DAYTON, OH (May 10, 2018) – On Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 3 p.m. in the Dayton Art Institute, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present Serenades with Strings, the fourth and final concert in the 2017-2018 Chamber Series. Dayton Philharmonic Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and violinists Aurelian Opera, William Manley, Katherine Ballester, and Nick Naegele, along with harpsichordist Alan Kimbrough and other players with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, all take the stage of the newly renovated Mimi and Stuart Rose Auditorium for a delightful afternoon of music. DPAA’s Innovation Partner for the 2017-2018 The Great Ones Season is DP&L Foundation—Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts.
The concert opens with Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, one of Bach’s greatest and most perfect instrumental pieces. Although it is often played by full string orchestras, it was originally written for 11 soloists (three violinists, three violists, three cellists, one bassist, one harpsichordist), and that is the way that the DPO will be performing the piece this afternoon. One of the fun features of the concerto is its seemingly truncated second movement—just two chords. Bach’s intent was for the harpsichordist, presumably Johann Sebastian himself, to improvise a cadenza to lead from the end of the first movement to the beginning of the finale. That cadenza ends with the two chords that appear in the score. The spotlight on this piece will shine on DPO harpsichordist Alan Kimbrough as he performs the cadenza of his choosing with this work.
At the end of last season, the DPO performed a post-modern take on Mozart’s Requiem created by a team of composers who call themselves Sleeping Giant. For this concert, the DPO musicians will perform an innovative work by Robert Honstein, one of the six Sleeping Giant composers. “‘Night Scenes from the Ospedale’ is the first of Robert’s pieces that I had ever heard,” said DPO Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman. “I was completely taken in by its strange beauty and the incredible aural atmospheres he creates.” The Ospedale of the title is the hospital/school/convent in Venice where Antonio Vivaldi worked. He wrote many of his famous concertos there, including his beloved “The Four Seasons,” for the girls of the Ospedale’s school to perform. Honstein’s idea with “Night Scenes” was to create vivid atmospheric modern-day music that would weave in and out of selected Vivaldi concertos. Perhaps the idea is to imagine Vivaldi lying awake at night, considering the music he was writing against the strange noises of the Venetian night.
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.” Maestro Gittleman has chosen 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–use many unusual string techniques to generate eerie and beautiful sound effects, and he has created several short YouTube videos to show players how to make some of these more strange and beautiful sounds with their instruments.
The afternoon closes with one of the gems of the 19th-century string repertoire– Dvořák’s String Serenade. It is a beautiful, tuneful piece that is full of happiness. 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!”
To shine a light on more of the nuances of these works, Larry Coressel from Discover Classical WDPR 88.1 will give a pre-concert talk beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets for Serenades with Strings are $22 for adults and $14 for students and children, and all tickets are General Admission Seating. Tickets are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and military discounts are available at the box office. For more information on this concert or on other upcoming performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.