Greenville Symphony Orchestra
Photo provided by Greenville Symphony Orchestra

The Greenville Symphony Orchestra’s first Spotlight performance of the year is an all-American program — though with a slight twist.

Works by four American composers are featured as well as Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 12, with the subtitle “American.”

Dvorak wrote the work in 1893 when the Czech composer was living in the United States. The piece’s tuneful lyricism has drawn comparisons to Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, also a product of the composer’s stay in America.

The orchestra’s Spotlight concerts feature intimate chamber works performed by musicians of Greenville Symphony.

This Spotlight program, “The Changing Seasons,” will be offered twice: at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, 847 Cleveland St.

The program features several of the orchestra’s principal woodwind players and string players in works by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Morton Gould and Florence Price — in addition to Dvorak.

Just in time for winter, there’s Barber’s “Summer Music,” a mercurial 1953 work for wind quintet. It captures summer’s sultry warmth and nature’s busy activity.

Copland’s “Two Threnodies” are mournful and occasionally anguished musical odes written in memory of composer Igor Stravinsky and Copland’s close friend Beatrice Cunningham. They’re scored for flute and string quartet.

The program takes a jazzy turn with “Benny’s Gig,” eight duets by Morton Gould for clarinet and double bass. Gould wrote the piece in 1962 for legendary jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman to take on a concert tour of the Soviet Union.

In “Five Folksongs in Counterpoint,” African American composer Florence Price arranges a handful of traditional songs — “Calvary,” “Clementine,” “Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes,” “Shortnin’ Bread” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” — for string quartet.

The Dvorak string quartet, meanwhile, was inspired by the spirituals and Native American music the composer enjoyed while in living in the Czech community of Spillville, Iowa in 1892-95.

Paul Hyde, a longtime Upstate journalist, writes about the arts for the Greenville Journal. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.

If you go

  • What: “The Changing Seasons,” a Spotlight chamber concert, featuring musicians of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra
  • When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11
  • Where: Fellowship Hall, First Baptist Church, 847 Cleveland St., Greenville
  • Tickets: $18
  • Info: 864-467-3000 or www.greenvillesymphony.org
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