from the The Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA) , Dec. 3, 1964

At Van Pelt Auditorium

Amarita Orchestra Pays Homage to the Bard

By MAX de SCHAUENSEE
Bulletin Music Critic

THE AMERITA String Orchestra gave its first concert of the season last night in Van Pelt Auditorium of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The series is presented under the auspices of the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia, whose president Henry Clifford, introduced the Amerita to the audience with his usual casual and witty flair.

The concert featured a first Philadelphia performance of David Amram's "Shakespearean Concerto for Small Orchestra." This, and some pieces by Walton served as the Amerita's recognition of Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary.

Amram's piece is thoroughly contemporary in feeling, well put together and admirably scored, blending a solo oboe (John de Lancie) and two horns (guests Robert Fries and Ward Fearn) in a cleverly constructed and sensitive amalgam of instruments.

The slow movement, utilizing Feste's song "The Wind and the Rain", (Amram has used this in his opera based on "Twelfth Night"), is most attractive.

The final section featuring the oboe is notable, or spicy pizzicati, jazzy bits, and a humorous and economical ending. The 34-year-old composer was present to receive the warm approval of the audience. Armand Di Camillo. who conducted the tricky score, shares In the applause.

The concert opened with the grave and serene Suite for Strings by Arcangelo Corelli. Two pieces of movie music from "Henry V" by Sir William Walton constituted welcome music that one seldom hears. The Albinoni Concerto in B-flat for Oboe and Strings featured the neat and fluent playing of John de Lancie, who also conducted when not engaged by his instrument. The effect was lovely.

* * * * *

LOTTI'S AIR is in fealty a song of great beauty, "Pur dicesti, o bocca, bocca bella." The instrumental arrangement takes this melody considerably slower than the vocal, which, one presumes, is the original. A Sinfonia by Galuppi for two horns and strings, featured the Messrs. Fries and Fearn. As an encore, the Amerita added an allegro of Sammartini.

The beautiful playing of this group and its soloists wedded to he friendly atmosphere created much enthusiasm in a good sized audience of avid listeners.


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