Spring Concerts, 2008

A memorable musical evening is in store for audiences of the Nashua Chamber Orchestra, in its final program of the ’07—’08 season.  The concerts, conducted by maestro David Feltner and featuring cellist extraordinaire Emmanuel Feldman, will take place at 8:00 PM on Saturday, May 31st at Daniel Webster College, Nashua, and 7:00 PM on Sunday, June 1st in the Milford Town Hall on the Milford Oval.

“Looking back…” the poignant theme of this season finale, is eloquently portrayed through works of Tchaikowsky, Respighi and Elgar.  Inspiration, admiration, and a nearly unbearable longing find expression in Mozartiana (Peter Ilyich Tchaikowsky, 1840--1893), Ancient Airs and Dances (Ottorino Respighi, 1879--1936) and the Cello Concerto of Edward Elgar (1857--1934).

Composed in the aftermath of World War I, the E Minor Cello Concerto (1919) is Elgar’s lament for a lost world.  The war profoundly saddened Elgar, moving him to write that “…everything good and nice and clean and fresh and sweet is far away – never to return.” The hauntingly wistful melodies of this beloved concerto are intensified by soloist Emmanuel Feldman’s soulful, passionate artistry.  Mr. Feldman captivates audiences with his lush, extravagant tone, weaving a spell of high drama and deep pathos to express Elgar’s reflective melodic vagaries.  Minor and diminished modalities, plunging intervals and the rich, dark hues characteristic of Elgar’s style create an atmosphere of emotional intensity, intimately engaging the listener in this nostalgic yearning for a vanished past.

Tchaikowsky’s Fourth Orchestral Suite, Opus 61 (1887), subtitled “Mozartiana”, draws its inspiration from the composer’s affectionate love for Mozart.  In the published score, Tchaikowsky wrote:  “A large number of admirable small compositions of Mozart are, incomprehensibly enough, practically unknown, not only to the public but also to musicians.  The author of the present suite desires to give a new impulse to the performance of these little masterpieces which, in spite of their concise form, present incomparable beauties.”  This harmonious marriage of Mozart’s engaging melodies and Tchaikowsky’s imaginative orchestration is sure to seduce the listener.  Of the four movements, the final Theme and Variations with its ten variations based on a theme of Gluck, is the longest and most complex.

Ottorino Respighi was Italy’s premiere post-romantic composer. The rebels of this new generation of early 20th Century composers hearkened back to their national archives to liberate Italy’s musical idiom from Puccini’s dominant, melodramatic operatic style, while at the same time resisting the intrusion of contemporary French and German cultural influences.  Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1 (1917) is based on sixteenth and seventeenth century lute pieces that were over three hundred years old when Respighi refashioned them.  Masterful in his selection of these ancient melodies, Respighi’s gift for using a wide range of orchestral colors and timbres to create a variegated palette is alluring. Woodwinds and strings alternate responsively, plaintive oboe strains contrast with lively dance rhythms sure to delight modern audiences as they did their forebears of generations past.

Guest artist Emmanuel Feldman has earned an outstanding reputation as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist.  He has performed widely throughout the U.S. and Europe, and is recognized as an advocate of new music, with a number of premieres and first recordings.  His solo CD, Rider on the Plains, was nominated for a Grammy award, and acclaimed by New York Times music critic, Anthony Tommasini.  Mr. Feldman’s riveting interpretation of Elgar’s Cello Concerto will undoubtedly be hailed by audiences as unforgettable.

Anyone who has loved and lost will resonate with this uniquely evocative program.  Tickets may be purchased at the door, or at Darrell’s Music Hall in Nashua, and Toadstool Books in Milford.  Prices are $15 adult, $13 senior, and $8 student.  Each concert is followed by a reception where audience members can mingle with the musicians.  Visit the Nashua Chamber Orchestra website, www.nco-music.org or phone (603) 554-6164, for more information.