The SPOGreatMusic Performance Series: S42E08
Release Date: January 14, 2022
On this eighth episode of our SPOGreatMusic Performance Series (Season 42, 2021/2022), we’re pleased to present the following videos celebrating New Generation Artists:
Johannes Brahms’ “Violin Concerto in D major”, Op. 77, 2nd Movement (Adagio)
Performed by Tiffany Yeung, violin, and Ben Smith, piano
The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, was composed by Johannes Brahms in 1878 and dedicated to his friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. It is Brahms’s only violin concerto, and, according to Joachim, one of the four great German violin concerti. [Source: Wikipedia]
Video edited by Devin Scott.
Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Andante and Variations in F minor” Hob. XVII 6
Performed by Vanessa Yu, piano
The Andante with variations in F minor (Hoboken 17/6), also known as Un piccolo divertimento, was composed for piano by Joseph Haydn in 1793, and is among his most popular piano works. (The late British composer and pianist John McCabe, in his booklet note accompanying his boxed set of recordings of Haydn’s complete solo keyboard music, was of the opinion that it was possibly inspired by the death of Maria Anna von Genzinger (1754–93, called “Marianne”) [p. 23]. McCabe also says that this piece is Haydn’s “most extended and most resourceful such work for the keyboard” [p. 22].) The variations here are a set of double variations, the first theme is in F minor and the second theme in F major. Two variations of each theme and an extended coda follow. [Source: Wikipedia]
Video edited by Devin Scott.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Cello Suite #6 in D major” BWV1012 / 1st Movement: Prelude / 2nd Movement: Allemande / 3rd Movement: Courante
Performed by Ellamay Mantie, cello
It is widely believed that Suite No. 6 was composed specifically for a five-stringed violoncello piccolo, a smaller cello, roughly 7⁄8 normal cello size with a fifth upper string tuned to E, a perfect fifth above the otherwise top string. However, some say there is no substantial evidence to support this claim: whilst three of the sources inform the player that it is written for an instrument à cinq cordes, only Anna Magdalena Bach‘s manuscript indicates the tunings of the strings, and the other sources do not mention any intended instrument at all.
Other possible instruments for the suite include a cello da spalla, a version of the violoncello piccolo played on the shoulder like a viola, as well as a viola with a fifth string tuned to E, called a viola pomposa. As the range required in this piece is very large, the suite was probably intended for a larger instrument, although it is conceivable that Bach—who was fond of the viola—may have performed the work himself on an arm-held violoncello piccolo. However, it is equally likely that beyond hinting the number of strings, Bach did not intend any specific instrument at all as the construction of instruments in the early 18th century was highly variable.
Cellists playing this suite on a modern four-string cello encounter difficulties as they are forced to use very high positions to reach many of the notes. Performers specialising in early music and using authentic instruments generally use the five-string cello for this suite. The approach of Watson Forbes, in his transcription of this suite for viola, was to transpose the entire suite to G major, avoiding “a tone colour which is not very suitable for this type of music” and making most of the original chords playable on a four-stringed instrument.
This suite is written in much more free form than the others, containing more cadenza-like movements and virtuosic passages. It is also the only one of the suites that is partly notated in the alto and soprano clefs (modern editions use tenor and treble clefs), which are not needed for the others since they never go above the note G4 (G above middle C).
Mstislav Rostropovich called Suite No. 6 “a symphony for solo cello” and characterised its D major tonality as evoking joy and triumph. [Source: Wikipedia]
Videos edited by Devin Scott.
Performer and Composer Bios
TIFFANY YEUNG, Violin: Age 18, Tiffany studies at the New England Conservatory with Miriam Fried as a Dean’s Scholar. Having studied the violin since the age of 4, she has performed in renowned halls including Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, Koerner Hall, and the Chan Centre.
Tiffany won 2nd prize at the 2019 Shean Strings Competition and was a semifinalist in the 2019 OSM Manulife Competition. She was the winner of the 2017 Remember Enescu International Violin Competition held in Sinaia, Romania and the 2017 Vancouver International Music Competition. For 3 consecutive years, she was the first prize winner at the Canadian Music Competition, as well as the grand prize winner in 2011 & 2012.
Tiffany has performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonietta, Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, and the CAST Orchestra, and will be performing with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra in the 2020/21 season. Additionally, she has led the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra & the Academy Chamber Orchestra as concertmaster and was the winner of the 2015 TSYO Concerto Competition.
Tiffany has performed in masterclasses with distinguished artists including Aaron Rosand, Pinchas Zukerman, Andrés Cárdenes, Dmitri Berlinsky, & Martin Beaver and has attended the NAC Young Artists Program, Summit Music Festival, where she was a winner of the 2017 Mary Smart Concerto Competition, the Heifetz International Music Institute, Orford Music Academy, and Morningside Music Bridge.
VANESSA YU, piano: Toronto-based pianist Vanessa Yu is establishing herself as a sensitive and vibrant musician, recently winning the Grand Prize at the 2021 Pacific Rim International Music Festival and receiving an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Since making her orchestral debut with the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra, Vanessa has also presented
solo programs for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Toronto’s Thursdays at Noon
recital series, among others. Her performances have taken her across Canada to venues including the Pyatt
Hall of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall in Calgary. Most recently, Vanessa
performed Chopin’s Second Concerto with the North York Concert Orchestra and will be presenting a solo
recital and collaborating with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra as a winner of the IMFC Concerto Competition.
Garnering awards at the local, national, and international level, she recently received first prizes at the Aegio
International, OMFA Provincial, and Steinway piano competitions, as well as top prizes at the Chicago
International (USA), “Città di San Donà di Piave” International (Italy), Elevato International (Switzerland),
France Music International and CMC National competitions.
Currently a second-year undergraduate student studying with Dr. Enrico Elisi at the University of Toronto, she
is a recipient of the Alice and Armen Matheson full scholarship and University of Toronto Scholar Award.
Vanessa has pursued additional studies at the Orford Musique Academy, Leon Fleisher Academy, and Texas
State International Piano Festival, playing in masterclasses for renowned musicians including Julian Martin,
Jonathan Biss, Boris Slutsky, John Perry, and Anton Nel. Previously, she studied with Dr. Michael Berkovsky
and Victoria Gimelshtein.
Vanessa holds an Associate Diploma in Performance (ARCT) from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Aside from
piano, she is a freelance calligrapher and avid volunteer with passions for community-building and digital
ELLAMAY MANTIE: Ellamay is a young cellist from Scarborough, ON. She began playing the cello when she was five, and currently studies with Joowon Kim. She has played for many wonderful cellists in masterclasses, such as Joseph Johnson, David Hetherington, Alan Harris and Emmanuel Beaulieu Bergeron. Ellamay has played in youth orchestras for the past five years, the most recent being with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra for their past 2 seasons. This spring, she was selected as an alternate for the 2020 season of NYO Canada, and received the Kiwanis Club of Casa Lima Voltr Ivonoffski Memorial Award. Ellamay has also been involved with many chamber ensembles in addition to chamber playing. She plans on pursuing cello performance in university next year. Learn more about Ellamay on her website https://www.ellamaymantie.com/, or on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ellamay.mantie.5.
JOHANNES BRAHMS: (May 7, 1833 – April 3, 1897) was a German composer, pianist, and conductor of the mid-Romantic period. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, he spent much of his professional life in Vienna. He is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the “Three Bs” of music, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow.
Brahms composed for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ, voice, and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works. He worked with leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim (the three were close friends). Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire.
Brahms has been considered both a traditionalist and an innovator, by his contemporaries and by later writers. His music is rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Classical masters. Embedded within those structures are deeply romantic motifs. While some contemporaries found his music to be overly academic, his contribution and craftsmanship were admired by subsequent figures as diverse as Arnold Schoenberg and Edward Elgar. The diligent, highly constructed nature of Brahms’s works was a starting point and an inspiration for a generation of composers. [Source: Wikipedia]
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN: (March 31, 1732 – May 31, 1809) was an Austrian composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the string quartet and piano trio. His contributions to musical form have led him to be called “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet”.
Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their Eszterháza Castle. Until the later part of his life, this isolated him from other composers and trends in music so that he was, as he put it, “forced to become original”.[c] Yet his music circulated widely, and for much of his career he was the most celebrated composer in Europe.
He was a friend and mentor of Mozart, a tutor of Beethoven, and the older brother of composer Michael Haydn. [Source: Wikipedia]
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: (March 31, 1685 – July 28, 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque period. He is known for his orchestral music such as the Brandenburg Concertos; instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites; keyboard works such as the Goldberg Variations and The Well-Tempered Clavier; organ works such as the Schubler Chorales and the Toccata and Fugue in D minor; and vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival, he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music. [Source: Wikipedia]