The decorative sounds of Bach open today’s program by Prelude String Orchestra, directed in concert by their new conductor Wesley Hunter for the first time. Mr. Hunter picked a work full of character, play, and communication between instruments. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos feature opening themes played in unison, known as ritornellos, which return often throughout the piece’s run to bring the listener back to home base. These return sections are placed in between solo sections where smaller numbers of voices communicate lightly back and forth in conversation.
The dramatic energy of Wood Splitter Fanfare carries the middle of Prelude’s program. Right out of the gate, the feeling of Wood Splitter Fanfare is cinematic: accented, unison notes played across the orchestra set the stage for a heroic melody in the upper strings. Listen for a rhythmic motive in the middle voices—violas—that gets an interesting re-working when the piece reaches its slower, more contemplative middle section.
Francis Feese’s character-like Contrasts in E minor closes Prelude’s Spring program. As its name suggests, Contrasts features three distinct musical ideas. The orchestra will shift from a theatrical, cinematic idea, into a slower, more lyrical sound, then end in a fun, dance-like finale that lets the lower strings have their time to shine.