The final concert of the KSO Chamber Classics series is TODAY at 2:30 at the Bijou Theatre! And when I say “classics,” I mean it. Like Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3, with Concertmaster Gabe Lefkowitz as soloist, Britten's Simple Symphony, and Dvorak's timeless Serenade for Strings.
Britten composed the Simple Symphony in 1933-34, and dedicated it to his childhood viola teacher, Audrey Alston, using melodies he composed when he was as young as ten. It is a very accessible, strings-only work that shouldn't be confused with Carl Nielsen's work of (roughly) the same title, which is anything but simple. Each of the four movements has alliterative titles; Boisterous Bouree, Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande, and Frolicsome Finale. The second theme of the Pizzicato movement bears a striking resemblance to Barnacle Bill the Sailor from that old Popeye cartoon.
Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major is a happy romp for soloist Gabe. The work is in G Major, aka “the people's key.” It is a staple on the audition circuit, and reveals a lot about a player's abilities. After a brief intermission, we will finish our concert with the Dvorak's 1875 Serenade. It's one of the “big 4” works in the genre, joining string serenades by late-Romantic heavies Tchaikovsky, Elgar, and (Dvorak protegé) Josef Suk. I'm looking out at the sky right now and it's bright blue and cloudless. This is the musical equivalent of that sky. The work's sunny disposition reflects obviously happy times in the composer's life. Many themes reappear from movement to movement in a dignified, reminiscent way, and the waltzy second movement bears a strong resemblance to Chopin's Waltz in C# Minor, op. 64, No. 2. Same key and everything, but definitely with its own grace and intention.