Laura Returns to Park Univeristy’s International Center for Music

Laura with Park University students

Laura returns to work with the fantastic young musicians at Park University’s International Center for Music in a program of works for string orchestra composed by Sir Edward Elgar, Patrick Harlin, and Franz Schubert.

Introduction and Allegro for Strings by Edward Elgar

Selections from Wilderness Anthology by Patrick Harlin

Death and the Maiden by Franz Schubert, Arr. Gustav Mahler

The concert opens with the stirring Introduction and Allegro by Sir Edward Elgar. This unique work, scored for string quartet and string orchestra, explores the many possibilities of sound created by the quartet with the larger group. All the hallmarks of the composer’s style are evident in this work, being alternately wistful and dramatic, extrovert and contemplative. Elgar was himself an accomplished violinist, and his string writing bears the hallmark of presenting the players with tremendous challenges, but always with the full knowledge of the instruments’ capabilities, making his music equally gratifying to play as to hear. This performance will feature the students of the ICM String Quartet in their first appearance with the orchestra.

A native of Seattle, Patrick Harlin is composer in residence with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and his works have been performed by the St. Louis and Kansas City Symphony Orchestras.  His music draws parallels between the sounds of the natural world and those of the concert hall, seeking to bring awareness to the importance of sound in our environment.  His ongoing work titled The Wilderness Anthology is reflective of this approach, and selections from it will be heard in the concert.

At first glance, the music of Schubert and Mahler could not be more different; Schubert the writer of elegant chamber music, piano works, and concise symphonies, and Mahler the man of gigantic symphonic structures using huge musical forces.  It is, however, their mutual love of solo song that binds them together.  Both composers are masters of the form, and both included thematic references to songs in their instrumental literature.  Schubert based his 14th string quartet on his own song “Death and the Maiden”, and it was Mahler who later arranged this quartet for larger string orchestra, a work in which both composers seem to meet.  Perhaps it is more accurate to say that Mahler takes his hat off to Schubert in homage for providing such inspiring music for further transcription.