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Two summer concerts this weekend feature much-loved classical music

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Some of the most beloved music for string ensemble will be featured in a pair of concerts this weekend with the string players of the New Horizons Symphony Orchestra. Erik Maese, who grew up in Las Cruces, recently returned to town, joined the community orchestra, and suggested they perform some summer chamber concerts.

“The New Horizons has a great string section, and I thought, ‘what better way to build community and to improve our sound than to really focus on a concert where it’s just us – no conductor, we’re communicating, we’re doing everything,” he told Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin in this interview, recorded on Zoom. “It’s a very exciting project to be doing here.”

The concerts feature two longer works: the famous “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” by Wolfgang Mozart, and “The Holberg Suite,” by Edvard Grieg. The musicians will also perform short works by Bela Bartok and Giacomo Puccini, and the “Andante Cantabile” by Piotr Tchaikovsky.

“[Tchaikovsky] was very proud of this piece, mostly because he had had Leo Tolstoy at the premiere, and it had brought Tolstoy to tears. They had this exchange of letters and Leo Tolstoy told him it was a very moving experience for him,” Maese said. “It’s become a very popular staple of the string orchestra repertoire even though it was written for string quartet. And it is an absolutely beautiful piece.”

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Violinist Erik Maese will be concertmaster of the concerts

The concerts are Friday, Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church (518 Alameda Blvd.) and on Sunday, Aug. 7 at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church (200 E. Boutz Rd.) Admission is free but registration is required at: https://new-horizons-symphony-orchestra.ticketleap.com/.

Listen to the interview to hear the origin stories of the music and to hear some short clips from them. Recordings used in this interview are: Romanian Folk Dances, by Bela Bartok: Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NSS Music #81); Crisantemi, by Giacomo Puccini: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon #431680); Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, by W. A. Mozart: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon #439150); Andante Cantabile, by P. Tchaikovsky: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner (EMI #67700); Holberg Suite, by Edvard Grieg: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Neeme Jarvi (Deutsche Grammophon #437520).