DUETT for Viola and Cello (1934)
QUARTET for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (1938)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
QUARTET in G Minor for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, K. 478
With “Danube Destinations,” Orion turns to the works of three German-speaking composers: Ludwig van Beethoven, Paul Hindemith and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. All were prolific in many musical genres and innovative in their writing styles, influencing the composers who followed them.
Beethoven wrote his three Opus 9 string trios in 1797 and 1798, after he had made a name for himself as a pianist in Vienna and was beginning to travel and be known in the wider continent. Each of the Opus 9 trios is in four movements, a form he would use for most of his quartets and symphonies. The writing is weighty and virtuosic, often contrapuntal, and fully Beethovenian in its energy, passion and strength. This program includes the Trio in G Major for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9, No. 1.
Hindemith’s Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (1938) exudes a surprisingly broad and roomy air, given its conception just before WWII. It is a prime example of Hindemith’s motivically conceived contrapuntal writing and is resplendent with many textural contrasts.
The concert also features a seldom-heard bonus piece by Hindemith, the Duett for Viola and Cello (1934),which gives Orion the opportunity to highlight the musical talents of guest violist Stephen Boe and Orion cellist Judy Stone.
Mozart composed the Quartet in G Minor at the request of Austrian publisher and composer Franz Anton Hoffmeister. It was unusual in that the string parts were more substantial than earlier works written for piano with (usually one or two) strings. According to music scholar David Grayson, no previous composer had so “transcended the usual limitations imposed by private, domestic music-making and aspired to the level of public concert music.” The quartet is replete with virtuosic piano writing, similar to Mozart’s piano concerti, and features considerable interplay between the piano and strings, as well as among the string parts.
Orion’s 2013–14 season
Orion’s “Musical Travels” season continues with “Sounds of Russia” in March, featuring guest pianist Sebastian Huydts, violist Stephen Boe and a guest narrator from the Chicago High School for the Arts for a program including the second Beethoven Opus 9 Trio and works by Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff; and “Czech and American Romance” in May and June, featuring violist Stephen Boe performing on the third Beethoven Opus 9 Trio and works by Amon, Gershwin and Dvorak.
In addition to its annual four-concert series in three Chicagoland areas, Orion appears on the broadcast series “Live from WFMT” in November 2013 (date TBD) and on March 24, 2014. Orion also tours, performing in chamber music series across the country. Its most recent CD is Twilight of the Romantics.