An early musical bouquet Saturday for Valentine's Day

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February 10, 2006|By EILEEN SOSKIN | EILEEN SOSKIN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

An excellent and early Valentine's Day musical bouquet can be enjoyed at 8 p.m. Saturday when the Candlelight Concert Society presents the New York Chamber Soloists at Smith Theatre on the campus of Howard Community College.

Music of the 19th century is labeled Romantic music as a reflection, in part, of the late 18th- century German Romantic movement in literature and the visual arts initiated by writers such as Goethe and Schiller and visual artists such as Caspar David Friedrich and Philipp Otto Runge. The essential definition of German Romanticism is captured by the word sehnsucht, the longing for the unattainable. The literature and art of the times reflect the triumph of the forces of nature over the forces of organized religion and rationality. In music, this is reflected in large and small ways: increasingly complex harmonies, wandering melodies, unexpected twists and turns, longer phrases, a greater dynamic range and longer pieces.

The six pieces on the program are for different combinations of instruments, including oboe, French horn, violin and piano. The first three pieces, by Camille Saint-Saens, are Pastorale for oboe and piano, composed in 1921, Romance for horn and piano, composed in 1883, and Havanise for violin and piano, composed in 1888. The music of Saint-Saens is very French, romantically lush and sensuous. It will be a treat to hear the three single-line instruments (oboe, horn and violin) in solo sonatas at the opening of the concert. Each is like a single rose, featuring a single timbre so that the listener can appreciate the gifts of each instrument and each performer.

These three pieces will be followed by Claude Debussy's Sonata for violin and piano in G minor, composed in 1917, the most forward-looking piece on the program, combining Romantic and 20th-century idioms and ideas in a uniquely French way.

The last two works are Carl Reinecke's Trio for oboe, horn and piano, composed in 1887, and Johannes Brahms's Trio in E-flat major for violin, horn and piano, composed in 1865. Both trios are excellent examples of German Romantic musical style, and each highlights the contrasts in timbre between wind, brass and percussion instruments (the Reinecke) and string, brass and percussion instruments (the Brahms). Both are melodically and harmonically rich; both are forceful and tender, in turn, wooing the listener into a world of beauty.

A preconcert "Meet the Artists and The Music" is to begin at 6:45 p.m. High school students receive one ticket when accompanied by a paying adult, limited availability, at the door. Tickets: 410-480-9950.

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