Australia Ensemble UNSW 2023 Subscription Concert: Summer Music
The ease of a summer holiday is reflected Dvořák’s Piano Quartet, while Barber’s wind quintet suggests a tour through different landscapes on a sunny day. This out-door mood is shared by the ever-genial music of Jean Françaix, and the Parisian-accented work of Dutch composer Leo Smit.
Samuel BARBER | Summer Music Op.31 (1956)
Jean FRANÇAIX | Trio (1990)
Leo SMIT | Sextet (1933)
Antonin DVOŘÁK | Piano Quartet no.2 Op.87 in E flat (1889)
Like many composers, Dvořák used his summer holidays to write new works, and in August 1889 found that ‘the melodies just surged upon me.’ The resulting piano quartet is rich and spontaneous, full of cascading piano writing, vibrant dance music, and melodies with a Bohemian musical accent.
Jean Françaix once quipped that his music that could be ‘called Français - with and X or an S, …jolly most of the time - even comical.’ His 1992 Trio is full of affectionate tilts at jazz and tango and features characteristically free-flowing melodies. Samuel Barber’s beloved Summer Music begins in luxurious indolence but becomes more ebullient in music that recalls Françaix and other Paris-based neo-classical composers including Stravinsky. One such was the Dutch composer Leo Smit, who lived and worked in Paris in the 1920s and was very much at home in the bright airy sound world of the time. Murdered by the Nazis, his music is only now being rediscovered.
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