The Yale School of Music Philharmonia on Friday will perform a program of Beethoven, Wieniawski, Ravel and Schumann in Sprague Memorial Hall’s Morse Recital Hall.
Conducting fellow David Yi MUS ’18 will lead the performance. The program will also feature student soloists and conclude with Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 61.
“I am hopeful for our musicians that they will appreciate Schumann’s symphonic works more,” said Yi, who noted that although Schumann is generally appreciated as a composer, he is less respected as a symphonist.
Yi said Schumann composed this symphony when he was very ill: the composer’s letters reveal that he had to stop the composition process several times because of various physical and mental health issues.
Schumann eventually finished the symphony, and published it in 1847, about two years after he began its composition.
Violinist Laura Park MUS ’18, who holds the position of concertmaster for this performance, said that despite Schumann’s health difficulties, “there is still so much light, and strength and hope” in the piece.
Yi said the first movement of the symphony is known for its “heavenly” slow opening. After this introduction, the movement gradually descends to a “more realistic, more on earth” energetic atmosphere.
The second movement is a scherzo, followed by the “adagio espressivo” third movement, which Yi described as “one of the most beautiful slow movements Schumann ever composed.” Yi added that the third movement exudes a feeling of loneliness.
According to Yi, the fourth and final movement of the piece evokes “pure joy.”
Park said that although the symphony poses challenges for the orchestra to play, she expects the work will be fun for the audience to hear.
The program will also include two works for violin soloist and orchestra: 19th century Polish violinist and composer Henryk Wieniawski’s “Légende” and the 19th- and 20th-century French composer Maurice Ravel’s “Tzigane.”
Violinist Sirena Huang MUS ’19, who will play the solo parts for these two pieces, highlighted the passion she recognizes in both works.
Huang said Wieniawski wrote “Legende” to impress the parents of a woman and secure a marriage engagement. She added that the composer “wore his heart on his sleeve,” noting that his music reflects his passion.
Gypsy music inspired “Tzigane,” she said, which captures “free-spirited and fervent characteristics.”
Huang said the vivid orchestration for this Ravel piece allows the listener to practically visualize the music. She added that the ensemble must still execute the composer’s specific directions in the score — for example, the roughly 50 musicians must rehearse together in order to synchronize the numerous tempo changes throughout the piece.
The concert will open with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19, with soloist Szymon Nehring MUS ’19.
Unlike most Philharmonia concerts, which take place in Woolsey Hall, this performance will happen in Sprague Hall, which Park described as a more intimate space with acoustics clearer than those in Woolsey.
“Whatever we do on stage will be heard,” Park said. “We don’t ever have to force [the sound], so we can work on getting the soft dynamics to be more intimate — to be able to whisper.”
Yi said that because he and the musicians are colleagues, during rehearsals, he aims to create an atmosphere in which he and the musicians can “exchange ideas at the same level.” As the conductor, he said, he tries to avoid dictating how the music should sound.
Park noted that the collaborative environment Yi fostered during rehearsals has been a highlight of the preparations for the performance.
Sprague Hall was built in 1917 and underwent substantial renovations in the early 2000s.
Julia Carabatsos | firstname.lastname@example.org