Com­ing up in Philly Music: Pow­er Wind Quin­tet Redux’

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Mimi Stillman (left) is calling 2019-2020 the 'Season of the Word.' (Photo courtesy of Dolce Suono Ensemble)
Mimi Stillman (left) is calling 2019-2020 the 'Season of the Word.' (Photo courtesy of Dolce Suono Ensemble)

The centerpiece of the next Dolce Suono concert will be an offbeat, emotionally complex work that combines music with spoken narration. If you check out the online comments on Luciano Berio’s Opus Number Zoo, you’ll find comparisons to Stravinsky’s sardonic Soldier's Tale, T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and the hard-headed realism of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The opening movement, Barn Dance, begins, "The fox took the chicken out on the floor, Poor silly chicken didn't know the score."

The Berio is an entry in a season-long effort Dolce Suono’s artistic director, flutist Mimi Stillman, calls “The Season of the Word.” Every Dolce Suono concert will include works that combine text and music in various ways. A woodwind quintet provides the music for Opus Number Zoo, and the rest of the concert is filled out with pieces composed for the special sound of interacting woodwinds.

For most of us, the wind quintet literature is one of the less explored branches of the chamber music repertoire. Stillman always comes up with first-class pieces when she puts together a wind quintet program, and you probably haven’t heard most of them. The musicians she’s assembled for the Dolce Suono “Power Winds” are all young musicians with major orchestral positions, including Baltimore Symphony Orchestra principal oboist Katherine Needleman and Phildaelphia Orchestra associate principal horn Jeffrey Lang.

What, Where, When:

Dolce Suono Ensemble presents “Power Wind Quintet Redux” on Sunday, December 15 at 3pm at Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce St., Philadelphia. Tickets are $30 general admission, $25 for seniors, $10 for students. Available online and by phone (267) 252-1803.

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