Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Stagefright
Next story: A Few Days in Toronto

On The Beach

Baritone Alexander Hurd.

The Buffalo Chamber Players take us to Dover Beach

The Buffalo Chamber Players open their season on Wednesday, October 2 at 7pm, at their home in the Buffalo Seminary on Bidwell Parkway with a trip to the beach, with Fredonia School of Music baritone Alexander Hurd as soloist in Dover Beach, Samuel Barber’s setting for voice and string quartet of Victorian poet Matthew Arnold’s dark meditation on life and death.

“I’ve sung Dover Beach a bunch of times,” says Hurd. “It’s one of those classic pieces that every young baritone listens to obsessively. The music is lush and the poem is romantic and mysterious and dark, and, so, irresistible for a teenager. I’m sure I listened to every recording in Oberlin’s music library when I was a student there. If I remember correctly, Fischer-Dieskau mistakenly sings, ‘On the French toast the light gleams and is gone.’ I guess Barber didn’t mind, since he wrote his Opus 45 Songs for him.

“There’s a centrality of the voice in Barber’s output. I think it’s no exaggeration to say that Barber always had singers in mind when writing his songs. He was the nephew of a famous opera singer and was himself a fine singer. He wrote Dover Beach for himself to sing. (It’s on Youtube.) This makes Dover Beach and the other songs quite gratifying to sing, which is of course not the same as easy to sing. All of this is to say that I should clearly sing more Barber than I do. For some reason I’ve always sung far more Ives than Barber, but I think a lot of Ives’s songs demonstrate his lack of interest in singers.”

Soprano Colleen Marcello will sing Träume, one of Richard Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, WWV 91. “Wagner wrote his song cycle on poetry by Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of one of his patrons,” says Buffalo Chamber Players artistic director Janz Castelo. “Originally for voice and piano, Wagner orchestrated the song for chamber orchestra to be performed below Mrs. Wesendonck’s bedroom window on her birthday. In May we will close our season with Wagner’s other work for chamber orchestra, the Siegfried Idyll.”

The rest of the works on the program are instrumental and include Mozart’s Divertimento in D, K. 136, composed in 1772, when he was 16 years old. Often played by a string orchestra, the work will be performed in its string quartet version. The high opus number of Beethoven’s Wind Sextet in E-flat, Op. 71 is rather misleading, suggesting a massive work of his middle period, but he had composed the work in 1796, and it lay unperformed for a decade. “It was written while Beethoven was working for Maximilian Franz, the Archbishop and Elector of Cologne, who allegedly thought wind music helped digestion and had wind music performed during meals,” says Castelo. Dvorak’s irresistibly charming Bagatelles, scored for two violins, cello, and harmonium, will be performed by organist/composer Roland E. Martin on the group’s recently acquired harmonium.

Tickets are $15, $5 for students. For more information, visit

Claudia Hoca Benefit Concert

A Musical Feast, the independent concert producing organization founded by Charles and Irene Haupt, will host a benefit concert for BPO staff pianist Claudia Hoca, who was critically injured in a car accident this past August. Hoca, who did not have any health insurance at the time of the accident, is expected to recover, and all proceeds of ticket sales to the event at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, on Friday, September 27 at 7:30pm, will be used to help defray her considerable medical expenses. An A-list roster of area classical musicians will include maestro Christopher Weber, musical director of the Camerata di Sant’Antonio, members of the BPO and faculty from the Eastman School of Music, the Fredonia School of Music, and the University at Buffalo Department of Music.

Works to be performed include Debussy’s Cello Sonata with cellist Jonathan Golove and pianist Ana Vafai, and Warren Benson’s Invocation and Dance performed by soprano Diane Hunger, saxophonist Wildy Zumwalt, and percussionist John Bacon. Movements from Bartok’s Contrasts will be performed by clarinetist John Fullam, pianist Alison D’Amato, and violinist Amy Glidden. Oboist Pierre Roy, violinist Antoine Lefebvre, violist Valerie Heywood, and Jonathan Golove will perform a movement from Mozart’s Oboe Quartet. Violinist Charles Castleman will perform Ysaÿe’s virtuosic Sonata for Violin Solo Nr. 3 in D minor “Ballade” and Christopher Weber will lead the members of the orchestra in Piazzolla’s Prelude and Fugue and Libertango. Vocalist Esin Gunduz, pianist Michael McNeil, and percussionist John Bacon, who together make up resAUnance, the area’s newest and coolest jazz trio, will perform Offering, Migration and Interlude.

Tickets are $35 (general admission), $50 (Angel), $20 (simulcast in reception area). For more information, call

blog comments powered by Disqus