Alexandria, Va. --
“The President’s Own” Marine Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Assistant Director Maj. Michelle A. Rakers, will pay tribute to Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvořák during the concert “From Mentor to Fast Friends” at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 17 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Va. The concert is free and no tickets are required. Free parking is available in the adjacent garage.
Brahms was already an established composer and was a panel judge for the Austrian State Stipendium when he took notice of the prolific young composer Dvořák who won the Stipendium three out of four years. Brahms championed his work and convinced his own publishing company to take on the young Czech. What started out as a mentorship turned into a friendship between the two composers, which is analogous when pairing their music and their inventive, beautiful melodies.
The chamber orchestra will perform Brahms’ Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 3, and 10, and his Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Opus 56a. The Hungarian Dances, a set of 10 pieces inspired by gypsy tunes and originally published for piano, four hands, were an instant success. Brahms later orchestrated the first, third, and tenth dances. His Variations on a Theme of Haydn is based on a work for wind instruments called Feldparthie which, at the time, was attributed to Joseph Haydn. The theme of the second movement contained an old traditional pilgrims’ hymn, “Chorale Saint Antoni,” which so captivated Brahms that he used it as his main theme for the Variations.
The performance will include two solo works by Dvořák: his Violin Concerto in A minor, Opus 53, featuring soloist Staff Sgt. Karen Johnson, and his Rondo in G minor, Opus 94 and “Silent Woods” from From Bohemia’s Forest, Opus 68, featuring cello soloist Staff Sgt. Charlaine Prescott.
“Similar to Brahms, Dvořák composed only one violin concerto and it shows the composer at his best,” Johnson said about the Violin Concerto in A minor. “The work contains grand music like in his symphonies and soulful, slow melodies like in his New World Symphony, as well as folk-inspired tunes concluding the piece.”
Beginning at 1:15 p.m., a brass quintet will offer pre-concert music in the lobby. The quintet will have a list of dozens of selections to choose from and take requests from patrons on what to play.
Complete Program and Program Notes
Directions and Parking Information