Chamber Music Society at SPAC

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

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Chamber Music Society at SPAC

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:25 pm

Just some notes, not really a review. As I have posted many times, no one takes up this repertory who is not capable of doing it at a world-class level. The standards of commentary are not the same as for orchestral music, solo piano, or opera.

This is only the second year that the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has appeared at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and both times I caught their splendid final matinee performance, this one on Sunday August 21. I hope they keep coming forever. The performances take place in the acoustically excellent Spa Little Theater rather than in the miked outdoor amphitheater which the Philadelphia Orchestra and NYC Ballet use. I would guess that the room holds somewhat under 500, and it was about 9/10 full. (I bought my ticket at the window just before the performance and had an excellent seat in the orchestra with empty seats on either side.)

The program emphasized the viola. The bookends were two string quintets that feature two violas rather than two violins: Mozart in C minor K 406, and Mendelssohn in B-flat Opus 87 Stunning performances--perfect. However, the surprise was a sonata for viola and piano by Schumann, in D minor Opus 121. Apparently Schumann wrote three viola sonatas, which was news to me. I was all prepared for weak Schumann, of which there is some. Uh-uh. A gorgeous work,, performed with panache by the young violinist/violist Alexander Sitkovetsky.

They are doing their final program, all Russian, tonight. For once it is not that I disparage Russia in comparison to Germany/Austria. I'd be on my way right now, except that I just can't bear that trip, which I make 50 times a year or more to substitute teach, see my eye doctor, watch a movie, etc., as a nighttime thing. Long live the Sunday matinee.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Donald Isler
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Re: Chamber Music Society at SPAC

Post by Donald Isler » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:27 am

Sounds like you heard a wonderful program! I also was unaware of any Schumann viola sonatas.
Donald Isler

John F
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Re: Chamber Music Society at SPAC

Post by John F » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:48 am

He didn't write any. I looked up opus 121 and it's 2 sonatas for violin and piano. (I didn't know about them either.) It's not uncommon for violin works to be arranged for viola, but my source doesn't mention who might have done it for the Schumann sonatas.
John Francis

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