Chamber music world premieres in the Vesper Series. Which is to say, new versions of something written in the early 1950s. That’s when Dmitri Shostakovich was moved by the spirit of J. S. Bach to create 24 preludes and fugues for piano. Composer and double-bassist Anthony Scelba has recently been re-working them, offering some to be performed by the string septet featured in this concert.

In this program called “Chamber Transformations” is something else almost as rare: Richard Strauss’ 1945, not-often-performed seven-instrument version of his “Metamorphosen” best known for an orchestra version for 23 string players. It’s widely believed that, in the music, he was mourning the destruction of his country, which he believed was brought on by evil countrymen. He quotes the funeral march from Beethoven’s “Eroica” with these words on the score: “In Memoriam.”  

French-born 17th Century composer Georges Onslow’s vast output of chamber music was often compared to Beethoven’s. Onslow wrote more than 30 string quintets and the 20th in D minor,  written in 1831 is in this program featuring members of the Omaha Symphony joined by Charles Pikler, recently-retired principal violist of the Chicago Symphony

The other artists in the performances are violinists Anne Nagosky and Elizabeth Furuta, violists Brian Sherwood and Charles Pikler, with Tim Strang and Gregory Clinton playing cellos and Bill Ritchie, the bass.

It sounds as if these sounds have not been often heard.

Vesper Concert Series: “Chamber Transformations” is January 28, Presbyterian Church of the Cross, 1517 South 114th St.Sun. 3 p.m. Free.  http://vesperconcerts.org


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