Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stream or download live VSO recordings

The VSO's presence on Instant Encore offers a place where you can stream our concert recordings and/or download the tracks. We have several concert recordings available, including the sold out Masterworks Series Opening Night on October 23. Baste the turkey to Beethoven's Overture to Leonore, No. 3, chop veggies to Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, or assemble a pie to Arriaga's Symphony in D. Visit our e-boutique now.
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Program notes: December 4 Masterworks Concert

On Saturday, December 4, the VSO and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts will co-present the second Masterworks concert installment this season. Grammy-award winning sextet eighth blackbird and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon team up for a performance of Higdon's "On A Wire" for sextet and orchestra. eighth blackbird will perform an intimate concert at the FlynnSpace on Sunday, December 5. Contact FlynnTix for a 20% discount on tickets for both events. This package must be redeemed either in person at the Flynn Box Office or by calling (802) 86-FLYNN. No other discounts apply. Only valid on new ticket purchases, while tickets are available. Single tickets for the Masterworks Series concert on Saturday, December 4, can be purchased through FlynnTix online or by calling (802) 86-FLYNN. Keep reading for the program notes for this concert.

Overture to Euryanthe
Carl Maria von Weber (1726-1826)

“My reception when I appeared in the orchestra to conduct the premiere of Euryanthe was the most enthusiastic that one could imagine,” wrote Weber to his wife the day after the premiere on October 25, 1823. “There was no end to it. At last I gave the signal for beginning. Stillness of death. The Overture was applauded madly, and there was a demand for a repetition, but I went ahead so that the performance might not be too long or drawn out.” After the success of its first season, the opera was doomed, handicapped by its inane libretto. But the spontaneity and imaginativeness of the music have kept the overture in the standard repertoire. Schumann was enchanted by it: “It is a chain of sparkling jewels from beginning to end—all brilliant and flawless.”

With a grandiose flourish, Weber sets the mood of his tragic opera. The brass and woodwinds announce the theme by which the hero proclaims his reliance on God and his beloved Euryanthe. In the development section, the famous ghost music is orchestrated for eight muted solo violins, and this is later combined with the majestic opening melody. The poignant progression from the tragic to the triumphant concludes definitively in a grand coda.

Weber’s works, including Euryanthe, greatly influenced the development of the Romantic opera in Germany, and anticipated Wagner. Berlioz praised his gift for orchestration in his Treatise on Instrumentation, while Debussy remarked that the sound of the Weber orchestra was obtained through the scrutiny of the soul of each instrument.

On A Wire, Concerto for Sextet and Orchestra
Jennifer Higdon (1962- )

The composer writes: "Composing a concerto for one soloist and orchestra is a bit of a balancing act…so imagine throwing in five more soloists. On A Wire is eighth blackbird’s high-wire act of a concerto. Having already written two chamber works for this group, I am familiar with their ability to do all sorts of cool things on their instruments, from extended techniques, to complex patterns, to exquisitely controlled lyrical lines. I also admire the pure joy that emanates from their playing, no matter the repertoire. Written as a one-movement work, it highlights the group as an ensemble, allows each member to solo, and utilizes some of their unique staging: the players move about and perform beyond their respective primary instruments (the work begins with bowed piano). So imagine six blackbirds, sitting on a wire…." The world premiere of On A Wire took place at Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 3, 2010, with soloists eighth blackbird, and Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

On A Wire is a co-commission by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Akron Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the West Michigan Symphony, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the Cabrillo Festival.

Read more about Jennifer Higdon.
Read more about eighth blackbird.

Symphony No. 2 in D Major
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

Jean Sibelius was born in the small Finnish town of Tavastehus, the son of a regimental doctor. A sensitive child drawn to the beauty of nature and art, his early pursuits in music on the piano, violin and in composition grew organically out of the desire of a shy child to find a comfortable way to express his inner thoughts and feelings.

Sibelius borrowed a year from his musical career in an attempt to study law, but the muse was too possessive and his parents gave their blessing to his enrollment in the Institute of Music. There he made several close friends, and one of them, Adolf Paul, gave this portrayal of him: "He did not seem to dwell on this earth. His nature was delicate and impressionable; his sensitive imagination found outlet in music at the slightest provocation. His thoughts always strayed, his head was always in the clouds, and he continually expressed such original and bizarre ideas that...in his normal mood he was like the rest of us drunk."

In 1899 Sibelius' studies took him to Berlin and Vienna, and in the latter city he met Brahms whose works at that time dominated the world of symphonic music. Sibelius' reverence for Brahms reveals itself in his early work, but a more powerful and fateful alliance was yet to be made which would make a life-long imprint on his music.

At the end of his formal training in 1891, Sibelius returned to Finland, where he joined a group of idealistic young musicians who called themselves "Young Finns." Strongly patriotic, they were committed to the movement for Finnish liberation from Russian domination. The fact that the Russian government denied freedom of speech and press did not discourage Sibelius, who was most used to speaking through his music: "...for me, music begins where words cease." Rather, this suppression of the usual forms of communication made Sibelius' music a comparative shout for freedom and national unity that stirred the hearts of all Finns.

Comfortably married and settled in a teaching position at the Musical Institute, Sibelius began to create a national Finnish music. He broke most ties with German and Russian romanticism and through extraordinary originality, fervent national identity and a profound love of nature created the completely recognizable and unduplicated genre of Finnish Romanticism. It is characterized by tonal landscapes and orchestrations which give almost visual images of the country, and emotional empathy with its natives.

The Second Symphony was written in 1901, shortly after Finlandia had firmly established him as a national hero. Georg Schneevoigt, a close friend and famous interpreter of Sibelius, ascribed a program to the work: the first movement (Allegretto) represents the quiet pastoral life of the Finns undisturbed by thoughts of oppression. The second movement (Andante, ma rubato) rings with patriotic fervor, but the threat of brutal rule over the people brings with it timidity of the soul. The scherzo of the third movement (Vivacissimo) brings the awakening of national feeling and the desire to organize in defense of rights. A long crescendo leads without pause into the final movement (Allegro moderato) which expresses the hope and comfort in the anticipated coming of a deliverer.

Sibelius composed five more symphonies between the years 1907 and 1924. He was recognized internationally as one of the greatest symphonic composers since Brahms. In 1924, tired of giving concerts and of the discomforts of travel, he retired to Arnola, to compose nothing more than a set of piano pieces in 1929. As though he had concentrated a lifetime of creativity in a few furious years, Sibelius devoted the rest of his life to small-town pleasures and the serenity of seclusion.

Hilary Hatch
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vermont Music Now 14: Jaime Laredo

In this episode of Vermont Music Now, New Music Advisor David Ludwig chats with VSO Music Director Jaime Laredo about playing, conducting, and programming contemporary music.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

SymphonyKids Spotlight: Vermont State Employee's Credit Union

The SymphonyKids Spotlight was created as a showcase of our SymphonyKids offerings. We never meant for it to be a sponsor spotlight. However, many schools in the state rely on the generous underwriting dollars of our sponsors to help defray the cost of bringing the VSO into their school. The Vermont State Employees Credit Union is a new and welcome sponsor of SymphonyKids. VSECU’s CEO, Steve Post, says “When school budgets are trimmed, sometimes the music programs are the first to go, so it is a pleasure to support a program that brings music and music appreciation to our young people in Vermont.” In addition to sponsoring programs in the schools this season, VSECU has purchased blocks of tickets for VSO concerts statewide and is making them available free of charge to schools in multiple raffle drawings. This offer is available to schools around the state that have received funding from VSECU for a VSO SymphonyKids performance. Keep reading for information on booking a program in your school.

The VSO's SymphonyKids Educational Outreach programs reach over 20,000 Vermont schoolchildren each year. Our primary offering is Musicians-in-the-Schools, seven outstanding assembly-style presentations. In addition to those, the Musical Petting Zoo travels to schools with a van full of instruments that are demonstrated and then put into the hands of your students! Our New Music Advisor, David Ludwig, can present to all age groups, from elementary students to college students. For more info, click any of the links to be redirected to our website, e-mail Eleanor@vso.org, or call (800) VSO-9293 x 14.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Special three-concert Masterworks subscriptions starting at $78

Our first 2010/2011 Masterworks concert was a sell-out and our last concert of the series is already sold out. The remaining three concerts, in December, January, and March, feature a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winning composer, a Grammy Award winning sextet, excellent violin and piano soloists, Sibelius, Mozart, Dvorak, and more. Secure your seats to these concerts by subscribing to a money-saving three concert package, starting at $78. Keep reading for detailed program information or jump right to our website for more information.

Saturday, December 4, 2010
Anthony Princiotti, conductor
eighth blackbird

WEBER Overture to Euryanthe
JENNIFER HIGDON On a Wire, Concerto for Sextet and Orchestra
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 2

Saturday, January 22, 2011
Jaime Laredo, conductor
Anna Polonsky, piano

ROSSINI Overture to Il Signor Bruschino
MOZART Concerto No. 27, K. 595
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4

Saturday, March 5, 2011
Jaime Laredo, conductor
Bella Hristova, violin

DVORAK Violin Concerto
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 3, "Scotch"
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Enter our Instant Wine Cellar Raffle

Purchase tickets for $35 (or 3 for $100) from the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO), and you will be entered in a drawing to win an “Instant Wine Cellar.” No more than 350 tickets will be sold. The winner will receive an “instant wine cellar” consisting of 100 bottles of wine and a wine cooler cabinet to hold them. The package has an estimated value of $3,500. Keep reading for the official rules or visit our website.


1) Go to www.vso.org to the “VSO Instant Wine Cellar Raffle” page and send an email via the provided link. Someone will contact you to complete the sale.

2) Call the VSO at (800) VSO-9293. Provide your entry information (name, address, telephone, email) over the phone along with credit card information to charge the entry fee. If you reach a voice mailbox, leave your name and contact information and someone will contact you to complete the purchase.

3) Mail in completed entry form to Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Attn: Instant Wine Cellar Raffle, 2 Church Street Suite 3B, Burlington, VT 05401, with your check for $35 per ticket (or 3 for $100) payable to Vermont Symphony Orchestra. Entry forms may be obtained at the VSO Office, by calling (800) VSO-9293, or by downloading and printing this VSO Instant Wine Cellar Raffle Entry Form. Mailed entries must be received by the VSO no later than 5:00pm EST on February 4, 2011.

ELIGIBILITY: Open only to legal U.S. residents who are 21 years of age or older as of July 24, 2010. Full-time and part-time employees of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, VSO musicians, and other contracted service providers of the VSO and their immediate family members are ineligible. The VSO is not responsible for late, lost, damaged, incomplete, misdirected, illegible or mutilated entries. The VSO reserves the right to revoke any prize or remove an entry if the entrant does not meet any or all of the eligibility requirements, or if the entry or winning ticket has been damaged or altered.

SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION OF WINNERS: The drawing will be held at the 33rd Annual Waltz Night on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the Dudley Davis Center at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. The winner need not be present to win. Once submitted, entries become the sole property of the VSO and will not be returned. Winner will be notified in person (if present at the drawing), by phone, mail and/or email. If potential winner cannot be reached after 10 days from first notification attempt, or if an entrant is found to be ineligible, or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, such prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected by random drawing. The VSO is not responsible for problems occurring within the postal system or the internet which may affect winner’s receipt of the winning notice.

PRIZE: “Instant wine cellar” consisting of 100 bottles of wine and a wine cooler cabinet to hold them. The package has an estimated value of $3,500. The VSO will deliver the prize to the winner within 90 days of the raffle drawing, at which time the winner shall be the legal owner of the prize. If the winner lives in the northeastern U.S., the VSO will deliver the prize to a mutually agreed-upon location. If the winner lives outside the northeast, the winner will need to make arrangements to pick up the prize and/or transport it. Prize is transferable, but solely by the raffle winner, and the winner must notify the VSO if a transfer is to take place, and who the new claimant will be. The transferee must be at least 21 years of age.

INDEMNIFICATION & LIMIT ON LIABLITY: As a condition of accepting the prize, winner acknowledges that the VSO is not responsible for any harm, injury, losses, or damage caused to any person or property, proximate or otherwise, through the use of any prize by any person, or other issues related to the prize, its warranty, or its quality. Winner further agrees to save and hold harmless the VSO, its board members and employees from any claim of such responsibility. “Harm, injury, losses, or damage” includes but is not limited to occurrences beyond the control of the VSO such as death, bodily injury, property damage, or theft.

GENERAL: Pursuant to current tax law, ticket purchases are not tax deductible. By entering the raffle, participants agree that the VSO, its board members and employees have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, harm, losses, or damages of any kind caused to any person or property, proximate or otherwise, which result from use of the prize, or by participation in the raffle. Participants further agree to save and hold harmless the VSO, its board members and employees from any claim of such responsibility. Prize must be claimed within 60 days from the date of award. The prize cannot be exchanged for cash. No substitutions. The VSO may use winner’s name and likeness for publicity purposes without further compensation. The VSO is not responsible for any failure of communications or failure of the internet or its website. The VSO reserves the right to modify these rules and will give prompt announcement of any rule changes. All decisions of the VSO are final and binding in all matters related to this raffle.

TAX OBLIGATIONS: All local, state and federal taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner. The VSO is required by law to report to the Internal Revenue Service the value of the prize as income to the winner. Winner agrees to provide their social security number to the VSO, and to provide any other documentation requested. Winner acknowledges that failure to provide such documentation may require the VSO to withhold income taxes from the winner in order for the winner to claim the prize. This information is collected for tax recording purposes only, and will not be used or released for any other purposes.

RESTRICTIONS: By participating in the VSO Instant Wine Cellar Raffle, a participant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules, and by all decisions of the VSO. The winner will be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Publicity/Liability Release. For further information, please call the VSO at (800) 876-9293.

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