By Danielle Kuhlmann
I remember hearing this piece for the first time years ago and how it opened up the world of Benjamin Britten to me. I had heard of him, but I had never heard or played any of his music. Britten is like some kind of magic combination of Bach, Schubert, Schoenberg and Gershwin. There is so much depth to his work but, at the same time, he gives you the most enchanting and simple melodies to work with. The harmonies are familiar and also fantastical. There is something truly magical about his music. He really transports you to a different world which is perfect for Around the World in ROCO Ways.
In the Serenade, Britten has such an incredible way of using the voice alongside the horn and strings. It is effortlessly comforting, haunting and joyous at the same time. He has an incredible sense of rhythm and pulse that makes you feel like you’re floating without making you feel vulnerable. Each movement embodies an entirely new universe of creatures and characters through text, timbre, structure and counterpoint. His melodies are so beautiful and full of intent — it’s such a joy to finally get to play the Serenade! I’ve been jonesing to play it ever since I first heard it years ago and to have the opportunity to perform it with my ROCO colleagues is something I’ve dreamed about since joining the orchestra.
This piece is incredibly personal and requires immense communication and trust to perform. I’ve never felt more welcomed and supported in an ensemble than the way I do when I’m with (or in front of) ROCO. For me, it is actually a dream come true to perform Britten’s Serenade!