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The early works of Richard Strauss (1864-1949) were the afternoon's other principal attraction. The Serenade in E flat for 13 Wind Instruments Op 7 from 1882 was greatly admired by no less than Hans van Bulow (who led his Meiningen Orchestra in the score in 1884). While the spirit of Mendelssohn hovers over the single movement score, the thematic material has the sweep and lyrical European romanticism of mature Strauss. The graceful instrumental invention illustrates Strauss's mastery in writing for wind instruments. Robison's glowing tone rode the ensemble impressively. Two wonderful oboists -- Katherine Young (from the Eastman School of Music and Rice University) and Karen Birch (a graduate of Oberlin College and the Hartt School of Music) -- displayed glorious plangent tone and beautifully nuanced coloration. The entire ensemble played with precision and sensitivity. An important revival!

Karen Birch
Karen Birch

Three early Strauss works opened the program. These charming vignettes were more than just interesting curios. The Festmarsch was a typically Prussian march with a warmly Vienesse central episode. From 1893 came the romantic Liebesliedchen and the lively, Eastern tinged Arabischer Tanz.

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Copyright © 22 February 2005 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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