Final BMF Chamber Series concert of the summer is Tuesday, Aug. 11 |

Final BMF Chamber Series concert of the summer is Tuesday, Aug. 11

Concert master Nathan Olson will perform with musicians of the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra in a concert of works by Harrison, Lavenda, Puts and Grieg on Tuesday, Aug. 11, in Breckenridge.
Courtesy of the Breckenridge Music Festival |

If you go

What: “Holberg Suite,” final concert in Breckenridge Music Festival Chamber Series

When: 7:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: Tickets are $7 to $40, depending on seating

Program: Suite for Cello and Harp (1949), by Harrison; “Credo,” by Lavenda: “Chiaroscuro,” by Puts; Holberg Suite, by Grieg

More information: Call the Riverwalk box office at (970) 547-3100, or visit

The Breckenridge Music Festival Chamber Series concert on Tuesday, Aug. 11, presents works by American composers Lou Harrison, Kevin Puts and Richard Lavenda, as well as the Holberg Suite by Norway’s Edvard Grieg, performed by artists of the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra.

The three works by American composers offer a glimpse of how contemporary composers are interpreting the traditional interplay of the melodies, harmonies and textures possible in chamber music.

Harrison’s Suite for Cello and Harp is the granddaddy of the trio of American compositions, with a composition date of 1949. The piece combines the lyric qualities of the cello with the harmonic sparkle of the harp to create dreamy soundscapes in several moods. Puts’ “Credo” (2007) was commissioned for a program exploring “the lighter side of America” during a time in America when it was difficult to feel hopeful. Puts explains that his inspiration for the composition came from within. He found solace through the music and reminded himself that sometimes all you can do is believe.

Lavenda writes regarding his composition “Chiaroscuro,” “When my friend Ben Kamins asked me to write a piece for him, his one request, after years of being an orchestral bassoonist, was that the other instruments not drown him out.” They came up with an unusual instrumentation for “Chiaroscuro” (flute, bassoon, double bass, percussion) and, according to Lavenda, “Chiaroscuro” “explores many of the timbral and textural combinations afforded me by the unusual ensemble we created.”

In December 1884, Grieg was called upon to provide appropriate music to celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of the famous 17th-century writer and dramatist Ludwig Holberg. Biographer David Monrad-Johansen observed that Grieg “simply placed himself in the same milieu in which Holberg lived and worked. He looks at the present through the spectacles of the past.” Grieg drew inspiration from the French keyboard suites of Holberg’s time, using the forms and structures of the 17th century, but incorporating “little turns of harmony, ingenious syncopations, lush inner voices and other more modern touches” that give the composition a glossy 19th-century sound.

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