SHEHERAZADE: One Minute Note

Born in London, Hannah Kendall is based in New York City and is a Doctoral Fellow in composition at Columbia University.  Growing up in Wembly, Kendall began music studies at the age of 4, starting with the violin and continuing with piano, and later,  composition, and vocal studies at the University of Exeter.  She was lauded for her composition as early as 2015 when she was noted as one of the “brilliant female composers under the age of 35” by the BBC’s Radio 3.  Kendall’s The Spark Catchers was premiered at the BBC Proms in August 2017 and is available from NMC.

Early in his career, Serge Prokofiev was a ‘bad boy’ of Russian music, challenging tradition with thorny dissonances and percussive music. His First Violin Concerto represents a different facet of his musical personality; it is one of his neoclassical works.  As such, it not only pays homage to the formal and stylistic legacies of Prokofiev’s Western musical forbears but also consciously emulates some of their ideas.  The balanced structure of the concerto’s three movements and its clear delineation of themes both indicate that the composer had his forbears in mind.  This concerto also bewitches with its warmth and tenderness.

 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov spent his career as an officer in the Russian navy, but his passion was music. A superb orchestrator, he is regarded today as one of Russia’s premier composers of the late 19th century. His Sheherazade features an obbligato role for our excellent concertmaster, Gabriel Lefkowitz. The recurring solo violin line represents the spellbinding voice of the Sultana as she relates the 1001 tales of the Arabian Nights, thereby staving off death by entertaining her husband. Sheherazade’s music is sinuous and seductive. The sultan’s theme, in the brasses, is barbaric, forceful, and masculine.  Rimsky’s writing is enchanting: a perfect blend of exoticism and vivid orchestral color.