The Westmont Orchestra, conducted by Michael Shasberger, will perform its Spring Orchestra Concert at 7 p.m. Friday in the Page Multipurpose Room at Westmont College and at 3 p.m. Sunday in First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave.
The diverse and tasty program is comprised, in whatever order appears on the printed bill of fare, of the Hymne for Violin and Orchestra, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Dutch composer Alphonsus Johannes Maria Diepenbrock (1862-1921); Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, Opus 48; Gabriel Fauré’s Masques and Bergamasques, Opus 112 and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture, Opus 36.
The Diepenbrock, a concerted work, will feature the solo violin of Dr. Han Soo Kim, Westmont's new faculty teaching artist.
Diepenbrock was a classicist and academic by profession, and he earned his doctorate with a dissertation, in Latin, on the Roman poet Seneca.
After graduation, he taught for six years, then chucked it to become a composer. His Roman Catholic family was rich, and he didn't starve. His friends among contemporary musicians included Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Arnold Schoenberg.
The standard characterization of his music is that it combines "16th-century polyphony with Wagnerian chromaticism" and includes a later admixture of Debussy. This doesn't really prepare you for it, since it makes it sound a good deal more somber than it actually is. In the Hymne, the Debussy influence dominates, in a passive-aggressive sort of way. There is also a hint of Max Bruch in the lilting melodies.
Fauré’s Masques and Bergamasques is a delicate, nimble and youthful work written when the composer was 76. It is close in spirit to the Ancient Dances and Airs of Ottorino Respighi and the Capriol Suite of Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock), but more modern in its melodies and the treatment of them. The "Masques and Bergamasques" Suite is that rare "light classic" that is also a serious composition by a great artist. Fauré has acquired a reputation for austerity, but one's person's austere is another person's sublime.
Tickets to the concert at either venue may be purchased at the door. They are $10 for general admission, with students attending for free.