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David Briggs Concert at Kimmel Center

Posted by:  Kimmel Center on March 18, 2014

This April join Organist David Briggs as he explores a collection of classical works spanning generations - each transcribed by the instrumentalist himself to showcase the might of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ!

Tickets and info.

Excerpts from the evening’s program notes, prepared by Nancy Plum:

Johann Sebastian Bach
b. March 21, 1685, Eisenach
d. July 28, 1750, Leipzig
Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 
transcribed by David Briggs

As with all the orchestral suites, Bach began Suite No. 3 with an overture in the French style popularized by Jean-Baptiste Lully.  The majestic opening of the “Overture” to Suite No. 3 caused German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to remark almost a century later that through the music he could see “a procession of elegantly-dressed people proceeding down a great staircase.”  The French overture was bipartite, with the second half lively and full of imitative passages, with a quick moving violin part.  In this movement, one can hear the same punctuating trumpets that Bach used in his major choral works.  

Paul Abraham Dukas
b. October 1, 1865, Paris
d.  May 17, 1935, Paris
L’apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
transcribed by David Briggs

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice falls into the genre of the symphonic poem, a form developed in the second half of the 19th century and brought to its zenith by Richard Strauss and Franz Liszt.  Symphonic poems told stories inspired by art, poetry or literature, the text of which was read to the audience as part of the performance.  Composed from 1896-97, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is based on Goethe’s 1797 poem of the same name.  Goethe’s “Der Zauberlehrling” tells the story of an old sorcerer who leaves his workshop in the charge of his apprentice, with assigned chores to perform.  The apprentice, who tires of fetching endless buckets of water, naively enchants a broom to fetch the water for him.  Magic gets out of hand, and before long, multiple brooms are fetching multiple buckets, until the sorcerer returns and breaks the spell, leaving the reader with the moral that powerful spirits should only be conjured by those who are capable and qualified.  

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
b. May 7, 1840, Votkinsk
d. November 6, 1893, St. Petersburg
Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Opus 36 
transcribed by David Briggs

So personal was Symphony No. 4 to Tchaikovsky that he himself wrote “There is not a single line in this Symphony that I have not fled in my whole being and that has not been a true echo of the soul.”  This work came to be during a particularly turbulent time in Tchaikovsky’s life, and cannot be fully understood without considering two women significant to the composer’s life at the time.  Tchaikovsky composed the first three movements of this symphony in May and June of 1877, when entering into a disastrous relationship and marriage to one of his students, Antonina Miliukov (who had asked him to marry her). The demise of this marriage after just eighteen days reaffirmed Tchaikovsky’s conviction that “we cannot escape our Fate, and there was something fatalistic about my meeting with (Antonina).”

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