Friday, August 31, 2007

The Helicon Foundation's 23 Season

This October, The Helicon Foundation opens its twenty-third season. Three themes unite our Symposiums next year: Music in Culture, The Development of the Keyboard, and The Voice of the Violin.

We explore music’s relationship to the wider culture through its influences in the other arts and technology. Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” which Pedja Muzijevic plays in December, is an obvious example. Inspired by the drawings and watercolors of Victor Hartmann, Mussorgsky created a moving tribute to their friendship within a musical portrait of the artist. The natural world and the contemplative inner workings of religious faith influenced the music of Heinrich Biber in his Sonata Representiva, and The Mystery Sonatas, which Colin Jacobsen performs in February. Poetry is the inspiration for Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), which closes our season. In this first instance of a tone poem in chamber music, Schoenberg vividly represents the narrative of the two lovers in Richard Dehmel’s poem of the same name. Our opening Symposium features one of Europe’s greatest pre-electronic technological triumphs, the fortepiano. In this case, musical needs influenced technology, as musicians and composers pushed builders for increasingly sophisticated instruments and an expanded sonic palette. The music on this program was written around 1800, and ushered in a century of rapid evolution in piano development, leading to its dominant position in Western art music.

This season features five different keyboard instruments. In the music of Biber, we will hear both the harpsichord and organ. Our own amazingly versatile, Pedja Muzijevic will play the fortepiano in the first Symposium and the modern grand piano for “Pictures.” I am excited to announce a Helicon Special Event that takes the theme of keyboard instruments to its grandest heights. Robert McCormick, the young organ virtuoso and Music Director of St. Mary the Virgin here in New York City, has agreed to give Helicon Members a private concert on what is one of the finest organs in America. He will introduce the various registers of this king of instruments, and then play pieces showcasing its remarkable powers.

Finally, we look at the voice of the violin through its expressive evolution over three centuries of music. Each of our four violinists this season, Mark Steinberg, Jennifer Frautschi, Colin Jacobsen, and Vera Beths is an artist possessing a strong, individual personality, and an important voice in the music world today. In works of Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Biber, Brahms, and Schoenberg, we will hear the distinctive voices of the violin in its widely expressive potential.

Helicon Members enjoy proximity to virtuoso performances, insightful programs, vibrant social interaction, and immersion in music’s most intimate world. If you’d like to be a part of this exciting season, please email or write to: The Helicon Foundation, Inc., 27 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10023, and we will send you Membership materials.

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