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Echoes of the 19th century, with Camerata San Antonio

Fritz Kreisler, Florence Price, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
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Fritz Kreisler, Florence Price, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

Classical fans tend to think of the early 20th century as the beginning of a new sound in music. Spiky, rough music by Igor Stravinsky made way for serialism and 12-tone techniques. But in this concert recorded last fall, Camerata San Antonio presents a program featuring three string quartets from the first half of the 20th century that are very much inspired by the Romantic-era sounds of the 19th century.

There’s music by Fritz Kreisler, famous for his violin showpieces, music by Florence Price, a pioneering African American composer, and music by Erich Korngold, best known today for his Hollywood film scores like “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

“Whenever you tackle Korngold,” says Camerata San Antonio’s cellist, Ken Freudigman, “it’s a wonderful harmonic journey.”

The Korngold piece, while written for a Shakespeare stage adaptation, “has the trappings of movie music,” says Freudigman. “It’s very dramatic.”

Freudigman also notes that Florence Price’s quartet on the program includes a joyous “Juba” dance, just like her symphonies do. And listen close to the end of the Kreisler quartet, for you’ll hear an echo of the opening theme, a fitting example for this program, “19th Century Echoes.”