Israeli Chamber Project

Israeli Chamber Project – Season 69

September 30, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Vancouver Playhouse 8:00 pm

Israeli Chamber Project

Carmit Zori, violin
Michal Korman, cello
Tibi Cziger, clarinet
Assaff Weisman, piano

Founded in 2008, the Israeli Chamber Project brings together some of today’s most distinguished musicians for chamber music concerts as well as educational and outreach programs both in Israel and abroad. A dynamic ensemble comprising strings, winds, harp, and piano, the Israeli Chamber Project was named the winner of the 2011 Israeli Ministry of Culture Outstanding Ensemble Award in recognition of its passionate musicianship, creative programming, and commitment to educational outreach. Based in both Israel and New York, the ensemble was created as a means for its members to give something back to the community where they began their musical education and to showcase Israeli culture, through its music and musicians, to concert goers overseas. Among its members are prizewinners at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Russia, the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Gaspar Cassado Cello Competition.

A strong advocate for music education, the ICP has partnered with several conservatories and educational institutions to offer lessons and masterclasses to students of all cultural and economic backgrounds, many of whom have little or no opportunity to work with internationally recognized musicians.

An important part of the Israeli Chamber Project’s mission is to support emerging Israeli composers by commissioning works for the ensemble. Composers commissioned so far have included Matan Porat, Jonathan Keren, Gilad Cohen, Yohanan Chendler, Amit Gilutz, Zohar Sharon, as well as American composer Lowell Liebermann.

In North America, the Israeli Chamber Project has appeared at many venues including the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, the Morgan Library & Museum, Town Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Bargemusic, Symphony Space in New York City, the Morrison Artists Series in San Francisco, Carmel Music Society, Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, and Ottawa’s Chamberfest, and has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and WQXR radio’s Young Artist Showcase. The ensemble’s debut CD, Opus 1, was released in 2012 to great critical acclaim.

Highlights of the 2016-17 season include a new residency at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City as well as appearances in Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles, and of course, Israel.

The Friends of Chamber Music thank the Vancouver Recital Society for the generous loan of their Steinway piano for this concert.


Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)

Andante con dolore, con molto espressione

The Trio dates from 1932, while Georgian composer Khachaturian was studying with Nikolai Myaskovsky at the Moscow Conservatory. What first distinguishes Khachaturian’s Clarinet Trio from nearly all others written earlier is his use of the violin rather than the mellower-sounding viola or cello. The higher-sounding string instrument becomes more of a partner to the clarinet, sharing the melodic duties throughout the piece. In three movements, the trio displays Khachaturian’s trademark use of cross rhythms, folk songs, and harmonies that could be thorny at some times or bittersweet at others.

The opening movement, Andante con dolore, is essentially a lyrical improvisation based on a slow, mournful melody derived from an Armenian folk song, and decorated with arabesque embellishments. It is a duet for the clarinet and violin with the piano accompaniment adding a complex layer seemingly in rhythmic conflict with the other instruments.

The second movement, Allegro, is modeled on folk dances, with rich color and precise rhythms. Stormy episodes alternate with tender dance-like interludes.

The finale, Moderato, is a set of nine variations based on an Uzbek folk melody, featuring several exotic intervals effectively contrasting the timbres of the instruments and showing off the clarinet as a folk instrument.

Duo for Violin and Cello Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)

Zingaresca. Allegro giocoso

Born in Prague, Schulhoff established himself as a composer and concert pianist. After World War I, he settled in Germany where he came under the influence of Schoenberg. An avowed communist, Schulhoff took Soviet citizenship in 1941, but his efforts to avoid the Nazis failed. A Czech Jew now associated with an enemy nation, he was captured and imprisoned in the Wälzburg concentration camp, where he died from tuberculosis on August 18, 1942.

The 1925 Duo for Violin and Cello is dedicated to “Mr. Leos Janácek in deep admiration.” The four-movement score is infused with the spirit of Czech folk song, arranged in a montage. The structure here is not the conventional theme, development and recapitulation but rather a playful quick-cutting between different musical structures.

Its initial pentatonic counterpoint quickly “modernizes” with the free introduction of chromatic pitches. Schulhoff recycles this material in later movements as a means of integrating the entire work. For example, the finale begins with a compressed version of this opening duo. The five-beat metre and complex rhythmic subdivisions of the opening Moderato are characteristic of many Central European folk music traditions. As the movement progresses, modern string effects such as left-hand pizzicatos and artificial harmonics appear. The Zingaresca sizzles with fiery Hungarian fiddle playing. Schulhoff at times seems to imitate Janácek’s technique of rotating variations of simple melodic cells, as in the Andantino movement and the finale’s Presto fanatico conclusion.


Slightly Disturbed (Clarinet, Violin, Cello) Gilad Hochman (1982- )

Israeli composer Gilad Hochman’s father was from Odessa and his mother was from Paris; he currently lives in Berlin. He began playing the piano at six and started composing at nine. He graduated from the Herzeli’ya Music Conservatory, and proceeded to the Buchman-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University. At age 24, Hochman became the youngest composer awarded the prestigious Israeli Prime Minister Award (2007) and the youngest to be appointed composer in residence by the Ra’anana Symphonette. He founded and artistically directed the Arco String Ensemble and the New Sounds concert series of the Israel Composers’ League.

Hochman’s works include a wide range of compositions for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, choirs, and orchestras which reflect a variety of aesthetic approaches. His music is, on the one hand, a continuation of classical music’s development, yet on the other hand he puts a great emphasis on themes relating to the Jewish tradition and his Israeli origin. Hochman’s music is often commissioned and performed by leading musicians and musical institutions in many countries including Germany, Israel, England, the USA, and Canada.

Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 114 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Andante grazioso

By the end of 1890, Brahms let it be known that he did not plan to write any new compositions. But in March 1891, on a visit to the court of the duke of Meiningen, Brahms heard the principal clarinetist of the Ducal Orchestra, Richard Mühlfeld. Captivated by his skill, Brahms was inspired to write four works for clarinet, including this trio. It was completed by July, and the public premiere took place in Berlin on December 12, 1891 with Mühlfeld playing clarinet, Robert Hausmann cello, and Brahms himself at the piano.

The sombre Allegro opens with a sedate arching theme stated first by the cello and then by the clarinet. The cello also introduces the poignant second theme. In the romantic coda, the clarinet and cello whisper ascending and descending scale passages, then the sound dies away and sets up a hushed expectancy for the next movement.

In the Adagio, all three instruments participate in a beautiful flowing give and take, as Brahms takes advantage of the full pitch and tonal range of both the clarinet and cello.

The charming Andante (in A major) is in the form of a minuet and two trios. The writing is delicately patterned, poetic and graceful.

The final Allegro starts with a rhythmic opening theme in C, introduced by the cello, with a contrasting sustained subsidiary theme, which acts as a brake on the exuberant first theme. However, the first theme triumphs and brings the work to a close.

Our Next Concerts at the Vancouver Playhouse

A Night in Vienna:
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
(String Sextet)
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Matinee at 3:00 pm

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Quintet for strings in C minor, K.406

Arnold Schoenberg
Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night)
for string sextet, Opus 4

Johannes Brahms
Sextet for strings in B-flat major, Opus 18

Takács String Quartet
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Matinee at 3:00 pm

Ludwig van Beethoven
Quartet in A major, Opus 18, No.5

Quartet in F minor, Opus 95

Quartet in E-flat major, Opus 127

Please join us!