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HEART AND HOPE

Livestream and broadcast performance without in-person audience. 

Osmo Vänskä conducts the final work on the program, Dvořák’s Wind Serenade.

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This program series is made possible in part by a generous lead gift from
Kathryn and Charles Cunningham.
 

With additional support in memory of Ardus and John W. Windhorst, Sr. 

and from Bill and Katie Miller.

 Sponsored by
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Artists

Program

    • Enrique Crespo
    • Bruckner Etude
      • R. Douglas Wright, trombone
      • Kari Sundström, trombone
      • Andrew Chappell, bass trombone
      • Steven Campbell, tuba
    • ca. 6’
    • Philip Herbert
    • Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence
    • ca. 7’
    • Johann Sebastian Bach
    • Concerto in C minor for Oboe, Violin, and String Orchestra, BWV 1060R
      • I. Allegro
      • II. Adagio
      • III. Allegro 
        • Peter McGuire, violin
        • John Snow, oboe
    • ca. 16’
    • Antonín Dvořák
    • Serenade in D minor for Wind Instruments, Opus 44
      • I. Moderato quasi marcia
      • II. Menuetto – Trio: Presto
      • III. Andante con moto
      • IV. Finale: Allegro molto
        • Julie Gramolini Williams, oboe
        • Marni J. Hougham, oboe
        • Gabriel Campos Zamora, clarinet
        • David Pharris, clarinet
        • Mark Kelley, bassoon
        • J. Christopher Marshall, bassoon
        • Norbert Nielubowski, contrabassoon
        • Michael Gast, horn
        • Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, horn
        • Brian Jensen, horn
        • Silver Ainomäe, cello
        • Kristen Bruya, bass
    • ca. 23’

Profiles

Minnesota Orchestra

The Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903 and led since its centennial by Music Director Osmo Vänskä, is recognized for distinguished performances around the world, award-winning recordings, radio broadcasts, educational engagement programs, and commitment to building the orchestral repertoire of the future. The Orchestra tours regularly throughout Minnesota and nationally, and has also toured abroad in Australia, Canada, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and South Africa. Its 2020-21 concert season began in October with a series of Friday night concerts in Orchestra Hall featuring smaller ensembles of Minnesota Orchestra musicians performing for TV, radio and online audiences, a series that will continue with two concerts in January and another two in March. In addition, in February the Orchestra will present a new Young People’s Concert Experience for online viewing.

At Home Video Collection

Osmo Vänskä, conductor

Since becoming the Orchestra’s music director in 2003, Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä has led the ensemble on several major international tours, including historic tours to Cuba and South Africa and six visits to Europe. His recording projects with the Orchestra have met with great success, including a disc of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony issued in summer 2020. In January 2020 Vänskä began a new tenure as music director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also the honorary conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Vänskä, who began his music career as a clarinetist, has recorded Bernhard Henrik Crusell’s three Clarinet Quartets and Kalevi Aho’s Clarinet Quintet for the BIS label and is in the process of recording several duos for clarinet and violin which he has commissioned with his wife, violinist Erin Keefe.

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Peter McGuire, violin

Peter McGuire first became a member of the Minnesota Orchestra in 2003, performing in the first violin section until 2012. He played for three years as second concertmaster with the Tonhalle Orchester-Zürich and then returned to the Minnesota Orchestra in the role of principal second violin in 2016. He began his career as first violinist in the Pioneer String Quartet and Des Moines Symphony, and has served as guest principal second violin with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as Guest Concertmaster with the Orchestre de la Suisse-Romande, Zürich Opera, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Gürzenich Orchester-Cologne, and Richmond Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has performed and recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic, SWR Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, All-Star Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

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John Snow, oboe

John Snow joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1999 in the role of second oboe, was appointed to the associate principal position in 2004 and became principal oboe in 2017. He previously held the position of principal oboe with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and he has performed as guest principal for the major symphony orchestras of Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, D.C., as well as for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Santa Fe Opera and Seattle Opera. He was also a member of the oboe sections in the National Symphony of Costa Rica, Detroit Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in New York. Snow has won two McKnight Fellowships for Performing Musicians, one each in 2005 and 2011.

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Sarah Hicks, host

Sarah Hicks, the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, has led a broad range of programs since joining the Orchestra as assistant conductor in 2006. This fall she has served as host of the “This Is Minnesota Orchestra” series of Friday night live concert broadcasts. Her other notable projects with the Orchestra have included co-creating the Inside the Classics and Sam & Sarah series with Orchestra violist Sam Bergman; conducting a live-in-concert recording with singer-rapper Dessa, released in 2019 on the Doomtree Records label; leading numerous original Orchestra programs including Home for the Holidays, A Musical Feast and A Scandinavian Christmas; and conducting many of the Orchestra’s Movies & Music concerts. Away from Orchestra Hall, she recently conducted performances of Disney Pixar’s Coco at the Hollywood Bowl as well as the orchestra in ABC’s live televised production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

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Program notes

  • Bruckner Etude

    Enrique Crespo

    • Born
      October 17, 1941
      Montevideo, Uruguay
    • Died
      December 20, 2020
      Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany

    Bruckner Etude

    • Composed
      ca. 1996

    When audiences see the name “Bruckner” on a Minnesota Orchestra program, they typically know they can expect a marathon listening experience, as the German Romantic composer’s symphonies are among the lengthiest and most expansive in the standard repertoire. Not so with tonight’s concert opener: the Bruckner Etude for low brass spans just six minutes and is not even written by Bruckner—it is instead the work of Uruguayan composer Enrique Crespo, here writing in a style that pays homage to Bruckner and showcases the rich low brass sound employed in many of Bruckner’s works. The piece is very much the work of an insider, as Crespo spent a great deal of his career playing trombone in German orchestras.

     

    A multi-talented brass virtuoso

    Born in 1941 in Montevideo, Uruguay, Enrique Crespo studied music and architecture there before pursuing a career as a classical trombonist, jazz soloist, composer, arranger and bandleader for Bavarian television productions. In 1974 he founded the German Brass Quintet, which performed many of his arrangements. In 1985 Crespo decided that a quintet simply wasn’t enough, doubled the ensemble’s size and renamed the group German Brass.

     

    The Bruckner Etude, one of Crespo’s most successful and well-known compositions, dates from 1996 and exists in several iterations; among them are versions for four tubas, four trombones and six trombones. Tonight we hear this music played by three trombones and a tuba. In a poignant twist of fate, it is the first Crespo work ever featured on a Minnesota Orchestra concert, but comes only a month after the composer passed away in Germany at age 79.

     

    Steven Campbell, the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal tuba, spearheaded the selection of this work, stemming from a recording of personal importance that features the Bruckner Etude: the whimsically-named CD Tuba! A Six-Tuba Romp. “This recording was a major inspiration for me,” Campbell notes. “It was released while I was in college, and the musicians are some of my heroes of the tuba world, including Sam Pilafian (a late Empire Brass member and tuba guru) and Warren Deck (retired from the New York Philharmonic). The Orchestra’s recent performance of Gabrieli brass ensemble selections brought me back to another recording that I listened to on a loop back then. This recording (goofy title and all) was one that truly inspired me.”

     

    Instrumentation: 3 trombones and tuba

     

    Program note by Carl Schroeder.

  • Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence

    Philip Herbert

    • Born
      1960,
      London, England

    Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence

    • Premiered
      September 7, 2000

    In April 1993, the racially-motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black British teenager who aspired to be an architect, by a group of young white men at a London bus stop horrified the United Kingdom and the world. The tragedy of this hate crime was compounded by the systemic failure to quickly bring Lawrence’s killers to justice due to investigative missteps and institutional racism in the police force, a finding that was confirmed by a government inquiry in 1999. Nearly two decades passed before two of Lawrence’s killers were finally convicted and sentenced.

     

    Six years after Lawrence’s murder, British composer Philip Herbert paid tribute to him with a poignant elegy composed for 18 string players—each representing one year of Lawrence’s life—that the composer describes as “a gesture of empathy” and hopes will help us “press together across our communities to help realize [Stephen’s] dreams.” Tonight the Minnesota Orchestra performs the work in Lawrence’s memory amid our own country’s long-overdue national reckoning with systemic racism and police violence against African Americans, eight months after Minneapolis became a focal point following the police killing of George Floyd.

     

    Words from the composer

    Philip Herbert offers the following program note on Elegy, prefaced by this quote from Victor Hugo: “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

     

    Elegy was composed in February 1999 as a gesture of empathy after watching the shocking news coverage of the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence. It was subsequently premiered, by invitation from the Prince’s Foundation, for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust’s first Annual Memorial Lecture in September 2000.

     

    “The piece is richly scored for 18 string players, one for each year of the life of Stephen Lawrence. It is a chorale for 18 string players in three sections, imbued with the influence of English pastoral composers.

     

    “The music is a slow, emotional and reflective piece, moving between C major and various minor tonalities throughout. The music is full of soulful harmonies with gentle dissonances in sonorous chords, under a plaintive melody, which characterise the heavy emotions brought to mind by this tragedy. Particularly poignant moments occur, in the first section of the piece, where there is music for soloists, in a sextet for three violins, one viola and two cellos. Later on, the mood is intensified by somber cello solos (in the first and last sections of the piece), which are accompanied by rich harmonic textures. The middle section is characterised by a solemn theme, accompanied by a march-like texture in E-flat major moving forward to climax, before the recapitulation of material presented at the beginning returns. This section is abbreviated and ultimately leads to a cadence in C minor.”

     

    A message for Minnesota

    Herbert further addresses the issue of how Elegy may be interpreted by audiences in Minnesota and the U.S. in 2021 with the following comments:

     

    “There is a need to place a higher value on the strength that comes from diverse peoples living together harmoniously, across the world. We all have something valuable and very positive to contribute to the larger part of the puzzle of life in the U.S. and across the world today. Stephen Lawrence, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others were deprived of the right to a life where they could use their talents for the good of wider society. Nevertheless, we can press together across our communities, to help realize the dream of a what it means to live in a world that is transformed by higher levels of love, respect, peace and harmony. By doing this, we can experience the transformative power of Hope.”

     

    Herbert also offers three quotes from other sources:


    “There is no music having a single sound. Different sounds are needed to give music harmony.” (Dogon oral tradition)

     

    “Harmonious communities thriving together respectfully, bring about a spirit of the much-needed peace today, just like the state and tranquility of calm waters.” (Dogon oral tradition)

     

    “Water is peace, focus, wisdom, and reconciliation, the state of peace we would like to have in our life.” (West African oral tradition)

     

    A life cut short, and justice delayed

    Born in London in 1974, Stephen Lawrence was the eldest of three children of Jamaican parents who had emigrated to the U.K. in the 1960s. His goal was to pursue a career in architecture, and at the time of his death he was studying at Blackheath Bluecoat School and Woolwich College. Among his extracurricular pursuits was competitive running with the Cambridge Harriers athletics club.

     

    On the evening of April 22, 1993, while waiting for a public bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks, Lawrence was murdered by a group of five to six white youth who had shouted racial slurs while making their unprovoked attack. Brooks was able to escape, but Lawrence died from his injuries. Five probable suspects were quickly identified, but police were slow to make arrests, and charges were dropped before a trial could take place after authorities claimed a lack of supporting evidence. In 1996 a private prosecution resulted in the acquittal of three of the suspects after key evidence was ruled inadmissible.

     

    After several years of continued international outrage over Lawrence’s murder and the lack of convictions, in 1999 the British government commissioned the “MacPherson Report” that found the police guilty of mistakes and “institutional racism,” and made dozens of recommendations on changes to policing and public policy, including adjustments to the principle of “double jeopardy” that would allow for retrial of acquitted defendants in exceptional circumstances if new evidence emerged of their guilt. (In the U.S. criminal justice system, there are no exceptions to double jeopardy.) In 2011, new DNA evidence did indeed emerge implicating two of the original suspects, who were both found guilty and sent to prison in 2012. Lawrence’s parents and other supporters continue to advocate for prosecution of his other killers.

     

    Stephen Lawrence’s legacy is honored in many ways, including through the Stephen Lawrence Prize for achievements in architecture, the Stephen Lawrence Center and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. In 2018, then-Prime Minister Theresa May declared that April 22 would be known each year as Stephen Lawrence Day.

     

    A more complete chronology of key events in the pursuit of justice for Lawrence’s killing can be found here.

     

    The journey of Elegy

    The premiere of Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence was given in London by 18 string players of multi-cultural backgrounds on September 7, 2000, by invitation from the Prince’s Foundation; the occasion was the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust’s first Annual Memorial Lecture, at which His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales delivered remarks.

     

    Since that premiere, notable playings of Elegy have included the London Mozart Players’ recording in 2004 at All Saints Church, East Finchley, in London; the Chineke! Orchestra’s first performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, in 2015, which was attended by Stephen Lawrence’s mother, Baroness Doreen Lawrence; the Chineke! Orchestra’s subsequent recording in 2018 for NMC Recordings; and in 2019, The Sphinx Virtuosi’s performance of Elegy at Carnegie Hall.

     

    Of special note in Elegy’s story is the role of double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, the Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Orchestra, who has been an ardent promoter of the work. Herbert explains that Nwanoku “introduced me to Afa Dworkin, President and Artistic Director of The Sphinx Organization, who in turn programmed it in a tour where the Sphinx Virtuosi performed it in a program with the theme ‘For Justice and Peace.’ For the Juneteenth of 2020, the Sphinx Virtuosi performed Elegy in a virtual performance. I found this performance to be just as moving as the one that they gave, of the same piece at Carnegie Hall in October 2019.”

     

    About the composer

    From an early age, Philip Herbert’s talent for music was nurtured by his parents, and later at the Yorkshire College of Music, where he was awarded a scholarship to further develop his musical studies at the piano, with the late Dr. John Foster, and Irene Ingram. He went on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at King Alfred’s College, Winchester, and later to read music at postgraduate level at Andrews University in Michigan. He also gained piano teaching and piano performing diplomas from the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music, respectively.

     

    Herbert has studied the piano with such teachers as Diana Owen, Guy Jonson, John Owings and the late Kendall Taylor CBE. Owing to his passionate interest in choral music and music for solo voice, he was awarded a Graduate Assistantship enabling him to work as an accompanist to the late Dr. Harold Lickey, the Head of Vocal studies at Andrews University who taught singers at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as being the director of the choral ensemble The Andrews University Singers. He also went on to study choral conducting with the late Simon Johnson, Assistant Chorus Master to the Philharmonia Chorus.

     

    Herbert is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has taught music at all educational levels while making music through composing, performing as a pianist and conducting. He has coordinated master classes, workshops and concert series. In addition, he has devised courses and community projects for young people and adults, with creative and interactive contributions from some of Britain’s finest musicians, across an eclectic range of musical genres. He has also been involved in projects that have been broadcast on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4 as well as BBC TV.

     

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Herbert has maintained a busy schedule of new projects and commissions, while his music has continued to receive performances and recordings. The Chineke! Orchestra’s recording of Elegy: In Memoriam—Stephen Lawrence was released in January 2020 on the NMC Recordings label, and the Detroit Symphony, the Houston Symphony and The Sphinx Virtuosi have also performed the work, with The Sphinx Virtuosi performing it as part of a Juneteenth virtual performance in remembrance of Stephen Lawrence, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others whose lives were taken unjustly. His Suite for Solo Steel Pan Strings is due to be recorded by the BBC Concert Orchestra in 2021.

     

    Recent and upcoming commissions have come from BBC Radio 3; EMI Production Music; Dr. Des Oliver, London Symphony Orchestra Discovery Jerwood Composer in Residence; double bassist Leon Bosch; the Nevis Ensemble; Mish Mash Productions; and the Villiers Quartet. Other projects have included an invitation from composer Errollyn Wallen CBE as one of three participants in a “Re-Imagining J.S. Bach” project to perform a keyboard piece by Bach and also write new piece of music inspired by that keyboard work for the Spitalfields Festival in July 2021. In addition, by invitation of Dr. Philip Cashian, Head of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, Herbert has written a piece for marimba entitled Kumbekumbe (meaning “commemoration” in Swahili), as part of a collection of 200 pieces newly commissioned for the bicentenary celebrations of the Royal Academy of Music.

     

    Instrumentation: 8 violins, 4 violas, 4 cellos and 2 basses

     

    Program note by Carl Schroeder.

  • Concerto in C minor for Oboe, Violin, and String Orchestra, BWV 1060R

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    • Born
      March 21, 1685
      Eisenach, Germany
    • Died
      July 28, 1750
      Leipzig, Germany

    Concerto in C minor for Oboe, Violin, and String Orchestra, BWV 1060R

    • Composed
      ca. 1717-1723

    The complicated story of this Concerto in C minor begins with a simple cup of coffee. Leipzig in the 1730s was chock-full of the stuff. The Viennese had adopted the drink after the defeat of the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. It is said that the vanquished left behind a store of coffee, and the drinking habit, spurred by a widespread belief in the substance as an aphrodisiac, soon found its way north. The first coffee house in Leipzig was established in 1685, the year J. S. Bach was born. By 1725 there were eight public coffee houses in town.

     

    A lively scene

    In 1729, Bach added to his extraordinarily busy musical schedule, which already included cantorial duties at Leipzig’s primary churches, Thomaskirche and St. Nicholas, by taking the directorship of the Leipzig Collegium. In describing this ensemble, a Leipzig journal of the 1720s wrote: “The participants in these musical concerts are chiefly students here, and there are always good musicians among them, so that they sometimes become, as is known, famous virtuosos.”

     

    The Collegium met in downtown Leipzig at Zimmermann’s coffee house, which bore no resemblance to a modern Starbucks. Imagine a lively, smoky scene, with patrons playing billiards or more reputable games like chess or dominoes. During the Collegium’s meetings, though, guests were asked to avoid playing cards or pursuing other pleasures that might disturb the musicians.

     

    Musical detective work

    It was for this environment that many of Bach’s keyboard concertos were created, perhaps as vehicles for his sons Friedemann and Emanuel, who by this time were estimable musicians. But to arrive at the work heard at tonight’s concert, we must turn the clock back—and then forward.

     

    In composing his keyboard concertos that ostensibly date from this period, Bach is widely believed to have drawn upon earlier instrumental works he had composed for the Cöthen court during his residency there from 1717 to 1723, arranging them for new combinations of instruments. The earlier scores have been lost in the fog of time, so scholars have had to turn detective to discern Bach’s original intent.

     

    As far back as 1886, German physicist Woldemar Voigt postulated that the Concerto in C minor for Two Keyboards, BWV 1060, was originally scored for other solo instruments. Looking at the right hand of the Keyboard 1 part, the range and especially the figuration suggests the violin. The writing in Keyboard 2 is quite different: the lines are lyrical, with a more restricted range and space to breathe and rest. Ancient wisdom applies: if it looks like a bird, flies like a bird and sings like a bird, it must be…an oboe.

     

    Friends share the spotlight

    Tonight we hear German musicologist Wilfried Fischer’s reconstruction of the work, published in 1970, as the Concerto for Violin and Oboe is thus called BWV 1060R (the R standing for “Reconstruction”) in the catalogue of Bach’s works. For Principal Oboe John Snow, a Minnesota Orchestra member since 1999, this will be his final concerto solo before he retires at season’s end, and he shares the spotlight with Principal Second Violin Peter McGuire. “Peter and I were asked to perform this piece at the suggestion of one of our colleagues,” Snow says. “I am very happy to end my career with this concerto and to play it with my good friend, with whom I have played it at least a dozen times!”

     

    The music

    Allegro. Bach lays out his musical materials with great economy: some two-note slurs, a five-note run up the scale and a little echo. The entire first movement is built from just this. Essential to concerto style is the ritornello (refrain) form, in which tutti (full ensemble) statements in the main keys alternate with solo connecting episodes. Listen especially for the buoyant transformation of the principal theme in major mode.

     

    Adagio. As the central Adagio begins, listeners may be reminded of the Largo-but-not-too of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, which also lopes lyrically along in 12/8 meter. But here the texture is unique, with solo voices contrasting in timbre and strings accompanying pizzicato. Bows are taken up briefly, and the movement leads with only a slight pause into the third movement.

     

    Allegro. In the final Allegro, soloists suggest a call and response, two-note slurs return and violin handily juggles six notes per beat.

     

    Instrumentation: solo oboe, solo violin and string orchestra

     

    Program note © 2021 by David Evan Thomas.

  • Serenade in D minor for Wind Instruments, Opus 44

    Antonín Dvořák

    • Born
      September 8, 1841
      Nelahozeves, Bohemia (now Czechia)
    • Died
      May 1, 1904
      Prague

    Serenade in D minor for Wind Instruments, Opus 44

    • Composed
      January 1878

    This unusual and attractive music comes from the moment when Antonín Dvořák was just on the verge of fame—which had been a long time in coming. Born into a poor family in rural Bohemia, Dvořák had been apprenticed to a butcher, and he narrowly escaped a life behind a meat counter when friends and relatives responded to his desperate protests and helped send the boy to music school. Even then, success came slowly. Dvořák supported himself and his family for years by conducting bands, playing the viola in orchestras and giving piano lessons. It was not until his mid-30s, the age at which Mozart and Mendelssohn died, that Dvořák finally began to find success and fame.

     

    In 1878, the year he turned 37, Dvořák composed his first set of Slavonic Dances. Based on the colorful peasant dances of Eastern Europe, the Slavonic Dances explode with color and excitement, and they made Dvořák’s reputation almost overnight. They were quickly performed throughout Europe and even in distant America, and audiences around the world were swept away by their unusual rhythms and distinctive melodies. Earlier in that same year, between January 4 and January 18, 1878, Dvořák had composed his Serenade in D minor, and it too incorporates features of Czech music.

     

    The instrumental serenade is usually remembered as an 18th-century entertainment form. Haydn, Mozart and others had written serenades, divertimenti and cassations for various ensembles of wind and/or string instruments. Usually light in character, these multi-movement works were often composed for social occasions—weddings, graduations, civic ceremonies—and were sometimes written specifically to be performed outside. They usually began with a spirited march, and along the way they might include minuets, variations, movements for a soloist with the orchestra, and so on. Mozart wrote some of his finest works—the Haffner Serenade, the Posthorn Serenade and the Gran Partita for Winds—in this form and for just such occasions.

     

    The music: Sunny and dance-like

    No one knows the occasion for which Dvořák wrote his Serenade in D minor. In this good-spirited music, Dvořák took the general form of the 18th-century wind serenade but made some important changes, reducing the number of movements to just four and scoring it for an unusual combination of instruments: two each of oboes, clarinets and bassoons, a contrabassoon, three horns, a cello and a double bass. There is also a degree of thematic unity here unusual in a serenade: many of Dvořák’s themes begin with the upward leap of a fourth, and some appear in several movements.

     

    Moderato quasi marcia. Dvořák salutes tradition by beginning with a sturdy march. After this mock-serious opening, he offers some nice variety with a second subject that rocks easily along its dotted rhythms; both themes return to lead the movement to a quiet close.

     

    Menuetto–Trio: Presto. The second movement is the most “Czech” of the four movements, sounding very much like the Slavonic Dances Dvořák would compose later that same year. Though it is titled Menuetto, its agreeable outer sections are in the form of a Czech sousedská, an Eastern European folk-dance, while the trio section, marked Presto, rips along on furiant cross-accents.

     

    Andante con moto. Critics single out the Andante for special praise. Its serene main melody, full of characteristic turns, unfolds in the solo oboe and clarinet while the three horns provide a liquid, pulsing accompaniment; the movement rises to an animated climax, then falls away to close peacefully.

                                                                    

    Finale: Allegro molto. The finale returns to the manner of the first movement: its main theme bears some relation to the march tune that opened that movement, and in fact the march itself reappears in the course of the finale. Dvořák concludes with an Allegro molto coda, and a series of sunny fanfares in D major propels the Serenade to its buoyant close.

     

    Instrumentation: 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 3 horns, cello and bass

     

    Program note by Eric Bromberger.

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