han, piano; Jupiter String Quartet
Aaron Copland (1900–1990) - Movement for String Quartet (ca. 1923)
Performed by Jupiter String Quartet
Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) - Barcarolle no. 13 in C Major, op. 116 (1921)
Performed by Alessio Bax, piano
Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) - Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, op. 32 (1922)
George Gershwin (1898–1937) - An American in Paris (1928)
Performed by Wu Han, piano; Ken Noda, piano

CONCERT IV - AFTERMATH: 1945
The Second World War constitutes one of the most traumatic chapters in human history. The devastation wrought by the war and the profound angst of its aftermath inspired a wide range of responses throughout the world's artist community, from solemnity to outrage to despair. While in Dresden scoring a film about the 1945 bombing, Dmitry Shostakovich dedicated his haunting Eighth String Quartet "in memory of victims of fascism and war."
Performing artists: Matthew Plenk, tenor; Ken Noda, piano; Jorja Fleezanis, violin; Lily Francis, violin; Beth Guterman, viola; Erin Keefe, viola; David Finckel, cello; Ralph Kirshbaum, cello; Scott Pingel, bass; Miró Quartet

PROGRAM:
Richard Strauss (1864–1949) - Metamorphosen (1945)
Dmitry Shostakovich (1906–1975) - String Quartet no. 8 in c minor, op. 110 (1960)
Performed by the Mirò Quartet
Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) - The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, op. 35 (1945)

CONCERT III - VIENNA
Composers who worked Vienna created a musical heritage combining innovation and tradition that musicians return to again and again. Haydn's Piano Concertino exemplifies what we think of as Viennese Classicism. Beethoven's explorations led from the Classical style to the Romantic style, which found a rich flowering in the works of Johannes Brahms. Rounding out this concert is the First Chamber Symphony by Arnold Schoenberg, one of the decisive figures in modern music.
Performing artists: Wu Han, piano; Jorja Fleezanis, Erin Keefe, violins; David Finckel, cello; Miro Quartet (Daniel Ching, violin; Sandy Yamamoto, violin; John Largess, viola; Joshua Gindele, cello); Tara Helen O'Connor, flute; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Lily Francis, violin; Joshua Gindele, cello; Gilbert Kalish, piano; Erin Keefe, Jorja Fleezanis, violins; Lily Francis, John Largess, violas; Ralph Kirshbaum, David Finckel, cellos

PROGRAM:
Franz Joseph Haydn - Keyboard Concertino in F Major, Hob. XVIII: F2
Performed by Wu Han, piano; Jorja Fleezanis, Erin Keefe, violins; David Finckel, cello
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet in f minor, op. 95, Serioso
Performed by Miró Quartet
Arnold Schoenberg; arr: Anton Webern - Chamber Symphony no. 1, op. 9
Performed by Tara Helen O'Connor, flute; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Lily Francis, violin; Joshua Gindele, cello; Gilbert Kalish, piano
Johannes Brahms - Sextet no. 2 in G Major, op. 36
Performed by Erin Keefe, Jorja Fleezanis, violins; Lily Francis, John Largess, violas; Ralph Kirshbaum, David Finckel, cellos

CONCERT II - THE ENGLISH VOICE
This concert is devoted to three great English composers who gave their native country a distinctive voice in 20th-century music. Edward Elgar not only wrote patriotic favorites, but music with a searching, personal tone, such as his Piano Quintet. The versatile William Walton wrote for the concert hall, for film, the opera house, and chamber music, including the Piano Quartet performed here. And Benjamin Britten left a legacy of masterful writing for the human voice, such as his song cycle, "A Charm of Lullabies."
Performing artists: Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Inon Barnatan, piano; Wu Han, piano; Ani Kavafian, violin; Lily Francis, viola; David Finckel, cello; Inon Barnatan, piano; Miro Quartet

PROGRAM:
Benjamin Britten - A Charm of Lullabies, op. 41 (1947)
Performed by Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Inon Barnatan, piano
William Walton - Piano Quartet (1919)
Performed by Wu Han, piano; Ani Kavafian, violin; Lily Francis, viola; David Finckel, cello
Edward Elgar - Piano Quintet in a minor, op. 84
Performed by Inon Barnatan, piano; Miró Quartet

Concert I - THE SEASONS
Composers across the centuries have created music to reflect upon and interpret the world around us. Music@Menlo's 2010 season-opening program celebrates music's transmutative power with landmark works by two of history's most unbridled compositional imaginations — works that use vastly contrasting languages but share a common inspiration. Antonio Vivaldi's timeless The Four Seasons, one of Western music's most beloved masterpieces, renders the magic of the seasons in sparkling Italianate virtuosity. American maverick George Crumb creates a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of sound from two amplified pianos and percussion in his ethereal Music for a Summer Evening, composed more than 250 years later.
Performing artists: Inon Barnatan, harpsichord; Gilbert Kalish, piano; Wu Han, piano; Daniel Ching, violin; Ani Kavafian, violin; Erin Keefe, violin; Philip Setzer, violin; Ian Swensen, violin; Sandy Yamamoto, violin; John Largess, viola; Joshua Gindele, cello; Scott Pingel, bass; Christopher Froh, percussion; Ayano Kataoka, percussion

PROGRAM:
Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons
Spring violin solo performed by Erin Keefe, Summer violin solo performed by Ani Kavafian, Autumn violin solo performed by Philip Setzer, Winter violin solo performed by Ian Swensen
George Crumb - Music for a Summer Evening (Makrokosmos III)