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Antonín Dvořák

Sonatina in G Major for Violin and Piano

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Leoš Janáček

Mládí, Suite for Wind Sextet

Janáček composed Mládí in 1924, around the time of his 70th birthday, and during the interval between two operas that have become repertoire staples: The Cunning Little Vixen and The Makropulos Affair. Mládí (Youth) looked back at the composer’s own childhood, with folk-like tunes and lighthearted melodies rendered in the breezy tones of a wind sextet. In his operas, Janáček mastered the technique of shaping his vocal lines to the natural contours of the spoken word; he utilized the same principle in this instrumental work, shaping the main theme to match the tone of the phrase, “Mládí, zlaté mládí!” or, “Youth, golden youth!” This figure reappears throughout the suite, imparting a playful, almost teasing tone. The second movement, in an Andante sostenuto tempo, is the most reserved, with its modal melody first intoned by the bassoon alone. The third movement borrows a piccolo themes from a short work Janáček composed earlier in 1924, “March of the Blue Boys,” a reference to the blue uniforms he wore along with other young choristers. The finale spins out new possibilities from the “Youth, golden youth” gesture while requiring the winds to execute virtuosic, rapid-fire tonguing.

Aaron Grad ©2014

Lembit Beecher

Small Infinities for String Quartet

Lembit Beecher, composer

Franz Schubert

String Quartet in C minor, Quartettsatz

About This Program

The SPCO's Music Alive composer-in-residence Lembit Beecher curates and hosts this program that introduces SPCO audiences to his ability to weave storytelling into instrumental works. In Stories From My Grandmother, Beecher draws on the story of his grandmother’s experiences in Estonia at the end of WWII and the specific sound of her voice as she told her stories. Memories and a sense of timelessness through repetition are the themes that inspired Beecher’s string quartet, Small Infinities and works by Dvořák, Janáček and Schubert have special significance to Beecher’s musical development and share an element of youthful vigor.

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