An Uplifting Spring Serenade

Musica Da Camera String Orchestra. Photo: Len Power

Music / “Serenading In Spring”, Musica Da Camera String Orchestra. At the Holy Covenant Anglican Church, September 17. Reviewed by POWER.

WITH “Serenading in Spring”, the Musica Da Camera String Orchestra presented a particularly well-chosen program of uplifting, refreshing, joyful and optimistic works.

It set the perfect mood for this time of year as we leave behind the dark and cold winter weather and embrace the glories of spring with hopefully an end to the pandemic in sight as well. .

The program included music by Bartók, Delius, Volkmann, Glazunov and Nielsen. Conductor and Music Director Shilong Ye achieved a high level of disciplined and sensitive orchestra playing throughout the concert.

Béla Bartók’s “Romanian Folk Dances” had a brilliant performance to start the program. These six dances, based on seven tunes from Transylvania, were melodious and dramatic. Images of peasants frolicking and rejoicing in early spring easily came to mind.

“Two Watercolors” (Two Songs to be Sung of A Summer Night on the Water) by Frederick Delius was composed in 1917 and arranged for string orchestra in 1932 by Eric Fenby. The first part has a dreamlike side that the orchestra captured with delicacy and emotion. The second part is happier but still retains a thoughtful quality and was played with great sensitivity.

Shilong Ye, conductor of Musica Da Camera String Orchestra. Photo: Len Power

Friedrich Robert Volkmann’s music was most popular before World War I. His “Serenade for String Orchestra No. 2” is a lush and romantic piece, full of varied moods. The orchestra played this work particularly well, giving it a pleasant depth of feeling.

After a short interval has come “Theme and Variations for String Orchestra Op. 97″ by Alexandre Glazunov. Composed in 1918, the variations around the initial theme produce a melodic work that is well played and of great interest.

The final work was the “Suite for strings op. 1″. The orchestra replayed the three distinct parts of this work with notable sensitivity.

The changeable spring weather of sunshine one minute and showers the next through the large church windows added an extra atmosphere to a very enjoyable and thoughtful musical program.

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Ian Meikle, editor

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