Michael Gandolfi: Plain Song, Fantastic Dances
Ludwig van Beethoven: Septet in E-flat, Op. 20
Michael Gandolfi’s playful work for strings and winds, Plain Song, Fantastic Dances, was commissioned by the St. Botolph Club for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. Written in three movements, St. Botolph’s Fantasia, Tango Blue and Quick Step, it reveals Mr. Gandolfi’s broad range of musical interests, encompassing not only contemporary concert music but also jazz, blues and rock, by which route he first became a musician.
Mr. Gandolfi (website) has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission grants, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission, and the 2009 Grammy Award nomination for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, for his The Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Mr. Gandolfi chairs the composition department at the New England Conservatory of Music, is Head of Composition at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has been a faculty member at Harvard University, Indiana University, and Boston University.
One of the last works Beethoven wrote before he became aware of his encroaching deafness, the Septet in E-flat is a lighthearted work in the spirit of the eighteenth century serenade. Dedicated to Empress Maria Theresa, it was premiered in 1800 at the same concert in which he unveiled his Symphony No. 1. Filled with youthful energy and containing engaging solos for the instrumentalists, the Septet was an immediate success.