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March 2019


Sinfonia No. 8

with works by Barnett, Parry, and Schoenberg

Felix MENDELSSOHN - Sinfonia No. 8 in D, MWV N 8 (1822)
Leroy ANDERSON - Fiddle-Faddle (1947)
Charlie BARNETT - String Transparencies (2008)
CHEN Yi - Romance of Hsiao and Ch'in (1995)
George GERSHWIN - Lullaby for Strings (1948)
Arnold SCHOENBERG - Ten Early Waltzes for Strings (1897)

Friday, March 1, 2019


New Spire Stages

Frederick, MD


General Admission: $25.00
Youth/Student: $15.00

Saturday, March 2, 2019


Forcey Bible Church

Silver Spring, MD


General Admission: $20.00
Youth/Student: $12.00

Concert Notes

The NSS begins its season with Felix Mendelssohn's Sinfonia No. 8 in D. One of Mendelssohn's earliest and most successful works in the symphonic form, this robust, four-movement work displays the teenage composer's brilliant command of melodic line and complex counterpoint. The work is part of a set of 13 early string symphonies which the composer wrote partly as exercises and partly as an effort to spread his wings in the symphonic form. He had crafted the first six as early as 1821 — when he was all of 12 years old!

While it is probable that Mendelssohn was intentionally composing in the style of Mozart, this piece is undeniably original and in no way a mere copy of the earlier master. In fact, after a passage of this consummate four-part counterpoint, the work erupts into a great, zagging coda, the likes of which would have shocked Mozart and which is nowhere even approximated in any of Mozart's music. It is almost as if the young Mendelssohn, having tipped his hat to Mozart, is driving the piece home as undeniably and uniquely his own work.

Also on the program is the world premiere of Charlie Barnett's String Transparencies. This will be the second work by Barnett premiered by the NSS, the first being Retablos, which was presented at the Kennedy Center in March 2018.

Romance of Hsiao and Ch'in by Chen Yi illustrates the breadth of sound of which a string orchestra is capable. Inspired by traditional Chinese music and instruments, this work calls upon the orchestra to imitate the sounds of a hsiao (a vertical bamboo flute) and a ch'in (a 2,000-year-old Chinese 7-string zither), both of which have rich repertoires in the history of Chinese music and literature.

Best known for the atonal innovations of his mature compositions, Arnold Schoenberg demonstrated in his early works his mastery of traditional compositional forms. His charming Ten Early Waltzes for Strings evoke the popular Viennese waltzes of Johann Strauss. The concert is rounded out by pieces by two American favorites: Fiddle-Faddle by Leroy Anderson and Lullaby for Strings by George Gershwin.

NOTE: NSS concerts typically last around two hours, including a 15-minute intermission.