Classical Music Notes
by Jan Jezioro
The Roycroft Chamber Music Festival returns
Now in its 19th season, the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival has long become a favorite June tradition among the many chamber music lovers in Western New York. Former Buffalo Philharmonic violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub and her husband pianist Eugene Gaub, Juilliard School of Music graduates and former residents of East Aurora, founded the festival back in 1994, but soon afterwards moved to Iowa where they are on the faculty of Grinnell College. The couple has continued to serve as artistic directors for the festival every year since, notwithstanding the difficulty of coordinating the organization of a multi-event music festival from a distance of over 800 miles away. The appeal of this festival to the performers, as well as to audience members, may be judged by the fact that many of the same talented performers have returned year in, year out, from all over the country, in addition to a strong core of locally based musicians, many of whom are members of the BPO.
All concerts will take place at St. Matthias Episcopal Church on the corner of Maple and Main in East Aurora on the weekends of June 9-10 and June 15-16. For the first time, this year’s series will include a Friday night concert on June 15. The Friday and Saturday night concerts begin at 8pm, while the one Sunday concert will begin at 7pm.
The opening concert on Saturday, June 9, features works by Mozart, Dvorak, and Ravel. Susan Royal, flute, Alicia Hui, violin, Ann Roggen, viola, and Peter Szczepanek, cello, are the performers for Mozart’s Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major, K.285. Speaking of the flute in a 1778 letter to his father, Mozart wrote, “I am quite powerless when obliged to compose for an instrument I cannot bear,” but anyone familiar with either his delightful flute quartets or flute concertos would be hard-pressed to believe anything more than that the composer was just having a bad day when he penned that remark. Dvorák’s Terzetto in C for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74 was written in just a week in January 1887. Violinists David Niwa and Nancy McFarland Gaub will be joined by violist Donna Lorenzo in a rare performance of the work, originally intended as a kind of Hausmusik to be played by Dvorák (on viola) and two of his friends, but which ultimately proved too difficult for one of the violinists. Ravel’s Piano Trio must be considered, along with Shostakovich’s piano trio, as one of the most influential works written in the genre during the 20th century and Eugene Gaub will join violinist Tigran Vardanyan and cellist Eva Herer for Saturday’s performance.
On Sunday, June 10, Gaub returns as pianist, along with violinist Andrea Cone and cellist Sarah Markle, for a performance of Beethoven’s first published work, the effervescent Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No.1. Erwin Schulhoff, who died in a Nazi concentration camp, dedicated his 1925 Duo for Violin and Cello “to Master Leos Janácek, in deep admiration” as a personal gesture of rejection of the theoretical burden of the “new music” of Arnold Schoenberg. Violinist David Niwa will join BPO principal cellist Roman Mekinulov for this performance of the work. Brahms composed the most significant string quartets written in the late 19th century, and violinists Nancy McFarland Gaub and Alicia Hui will join violist Ann Roggen and cellist Peter Szczepanek for a performance of his String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 60.
On Friday, June 15, pianist David Gaub will join violinists Nancy McFarland Gaub and Rebekah Johnson, along with violists Ann Roggen and Scott Ballantyne, in a piano and string quintet version of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in F Major, K. 413, sanctioned by the composer himself and probably intended for domestic use. Christine Bailey-Davis, flute, Donna Lorenzo, viola, and Suzanne Thomas, harp, offer Debussy’s shimmering Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp. The concert closes with a genuine rarity, Max Reger’s Clarinet Quintet featuring BPO principal clarinetist John Fullam, BPO associate principal violinist Amy Glidden, and violinist Rebecca Ansel, along with cellist Jeremy Crosmer.
The festival wraps up on Saturday, June 16, with a performance of Boccherini’s Trio for Strings in A Major performed by Rebecca Ansel, Ann Roggen, and Jeremy Crosmer. BPO principal bassoonist Glenn Einschlag is joined by BPO oboist Anna Mattix and Eugene Gaub for Poulenc’s sparkling Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano. You can’t go wrong ending a concert festival with Beethoven, and this series concludes with a performance of his String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3 “Rasumovsky,” by violinists Rebekah Johnson and Nancy McFarland Gaub, violist Donna Lorenzo, and cellist Scott Ballantyne.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and are available online at www.roycroftchambermusic.org.blog comments powered by Disqus
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