July 14, 2014 --
One week after accepting the Sousa baton and command of “The President’s Own,” Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig will conduct his first Marine Chamber Orchestra concert as Director at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 19 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. The program includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546; Dmitri Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, Opus 110a; Jean Sibelius’s Impromptu for String Orchestra; and Mieczyslaw Karlowicz’s Serenade for String Orchestra, Opus 2.
“The first two selections are indeed revisits from concerts I did early in my career and I am eager to see how the intervening years have affected my view of this great music,” Lt. Col. Fettig said. “They are both works that were originally written for string quartet and transcribed for full string orchestra.”
“The works on the second half are new to me, but I have long had a great affinity for the music of Jean Sibelius,” he continued. “I happened upon the Karlowicz Serenade by chance and was intrigued by the fascinating story behind its creation. Given the serious and darker themes of the Shostakovich Chamber Symphony, this optimistic and youthful Serenade seemed like the perfect complement to end the program.”
Toward the end of July in 1896, Karlowicz departed school in Berlin for a holiday to his home in Warsaw and soon became seriously ill with appendicitis. His recovery took some time and he did not return to his studies until January of the following year. Letters to friends indicate that this is the period within which his Serenade was born. Karlowicz was an experienced violinist and possessed excellent musical instincts. He would also have been well aware of the serenades of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonín Dvořák, Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, and Robert Volkmann, and had superb models as references for crafting his own opus. However its remarkable genesis came about, Karlowicz returned to school with his new Serenade in hand. Dedicated to, and conducted by, his teacher, Heinrich Urban, the première was performed in Berlin for a small group of friends and family in April and the work entered the repertory. The four-movement structure of Karlowicz’s Serenade mirrors those of the great composers, with a march and Romance, a waltz and a finale, but the similarities quickly dissolve beyond the titles. Karlowicz’s music is entirely his own, and his take on familiar forms is both refreshing and ceaselessly optimistic throughout.
The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College is located at 3001 North Beauregard Street in Alexandria, Va. The concert is free; tickets are not required. Parking is available in the adjacent garage for a $6 fee. For more information please visit www.marineband.marines.mil.