The Acclaimed Copland House Piano Quintet from New York

The Acclaimed Copland House Piano Quintet from New York

 

Music
Pro Musica Concert Series
Copland House Piano Quintet
Sat-Sun, Mar 21-22, 5pm
St Paul’s Church
Cardo 6
200, 400, and 500 pesos
www.promusicasma.org
promusicasma@aol.com

By Linda Laino

The Copland House quintet is the acclaimed resident ensemble at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in New York, where it occupies a prominent place as perhaps the most wide-ranging American chamber music group. Its vast repertoire covers 150 years of musical legacy from the 19th century to contemporary compositions. Widely acclaimed for its musical insights and instrumental command, the quintet has performed on many famous stages, such as Carnegie Hall. The New York Times proclaims them as “all exuberance and bright sunshine.”

Pianist and artistic director Michael Boriskin is well known for his recording of Gershwin’s complete works for piano and orchestra, while cellist Wilhelmina Smith, who made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra, is also the founder and artistic director of the Salt Bay Chamberfest in Maine. Both of these musicians have graced the Pro Musica stage many times, and we are thrilled to have them return for two concerts with the full quintet!

Saturday’s performance begins with Mozart’s Piano Quartet #1 in G minor. Written in the composer’s most expressive, adventurous and harmonic style, its romantic sonorities juxtapose passages of concerto-like virtuosity with stormy drama. Next, we will hear Amy Beach’s stunning Piano Quintet in F-Sharp Minor. Considered to be America’s first widely recognized female composer, her work opens with a vigorous first movement and continues with an air of mystery, punctuated with a soft and highly romantic melody—the finale exploding with incredible force and intensity.

We end the evening with Dvorak’s Piano Quintet #2 in A Major. Universally acknowledged as a masterpiece of the quintet form, this work combines the composer’s personal form of expressive lyricism with elements from Czech folk music. Encompassing the fullness of symphonic texture and inspired romantic melody throughout, it concludes with a light-hearted and spirited finale. This work epitomizes Dvorak’s unique style more than any other of his compositions.

Sunday’s concert begins with Gustav Mahler’s Piano Quartet in A Minor. Written at age 16 and only rediscovered in the 1960s, this single-movement work has three contrasting themes, with the third featuring an unusual violin cadenza. It is a work with moments of exceptional beauty and excitement from such a young composer. Bruno Walter was one of the legendary conductors of the 20th century, but he was also an outstanding composer. We will hear his Piano Quintet in F-Sharp Minor, a late romantic piece full of powerful expression that shows his consummate compositional skills.

Concluding Sunday’s concert is Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F Minor, combining youthful exuberance and sophisticated musical textures. Famous 19th-century conductor Hermann Levi said, “The quintet is beautiful beyond measure. a masterpiece of chamber music.”

Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are 200, 400, and 500 pesos donation each and are on sale at the bookshop in the Biblioteca Pública, through our website with no booking fee, and at the concert 45 minutes before performance time.

Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are on our website, www.promusicasma.org, or contact us at promusicasma@aol.com.