Brian Balmages: Wood Splitter Fanfare
Robert Volkmann: Serenade No. 2 in F, Op. 63
Robert Edward Smith: Concerto for Horn and Strings
Kevin Owen, horn
Leoš Janáček: Idyll
Brian Balmages’s energetic Wood Splitter Fanfare opens our program. A highly regarded composer of film scores, orchestral and band music, his Lullaby to the Moon was an audience favorite when we performed it last year.
German composer Robert Volkmann, who was a friend of Brahms, spent much of his life in Budapest. His charming four-movement Serenade No. 2 in F includes a waltz and a march.
We are thrilled to feature Kevin Owen in a new Concerto for Horn and Strings, commissioned by the COB and written especially for him by Robert Edward Smith (website). Mr. Owen is principal horn of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Boston Lyric Opera, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic. He has been a soloist with all of those orchestra and many others, including the COB several times, most recently in Smith’s Springtime in Boston.
Robert Edward Smith (website) composes music that is “enthusiastically tonal and melodic” (Boston Music Intelligencer) and his “tuneful and well made” (Boston Globe) music appeals to both novices and seasoned concertgoers. As Audio Magazine describes his music: “full of light and air, warm, comfortable and humorous. Mr. Smith is one of those gifted and unpretentious composers who just think naturally in ‘old fashioned’ musical idioms, making no pretense at conscious modernity. Mr. Smith writes at leisure, spinning out some really delightful musical ideas.”
Leoš Janáček’s colorful, folk-influenced Idyll, brings our season to a delightful close. Janáček had great interest in the folk music of his native Czech Republic. He greatly admired Dvorák and championed his music. It is quite likely that Janáček’s performance of Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings inspired him to compose his own works for the same medium, both the Suite for Strings and Idyll. Janáček met in Dvorák 1877, and they developed a strong friendship. Together they went on a very ambitious walking tour of Bohemia, absorbing and collecting folk music of the region. Written in 1878, the seven-movement work received its premiere in Brno under Janáček’s direction and with Dvorák in the audience.