Classical

An Intimate Version of Mozart

Fine Arts Quartet and guests perform unique, reduced version of Mozart piano concerto.

By - Dec 9th, 2016 03:38 pm
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Alon Goldstein. Photo from Goldstein's website.

Alon Goldstein. Photo from Goldstein’s website.

The Fine Arts Quartet returns to the UW-Milwaukee Zelazo Center this Sunday evening (not the usual afternoon time) for the second concert in the 2016-17 series. Its members are violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, cellist Robert Cohen and violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez, and their guest performers will be pianist Alon Goldstein and string bass player Rob Kassinger, who will join the quartet for an arrangement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s Piano Concerto No. 23.

An accomplished concerto performer, Goldstein has played with the Philadelphia orchestra, the Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Toronto and Vancouver symphonies as well as the Israel Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Radio France Orchestra. He has taught summers on the teaching faculty of the Stearns Institute of the Ravinia Festival.

Rob Kassinger. Photo from Chicago Symphony.

Rob Kassinger. Photo from Chicago Symphony.

Kassinger plays bass for the Chicago Symphony. He is professor of double bass at DePaul University in addition to being a guest instructor at Indiana University. Although deeply involved with chamber works for bass, Kassinger has also developed a reputation as a jazz player.

The Quartet and Goldstein have been collaborating for two years on a series of chamber reductions of Mozart’s piano concertos. Last year, they issued a CD of Piano Concertos No. 20 and 21. Next May, they will record a second CD of Piano Concertos No. 23 and 24. Evans found the scores in a library in Australia. The transcriptions were written by Ignaz Lachner in the mid 19th century. The addition of a bass player adds depth to the sound of the chamber strings. Evans and Boico carry the themes on violins. The three lower registers – viola, cello and bass – often provide a basso continuo-like platform. The pianist must play with a light touch as he is partnering with a smaller group.

Franz Schubert was able to use the exquisite melodies he wrote in his songs and other works in some of his great string chamber works. His String Quartet Op. 29 in A minor (“Rosamunde”) is heard less often than the “Trout” or “Death and the Maiden,” but it also exemplified his ability to make the most of a tune within the disciplined structure of a quartet. In this case, Schubert borrowed from two Lieder and incidental music for a theater production of Rosamund, all works he’d previously composed.

The Quartet will also play the first of Dmitri Shostakovich’s quartets, String Quartet No. 1, Op.49 (1938). This short work contains elements of cheerfulness rare to Shostakovich. (He referred to it as a “springtime” composition.) The quartet opens with a simple motif – a syncopated rhythm in the cello lay under a minor-key viola melody as violins soared overhead. What might have been a sad melody is buoyed by the catchy phrasing of the motif. But much of the quartet is recognizable Shostakovich; Tuneful melodies in the low register of the viola, followed by similar measures in the high range of the cello, capped by high violins contributing to the atmospherics.

The December 11 concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be preceded by a pre-talk at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased on-line at the Peck School of the Arts box office or at 414-229-4308. Tickets are a bargain $10 ($5 students). The Zelazo Center is located at 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd. Parking is available in the Zelazo Center lot, to the south of the building, and in the Union parking garage across Kenwood Boulevard. (In response to budgetary crises, parking is no longer free on Sundays.)

The Fine Arts Quartet will offer their second concert in the series Sunday, Feburary 26. This concert will start at the usual 3:00 p.m. time. They have selected works by Shostakovich and two works by Mozart, including the chamber version of Mozart’s Concerto No. 24.

One thought on “Classical: An Intimate Version of Mozart”

  1. edward olson says:

    THE FINE ARTS QUARTET CONCERT PERFORMED IN THE SNOW STORM LAST NIGHT DECEMBER 11, WAS A SUPERB STATEMENT OF THE QUALITY AND INTERACTIVE PERFECTION OF THE FAQ. THE MOZART PIANO CONCERTO WITH GOLDSTEIN AND MASSINGER WAS AN AMAZING EMOTIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCE.

    BRAVO MAGNIFICO ED jj

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