Faculty Recital: Kenneth Radnofsky, Saxophone | Looking for Higher Ground - Music by Emigrés and Refugees
Saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky and pianist Yoshiko Kline presents an evening of music by Paul Ben-Haim, Jakov Jakoulov (L'envoi, written for Radnofsky), Hugo Kauder, Ursula Mamlok, and Rachmaninoff's Sonata in G Minor, op. 19.
Looking for higher ground—a brighter future—safety for family—in the cases of tonight’s composers, a chance to continue life and pursue artistry.
For Hugo Kauder, Paul Ben-Haim and Ursula Mamlok it was escaping Nazi Germany. Kauder went to the US; Mamlok to Ecuador (and also soon thereafter New York) and a long career at Manhattan School; Paul Ben-Hain (born Frankenburger) settled in Israel in a successful career as arguably its finest composer; Rachmaninoff managed to leave post-Bolshevik Revolution Russia and make his way with his family through Sweden—after his house was burned and his piano thrown out the window—never to return; while Jakov Jakoulov left a failing Soviet Union for Israel and, ultimately, Boston.
While many of my concerts over the years honor those such as Ullmann and Schulhoff (not to mention millions never to be heard) who perished, with lives and potential cut short in these same times, this concert simply recognizes a few who were able to escape or make their way through the troubled environment, creating works of beauty, in an ultimately safer place. They were the lucky ones.
And we shall not forget.
This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here: https://necmusic.edu/live.
- Kenneth Radnofsky, saxophone
- Yoshiko Kline, piano
Hugo Kauder | Improvisation (1946)
Dedicated to Louis Speyer
Improvisation was written for the English hornist of the Boston Symphony, Louis Speyer, and predates the Sonata, developed from a visit with Speyer in Watertown, Ma in 1946. Thanks to William Wielgus for this. For more info: https://www.google.com/search?q=hugo+kauder+society&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari
Hugo Kauder was born in Tovačov. His father, Ignaz Kaude, was Oberlehrer (principal) of the local German language primary school. As a boy, Hugo Kauder had violin lessons with the local teacher, who eventually dismissed him when he had “taught him everything he knew.” These lessons were his only formal training in music. In 1905, Kauder moved to Vienna to study engineering but often skipped school with classmate Egon Lustgarten to study scores in the Imperial Court Library. Of particular interest to him were several volumes of Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich (Monuments of Music in Austria), mainly works of Flemish composers of the 15th and 16th centuries.
From 1911 to 1917, Kauder played violin in the Wiener Tonkuenstler Orchester under such conductors as Ferdinand Loewe, Franz Schalk, Arthur Nikisch, and Richard Strauss. There he began a lifelong friendship with Dutch horn player Willem Valkenier (1887–1986), inspiring his numerous horn compositions. From 1917 to 1922, Kauder was the violist of the Gottesmann Quartet.
In 1919, he met poet and philosopher Rudolph Pannwitz. Though he could not play an instrument, Pannwitz composed settings of classic poems, following his idea —quite unconventional at the time—that composers should find and reveal the music latent in texts, rather than creating the musical setting at will. Kauder adopted and elaborated this approach to vocal music and regarded Pannwitz as a lifelong mentor.
In 1923 Kauder married the linguist, archeologist, and bible scholar Helene Guttman (1898–1949), a cousin of his study companion Egon Lustgarten.
For the rest of his life, in Vienna and later in New York City, Kauder was self-employed as a composer and teacher of violin, music theory, and composition. As part of his efforts to bring his music to life, he conducted a chorus and a chamber ensemble of students and friends (including his son Otto) who studied and performed the classics as well as his own compositions.
Notable musicians who appreciated and performed Kauder’s music in Vienna before 1938 and to some extent after 1945 included the Gottesmann Quartet, Sedlak-Winkler, Rosé Quartet, and the Kolbe string quartet; the conductors Josef Mertin, Viktor Bermeiser, Siegmund Levarie, Karl Ristenpart, and Alexander Zemlinsky; pianist Adolf Baller, hornist Ernst Paul, and oboist Alexander Wunderer.
Ursula Mamlok | Rückblick (2002)
Premiered by Marshall Taylor and Samuel Hsu
A wonderful Mamlok interview mentions Gunther Schuller as a great inspiration and supporter at a crucial time. See: http://www.ex-tempore.org/mamlok.html
From her publisher
The Shoa (Holocaust) never was a theme in the works of Ursula Mamlok–with the exception of Rückblick for saxophone and piano which she wrote in 2002 on commission by Temple University in memory of Kristallnacht. The contrast between slow and fast movements is much more elaborate than in her other works from that period, with the fast movements appearing somewhat driven while the piano part for a few moments adopts an otherwise unknown severity. Near the end of the third movement, cantabile and fleeting gestures are suddenly pushed toward each other. The first fast movement arises from the destruction of attempted cantability. The Elegy (second movement) dies away with a four-fold reminder of its initial motif, the last attempt remaining fragmentary. The fourth movement, Lament, concludes with a figure that returns to its beginning.
Jakov Jakoulov | L'envoi (Dedication) (1999)
Written for Ken Radnofsky and premiered by Ken Radnofsky and Jakov Jakoulov
L’envoi ("Dedication") was written as a tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s 80 Anniversary in 1999. This miniature is written as a constant alternation and synthesis of two different spheres of music. In the first one I quote the beginning intonation of the last movement of Mahler's Ninth Symphony. It is well known that Bernstein admired Mahler and was one of the greatest interpreters of his music. In the second sphere I quote some popular themes of Bernstein's West Side Story. The piece then ends with Bernstein's signature, in a collection of four notes B, E, Eb, A; a phonetic representation of the name Bernstein.
Kenneth Radnofsky gave a world premiere of this piece in 1999 at the Rabb Auditorium of Boston Public Library and recorded it on the Boston Records label.
– Jakov Jakoulov
Composer and pianist Jakov Jakoulov is the author of four ballets, twelve instrumental concertos, music for over 20 theatrical, TV and cinema productions and numerous symphonic, chamber and choral works.
In recent years Jakoulov’s music – “powerful and richly textured” (The New York Times) has been commissioned and presented by Verbier Music Festival in Switzerland, Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival, international arts festivals in Edinburgh (Scotland), Avignon ( France), and Cortona (Italy); “Kammerspille” (Munich, Germany), “Lilla” (Helsinki, Finland), New European Strings Orchestra (London, UK), Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Armenian National Symphony Orchestra, and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Jakov Jakoulov received grants from Worldwide Concurrent Premieres Commissioning Fund, American Composers Forum, Erasmus Grant for Professionals from University of Viterbo in Italy.
Mr. Jakoulov is a Doctor of Musical Arts of Boston University, recipient of nine annual awards of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Eliot Norton Award of Boston Theater Critics Association, nominee for the 1993 award in music composition by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and an Elected Member of National Honor Music Society.
Jakoulov’s music has been recorded and published by Omnibus Classics (England), Orfeo (Germany), Naxos, Artona and Boston Records (US).
Paul Ben-Haim | Three Songs without Words (1952)
From Israeli Music Institute:
Ben-Haim conceived his Three Songs Without Words as vocalises for high voice and piano but it later occurred to him that the songs lent themselves as well to instrumental performances; the various for solo instrument and piano are the composer's own arrangements of the vocalises. The composer explains the three parts of this little Suite as "tone-picture of a oriental mood", and he adds that "whoever's imagination needs additional prompting may think that the long-breathed melodies of the Arioso were inspired by the mood of a summer day's pitiless heat in the bare Judean Hills, while the Ballad pictures the monotonous babbling of an oriental story-teller; the last song is based on a traditional folk tune of Sephardic-Jewish origin – a veritable pearl which I have only given a setting". Regarding the instrumental performances, the composer has said that "an instrumentalist playing the Three Songs should renounce all tendencies of virtuoso brilliance in favour of a purely melodic expression".
For more information on Paul Ben- Haim please read this article by Joshua Jacobson:
Sergei Rachmaninoff (arr. Chien-Kwan Lin) | Sonata in G Minor, op. 19
Lento - Allegro moderato
So much has written of Rachmaninoff, but I found an interesting reference below. He had a strong Boston connection and in fact had been offered the position of Music Director of Boston Symphony. Full Wikipedia article is available at:
…For two seasons between 1911 and 1913, Rachmaninoff was appointed permanent conductor of the Philharmonic Society of Moscow; he helped raise its profile and increase audience numbers and receipts. In 1912, Rachmaninoff left the IRMS when he learned that a musician in an administrative post was dismissed for being Jewish
Kenneth Radnofsky has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, Jerusalem Symphony with Gisele Ben-Dor and Boston Pops with John Williams. Radnofsky
premiered Gunther Schuller’s Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony (composer conducting), and David Amram's Concerto with the Portland Symphony, under Bruce Hangen. The 100 plus solo works he has commissioned also include those by Netzer, Trester, Colgrass, Harbison, Martino, Gandolfi, Olivero, Horvit, Fatas, Yannatos, Perker, Jakoulov, Schwartz, Yang and Bell, to name a few. He teaches world-wide and helped establish saxophone programs in Taiwan with Shyen Lee, and in Venezuela with Claudio Dioguardi. He is Professor of Saxophone and Chamber Music at New England Conservatory, President of the Boston Woodwind Society, Founder of World-Wide Concurrent Premieres and Commissioning Fund, a founding board member of Gunther Schuller Society with John Heiss and Charles Peltz, co-founder of the Amram Ensemble, is a Selmer Artist, and also teaches at Boston University. He studied with Joseph Allard, Jeffrey Lerner and Duncan Hale. www.KenRadnofsky.com
Yoshiko Kline performs as recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician throughout Asia and North America. Recent travels include a tour of Vancouver, Calgary, Guangzhou and Shenzhen China, with saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky, featuring the music of David Amram. Yoshiko’s performances are reported as “carefully colored and musically refined … with a sensitive ear, relating sound to musical expression… Her remarkably unique interpretations were the charm of her performance…”
Since debuting in Tokyo, she’s appeared in the Steinway Concert Hall in China, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Museum of Fine Arts, and Gardner Museum; Tanglewood and numerous festivals across the country. Live performances have been broadcast from radio stations WGBH & WMNB and Aspen, CO Radio KAJX. In addition to classical interests, she excels as a contemporary artist performing and premiering new works for numerous emerging composers, artists, and ensembles. Recent CD releases include Jon Meets Yoshiko by Jon Appleton; Œuvres Pour piano à 4 mains by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, and Divergent Reflections, contemporary music for saxophone and piano.
Yoshiko teaches at The Winsor School, Rivers School Conservatory, and Winchester Community Music School. Yoshiko received her BM at Toho-Gakuen Conservatory of Music and MM, with honors, at New England Conservatory. Her principal teachers have included Gabriel Chodos, Yoriko Takahashi, and Tamiko Ishimoto.