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National String Symphonia
  • April 28, 2019
  • New Spire Stages
  • 15 W. Patrick St., Frederick, MD 21701
  • 301-620-4458
  • 4:00 PM
  • $20-25

    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.

    Arnold Schoenberg's 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.