Programs & Schedule

Wednesday Evenings at The Elley-Long Music Center in Burlington
Thursday Evenings at the Hardwick Town House in Hardwick


Concert 1 – More Bs
July 12 at The Elley-Long Music Center in Burlington
July 13 at Hardwick Town House in Hardwick

 

In 1854 Peter Cornelius, writing in the Berliner Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, coined the expression ‘The 3 B’s’ to honor the profound impact Bach, Beethoven, and Berlioz had on classical music. At the end of that century conductor Hans von Bulow substituted Brahms for Berlioz in this list honoring Brahms’ enormous influence on musicians of his time.

The need to measure, typify, and assort the work of artists continues to run rampant in the music business on all levels. At best, in the classical world, this insures monuments of art are kept in the public awareness and can continue to inspire and move future generations. At worst, it prevents curators of art from straying too far from the familiar. Now, almost 300 years from Bach’s era and 100 years past Brahms’, it is very clear that the ‘B’ list of composers who have defined greatness is too limited.

This concert begins with Beethoven’s Quartet opus 18, no. 6 from 1800. The opus 18 quartets are clearly inspired by the work of Mozart and Haydn but were considered quite novel by the public when premiered. Bartok’s Violin Sonata #2 in C major from 1922 was written some 20 years after the composer’s early very romantic efforts in the medium. Here we hear Bartok’s passionate love of Hungarian folk music combined with his own experiments with complex tonality.

The concert ends with the String Octet in B-flat major of 1920 written by an 82 year-old Max Bruch just 7 months before his death. Bruch was celebrated as an opera and choral composer in his lifetime. He retired from teaching and performing in 1911 to focus exclusively on composition. The prevailing European formal trends toward serialism and atonality didn’t entice Bruch. His very powerful voice remained rooted in romanticism.

Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet, opus 18 no. 6 (1800)
Bela Bartok, Sonata No.2 for violin and piano, Sz.76 (1922)
Max Bruch, String Octet in B flat major – 4 violins, 2 violas, cello, and double bass (1920)

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Concert 2 – French Masters
July 19 at The Elley-Long Music Center in Burlington
July 20 at Hardwick Town House in Hardwick

 

This concert is an evening of music by two very familiar and one lesser known French Master. We begin with Maurice Ravel’s own piano reduction of his orchestral tone-poem La Valse from 1919. Early in his career Ravel had intended to write an orchestral waltz as a tribute to Johann Strauss. The horrors of WWI transformed his vision and the piece he ultimately created became an ironic and bitter dance spinning out of control. Our program ends with Gabriel Faure’s Piano Quartet #1 written between 1876-79 and revised in 1883. It is the second work of chamber music Faure created. He credited Saint-Saens’ founding of the National Music Society and the resulting opportunities to have original work performed with opening this door to him. We have performed this quartet 7 times on this series since 1966. In the middle is a piece by the amazing violin virtuoso Eugene Ysaye, a Sonata for 2 violins written in 1915. He is best known for a series of 6 solo violin sonatas inspired by Bach written in 1923 but wrote a significant amount of music featuring the violin throughout his life.

Maurice Ravel, La Valse for solo piano (1920) (arranged by the composer)
Eugène Ysaÿe, Sonata for 2 violins (1915)
Gabriel Fauré, Piano Quartet No.1, Op.15 (1876-79/83)

see complete program

Concert 3 – Composer/Performers
July 26 at The Elley-Long Music Center in Burlington
July 27 at Hardwick Town House in Hardwick

 

When composers write for instruments they possess a great deal of skill playing, some very extraordinary music can result. They will go right to the limit (if not over the line) of what the instrument is capable of while always featuring the best resonant characteristics of that voice. It is so gratifying to perform works by composers who play your instrument because everything just works.

On this concert two of the evening’s three works will actually be performed by the people who wrote them. Evan Premo will play his piece Artemis in the Oak Grove for bass and piano (2013) and Kenji Bunch will perform his Suite for viola and piano (1998). Concluding the concert will be Dvorak’s Bass Quintet from 1875.

Dvorak was a member of the viola section of the Bohemian Provisional Theater Orchestra from 1862-1871. What better way to study compositional style and orchestration! The Bass Quintet was composed for a competition which it won. Among other praise the jury noted Dvorak’s masterful knowledge of the instruments he was writing for.

Evan Premo, Artemis in the Oak Grove for double bass and piano (2013)
Kenji Bunch, Suite for Viola and Piano (1998)
Antonín Dvořák, String Quintet No.2, Op.77 (1875/89)

see complete program

Concert 4 – Foundations
August 2 at The Elley-Long Music Center in Burlington
August 3 at Hardwick Town House in Hardwick

 

This concert focuses on works by two of those recognized pillars of classical western music. We begin with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata in C Major for solo violin, one of a set of 6 sonatas and partitas complete in 1720. These works are now considered to be the height of the solo violin literature but were largely forgotten until violinist Josef Joachim began performing them at the end of the 19th century. Brahms’ Cello Sonata #2 in F Major was written the summer of 1886 for cellist Robert Hausmann, the cellist of the Joachim String Quartet (yup, THAT Joachim). Hausmann and Brahms performed the piece throughout the following winter concert season receiving positive critical recognition. The piece was never as popular with audiences during Brahms’ lifetime. It is hard to imagine now that this music would have been considered too progressive in its day.

Johann Sebastian Bach, Sonata for solo violin
Stephen Hartke, The King of the Sun
Johannes Brahms, Sonata No.2 for cello and piano, Op.99 (1886)
TBD

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Concert 5 – Franz Schubert: The Intimate and the Epic
August 9 at The Elley-Long Music Center in Burlington
August 10 at Hardwick Town House in Hardwick

An Evening with Franz Schubert; the intimate and the grand

 

We have tried for 4 years to schedule a performance of Schubert’s great Piano Trio in E-flat opus 100, D 929. It’s a hard piece to place. It is enormous in length and scope and requires both performers and listeners to immerse themselves in Schubert’s inner world for the duration of the performance.

What music can best prepare us to enter into this journey? After struggling with this question the answer that finally emerged was to introduce Schubert’s grand and symphonic trio by performing some of his exquisite smaller treasures. The first half of this program contains music for salons; intimate in scale and expression. We start with the Sonata in D Major for violin and piano, D 384 from 1816, one of a group of 3 composed at that time. The pieces do not seem to have been written with any particular performer in mind but were geared to the amateur music-making public.

The 8 Impromptus for solo piano composed in 1827 were likewise intended to be published for sale to the amateur music maker, but require a considerable amount of virtuoso skill on the part of the pianist! This concert features 2 from opus 90; no. 2 in E-flat major and no. 4 in A-flat major. The Marche militaire D733 #1 for piano 4 hands from 1818 was most certainly also intended for the very active Viennese home entertainment crowd.

Sonatina for violin and piano, opus 137 (1816)
2 Impromptus opus 90 for solo piano (1827)
Marche militaire in D Major, opus 51, no. 1 for piano 4 hands (1818)

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Concert 6 – A World Between Wars
August 16 at The Elley-Long Music Center in Burlington
August 17 at Hardwick Town House in Hardwick

 

At least 10 years ago a gentleman stopped me on the porch of the Craftsbury General Store to ask if we might schedule more Russian masters. I filed that request away. In the last couple of years, we have performed some of these well-known and very large-scale chamber music works. In so doing we seem to have opened a portal to those less familiar.

This spring we are performing a pre-season program of music by Russian composers from the Stalin era. [click here to see the details] This concert is almost an extension of that program, spreading the focus to a fractured Europe between World Wars. We begin with Dmitri Tsygenov’s violin and piano arrangements of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Preludes for piano opus 34 (1933) and end with Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet opus 30 of 1911. In between you will hear Erwin Schulhoff’s Hot-Sonate for alto saxophone and piano of 1930 and Gaspar Cassado’s Piano Trio of 1929.

Dmitri Shostakovich, Preludes, Op 34 for violin and piano arr. Dmitri Tsyganov (1932/33)
Erwin Schulhoff, Hot-Sonate for alto saxophone and piano (1930)
Gaspar Cassadó, Piano Trio in C major (1926/29)
Dmitri Shostakovich, Piano Quintet in G minor, Op.30 (1910/11)

see complete program

 

*all programs are subject to change*