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VRSchubert- Day 5: Jailbird Schubert

 

During the early 1820s, Schubert was part of a close-knit circle of artists and students who had social gatherings that became known as “Schubertiaden”. The tight circle of friends with which Schubert surrounded himself was dealt a blow in early 1820. Schubert and four of his friends were arrested by the Austrian police, who (in the aftermath of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars) were on their guard against revolutionary activities and suspicious of any gathering of youth or students.

One of Schubert’s friends, Johann Senn, was put on trial, imprisoned for over a year, and then permanently forbidden to enter Vienna. The other four, including Schubert, were “severely reprimanded”, in part for “inveighing against [officials] with insulting and opprobrious language”. While Schubert never saw Senn again, he did set some of his poems, “Selige Welt” and “Schwanengesang”, to music.


SPECIAL TICKET OFFER! As part of the #VRSchubert campaign we’re offering a 25% discount* on Paul Lewis tickets. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE or call the VRS box office at 604-602-0363. Use code TWEET when ordering.

VRScubert: In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and the celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/blog.

* Discount on A, B, C, D price sections only and cannot be combined with other offers.

 

VRSchubert- Day 4: Hometown boy

The house in which Schubert was born, today Nussdorfer Strasse 54, in the 9th district of Vienna.

Unlike any of the major composers who worked in Vienna during the Classical and Romantic periods, Schubert was the only one actually born in this musical capital. Joseph Haydn was born in  Rohrau, Austria. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg. Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn.

Franz Peter Schubert was born on January 31st, 1797. His father was Franz Theodor Schubert, the son of a Moravian peasant, was a parish schoolmaster, and his mother, Elisabeth (Vietz), was the daughter of a Silesian master locksmith, and had also been a housemaid for a Viennese family prior to her marriage. While Franz Sr. was not a musician of fame nor had he had formal training, he provided Schubert with rudimentary musical teachings.


Spread the word and save: if you re-tweet or re-post any of our VRSchubert posts, you have the opportunity to save 25% on regularly priced tickets*. Call our box office to reserve your tickets: 604-602-0363.

VRScubert: In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and the celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/blog.

* Small print: discount on A, B, C, D price section not to be combined with other offers.
 

VRSchubert-Day 3: Graphic Schubert

 

Bringing Schubert closer to young readers, Dutch author and artist Jeroen Janssen and Pieter van Oudheusden are preparing to publish a graphic novel about the last days of Franz Schubert’s life.

Fighting a losing battle against death, Schubert’s final days are haunted by the ghosts of his past, including Beethoven, his family, and his many secret and hopeless loves. In the feverish brain of a dying man, Schubert’s world has turned into a chain of nightmares, each bearing the title of one of his songs and containing fragments of their lyrics.

About The Last Days of Franz Schubert, the author writes, “[this is] a visual song cycle around the major themes of his life, playfully interpreted from a modern point of view – sometimes willfully anachronistic, but always inspired by the love for the man and his music.”

On a special Facebook page, the author shares numerous sketches for the upcoming book.


Spread the word and save: if you re-tweet or re-post any of our VRSchubert posts, you have the opportunity to save 25% on regularly priced tickets*. Call our box office to reserve your tickets: 604-602-0363.

VRScubert: In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and the celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/blog.

VRSchubert- Day 2: the Shape of Schubert

 

Franz Schubert

Chubby and short at only 5 foot one inch, Franz Schubert had to endure the nickname “Schwammerl” or mushroom by his friends.

Perhaps these attributes are the reasons for a life unlucky in love, but they are certainly not apparent in the youthful, charmingly handsome 16 year old seen in this portrait by Kupelweiser.


Spread the word and save: if you re-tweet or re-post any of our VRSchubert posts, you have the opportunity to save 25% on regularly priced tickets*. Call our box office to reserve your tickets: 604-602-0363.

VRScubert: In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and the celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/tag/vrschubert/.

VRSchubert- Day 1: Lewis on Schubert

 

In anticipation and celebration of Paul Lewis’ performance of the Late Schubert Sonatas on October Tuesday, October 23, the VRS is embarking on 23 days of tweets, Facebook and blog posts about the life and work of Franz Schubert and this celebrated interpreter of his music.

Follow us daily on Twitter with the hashtag #VRSchubert, visit facebook.com/vancouverrecitalsociety, or check back in with us each day at vanrecital.com/tag/vrschubert/.


Paul Lewis has been described by Gramophone Magazine as “arguably the finest Schubert interpreter of his generation.” Modest as he is, here is the artist’s perspective on performing music by Franz Schubert:

“This is the music I love, and my hope is that the people who come and hear it can love it too. That the experience will be long-lasting – and if it is, it will be because of Schubert.” – Paul Lewis

Spread the word and save: if you re-tweet or re-post any of our VRSchubert posts, you have the opportunity to save 25% on regularly priced tickets. Call our box office to reserve your tickets: 604-602-0363.

Small print: discount on A, B, C, D price section not to be combined with other offers.

Three Violins and the Talented Trio

 

Imagine my delight when I received an email from Jonathan Chan in London, where he is studying at the Guildhall, telling me that he had been awarded the 1715 Dominicus Montagnana violin on loan from the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank.  Canada’s finest young talents compete for the opportunity to use these instruments for a period of time. The competition is tough.

“I ended up leaving with the absolutely gorgeous Montangna that I had been eyeing since they (the Canada Council Instrument Bank) sent me the list of violins available.  It’s easy to play on and also easily the smoothest instrument I have played on”.

Jonathan is a tremendously gifted young violinist from Vancouver whom the Vancouver Recital Society has been mentoring for the past several years.  He has played twice for the VRS – once at the Kay Meek Centre, and he also gave a stunning performance of the Ysaye Unaccompanied Sonatas for Violin as our first ever surprise concert artist. Interestingly, there was someone from South Africa in the audience (alright, I’ll confess, my cello teacher from my university days in Capetown) and she was so taken with Jon’s performance that she arranged a concert tour of South Africa for him a couple of years later. And, imagine… on that tour he played both piano AND violin!

Then, next day I received a phone call from another young protégé of ours, Aaron Timothy Chooi. He’s a young violinist from Victoria who is entering his first year at Curtis in Philadelphia.  He could hardly speak, he was so excited. “Leila, I got a Guarneri. It’s worth a fortune. My mom says I have to lock my room every time I go out.  I get to keep the violin for three years. I’ve never had a violin for that long.”

He is the recipient of the Canada Council’s 1729 Guarneri del Gesu.  Timmy (as he is known) has also played for the VRS; once in our “Budding Brilliance Concert” at the Chan Centre a few years back; as the “opening act” to the recital at the Orpheum by pianist Yuja Wang, celebrating the 30th Anniversary Season of the VRS; and finally, he played our surprise concert in the spring and gave a splendid concert and talk for local school children.

His older brother (just by a little), Nikki Chooi, has just received his second violin from the Instrument Bank, having had to return his first. He now is playing the 1700 Taft Stradivari.  Nikki graduated from the Curtis Institute last Spring and I had the pleasure of attending his wonderful grad recital, sitting between his teacher and his mother.  Nikki played a recital for the VRS at the Kay Meek Centre a couple of years back.

It is indeed thrilling to be involved with young musicians like these… at the beginning of what we hope will be illustrious careers.  Naturally, they are all smart as well as gifted, and they are well aware of the challenges ahead.

May the violins take them to great heights!

Leila Getz

PS read about our talented trio and other winners on the Instrument Bank website.

LEILA GETZ: HATS ‘ON’ TO TWO EXTRAORDINARY MUSICIANS!

Following their incredible journey through the Beethoven Piano and Violin Sonatas in three concerts for the Vancouver Recital Society, Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov were anxious to blow off excess steam and see something of Vancouver before they left for their next engagement in San Francisco.

So I, as the tour guide, and Allison Hart, one of the concert sponsors and the driver for the tour, set out with the musicians on Sunday after they had changed and packed up. We headed down to Granville Island where the plan was to take them on a quick tour of the market before driving through Stanley Park, and then continue on to West Vancouver, where we were to meet the rest of the Beethoven Project sponsors for dinner.

At Granville Island we re-fueled the musicians with strong coffee and literally ran around showing them the wonders of the market. Then, we walked over to the Net Loft into the craft gallery where Alexander made a purchase. Isabelle walked across the corridor and spied Edie’s Hat Shop. “Oh,” she said, “I love hats!”  In we went. The young salesman pointed out that the store would be closing in three minutes, to which Isabelle responded, “Oh, you may not want to close in three minutes as you have some serious customers!”

As it turns out, Isabelle has the perfect head and face for hats. Every single one she tried on looked fabulous on her. Meanwhile, Alexander (who is a HUGE fan of Fred Astaire) asked whether they carried Top Hats. And of course, as you can see from the photograph, they do!

We left Edie’s hats 45 minutes later having purchased a total of 6 hats among us. Now there was no time to drive through Stanley Park, but we were wide awake from our hat shop adventure and decided to wear our hats to dinner. We turned a few heads, and had a wonderful dinner.

Is this really why artists so enjoy coming to Vancouver? 

LEILA GETZ: ONE OF THE MOST PERFECT CONCERT EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE

 

Last night I had one of the most perfect concert experiences of my life. I have been attending a conference of music managers and presenters in Budapest. I discovered that baritone Christian Gerhaher was singing an all-Schubert song recital in the Vienna Konzerthaus. It was sold out, but after 33 years in the concert presenting world, I was able to pull strings and, to my utter astonishment, I became a guest of the Konzerthaus. So, I hopped on a train and headed back to Vienna (where I’d been just the week before) to hear the performance. The distance between Vienna and Budapest seems similar to the distance between Vancouver and Seattle. Except that, of course, one just sails through borders from one country to the next.

The Konzerthaus was packed to overflowing. There were 750 seats filled in the hall with an additional 50 seats on stage. I know this because I asked the Intendant of the Konzerthaus. I also enquired about their wonderful piano and he told me that they select and rent a new Steinway from the factory every two years.

I am guilty of over-using the word “extraordinary”, but there is simply no other word to describe Gerhaher’s voice (or voices, as he seems to have so many of them). He inhabits the text and the music he is singing. He simply delivered what Schubert intended when he wrote the songs. Nothing more and nothing less. His regular pianist is Gerold Huber and the two of them together are as one. Right down to the tiniest nuance. I can understand why Andras Schiff has chosen to invite Gerhaher to Carnegie Hall for his “Perspectives” Series. And of course, we, at the VRS are the beneficiaries of this collaboration. We jumped at the opportunity when we heard about it.

If you are a serious, discerning music lover you must not miss the Gerhaher/Schiff performance at the Chan on May 14. Don’t expect a larger than life personality like Bryn Terfel (nothing wrong with him!) but expect the most perfect delivery of song you will experience for many, many years to come. It is both deeply gratifying and humbling at the same time.

Leila (en route from Vienna to Budapest).

SAFEGUARDING THE ARTS IN VANCOUVER

 

By now, many of you have heard the sad news that the Playhouse Theatre Company commenced to wind down operations as of March 10.

On the preceding day, Leila and I attended the announcement, which could only be described as a wake for a departed loved-one. An unusual silence fell over the assembled group of arts workers and press people, and many shed tears when it was made clear why we had been brought together. The unimaginable had happened.

 The Playhouse Theatre Company has been a part of our cultural fabric for 49 years. Children, who grew up with this company, now take their children and maybe even their grandchildren.

 The current climate for the arts is anything but sunny and, even a venerable company can run into storm clouds. But no one should think an arts organization blindly moves towards the precipice. I cannot think of one Vancouver colleague who is not completely dedicated to providing the best programming to the community they serve and doing their utmost to build a thriving and vital business.

 Running an arts organization takes fortitude, dedication, passion, nerve, and endless energy and focus. But even that is often not enough to sustain an arts business.

 Just a couple of days ago I received a note from a patron thanking the VRS for presenting Murray Perahia. The writer went on to point out that artists of this stature would not appear in Vancouver were it not for the support of the Martha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation and of Odlum Brown, our Season Sponsor.

How very true. Simply put, we would not have undertaken a recital of this magnitude without this level of support.

Equally, we could not undertake any of our work without the support of our other corporate sponsors and advertisers, the large number of individuals who make donations, and the dedication of our ticket buyers.

This level of giving, and the passion shared by this large group, inspires our own passion to bring the very best musicians to Vancouver.

The writer mentioned above, went on to say the demise of the Playhouse Theatre Company is a ‘wake-up call’ for our community.

The arts have always been in a somewhat precarious situation, but a new level of fragility has set in.

This is indeed our wake-up call. This is a time when we must all work for – no, fight for – the cultural vibrancy and diversity we love. We need to tell politicians how the arts influence our lives; we need to experience culture in all its multifarious forms; we need to introduce children and neighbours to performances and galleries; we need to support with donations and volunteered time.

The arts are there for us – let’s make sure we are there for the arts.

Paul Gravett

Executive Director
Vancouver Recital Society
Email: paulgravett@vanrecital.com

p.s. The Playhouse Theatre Company and the Vancouver Playhouse are often confused. The former is the production company that will cease operations; the latter is the venue in which it presented plays. The venue will remain available for other presenters such as the Vancouver Recital Society.

Murray Perahia…reminiscences

Murray Perahia first came onto my radar in 1972 when he won the Leeds International Piano Competition. I knew Murray’s playing through his recordings but didn’t have the opportunity to hear him live for the first time until 1983, when on a visit to London I was able to attend a recital he gave at the Royal Festival Hall. It was one of the most memorable concert experiences of my life. I was with a friend with whom I had studied music at university in South Africa, and the two of us left the hall speechless. We didn’t speak to one another until we had crossed the bridge over the Thames, to catch our Tube.

Two years later (the VRS was 5 years old) Murray Perahia played a recital in Portland on a small, but wonderful piano series. How envious was I when I found out that the only way the series was able to present Mr. Perahia was through the generosity of one of their subscribers who was a Murray Perahia fan, and was determined to get him to Portland at any cost.

Finally, three years later I plucked up the courage to engage Murray Perahia. Regrettably, he had to cancel as he came down with the flu in New York City. We found out only the afternoon before the concert, as we had been moving offices (pre cellphone days) and his manager couldn’t reach us as our telephone and fax lines hadn’t been installed. First call on the new phone number was “terribly sorry to have to tell you…”

He played his first performance for us the following year at the Orpheum and has returned to our series several times since. I have had the immense pleasure of having him practice in my home, and so has our sponsor, Martha Lou Henley. On one occasion he needed a break and went for a walk. I was panic stricken when he hadn’t returned after an hour and a quarter. Fortunately, back in those days the VRS office was located in the basement of my home, so I was able to leave the house to search for him. I did find him wandering around the side streets of Shaughnessy.

On another occasion he came to Vancouver for a concert at the time of the famous summit. We had booked him into the Four Seasons Hotel, which we then had to cancel as the Summit leaders had taken over the hotel. We re-located him to the Waterfront Hotel and let his management know. Somewhere between his management and his diary there was a ‘disconnect’. I waited at the airport for five hours, calling every hotel in town every 30 minutes to see if he had checked in. Bingo! Finally, the Wedgwood Hotel said that they had just found a room for a Mr. Perahia who hadn’t had a previous reservation but had been insistent that there had been! I asked them to send someone up to lock his door and not let him out until I arrived!

Each and every concert by Murray Perahia is a revelation and a deeply moving experience. I am so thankful that I have been a concert presenter at a time when Murray Perahia is at his prime.

Leila Getz, C.M., O.B.C., D.F.A.

Artistic Director

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