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December 15, 2018 – Madeline Hildebrand and the WSO

Dear friends,

Each year, the December concert features ARTISTS OF MANITOBA – our own artists embedded within the Virtuosi Concerts “International Recital & Chamber Music Concert Series”.

This year, we present a return engagement by pianist Madeline Hildebrand and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra String Ensemble.

Madeline Hildebrand is “an extraordinary young artist [whose] pianism is of the highest level; she has an instinctive understanding of beautiful sound.” (Jon Kimura Parker, pianist)

Madeline is a silver medal laureate of the 2013 E-Gré National Music Competition, and a gold medalist of the 2012 WMC McLellan Competition.  Most recently, she performed in the WSO’s New Music Festival playing the Philip Glass etudes, along with Glass himself.

Two years ago, the audience response to Maddy and the WSO Ensemble was so positive we knew we had to have a return engagement:

“Maddy Hildebrand! – WOW!”

“Madeline Hildebrand gave Virtuosi Concerts a ‘virtuosi’ performance”.

“What a treat to hear so many exceptional musicians in such a lovely concert!”

“Sparkling technique and colourful playing made this a most enjoyable performance”

Madeline’s artistic vision for this programme explains the concert title – HOLIDAY IN VIENNA.  She writes: “Virtuosi Concerts is ushering in the season of holidays in Viennese style. The city of Vienna is dripping with romanticism during the holidays and it will be good fun to bring a taste of this to frosty Winnipeg through composers and styles influenced by the historic city. The concert, Holiday in Vienna, will feature the impressive virtuosity of Mozart, the playful and occasionally mocking tone of Ravel, and the glamorous Hollywood harmonies of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957).

It’s fitting that Korngold is included in the evening as he was pegged the ‘second Mozart` of his day. A child prodigy, he grew up in Vienna but became one of the most influential composers in Hollywood history, writing some of the greatest scores of cinema’s golden age, and winning two Academy Awards!  The movements in his Suite, Op. 23 are akin to his compositions written for Hollywood adventure films. This piece is unique for its instrumentation, two violins, cello, and the left hand only of the piano!
Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales from 1911 are modeled after Schubert’s noble and sentimental waltzes, although they bear little resemblance to them. Rich in Ravel’s harmonic language, they are playful, tender, light-hearted, and if you listen closely, very jazzy. He was a great admirer of Gershwin after all!”

Maddy did not elaborate, but Korngold was such a Mozartian genius that by age 5, he was playing four-hand piano arrangements on the piano with his father and was writing original music by the time he was seven. At age 11, he composed his ballet The Snowman which became a sensation when performed at the Vienna Court Opera two years later, including a command performance for Emperor Franz Joseph.   Gustav Mahler proclaimed him a “musical genius” when the young Erich played his cantata Gold for him. Among many other works, he also composed two operas by the time he was 17!

Korngold’s Hollywood career coincided with the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. When the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938 and annexed his home in Vienna, Korngold noted that the opportunity to compose the score for Robin Hood saved his life! He later said, “We thought of ourselves as Viennese; Hitler made us Jewish.”

Korngold settled his family in Hollywood and used his income from films to support his many friends and refugees fleeing the tyranny in Europe.

For a sample of the Korngold Suite, Op. 23  

Young Artist Program
Christina Thanisch-Smith
Born in Fredericton and raised in Winnipeg, Christina is currently completing her BMus (Perf.) under the tutelage of Monica Huisman at the University of Manitoba. Christina is an accomplished young artist, having won numerous competitions and scholarships. She recently performed the role of Mariane in Opera NUOVA’s presentation of Tartuffe.

Tying into the theme of a Holiday in Vienna, Christina will be opening our concert with an aria from Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár’s opera Die Lustige Witwe, better known to audiences as The Merry Widow.

On December 15, enjoy our Holiday in Vienna in Winnipeg, in Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, with guest host Simeon Rusnak of Winnipeg’s Classic 107.1 FM.

Happy holidays to all,