Music has an amazing way to connect people in any circumstance. There is something about it that seems to bring us closer together when we listen, play or sing together. The WFSO is committed to providing you with the joy of music, even when we are not in the concert hall together. We will provide a weekly play list for you, “Legato in times of Staccato”, curated by Music Director, Fouad Fakhouri. Simply click on each of the titles on the list below to view a special music selection. Also included each week is a Spotify playlist for you to enjoy all the selections together.
We invite you to participate each week by sending us music (from any genre) that you have found comforting and uplifting. We hope that through music we can encourage each other through these uncertain times. Send your play list additions to us at email@example.com. Preferable formats are YouTube and Sound Cloud clips, or just share the title and artist or composer and we will do our best to find it!
***To access all of our Legato in times of Staccato playlists on spotify, click here!***
Gulda: Cello Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
Due to the ongoing health crisis, we will cap the audience in the new reimagined concert season to allow for appropriate social distancing. Due to this limited capacity, tickets will be available for reservation on a first-come, first-serve basis, with the following priority schedule for our current season ticket subscribers:
Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525
Emmanuel Séjourné: Concerto for Marimba and Strings, Mvmts II and III
Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a
Tchaikovsky: Serenade, Op. 48, C Major
Strauss: Pizzicato Polka
Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40
“WFSO—Bringing Music to Life”
January 23, 2021
Tonight’s program strives to put a little bounce back into your step during these awkward times by exploring the theme of the dance. In Tchaikovsky, we hear a beautifully flowing waltz harkening back admiringly to Mozart; in Strauss, we turn to a brief, plucky polka; and in Grieg, we look back again to Mozart’s time (and a little before) with a Neoclassical suite celebrating earlier dance tunes from around Europe. So sit back, loosen up your tapping toes, and get your sway on.
Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C major, Op. 48 (1880)
1880 saw Tchaikovsky complete two compositions that couldn’t have been more different—the bombastic 1812 Overture and the more sonorous Serenade for Strings. Of the former, Tchaikovsky wrote: “The overture will be very loud and noisy, but I wrote it without warmth or love, and so it will probably not have any artistic merit.” Conversely, he wrote of the latter: “I am violently in love with this work and can’t wait for it to be played.” Originally intended to be performed outdoors during the nighttime, serenades became popular with 18th century composers, as seen in two of the form’s exemplary works from the Classical era, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusic and the Haffner Serenade. The next century saw the serenade loose its evening and outdoor affiliations as it moved closer in line with the symphony form. Along with Tchaikovsky’s, the late 1800s also saw serenades composed across Europe by the likes of Dvorak, Suk and Elgar. Inspired by Mozart, his favorite composer, Tchaikovsky’s four-movement Serenade opens with a “Piece in the form of a sonatina” which is framed by a slow, sumptuous introduction that returns after the movement’s livelier middle sections. Next is the work’s shortest and most well-known movement, a “Waltz,” followed by a serene “Elegy” which brings back some of the grandeur of the first movement. After a slow, muted opening, the “Finale” quickly morphs into a fast-paced Russian dance tune sub-headed “Allegro con spirit.” In a final tip of the inspirational hat to Mozart’s wit and creativity, Tchaikovsky briefly and unexpectedly quotes from the beginning of the opening movement towards the end of the coda before returning for a few moments to the quickening pace of the Russian-inspired dance as the Serenade comes to a vivacious close.
Johann Strauss II & Joseph Strauss: Pizzicato Polka for Orchestra (1870)
Born in Vienna thirty-four years after the passing of Mozart, Johann Strauss II took the Austrian capital by storm with his prolific output of over 500 dance pieces, as well as 18 light operas and ballets. Following in his namesake’s footsteps—Johann Strauss, Sr.—the eldest Strauss son raised the light, danceable music of the late 19th century Hapsburg Empire to new heights of elegance with works such as the Blue Danube, Emperor, and Vienna Blood waltzes. With his younger brother, Josef (1827–1880), Johann, Jr. wrote the three-minute Pizzicato Polka for one of their concert tours of Russia in 1869. As a musical form, the polka first appeared in Prague in 1837, making its way to the capital city two years later. The Pizzicato Polka is scored for strings and glockenspiel, a German percussion instrument similar to the xylophone. As the title indicates, this unusual polka is performed entirely on plucked strings, which perhaps led to its sustained popularity.
Edvard Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 (1884-1885)
Similar to Czech composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonin Dvorak’s Romantic musical nationalisms, Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) also worked outside the European classical tradition by embracing the warmth and melodies of the folk traditions of his native land. Best known for the Piano Concerto in A minor (1868), as well as his Peer Gynt Suite (1875), Grieg also wrote some of the most endearing short works for orchestra in the late Romantic period. One such work is From Holberg’s Time: Suite in Olden Style, named after Norwegian-born Danish playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754). The work, originally scored for Grieg’s favored instrument, the piano, was composed in celebration of the bicentenary of Holberg’s birth in 1884. The Holberg Suite is an example of what in the early 20th century would become known as Neoclassism, a reactionary style which embraced the more melodic musical tastes of the 17th and 18th centuries. Grieg’s nostalgic backward glance takes the form a five-movement dance suite intended to call to mind the “olden style” of the late Baroque/early Classical periods of Holberg’s day. As is the case with Neoclassicism, Grieg’s own time period and personal style meld together with the earlier forms and sounds of the work’s dance movements, such as the Praeludium, Sarabande, and Rigaudon.