Critic’s Choice

January 6, 2015 at 12:42 pm

By David Wright

Eric Nathan

The Boston Symphony Chamber Players get together several times a year to perform chamber music on a high level.  Next Sunday’s program of works by two Czech composers and two Americans offers everything from a news flash to comfort food.

The newsmaker is the world premiere of a work (untitled) for oboe, horn and piano by former Tanglewood Composing Fellow and Rome Prize recipient Eric Nathan, whose imaginative scores sometimes recall the Hungarian modernism of Bartók and Kurtág, and other times swing with rhythms closer to home.

The comfortable easy chair is Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22—although even this old favorite has been reupholstered by the English conductor-arranger Nick Ingman in an arrangement for winds, strings and piano.  Ingman, who attended Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory before returning home and making his career in English pop music and films, offers this score as a reconstruction of the Czech composer’s lost Octet-Serenade, once also known as Op. 22.  Musicologists can debate that point, while we settle in and enjoy the music.

Prague-born Josef Mysliveček—contemporary of Haydn, close friend of the Mozarts, father and son—parlayed his success in the opera house into brisk sales of his chamber music, including the melodious Quintet No. 2 in G major for Two Oboes, Two Horns, and Bassoon, which kicks off Sunday’s program.

The chamber players from the BSO continue to champion (as their parent organization does not) the American Romantic composers of the Second Boston School, represented here by Arthur Foote’s delicious Nocturne and Scherzo for flute and string quartet.  Foote, Chadwick, Beach and the other Bostonians certainly knew their Dvořák, but their music has an American brand of sentiment and humor all its own.

Overall, the concert looks to be a feast for the curious, served by some of the best players around.

The performance will be 3 p.m. Sunday in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.  bso.org; 617-266-1200.

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