screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-9-42-55-pmThoughts from our very own, Serouj Kradjian

Similar in last names, yet so different in styles. Johann, the undisputed king of Viennese waltz and operettas, even making Johannes Brahms envious that he wasn’t the composer of the “Blue Danube”. Richard Strauss with his rich harmonic palette, soaring melodies and the grand orchestral sound, and a musical style which encompassed the Romantic and the Modernist.

To combine these two giants of Austrian and German music in a chamber music concert is an ambitious undertaking. Most importantly because both composers do not have many chamber music works. It is no surprise that most of the pieces on this program are arrangements, some of which will get their world premiere at Amici’s concert.

The waltzes by Johann Strauss are arranged by the Second Viennese school greats Schoenberg and Berg. Of course the musical language used in their arrangements, has nothing to do with the musical style of their original compositions. Schoenberg admitted that Strauss’ feelings “actually coincide with those of the ‘average man on the street.’ The incorporation of the harmonium in these arrangements will be yet another pleasant discovery for the listener.

Join us October 16th for Strauss vs. Strauss an exploration of songs and chamber works by these two strikingly different Strausses, Johann Strauss and Richard Strauss. Featuring Canada’s foremost baritone Russell Braun, singing lieder and operetta arias by both Strausses, joined by violin virtuoso Jonathan Crow and a stellar ensemble of Toronto’s finest musicians.

“I undertook the project of arranging Richard Strauss’ lieder for voice and small chamber ensemble with a bit of a hesitance. How could I find the delicate balance or the mid-point between Strauss’ originals for voice and piano and his own orchestral arrangements of the same songs? I believe my choice of clarinet, string quintet and piano accompanying the voice will offer the listener the spirit of Strauss’ brilliant orchestral writing, at the same time, invoking the intimacy of his voice-piano originals.” Serouj Kradjian

What is the difference between Johann and Richard?
A 105 year old question. Please click here to read an article published in 1911!

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