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FIVE NOT-SO-EASY PIECES.



Byline: CRAIG SMITH For the rugby player, see .
Craig Smith (born November 10, 1983 in Inglewood, California) is an American professional basketball player. After playing for Boston College from 2002-2006, he was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2006 NBA Draft.
 

Composer Ron Strauss has the same last name as some other tunesmiths, including opera master Richard Strauss and the several members of the Strauss waltz dynasty. He's also one "s" away from operetta operetta (ŏpərĕt`ə), type of light opera with a frivolous, sentimental story, often employing parody and satire and containing both spoken dialogue and much light, pleasant music.  magician Oscar Straus Oscar Straus may refer to:
  • Oscar Straus (composer) (1870-1954), a Viennese composer of operettas
  • Oscar Straus (politician) (1850-1936), United States Secretary of Commerce and Labor from 1906 to 1909
. But he's definitely his own man

and musician.

Strauss studied theater at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh and composition and piano in Philadelphia, and after a vigorous career as a composer, arranger, and accompanist in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden  and New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
, he moved to Santa Fe Santa Fe, city, Argentina
Santa Fe, city (1991 pop. 341,000), capital of Santa Fe prov., NE Argentina, a river port near the Paraná, with which it is connected by canal.
 in 1986. A revised version Revised Version
n.
A British and American revision of the King James Version of the Bible, completed in 1885.


Revised Version
Noun
 of his 2001

opera Queen of the Night received a staged reading -- though staged singing is perhaps a better term -- in 2007 as part of the Garson Theatre Company's focus on new works, and he has written music for the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Santa Fe Community Orchestra The Santa Fe Community Orchestra (SFCO) gives amateur musicians in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area the opportunity to play challenging orchestral music. The influence that the SFCO has on the Santa Fe community is widespread and extends beyond free concerts. . Serenata Ser`e`na´ta

n. 1. (Mus.) A piece of vocal music, especially one on an amoreus subject; a serenade.
Or serenate, which the starved lover sings
To his pround fair.
- Milton.
 of Santa Fe has performed a number of his pieces and in 2008 recorded his Tangos de Santa Fe and Matapolvos. The disc was released by Strauss earlier this year.

Strauss' music again comes to the fore on the first concert

of Serenata's 2009-2010 season, and it's a world premiere Noun 1. world premiere - (music) the first public performance (as of a dramatic or musical work) anywhere in the world
performance, public presentation - a dramatic or musical entertainment; "they listened to ten different performances"; "the play ran for 100
: Five Pieces of the Puzzle for oboe oboe (ō`bō, ō`boi) [Ital., from Fr. hautbois] or hautboy (ō`boi, hō`–), woodwind instrument of conical bore, its mouthpiece having a double reed. , clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano. The other slated repertoire for the concert, which takes place on Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Santuario de Guadalupe, is Francis Poulenc's 1962 Sonata for Clarinet and Piano and Paul Hindemith's 1924 Die Serenaden for soprano, oboe, viola, and cello. The performers are Serenata regulars: soprano Gail Springer, oboist Pamela Epple, clarinetist Keith Lemmons, violinist Kerri Lay, violist Elena Sopoci, cellist Dana Winograd, double bassist Aaro Heinonen, and pianist Debra Ayers.

"The title came after the piece, because I didn't know what to call it while I was writing it," Strauss said. "The pieces [movements] did follow one after the other, as I was writing them, and there are sort of references from one piece to be found in another. At some point, I realized the themes I was using, the melodies, could have had an entirely different life. They could have developed very differently.

So by calling it Five Pieces of the Puzzle, I suggest it could go on.

It's not an ending of the ideas."

Strauss chose the rather unusual instrumental combination because of the creative liberty it offered. On the other hand, he says, "I wanted to do something with piano. I've done piano duets and piano trios with violin and cello. Aaro said that this is basically [Schubert's] 'Trout' quintet with the added winds. I think oboe and clarinet are two of the most expressive instruments in terms of range and expression, and I thought it would make a little mini-orchestra piece."

Most of the instruments in Puzzle get chances to shine in solo passages, Strauss said, but not every one. "Piano is my first instrument, but you know, I kind of shortchanged the piano in this piece. It only has a few opportunities to shine. It's often used as a percussion section Noun 1. percussion section - the section of a band or orchestra that plays percussion instruments
rhythm section, percussion

section - a division of an orchestra containing all instruments of the same class
 for keeping the rhythm fluid. I guess the bass got a little shortchanged, too."

Despite its solo moments, Strauss was reluctant to call Puzzle a

concerto, whether a modern ensemble concerto or a small-scale concerto grosso on the Baroque model. "I wasn't interested in the solo aspect so much. I was thinking about the type of melodic gestures

I wanted to make. I was interested in how a melody can be transformed by context, by setting, rather than by changing intervals. They [recurring melodies] wear different costumes in different movements. Sometimes there's one very harsh [musical] moment that elsewhere is heard

very softly; you probably wouldn't recognize it unless you knew

it was coming."

Like Matapolvos, Five Pieces of the Puzzle is a multimovement

work that adds up to about 30 minutes -- a considerable length

for a chamber-music work. But Strauss made sure each movement

has a definite beginning and ending, rather than feeding into the next without pause. "I think of them as little memories, so something you heard before may come back into the puzzle. I think life is like that.

You have all these experiences. Sometimes they are in patterns that happen and recur; you recognize them and think, how do I remember this? How is it different?"

Strauss is strictly a pencil-and-paper composer when he starts out, though he does use the Finale score-writing program to complete his scores and to print out copies. "Many of the melodies in this piece I had written down in notebooks as musical ideas that had occurred to me

over decades and had never found a place in pieces. Or that I had never

taken time to develop. There is something here from high school!

I 'invited' them to parley par·ley  
n. pl. par·leys
A discussion or conference, especially one between enemies over terms of truce or other matters.

intr.v.
 together and see what happened. In the process, new ideas came, and I let them all determine the form of the movements, rather than deciding [in advance] what I was going to write."

Additional Serenata concerts this year, all at 3 p.m. in the Santuario, are an all-Bach afternoon on Oct. 25; music of Mozart, Poulenc, and Brahms on Nov. 15; and a program to be announced To be announced (TBA)

A contract for the purchase or sale of an MBS to be delivered at an agreed-upon future date but does not include a specified pool number and number of pools or precise amount to be delivered.
 for the winter solstice on Dec. 22. Final plans for 2010 concerts are pending but will include the return of double bassist and composer Peter Askim and works of Saint-Saaens and Ravel in May.

details

Serenata de Santa Fe: A Blissful and Tender Melodic Journey

3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13

Santuario de Guadalupe, 100 S. Guadalupe St.

$25, $20 seniors, $10 students, $5 children 6-18, $1 under 6;

call
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Title Annotation:Pasatiempo
Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Sep 11, 2009
Words:928
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