Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center offers first 2004-05 concert at Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will play a program of Schumann, Tcherepnin, Bartók and Dvorók on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Journalist Robert Sherman, a classical music writer for The New York Times, will lead a pre-concert Art-to-Heart discussion from 7 to 7:40 p.m.

The Chamber Music Society, the resident company of Lincoln Center and one of the world's premier chamber ensembles, is known for its extraordinary repertoire of classics and its commitment to the commission of new works.

Its reputation precedes it wherever it goes. One critic dubbed the ensemble "the jewel in this nation's musical crown."

The October 16 program includes: Schumann's "Maerchenbilder for Viola and Piano, Op. 113," Tcherepnin's "Cello Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 29," Bartók's "Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano," and Dvorók's "Bass Quintet in G major, Op. 77."

Antonin Dvorók (1841-1904) was born in Czechoslovakia and was particularly well received in England and the United States, creating several beloved pieces, including his well-known Ninth Symphony, "From the New World." The G major Bass Quintet is a transitional piece that displays his budding mastery and penchant for the sounds of Czech folk music, and its unusual instrumentation offers a lovely chamber music richness.

Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977) was born in a Russia dominated by such Nationalist composers as Rimsky-Korsakov and embarked on a career as a wide-ranging musical Modernist that included stays in China, Japan, the United States and Paris, where he wrote his D major cello sonata in 1925.

Bela Bartok (1881-1945) was inspired to write "Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano" by his friend, violinist Joseph Szigeti, and the commission for the piece was paid for by jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman in 1938. The work draws on the folk music of Bartok's native Hungary and the final movement has aspects of a Western hoedown.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was a German Romantic composer who wrote his first piece when he was only 12. With its somber harmonic coloring and sonority and leisurely lyricism, his Maerchenbilder, or "Pictures from Fairy Land," suggest not a child's world of fantasy, but an adult's recollection of childhood, a sparkling time seen through a prism of life experience.

Seven musicians from the Chamber Music Society will perform at the Quick Center concert. They are: David Shifrin, clarinet; Ani Kavafian and Joseph Silverstein, violins; Paul Neubauer, viola; Ronald Thomas, cello; Edgar Meyer, bass; and Anne-Marie McDermott, piano.

Shifrin, who is also the ensemble's artistic director, said the members have a strong sense of their importance in the future of chamber music.

"The Chamber Music Society didn't invent chamber music, but it did give it a home," he told Musical America, which named the Society its 1999 Ensemble of the Year. "We have to remind ourselves constantly what our mission is - the finest performers, playing the greatest repertory, with the most thorough preparation - and to invite the great canon of chamber music, reexamining it to see what might be overlooked, and expanding it by commissioning new works. The important thing is that we remain on the front line."

Tickets are $30. A package for all three Chamber Music Society performances this season are available for $72. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 330-9396 of toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website www.quickcenter.com

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 22, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 53