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January 28 Chamber concert

Photo by MSgt Brian Rust

Chamber Concert: “Love and Loss”

21 Jan 2024 | MSgt Rachel Ghadiali United States Marine Band

The Marine Chamber Music Series begins at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 28, with a program consisting of piano and violin on works by Ottorino Resphigi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Strauss, and the Marine Band’s own Staff Sgt. Tyler Lindsay. Coordinated by pianist Staff Sgt. Dominic Muzzi, the performance will take place in John Philip Sousa Band Hall, online and in person at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C. Muzzi offered the following on the program:

This program, “Love and Loss,” is built to showcase the dramatic power of the smallest chamber ensemble—the duo. Occupying completely different ends of the emotional spectrum, the two centerpieces of this concert were written only 30 years apart.

The main courses of this program are rounded out with samplings from the seventeenth and twenty-first centuries for solo violin and piano, but they are connected to their larger counterparts in subtler ways. Solitude and Calming Waters, for instance, is best experienced by basking in its harmonic beauty, with its complex vertical sonority providing the foundation to the works’ expression. The Bach composition, on the other hand, is a masterpiece in architecture, providing the listener with a sense of processional inevitability that lays the framework for the program’s final work.

Ottorino Respighi’s Violin Sonata in B minor is a completely tragic work, written just after the death of his mother. Like the rhythm of our own emotional makeup when experiencing heartbreak, the writing is profoundly irregular. It is characterized by unusually long phrases underpinned by a strong, Wagnerian chromatic language. The harmonies throughout the work unfold in an elusive manner, often germinating at great length before arriving at veritable musical vistas, which are this piece’s most outstanding moments. The second movement in particular puts the listener into a hypnotic stasis through the usage of hazy, richly layered textures. It is rife with this wavy, rippling serenity in a way that very few pieces accomplish across the entire repertoire. This is utterly rarified expression worked through the language of one of history’s greatest creators of sound-worlds.

Closing out the program, Richard Strauss’s Violin Sonata in E-flat, Opus 18 is a different musical experience. I like to think of it as an operatic microcosm, like a musical proof of concept for Rosenkavalier, which premiered several decades later. The architecture in this work is far more regular, and it relies on virtuosity from all involved to create sweeping, magisterial phrasing that provides the listener with a tangible sense of occasion. The middle movement provides an almost impressionistic reprieve to its extroverted neighbors, taking full advantage of the modern instrument with sparkling, stratospheric runs and rapid warbles invoking the sounds of nature.

The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets required. The Marine Barracks Annex is located at 1053 7th Street SE in Washington, DC, and free parking is available in the gated lot beneath the bridge on 7th Street. Please allow extra time for ID checks and security at the gate.