I'm sorry this extra note is to convey the sad news regarding Michael Brown’s performances on March 28th and 29th. I doubt anyone will be surprised to read that we will have to postpone the concert; I thought it best to be as safe as possible. With the situation so fluid, we don’t have a new date yet. Tickets will be refunded this weekend. The April concert of Eliana’s trio at St. Paul’s has also been cancelled.
The University of Pennsylvania, where I run the chamber music program, just went on-line for the rest of the semester (that will be interesting). Indeed, times are fraught for a host of reasons, not just COVID-19.
While we’re all hunkering down amid stockpiled mountains of toilet paper and black market hand sanitizer, I thought I’d share three short links and one long one to provide a spot of tranquility in the storm that is the news these days.
Here is Jascha Heifetz in a breathtaking transcription of Beau Soir by Debussy. Sit down, lean back, close your eyes, and let your breathing slow.
It is really unfortunate that Michael won’t be coming to Newburyport but this is a small taste of what we are missing: a live performance of Michael playing Fauré’s Nocturne No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 33.
The Fantasia in D Minor for solo piano, K 397 is Mozart at the peak of his expressive powers. It starts shrouded in smoke and full of mystery, even tragedy, but then – oh! - the clouds part and we are assured that the world will be just fine. Music for our times.
Lastly, for music a little closer to the present, I’m including John Adams’ Shaker Loops for string septet. I played this in the 90s with Bang on a Can in NY and it has stuck with me ever since. I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of minimalism but there is something very powerful as each progression washes over you.
At this point we really don’t expect current events to have any impact on the summer festival in August. Here’s hoping things will have calmed down well before then. In the meantime, wash your hands and everyone stay safe.
If Bach is God, Beethoven is Man. Where Bach speaks of eternal truths and the mysteries of the universe. Beethoven defines the essence of what it is to be human. I’ll show you in 40 seconds of music.In 2018 we played Beethoven’s string quartet, Opus 130. The fifth movement, titled “Cavatina” by the composer (a cavatina is a type of song) begins and ends with a slow melody that sandwiches six extraordinary measures. Over those measures he writes “beklemmt.”
As we all hunker down indoors, “socially distanced” and grimly tracking the progress of COVID-19 across our communities, I thought some kind of distraction might be welcome. In particular, I’ve been thinking about revisiting favorite works from the last nineteen (!) seasons of NCMF. Of course, any such list of favorites will be highly subjective. One friend recently provided me with his personal ranking system:
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