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Soloisti Di Camerata

The Camerata di Sant’Antonio spotlights its soloists

On Sunday May 25, the Camerata di Sant’Antonio leaves its home at St. Anthony of Padua’s and travels uptown to St. John’s Grace Episcopal Church on 51 Colonial Circle, just off of Elmwood Avenue. An architectural tour of the historic church at 1pm will precede the 2pm concert under the baton of the group’s music director Christopher Weber. Soloists from the Camerata will be spotlighted as they perform works that the Camerata has had the distinction of premiering in Western New York, along with one other very favorite work by Mozart.

BPO principal second violin Antoine Lefebvre and BPO principal viola Valerie Heywood are the featured soloists in Mozart’s delightful Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, K. 364. While Mozart composed five concertos for violin, it was the viola that was his true love and it is generally agreed that he composed the demanding viola part of this work for himself. The work begins with a rather solemn orchestral exposition that leads to the entry of the two soloists together, before developing into a conversation in which one player answers the other in an antiphonal duet that ends in a cadenza, composed by Mozart himself. In the heartbreakingly tender minor key slow movement, the viola echoes the violin as the two solo instruments sometimes join together and sometimes respond to each other in close imitation. The violin follows the orchestra in the presto last movement with a mischievous dance melody that is imitated by the viola, with the oboes and the French horns prominently featured.

If the chance to hear one of Mozart’s most irresistible works is not enough to convince you to attend this concert, the second-ever local opportunity to hear British composer Gerald Finzi’s Eclogue for Piano and Strings, featuring pianist Justin Pomietlarz, might do the trick. While Finzi composed mainly for voice, the two works of his that turn up most often on American programs are his Five Bagatelles for clarinet and piano and the Eclogue, the central movement of an uncompleted piano concerto that he began in the 1920’s and revised twice before his sadly premature death in 1956. The richly textured, yet simply written piece has an eloquent strength that never fails to be deeply moving.

The Soviet-Armenian composer Alexander Arutunian is best known to American audiences for his virtuosic concerto for trumpet. BPO violinist Shieh-Jian Tsai will be the soloist in Arutunian’s Concerto for Violin and string orchestra, a piece from 1988 that shares some of the qualities of the earlier composed concerto for trumpet, while being more dramatically intense.

Paul Schlossman has earned an enviable reputation as an oboist, both with the Camerata and with the Amberg Quartet. While he has done a remarkable job of discovering and resuscitating long forgotten chamber music gems, he has also introduced music by contemporary composers such as Colin Brumby who have flown under mainstream radar. Schlossman will perform the Australian composer’s Scena for cor anglais, a 1988 work which resembles a 19th century Italian opera aria, opening with a beautiful cavatina and concluding with a cabaletta.

BPO associate principal cellist Feng Hew will be the soloist in Italian composer Roberto Molinelli’s 2004 Twin Legends for cello and string orchestra, an immediately accessible lyrical work that she so successfully performed with the Camerata in its American premiere a few years ago.

What would a Camerata concert be without a work by Astor Piazzolla? Luckily, that question does not have to be answered as BPO violinist Diana Sachs and BPO cellist Eva Heurer will be joined by pianist Alfred Frenning as soloists in the Preludio y Fuga by Piazzolla, the inventor of neuvo tango.

Tickets: $17 Information: 856-3626

Buffalo Chamber Players Season Finale

The Buffalo Chamber Players will wind up their current season at their home in the Buffalo Seminary on Bidwell Parkway next week, but please note, this concert will not be on the usual Wednesday evening, but rather on Friday, May 30 at 7:30pm. BPO violist Janz Castelo, the group’s founding artistic director, will lead the musicians in a program titled “Intimate Letters” that features the music of Wagner and Janáček.

“The concert derives its title from Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s String Quartet No. 2, ‘Intimate Letters’ written in 1928”, says Castelo, “and it is Janáček’s love manifesto to Kamila Stösslová, a married woman 38 years his junior with whom he passionately corresponded for years and regarded as his muse”. Mladi (Youth) for woodwind sextet, an earlier, less emotionally fraught work by Janáček, will also be performed, and BPO associate conductor Matthew Kraemer will conduct Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll in its original version for 13 players. The Siegfried Idyll was first performed as a birthday gift for his wife Cosima in their home, on Christmas morning in 1870.

Tickets: $15/Students $5. Information: www.buffalochamberplayers.org

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