Concerto Extraordinaire! This Saturday in Amarillo

Jan 7, 2020

David Palmer, Michael Palmer & Guli Manfredi stopped by HPPR to share about the upcoming Concerto Extraodinaire!

High Plains Morning was thrilled to welcome back Chamber Music Amarillo this morning. David Palmer, Michael Palmer, and Guli Manfredi stopped by to remind you that this Saturday, January 11th is their annual Concerto Extraordinaire!, the annual celebration of classical mastery in the Texas Panhandle. As always, it’s one night only & tickets go fast – so don’t miss it! It’s at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens (1400 Streit Drive, Amarillo). The pre-concert lecture begins at 6:45pm and will feature Will Murphy, HPPR’s new Executive Director, as well as renowned musicologist and professor Kimberley Hieb of WTAMU. The show starts at 7:30pm.

Tickets are on sale now on their website, or call CMA at 806-236-3545. Discounts for students are available. There will be a reception following the performance in the gallery, sponsored by Panhandle Restaurant Group.  

Click here for the full interview:

FEATURED PERFORMERS:

Amarillo College’s Diego Caetano, piano

WTAMU’s Guli Manfredi, horn

Michael Palmer, conductor

Amarillo Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra

Repertoire

Symphony no. 104 d major, London | Joseph Haydn

Concerto for horn no. 1, op. 11 | Richard Strauss

Piano Concerto no. 4 in g major, op. 58 | Ludwig Van Beethoven (This year marks 250 years!!!)

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More bout Concerto Extraordinaire! Chamber Music Amarillo presents its annual foray into slightly larger-scale symphonic repertoire. Tonight’s Concerto Extraordinaire program features works by three canonic composers, each representative of a different period of the classical canon.

Joseph Haydn’s London Symphony, No. 104 in D major is representative of the Classical period, namely the eighteenth century. Haydn (1732–1809) enjoyed the luxury of secure employment with the Estherhazy family in Austria for much of his long life. While working in Vienna and Eisenstadt for much of his career the composer made two trips to London at the request of impresario Johann Peter Salomon. While in London, Haydn conducted concerts and presented new works including the symphony you will hear this evening. There is no particular reason that Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 should be called the “London” symphony, a title that could seemingly fit any of the symphonies Haydn wrote while in the large British city. 

Symphony No. 104 is Haydn’s very last symphony and embraces the wit and humor that pervades the composer’s repertoire as a whole. The symphony follows the standard eighteenth-century four movement plan. Haydn opens his first movement with a solemn and commanding introduction leading into a quicker more spirited allegro section characterized by the sudden pauses, unexpected turns of melody, and harmony, and abrupt dynamic contrasts that are hallmarks of his compositional style. The second movement, which nicely balances clarity and complexity, is more moderately paced. The third movement boasts off-beat accents and an uncommonly sophisticated trio section, keeping the listener on her toes. True to expectations, the fourth movement provides a buoyant finale with rustic sounding themes and folk-like melodies. In this final movement, Haydn plays one final trick on the listeners, penning an unusual double development, the first of which displays an intricate fugato and the second of which develops the main theme. 

The most recently composed work on this evening’s program is Richard Strauss’s Concerto for Horn No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 11 (1882). Strauss’s (1864–1949) father was a virtuoso horn player who served as the principal in the Munich Court Orchestra, and Strauss’s orchestral works, especially the symphonic poems, often boast stellar horn parts. The horn concerto on tonight’s program, one of two by the composer, came early in his career, written when the composer was merely 18. The piece was premiered in 1885 by a powerful contemporary of Strauss, conductor Hans von Bülow who regularly premiered Wagner operas and compositions by Johannes Brahms. Like Beethoven’s piano concerto, Strauss’s concerto is written in three movements. Unlike Beethoven’s concerto, however, Strauss’s three movements all share thematic material. In fact, the three-movement structure of the concerto could be considered as a meta-sonata form with the Allegro serving as the exposition, the slow middle movement functioning as a development, and the concluding Allegro as the recapitulation. An energetic, fanfare-like theme stated first by the solo horn alone opens the movement, which is largely comprised of alternating sections of music for horn and orchestra. The first movement’s second theme is long-breathed and highlights the horn soloist’s impressive breath support. The opening motif is transformed later into a slower version of itself to act as a bridge to the second movement where it functions as an accompaniment to the lyrical horn tune. The fanfare motif appears once again in the rondo finale where it is juxtaposed with a sprightly theme in the solo horn part.

The final piece on tonight’s program is by the leviathan composer who lived and worked on the cusp between the Classical and Romantic eras, Ludwig von Beethoven (1770–1827). Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto was composed in 1805 and 1806 and was performed alongside the premieres of his fifth and sixth symphonies in 1808 during the composer’s so-called “middle period”. At this point in his life, Beethoven had started to aggressively lose his hearing and could no longer hide his encroaching disability from the public, which reacted in disparate ways to the composer’s inventive new style. As can be witnessed in the early reviews of his third symphony, the Eroica, in 1803, while some thought his genius was becoming exaggerated by his deafness, which allowed him to compose music unlike anything anyone had ever heard before, others thought his style was becoming too inaccessible. As in the case of the third symphony, initial critical reception of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 was rather frigid. This may have been in part because the piece was premiered at a dreadfully long (4 hours!) all-Beethoven concert at the Theater an der Wien, which was unfortunately without heat, making for a literally chilling experience for the audience at the end of December concert. While it was premiered alongside Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 and the Chorale Fantasy the Piano Concerto No. 4 was granted scant attention until after Beethoven’s death. 

The piece opens quite unexpectedly with the piano soloist playing a quiet and whispering melody all by its lonesome. This is one of the many unexpected moves Beethoven makes throughout the work. The opening movement as a whole embraces subtle rhythmic imbalances and densely voiced harmonies accompanying brief melodic phrases. The restless second movement omits the wind parts and is written for only strings and piano. While the piano part in this movement is largely gentle and entreating, the orchestra’s music is adamant and forceful. The piano wins over in the end when the strings surrender to the more lyric quality of the soloist’s part. Beethoven’s student Carl Czerny described the contrasting characters of the orchestra and piano parts: “In this movement (which, like the entire concerto, belongs to the finest and most poetical of Beethoven’s creations) one cannot help thinking of an antique dramatic and tragic scene, and the player must feel with what movingly lamenting express his solo must be played in order to contrast with the powerful and austere orchestral passages.” The concerto concludes with a third movement that opens with an unexpected harmony that presages a number of other “tricks” Beethoven subjects the listener to in this final movement. Typical for middle-period Beethoven, much of the thematic content grows from four diminutive melodic and rhythmic figures that are contained in the rondo theme that returns over and over again throughout the movement, which brings the piece to conclusion with an abundance of energy.

Artist Bios: Michael Palmer is best known to audiences as artistic director of the Bellingham Festival of Music, a post he has held since 1993. Under his leadership, the Festival has become internationally recognized, and live recordings from its annual concerts have been heard across the United States on National Public Radio, featuring some of the world's finest orchestral musicians and major guest artists. In 2006, he also assumed the post of artistic director of the Orchestral Institute at the new Quartz Mountain Music Festival in southwestern Oklahoma. Michael Palmer has long been considered one of this country's finest conductors. His professional career began at age 21, when he was invited by Robert Shaw to become assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, where he was soon promoted to associate conductor. In 1975, Palmer became one of the first five young conductors in the United States chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts for its newly-established EXXON/Arts Endowment Conductor fellowships. As part of the EXXON/Arts Endowment program, Palmer was part of an exchange of conductors that summer between the ASO and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington,DC, where he conducted the NSO's summer classical series at the Kennedy Center. The following year, the NSO independently invited Palmer back to lead a more extensive series of summer concerts. In 1977, after 10 years in Atlanta with the ASO, Palmer accepted the position of music director of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. While at Wichita, he also served as guest conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra for three consecutive seasons (1978-1981), and was co-principal guest conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1982. In 1989 Michael Palmer assumed the post of music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, which he held until 1997. In 1994, Carnegie Hall invited Palmer and the NHSO to perform in New York City as part of their esteemed Visiting Orchestras Series. Palmer founded the American Sinfonietta in 1991, which brought him more prominent international attention through ten seasons of European tours under his leadership, playing to critical acclaim in the major concert halls of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Over the course of his career, Michael Palmer has made appearances as guest conductor with many US orchestras, including the Rochester Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Philharmonic, and the San Diego Symphony, as well as orchestras in Austria, Poland, Greece and China. His recordings include an all Mendelssohn disc (Summit Records), the five piano concertos of Beethoven with Garrick Ohlsson (Natural Soundfields), and Ned Rorem's english horn concerto with Thomas Stacy and the Rochester Philharmonic (New World Records). Michael Palmer has long been an advocate of high-quality performing experiences for young musicians, actively including education and adjudication as part of his overall professional vision. In 1974, under the auspices of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he founded and was music director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. Palmer joined the faculty of Wichita StateUniversity in 1999 as their orchestral conductor, then returned to Atlanta in August of 2004 as director of orchestras for Georgia State University, which in 2006 honored him with the title of Charles Thomas Wurm Distinguished Professor of Orchestral Studies.

Brazil-born Diego Caetano graduated with a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Master of Music degree from the University of Wyoming, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Universidade Federal de Goiás (Brazil). Caetano has studied under the guidance of Dr. David Korevaar, Bob Spillman, Dr. Theresa Bogard, Dr. Maria Helena Jayme, and Lílian Carneiro de Mendonça. Dr. Caetano was also able to study with Dr. Nadezhda Eysmont at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, in Russia. Dr. Caetano performs widely as soloist and chamber musician and has appeared throughout the USA, Brazil, Chile, Europe, Asia and Africa, including performances at New York's Carnegie Hall, Yokohama's Philia Hall, Lisbon's Palacio da Foz, Rio's Sala Cecília Meireles and London's Royal Albert Hall. He has performed Villa- Lobos's Momoprecoce with Orquestra Sinfônica do Conservatório de Tatuí; Chopin's Second Piano Concerto with Orquestra Sinfônica de Goiânia, New York Concert Sinfonietta; Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with  Boulder Philharmonic; Ronaldo Miranda's Concertino with Orquestra Sinfônica de Barra Mansa; Luigi Nono's Como una Ola de Fuerza y Luz with Orquestra Filarmônica de Goiás. He has worked with conductors such as Paul Hostetter, Neil Thomson, Rodrigo de Carvalho, Joaquim Jayme, Daniel Guedes, and others.  He has been featured in recitals and concerto appearances at the Grand Teton Music Festival, Belo Horizonte's PianoFest, Durango's Conservatory Music of the Mountains, Bangkok's Asia Pacific Saxophone Academy, and Brasília's International Music Festival. An advocate for contemporary music, Dr. Caetano has premiered works by composers Robert Spillman, Anne Guzzo, Marlos Nobre, and Roger Goeb. The current season included performances in the USA, Spain, UK, Romania, Portugal, Serbia, Russia, Brazil, and Switzerland.

Dr. Caetano received the top prizes in more than fifty national and international piano competitions, including: Bucharest Romania International Piano Competition (2018), London's Grand Prix Virtuoso (2016), "Shining Stars" International Concerto Competition (2014), Conservatory Music in the Mountains Concerto Competition (2013), Jefferson Symphony International Piano Competition (2013), Snowy Range Piano Competition (2012), MTNA - Steinway & Sons (2011), "Spartacco Rossi" Piano Competition (2010), "Arnaldo Estrella" Piano Competition (2008) and many more. He has also won special awards including Best Interpreter of Brazilian Composers, Best Interpreter of Spanish Composers, and Prix d'Excellence in Performance. His academic interests include research on famed Brazilian/French pianist Magda Tagliaferro, writing an annotated translation of her book of memoirs written in Portuguese and French into English, and research on piano works of renowned Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre.

He maintains an active schedule as an educator having taught courses at the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Wyoming, and Casper College. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Piano at Amarillo College, where he teaches piano and music literature. Caetano is a Shigeru Kawai Artist.

Guglielmo Manfredi joined the School of Music in 2009. Originally from Genova Italy, he received a B.M. in Horn Performance from West Texas A&M University in 2004, an M.M. in Horn Performance from the University of Miami in 2006 and a D.M.A. in Horn Performance and Conducting from the University of Miami in 2011. His primary teachers include Jerry Peel, Vladimiro Cainero, Adriano Orlandi, JD Shaw and Ron Lemon. Dr. Manfredi teaches applied horn lessons, instrumental conducting and conducts the horn and brass choirs. Dr. Manfredi is the principal horn with the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra and Amarillo Opera. Dr. Manfredi has performed at Carnegie Hall with the Frost Wind Ensemble, the Carlo Felice Opera in Genova Italy, New World Symphony, the Genova Sinfonietta, the Miami Pops and Pink Martini. Dr. Manfredi is a Wes Hatch Horns Artist. In his spare time Dr. Manfredi is an avid cyclist, tennis, Tae Kwon Do and is finishing up his private pilot’s license. He enjoys long hikes and tries to be as active as he can.