The NEC Chamber Orchestra, NEC's conductorless orchestra, was created in 2000 by double bassist Donald Palma, a founding member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. It gives young players a chance to work together in a completely new way, each player taking full responsibility for the sound of the group. Palma's regular coaching is supplemented by other members of the NEC faculty.Music of the classical era by Handel, Haydn, and Mozart is at the core of virtually every program, along with an occasional baroque work, as well as modern pieces.
Tonight's concert features Four Transylvanian Dances by Sándor Veress, who was mentored by Bartok, and who is said to have "out-Bartoked Bartok." The younger Hungarian composer completed these dances in the late 1940s shortly after he had decided not to return to his homeland and risk political and artistic repression and it is hard not to hear both defiance and a leave-taking in this music. The composer describes the dances as "free re-creations of certain styles of dance music indigenous to Hungarian villages, particularly to the Székler of Transylvania."
Other works include the Mozart Divertimento No.11 in D-major, K.251 andSchoenberg's Transfigured Night. The latter is heard in the string orchestra version that the composer arranged in 1917 and subsequently revised in 1943. This performance, paired with the January 31 NEC Contemporary Ensemble performance of the original 1899 sextet version, offers listeners an unusual opportunity to see how the composer's vision of the piece—probably his most popular—changed over the course of his life.