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Newmont Maestro Series

Pictures at an Exhibition

October 23, 2020 4:30 PM

Otto Tausk, conductor

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Howarth)

The VSO Brass are featured in Elgar Howarth’s magnificent arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s beloved Pictures at an Exhibition, led by Maestro Otto Tausk. Stay tuned after the performance for panel discussion with the musicians.

Note: The previously scheduled Divertimento for Strings by Bartók has been postponed to later in the season.

Otto Tausk, conductor

Dutch conductor Otto Tausk is the Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, now in his third season. He is also the newly announced Chief Conductor of recently formed Phion Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel. Until spring 2018, Tausk was Music Director of the Opera Theatre and Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen. He appears as a guest with such orchestras as Concertgebouworkest, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Philharmonie Südwestfalen, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky  Orchestra, the orchestras of Perth, Tasmania, Auckland, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom he made his BBC Proms debut in August 2018. He is a hugely respected musical personality in his native Holland, working with all its major orchestras and composers.

In the 2020/21 season, Tausk continues guesting relationships with orchestras such as Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Het Gelders Orkest, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. In Vancouver, Tausk will lead an innovative reimagined season in response to COVID-19, showcasing the orchestra with a curated series of digital performances.

In the opera pit, he will conduct Michel van der Aa’s new opera ‘Upload’, with the world premiere at Dutch National Opera, plus further appearances with the other co-commissioning parties including Oper Köln. In St. Gallen, Tausk conducted the world premiere of ‘Annas Maske’, by Swiss composer David Philip Hefti, the Swiss premiere of George Benjamin’s ‘Written on Skin’, Korngold’s ‘Die Tote Stadt’ and other titles including ‘Don Giovanni’, ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’, ‘Eugene Onegin’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Lohengrin’ and ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’.

Tausk has recorded with the Concertgebouworkest (Luc Brewaeys, and an animated version of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’), Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen (Korngold and Diepenbrock), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Mendelssohn) and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (Gavin Bryars) amongst others. For the cpo label in 2011 Hans Pfitzner’s enchanting Orchesterlieder garnered international praise, not least the Classica France’s ‘Choc du mois’. His Prokofiev disc with Rosanne Philippens also received BBC Music Magazine Concerto Disc of the Month (2018).

Born in Utrecht, Otto Tausk initially studied violin and then conducting with Jonas Aleksa. Between 2004 and 2006, Tausk was assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, a period of study that had a profound impact on him. In 2011 Tausk was presented with the ‘De Olifant’ prize by the City of Haarlem. He received this prestigious award for his contribution to the Arts in the Netherlands, in particular his extensive work with Holland Symfonia serving as Music Director 2007 to 2012. In reflecting on their work together in The Netherlands, Valery Gergiev paid particular tribute to Tausk on this occasion.

ottotausk.nl

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is the third largest orchestra in Canada, the largest arts organization in Western Canada, and one of the few orchestras in the world to have its own music school.

Led by Music Director Otto Tausk since 2018, the VSO performs more than 150 concerts each year, throughout Vancouver and the province of British Columbia, reaching over 270,000 people annually. On tour the VSO has performed in the United States, China, Korea and across Canada.

The orchestra presents passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music, creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Recent guest artists include Daniil Trifonov, Dawn Upshaw, James Ehnes, Adrianne Pieczonka, Gidon Kremer, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Itzhak Perlman, Bernadette Peters, Tan Dun, and more.

For the 2020-21 season the VSO has created the innovative streaming service TheConcertHall.ca, a virtual home for a virtual season, where more than forty performances will be released throughout the year.

MODEST PETROVICH MUSSORGSKY

b. Karevo, Russia / March 9, 1839 (March 21, New Style )

d. St. Petersburg, Russia / March 15, 1881 (March 28, New Style )

Pictures at an Exhibition

The very famous portrait was captured just days before the subject’s death. His green dressing gown, trimmed with dark, red silk is rumpled, as if he has just been roused from his convalescence. His scraggly beard, bed-head hair, hollow eyes and bulbous red nose give a hint to the fact that Modest Mussorgsky was at the end of his days, just shy of his 42nd birthday. The painter, Ilya Repin, was a close friend of the Russian composer, and over the course of four sittings had preserved some of the former vigor of his subject, particularly in Modest’s piercing gaze. But the alcoholism that plagued the composer in his final years had taken its toll. When Repin returned for a final touch up sitting a few days later, Mussorgsky was dead.

Modest had won early success with his tone poem Night on Bald Mountain, and the historical opera Boris Godunov. He shared the drive of Mikhail Glinka to develop a uniquely Russian musical identity. Joined by Mily Balakirev, Cesar Cui, Alexander Borodin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, this “Mighty Handful” of composers developed a brand that set themselves apart from more Western-focused traditions at the Moscow and St. Petersburg conservatories.

In his final years Mussorgsky was plagued with thoughts of mortality. Following the death of his friend, Viktor Hartmann, Mussorgsky attended a public exhibition of works by the Russian artist and architect. A suite for solo piano, Pictures at an Exhibition, was the result, in which the composer makes a musical promenade from picture to picture, contemplating each image before moving on to the next. Some of Hartmann’s images survive to this day and others have been long lost, but the written descriptions of the event and Mussorgsky’s musical depictions evoke the experience.

Following the initial Promenade, the first image is a Gnome, a grotesque Christmas Nutcracker with bared teeth and crooked legs. After moving on, an Italian troubadour is seen in front of the ruins of an Italian castle. The sounds of quarreling children are heard in the garden of a French palace, followed by the plodding of heavy oxcart in Poland. The skittering Ballet of Unhatched Chicks was inspired by a costume design for children dressed as fledgling canaries. Separate portraits of two Jewish men, one rich and one poor, are captured, respectively, in a low, stern voice and a nervous, chattering response.

Continuing the promenade through the gallery, Mussorgsky interprets a scene at The Market in Limoges as an increasingly heated quarrel between two women. From one French scene we are soon taken to Paris, to view the gloomy, underground catacombs built in Roman times. A wall constructed of skulls evokes a chilling hush, before the sudden appearance of Baba Yaga. She is a menacing figure in Slavic folklore, flying through the sky to her forest hut, which is supported by clawed feet.

At the end of the exhibition stands a depiction of the Great Gate of Kiev, inspired by Hartmann’s architectural rendering, complete with an onion domed bell tower. The ceremonial procession, chanting, and tolling of bells brings the program to a thunderous climax.

The original piano suite has been arranged for various ensembles over the years and the present showpiece, for brass and percussion, was prepared by the English conductor, composer and arranger, Elgar Howarth (b.1935). He was a member of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, for whom he created the setting, and, incidentally, one of the trumpeters on the recording of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour!

Program Notes by Matthew Baird

MUSSORGSKY (arr. Elgar Howarth)

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION

MUSIC DIRECTOR

Otto Tausk

HORN

Oliver de Clercq, Acting Principal

Andrew Mee, Acting Associate Principal

Nick Anderson *

Holly Bryan *

TRUMPET

Larry Knopp, Principal

Marcus Goddard, Associate Principal

Vincent Vohradsky - Neil Harcourt in memory of Frank N. Harcourt Chair

Chris Mitchell *

Matheus Moraes *

Candice Newberry *

TROMBONE

Brian Wendel, Principal

Jeremy Berkman *

Robert Fraser *

EUPHONIUM

Andrew Poirier, Second Trombone

TUBA

Peder MacLellan, Principal

Ellis Wean *

PERCUSSION

Vern Griffiths, Principal - Martha Lou Henley Chair

Michael Jarrett

* Extra musician

Series Performances

This is some text inside of a div block.
Pictures at an Exhibition
This is some text inside of a div block.
Sturm und Drang: Haydn & Butler
More series performances to be announced.
Donate

STREAMING IN:

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DAYS
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HOURS
00
MIN
00
SEC
Some web browsers automatically mute video players. If you do not hear audio during the performance try adjusting the volume in the video player.

STREAMING IN:

00
DAYS
00
HOURS
00
MIN
00
SEC
Some web browsers automatically mute video players. If you do not hear audio during the performance try adjusting the volume in the video player.
Subscribe Now
Subscribe now to make sure you have access to complete performances as they are released
Subscribe Now
Subscribe now to make sure you have access to complete performances as they are released

Newmont Maestro Series

Pictures at an Exhibition

October 23, 2020 4:30 PM

Otto Tausk, conductor

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Howarth)

The VSO Brass are featured in Elgar Howarth’s magnificent arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s beloved Pictures at an Exhibition, led by Maestro Otto Tausk. Stay tuned after the performance for panel discussion with the musicians.

Note: The previously scheduled Divertimento for Strings by Bartók has been postponed to later in the season.

Otto Tausk, conductor

Dutch conductor Otto Tausk is the Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, now in his third season. He is also the newly announced Chief Conductor of recently formed Phion Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel. Until spring 2018, Tausk was Music Director of the Opera Theatre and Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen. He appears as a guest with such orchestras as Concertgebouworkest, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Philharmonie Südwestfalen, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky  Orchestra, the orchestras of Perth, Tasmania, Auckland, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom he made his BBC Proms debut in August 2018. He is a hugely respected musical personality in his native Holland, working with all its major orchestras and composers.

In the 2020/21 season, Tausk continues guesting relationships with orchestras such as Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Het Gelders Orkest, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. In Vancouver, Tausk will lead an innovative reimagined season in response to COVID-19, showcasing the orchestra with a curated series of digital performances.

In the opera pit, he will conduct Michel van der Aa’s new opera ‘Upload’, with the world premiere at Dutch National Opera, plus further appearances with the other co-commissioning parties including Oper Köln. In St. Gallen, Tausk conducted the world premiere of ‘Annas Maske’, by Swiss composer David Philip Hefti, the Swiss premiere of George Benjamin’s ‘Written on Skin’, Korngold’s ‘Die Tote Stadt’ and other titles including ‘Don Giovanni’, ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’, ‘Eugene Onegin’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Lohengrin’ and ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’.

Tausk has recorded with the Concertgebouworkest (Luc Brewaeys, and an animated version of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’), Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen (Korngold and Diepenbrock), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Mendelssohn) and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (Gavin Bryars) amongst others. For the cpo label in 2011 Hans Pfitzner’s enchanting Orchesterlieder garnered international praise, not least the Classica France’s ‘Choc du mois’. His Prokofiev disc with Rosanne Philippens also received BBC Music Magazine Concerto Disc of the Month (2018).

Born in Utrecht, Otto Tausk initially studied violin and then conducting with Jonas Aleksa. Between 2004 and 2006, Tausk was assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, a period of study that had a profound impact on him. In 2011 Tausk was presented with the ‘De Olifant’ prize by the City of Haarlem. He received this prestigious award for his contribution to the Arts in the Netherlands, in particular his extensive work with Holland Symfonia serving as Music Director 2007 to 2012. In reflecting on their work together in The Netherlands, Valery Gergiev paid particular tribute to Tausk on this occasion.

ottotausk.nl

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is the third largest orchestra in Canada, the largest arts organization in Western Canada, and one of the few orchestras in the world to have its own music school.

Led by Music Director Otto Tausk since 2018, the VSO performs more than 150 concerts each year, throughout Vancouver and the province of British Columbia, reaching over 270,000 people annually. On tour the VSO has performed in the United States, China, Korea and across Canada.

The orchestra presents passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music, creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Recent guest artists include Daniil Trifonov, Dawn Upshaw, James Ehnes, Adrianne Pieczonka, Gidon Kremer, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Itzhak Perlman, Bernadette Peters, Tan Dun, and more.

For the 2020-21 season the VSO has created the innovative streaming service TheConcertHall.ca, a virtual home for a virtual season, where more than forty performances will be released throughout the year.

MODEST PETROVICH MUSSORGSKY

b. Karevo, Russia / March 9, 1839 (March 21, New Style )

d. St. Petersburg, Russia / March 15, 1881 (March 28, New Style )

Pictures at an Exhibition

The very famous portrait was captured just days before the subject’s death. His green dressing gown, trimmed with dark, red silk is rumpled, as if he has just been roused from his convalescence. His scraggly beard, bed-head hair, hollow eyes and bulbous red nose give a hint to the fact that Modest Mussorgsky was at the end of his days, just shy of his 42nd birthday. The painter, Ilya Repin, was a close friend of the Russian composer, and over the course of four sittings had preserved some of the former vigor of his subject, particularly in Modest’s piercing gaze. But the alcoholism that plagued the composer in his final years had taken its toll. When Repin returned for a final touch up sitting a few days later, Mussorgsky was dead.

Modest had won early success with his tone poem Night on Bald Mountain, and the historical opera Boris Godunov. He shared the drive of Mikhail Glinka to develop a uniquely Russian musical identity. Joined by Mily Balakirev, Cesar Cui, Alexander Borodin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, this “Mighty Handful” of composers developed a brand that set themselves apart from more Western-focused traditions at the Moscow and St. Petersburg conservatories.

In his final years Mussorgsky was plagued with thoughts of mortality. Following the death of his friend, Viktor Hartmann, Mussorgsky attended a public exhibition of works by the Russian artist and architect. A suite for solo piano, Pictures at an Exhibition, was the result, in which the composer makes a musical promenade from picture to picture, contemplating each image before moving on to the next. Some of Hartmann’s images survive to this day and others have been long lost, but the written descriptions of the event and Mussorgsky’s musical depictions evoke the experience.

Following the initial Promenade, the first image is a Gnome, a grotesque Christmas Nutcracker with bared teeth and crooked legs. After moving on, an Italian troubadour is seen in front of the ruins of an Italian castle. The sounds of quarreling children are heard in the garden of a French palace, followed by the plodding of heavy oxcart in Poland. The skittering Ballet of Unhatched Chicks was inspired by a costume design for children dressed as fledgling canaries. Separate portraits of two Jewish men, one rich and one poor, are captured, respectively, in a low, stern voice and a nervous, chattering response.

Continuing the promenade through the gallery, Mussorgsky interprets a scene at The Market in Limoges as an increasingly heated quarrel between two women. From one French scene we are soon taken to Paris, to view the gloomy, underground catacombs built in Roman times. A wall constructed of skulls evokes a chilling hush, before the sudden appearance of Baba Yaga. She is a menacing figure in Slavic folklore, flying through the sky to her forest hut, which is supported by clawed feet.

At the end of the exhibition stands a depiction of the Great Gate of Kiev, inspired by Hartmann’s architectural rendering, complete with an onion domed bell tower. The ceremonial procession, chanting, and tolling of bells brings the program to a thunderous climax.

The original piano suite has been arranged for various ensembles over the years and the present showpiece, for brass and percussion, was prepared by the English conductor, composer and arranger, Elgar Howarth (b.1935). He was a member of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, for whom he created the setting, and, incidentally, one of the trumpeters on the recording of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour!

Program Notes by Matthew Baird

MUSSORGSKY (arr. Elgar Howarth)

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION

MUSIC DIRECTOR

Otto Tausk

HORN

Oliver de Clercq, Acting Principal

Andrew Mee, Acting Associate Principal

Nick Anderson *

Holly Bryan *

TRUMPET

Larry Knopp, Principal

Marcus Goddard, Associate Principal

Vincent Vohradsky - Neil Harcourt in memory of Frank N. Harcourt Chair

Chris Mitchell *

Matheus Moraes *

Candice Newberry *

TROMBONE

Brian Wendel, Principal

Jeremy Berkman *

Robert Fraser *

EUPHONIUM

Andrew Poirier, Second Trombone

TUBA

Peder MacLellan, Principal

Ellis Wean *

PERCUSSION

Vern Griffiths, Principal - Martha Lou Henley Chair

Michael Jarrett

* Extra musician

Series Performances

This is some text inside of a div block.
Pictures at an Exhibition
This is some text inside of a div block.
Sturm und Drang: Haydn & Butler
More series performances to be announced.
Donate