Valor & Remembrance: The Music of World War I

Saturday, November 3, 2018 • 7:30 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church (3200 3rd Ave W)

advance tickets: Brown Paper Tickets or 1-800-838-3006

Orchestra Seattle
Seattle Chamber Singers
William White, conductor
Dana Brown, piano
Charles Robert Stephens, baritone


Lili Boulanger (1893–1918)
Pour les funérailles d’un soldat

Paul Hindemith (1893–1918)
String Quartet No. 2 in F minor, Op. 10 [first movement]

Maurice Ravel (1875–1937)
Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

— intermission —

Gustav Holst (1874–1934)
Ode to Death, Op. 38

Hubert Parry (1848–1918)
“There Is an Old Belief” from Songs of Farewell

Maurice Ravel
La valse

About the Concert

Marking the centenary of the armistice that ended World War I, this concert explores the experience of “the war to end all wars” through the ears of the composers who lived it. As only OSSCS can do, our program combines orchestral, choral and chamber music to create a rich tapestry of sounds and ideas.

Maurice Ravel, an ambulance driver at the front lines of the war, composed his Concerto for the Left Hand at the behest of Paul Wittgenstein, a concert pianist driven to create a wholly new repertoire of one-handed piano music after losing his right arm to a sniper’s bullet during the war. Paul Hindemith, amazingly, was able to form a string quartet made up of fellow soldiers during his time in the Prussian army; his second string quartet, an eerie and disconcerting work, was composed shortly before he was posted to the trenches, where he narrowly escaped a grenade attack.

“Gassed” by John Singer Sargent

We also present the work of two English composers: Gustav Holst, whose little known Ode to Death served as a memorial to friends lost during the war; and Hubert Parry, a Germanophile who could never reconcile himself to the fact that his country had gone to war with the Kaiser.

Lili Boulanger is represented by her cortège-like Pour les funérailles d’un soldat (“For the funeral of a soldier”), a startlingly prescient vision composed in the lead-up to the Great War. We close our concert with more music of Ravel, La Valse, a musical depiction of the rise and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as told through the dance in three-quarter time that had come to define it.

About the Soloists

Dana Brown

Pianist Dana Brown has been heard at the Tanglewood Festival, the Ravinia Festival, and many times on WFMT Radio as a soloist collaborator, in addition to performances with WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Light Opera Works of Evanston, L’Opera Piccola, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Chicago Humanities Festival. As a coach, he has served on the faculty of Northwestern University, the Intermezzo Young Artists Program, the Opera and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy, and most recently the Taos Opera Institute in Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico. As a solo pianist, he is a past national winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Competition, and has been the featured soloist in concerti of Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Gershwin across the Midwest. A graduate of the University of Michigan, where he studied with renowned accompanist Martin Katz, he is currently associate professor of Opera and Vocal Coaching at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where he has taught and coached since 2001. At CCPA he musically directs opera, coaches graduate and undergraduates in the vocal performance programs, and teaches singer-specific classes in diction, art song literature and business practices. He is also co-artistic director of a new summer program for emerging singers, the Up North Vocal Institute, held in Boyne, Michigan, and a staff pianist for the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he has played in the lessons and masterclasses of Marilyn Horne, Renata Scotto and Renée Fleming. In 2013 he had had the great honor of playing at the 80th birthday celebration of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court Building. Learn more:

Charles Robert Stephens

Baritone Charles Robert Stephens has been hailed by The New York Times as “a baritone of smooth distinction.” In his two decades in New York City, he sang several roles with the New York City Opera and on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall. Now based in Seattle, Mr. Stephens has frequently appeared as a soloist with the Seattle Symphony and is very active with ensembles throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the orchestras of Tacoma, Spokane, Bellingham, Walla Walla and Yakima. He currently serves on the voice faculty at Pacific Lutheran University and teaches privately in Seattle. Learn more:

Program Notes