Q: How did the idea for a program connecting Vienna to Hollywood come about?
Q: What do you hope to communicate to the audience with this program?
A: We are thrilled to be back at Purchase with a wonderful program celebrating the connection between Vienna and Hollywood. In the 18th and 19th centuries composers in Vienna produced an enormous amount of brilliant and beloved works. .Surprisingly though, the only major composer actually born there was Franz Schubert. He was incredibly prolific, and this program showcases two of his greatest chamber music compositions from the late 1820s: the Fantasie in F minor for Piano, Four Hands, and the Fantasy in C major for Violin and Piano.
Fast forward to Hollywood almost 100 years later where we find Erich Wolfgang Korngold, a composer who grew up in Vienna and was proclaimed a genius by none other than Gustav Mahler, working in Hollywood where he became an acclaimed film composer. But while making a living scoring movies he continued to write pieces for the concert hall, including the lush Suite Op. 23 on this program. With this work, you can experience the musical legacy that extended from Mozart through Schubert, to Wagner, Mahler, and Strauss. It is scored for two violins, cello, and piano left hand, having been written for the great pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who tragically lost his right arm in World War I, and is one of many works calling for left hand alone that was written for him by important composers. (The Chamber Music Society Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han)
Q: Chamber music is typically performed without a conductor. Who then takes the lead? What roles do the other instruments take?
A: In chamber music, the “leader” is constantly changing, depending on what’s going on in the music. Sometimes there is more than one primary voice at a given moment, so it’s a very dynamic form of performing music–I like to think it’s almost like a theater performance of a play that’s written for a small cast. Every member plays a huge role, and chemistry is essential. (violinist Sean Lee)
Q: How many hours a day do you rehearse prior to performing – individually and as a group?
A: Typically, each piece gets anywhere from one to three hours of group rehearsal per day, depending on how long the piece is (and how difficult it is to put together!). As far as individual preparation..it’s hard to say or keep track, as I like to start months ahead with reading the piece sporadically and getting it incubating. (violinist Sean Lee)
Q: What music (that you listen to regularly) inspires you?
I go through lots of phases. But I tend to come back to the celebrated classical music composers, especially Mozart, Schubert, and Bach. Outside of classical, I really enjoy jazz, and am very interested in electronic music. I like that the musical building blocks to those genres are so different from what I’m used to, and find it fascinating to explore different musical styles and creative processes. (violinist Sean Lee)
Tickets for CMS of Lincoln Center Vienna to Hollywood this Saturday, February 24 are still availabe at 914-251-6200 or https://www.artscenter.org/events/cms-of-lincoln-center-vienna-to-hollywood/