SASO 2012-13 Opening Concert: Part I

On Saturday October 6, SASO will perform a gigantic season opening concert featuring Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Also on the program will be a new work by Tucson composer Jay Vosk and a guest conductor selected by bidding at the Annual GALA.

J.V.Bevan Olyphant received the opportunity to conduct SASO this year by being sponsored by long time SASO donor Irving Olson and will direct a selection related to Scotland. His family clan goes back to ninth century Scotland and he will appear in his clan kilt. He was interviewed recently KGUN TV’s Morning Blend.

Running the Rim by Jay Vosk, a Tucson composer, will receive its’ world premier to open the concert. Vosk earned a BM at Eastman and a MM at Michigan, both in composition. He has commissions from the National Symphony and the Tucson Symphony, and has composed 75 works for orchestra, band and string and brass ensembles.

Guest soloist will be James Dick performing the Beethoven “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5. Texas born, Dick has performed with various orchestras performing concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Benjamin Lees and all five by Beethoven. He recorded a CD with the Baltic Chamber Orchestra of Beethoven’s Concertos 4 & 5, and performed recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York and in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major stands at the pinnacle of all piano concertos. WHY? This work will stand as the benchmark for all Romantic Period composers of piano concertos. Beethoven’s last three concertos introduce the use of the modern piano with all its’ power and also the addition of foot pedals allowing greater control of sound. In fact he visited the piano manufacturers helping with various improvements. Beethoven was always a trend setting innovator in all his compositions by modifying or even ignoring the accepted rules of composition. He did adhere to the sonata form 3 movement(mvt.) concerto and 4 mvt. symphony with one exception, the symphony No. 6 which has 5 and could be thought of as the first tone poem leading to Liszt and R. Strauss.

Structure wise, concertos include: ritornello where the orchestra alone play the themes: solo where the soloist plays alone or with minimal orchestra: Tutti where all play together: cadenzas where the soloist performs a dazzling but musical display. Returning to the WHY of his status, one need only look at the three mvts. of his E flat major concerto. Beethoven opens mvt. 1 with a three part introduction like no other; three mighty tutti chords,E flat, A flat, B flat, each followed by a mini cadenza. Next comes a 100 measure ritornello where the orchestra introduce all the themes of the mvt. When the piano returns, a normal sonata form sequence is followed with development, recapitulation and ending with a powerful tutti coda where the piano continues to the end.

In a great contrast to the majestic first mvt., the short second is very slow and subdued with a ritornello first theme followed by solo piano at measure 12 presenting the other theme, and playing a continuous run of notes. To complete part two comes another stroke of genius as Beethoven presents a two measure bridge in modifying the rhythm and key going directly into the final mvt. The Final, in a brisk 2, opens with solo piano playing a strongly syncopated first theme. This rondo features 3 themes. At the coda we get yet another surprise Beethoven innovation in

the cadenza. Timpani joins with the soloist playing a soft rhythmic support in 2 time for 14 measures and then slowing to a 17th measure in 6 time. The soloist then takes off in a brilliant 6 measure cadenza ending flourish, followed by a 7 measure ritornello syncopated finale…. At this point the listener should be aware of Beethoven’s genius!

Following intermission will be the dramatic and beautiful Symphony No. 5 in E minor by Tchaikovsky, his greatest symphony. This work was reviewed in a previous article. The concert will be performed on Saturday October 6 in SaddleBrooke at the Desert View Performing Arts Auditorium at 7:30 PM and on Sunday October 7 at 3:00 PM in Oro Valley at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. These are ideal times allowing audiences to go to dinner either before or after the programs. For ticket and other information about concerts go to www,sasomusic.org

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SASO’s Story

Turkish maestro Orhan Salliel, after guest-conducting SASO in the fall of 2012, wrote to us, "The time in Tucson I shared with you in SASO for me was so special. I felt the real love of music from the bottom of everyone's hearts. It was something I do not feel often—never, ever in the professional world anymore. Please keep it, save it, try to build everything from this power of love for music."
The first concert was Oct. 28, 1979, conducted by former University of Arizona music professor Henry Johnson, featuring Jonathan Kramer in a Boccherini cello concerto.
The largest event SASO has produced was Berlioz Te Deum, presented at the Tucson Community Center Music Hall with the Tucson Civic Orchestra, Tucson Masterworks Chorale, Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Pima College Singers.
The visionary founders of SASO were Barbara and Bill Chinworth, Scott Bracher and Janet Lombard. Barbara has played with SASO through its entire history, originally in the horn section, now on bass.
The most colorful performance was a Halloween concert in Nogales—a ghoulish event where the conductor was a clown and all the musicians were in costume.
Alan Schultz became music director in Year 2 and continued leading SASO for 15 seasons. He frequently conducted from the keyboard—organ or harpsichord. He also composed several works premiered by SASO.
Brazilian-born Linus Lerner, in his first year as music director, challenged the orchestra to learn his native Latin rhythms by playing Villa-Lobos. This proved surprisingly hard to do. We finally got it, but not until the week of the concert.
One spring SASO proved it has animal attraction. When it played at the Reid Park Zoo, some of the critters sang along with the music
SaddleBrooke is home to many of our loyal donors and the place where we’ve held our gala celebrations—first a black-tie dinner with music from "Phantom of the Opera" and later our annual StarStruck Gala evenings from 2008 through 2013.
Adam Boyles was the music director for three seasons, bringing bountiful youthful energy and a passion to serve the music. Then the Tucson native moved East to brave the snow and conduct the orchestra at MIT in Boston.
In December 1995 SASO was the first to present a concert at SaddleBrooke. This was the brainstorm of concertmaster Sam Kreiling. The concert sold out, as did a four-concert series the following year. SASO has performed there ever since.
Our most famous alumnus is Rico Saccani, associate conductor of SASO our inaugural year and piano soloist for the second concert. He later conducted opera companies and orchestras around the world and was music director of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra from 1985 to 2005.
Early audiences had to be loyal followers of this itinerant orchestra, which performed all over the city, frequently in churches. In the 1980s SASO rented the Temple of Music and Art for a concert. The City of Tucson condemned the building the morning of the dress rehearsal and the concert was canceled.
Composer, pianist and conductor Warren Cohen served as music director for eight seasons, routinely commuting from his home in Phoenix, but one year all the way from Hawaii. His wife, coloratura Carolyn Whitacre, was a favorite soloist.
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