August 11, 2014 --
In his first Marine Chamber Orchestra concert, 1st Lt. Ryan J. Nowlin will conduct a distinctly British program comprised entirely of music written “across the pond.” Selections include Sir Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings in E minor, Opus 20; David Lyon’s Concerto for Horn and Strings, featuring soloist Gunnery Sgt. Greta Richard; Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite; Gerald Finzi’s Romance, Opus 11; and John Rutter’s Suite for Strings.
“Throughout the program you’ll hear music that’s heavily influenced by Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Gustav Holst,” Nowlin said. “But interspersed are contrasting and clever flavors that make the music fresh and new.”
One of those pieces is Lyon’s Concerto for Horn and Strings. Written in 1977 for the Milton Keynes Festival, which is known for advocating contemporary artists and music, the concerto demonstrates Lyon’s focus and emphasis on memorable melodies, accessible rhythms, and rich colors. Horn soloist Gunnery Sgt. Richard first discovered the concerto in an unexpected way. “I was asking James Naigus, the composer in residence for the 2013 Southeast Horn Workshop at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, if he had any pieces for horn and strings or horn and wind ensemble,” Richard said. “He did not have anything composed at the time, but did recommend that I check out the David Lyon Horn Concerto.”
“The reason I fell in love with this work is because from beginning to end it encapsulates everything I love about the French horn. There are moments of brassy fanfare, bits of melancholy, exciting syncopations, and melodies that soar above the strings in a way only the horn can,” she said. “It is often a dialogue between the horn and strings with one or the other answering what was just offered. To me, that is the best kind of solo—one that is a collaboration rather than just soloist with accompaniment.”
“I think there is something for everyone in this work,” she added. “The strings have wonderful colors to add to the horn, and the exciting third movement will keep everyone entertained!”
The Marine Chamber Orchestra performance will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. The concert is free, no tickets are required. Parking is available for $6.
Program and notes