Orchestra to feature works through the ages at Nov. 13 concert

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The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will present a concert Monday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $10. Northwestern State University, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.

Dr. Douglas Bakenhus is music director of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony. Josie Gonzalez Masmela is the graduate assistant conductor.

The orchestra will perform “Music for the Royal Fireworks” by George Frideric Handel, “Symphony No. 104 in D Major ‘London’’’ by Franz Joseph Haydn, “Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, Nov. 7 and 8” by Antonin Dvořák and “Sensemayá,” by Sivestre Revueltas. The orchestra will play this program at the annual Louisiana Music Educators Association Conference in Baton Rouge on Nov. 16.

Handel composed “Music for the Royal Fireworks” in 1749 for a fireworks presentation that celebrated the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. During the preparations Handel and John Montag, the duke responsible for the event, had an argument about the instrumentation. King George II requested that there be no “fiddles.” Handel thus was obligated to score the piece for a large wind band consisting of 24 oboes, 12 bassoons and a contrabassoon, 9 trumpets, 9 horns, 3 pairs of kettledrums and side drums which were given only the direction to play “ad libitum”; no side drum parts were written by Handel. Handel later added string parts for all subsequent performances.

Haydn spent most of his career writing music for one employer, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. When the Prince died in 1790, his son, Anton, allowed Haydn to travel, which he did frequently including two trips to London, having been invited by the impresario, Johann Peter Salomon. Haydn wrote this Symphony in D Major for his second series of concerts in London.

Written in 1878, Dvořák’s first set of Slavonic dances was written originally for piano four-hands, and was orchestrated by the composer soon afterward at the request of his publisher. Johannes Brahms was an early advocate for the music of Dvořák, and the Slavonic Dances were inspired by the spirit of the Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances.” Dvořák wrote a second collection of eight Slavonic dances in 1886,

“Sensemayá,” composed for a small orchestra in 1937, then expanded into a full orchestra the following year, is an example of an early 20th century trend or style called Primitivism, the most famous work in this vein being Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” Instead of a sacrificial maiden dancing herself to death, Sensemayá is an ancient African ritual that culminates with the killing of a snake. It is based on a poem by Cuban writer Nicolás Guillén,