Rangbrook Ensemble Talks ‘Memorial’


May 26th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Grief gives way to healing at memorial performance next week.


Rangbrook OutsideWednesday, May 28, the Rangbrook Ensemble will perform a program titled “Memoriam.” The concert, just several days after Memorial Day, is dedicated to Professor Nelson T. Potter, who died in 2013. His daughter, Sophia Potter, is a cellist in the ensemble and says that one work on the program was chosen by her father shortly before he passed.

“So I called my parents and I said ‘Mom, will you ask dad what his favorite of the Mozart Quintets was’ and he said, ‘Oh, the G minor!’,” she said.

Potter says she only later found out that Mozart’s G Minor Quintet had it’s own musical story to tell.

“That was a quintet that Mozart wrote on hearing that his father was terminally ill,” Potter said.“It’s very restless, especially the first movement…claustrophobic…very dissonant, even for Mozart.”

Potter points out that Quintet seems to follow Mozart’s grieving until the finale, which concludes Mozart’s musical journey of healing.

“They’re a lot more settled, they’re happier…being able to come out of it,” she said.

The second work on the program also appeared at a time of mourning – this time not for the composer, but for an entire nation. German composer Paul Hindemith was in London preparing to perform “The Swan Turner”. Fate, it seems, had something else in mind.

“Two days before the concert, King George V…just died,” Potter said.

Hindemith and the producers decided that “The Swan Turner” wasn’t appropriate, so the composer created a ‘Plan B.’

“He sat in an office for about 6 hours and wrote…mourning,” said Potter.

The work was not only appropriate for the loss of a monarch, but immediately popular.

“And then in the 4th movement the most distinctive thing…doxology,” she said.

The Rangbrook Ensemble’s program, “Memoriam,” is Wednesday, May 28 at 7:30 pm in the First Presbyterian Church of Omaha. More information is available at rangbrookensemble.org.


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