Love is in the Air
The TBSO has a special treat for you this Valentine’s Day. Cozy up close with a loved one and enjoy listening to works from Ravel, Coleman, Tchaikovsky, and Montgomery.
Maurice Ravel: Tombeau de Couperin
Valerie Coleman: Umoja
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1, mvt. 2
Jessie Montgomery: Strum
Penelope Clarke, flute; Gwendolyn Buttemer, oboe; E-Chen Hsu, clarinet; Damian Rivers-Moore, horn; Daniel Preun, bassoon; Kathlyn Stevens and Michelle Zapf-Bélanger, violins; Marlena Pellegrino, viola; Marc Palmquist, cello
This performance opens with Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin, which was originally written for solo piano. It’s six movements were dedicated to various friends lost in combat during the War. It wasn’t until a few years later when Ravel selected four of the suite’s movements for orchestral arrangements, dropping the original second and sixth movements and re-ordering those that remained.
Next, you’ll hear Coleman’s Umojax, which premiered in 2019. Umoja means unity in Swahili — arcs from serene peace to racing tension before emerging in sunlit joy. Coleman is not primarily an orchestral composer but her work is a powerhouse of emotional directness and bold orchestration.
Then, followed by the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s first chamber composition, String Quartet No.1. Consistently appreciated since its debut, the quartet contains one of Classical music’s greatest hits, and, according to Tchaikovsky’s own diary, it moved Tolstoy to tears.
We end the night with Montgomery’s Strum. The piece begins with what Montgomery calls “fleeting nostalgia.” Melodies weave in, over and between layers of strumming. Several minutes in, the music shifts, “transforming into ecstatic celebration.”