Friday, October 18, 2019 8 pm 
Toronto Centre for the Arts (soon to be Meridian Arts Centre)
5040 Yonge Street

ELISSO GOGIBEDASHVILI Violinist 
SINFONIA TORONTO
NURHAN ARMAN Conductor

The Program
PAGANINI Violin Concerto No. 1
DVORAK Chamber Symphony - Quintet Opus 77a

1 hour and 25 minutes plus an intermission

What's interesting about this concert
~ A lyrical Dvorak masterpiece and amazing violin fireworks
~ A teenage violinist who has been bringing audiences to their feet
~ It's the opening concert of our 21st season! 

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ABOUT THE MUSIC
Niccolò Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major
Chamber orchestra version by Nurhan Arman

History is filled with tales of musicians who specialized in dazzling their audiences, but perhaps none was so technically impressive as Niccolò Paganini, who was so talented that some listeners thought he must have made a pact with the devil. According to contemporary accounts, he was able to make his violin sound like various wind instruments, human voices, and even a donkey. He often used a guitar to find interesting-sounding chords which he would then transfer to his primary instrument. He invented many extraordinary techniques, such as left-hand pizzicato, which have since become standard.

Paganini (1782-1840), first and foremost a consummate showman, specialized in pleasing crowds. A favorite trick was to equip his violin with an old and frayed string, so that it would break in the middle of a performance. He would then finish the piece on the remaining three strings, to thunderous applause.

Always careful to maintain his reputation for unmatched technical skill, Paganini composed numerous works designed to show himself to best advantage, but allowed only a few to be published, fearing that to do so would reveal his most important secrets. Although it was composed sometime between 1811 and 1815, the First Concerto was not published until after his death in 1840.

In form, the Concerto recalls those of composers of the Classical Period, notably Mozart, rather than the more contemporary works of Beethoven. The orchestral introduction is so long that it leaves the audience wondering if perhaps the soloist is there merely for decoration. Once the violin enters, however, there is immediately no question about his true purpose. The Concerto may not be the most musically inventive ever written, but there is no question about the opportunities it affords a young virtuoso to display technical prowess. Leaping immediately into extreme high notes, glittering arpeggios, and finger-twisting chordal passages, it leaves most listeners dazzled by its obvious difficulty, while experienced string players gape and unconsciously massage their left hands.

Antonín Dvorák Chamber Symphony Op. 77a (String Quintet in G Major, Op. 77)
Orchestra version by Nurhan Arman

Dvorák's remarkable consistency of quality and style, the hallmarks of which are endless melody, clear form, master craftsmanship, rhythmic vitality and a poignant expressiveness. Always Dvorák, Dvorák is always fresh. Like other composers for whom chamber music came naturally, Dvorák played the viola putting him right in the very middle of the chamber ensemble texture.

The lighthearted movements of this work are filled with Dvorák’s typical juxtaposition of lush lyrical melodies, shorter nationalistic-sounding motifs, and bright rhythmic figures jumping out of the thick textures. 

The first movement is an energetic (con fuoco or with fire) sonata with crystal clear themes and a powerful development. The second movement comes closest to Dvorák's later style characterized by lively folk dance and his ability to expand the scherzo form with cogent variety. The third movement slows into a lyrical song, tinged with a blend of melancholy and nobility that earned Dvorák comparisons with Schubert. The finale restores the drive and drama of the earlier movements with yet more winning melodies, the fullest textures and the most prominent parts for the mighty groundswell of the bass.

ABOUT THE GUEST ARTIST

Violinist Elisso Gogibedashvili
 was born in 2000 into a multicultural family of musicians in Austria.  Her talent blossomed early: she won several first prizes with distinction in the Austrian Music Competition for Youth ‘Prima la Musica’ when she was only six, and began attracting international attention with wins in Lithuania and Italy soon afterwards.

Elisso began her concerto career at ten, performing the Bruch Violin Concerto with Austria’s Arpeggione Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Christoph Eberle.  By the age of 12, she had already conquered the technical and interpretive heights of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, performing it in Budapest, Agrigento, Tbilisi and Lustenau with the Munich Symphony.  Reviews hailed her brilliant technique, mature sound and exceptional musicality.

Continuing to concertize through her mid-teens, Elisso has performed with the MAV Orchestra in Budapest, Janacek Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica di San Remo, the Savaria Symphony Orchestra in Hungary, the Northern Czech Philharmonic in Smetana Hall in Prague and the Symphony of the Americas in Florida. She made a brilliant Canadian debut with Sinfonia Toronto in 2015.

She has performed recitals in Austria, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and the US.

In addition to attending the Bundesgymnasium in Feldkirch, Austria, Elisso travels to Germany regularly for studies at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe.  Thanks to her family heritage and keen intelligence, she speaks English and French as well as German, Georgian, Chinese and Russian. 

Elisso plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin made in 1849.