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Chamber Music Society Announces March Concert Series

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Chamber Music Society Announces March Concert Series

CMS's 50th anniversary season marks the transitional month of March with bold programs of both new works and traditional pieces pulled from all eras of the chamber music repertoire.

On March 8, Schumann's groundbreaking Quartet in E-flat major for Piano, Two Violins, Viola, and Cello, Op. 44 - the first piano quartet combined with strings - will be performed along with pieces by Mozart, Schubert, Chausson, and the New York premiere of IF for Soprano and Ensemble by composer John Harbison. IF is a translation into English of an original text by the poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), that he wrote in the voice of the great love of his life after their separation and her early death.

Says Harbison, "My determination to set the poem to English precipitated various attempts at translating it, finally completed in Dresden in 2015, the process indivisable from making the monodrama, IF, as a piece of music." Harbison will give a pre-concert talk earlier that day to discuss the new work.

A world premiere by composer Alexandra du Bois, a former composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall among many other distinctions,, will occur on March 12 a part of the NEW MILESTONES series, concerts that showcase music of the modern era, many by living composers. Du Bois's piece, titled Heron. Rain. Blossom. For Flute, Clarinet, Viola, and Cello, was commissioned by CMS this year. According to du Bois, "Heron. Rain. Blossom. explores tone and beauty of breath inherent within single-line instruments focusing on sound as voice, breathe, and feeling. Three points of influence entered the piece: the poetry of Eihei Dögen, the philosophies and the work of Zen painter and calligrapher Kazuaki Tanahshi, and the work of painter Mark Rothko - their spatial depth and meditative power, their images and philosophies seamlessly interchanging with one another."

Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, on March 15, stands as a unique synthesis of piano and percussion, with Bartók using the pianos as percussion instruments and the percussion as carriers of melody. Bartók's affinity for the folk music of his homeland can be heard in the percussive moments. That sonata will be bookended by pieces by the Hungarian composer Dohnányi and Sextet for Two Violins, Two Violas, and Two Cellos, Op. 70, "Souvenir de Florence" by Tchaikovsky, which evokes a sunny Tuscan landscape with a Russian storm lurking inside.

Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time is the composer's otherworldly, mystical depiction of the apocalypse. Composed while the composer was interred in a concentration camp during World War II, the piece premiered in the camp to an audience of more than 3,000 prisoners and soldiers. Messiaen later said that the piece was never listened to more intently than at that premiere. The Quartet remains an experience of emotional intensity and transcendence to all who hear it.i?? On March 29 the program includes a milestone in the chamber literature, Beethoven's Piano Trio, Op. 1, No. 1, which was written to help the composer launch a major career in Vienna in 1793. It met with wild success. Following it on the program is Debussy's suite for Piano, Four Hands, and Chausson's show-stopping Concerto in D major for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, Op. 21.

Tour dates for CMS in March include performances in New Orleans, LA; Madison, WI; Palm Beach, FL; Purchase, NY; Madison, NJ; Vancouver, BC; Chicago, IL; Melbourne, FL; and Athens, GA.

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