The first two pieces being performed on the Sunday, March 8, at the Festival Series Chamber Music Concert were written virtually 200 years apart: Schubert’s Adagio and Rondo Concertante (1816) and Adam Neiman’s Serenade for Violin and Piano (2013). They both look to the past for inspiration: Schubert to18th-century piano-quartet and concerto models; Neiman to 19th-century harmonies and dreamy, personal, salon-music models. Schubert presents stage-strutting virtuoso display; Neiman invites the listener to share a deeply felt reminiscence.
Next is a piece from Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns who led a life of devotion to duty; the duty of composing and performing. Brought up by a “helicopter mother”—she read his mail to him up to the age of 24—he created an enormous body of work, sacred and profane. He was lionized during his lifetime (“the French Beethoven”) and his music reflected a deeply ingrained French sense of style, élan, and the idea that how something was said was as important as what was said. Saint-Saëns brought those surface traits and deeper, volcanic emotional levels into his 1875 Piano Quartet, Op. 41. It contains both elusive, wistful melodies and uncharacteristic anger; perhaps the latter due to premonitions of impending disaster as, at age 40, and against mother’s wishes, he prepared to marry his 19-year-old student.
Antonin Dvorák’s Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major rounds out the program. Written during a period of family happiness, material success, and creative fecundity, it is a work of maturity that projects multiple moods, beautiful melodies, effects that are orchestral in their depth and substance, and envelopes the listener in a warm, Bohemian, folk-like atmosphere.
Cellist/host Edward Arron promises to bring together players who are “astonishing in every musical and technical regard” (violinist Maria Bachmann), who demonstrate “superb artistry” (violist Hsin-Yun Huang), and perform with “sheer power and a high sense of drama” (Adam Neiman). He did and you will not be disappointed as you listen to this music of brilliance and rapture.
Come and hear what the critics are raving about. Additional information and tickets are available on www.uscb.edu/festivalseries or at 843-208-8246, Monday through Friday. The USCB Center for the Arts, on 801 Carteret Street, opens at 4:00 pm on Sunday, March 8, and the performance begins at 5 p.m.