The highlight of this once-in-a-lifetime event will be a private concert for Gala guests performed by Grammy-winning violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, known internationally as the greatest violinist living today. The evening includes pre-concert cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and a post-concert gourmet dinner catered by Russell Morin, all in a spectacular setting overlooking the ocean, Ochre Court.
Your participation will generously support the 50th Anniversary Season as well as the expansion of our audience outreach and programs for families and youth.
19th century Romantic star composers – Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Rimsky-Korsakov – fill this morning concert with fantasy-inspiring music. Beginning with the Morceaux de fantasie Op. 3, this set of five piano solos – an Elegie, a Prelude, a Melody, a Polichinelle, and a Serenade – are imagery-focused pieces, dedicated to Rachmaninoff’s harmony teacher Anton Arensky. The set of Brahms songs includes favorites; Sapphishe Ode (titled after the female Greek lyric poet), Salome, and Immer leiser wird my Schlummer (My Sleep grows ever quiteter). The morning program closes with the String Sextet in A Major by Rimsky-Korsakov. First published four years after his death in 1912, and then lost in the 1917 Revolution, an edition of the Sextet was reprinted during the Soviet era. Beginning with a brisk and lilting melody, the opening theme travels throughout the ensemble, picking up color and depth along its exposition. At times an invigorating dance, at times a meditation, the mastery of Rimsky-Korsakov is fully displayed in this diamond of string chamber music repertoire.
This afternoon concert of French music opens with Fauré’s Impromptu for Harp in Db Major, a lush, haunting composition that is at once bold and dreamy. Renié’s Danse des Lutins is a stellar example of French romantic harp music, rich in melodic line and lustrous background sound. Fantaisie for Harp Op. 95 is a composition rich in harmonics and including a cadenza specifically for harp by Saint-Saëns. The melodic line shimmers in a repeating motif that develops with charming delight. Harp joins forces with flute and viola in Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, composed in 1915 and the first major composition written for this instrumentation. Ethereal and haunting, Debussy’s lyric mastery is beautifully displayed. The afternoon program closes with Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Accompanied by a Quartet of Strings, Flute and Clarinet. A chamber music showpiece often performed in concert with a full string orchestra, this gem opens with a gentle melodic theme that moves across the instruments. This music is joyful and engaging, a perfect closing to an afternoon of enchanting French chamber music.
This invigorating all-French program begins with Maurice Ravel’s Sonatine for solo piano shimmering with melodic ornamentation. Musical lines rise and fall, light and complex melodies alternate in this light-hearted offering. Trois Pièces for cello and piano by Nadia Boulanger is a hauntingly beautiful composition where the two instruments interplay with lilting melodies that give way to a powerful exposition, and join in a joyful conclusion. Camille Saint-Saëns’ Triptyque Op. 136 closes the first half of the program. These three contrasting character pieces reveal the composer’s fascination with rhythm and meter. Piano and violin move together in an impassioned tango-inspired second movement, ending with a brisk scherzo that is stunningly virtuosic. The second half of the program presents Gabriel Fauré’s inviting and engaging Piano Quartet, scored for violin, viola, cello, and piano, one of two quartets he composed for this configuration. Filled with arpeggios and chords played in and around each instrument, this quartet delights and charms, uplifts, and inspires.
Four Strings around the World is a compelling program celebrating the diversity of cultures through the unifying voice of a single medium: the violin. It is a riveting program with music from East and West Europe, Middle and Far East, Asia, South and North America. Designed by Irina Muresanu, the journey starts in Europe with the fiddling buoyancy of pieces by Romanian, Russian and Irish composers and two titanic pillars of the solo violin repertoire: Paganini‘s Caprice No. 24 and the Bach Chaccone.
Muresanu specifically commissioned two pieces for this program: Oshta by the Chickasaw Nation member composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate, which was inspired by a Native American hymn, and Vak by Indian composer Shirish Korde.
This concert is a special free concert for the community provided by the Newport Music Festival in collaboration with the Newport Art Museum. In case of rain, please see the posting on ww.newportmusic.org on the respective Concert Event Page for more information.
This evening, dedicated to the works of Frédéric Chopin, begins with the complete Études Op. 10, each of which taxes the pianist in a specific area of technical agility, while demanding the mastery of legato throughout.
The second half of the concert includes the complete Preludes Op. 28 of which Robert Schumann wrote, “…eagle’s feathers, all strangely intermingled. But in every piece we find his own hand – Frederic Chopin wrote it. One recognizes him in his pauses, in his impetuous respiration. He is the boldest, the proudest, poet-soul of his time.”
The evening ends with the grand finale of the Rondo in C Major Op. 73 for Two Pianos. It was originally written for solo piano in 1828 when Chopin was 18 years old. He rearranged it for two pianos, four hands, the same year, but it was not published until after his death. This brilliant and glittering piece was first played at the fifth season of the Newport Music Festival in 1973.
This concert begins with Carl Reinecke’s flute sonata entitled Undine. The story of Undine, the water-nymph is both romantic and tragic and beautifully portrayed through the flute and piano. Reinecke studied with the two other German master composers on this program and he himself taught Edvard Grieg, Max Bruch, and Isaac Albéniz. Followed by Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke Op. 73, which envelop the listener in a continual stream of consciousness. The three delightful pieces are filled with moments of deep introspection and bursts of euphoria. Franz Liszt’s B Minor Sonata was dedicated to his friend Schumann and first played for Schumann’s wife Clara by Johannes Brahms. In this vast, single-movement masterpiece, Liszt achieved a synthesis of forms that has never been surpassed for its cogency, scope, and imagination. This composition demands the utmost from the performer in musical as well as technical terms and this combination inevitably sparks a powerful emotional experience in the listener.
Musical greats Mendelssohn and Shostakovich are showcased in this afternoon concert by gifted Russian instrumentalists, cellist Sergey Antonov and pianist Ilya Kazantsev. Their mastery of this well-known repertoire is stunning and engaging. Opening with Variations Concertante for Cello and Piano Op. 17, this lyrical offering is one of Mendelssohn’s musical tributes to his younger brother, Paul, a cellist by hobby, but a banker by trade. Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2 in D Major, and the second of filial tributes, follows. Cello and piano are treated as equals here also, alternating melodic prominence that creates a dazzling effect. The second half of the program is devoted to Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 40 in D Minor by fellow Russian musician Shostakovich. A lilting theme that reveals the breadth and depth of the cello’s intonation introduces this compelling and sensitive sonata. Each movement is rich and lush, revealing the composer’s genius and mastery of the cello. Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus is the cello and piano movement from Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. This is chamber music of the highest caliber, presented by two phenomenal Festival Artists who have been best friends since their youth in Moscow, Russia.
The evening’s Rossini – Opera and More concert is a joyous celebration of the opening performance of the first Newport Music Festival in 1969, An Evening with Maestro Rossini. The evening begins with three selections from his brilliant collection Péchés des vieillesse (Sins of Old Age) for piano that have been favorites throughout the Festival’s history. The first selection, Une caresse à ma femme opens with a lush, rich melody that is both provocative and alluring. Followed by the cheerful Petit Valse de Boudoir, this little gem charms and delights its listeners. Petit Caprice (Style Offenbach) completes the initial set with a majestic and whimsical melody, as Rossini parodies his fellow opera composer Jacques Offenbach. These pieces are followed by the arias and ensembles that made Rossini famous. The soprano aria, “Non si da follia maggiore,” from Il turco in Italia (The Turk in Italy) is an absolute delight with its whimsical lyrics and sparkling music. The three selections from Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) are all-time favorites of the operatic repertoire; fun, and easily recognizable.
The second half opens with “All’ombra almena” from Il Viaggio a Reims, a lost opera that was re-discovered in the 1980’s and then performed in its entirety at NMF. This unique, lush, and enchanting soprano aria was written for accompaniment only by solo harp. Two fabulous tour de force arias from Cenerentola (Cinderella) by tenor and mezzo follow. The evening closes with the famous William Tell Overture for two pianos and eight hands. As one of the most successful and happy composers of all time, Rossini’s works embodies the joy and fun. This entertaining and exciting evening is perfect for classical music lovers and cartoon aficionados alike (who grew up with the brilliance of Rossini’s pieces that were used in early animation). Happy Anniversary!