On Sunday, Oct. 18 the Aiken Symphony Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Dr. Donald Portnoy, will present a program that will include chamber works by J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, P.I. Tchaikovsky and Gustav Holst; American composers, Leroy Anderson, George Gershwin; and British composers, Benjamin Britten and Sir Edward Elgar.
Due to pandemic precautions and social distancing requirements, the orchestra will be limited to stringed instruments, harpsichord and percussion. None of the selected music employs wind instruments, as pandemic precautions preempt their use.
Due to social distancing requirements, it is spatially impossible to seat a full symphonic concert orchestra and the selected works will be presented by the orchestra’s chamber series.
The performance will take place at the Etherredge Center on the campus of USC Aiken, 471 University Parkway, and will begin at 3 p.m. University policies governing COVID-19 precautions will be in place, including mandatory face masks for audience and musicians.
Tickets are $43 and became available Sept. 22. They can be purchased online at aikensymphonyorchestra.com, via phone at 803-220-7251, or at the box office on the evening of the performance, if available. Will call service will be available.
A giant of the Baroque period, Bach composed a series of six concertos, the so called “Brandenburg Concertos,” of which the third will be performed. The concertos draw their name from Christian Ludwig, the Margrave of Brandenburg, to whom the works were presented in 1721. Unlike most concertos, Brandenburg #3 does not employ a solo instrument, but strings and harpsichord are used ensemble.
“Eine kleine Nachtmusik,” or a “Little night Music,” composed in 1787 by Mozart is one of his most popular works. Oddly enough, he did not name the work, but its title was taken from a handwritten notation Mozart made in his personal catalog. It is also known as Serenade No. 13, K.525, in G major. Consisting of four movements, Allegro; Romanze/ andante; Menuetto/ allegretto; Rondo/allegro.
Holst composed the St. Paul Suite, Op. 29, No. 2 in 1913 for the St. Paul’s School for Girls string orchestra, for which he was music director. The work consists of four movements: Jig (lively folk dance in compound meter); Ostinato (a repeating musical phrase); Intermezzo (light instrumental composition); Finale (rousing adaptation of folksong).
The Serenade, Op. 20, E Minor was composed in March 1892 by Elgar. It was composed in three movements: Allegro piacevole (played gracefully without passion); Larghetto (moderately slow); Allegretto (moderately fast). The work remains among the most frequently performed of all Elgar’s music.
Britten’s Simple Symphony was written in 1934 and is a composite of musical themes he had written when he was 16. Although the work consists of four movements made up of eight main themes, two will be presented: Sentimental Sarabande utilizing allegro and waltz tempos; and Frolicsome Finale which has been described as “technically polished and superbly conceived.”
Anderson was an important American composer of light, popular music. His first work, “Jazz Pizzicato” was composed in 1938, and “Fiddle Faddle” in 1947. A number of his works were used as theme songs for TV shows such as “The Late Show,” “I’ve Got a Secret” and others. Perhaps his best – known composition is “Sleigh Ride.”
One of the most beloved of the Russian composers, P. I. Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893), composed the Serenade for Strings, Op. 48, in C Major in 1880, and was first performed at the Moscow Conservatory. While the work consists of four movements, two will be presented: Movement #2, Valse, and movement #4 Finale, (Tema russo).
Gershwin was a major composer of American opera and Broadway music. The selections from his opera, “Porgy and Bess,” originally written for voice, were orchestrated for strings by William Zinn who was primarily known as a classical violinist. His Porgy and Bess orchestrations include Summertime; It Ain’t Necessarily So; I Got Plenty of Nuttin’ among others.