Daniel Raiskin was raised in St. Petersburg by a prominent musicologist. He attended music school from the age of six and went on to study at the celebrated conservatoire in his native city where he focused on the viola and conducting. Inspired to take up the baton after an encounter with the distinguished teacher Lev Savich, he chose to make a gradual transition into a conducting career. At the age of twenty, Daniel Raiskin left the Soviet Union to continue his studies in Amsterdam and Freiburg. He chose to make a gradual transition into a conducting career and soon became recognised as one of the most versatile conductors of the younger generation. Raiskin, who cultivates a broad repertoire, often looks beyond the mainstream in his strikingly conceived programmes. Since 2005, Daniel Raiskin has been the Chief Conductor of the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie in Koblenz, and since 2008 he has held the same title with the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in the Polish city of Lódz.
Andrei Ioniţă, born in 1994, in Bucharest, is a Romanian cellist. He is a student of Ani-Marie Paladi at the Iosif Sava Music School in Bucharest and Professor Jens Peter Maintz at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. In 2003, Ioniţă won the David Popper International Cello Competition, and won first prize in the Aram Khatchaturian International Competition, in 2013. In 2014, he received second place at the 63rd ARD International Competition and the Emanuel Feuermann Competition. Most notably, Ioniţă won first prize in the cello division of the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Ioniţă has been chosen as a BBC New Generation Artist for 2016 thru 2018. He is one of six musicians who will be offered opportunities to work with the BBC orchestras and perform in BBC Radio 3's Monday Lunchtime Concert series. Ioniţă plays a 1671 cello by Giovanni Battista Rogeri on loan to him from Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben, German Foundation for Musical Life.
Carl Maria von Weber composed his opera Euryanthe in 1822 and 1823, with the Overture being written between September 1st and October 19th. The first performance was given at the Kärntnertor Theater on October 25, 1823, in Vienna. Although Weber’s opera Der Freischütz had brought him great success in Germany, his contemporaries Wagner and Schumann thought Euryanthe was the greater score. Euryanthe marks a major advance over Der Freischütz, the music is nearly continuous and it makes sophisticated use of leitmotifs. The overture includes some of the opera's most exciting music presented as an independent work which transforms the opera’s drama into sonata form. Weber wrote to his wife after the first performance, “My reception, when I appeared in the orchestra was the most enthusiastic and brilliant that one could imagine. There was no end to it. At last I gave the signal for the beginning. Stillness of death. The Overture was applauded madly; there was a demand for a repetition; but I went ahead, so that the performance might not be too long drawn out.”
A few months after Der Freischütz opened, the director of Vienna’s Kärntnertor Theater commissioned Weber to write a new opera in the same style and though Der Freischütz had been triumphant, Weber was eager to move beyond the format of the Singspiel. He chose a text by Helmina von Chézy based on the 13th-century French tale that had inspired Boccaccio’s Decameron and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and began composing in May. “The plot,” related Sigmund Spaeth, “concerns the noble Adolar, who wagers all his possessions with the villainous Lysiart that his intended bride, Euryanthe, is faithful to him. Euryanthe is a victim of the duplicity of Eglantine, herself in love with Adolar. A ring is stolen from the tomb of Emma, Euryanthe’s sister, and Lysiart produces this as evidence of Euryanthe’s guilt. When Emma’s ghost appears, Eglantine confesses the plot and is stabbed by Lysiart, who is led away to execution, as Adolar and Euryanthe are reunited.”
Robert Schumann composed his Cello Concerto in only two weeks, shortly before writing the Rhenish Symphony, and several other works. However, while Schumann conducted performances of the symphony in Düsseldorf and elsewhere, the concerto remained unperformed. The premiere performance was not given by Ludwig Ebert at the Leipzig Conservatory until June 9, 1860, for what would have been Schumann’s 50th birthday. No major composer since Haydn had written a cello work, though two lighter pieces for cello and orchestra existed by Carl Maria von Weber. Thus the choice of a concerto for cello and orchestra was surprising.
The Cello Concerto is a composition in three-movements meant to be played without interruption. The borders of the movements are softened to elide with each other with familiar touches of musical material used to unify the piece. Clara Schumann wrote in her diary on November 16, 1850, “It pleases me very much and seems to me to be written in true violoncello style.” The following October she again wrote, “I have played Robert’s Violoncello Concerto through again, thus giving myself a truly musical and happy hour. The Romantic quality, the vivacity, the freshness and humour, also the highly interesting interweaving of violoncello and orchestra are indeed wholly ravishing, and what euphony and deep feeling one finds in all the melodic passages!” It is unknown why the composer had reservations about the piece, but he had cancelled a performance in the spring of 1852 and he did not send the work to Breitkopf & Härtel, the Leipzig publishers, until 1854.
Ludwig van Beethoven began to sketch the Fifth Symphony in 1804 and completed the score in the spring of 1808. The composer conducted the first performance on December 22 the same year as part of the famous Akademie concert in the Theater an der Wien. Symphony V was written during Beethoven’s prolific middle period which began in 1804 with the beloved Waldstein Sonata. Marked by the composers’ return to Vienna from Heiligenstadt, this period represents a significant change in musical style, now designated his "heroic" period. Beethoven had lobbied for the organization of the event to showcase his Pastoral Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto and the Fifth Symphony as well as several movements of the Mass in C major for many months and expressed frustration at what he perceived to be the theatre directors procrastination. Ultimately, Beethoven got his way and the concert took place, but only after threats of departure from Vienna and the intimidation of a lawyer. Beethoven’s biographer Barry Cooper refers to the historic event, in terms of its content, as the "most remarkable" concert of Beethoven's career.
Indeed one can say without a doubt the most famous opening bars of any symphony are those of Beethoven’s Fifth. Phillip Huscher, musicologist of the Chicago Symphony, professed “This is the symphony that, along with an image of Beethoven, agitated and dishevelled, has come to represent greatness in music. Perhaps we are speaking only of the very opening seconds... It’s hard to know how so few notes, so plainly strung together, could become so popular.” Beethoven’s contemporary, Robert Schumann, also foresaw with great lucidity that “this symphony invariably wields its power over men of every age like those great phenomena of nature… This symphony, too, will be heard in future centuries, nay, as long as music and the world exist.” The Fifth was eventually overshadowed by the Ninth Symphony, which pointed to the culmination of the nineteenth century and reinvigorated generations of composers to expand their concept of the symphony, but it continues to be much-loved by audiences. Beethoven’s conception of the path from strife to triumph, personified by the Fifth Symphony, became a model for symphonic writing and continues to affect contemporary composition.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator