SALONEN: STRAVINSKY & OGONEK

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Artists

San Francisco Symphony

program

Sleep & Unremembrance [San Francisco Symphony Premiere]
Elizabeth Ogonek
Violin Concerto
Igor Stravinsky
The Rite of Spring
Igor Stravinsky

performances

Davies Symphony Hall

Thu, Mar 10, 2022 at 2:00PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Fri, Mar 11, 2022 at 7:30PM

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Davies Symphony Hall

Sat, Mar 12, 2022 at 7:30PM

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If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.


THURSDAY MATINEE CONCERTS ARE ENDOWED BY A GIFT IN MEMORY OF RHODA GOLDMAN.

THIS PROJECT IS SUPPORTED IN PART BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

THESE CONCERTS ARE GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY DENISE HALE IN HONOR OF ESA-PEKKA SALONEN.


Event Description

Elizabeth Ogonek’s Sleep & Unremembrance translates Wisława Szymborska’s playful words into a musical patchwork of memories, images, and emotions. Then, violin star Leila Josefowicz joins the Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen to perform Igor Stravinsky’s dazzling Violin Concerto. The program concludes with an eternal favorite, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, a work so provocative that it famously incited the Parisian audience to riot at its premiere.

At A Glance

Elizabeth Ogonek often finds inspiration for her compositions in poetry. One of her favorite poets is the late Polish writer Wisława Szymborska, who received the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Szymborska’s poem “While Sleeping,” a contemplation of memory and forgetting written not long before her death, provided the impetus for Sleep & Unremembrance (2016). Much as the poem involves a collage of remembered images, Ogonek’s single-movement work came together not in chronological order but rather as a collection of fragmentary ideas that she finally molded into a unified whole. She sees her piece as “a reminder that behind every corner lurks mystery, surprise and change. Thus, the music twists and turns in search of its own memories and its true identity.”

Samuel Dushkin, who commissioned and premiered Igor Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto (1934), recalled that one day at lunch, Stravinsky “wrote down [a] chord and asked me if it could be played. I had never seen a chord with such an enormous stretch . . . and I said ‘No.’ Stravinsky replied sadly, ‘Quel dommage’ [What a pity].” When Dushkin went home and realized that it actually could be played, he immediately called the composer, who completed the concerto in six months. The chord that was so casually brought up at lunch begins each of the work’s four movements—Stravinsky called it his “passport” to the music.

The events of May 29, 1913—the premiere of Le Sacre du printemps (1913/1947) and the infamous audience riot that followed—catapulted Stravinsky, and modern music, onto a path from which there was no turning back. He described this controversial piece as a representation of pagan Russia, insisting that “it is unified by a single idea: the mystery and great surge of creative power of spring.” There are many connections to folk music, including a Lithuanian tune that is the basis of the incredibly famous, astonishingly difficult high-pitched bassoon solo that opens the piece.

After notes by James M. Keller and Michael Steinberg

Concert Extras

Pre-Concert Talk: Join us for an informative “Inside Music” talk from the stage with Elizabeth Seitz. Free to all ticketholders, these talks begin one hour before the March 10-12 performances. Doors open 15 minutes before.