Uroš Krek: Inventiones ferales for violin and strings
Richard Wagner: Siegfried Idyll, WWV 103
Josef Suk: Serenade for Strings in E-flat major, Op. 6
Birth and death are the most important moments in a person’s life most often associated with love: birth emerges out of love, while death marks not only the end of life but also of love. So it isn’t surprising that such a topic is frequently found—sometimes hidden—inside important works of art, including music.
The centrepiece of the Maribor Festival Chamber Orchestra’s concert is Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, actually a serenade, written as a special surprise for the composer’s beloved wife Cosima. Standing on the stairs of composer’s villa Wahnfried, the musicians awakened the sleeping Cosima on the morning of her birthday playing the Idyll, which carries not only the name of the hero of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung operas but also that of their son who was born the same year. Surely this was one of the couple’s happiest moments, a peaceful episode in their otherwise agitated domestic life in addition to being a promise of immortal love.
Death is at the centre of the piece Inventiones ferales by the Slovenian composer Uroš Krek. The piece was written in 1962 after the composer’s father died, stirring Krek to replace his usual neoclassical indifference with striking pathos rendered in expressionistic strokes and, together with more typical Bartók-like procedures, even the beginnings of twelve-tone technique.
The Czech composer Josef Suk became absorbed in such compositional procedures even before Krek. Suk, who was always inclined to melancholy, nevertheless also wrote some ‘cheerful’ music, such as the Serenade for Strings, at the encouragement of his teacher Dvořák. Despite the work’s apparent lightness, a rather powerful emotional tone hides beneath the surface – during the time of the work’s composition, Suk was allegedly trying to win the affections of Dvořák’s own daughter Otilie (for the curious, this love story at least had a happy ending: the couple later married).
The concert features the musicians of the Maribor Festival Chamber Orchestra, which this time will be comprised of primarily local musical talent: the orchestra, with a core formed by Maribor musicians, will be led by Simon Krečič, while the soloist will be the charismatic violinist Oksana Pečeny, concert leader of the SNG Maribor Symphony Orchestra.