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Russian Symphony Orchestra Society


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« on: April 03, 2017, 05:18:06 pm »

The 1910s[edit]


The orchestra began the 1910s with a premiere of a different sort. After a January 1 Carnegie Hall reprise of their Midsummer Night collaboration with Ben Greet, on January 20 their second performance of the new decade introduced dancer Maud Allan to the New York audience. Although American-born, Allan had begun her dancing career in England and Europe, and this was her first American appearance. Like Isadora Duncan and Loie Fuller, Allan choreographed for herself, using existing classical pieces. On this occasion she danced a piece on Ancient Greek themes, using music from Anton Rubenstein, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Grieg. The performance alternated Allan's dances with straight orchestral performances.[62] A concert a week later featured Rachmaninoff as a guest conductor for the American premiere of his Isle of the Dead and as a soloist on his Piano Concerto No. 2.[63] Further performances with Allan followed, with the dancer performing her signature Visions of Salomé, among other pieces.[61][64][65][66] On April 4, the orchestra played a benefit for Russian immigrants at the Waldorf-Astoria, featuring several musical soloists as well as ballet dancers Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Mordkin.[67][68]

The 1910-1911 season featured five Carnegie Hall concerts interspersed with numerous out-of-town shows and followed by a 20-week national tour.[69][70] Their New York season began November 17 with a concert that included a very different interpretation of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, which they had premiered in 1901 and which had meanwhile become a "celebrated" and much-played work. After discussions with the composer, Altschuler had sped up the tempi and his reading of the piece had "radically changed". The concert also featured two American premieres of pieces by Anatoly Lyadov—Kikimora and Volshebnoye ozero (The Enchanted Lake), both written in 1909—Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, and several songs sung by German baritone Alexander Heinemann.[71][72] The December 1 concert featured the U.S. debut of Canadian-born violinist Kathleen Parlow; the New York Times reviewer described her performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto as a "remarkable achievement" and praised her "unexpected authority",[73][74] and would have equally high praise for her "consummate technical accuracy…beauty of tone…spirit…[and]fire" when she returned to play Henryk Wieniawski's Violin Concerto No. 2 the following February 2.[75] The concert was also the American premier of Stravinsky's Feu d'artifice (Fireworks).[73][74] who had grown up largely in San Francisco and had become a professional musician in Europe.[76] Starting four days later, they provided accompaniment for two-week run of Maeterlinck's tragedy Mary Magdalene at The New Theatre.[77][78] This was the world premiere of that play, and the first U.S. performance of any Maeterlinck play.[79]

A January 19, 1911 concert featured German-Polish pianist and composer Xaver Scharwenka as the soloist on his own Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, as well as the American premiere of the Introduction and Wedding Procession from Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Golden Cockerel; the concert also featured Rimsky-Korsakov's Christmas Eve Suite and the American premiere of a waltz that Tchaikovsky had written for the The Nutcracker but omitted from the final version, and closed with Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave.[80][81][82][83] The February 2 concert featured the American premiere of Robert Kajanus' Finnish Rhapsody, a return of Rachmaninoff's The Rock (which they had played in their second concert ever), and the return of violinist Kathleen Parlow performing the abovementioned Wieniawski concerto.[75]
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