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Concert Sponsors

Bill Larson & Judy Ericksen

2021 - 2022

Chamber Music Series

 FRIDAY February 25 7pm
SUNDAY February 27 2pm

Three beautiful works combine strings and winds


History Museum

422 Second St S


First Congregational Church 

2900 9th Ave S

Quartet + Quintet 2021.jpg
Quartet + Quintet 2021.jpg

Chinook Winds

Cascade Quartet


Miguel del Águila

b. 1957

I. Nostálgica

II. Long Ago

III. Finale: Allegro

Cascade Quartet

with Natalie Law, BASSOON

Written in 1998 by Miguel del Águila and revised in 2016, Nostálgica was commissioned by bassoonist Barrick Stees who premiered it in 1998 at the International Double Reed Convention in Arizona. The composer writes, “I wanted to write a piece in which the bassoon would be the “solo singer” of the ensemble. Soon after I started writing this work, the tone qualities of the bassoon started determining the thematic material and even the form of the piece. Even though the bassoon is the solo singer here, the strings have a technically demanding role, which includes extreme registers and the extensive use of harmonics.”

1. Nostálgica is quiet and lyrical and sets the mood for the entire piece, establishing the bassoon as the main singing voice. The music is inspired by the Brazilian Chôro.

2. Long Ago is a calm, almost pastoral middle movement. The bassoon plays carefree arabesques often in the pentatonic mode and accompanied by shimmering string harmonics and the relaxed beat of violin pizzicati.

3. Finale concludes the piece with a lively Latin dance. Here the bassoon provides the beat with its fast, often percussive notes.

 – Notes by Miguel del Águila

1875 – 1916
Clarinet Quintet Opus 146

Max Reger

I. Moderato ed amabile

II. Vivace

III. Largo

IV. Theme with 8 Variations – Poco allegretto

Cascade Quartet

with Nick Davies, CLARINET

Although generally an unfamiliar name, the monolithic Max Reger stands at the gateway between Romanticism and Modernism at the turn of the 20th century, a composer of complex works of unusual harmonic fluidity and contrapuntal mastery that still demonstrate a love for the lyricism of an earlier time. The Bavarian-born composer acts as a missing link between Johannes Brahms and Arnold Schoenberg, Brahms being a composer Reger admired greatly and emulated, and Schoenberg in turn admiring both Brahms and Reger. Perhaps better known as a conductor and an organist in his lifetime, Reger died relatively young in 1916 at the age of 43, and his large output includes a considerable number of organ, chamber and choral works with a penchant for fugal writing. 

It is therefore surprising and notable to observe the autumnal simplicity of Reger’s final work, the Clarinet Quintet, Op. 146, completed just ten days before his sudden death. This plaintive work was part of an effort by the composer to reach further back to a simpler style, writing to his publisher “I know exactly what the music of today is missing: a Mozart!”

The combination of clarinet and string quartet, though relatively uncommon, is a genre best known through the works of Brahms, Mozart and Carl Maria von Weber. Reger, who would have been keenly aware of these works, chooses to do as Brahms did and modeled his quintet after Mozart’s. The result is a highly classicized work: a sonata-form first movement, followed by a rhythmically buzzing scherzo, a meditative slow movement, and a theme with eight variations. Whereas both Brahms and Mozart chose to highlight the clarinet’s separate nature in their works, Reger instead weaves the clarinet into the contrapuntal texture of the strings, as an equal voice as opposed to a soloist. 

Characteristic of the work are stretches of ambiguity which suddenly become lucid with tender coalescence. Reger makes this clear even with the use of language in the score, moderato ed amabile, moderately and lovingly, or dolce and espressivo, sweet and expressive. As a whole, the Clarinet Quintet is a humble swan song of refined technique, bittersweet melancholy and restrained poignancy, ending like it begins, in hushed tones. 

 – Notes by Nick Davies