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FSU’s Department of Music Presents Chamber String Orchestra in Concert

Frostburg State University’s Department of Music will present its Chamber String Orchestra, conducted by Peter Lewis, in concert on Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall of FSU’s Woodward D. Pealer Performing Arts Center. The concert is free and open to the public. This event will also be livestreamed; click the “Join Stream” button on this page a few minutes before the recital is scheduled to begin, or any time during the recital, to view the live performance.

Performers are as follows: Anna Hilderbrand, Chassady Redhead, Leah Boggs and Taylor Bryan on violins; Evie Shanholtz and Kathryn Schram on violas; Rebecca O’Rourke and Emily Xu on cellos; Lewis on bass; Dr. Joseph Yungen on harpsichord; and Jeff Dilkes on baroque flute.

The group will perform “Abdelazer Suite” (1695) by Henry Purcell; the first movement, “Allegro Moderato,” of “Concerto for Violin in G Major” (1760) by Joseph Haydn; the second movement, “Allegro” of “Viola Concerto in G Major” (1716-1721) by George Phillip Telemann; and “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050 (1721) by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Purcell composed “Abdelazer,” a work in 10 movements, to accompany performances of a revenge tragedy of the same name by English dramatist Aphra Behn. Although Behn’s play is no longer performed, the music for it remains one of Purcell’s most enduring creations. The various sections show the variety that was expected of incidental music. The necessary dance rhythms and character songs are deftly rendered, with moods ranging from slow and gentle to brisk and lively and with nimble passagework for the string ensemble.

Unlike the other violin concertos that Haydn wrote in his earliest years as the court composer in Esterhaza for Luigi Tomasini, concertmaster of the Esterhazy Orchestra, the “Concerto for Violin in G Major” seems likely to have been written for a different concertmaster. Before his engagement with the Esterhazy family, Haydn was kapellmeister for Count Morzin from 1757 until 1761. It is believed that he may have written this concerto for himself to perform with the ensemble. Although the work doesn’t possess the sophistication of the concertos written at Esterhaza, it is still a thrilling work. It is in three movements as was typical for a concerto of this period. The first is a stately allegro moderato.

Of Telemann's surviving concertos, his “Viola Concerto in G Major” is among his most famous and still regularly performed today. It is the first known concerto for viola. Telemann focused on composing for lesser-known instruments, resulting in the composition of this piece. It represents a major baroque concerto, as he explored the soloistic sound of the instrument, allowing it to be viewed as more than just an ensemble instrument. The concerto contains four movements and follows sonata da chiesa form.

The fifth installment of the Brandenburg concerti features the flute, violin and harpsichord as its soloists. The concerto is in the typical fast-slow-fast configuration. The first movement opens with an energetic tutti theme, eventually giving way to the trio of soloists. The real star, however, is the harpsichord. While the harpsichord is used in all the Brandenburgs, the fifth uses the harpsichord as the cohesive unit of the entire piece, especially the first movement. The movement ends with a lengthy cadenza-like section for the harpsichord that ultimately yields to the opening tutti theme that drives to the end of the movement. The second movement offers a lovely repose between the frenetic first and third movements. The third movement is a jaunty number that highlights the contrapuntal genius of Bach.

For more information, contact FSU’s Department of Music at 301-687-4109.

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