Lutoslawski in Knights Chamber Orchestra Program at Carnegie THE KNIGHTS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA in an eclectic program featuring Witold Lutoslawski\'s Overture for Strings, works by Mozart, Bartok, Bigar, Haydn, Torelli and Gypsy tunes “a little orchestra of some of New York’s best strings-about-town.” – The New Yorker
Noted by critics and audiences for their unmatched energy, technical mastery, and connection to their listeners, The Knights Chamber Orchestra will make its Carnegie Hall debut with an eclectic program that features works by Lutoslawski, Bartok, Haydn, Torelli, Bigar and a selection of traditional Gypsy tunes.
Witold Lutoslawski’s early Overture for Strings, long overshadowed by the First Symphony (1947) and Musique Funebre (1958), will open the Knights’ concert. Composed in 1949, the composition is illustrative of the composer’s interest in the music of Bela Bartok, especially Bartok’s Divertimento for Strings (1939), which will be featured in the second part of the program. In the Overture, the similarity to Bartok’s music is apparent in the organization of musical material through a close motivic construction, in which a variety of interrelated three- and four-note melodic cells are continuously manipulated in generating longer melodic lines as well as short motifs.
After his First Symphony, the first prominent composition to be labeled “formalist”, was banned in a wave of Stalinist repression, Lutoslawski turned to experimentation in study pieces based on folk elements. For the next several years he composed mostly functional music – children’s songs, easy piano pieces, and small ensemble works. Lutoslawski used those utilitarian works, mostly in private sketches, to experiment in developing his own individual musical language. The Overture was the first abstract piece from that time – written in the composer’s new harmonic language – to reach the stage. Since then his distinctly defined and highly characteristic sound, “perfectly balanced between form and content, intellect and emotion” was steadily evolving to become fully apparent after the Thaw of 1956.
“The Overture for Strings”, writes Andrzej Chlopecki, “is the most interesting composition to be composed before the Musique Funebre… With its widely understood neoclassical features, it links itself on the one hand to the scores of Albert Rousell and on the other to the music of Bela Bartok. In many aspects the Overture foreshadows what was to become of Lutoslawski’s music after the Musique Funebre or even the Venetian Games (1961). It is in this composition that Lutoslawski for the first time used the ‘chain technique,’ a technique based on the overlapping of various elements and their gradual exchange, so characteristic of his latter style.”
The Knights’ program will also include the world premiere of Philippe Bigar’s Printemps Perdu, Joseph Haydn’s joyous Concertino with acclaimed pianist, Steven Beck, Giuseppe Torelli’s rarely performed Christmas Concerto, and selection of traditional gypsy tunes, a signature part of the ensemble’s virtuosic and bravura style.
The Knights’ performances have been captivating audiences for the past seven years. Critics from the New York Sun say the Knights’ performances are “truly an exhilarating experience.” The New York Times said “You had the feeling of being with musicians, not just
The Knights Chamber Orchestra is a fellowship of accomplished young musicians, graduates of Juilliard, Curtis, Manhattan, Mannes and Eastman, who come together for the shared joy of musical exploration. The Knights include members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and musicians who have performed as soloists with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, to name a few, and appeared at the world’s most prestigious music festivals, including Marlboro, Tanglewood, Verbier, Stillwater, Lucerne, Salzburg and Moritzburg. The Knights have recently performed at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, Musicians for Harmony, and were the resident chamber orchestra for the 2007 Philip Glass MATA Festival.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 7:00 PM
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
57th Street & Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019
Tickets: from $15 - $25, at 212-247-7800 or online