Stay classical music has at final returned to San Mateo County. [email protected] opened its chamber new music festival past weekend with a few hour-extensive live shows on successive times. Each individual concert was played 2 times at the Menlo College campus in Atherton: as soon as in the new Spieker Center for the Arts and all over again, for those who chosen an out of doors venue, in the Middle Faculty Courtyard.
I attended both of those performances of the first concert, on the afternoon of Friday, July 16. Hearing live tunes of the artistic good quality that Menlo constantly offers was a refreshing tonic just after this sort of a very long wait around. The Spieker Centre, which was readied to be open up last yr, but had to have its debut delayed until now, is a small wooden-lined auditorium of 384 seats, a lot less than 50 % of which have been occupied owing to social distancing. It proves to be an auditorium with acoustics of amazing clarity. Each instrument could clearly be read independently.
The theme of this year’s Menlo year, which proceeds for two additional weekends, is the uncomplicated term “Gather”: the joy of men and women accumulating together in shared love of chamber music, a joy that had to be postponed for two several years. To celebrate the consummation and to crack open up the Spieker Middle for its very first concert, the competition commissioned a quick new do the job to be done by its co-inventive directors, pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finckel.
In honor of the competition theme, the piece is titled “Gather.” It was composed by Patrick Castillo, who in addition to becoming a composer is a festival administrative mainstay who is retiring from his position as its viewers engagement director this calendar year to get up a new post as vice president for inventive planning at the New York Philharmonic.
Reflecting on the chaos of the pandemic, “Gather” begins with puzzling overlapping chromatic styles in the piano, with the cello including Janácek-like ghostly interjections. Step by step the piano finds coherence by using up the hymn “Shall We Get at the River?” and finally persuading the cello to join in. Menlo doesn’t have a river, but it surely can assemble.
This was adopted by a vehement and virtuosic scherzo for violin and piano by Johannes Brahms. This was Brahms’ contribution to a multi-author sonata written as a reward for the violinist Joseph Joachim. Joachim was meant to guess the composer of every motion. He ought to not have had a lot trouble with this just one, which sounds emphatically like Brahms from the initial bar.
Kristin Lee was the vigorous and snappy violinist. The thundering piano part was performed by Ji Na Kim, who is just one of this year’s festival’s youthful professional International Method Artists. This calendar year, these musicians are not just taking part in different “prelude” performances but are becoming integrated into the key-stage programs. Kim, a scholar of festival veteran Gilbert Kalish, proved as completely able as her a lot more senior colleagues, which should really be no surprise to those who have heard her predecessors in before several years.
The principal merchandise on the system was Franz Schubert’s preferred and genial “Trout” Quintet for piano and strings. This was performed by a troupe of longtime competition mainstays, which include Wu Han and David Finckel. The other players were being Arnaud Sussmann on violin, Matthew Lipman on viola and Scott Pingel on bass. It was a peaceful and cheerful general performance of this intricately crafted but just captivating operate. Every movement ended with audible, as perfectly as seen, smiles.
The concert events in Menlo’s 2nd weekend, July 23-25, trace the background of romanticism in audio from Beethoven as a result of Mendlessohn, Brahms, Dvorák and on to Shostakovich. The 3rd weekend’s concert events, July 30-Aug. 1, each and every contain 1 fantastic quintet for piano and strings, by Schumann, Brahms and Dvorák, mixing them with French music by Bizet, Fauré and Ysaÿe. At press time, reside-streamed and out of doors tickets have been however obtainable. In-man or woman attendees should be vaccinated and donning masks. There are also quite a few no cost are living-streamed Zoom talks and prelude performances. Information is at musicatmenlo.org.