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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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The musicians’ collective Classical Revolution RVA stages its fourth annual Mozart Festival on April 23, with eight afternoon and evening performances at galleries, restaurants and nightclubs in the Jackson Ward neighborhood of downtown Richmond.

All events are open without admission charge.

The schedule of events:

11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Saadia’s Juicebox, 402½ N. Second St.; Max’s, Brook Road at Marshall Street.) “Eine kleine Brunch Music.” String quartets, other chamber music. (Reservations suggested for Max’s.)

Noon-3 p.m. (Gallery5, Marshall Street at Brook Road) Family events. Crafts and activities, noon; musical storytime, 1 p.m.; student recital and “Twinkle Play-in,” 2 p.m.

1 p.m. (Big Secret, 120 W. Marshall St.) – “Wolfgang 101.” Erin Freeman discusses Mozart’s life and work, with live musical examples. (Cosponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Music.)

2 p.m. (1708 Gallery, 819 W. Broad St.) – Richmond Cello Orchestra, Michael Knowles directing. (Sponsored by Four Strings.)

3 p.m. (Charm School Social Club, 311 W. Broad St.) – University of Richmond Vocal Studio singing scenes from “The Marriage of Figaro,” other operas. (Sponsored by UR Music Department.)

4 p.m. (Coalition Theater, 8 W. Broad St.) – Capitol Opera in “Bastian and Bastienna.” (Sung in English.)

5 p.m. (Candela Gallery, 214 W. Broad St.) Orchestra, chorus and soloists, Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting, in excerpts of symphonies and Requiem, with violinist Adrian Pintea and violist HyoJoo Uh featured in Sinfonia concertante in E flat major, K. 364.

7 p.m. (Atlas Gallery, 114 W. Marshall St.) “Mozart’s Greatest Hits.” Singers and orchestra, Anthony Smith conducting, in opera arias.

For more information, visit the festival’s website, http://www.classicalrevolutionrva.com/mozart-festival/
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April 19
noon-3 p.m. EDT
1600-1900 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Johann Joseph Fux:
“La Grandezza della Musica Imperiale” –
Overture in D minor
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra/
Gottfried von der Goltz

Sonata in E minor,
Hob. XVI:34
Marc-André Hamelin,

Past Masters:
Prokofiev: “Lieutenant Kijé” Suite
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado
(recorded 1977)
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Symphony No. 38
in D major, K. 504
(arrangement by
Franz Theodor Schubert)
Vienna Schubert Ensemble

Sonata in A major,
Op. 47 (“Kreutzer”)
(orchestration by Richard Tognietti)
Antje Weithaas, violin
Camerata Bern/Hyunjong Reents-Kang
(Avi Music)

Quartet No. 2
in A minor, Op. 35
Philippe Quint, violin
Lily Francis, viola
Claudio Bohórquez &
Nicolas Altstaedt, cellos
(Avanti Classic)

Piano Concerto in A minor
Howard Shelley, piano & director
Orchestra of Opera North
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Pianist Lang Lang, who is scheduled to play Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto (No. 5 in E flat major) on Sept. 14 in the opening concert of the Richmond Symphony’s 2017-18 season, has canceled performances through June to recover from inflammation in his left arm, Slipped Disc’s Norman Lebrecht reports:

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Music for Holy Saturday: Dieterich Buxtehude’s oratorio “Membra Jesu nostri” (“The most holy limbs of our suffering Jesus”) (1680) and Peteris Vasks’ “Dona nobis pacem” (1996), framing Otto Klemperer’s memorably intense performance of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

April 15
11 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT
1500-1700 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Dieterich Buxtehude: “Membra Jesu nostri,” BuxWV 75
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner
(DG Archiv)

Past Masters:
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor
Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer
(recorded 1956-57)
(EMI Classics)

Peteris Vasks: “Dona nobis pacem”
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Talinn Chamber Orchestra/Paul Hillier
(Harmonia Mundi)
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April 12, University of Richmond

In the 18th and 19th centuries, chamber music was played among relatives and friends, to entertain other relatives and friends,
or for the musicians’ own enjoyment.

That was very much the vibe of a concert
by the Klemperer Trio
– violinist Erika Klemperer, cellist Ronald Crutcher and pianist Gordon Back – at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Arts Center.

Klemperer and Back have been married for 37 years. Klemperer and Crutcher have known each other since early teen-age. The three musicians have performed together, on and off, since 1980.

This reunion took place near the end of Crutcher’s second year as UR’s president. He circulated in the lobby greeting guests before the performance, while his wife, Betty Neal Crutcher, did the same as people made their way to seats in Camp Concert Hall.

The trio’s program was composed of old friends: Mendelssohn’s Trio in D minor, Op. 49; Shostakovich’s Trio in C minor, Op. 8; and Anton Arensky’s Trio in D minor, Op. 32 – all staples of the piano-trio repertory, and audibly the subjects of musical discourse among these artists for some time.

So, the violinist and cellist knew when and how to give the pianist space to project his glittering runs in the Mendelssohn, and the violinist and pianist naturally deferred to the cellist in setting the tone of the Arensky, especially in its elegiac adagio.

The choice of two Russian-romantic works – Shostakovich’s Op. 8 is an early composition, looking back as much as forward stylistically – was wise programming, because Crutcher’s cello has a Slavic accent in its unusually dark, throaty timbre. He exploited that quality to fine effect in the Arensky and Shostakovich, and Klemperer darkened her tone nicely to match.

The threesome’s reading of the Mendelssohn was on the cautious side in tempos and accents, but nicely detailed, often affectionate in its instrumental exchanges.
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Music for Passover and Holy Week: Rarely heard works by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Ernest Bloch; a distinctive and moving account of Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis” conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt in his last recording; and Arvo Pärt’s “Tabula Rasa,” played by the artists who introduced the piece 40 years ago.

April 12
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

J.S. Bach: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
(orchestration by Ottorino Respighi)
Seattle Symphony Orchestra/
Gerard Schwarz

“Passover Psalm”
Emily Magee, soprano
Bavarian Radio Symphony Chorus
Munich Radio Orchestra/
Marcello Viotti

Bloch: Psalm 22
Vincent Le Texier, baritone
Luxembourg Philharmonic/David Shallon

Haydn: Symphony No. 39 in G minor
Il Giardano Armonico/
Giovanni Antonini

Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique/
John Eliot Gardiner
(Soli Deo Gloria)

“Missa solemnis”
Laura Aikin, soprano
Bernarda Fink, alto
Johannes Chum, tenor
Ruben Drole, bass
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Concentus Musicus Wien/
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
(Sony Classical)

Arvo Pärt: “Tabula Rasa”
Gidon Kremer &
Tatjana Grindenko, violins
Alfred Schnittke,
prepared piano
Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra/
Saulius Sondeckis

Barber: Agnus Dei
Choir of New College, Oxford/
Edward Higginbottom
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My review for the Richmond Times-Dispatch of the Richmond Symphony, Symphony Chorus, soprano Michelle Areyzaga and bass-baritone Kevin Deas, performing works by Vaughan Williams, Bruckner and Schubert:

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“The Flower of England: from the Empire through the Wars” is the theme of this year’s Richmond Symphony Summer Series, running from July 13 to Aug. 17 at Dominion Arts Center.

Six chamber concerts lasting about an hour will be staged on Thursday evenings in the fourth season of the series, presented by the symphony in association with Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond. Members of the orchestra will perform with VCU and UR faculty musicians; the Aug. 3 program also will feature faculty from VCU’s Global Summer Institute of Music.

The concerts, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gottwald Playhouse of Dominion Arts Center, Sixth and Grace streets, will mix works by familiar names from English music – Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Britten, Delius – with pieces by less frequently heard composers of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Charles Villiers Stanford, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Frank Bridge, Arnold Bax, John Ireland and Eugene Goosens.

Subscription ticket prices for six concerts are $81 for adults, $60 for youths (18 and younger) and college students. Sampler subscriptions – three or more concerts at $16 each for adults, $11 each for youths and students – also are offered. Single tickets, which go on sale on May 8, are $18 for adults, $12 for youths and students.

Most concerts in past series have sold out in advance.

For more information, call the Richmond Symphony patron services desk at (804) 788-1212 or visit http://www.richmondsymphony.com

“The Flower of England” artists and programs:

July 13
Adrian Pintea, violin
Russell Wilson, piano
Vaughan Williams: “The Lark Ascending” (arr. for violin and piano)
Britten: Suite for violin and piano, Op. 6
Coleridge-Taylor: “Petite suite de concert,” Op. 77
Elgar: “Salut d’amour,” Op. 12

July 20
Susannah Klein, violin
Joanne Kong, piano
Elgar: Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 82
Bridge: “Norse Legend,” “Amaryllis,” “Souvenir,” “Heart’s Ease”
Ireland: “Summer Evening”
Thomas Pitfield: Violin Sonata in A major – Allegretto articulato and Scherzo

July 27
Schuyler Slack, cello
David Fisk, piano
Bridge: “Four Pieces”
Bax: “Folk Tale”
Delius: Romance for cello and piano
Bridge: Cello Sonata in D minor

Aug. 3
Zachary Guiles, trombone
Yin Zheng, piano
Pascale Delache-Feldman, double-bass
Aleksandr Haskin, flute and piccolo
Elgar (arr. Sauer): “Chanson de nuit,” “Chanson de matin”
Holst: Concertante
Elgar: Duetto for double-bass and trombone
Elgar: “Salut d’amour” for trombone, piano and double-bass
Goosens: “Five Impressions of a Holiday” for flute, trombone and piano
Vaughan Williams: “Suite de ballet” for flute and piano
Ian Clarke: “The Great Train Race,” “Zoom Tube” for solo flute
Britten: “Ploughboy” for trombone, piano and piccolo

Aug. 10
David Lemelin, clarinet
Magdalena Adamek, piano
Gerald Finzi: “Five Bagatelles,” Op. 23
Charles Villiers Stanford: Clarinet Sonata, Op. 129
Bridge: “Three Miniature Pastorales”
Joseph Horowitz: Sonatina

Aug. 17
Shawn Welk, oboe & English horn
Richard Becker, piano
Britten: “Six Metamorphoses after Ovid” – “Pan,” “Arethusa”
Edmund Rubbra: Oboe Sonata in C major, Op. 100
Tobias Matthay: “Three Lyric Studies” for piano
Vaughan Williams (arr. Stanton): “Six Studies in English Folk-Song” for English horn and piano
Thomas F. Dunhill: “Three Short Pieces,” Op. 81
Goosens: “Concerto in One Movement,” Op. 45 (arr. for oboe and piano)
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Johannes Brahms, master of the art of variation: His piano variations on themes by Handel, Haydn, Paganini and Schumann, played alongside their sources; his rarely heard “13 Variations on a Hungarian Song,” played alongside a set of his familiar Hungarian dances; and, to conclude, his most famous variation on a theme – the
old collegiate drinking song “Gaudeamus Igitur” – in the “Academic Festival” Overture.

April 5
noon-3 p.m. EST
1700-2000 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Brahms: Hungarian dances –
No. 3 in F major
No. 4 in F minor
No. 5 in F sharp minor
(orchestrations by Marc-Olivier Dupin,
based on arrangements by Joseph Joachim)
Patrice Fontanarosa, violin
Jan Talich
Chamber Orchestra
(EMI Classics)

“13 Variations on a Hungarian Song,”
Op. 21, No. 2
Andreas Bach, piano
(Oehms Classics)

Suite in B flat major, HWV 434
Shai Wosner, piano

Brahms: “Variations on a Theme by Handel,” Op. 24
Shai Wosner, piano

Caprice in A minor,
Op. 1, No. 24
Midori, violin
(Sony Classical)

“Variations on a
Theme of Paganini,”
Op. 35 – Books 1 & 2
Yuja Wang, piano
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Past Masters:
Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor
(“La campanella”)
Ivry Gitlis, violin
Warsaw National Philharmonic/Stanislaw Wislocki
(recorded 1966)

Capriccio in B minor,
Op. 76, No. 2
Ivan Moravec, piano

“Bunte blätter,”
Op. 99, No. 4
Louis Lortie, piano

Brahms: “Variations on a Theme of Schumann,” Op. 9
Louis Lortie, piano

Haydn (attr.):
Octet (Partita)
in B flat major,
Hob. II:46
Consortium Classicum
(Warner Classics)

“Variations on a Theme
by Haydn,” Op. 56
Martha Argerich & Nelson Freire, pianos
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Brahms: “Academic Festival” Overture
Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig/Riccardo Chailly
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Joshua Roman, cello
Andrius Žlabys, piano
April 1, Virginia Commonwealth University

Solo recitalists typically receive boldface billing, with their accompanists in secondary font. Not so in the weekend’s performance by Joshua Roman, the widely lauded young American cellist, and his longtime recital partner, the Lithuanian-born pianist Andrius Žlabys, in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rennolds Chamber Concerts series.

Roman, whose focused, singing tone sounded perfectly suited to music ranging from Debussy and Beethoven to Janácek and Arvo Pärt, certainly rated star billing; but so did Žlabys, who has been performing with Roman since they were studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music and has built his own career as a solo pianist.

A few measures into Debussy’s Sonata for cello and piano, which opened the program, it was clear that this would be an evening of deeply collaborative music-making. Žlabys proved to be the rare accompanist who, while always supportive, also creates and constructively inhabits his own musical space.

This was especially satisfying in Beethoven’s Sonata in A major, Op. 69, in which cello and piano are equal, consistently complementary voices. The sonata’s central scherzo, in which the piano plays a nearly orchestral role, found Roman and Žlabys at their collaborative best, feeding off each other’s energy and expressiveness in playful exchanges.

The duo’s phrasing and sensitivity to tone coloration brought contour and continuity to Janácek‘s “Pohádka” (“Fairy Tale”), emphasizing the folk-derived melodies and moderating the sometimes grating sonorities that characterize this early modern Czech composer’s style.

Roman and Žlabys made unusually lyrical work of the Debussy sonata, fleshing out the skeletal quality of this piece from late in the composer’s life, but without quite romanticizing it. The cellist crossed that line with vibrato-heavy lyricism in “Louange à l’Eternité de Jesus” (“Praise to the immortality of Jesus”) from Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.”

The two musicians traced the long narrative and expressive arc of Pärt’s “Fratres” (“Brothers”), a quasi-minimalist piece that has gone through 17 (!) instrumental iterations since its original 1980 version for violin and piano. It sounded warmer, naturally, when played on cello, and Roman’s austere voicing of his part left more space for the piano’s partly supportive, partly contrasting voice.

Roman and Žlabys have been improvising – “noodling,” as the cellist put it – since their student days, but had not done so in public before this concert. Their “Only Once” improvisation suggested extensive exposure to impressionistic jazz by the likes of Pat Metheny and Bill Evans.

Astor Piazzolla’s “Grand Tango,” the climax of the program, was a virtuoso exercise for both players.
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