Season Finale with Gryphon Trio
7:30PM, Saturday, May 5, 2018
TCU Place, Sid Buckwold Theatre
35 – 22nd Street East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 0C8
($15 – $80)

Eric Paetkau, Music Director
Gryphon Trio

The world renowned Gryphon Trio join the SSO for the first time with Beethoven’s playful and passionate Triple Concerto.

Maestro Eric Paetkau leads the SSO through Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 – the composer himself remarked that musicians will love to play the work, and that has held true for the more than 70 years since it premiered.  It was written behind the Red Curtain and while the work was to glorify the Soviet Union, it acts as respite and refreshment from the stresses of a troubled world.

The evening opens with Through the Glass Darkly: an Elegy for Orchestra by Saskatchewan’s David McIntyre.

 Through the Glass Darkly: an Elegy for Orchestra – David L. McIntyre

Concerto for Violin, Piano, and Cello – Ludwig van Beethoven


Symphony No. 9 in E flat Major Op. 70 – Dmitri Shostakovich

Gryphon Trio

Now in its 23rd year, the Gryphon Trio has impressed international audiences and the press with its highly refined, dynamic performances and has firmly established itself as one of the world’s preeminent piano trios. With a repertoire that ranges from the traditional to the contemporary and from European classicism to modern-day multimedia, the Gryphons are committed to redefining chamber music for the 21st century.

The Trio tours regularly throughout North America and Europe and their 17 recordings are an encyclopedia of works for the genre. They have commissioned over 75 new works, and regularly collaborate on projects that push the boundaries of chamber music. Honours include two Juno Awards for Classical Album of the Year, and the prestigious 2013 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts from the Canada Council.

Deeply committed to the education of the next generation of audiences and performers alike, the Gryphons frequently conduct masterclasses and workshops at universities and conservatories, and are Artists-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music and Trinity College.

Gryphon cellist Roman Borys is Artistic Director of Ottawa’s Chamberfest. Annalee Patipatanakoon and Jamie Parker serve as the festival’s Artistic Advisors in addition to their responsibilities at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, where Mr. Parker is the Rupert E. Edwards Chair in Piano Performance and Ms. Patipatanakoon is Associate Professor of Violin.

Through the Glass Darkly – McIntyre – 11 mins

From the composer:

“I have always thought of myself as a composer of absolute music.  What stimulates the creation of a piece are the raw materials of music itself:  a melodic turn of phrase, a rhythmic gesture, the subtle changes of colour in a harmonic progression, or a contrast of timbre.  The emotional character of the music is simply the result of the interplay of these musical means. So it came as somewhat of a surprise to me that I was so emotionally involved with this piece at the stage of creation.  The piece often felt driven by sadness at the loss of my father. To write it was no doubt in part an act of grieving. The struggle to remember him, to hold close his smile, the details of his face, his words to me, to not let them go…all gave way to the realization that I now only see him as through a glass, darkly.  In the attempt to preserve what was and as a tribute to my father’s life calling as a minister, this piece quotes “Zion”, an early hymn tune to which first learned the words to Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, and presents a bi-tonal rendering of “Welcome Home”, a gospel song; the flute sounds the whistle with which I often  greeted or signalled my parents (a descending minor third, not unlike a spring chickadee). In admitting loneliness now I discovered that hope persists. One day then, face to face.”

David L. McIntyre

Triple Concerto – Beethoven – 37 mins


Largo (attacca)

Rondo alla polacca

The first movement is broadly scaled and cast in a moderate march tempo, and includes decorative solo passage-work and leisurely repetitions, variations, and extensions of assorted themes. A common feature is a dotted rhythm (short-long, short-long) that lends an air of graciousness and pomp that is not exactly “heroic,” but would have conveyed a character of fashionable dignity to contemporary listeners; and perhaps a hint of the noble “chivalric” manner that was becoming a popular element of novels, plays, operas, and pictures. The jogging triplets that figure in much of the accompaniment also contribute to this effect. In this movement, as in the other two movements, the cello enters solo with the first subject. Unusual for a concerto of this scale, the first movement begins quietly, with a gradual crescendo into the exposition, with the main theme later introduced by the soloists. Also unusually, the exposition modulates to A minor instead of the expected G major (Beethoven’s friend Ferdinand Ries later did the same mediant transition in his sixth concerto). This movement takes sixteen to nineteen minutes.

The slow movement, in A-flat major, is a large-scale introduction to the finale, which follows it without pause. The cello and violin share the melodic material of the movement between them while the piano provides a discreet accompaniment. This movement takes about only five to six minutes.

Dramatic repeated notes launch into the third movement, a polonaise (also called “polacca”), an emblem of aristocratic fashion during the Napoleonic era, which is, thus, in keeping with the character of “polite entertainment” that characterizes this concerto as a whole. The bolero-like rhythm also characteristic of the polonaise, can be heard in the central minor theme of the final movement. This movement takes about thirteen to fourteen minutes.

In addition to the violin, cello, and piano soloists, the concerto is scored for one flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings. The flute, oboes, trumpets, and timpani are tacet during the second movement.

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Symphony 9 – Shostakovich – 25 mins

The ninth symphony was originally intended to be a celebration of the Russian victory over Nazi Germany in World War II (see Eastern Front). The composer declared in October 1943 that the symphony would be a large composition for orchestra, soloists and chorus “about the greatness of the Russian people, about our Red Army liberating our native land from the enemy”. On the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the Revolution held in 1944, Shostakovich affirmed, “Undoubtedly like every Soviet artist, I harbor the tremulous dream of a large-scale work in which the overpowering feelings ruling us today would find expression. I think the epigraph to all our work in the coming years will be the single word ‘Victory’.”

David Rabinovich recalled from a conversation he had with Shostakovich on the ninth symphony in 1944 that the composer “would like to write it for a chorus and solo singers as well as an orchestra”. In a meeting with his students on 16 January 1945, Shostakovich informed them that the day before he had begun work on a new symphony. A week later, he told them that he had reached the middle of the development section, and the work was going to open with a big tutti. Isaak Glikman heard around ten minutes of the music Shostakovich had written for the first movement in late April, which he described as “majestic in scale, in pathos, in its breathtaking motion”.

But then Shostakovich dropped the composition for three months. He resumed work on 26 July 1945 and finished on 30 August 1945. The symphony turned out to be a completely different work from the one he had originally planned, with neither soloists nor chorus and a much lighter mood. He forewarned listeners, “In character, the Ninth Symphony differs sharply from my preceding symphonies, the Seventh and the Eighth. If the Seventh and the Eighth symphonies bore a tragic-heroic character, then in the Ninth a transparent, pellucid, and bright mood predominates.”

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