Chamber orchestras have long relied on transcriptions to shore up their limited repertory. Jean-Marie Zeitouni and I Musici de Montréal brought their season to a close on Thursday in Bourgie Hall with a program dominated by such works.
The repertoire for string quartet and orchestra is larger than one might suppose, even if Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro is the only such work we hear with any regularity. Now Samy Moussa has made a valuable contribution, called simply Concerto pour quatuor à cordes et orchestre, which had its world premiere Friday night under auspices of the Orchestre Métropolitain.
The biggest item was the Piano Sonata No. 3 of young Brahms (whose Scherzo Op. 4, lest we forget, Liszt calmly sight-read from an untidy manuscript when the budding German composer paid him a visit in Weimar). Lasting more than 40 minutes, it is symphonic in bottom-to-top use of the keyboard as well as its emotional scope.
Les Violons du Roy venture far and often from their historical core of baroque and classical repertoire. On Friday the Quebec City squad opened its Montreal operations (and the Bourgie Hall season) with a program of four works from the 20th century, one from the 21st and a 19th-century score that most music lovers would classify as timeless.