About Our Concert
For our next concert with Musica Tra Amici, I will be joined by some of my Houston Symphony colleagues and James Dunham from the music faculty of the Shepard School of Music at Rice University (and former violist of the famous “Cleveland String Quartet”). Also joining me will be MuChen Hsieh - newly appointed Principal Second Violinist of the Houston Symphony, Joan Derhovsepian - Associate Principal Violist of the Houston Symphony, and Christopher French - Associate Principal Cellist of the Houston Symphony. It will be a special treat to prepare our upcoming concert with this fantastic group of artists.
I hope you can join us for a concert of two marvelous works for string quintet - the quintet in G Minor K. 516 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the quintet opus 97 by Antonin Dvořák. These very different works will provide an excellent contrast for the evening’s concert. Mozart’s G Minor quintet was written in between his 38th and 39th symphonies, just before he began work on the opera, Don Giovanni.
It is a supremely beautiful, but poignant and rather dark work; some speculate that he was expressing the sorrow he felt during this time as his father was dying a rather slow and painful death. Tchaikovsky wrote about the slow movement of this piece, “No one has ever known as well how to interpret so exquisitely in music, the sense of resigned and inconsolable sorrow.” However, the piece turns to a more upbeat mood as the finale is cheerful and optimistic.
The Dvořák quintet was written during the summer of 1893 – a time he and his family spent in Spillville, Iowa. It was an idyllic setting; he got up every morning at 5 a.m. to walk along the Turkey River and enjoy the beauty of the nature that surrounded him. While he was working on this quintet, a group of Iroquois Indians visited the community, performing several evenings for the people there. Dvorak was evidently fascinated and heard every performance. Elements of their music made it into this work, along with other American elements and of course Dvořák’s own unmistakable Czech character. I guess we could call this a “fusion” composition!
This is a work of freshness and contentment, and has become a favorite of chamber music audiences.
I look forward to seeing you there!