On January 27, 2007 NUAMPS spent an evening with the Northwestern University Symphonic Orchestra. The program included Nocturnes by Debussy, Five Pieces by Schoenberg, and Don Quixote by Strauss.
Nocturnes, composed by Claude Debussy, was inspired by three paintings of James McNeill Whistler of the same titles. Just as Whistler was a proponent of color as the focal point of his paintings, so too do Debussy’s works make use of colorful timbres.
In Five Pieces, Arnold Schoenberg toys with abandoning traditional aspects of tonality. Instead of creating rapid harmonic movement, he allows the color of each chord to transform almost unnoticeably, moving the listener to new emotional plateaus with each development.
In Don Quixote, which Richard Strauss dubbed “Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character,” Strauss exhibits his command over the orchestra, using a variety of musical colors to express images and dramatic personae. This performance features cello soloist Anna Burden, who has performed extensively throughout the United States.