Music Director Leonard Slatkin and DSO explore the universe with Holst’s “The Planets”


David Krakauer Performs World Premiere of Marhulet’s Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet

DETROIT (Nov. 23 2009) -The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Music Director Leonard Slatkin and guest artist, clarinetist David Krakauer, join forces in a unique program featuring a well-known work from the classical canon, The Planets by Gustav Holst, as well as the World Premiere of Wlad Marhulet’s Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet. Marhulets will be in attendance for these performances to provide insights into his work. Additionally, concerts include the Symphony No. 67 in F Major by Franz Joseph Haydn. Performances take place on Thur. Dec. 10 at 8:00 pm; Fri., Dec.11 at 8:00 p.m.; Sat., Dec.12 at 8:30 p.m.; and Sun., Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. in Orchestra Hall.

Internationally renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin began his critically acclaimed tenure as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the 2008-2009 season. Additionally, he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 2008-2009. Slatkin continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout the world, Slatkin’s performances have been distinguished by imaginative programming and highly praised interpretations of both the standard and contemporary symphonic repertoire. Additionally, he is well known for his arts advocacy work on behalf of music education.

Clarinetist David Krakauer is a master of Eastern European Jewish klezmer music and a major voice in classical music. He has appeared with the Tokyo, Kronos, Orion and Emerson string quartets, plus as soloist with the Weimar Staatskapelle, the Dresdner Philharmonie, Orquesta Sinfonica del Barcelona, the Phoenix Symphony and the Brooklyn Philharmonic among many others. With his band, Klezmer Madness!, he has redefined the klezmer genre writing new music and employing many diverse influences including jazz, funk and hip-hop.

Wlad Marhulets is a Polish composer of Jewish descent. Born in Minsk on May 1986, he began to be seriously interested in music at the age of 16. Wlad attended Academy of Music in Gdansk where he studied composition with Krzysztof Olczak, and later transferred to the Juilliard School in New York where he began studying with one of contemporary music’s most distinguished composers, John Corigliano. Since identity has always been at the center of Wlad’s music, he explores his heritage most ardently through his compositions.

For a long time, Wlad Marhulet’s dream was to meet the person who turned him into a musician. After studying clarinet and composition for six years, he decided to go to New York and try, at least, to meet David Krakauer personally. To his surprise, this big dream came true, and he not only met David, but ended up writing a concerto for him. The Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet, in three movements, alternates two main influences that are deeply rooted in David Krakauer’s discography: funk, and electronics (electronic effects are simulated by acoustic means). While the initial theme of the first movement introduces a wild musical idea, the second one brings a quite traditional-sounding Klezmer tune. The tune is presented in a way that simulates the well-known electronic “delay” effect, which is achieved through constant repeats of either single notes or short figures. The second movement begins with a cadenza that gradually turns into a lyrical melody on which the entire movement is based. The final movement combines two contrasting themes, in which Klezmer style is represented by particular playing techniques rather than actual musical material.

Gustav Holst’s The Planets was premiered on Sept. 29, 1918, in London, in a private concert with Adrian Boult conducting the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra. Boult also directed the work’s initial public performance, given by the London Philharmonic Orchestra on Feb. 27, 1919. Each of the seven movements that comprise Holst’s composition expresses a mood suggested by the astrological sign associated with its particular planet. These pieces fall into two general types: scherzando movements, which are lively, brash and rhythmic; and quiet meditations of a remote, timeless nature. The former group includes “Mars,” which opens The Planets in thunderous fashion; “Mercury,” with animated music appropriate to its namesake; “Jupiter,” whose character derives in large part from the flavor of English folk song; and “Uranus,” with its eccentric, abrupt and unexpected traits. Among the more relaxed and contemplative sections are “Saturn,” described by Holst as conveying not so much the physical decay of old age, but a vision of fulfillment; and “Neptune,” where the orchestra, playing hushed, reverent sonorities, is joined in the final passage by a wordless chorus of women’s voices.
The symphony may claim to have become the most important form of orchestral composition and owes a great deal, if not its precise paternity, to Haydn. He first attempted such composition some time before 1759 and wrote his last symphonies for London in the last decade of the century. Haydn’s Symphony No. 67 in F major opens with a very soft and rapid 6/8 theme from the first violins, soon backed up by the seconds, before more forceful development. The smoother second subject is introduced by violins and oboes, both paired in thirds. The second section includes a canon for second and first violin, entering in close imitation one of the other, followed by the return of the principal theme. The Minuet is paired with a Trio for two muted solo violins. The last movement introduces another surprise when, after the two expected subjects have been presented, the orchestra breaks off and its place is taken by a string trio, two solo violins and a solo cello, in a further slow movement, marked Adagio e cantabile, in which the whole orchestra eventually joins. The Allegro di molto returns in due course, to bring the symphony to an end.

Tickets to The Planets range in price from $19 to $71 with a limited number of box seats available for $123. Tickets may be purchased at the Max M. Fisher Music Center box office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit); by calling (313) 576-5111; or online at Seniors (60 and over) and students with a valid student ID can purchase 50% off RUSH tickets at the box office 90 minutes prior to concerts based on availability. For group discount information (10 people or more), please contact Chuck Dyer at (313) 576-5130 or


PVS Chemicals, Inc. Classical Series
Orchestra Hall
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin, conductor; David Krakauer, clarinet

Thurs, Dec. 10 at 8:00 pm; Fri., Dec. 11 at 8:00 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 12 at 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.

HAYDN: Symphony No. 67 in F Major
WLAD MARHULETS: Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet (World Premiere)
HOLST: The Planets
Get the most out of each concert by attending Ford ConcerTalks, one hour prior to performances. ConcerTalks are informal and may include special guests, lectures and music that reveal interesting facts about the program and provide a behind-the-scenes look at the art of making music.
The Friday performance will be immediately followed by DSO Overtime featuring Music Director Leonard Slatkin as he leads the audience in a conversation and discussion about the evening’s program.


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