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I’m looking forward to the first airing tomorrow of some of The Red Book of Montserrat, a new work for string orchestra commissioned by the Philadelphia Sinfonia, Gary White, music director. It’s a “sneak preview,” as the official premiere is May 16th at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater.

They’ll play two of the five movements tomorrow, Sunday, 17 Feb 2013 at 4 pm, at St. Stephen’s Church, 19 S. 10th St. in Philadelphia (10th, just below Market). There’s a parking garage across the street; ask for a voucher at the concert’s ticket table for very discounted parking.

I’ll post complete program notes closer to the May concert, but briefly, these are settings of five of the ten songs from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, the 14th-century book of music from the monastery at Montserrat, Spain. It is a holy site of pilgrimage with a shrine to the Virgin.

The tunes are well-known to early-music aficionados and played often in various guises by many ensembles. I was hoping to get them to dance in a string orchestra without recourse to any other instruments, especially percussion. Don’t get me wrong; I love percussion. It was a nice challenge, though.

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