by Daniel Hathaway
Having made its debut earlier this season with a program of jazz arrangements by Dave Morgan featuring vocalist Helen Welch, Youngstown State University’s modular Dana Ensemble will turn to a different type of arrangements for its second outing at the Ford Family Theater at the DeYor Center on Sunday, May 2 at 3:00 pm.
Organized by faculty cellist Kivie Cahn-Lipman, the program will feature special reductions for chamber ensemble of large orchestral works presented by Arnold Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performance, a series of weekly salon concerts the composer launched 100 years ago in Vienna. His objective was to cultivate an informed audience for new music and provide adequate rehearsal time for presenting new works without breaking the bank — hence the need for reduced orchestrations.
“I’ve known about these arrangements since I was a student at Oberlin,” Cahn-Lipman said in a telephone conversation. “We did the reduction of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde one semester. It blew me away that Schoenberg reduced a huge orchestra down to 15 or 16 players, and the arrangements we’re playing on Sunday are for even smaller ensembles.”
Sunday’s program includes Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Johann Strauss Jr.’s Emperor Waltz, and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with faculty soprano Misook Yun. “I was struck by the variety of pieces Schoenberg had arranged,” Cahn-Lipman said, pointing specially to the Strauss work. “The society wasn’t limiting itself to the most modern music, but committed itself both to depth and breadth of repertoire.”