Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto

                                      TCHAIKOVSKY PIANO CONCERTO

The 2021-2022 Masterworks Series is presented by
Paul and Linnea Bert

Concert sponsored by 


Robert Moody, conductor | Inna Faliks, piano

Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 7, 2021 at 2:30pm

The Cannon Center for Performing Arts


SAMUEL COLERIDGE-TAYLOR          Danse Négre, op. 35, no. 4 
(1857 - 1912)                                       
FELIX MENDELSSOHN                         Music from A Midsummer Night's Dream,
(1809 - 1847)                                          op. 21 and op. 61
                                                                        “Wedding March”


PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY           Concerto No. 1 in b-flat minor for Piano
(1840 - 1893)                                         and Orchestra, op. 23
                                                                       I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
                                                                       II. Andantino semplice
                                                                       III. Allegro con fuoco
                                                                            Inna Faliks, piano


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Meet the Musicians 


Music Director Robert Moody 

2021/2022 marks Maestro Robert Moody’s fifth season as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.  Expanded and adventurous programming, the MSO’s first commercial recording in over three decades, and a new $25-million-dollar endowment have highlighted the past two seasons.  Moody is also Music Director of the lauded Arizona Musicfest, boasting one of the finest festival orchestras in North America.  Players hail from the top orchestras in the world, including the Vienna and New York Philharmonics, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, and San Francisco Symphonies, and the San Francisco and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras.

In 2018 Moody completed eleven-years as Music Director for the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine), thirteen-years as Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony (NC).  Prior to that he served as Resident Conductor for the Phoenix Symphony, Chorus Master for Santa Fe Opera, and Associate Conductor for the Evansville (IN) Philharmonic Orchestra.

Moody recently guest conducted the three major orchestras of South Africa in Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town; he was immediately invited to return for more concerts in the Summer of 2020.  Other guest conducting this season includes the orchestras of Bogota, Colombia; Aachen, Germany; Sacramento, California; and a return to the Sewanee Music Festival in the mountains of Tennessee.  Prior Guest Conducting has included Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and the orchestras of Toronto, Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Buffalo, Columbus, Louisville, Minnesota, and Slovenian Philharmonic.  Festival conducting includes Santa Fe Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Brevard Music Center, Sewanee Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Bowdoin International Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

Equally at home in the opera pit, Moody began his career as apprentice conductor for the Landestheater Opera in Linz, Austria.  He conducted for the opera companies of Santa Fe, Brevard Music Center, and Hilton Head Opera.  He also assisted on a production of Verdi Otello at the Metropolitan Opera (NY), conducted by Valery Gergiev, and at The English National Opera, where he was Assistant Conductor for Kurt Weill Street Scene.  He made his Washington National Opera and North Carolina Opera debuts in 2014, and conducted Bartok Bluebeard’s Castle, Leoncavallo I Pagliacci, and Poulenc Dialogues of the Carmelites in the seasons following.  Debuts to rave reviews with Brevard Music Center for Weill Street Scene, Opera Carolina for Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro, and Des Moines Metro Opera for Strauss Die Fledermaus came in 2017 and 2018.

Moody is a champion of the works of his close friend Mason Bates, now Composer-in-Residence with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and prior in the same role with the Chicago Symphony.  Moody commissioned/conducted Bates’ first full orchestra composition, and has been instrumental in the commission and premiere performances of several of Bates’ important major works for orchestra, including OdeRusty Air in Carolina, and Desert Transport.

Moody’s work can be heard on several commercially released recordings.  He collaborated with the Canadian Brass for their Bach and Legends albums.  He is also the conductor for Native American artist R. Carlos Nakai’s Fourth World album.  In 2015 he was honored to conduct the “Cancer Blows” gala concert with Ryan Anthony, members of the Dallas Symphony, and a host of trumpet luminaries, to aid the fight against Multiple Myloma.  CD and DVD recordings of that live concert are also commercially available.  Fall of 2019 will see the release of Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s first commercial recording in several decades.  The works are Jim Stephenson’s Concerto for Hope featuring Ryan Anthony, and Song of Hope” by Peter Meechan – featuring Ryan Anthony and Scott Moore.

A South Carolina native, Moody holds degrees from Furman University and the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Donald Neuen.  He is a Rotarian, and serves/has served on the boards of AIDs Care Services, Winston-Salem YMCA, WDAV Radio, and the Charlotte Master Chorale.  Maestro Moody is an avid runner, swimmer, and snow-skier.


Inna Faliks, piano

“Adventurous and passionate” (The New Yorker) Ukrainian-born American pianist Inna Faliks has made a name for herself through her commanding performances of standard piano repertoire,  as well genre-bending interdisciplinary projects, and inquisitive work with contemporary composers. After her acclaimed teenage debuts at the Gilmore Festival and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she has performed on many of the world’s great stages, with numerous orchestras, in solo appearances, and with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin and Keith Lockhart.  Faliks is currently Professor of Piano and Head of Piano at UCLA.   Critics praise her “courage to take risks, expressive intensity and technical perfection” (General Anzeiger, Bonn), “remarkable insight” (Audiophile audition) “poetry and panoramic vision” (Washington Post), “riveting passion, playfulness” (Baltimore Sun) and “signature blend of lithe grace and raw power” (Lucid Culture.) .  Highlights  of the recent seasons include performances in Ravinia Festival and the National Gallery in DC, recital tours of China, with appearances in all the major halls such as Beijing Center for Performing Arts, Shanghai Oriental Arts Theater and Tianjin Grand Theater, as well as acclaimed performances at the Festival Intenacional de Piano in Mexico,  in the Fazioli Series in Italy and in Israel’s Tel Aviv Museum, at Portland Piano Festival and with the Camerata Pacifica, with the modern dance troupe Bodytraffic at the Broad Stage Santa Monica, and Jacaranda Series in Los Angeles, where she performed Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. Faliks has been featured on WQXR, WNYC, WFMT and many international television broadcasts, and has performed in many other major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Met Museum, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky hall, etc. She collaborates and premieres music by some of today’s most important composers such as Billy Childs, Richard Danielpour, Timo Andres and Clarice Assad. She is known for her poetry-music series Music/Words, and has collaborated with many important poets. She regularly tours with her monologue-recital Polonaise-Fantasie, the Story of a Pianist, which tells the story of her immigration to the United States from Odessa. This has been recorded on Delos; other acclaimed recordings include all-Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff/Ravel/Pasternak discs for MSR Classics. Upcoming recordings include Reimagine Beethoven and Ravel (9 world premieres) on Parma and the Master and Margarita project, with three world premieres and Liszt Sonata in b minor, on Sono Luminus. These programs will be performed nation-wide in 2020-2021.

Faliks is also a writer – her article on China and classical music was recently published by the Washington Post.  Inna Faliks is a Yamaha Artist, and is represented by John Gingrich Management.


Robert Moody's Notes

I first heard Inna Faliks play on a recital for the Memphis Chamber Music Society two years ago.  Immediately we engaged her to play a concert with MSO; her performance is nothing short of mesmerizing.  The Tchaikovsky is the “King” of piano concertos, and one of the top ten most requested works from audiences in the entire repertory. 

Think of the four segments of music from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream like a symphony, ending with a tune that many of you likely heard as you walked down the aisle with your brand new spouse! 

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, known to his family as “Coleridge,” was born in London to a white British mother and an African father.  Though a difficult life for one of mixed race in the late 19th Century, nonetheless Coleridge thrived, and his music is now recognized as some of the finest Romantic music in the canon.  Danse Negre has been described as “Rhythmic and Angular,” “Graceful and Festive.”  Come hear it for yourself!

- Music Director Robert Moody


Program Notes

by Michelle Pellay-Walker

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was a noted Afro-English composer whose works thrived mostly around the decades surrounding the turn of the 20th century.  Born and raised near London, he was educated at the Royal College of Music, studying composition with Charles Villiers Stanford.  His greatest success was the choral trilogy, Scenes from the Song of Hiawatha.  Its opening section, “Hiawatha's Wedding Feast,” still retains a foothold in the repertoire today.  Danse Negre, op. 35, No. 4 is originally the final movement of the larger African Suite, a series of short movements inspired by the writings of African-American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar.  Scored for full orchestra, it was published in 1898.  It resembles a short but festive overture in its mood, returning to the second half of its opening material following a somewhat gentler middle section.

The incidental music for William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, has proven to be one of Felix Mendelssohn’s most popular and enduring works.  It covers an entire spectrum of emotions, as does the play.  The various musical devices used reflect the genius of the composer, just as the script reflects the genius of the playwright.  The Overture (which Mendelssohn wrote at age 17) is sheer magic:  Close your eyes and let the musical imagery show you the fairies skittering amongst the flowers and the grasses, the two pairs of star-crossed lovers (along with the squabbling fairy king and queen) as they romp through the forest on their various misadventures, and the hilarity of the donkey's bray.  The ScherzoNocturne, and Wedding March were written 16 years following the composition of the Overture, and are part of a set of 14 numbers both instrumental and vocal (the Overture is included in this number).  The Scherzo is sprightly and mercurial in its character (those fairies again!), involving a peppy melodic gesture that alternates with running 16th notes.  The gorgeous Nocturne begins with horns and bassoons with the principal melodic material (our lovers sleep during this selection).  And then, there is the Wedding March, probably Mendelssohn’s most famous music (stop laughing!).  In form, it is a fairly straightforward rondo (A-B-A-C-A-Coda) which represents the wedding feast of the lovers as they are finally reunited with their appropriate partners at the conclusion of a most entertaining play.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor for Piano and Orchestra, op. 23 was composed between November of 1874 and February of 1875.  It was given its first performance in October of 1875 by Hans von Bülow (to whom it is dedicated) in Boston, Massachusetts.  Following the premiere, revisions were made to the work off and on at least through 1879.  It is a massive and powerful work, lasting approximately 35 minutes in a typical performance.  The expansive sonata form first movement has the unusual feature of a substantial introduction, which presents the iconic opening theme.  Interestingly enough, it is the only time that theme is heard—though it would later become well-known in a 1941 jazz band arrangement by Freddy Martin.  The addition of lyrics to the instrumental arrangement resulted in the song “Tonight We Love,” which would sell over a million copies by 1946, and was ultimately awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America.  Movement Two is in ternary form, with gentle and elegant outer sections contrasted by a rapid and quicksilver middle section.  Movement Three is a relatively symmetrical rondo;  the grand coda at the climax of the movement is based upon the rondo’s second theme.