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Buffalo Chamber Players: "Hopelessly Romantic"

Alison D'Amato

The Elmwood Village’s resident ensemble serves up an eclectic menu

On Wednesday, April 14 at 7pm, the Buffalo Chamber Players return to their home at the Buffalo Seminary. Having survived the “British Invasion”—the theme of their last concert—they have invited a pair of guests, pianist Alison d’Amato and soprano Jill Masters, for an evening of music-making billed as “hopelessly romantic.”

Masters, who has been described by the Buffalo News as “a marvel of sheer vocal power,” will join Alison d’Amato, a visiting assistant professor at UB, who has been described as “an expert pianist” by Boston Globe critic Richard Dyer, and BPO second clarinet Patti DiLutis in Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D.965 (The Shepherd on the Rock). This radiantly beautiful work was the last song written by Schubert, the undisputed master of song, who completed it shortly before his untimely death in 1828 at the age of 31. It was composed as a virtuoso showpiece for Anna Milder Hauptmann, the soprano who first sang the part of Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio. DiLutis will also take the clarinet part in the rarely programmed Fantasia and Variations on a theme by Danzi for clarinet & string quartet in B flat major, Op. 81, by Louis Spohr (1784-1859). Spohr, whose popularity in the first half of the 19th century for a time rivaled even that of Beethoven composed four clarinet concertos for the virtuoso Johann Simon Hermstedt that have remained popular with clarinetists to this day. In the Fantasia and Variations the clarinet provides virtuosic obbligato lines while the strings carry the subtly varied melody forward.

Alison d’Amato returns to the keyboard for Gustav Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A minor, a one movement piece composed by Mahler when he was a 16-year-old student at the Vienna Conservatory. Besides being his only student work that has survived, it is also the only chamber music work, besides a fragment of a scherzo, known to exist from the pen of that master of large-scale symphonic form; some listeners have discerned a dark brooding quality in the piece that pre-figures the composer’s mature work. Brahms began composing his String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat, Op. 18 while working part-time for an aristocratic family at Detmold, deep in the Teutoburg Forest. Composed during a happy period in his life, the sunny, pleasant Sextet evokes memories of Mozart and Beethoven at their most genial.

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

jan jezioro

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