Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Self-Governing Ensemble

TB and I heard Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall last night. Founded in 1972, the self-governing ensemble performs without a conductor, rotating musical leadership roles for each work. The program last night: Schumann's Overture to Hermann and Dorothea, Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Krzysztof Penderecki's Serenade, and Brahms's Serenade No. 2 in A major.

I enjoyed the first and third movements of the Prokofiev, but was hooked by the Penderecki. From the program note: "There are Baroque leanings in the opening Passacaglia, referencing the compositional technique that builds variations over a constant repeated pattern. Penderecki's Passacaglia roils the underlying ground, but nearly every figure shares the distinguished stamp of three chromatic notes rising or falling, the layers interwoven with imitation and counterpoint. The Larghetto, with its lush harmonies and emotional intensity nods to the great string serenades of the 19th century..."

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