Washington, D.C. --
The Winter/Spring Chamber Music Series will conclude at 2 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, May 20, with a performance highlighting the small but mighty string section of “The President’s Own.” The concert will take place at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall in southeast Washington, D.C., and live online at www.marineband.marines.mil and www.youtube.com/usmarineband.
Violin player Staff Sgt. Christopher Franke is the concert coordinator and has selected a program that showcases the talents of the Marine Band’s string players. The musical selections are elegant snapshots of the versatility of the band’s string chamber groups from featured solos to the larger quintet performing some of the earliest works in the genre to one of the latest.
Franke chose Beethoven’s re-imagination of Mozart’s music as a perfect opening to the program. The Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” from Die Zauberflöte is a shorter but upbeat piece for cello and piano based on the theme from Mozart’s Magic Flute. It showcases the virtuosic flair that can sometimes elude the cello parts from many string quartets.
“I wanted to be sure to include the origins of the string quartet genre and ended up choosing both a Haydn quartet as well as a Mozart quintet,” Franke said. “Either of those two composers is generally the first name that comes to mind when you hear ‘string chamber music,’ and I felt that the concert needed to include at least one selection from them. Haydn’s String Quartet in D, Opus 64, No. 5, The Lark, is a very light hearted and upbeat piece, contrasting with the more serious nature of the Mozart’s String Quintet in D, K. 593. The Quintet also utilizes the full sonorities of two violas making for a more somber overall sound.”
The concert will conclude with Caroline Shaw’s Valencia. Written in 2012, the traditional string quartet instrumentation gives way to a musical interpretation of an unusual subject: the visual cross section of a Valencia orange. Her own description of the piece does literary justice to the music: “Hundreds of brilliantly colored, impossibly delicate vesicles of juice, ready to explode. It is a thing of nature so simple, yet so complex and extraordinary.” It is distinctly modern, having no true melodies that the listener will leave humming, but is a captivating listening experience nonetheless. The piece is built more with sound color, using waves of undulating harmonics to create different images in the music. “I found it fitting that Shaw wrote Valencia specifically to perform with her close friends, even naming them in her dedication page,” Franke said. “The string section is comprised of many talented musicians, but the music we perform together has the special touch of our common bond as Marines, as well as our own personal shared friendships.”
The John Philip Sousa Band Hall is located at 7th & K Streets in southeast Washington, D.C. Free parking is available in the lot under the overpass on 7th Street. Patrons should arrive early to allow extra time for ID checks at the gate. The live stream can be found at www.marineband.marines.mil and www.youtube.com/usmarineband.
Directions and parking