Dana Brown, piano
Charles Robert Stephens, baritone
William White, conductor
Lili Boulanger – Pour les funérailles d’un soldat
Paul Hindemith – String Quartet No. 2 [first movement]
Maurice Ravel – Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Gustav Holst – Ode to Death, Op. 38
Hubert Parry – There Is an Old Belief
Maurice Ravel – La valse
Marking the centenary of the armistice that ended World War I, this concert explores the experience of “the war to end all wars” through the ears of the composers who lived it. As only OSSCS can do, our program combines orchestral, choral, and chamber music to create a rich tapestry of sounds and ideas.
Maurice Ravel, an ambulance driver at the front lines of the war, composed his Concerto for the Left Hand at the behest of Paul Wittgenstein, a concert pianist driven to create a wholly new repertoire of one-handed piano music after losing his right arm to a sniper’s bullet during the war. Paul Hindemith, amazingly, was able to form a string quartet made up of fellow soldiers during his time in the Prussian army; his second string quartet, an eerie and disconcerting work, was composed shortly before he was posted to the trenches, where he narrowly escaped a grenade attack.
We also present the work of two English composers: Gustav Holst, whose little known Ode to Death served as a memorial to friends lost during the war; and Hubert Parry, a Germanophile who could never reconcile himself to the fact that his country had gone to war with the Kaiser.
Lili Boulanger is represented by her cortège-like Pour les funérailles d’un soldat (“For the funeral of a soldier”), a startlingly prescient vision composed in the lead-up to the Great War. We close our concert with more music of Ravel, La Valse, a musical depiction of the rise and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as told through the dance in three-quarter time that had come to define it.
Tickets: $25 ($20 seniors / $10 students / youth free)