Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

                                      Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

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


Robert Moody, conductor | Brant Taylor, cello

Friday, February 11, 2022 · 6:30pm · Crosstown Theater

Sunday, February 13, 2022 · 2:30pm · Germantown United Methodist Church

JOSEPH BOULOGNE (1745- 1799)

Symphony No. 1 in G Major, Op. 11, No. 1
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro assai


FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732 - 1809)

Concerto in C major for Cello and Orchestra, H. VIIb:1
I. Moderato
II. Adagio
III. Allegro molto Brant Taylor, cello



HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887 - 1959)

Bachainas Brasileiras No.  1
I. Allegro vivaceIntroduction (Embolada)
II. Preludio (Modinha)
III. Fugue (Conversa)

Cello Octet:
Brant Taylor
Ruth Valente Burgess
Iren Zombor
Jonathan Kirkscey
Robert Moody
Hannah Schmidt
Jeffrey Jueciukonis
Kimberly Patterson


RICHARD WAGNER (1813 - 1883)

Prelude and "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde



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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.


Brant Taylor, cello


Brant Taylor’s varied career has included solo appearances and collaborations with leading artists in chamber music, orchestral, pedagogical, and popular music settings on five continents. Prior to his appointment to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Daniel Barenboim, he was cellist of the Everest Quartet, prizewinners at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, as well as a member of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He made his solo debut with the San Antonio Symphony at the age of fourteen.


A dedicated teacher of both cello and chamber music, Mr. Taylor frequently combines performance and pedagogy, conducting master classes and writing articles on a wide variety of musical topics. He is a member of the faculty of DePaul University’s School of Music and serves on the board of cellobello.org, the leading online resource for all things pertaining to the cello. With the Everest Quartet, he performed and taught extensively in North America and the Caribbean and gave the world premiere of a work by Israeli-American composer Paul Schoenfield.  He regularly participates in audition training seminars and mentoring at Miami’s New World Symphony, of which he was a member and to which he has returned to perform as concerto soloist under the batons of Michael Tilson-Thomas and Nicholas McGegan.  


He has also performed and taught at music festivals around the world, including the Festival der Zukunft in Ernen, Switzerland; the Portland Chamber Music Festival; the Shanghai International Music Festival; the Aspen Music Festival; the Mimir Chamber Music Festival in Melbourne, Australia and Fort Worth, Texas; the Mammoth Lakes Chamber Music Festival; Music Festival Santo Domingo; Michigan's Village Bach Festival; Music at Gretna, where he has made repeated appearances as a concerto soloist; and Arizona Musicfest, where he serves as principal cello of the festival orchestra.  


A fan of many styles of music, Mr. Taylor had a seven-year association with the band Pink Martini.  With this unique ensemble, he appeared on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "The Late Show with David Letterman," at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and in nightclubs and theaters across North America. He can be heard on Pink Martini's studio release, "Hey Eugene.”


Mr. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Music degree and a Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he won the school's concerto competition and performed as soloist with the Eastman Philharmonia. His Master of Music degree is from Indiana University.  His primary teachers have been János Starker and Paul Katz.




Robert Moody's Notes

Brant Taylor, cellist of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Principal Cellist of Arizona Musicfest, has been my great friend and performing colleague for a few decades now.  We will also celebrate the cello with a work of Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos, who wrote an amazing work for 8 cellos – I’ll grab my cello and join our MSO section and Brant on this piece! 

The Black French composer Joseph Boulogne, a contemporary of Haydn, has one of the most fascinating stories in all the history of composers.  Think “Bridgerton” plus classical composition!  And for Valentines Weekend we offer you one of the greatest pieces about Love ever written – Wagner’s soaring Tristan and Isolde. 

- Music Director Robert Moody


Program Notes

by Michelle Pellay-Walker

Joseph Boulogne, perhaps better known by his title, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was one of France’s most celebrated composers during his lifetime;  he was also a virtuoso violinist in addition to being a champion fencer.  The Symphony No. 1 in G Major, Opus 11, is a three-movement work, rather than the usual four-movement structure that we associate with Haydn and his contemporaries.  The scoring is quite light, featuring pairs of oboes and horns in addition to strings.  Lasting approximately 12 minutes, the work is by turns ebullient and energetic (movement one), light-hearted and elegant (movement two), cheerful and vivacious (movement three).


Franz Joseph Haydn was one of the first Classical era composers to bring the cello to prominence in concertos written for the instrument.  His Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Hob. VIIb/1, was composed for his friend and colleague, Joseph Franz Weigl, who served as Principal Cellist of the Esterházy Orchestra (Haydn was also the godfather of Weigl’s son).  The work was published in the 19th century, though its complete version was not discovered until 1961.  Scored for pairs of oboes and horns with strings (and a basso continuo line), this three-movement work lasts some 25-30 minutes.  Haydn makes full use of the cello’s wide range and technical capabilities, with cadenzas provided for near the ends of the first two movements.  Over the sixty years since its discovery, this brilliant concerto has taken its place as a favorite amongst performers and audiences alike.         


Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote his set of Bachianas Brasileiras (an approximate English translation might be Bach-Inspired Brazilian Pieces) between 1930 and 1945. The music combines the general style of Johann Sebastian Bach with elements of Brazilian folk and popular music.  Various combinations of instruments and voices are used in each of the nine suites, and most of the movements have both a traditional as well as a Brazilian title.  Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 is scored for eight cellos (at least!!), was dedicated to the great Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, and follows the basic roadmap of Introduction, Prelude, and Fugue.  A note of interest:  Villa-Lobos made a complete recording of these suites with the French National Orchestra in the 1950s.  As discrepancies between score and parts continue to surface due to his haste in writing, the recordings made by the composer must still be referenced in order to determine his actual intent in a number of cases!!


Sometimes referred to as the largest cut in the history of opera, Richard Wagner’s “Prelude & Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde is remarkable in its use of tone colours, textures, and chromaticism;  it is considered to be a groundbreaking work in the history of Western Art Music.  Wagner was in the middle of his famous Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle when he began his work on Tristan.  The Prelude proper was heard publicly for the first time at a charity concert conducted by Hans von Bülow in 1859.  Wagner’s arrangement of both sections was heard in 1863, two years before the premiere of the full opera in 1865.  The infamous “Tristan chord” that opens the Prelude initiates a process of chromatic exploration that does not resolve until the very end of the opera;  it has subsequently been incorporated into a number of compositions by well-known composers, including in works by Claude Debussy, Alban Berg, Benjamin Britten, Bernard Hermann, Peter Schickele, and Paul Patterson.