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Orion Ensemble

May 24, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
PianoForte Studios
1335 South Michigan Ave
IL 60605
Orion Ensemble @ PianoForte Studios

The Orion Ensemble will be performing Concert Four: Wit and Passion from their 2016-2017 Season at PianoForte Studios.

For information and tickets visit their website:

Program Notes

Jean Francaix (1912–97) was a highly prolific composer of more than 200 works, often stating that his primary aim in creating music was to give others pleasure. In his Trio for violin, viola and cello (1933), the first movement is irresistibly sunny, the second movement a scherzo of great dynamic drive, and the heartfelt third movement is undoubtedly the emotional core of the work. The piece concludes with a rondo finale comprising a main theme and contrasting episodes that are an inspired tribute to the great Classical Era works of the same genre.

Francaix’s Trio for clarinet, viola and piano opens with the mystical dialogue of the viola and clarinet. As the piano enters, this haunting texture expands in mesmerizing proportions. The ensuing second movement, vigorous and dance-like, explores the sonorities of the three instruments in kaleidoscopic enthusiasm. A lighthearted and lyrical third movement features the clarinet and viola in a charming duet of sweet expressions. The final two movements, a largo of poetic dimensions and a presto of equally humorous presence, round out this wonderfully expressive chamber work.

Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G minor premiered in Hamburg in 1861 with his close friend Clara Schumann at the piano. Brahms premiered the work in Vienna one year later, performing in one of his chamber works for the first time. Composed following the death of Robert Schumann, Brahms’ friend and great mentor, the first movement poignantly displays a scope of emotions ranging from sweet remembrances to tearful passions. The second movement, a scherzo in all but name, is an energetic perpetual motion with a slightly quicker—yet more tranquil—trio section. The ensuing andante con moto features a reference to the restless nature of the preceding movement, contrasted by highly lyrical musings. The exotic rondo finale, which Brahms labeled “in the Gypsy Style,” brings the work to an ominous conclusion. True to this inscription, the music resounds in folk-like brilliance.

Joining Orion at the Chicago performance May 24 is Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras wind quintet Zephyrus. The musicians include flutist Jennifer Wang (Chicago), oboist Ann Pinkerton (Wilmette), clarinetist Katia Waxman (Chicago), bassoonist Allen Jiang (Chicago) and horn player Ryan Williamson (Wilmette).

PianoForte Chicago, Inc. Showroom: 900 N. Michigan Ave, 6th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611 · PianoForte Studios: 1335 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60605

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