Bright Virtuosi on Performance Oklahoma

May 23, 2013

This week Performance Oklahoma presents the final concert program of the regular season offered by the Brightmusic Society in Oklahoma in their 10th anniversary season.  The program, entitled Bright Virtuosi featured works by Zoltán Kodály, Carl Maria von Weber and Ptyor Tchaikovsky.

When activities were somewhat limited during the years in and around World War I, Kodály turned out a number of chamber works for small ensembles including his Duo, Op. 7, which has become a cornerstone in the scant repertoire for violin and cello duo.  In three imaginatively conceived movements, a virtuosic piece with a remarkable range of color, lyricism and folk influence, it is only surpassed in popularity by Ravel’s Sonata for violin and cello of as he is for his own musical creations.  His Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7, was composed at the start of World War I and has become a cornerstone in the scant repertoire for violin and cello duo—a miniature ensemble that has been neglected by composers, this work only surpassed in popularity by Ravel’s Sonata of 1922.

Composer, conductor, virtuoso, novelist, and essayist, Carl Maria von Weber is one of the great figures of German Romanticism, known for his ground-breaking opera Der Freischütz, a work which expresses the spirit and aspirations of this dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  He is also remembered for his outstanding contributions to woodwind literature, two concertos and a concertino for clarinet and a concerto for bassoon.    His friendship with Heinrich Baermann, one of the preeminent clarinetists of the day inspired these works as well as a remarkable Clarinet Quintet, one of the most technically demanding, charismatic and sparkling works for the instrument.

Florence was one of Tchaikovsky's favorite vacation spots and he used his peaceful escapes there to sketch, orchestrate, and relax.   His last visit to Italy came early in 1890 during which he was occupied with the completion of his opera Pique Dame.  But in Paris later that year, he had the idea for and began to sketch a work inspired by Florence , the piece taking the fairly uncommon shape of a string sextet, which he completed in Russia that summer.    Known by its evocative nickname “Souvenir de Florence” this often Russian sounding work also exudes an ease and genial spirit reflecting Tchaikovsky’s nostalgia for the Italian city and his elation of having achieved something notable in the Queen of Spades. 

Listen to Performance Oklahoma on Classical 88.7-1 this Saturday from 8-10 pm.