The Music of Dance: Schubert & Strauss

Program Listing

Saturday, June 1, 2024, 2 PM
SUNDAY, June 2, 2024, 2 PM
MONDAY, June 3, 2024, 7:30 PM

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David Danzmayr, Conductor
Simone Porter, Violin

Giancarlo Castro D’Addona

De mi tierra (World Premiere and Oregon Symphony Commission)

Astor Piazzolla (arr. Desyatnikov)

Cuatros Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires)
Verano Porteño (Summer)
Otoño Porteño (Autumn)
Invierno Porteño (Winter)
Primavera Porteña (Spring)
Simone Porter

Franz Schubert

Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, “Unfinished”
Allegro moderato
Andante con moto
Richard Strauss
Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59
Attire of the Rose Cavalier and Duet
Tenor Aria
Breakfast Scene
Closing Duet

This performance is being recorded for broadcast on All Classical Radio.

The broadcast will air on June 27, 2024 at 7 PM on 89.9 FM in Portland, and worldwide at


Conducted one hour before each performance, the Concert Conversation will feature TBD and Christa Wessel, host of All Classical Radio.


Program Notes

De mi tierra (World Premiere and Oregon Symphony Commission)
Cuatros Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires)
Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, “Unfinished”
Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59

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Giancarlo Castro D’Addona
b. 1980

De mi tierra (World premiere – Oregon Symphony commission)

Work composed: 2023–24
First Oregon Symphony performance
Instrumentation: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, congas, guiro/guira, xylophone, piano, and strings
Estimated duration: 9 minutes

An award-winning composer, conductor, and trumpet player, Giancarlo Castro D’Addona is recognized as one of the most outstanding artists to have emerged from Venezuela’s acclaimed El Sistema music education program. D’Addona’s music draws on a rich diversity of Latin American music, jazz, electronic, and scores for film. His best-known work, Grand Fanfare (2004), has been recorded and performed by many ensembles around the world, including the President’s Own Marine Band in 2017. In 2019, D’Addona became the first Latin American conductor of the Reed College Orchestra in Portland.

De mi tierra is a dynamic work written in classical and film music style,” D’Addona writes. “It is conceived as a tribute not only to the natural riches of Venezuela but also to its musical multiculturalism reflected in the spirit and tradition inherited by European, Indigenous, and African influence as a consequence of the racial mixture “mestizaje” that occurred since the years of the Spanish Conquest. The diversification of each of the small and large regions of the country whose music that ranges from traditional waltzes, the joropo, and the parranda, was progressively transformed until it formed a distinct identity. Venezuela is one of the countries with the richest musical repertoire on the American continent.”


Astor Piazzolla (arr. Desyatnikov)

Cuatros Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires)

Work composed: Piazzolla originally composed the Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas for Melenita de oro, a play by his countryman, Alberto Rodríguez Muñoz. The movements were written individually, between the years 1965–1970, and Piazzolla did not originally intend them to be performed as a single work. The original version of Cuatros Estaciones is scored for Piazzolla’s quintet, which consisted of violin, electric guitar, piano, bass and bandóneon (a large button accordion).
First Oregon Symphony performance (of this arrangement)
Instrumentation: solo double bass and strings
Estimated duration: 30 minutes

“For me, tango was always for the ear rather than the feet.” —Astor Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla is inextricably linked with tango. He took a dance from the back rooms of Argentinean brothels and blurred the lines between popular and “art” music to such an extent that, in the case of his music, such categories no longer apply.

Piazzolla was both a composer and a master of the bandoneón, an accordion-like instrument. The distinctive sound of the bandoneón became a fundamental element of Piazzolla’s tangos, and he developed a distinctive way of playing the instrument, standing up with one foot on a stool, rather than sitting down as was customary. When asked about his unconventional method, Piazzolla said he played standing up so he wouldn’t be mistaken for an old woman.

In the mid-1950s, Piazzolla won a composition competition in Argentina; first prize was a chance to study music in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, one of the 20th century’s most renowned composition teachers. She was unimpressed with the scores Piazzolla showed her and, after insisting he play her some of his own tangos, she declared, “Astor, this is beautiful. I like it a lot. Here is the true Piazzolla – do not ever leave him.” Piazzolla later called this “the great revelation of my musical life,” and followed Boulanger’s advice, taking the raw passion and fire of tango, with its powerful rhythms and edgy melodies, and making these elements an essential part of classical repertoire.

A tango’s musical style requires several string techniques not usually heard in classical music: wailing glissandos, sharp pizzicatos that threaten to break strings, bouncing harmonics and, in particular, a harsh, scratchy, distinctly “un-pretty” manner of bowing, sometimes using the wood, rather than the hair, of the bow.


Franz Schubert

Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, “Unfinished”

Work composed: 1822. Presumably completed on October 30 of that year, according to the date on the manuscript. It remained unpublished until 1867, and was virtually unknown for the 37 years following Schubert’s death.
Most recent Oregon Symphony performance: Carlos Kalmar led the Oregon Symphony on May 19–21, 2007, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, and strings
Estimated duration: 22 minutes

Franz Schubert’s most popular symphony was first performed more than 35 years after his death. It is interesting that Schubert, who composed eight other symphonies, a number of other orchestral works, dramatic music, more than 600 songs and innumerable chamber works, should be so renowned for a piece he failed to complete.

Why did Schubert leave this symphony unfinished? There are no surviving documents to explain why Schubert began composing this symphony: no commission, no letters, no specific event or person for whom the work was intended. At the age of 25, as he worked on the B minor Symphony, Schubert was diagnosed with syphilis. He was ill, depressed, and financially strapped. When he was able to work again, Schubert turned his attention to theatrical music, which, he hoped, would provide some much-needed income. Some scholars have also suggested that Schubert reached a creative impasse with the B minor Symphony. The surviving sketches of an incomplete third movement scherzo do not measure up to the quality of the first two movements. In addition, there are no extant sketches for a finale. Rather than present an incomplete work, it has been suggested, Schubert put it aside.

Although there is no official dedication on the manuscript of the B minor Symphony, Schubert may have intended it as thank- you to the Styrian Music Society in Graz, which had elected him an honorary member. He wrote, “In order to give musical expression to my sincere gratitude as well, I shall take the liberty before long of presenting your honorable Society with one of my symphonies in full score.”

The two movements of the B minor Symphony are unique in Schubert’s output. Both are larger and more complex than any others Schubert wrote, and they transcend the conventions of symphonic writing of Schubert’s time.

The Allegro moderato begins with a restless theme in the oboe and clarinet, accompanied by dark murmurings of the low strings. Before this theme is fully developed, Schubert abruptly switches to a gentle melody for the cellos, but this too is interrupted as fragments of the first melody burst through. There is a sense of barely contained impatience, as if Schubert were so full of melodic ideas that he couldn’t take the time to fully explore any of them. The fragmentary nature of this music is unusual in an early 19th-century symphony; there is no reconciliation in which all the musical ideas are developed and transformed. Instead, Schubert juxtaposes the brooding agitation of the first melody with the calm serenity of the cello theme without any grand summation. The result is stark, innovative, and unsettling.

By contrast, the Andante con moto is gentleness personified... or is it? It features a lyrical conversation among the strings and a chorus of horns. As in the first movement, Schubert contrasts this music with a melody of different character, heard first in the clarinet, which is amplified by a powerful statement by the full orchestra. In this movement, Schubert begins to explore and develop these two ideas, and in so doing he moves through a bewildering variety of harmonic key areas, with a restlessness bordering on irritation. The lyricism of the string/horn theme is tinged with a longing that remains unresolved as the movement ends


Richard Strauss

Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59

Work composed: The Suite, based on music from Strauss’ 1911 opera, Der Rosenkavalier, was arranged by conductor Artur Rodziński in 1944.
Most recent Oregon Symphony performance: Carlos Kalmar led the Oregon Symphony on April 13–15, 2008, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
Instrumentation: 3 flutes (1 doubling piccolo), 3 oboes (1 doubling English horn), 4 clarinets, (1 doubling bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (1 doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, glockenspiel, ratchet, snare drum, tambourine, triangle, 2 harps, celesta, and strings
Estimated duration: 24 minutes

Strauss’ comic opera Der Rosenkavalier (Knight of the Rose) brought him his greatest fame and financial success. Audiences flocked to Dresden to see Der Rosenkavalier; in fact, when the opera premiered in 1911 it was so well attended that special “Rosenkavalier” trains were chartered to shuttle audiences to Dresden from Berlin.

Strauss was not only one of the foremost composers of his time, but also a well-respected conductor. He programmed
a wide spectrum of works and had a particular affinity for the music of Mozart. After the 1909 premiere of Strauss’ uncompromisingly modern opera Elektra, the composer declared, “I shall now write a Mozart opera.” Der Rosenkavalier
is the result. It resembles The Marriage of Figaro in its convoluted plot twists, comic romantic entanglements, and exceptionally singable melodies. The opera remained so popular for the next 30 years that at the end of WWII in 1945, Strauss identified himself to the American soldiers who knocked on his door simply as “the composer of Der Rosenkavalier.”

The suite opens with the opera’s signature horn solo and introduction, then recounts the exploits of the title character, Octavian, as he woos the aging Marschallin and later seals the engagement of his kinsman, Baron Ochs, to the youthful Sophie by presenting her with a silver rose. Strauss’ incomparably beautiful Viennese waltzes are woven throughout the Suite like silken threads in a tapestry. The specific excerpts of the opera featured in the suite are the Prelude to Act I, the Presentation of the Silver Rose (Act II), the Arrival of Ochs and Waltzes from Act III; “Ist ein Traum” (It is a Dream) from Act III, and the Grand Waltz.


© Elizabeth Schwartz