In 1918, nations of the world celebrated the end of World War I, a time of unprecedented upheaval and destruction.
On November 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Massry Center for the Arts, to commemorate the war’s centenary, the Saint Rose Camerata will perform music written during the war by Maurice Ravel, Gustav Holst, Béla Bartók, and Zoltán Kodály. The concert is free and open to the public.
Music written in wartime can be especially poignant, by turns wrenching, reflective, and passionate. Perhaps the best-known work, “Le Tombeau de Couperin” (1914-1917, 1919) is a suite of dances that Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) dedicated to friends who perished on the battlefield. Ravel’s original version was for solo piano; the Camerata will perform a transcription for woodwind quintet.
English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) had fully matured his musical style, after decades of experimentation, when he wrote “Four Songs for Voice and Violin, Op. 35” (1916-1917). That period also saw Holst produce the lion’s share of his magnum opus, “The Planets.”
Two great Hungarian composers round out the program: Contemporaries and friends Béla Bartók (1881-1945) and Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) looked to Hungarian melodic and rhythmic folk traditions to create completely new vocabularies rooted in their national culture but shaped by modern classical technique.
For his famed Suite Paysanne Hongroise (1914-1918), originally written for piano and transcribed by Paul Arma for flute and piano, Bartók composed a series of songs drawing heavily on Hungarian folk tradition, ranging from “sad old songs” to an uptempo scherzo. By turns lyrical, tormented, and dancelike, Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7 (1917) is a melding of folk tunes and classical conventions.
Artists for this performance include Camerata director Yvonne Chavez Hansbrough, flute; David Bebe, cello; Amanda Brin, violin; Susan Loegering Daves, bassoon; Paul Green, clarinet; Michael Lister, tenor; Jamecyn Morey, violin; Victor Sungarian, horn; Sherwood Wise, oboe; and Josiah Stocker, piano.
The Saint Rose Camerata
When: 7:30 p.m. November 17, 2018
Where: Massry Center for the Arts, The College of Saint Rose, 1002 Madison, Ave., Albany
Cost: Free and open to the public