St. Luke's to Peform Works by Three Strauss Composers Next Month
A 1911 New York Times article made clear that there should be no confusing the Strauss composers: "If you want to see a hitherto peaceful human face mobilize twenty thousand warlike expressions within one brief and crowded moment of glorious life, step up to a man with music in his soul and say: 'Is there any difference between Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss?'"
St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble will spotlight the connections and differences between all three Strausses-Richard, the ultra-Romantic, and Johann I and II, the waltz kings-by juxtaposing music by these namesakes in a series of three concerts at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum.
Striking and dynamic pianist Natasha Paremski-who first appeared with St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble at Caramoor Music Festival in August 2013-will return to join the group in Richard Strauss' Piano Quartet in C minor. This early piece, written at age 20 while R. Strauss was still very much inspired by Brahms, is one of the few chamber music works he composed. It is rarely performed today, overshadowed by later large-scale works that revealed his penchant for storytelling. Still, the drama of those later works is evident in the Piano Quartet, with its surprising turns in rhythm, key, and mood. The work opens with a spirit of rebelliousness, shows Viennese influence in the Scherzo of the second movement, displays Strauss' great expressive abilities in the Andante, and concludes with his characteristic blazing energy and impulsiveness.
For all their differences, Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss the elder are connected by the restless energy of their music. J. Strauss' more than 250 lively waltzes, polkas, galopps, and other dance pieces raised pulses in dance halls and beer gardens throughout Vienna. St. Luke's will perform Seufzer-Galopp (Sigh Galopp), the exotic Chineser-Galopp (Chinese Galopp)-"played as fast as possible," according to the composer's instructions-Cachucha-Galopp, Exeter-Polka, and his best-loved waltz, Loreley-Rheinklänge (Sounds of the Lorelei on the Rhine).