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Serenades with Strings

June 2018

Mimi and Stuart Rose Auditorium   

   3:00 pm Sunday, June 3, 2018          
General Admission Seating

Pre-performance talk: Larry Coressel


Box Office (888) 228-3630

Adult $22  |  Senior $20  |  Student $14  

BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
HONSTEIN Night Scenes from the Ospedale (2011)
VIVALDI Sinfonia, RV 169
VIVALDI Concerto for Four Violins, RV 580
DVOŘÁK Serenade, op. 22


Everyone knows the cliche of the lovelorn gentleman playing guitar and singing under a balcony at twilight. Above, a light flickers on and the silhouette of his hoped-for inamorata appears in the window. The stage is set for love.

The serenade started as this sort of casual music serving to express love or some kind of heartfelt tribute and to be performed in the early evening. Over the years it has grown to encompass a spectrum of forms. We will get a view into the evolution of the serenade on the June season finale Chamber concert.

The Brandenburg Concerti, among Bach’s most widely-loved music, is represented here with the third concerto of the suite. It was written for 11 instruments (three violin, three viola, three cello, one bass, one harpsichord) and that is the way that the DPO will be perform the piece on this program. Bach’s intent was for the harpsichordist, presumably Johann himself, to improvise a harpsichord cadenza to bridge from the end of the first movement to the beginning of the finale. Our own Alan Kimbrough will take Johann's place performing a cadenza of his choosing.

We have heard Robert Honstein's music previously as part of a composer collective called Sleeping Giant. Here he creates a rather cinematic tribute to Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi. His Night Scenes from the Ospedale refers to the Venetian hospital/school/convent where Vivaldi created many of his famous concertos to be performed by the girls of the Ospedale’s school. Honstein creates atmospheric episodes that are designed to be performed between Vivaldi's concertos. Honstein leaves it up to the conductors and the orchestras who perform his work to choose which Vivaldi works to place between his movements in Night Scenes. It's easy to imagine Vivaldi lying awake at night, considering the music he was writing while listening to the sounds of the Venetian night.  

Maestro Gittleman has selected a short String Sinfonia and the famous Concerto for Four Violins and String Orchestra. DPO violinists Aurelian Oprea, William Manley, Katherine Ballester, and Nick Naegele will play the four solo parts. Honstein’s five movements–Barcarolle, Lament, Nocturne, Whispers, and Before Dawn–employ many unusual string techniques to generate eerie and beautiful effects.

The afternoon closes with one of the gems of the 19th-century string repertoire: Dvořák’s String Serenade. It is a beautiful, happy, tuneful piece that reflects Dvořák’s famously optimistic mindset. Maestro Gittleman beams, “It has been one of my favorite pieces forever, but we haven’t played it at the DPO in almost 20 years. Time to fix that!"

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