Ensemble Monterey presents “Serenades for Strings” – Saturday, October 13th in Carmel Valley & Sunday, October 14th in Santa Cruz

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Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra presents

Serenades for Strings

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Saturday October 13th, St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, Carmel Valley 7:30 PM

Sunday October 14th, Peace United Church, Santa Cruz 7 PM

Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra opens its 27th Annual Concert season in October with a concert featuring rare gems for string orchestra. The program features selections from Arthur Foote, George Antheil, Samuel Barber and Antonín Dvořák.

Arthur Foote’s “Serenade for Strings” was premiered in 1940, and the composer said of the piece in the program notes for that premiere “The Prelude, E major, 2-2, is brief, and is based throughout on the first phrase of eight notes; it is of flowing melodic character, with much imitation among the several voices…The Pizzicato, A minor, 6-8, is continuously so; it is interrupted by an Adagietto, F major, 3-4, which is played with the bow (arco), the instruments being muted. The Fugue is in E minor, 4-4, and is pretty thoroughly planned out, with a long pedal point just at the last return of the theme; there are no inversions or augmentations, etc. The first four notes of the theme are heard often by themselves, and, if those notes are observed bv the listener at their first entrances, the fugue will be very clear at first hearing.” (Notes from the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 1939-1940 season).

The “Serenade for String Orchestra” of George Antheil was composed in 1948 after Antheil had earned a reputation an “enfant terrible” of avant garde artists, following a riot at an appearance of his in Paris in 2923. Most well known for his work “Ballet Mécanique,” this selection has been described as breezy, mysterious and gentle.

Dvořák’s “Serenade for Strings” was written while the composer was in his early thirties. Critic Peter Laki writes “In the five-movement Serenade, Dvorák demonstrated the high level of compositional virtuosity he had attained by his early thirties. Using simple forms (four of the five movements follow plain A-B-A structures with contrasting middle sections followed by a return of the opening material), he nevertheless achieved considerable melodic and harmonic variety.”

The “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber is without doubt the most well known piece in this concert. It was composed in 1938, and the composer himself said of it while he was in process “I have just finished the slow movement of my quartet today — it is a knock-out! Now for a Finale.” The slow movement remains, without question, the musical and emotional heart of the piece

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