Pranksters and Legends
NIELSEN Serenata in Vano
In this more intimate program, members of the North State Symphony explore music from composers who were disrupters and not always content playing by the rules. Join concertmaster Terrie Baune and friends in an evening that continues our celebration of Beethoven and later composers who found inspiration from his methods.
a co-production with Chico Performances
Pranksters and Legends – A Celebration of Serenades
The Serenade for mixed septet has been one of Beethoven's best-loved works since it was first premiered – in fact, it was so popular in his day that he complained that audiences always wanted to hear it instead of the later works that he had composed! A substantial work of six movements, it runs the gamut from sparkling virtuosity to gorgeous lyricism and is a fine example of the culmination of Beethoven's first compositional period.
Nielsen's Serenata in vano was written as a companion piece to the Beethoven Serenade, for a tour by members of the Royal Danish Theater orchestra. Apparently it was written very quickly, as about a week before the first tour concert it had not yet been composed. Nielsen's note on the piece was “First the gentlemen play in a somewhat chivalric and showy manner to lure the fair one out onto the balcony, but she does not appear. Then they play in a slightly more languorous strain, but that hasn't any effect either. Since they have played in vain, they don't care a straw and shuffle off home to the strains of the little final march, which they play for their own enjoyment.”
Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks is Richard Strauss' most popular tone poem, depicting the life, death and resurrection of the well-known character from German folklore who teases and mocks his way through life until he is finally hanged for blasphemy, but in Strauss' musical depiction he is heard to rise again at the very end of the piece. Franz Hasenohrl distilled the work for large orchestra down to a quintet of players, while preserving all the essential elements – hence his title, Till Eulenspiegel Einmal Anders, or “a different take”. The quintet was premiered by members of the Vienna Philharmonic and has been a favorite of chamber music audiences ever since.
- comments by Terrie Baune