The opening Festival Series performance of the 2019 June season takes a close look at two distinct but related styles of composition. We have on the one hand the Sonata in D minor, Op. 75, by Camille Saint-Saëns, and the Piano Quintet in A, Op. 81, by Antonin Dvořák. One lays the groundwork for the style known as Impressionism, while the other barters overtly in the compositional movement known as Nationalism, though no less image-rich than its French counterpart. These pieces were composed about two years and 550 miles apart, the former in 1885 (Paris), the latter in 1887 (Prague).
How are they similar? Different? Both are crowd-pleasers (lucky you!), and both showcase the respective virtuosity of their instrumentation. As a brief introductory answer to those rhetorical questions, rhythm is the thing. Saint-Saëns begins to intentionally obscure “natural” rhythmic cycles while Dvořák revels in the most direct and impactful expression of meter. What does all this mean? It means you best attend and enjoy, because no amount of dissection will reveal the twin joys contained in these Romantic masterpieces. To feel the joy, you must only listen.
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Sonata in D minor, Op. 75 (1885) for violin and piano
I. Allegro agitato — Adagio
II Allegretto moderato — Allegro molto
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Piano Quintet In A, Op. 81 (1887)
I. Allegro, ma non tanto
II. Dumka: Andante con moto
III. Scherzo (Furiant): molto vivace
IV. Finale: Allegro
Doors open at 6:30 pm.