Opera, Chamber Music, Desert Chorale and more

- April 18, 2012

"How to juggle your summer music schedule..."

Opera, Chamber Music, Desert Chorale and more

Okay, it’s that time of the year again – when the calendar with the cutsie animals on it comes in handy. You know the one. Someone gave it to you as a gift or you got it as a bonus when you purchased something. I mean, it does have a use. You probably keep your “real” calendar on your PC, MacBook Pro, Ipad, IPhone or Android device. And, you wouldn’t think of scribbling on an “art” calendar that was a really nice gift calendar. Because, at this time of year you have to get out all of the summer performance brochures and calendars,  throw them all in a heap on the floor and move the possible date combinations around like Matisse arranging and re-arranging his cutout paper works. Then you scribble them into a calendar in pencil, with an eraser close at hand – never use ink! Let’s see: “If I go to Chamber Music here, I will miss the Desert Chorale there and the Ballet on that day and, of course, I can’t forget the Opera performances I signed up for.” But, of course, one can always change things around. “If I go to a Chamber Music concert at noon and an early Chorale concert I can still get to the Opera later. Let’s see. That’s three events in one day? So, when do I eat…?"

This year I am going to begin by singling out the “must see/hear” events of each group I want to attend.

First, let me think about the Chamber Music concerts I don’t want to miss.

In week one, on July 17 at noon, Jon Kimura Parker appears in a solo piano recital performing works by Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff, plus Mussorgsky’s epic Pictures at an Exhibition.

Week two brings a poignant “Tribute To Peter Lieberson” on July 27 at 6 p.m. It was such a tragic loss to the greater musical community and, certainly, Santa Fe, when both composer Lieberson and his wife, Mezzo Soprano Loraine Hunt Lieberson, passed away within five years of one another (Loraine Hunt Lieberson on July 5, 2006 at 52 and Peter Lieberson on April 23, 2011 at 64).

To honor these two great artists and Santa Fe favorites, Festival Artistic Director Marc Neikrug has programmed: Lieberson’s Three Variations for Violoncello & Piano and Remembering Schumann,  Oliver Knussen’s Ophelia’s Last Dance, Op. 32, Magnus Lindberg’s Trio for Clarinet, Cello & Piano, with the composer playing piano and Knussen’s Requiem: Songs for Sue, Op. 33, with the composer conducting.

This outpouring of contemporary music virtuosity, in both composition and performance, honoring these two artists is a fitting tribute, given their individual and collective devotion to sustaining classical music as a living art form.

The week three concert on July 30 at 6 p.m. has drawn my interest for the juxtaposition of the composers featured: Mozart's String Quartet No. 16 in E-flat Major, K. 428 with the Miró Quartet, Brahms' Clarinet Trio in A Minor, Op. 114 with Chen Halevi, clarinet and Berg Chamber Concerto for Violin, Piano & 13 Wind Instruments, Oliver Knussen conductor.

The festival has a very full week four. Among the standouts are: the August 9 noontime concert featuring Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet, with clarinetist Anthony McGill, Prokofiev's Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola & Double Bass in G Minor, Op. 39 and Dvořák's String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48. followed by the August 14 noon concert of Busoni's Elegy and Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata with David Shifrin, clarinet and Anne-Marie McDermott, piano, plus the “KreutzerSonata of Beethoven.

Week five is crammed with so many wonderful works it’s hard to decide – among them works conducted or played by Frédéric Chaslin, chief conductor of the Santa Fe Opera. Talk about juggling schedules?

August 15 at noon, Maestro Chaslin plays piano in the Strauss Piano Trio No. 1 in A Major, TrV 53 and conducts, both the Stravinsky Octet for Winds and the Mendelssohn Sinfonia for String Orchestra No. 9 in C Major, "La Suisse”, featuring festival artists and guest artists from the Santa Fe Opera.

The last full week of the Chamber Music Festival season always brings a special community treat for Indian Market week – a free concert at St. Francis Auditorium, where you can come and go as you wish and enjoy as much of the music as you have time for. It all happens on Friday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m., just before the Plaza in front of the St. Francis Cathedral Basilica gets too crazy to navigate.

The concert features music by Native American composer Louis Ballard,  Four American Indian Preludes and Indian Gallery (2011-12), a collection of piano pieces inspired by Native American art and composed for pianist Emanuele Arciuli by Kyle Gann, Morton Subotnick, Huang Ruo, John Luther Adams, Martin Bresnick, Peter Garland and Michael Daugherty.

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival presents this special Salute to Indian Market concert free and open to the public.

Though all of these concerts are at St. Francis Auditorium, there are other Chamber Music Festival performances at The Lensic. Monday, August 20 at 6 p.m.is the festival's last night and features the Tokyo String Quartet at The Lensic performing the Schubert Quintet for Two Violins, Viola & Two Cellos in C Major, D.956, with the great Lynn Harrell as the “extra” cellist.

And, this being the anniversary of the Titanic encounter with ice in the North Atlantic, I can’t stop myself saying: “This is only the tip of the iceberg.” A full schedule is at the Festival website.

Now, about that Desert Chorale schedule…