A hallmark of Rush Hour Concerts’ mission is to make classical music accessible to everyone. With that in mind, we have developed the Listening Moments Series. Each month we will highlight a piece by a favorite composer, performed by RHC’s world-class artists. These performances will be accompanied by a short listening guide by the featured artist(s) that provides their unique insights about the piece and aims to enhance the listener’s appreciation of the music.
To close out March and our focus on Britten, please enjoy his Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of Dowland, Op. 48a discussed and performed by violist Anthony Devroye and pianist Daniel Schlosberg.
Anthony Devroye, viola and Daniel Schlosberg, piano discuss Britten’s Lachrymae
Anthony Devroye, viola and Daniel Schlosberg, piano perform Britten’s Lachrymae
Notes from our Artist: Anthony Devroye
The viola was Britten’s boyhood instrument; though he would turn his attention fully to composing at a relatively young age, and would gain his greatest acclaim through opera and song, he came back to the viola for his 1950 composition Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of Dowland, Op. 48a for viola and piano. Subtitled “Reflections on a song of John Dowland,” the piece is in the form not of Theme and Variations, but more accurately “Variations and Themes,” as quotes of two Dowland songs – Flow my tears and If my complaints could passions move – appear cryptically in the sixth and final variations of the piece, respectively. Biographer Neil Powell terms this approach a “strategy of ingeniously delayed gratification” to which Britten would turn again in a later Dowland-inspired piece, the Nocturnal for guitar, Op. 70 (Eliot Fisk, guitar).