Prelude to a Serenade (2009)

Composed: September/October 2009
Duration: approx. 6:55 mins.
Premiere: November 18, 2009; Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta, GA (USA); Robert J. Ambrose, conductor
Instrumentation: flute, 2 clarinets in Bb, bassoon, horn in F, violin, viola, cello, bass

This work (score and parts) is available for complimentary download.


Program Notes:

This short, atmospheric piece is scored for a wind and string nonet instrumentation identical to that used by Johannes Brahms in the original chamber version of his Serenade Nr.1, op. 11, from 1857. It was written on commission from the Atlanta-Nürnberg Sister Cities Committee in celebration of the November 2009 visit by Nuremberg, Germany, based Trio37 to Atlanta.
The title reflects this work’s origin as an introduction to the Brahms serenade that followed in the program at its premiere performance.
After the opening solo horn motif, the piece progresses through several variations of fragments of this theme, alternating in voice and color between the individual wind and string instruments, resulting in some luscious harmonies. This motif is contrasted with recurring dream-like passages invoking summer night in a Mediterranean garden, with a guitarist strumming his instrument (in this case the cello) and serenading a captive audience.

Performers at the premiere:
Wolfgang Auer (flute), Ken Long & Katie Curran (clarinet), Angelica Zingerle (bassoon), Richard Dean (horn), Christopher Pulgram (violin), Tania Maxwell Clements (viola), Brad Ritchie (cello), Joe Weldon Ferris (bass); Robert J. Ambrose, conductor