2024 Festival Preview

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3:00 pm

Monday, July 29, 2024

Repertoire for NCMF summer 2024 – Hungarians, birds, and…theremins

2024 presents an unusual breadth of music. Each concert is different but with some overlap between them. Many of the works will be performed more than once and I urge people to come hear pieces multiple times. With live music, each performance is different, and you’ll also have it “in your ear,” which changes the experience. Everyone is encouraged to attend at least one open rehearsal to observe the process by which we assemble the programs. Many of the summer’s events are free of charge.

Our violinists will perform two very different Brahms violin sonatas (the brooding D Minor and warmly reassuring A Major), while we also have a nice portion of Hungarian music with Liszt’s tempestuous Ballade in B Minor, Ligeti’s haunting unaccompanied cello sonata, and György Kurtág’s boundary-pushing string quartet Officium Breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky. We’ll also showcase two very different piano quintets: Schumann’s bright and ebullient quintet, in contrast to the meditation on sadness that is the quintet by Alfred Schnittke. (Don’t worry, we end each concert with the Schumann.) The first two concerts begin with a celebration of our avian friends, Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Le Rappel des Oiseaux  (The Rally of the Birds), for solo piano that has left and right hands imitating two separate birds in conversation. 

The “Nachtmusik” concert, held after sundown at Brown Chapel, stands at the midpoint of the five concerts and is always first to sell out. As we’ve done in the past, the concert will feature Samuel Barber’s Adagio.

Continuing with bird-theme from earlier in the week, we’ll feature Haydn’s joyous string quartet in D Major, The Lark, and Saiëns’ The Swan for theremin and strings. We continue with our world premiere for theremin and string quartet by Composer-in-Residence Patrick Castillo based on the songs of twelve iconic birds of Newburyport. Poet-in-Residence Alfred Nicol wrote a poem for each bird and Artist-in-Residence Jane Niebling has created matching paintings. There are two eerily beautiful works for solo theremin by Elizabeth Brown: Three Arias from A Bookmobile for Dreamers  (which incorporates birdsong), and Lightbulb Aria from Rural Electrification. The festival ends with Ravel’s ravishing string quartet.

We’ll have our usual works-in-progress/panel discussion in addition to two “Hausmusik” reading parties, along with the aforementioned open rehearsals (with the Composer-in-Residence and theremin player) and a pre-concert talk with the composer.

In something new, one of the concerts will feature an informal post-concert “talkback” giving the audience an opportunity to discuss what they have heard with the artists. I’ll also give a lecture: György Kurtág and the Fulsome Gesture & the Empathy of Alfred Schnittke. Lastly, we start the festival continuing our collaboration with two shows of storytelling, music, and puppets with Newburyport’s beloved Theater in the Open.

Artistic Director, David Yang

Note: A downloadable copy of this overview, as well as a list of the 2024 Season's repertoire, is available here.


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2024 NCMF Repertoire 

Johannes Brahms
Violin Sonata in D Minor, Opus 108

Jean-Philippe Rameau
Le Rappel des Oiseaux for solo piano

Johannes Brahms
Violin Sonata in A Major, Opus 100  

Josef Haydn
String quartet, Opus 64, no 5 “The Lark”

Alfred Schnittke
Piano Quintet

Robert Schumann
Piano Quintet in Eb Major, Opus 44

Franz Liszt
Ballade No. 2 in B minor, S. 171 for solo piano

György Ligeti
Sonata for solo cello

György Kurtág
String Quartet, Op. 28 “Officium Breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky”

Elizabeth Brown
Three Arias from A Bookmobile for Dreamers for solo theremin with video by Lothar Osterburg

Patrick Castillo (Composer-in-Residence)
“Avian Microludes” *World Premiere* for theremin and string quartet

String Quartet

Camille Saint-Saens
“The Swan” from “Carnival of the Animals” for theremin and string quartet

Elizabeth Brown
Lightbulb Aria from Rural Electrification for solo theremin with video by Lothar Osterburg

2024 NCMF Festival Artists

Solenne Paidassi, violin

Stephanie Zyzak, violin

David Yang, viola

Soo Bae, cello

Ilya Polataev, piano                                                      

Elizabeth Brown, theremin and composer          

Patrick Castillo, Poet-in-Residence

Alfred Nicol, Poet-in-Residence

Jane Niebling, Artist-in-Residence

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