Chamber Orchestra to perform hits of the Baroque Feb. 2

The Washington University Chamber Orchestra — under the director of Elizabeth Macdonald, director of strings in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences — will perform a concert of all-time hits from the Baroque era and the 20th century at 8 p.m. Feb. 2 in Umrath Hall Lounge.

The concert will opens with American composer Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, a work made popular through numerous film scores. Also on the program are Concertos Nos. 3 & 6 from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, a set written to impress the margrave of Brandenburg, Germany. The concertos are known for their virtuosic requirements from the performers and for their diverse instrumentation.

Nos. 3 & 6, the only two scored just for strings, differ in that No. 6 excludes the violins and uses only the lower strings.

The program will conclude with Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s Battaglia. The piece falls into a category of musical composition known as “battaglia,” which is highly descriptive of the sounds of battle. Battaglias were popular from the 16th to 18th century in Italy, England France and Spain, though Beethoven was still employing the genre with his Wellington’s Victory from 1813.

The music is generally lively and marked by its rhythmic patterns, made either by the voice or by instruments. In his Battaglia, Biber, lacking a large orchestra or noisy percussion instruments to imitate the sounds of war, creates his own racket by writing the music in two conflicting keys, thus producing a sense of great dissonance and discord.

The concert is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Department of Music. For more information, call 935-4841.

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