Eastern encores

Three Notch’d Road’s “Eastern Exotic” program, reviewed in the previous post, brought to mind another early music group’s exploration of Eastern Europe folk music: Ensemble Caprice’s recordings of pieces from Collection Uhrovska, an 18th-century manuscript that preserves traditional songs and dances from Slavic, Jewish, Hungarian, Romanian and Romani (gypsy) sources.

Matthias Maute, the flutist and recorder player who leads the Montreal-based ensemble, made two discs with his arrangements of Uhrovska selections performed alongside works by Georg Philipp Telemann (Analekta 29919) and Antonio Vivaldi (Analekta 29912).

Cool album covers by Marianne Chevalier, intoxicating music.

Some samples, with singer Carmen Genest’s haunting rendition of “Ach ma myla” and violinist David Greenberg’s jaw-dropping introduction/cadenza in “Visel som.”

Review: Three Notch’d Road

“Eastern Exotic”
Nov. 5, All Saints Episcopal Church

Forays into folk and vernacular repertory are not uncommon among early music groups, especially in the US and Canada; but few venture as far eastward as Three Notch’d Road: the Virginia Baroque Ensemble did in its first program of the season.

Eastern Exotic ranged geographically from the Baltic to the Aegean, chronologically from the medieval to the post-modern, and from the spiritual to the secular.

The instrumental troupe – violinists Fiona Hughes and Matvey Lapin, double-bassist Samuel Suggs, harpsichordist Jennifer Streeter and Christa Patton, playing harps, winds and tambourine – was joined by bass-baritone Christopher Short, with Hughes and Lapin playing vocal roles as well.

Lapin curated much of the program, including several suites of folk songs and carols in his arrangements.

While the instruments and the most substantial instrumental pieces were baroque, the bulk of the program stood apart from a musical era or compositional style, focusing instead on traditional songs and dances from Eastern Europe and Anatolia.

Several selections represented west meeting east: a Polish Polonaise by the German Georg Philipp Telemann, who more than most of his baroque contemporaries was drawn to Slavic folk music; and adaptations of Greek and Turkish tunes from Lyric Airs (1804) by Edward Jones, a Welsh harpist and explorer of ancient music.

Short, singing in Polish, Ukrainian and Russian, showed gratifying versatility musically as well as linguistically, sounding idiomatic from soulful laments to fanciful fairy tales-in-song. Streeter’s array of instruments included a real novelty, the Turkish-Armenian duduk, which sounds like an ancestor of the clarinet or alto saxophone.

Among the program’s many discoveries, two especially welcome ones were string works by Maksym Sozontovich Berezovsky and Ivan Khandoshkin, Ukrainian musicians prominent in 18th-century St. Petersburg, among the first composers in the tsarist Russian Empire to produce music in Western baroque and early classical styles.

The most exotic offering – at least in this program’s context – was Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirrors in the Mirror), a 1978 work by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, scored originally for violin and piano, subsequently arranged for various instrumental combinations, here played by violinist Hughes, double-bassist Suggs and Streeter on harp. Their period instruments gave this iconic minimalist piece a more austere character and a more varied palette of tone colors, plus a bit more contour and linearity, than performances that I’ve heard played on modern instruments.

For dessert, the ensemble turned to one of the most recognizable Eastern European dance forms, the csárdás, a Hungarian tavern dance used liberally by the likes of Liszt and Bartók (and by Johann Strauss II in Die Fledermaus), but rarely with the folksy gusto of these performances.

The program repeats at 4 p.m. Nov. 6 at Grace Episcopal Church, 5607 Gordonsville Road in Keswick. Tickets: $25. The ensemble presents its Christmas program, “Western Noël,” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 301 Sheppard Court in Waynesboro, 4 p.m. Dec. 3 at Grace Episcopal Church in Keswick, and in two Richmond performances, 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at St. Benedict Catholic Church, 300 N. Sheppard St., and 11 a.m. Dec. 5 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue. Tickets are $25 for the Waynesboro and Keswick concerts. Admission is free for the Richmond dates, but reservations are required. Details: (434) 409-3424; http://tnrbaroque.org/concerts

‘Leveling up’ UK arts grants hit London

Updated

Major cultural institutions in London will lose significant financial backing from Arts Council England, adhering to the British government’s “leveling up” agenda of shifting resources to cities and regions outside the capital.

At least one entity now based in London, the English National Opera, facing a cut of £12.6 million (about $14.2 million), plans to move most of its operations to Manchester. (Or maybe/apparently not – see Nov. 15 update, below, and Nov. 17 update, above.)

Other London arts groups facing major reductions in council support include the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (down £2.9 million), the Southbank Centre (down £1.9 million) and National Theatre (down £850,000). Funding for several others will be eliminated, but some troupes in London suburbs will receive more.

Council subsidies will rise for the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, Shakespeare North Theatre in Prescot, the Factory International venue in Manchester, English Touring Opera, and Chineke! an orchestra that showcases racial/ethnic minority artists and repertory.

Arts Council England, whose funds come from government appropriations and profits from Britain’s National Lottery, is expected to disperse £446 million annually for the next three years. That number may drop as the UK government struggles to reduce spending in an oncoming recession.

Like many European countries, Britain has exploited its artistic and cultural attractions to boost the tourist trade, especially among affluent visitors. Key to that trade is London’s status as one of the world’s leading cultural centers. A diminished arts scene could make the city less of a destination.

The arts council’s support for London groups will drop by 16 percent in the coming year, while funding for entities outside the city will rise by 21 percent, the BBC’s Daniel Rosney reports:

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-63512050

London-based orchestras facing reduced subsidies include the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestra (down 12 percent each) and the London Sinfonietta (down 41 percent). The Royal Philharmonic and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will not face cuts, Norman Lebrecht reports on Slipped Disc:

http://slippedisc.com/2022/11/london-orchestras-count-their-losses/

UPDATE (Nov. 8): The Bachtrack website offers a more extensive roundup of winners and losers in Arts Council England’s shifting subsidies:

http://bachtrack.com/find-articles/tagvalue=Arts%20Council%20England

UPDATES (Nov. 15): The Observer’s Fiona Maddocks, while blasting the funding cuts for the English National Opera, writes that reports of the company’s move from London to Manchester “have no substance as yet, and certainly make no sense.”

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/nov/12/the-yeomen-of-the-guard-eno-english-national-opera-review-coliseum-london-arts-council-england-ace-funding-cuts-relocation-alcina-royal-opera-richard-jones

Meanwhile, Darren Henley, Arts Council England’s chief executive, writes in a commentary published by The Guardian that the council faced “invidious choices” in redressing “the historical unfairness in the balance of funding between London and the rest of the country.”

Henley suggests that opera companies, in order to appeal to a larger, more diverse audience, should consider “opera in car parks, opera in pubs, opera on your tablet. New ideas may seem heretic to traditionalists, but fresh thinking helps the art form reimagine itself and remain exciting and meaningful to future generations of audiences and artists.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/nov/14/eno-opera-funding-arts-council-audiences

November calendar

Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, military, group and other discounts may be offered. Service fees may be added.

Contact presenters or venues for Covid-19 safety protocols.

Nov. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 5 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 7 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Michele Gamba conducting

Verdi: “Il Trovatore”
Latonia Moore (Leonora)
Raehann Bryce-Davis (Azucena)
Gwyn Hughes Jones (Manrico)
Christopher Maltman (Count Di Luna)
Ryan Speedo Green (Ferrando)
Brenna Corner, stage director

in Italian, English captions
$45-$299
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Fortas Chamber Music Concerts:
Dover Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in C major, Op. 76, No. 3 (“Emperor”)
Mason Bates: Suite for string quartet
Dvořák: Quartet in E flat major, Op. 51

$45
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 3 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Gellman Room Concerts:
Sigma Alpha Iota artists TBA
program TBA
free
(804) 646-7223
http://rvalibrary.org/events/gellman-concerts/

Nov. 3 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 4 (11:30 a.m.)
Nov. 5 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda conducting

“Symphonic Surprise!”
program TBA
(selections announced from stage)
$15-$109
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 3 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First and East Capitol streets, Washington
Jamal Aliyev, cello
Fazil Say, piano

Schubert: Sonata in A minor, D. 821 (“Arpeggione”)
Say: Cello Sonata, Op. 41 (“Four Cities”)
Franck: Sonata in A major
(Jules Delsart transcription of Violin Sonata)
free; reservations required via http://blackbaud.com
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

Nov. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue, Richnond
Crystal Jonkman, organ
Denis Bédard: “Suite du premiere ton”
J.S. Bach: Pastorella, BWV 950
Gwenyth Walker: “Sanctuary”
Franck: Pastorale, Op. 19
Craig Phillips: “Archangel Suite”

free; reservations required via http://eventbrite.com
(804) 359-5651
http://richmondcathedral.org

Nov. 4 (various times)
Nov. 5 (various times)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival
Benjamin Bruening directing

programs TBA
free
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 4 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 5 (2:30 p.m.)
Nov. 6 (2:30 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Opera
Adam Turner conducting

Gilbert & Sullivan: “The Pirates of Penzance”
Troy Cook (Major-General Stanley)
Aubrey Allicock (The Pirate King)
Martin Bakari (Frederic)
Amy Owens (Mabel)
Lucy Schaufer (Ruth)
Jeremy Harr (Sergeant of Police)
Kyle White (Samuel)
Katherine Sanford (Edith)
Taylor-Alexis DuPont (Kate)
Kaileigh Riess (Isabel)
Kyle Lang, stage director

in English, English captions
$12.51-$130
(866) 673-7282
http://vaopera.org

Nov. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Trinity Episcopal Church, 214 W. Beverly St., Staunton
Nov. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
All Saints Episcopal Church, 8787 River Road, Richmond
Nov. 6 (4 p.m.)
Grace Episcopal Church, 5607 Gordonsville Road, Keswick
Three Notch’d Road: the Virginia Baroque Ensemble:
Matvey Lapin & Fiona Hughes, baroque violins
Sam Suggs, double-bass
Christa Patton, harp
Jennifer Streeter, harpsichord
Christopher Short, bass-baritone

“Eastern Exotic: Slavic, Romanian & Hungarian”
Arvo Pärt: “Spiegel im Spiegel”
(baroque ensemble arrangement)
works TBA by Ivan Khandoshkin, Maxim Berezovsky
Hungarian csárdás TBA

$25
(434) 409-3424
http://tnrbaroque.org

Nov. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Williamsburg Community Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Highway
Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra
Michael Butterman conducting
Cirque de la Symphonie, guest stars

$75
(757) 229-9857
http://williamsburgsymphony.org

Nov. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg
Danish String Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in G minor, Op. 20, No. 3
Schubert: Quartet in A minor, D. 804 (“Rosamunde”)
traditional folk music TBA
(Danish String Quartet arrangements)
$25-$55
(540) 231-5300
http://artscenter.vt.edu

Nov. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 6 (2 p.m.)
Nov. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 12 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington
Washington National Opera
Evan Rogister conducting

Richard Strauss: “Elektra”
Christine Goerke (Elektra)
Sara Jakubiak (Chrysothemis)
Katarina Dalayman (Klytämnestra)
Štefan Margita (Aegisth)
Ryan Speedo Green (Orest)
Francesca Zambello, stage director

in German, English captions
$45-$299
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Sipe Center, 100 N. Main St., Bridgewater
Richmond Symphony String Quartet
Damien Geter: Quartet No. 1 (“Neo Soul”)
other works TBA

$20
(540) 908-4208
http://sipecenter.com/calendar

Nov. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Hylton Arts Center, George Mason University, Manassas
Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra
David Kirven conducting

Tchaikovsky: “Romeo and Juliet” Fantasy-Overture
Fauré: Elegie
for cello & orchestra
Joan Burdette, cello
Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor (“From the New World”)
$20
(703) 993-7759
http://hyltoncenter.org

Nov. 6 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
conductors TBA
Valentina Peleggi Conducting Seminar Finale Concert
works TBA by Beethoven, Schubert, Jessie Montgomery

free
(804) 788-1212
http://richmondsymphony.com

Nov. 6 (7 p.m.)
Capital One Hall, 7750 Capital One Tower Road, Tysons
National Philharmonic Pops
Luke Frazier conducting
Megan Hilty, Michael Maliakel & Luke Hawkins, guest stars

“Broadway’s Brightest Lights”
$29-$79
(703) 343-7651
http://capitalonehall.org

Nov. 6 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Fortas Chamber Music Concerts:
Israeli Chamber Project
Saint-Saëns: Fantaisie, Op. 124, for harp & violin
Stravinsky: “L’histoire du soldat” Suite
Ravel: Introduction and Allegro
for harp, flute, clarinet & string quartet
Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No. 1 (Anton Webern arrangement)
Ravel: “Le Tombeau de Couperin” (Yuval Shapiro arrangement)
$45
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 8 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First and East Capitol streets, Washington
Rachel Podger, violin
Nicolini Cosima: Prelude in A major
Johann Joseph Vilsmayr: Partita No. 6 in A major
J.S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
(Chad Kelly arrangement)
Johann Paul von Westhoff: Suite in A major
Nicola Matteis Jr.: Fantasia in C minor
Chad Kelly: “Phantasia”
J.S. Bach: Partita in A minor, BWV 1013
, for solo flute (transposed for solo violin)
free; reservations required via http://blackbaud.com
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

Nov. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
PostClassical Ensemble
“Paris at Midnight: Jazz and Surrealism in the 1920s”
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major

Drew Petersen, piano
“Entr-acte,” René Clair film with live performance of Erik Satie’s score
film footage of Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet
$45
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 9 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First and East Capitol streets, Washington
Smetana Trio
Rachmaninoff: Piano Trio in G minor (“Trio élégiaque”)
Martinů: Piano Trio No. 3 in C major
Smetana: Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15

free; reservations required via http://blackbaud.com
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

Nov. 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Nov. 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Symphony Pops
conductor TBA
The Doo Wop Project, guest stars
$25-$114
(757) 892-6366
http://virginiasymphony.org

Nov. 10 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 11 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 12 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda conducting

Barber: “Night Flight”
Michael Daugherty: “Blue Electra”
(premiere)
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin
Wagner: “The Flying Dutchman” Overture
Debussy: “La Mer”

$15-$109
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 11 (7:30 p.m.)
All Saints Episcopal Church, 8787 River Road, Richmond
Richmond chapter, American Guild of Organists’ Repertoire Recital Series:
Nicole Keller, organ
J.S. Bach: Toccata in F major, BWV 540
Leo Sowerby: Sonatina – II: Very slowly
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck: “Malle Sijmen”
Sweelinck: Psalm 23
Sweelinck: “Mein junges Leben hat ein End”
Herbert Howells: Rhapsody in C sharp minor, Op. 17, No. 3
Florence Price: “Pleasant Thought”
Price: “Hour of Peace”
Price: Cantilena
Price: “Festal March” (“Marietta”)
Price: “An American Suite”
Price: Suite No. 1 – I: Fantasy
William Grant Still: Reverie
Rayner Brown: Sonata No. 20 – Scherzando
Anne Wilson: Toccata

free; donation requested
(804) 288-7811
http://richmondago.org

Nov. 11 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Nov. 12 (3:30 p.m.)
Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center, Charlottesville High School, 1400 Melbourne Road
Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia
Benjamin Rous conducting

Arvo Pärt: “Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten”
Pärt: “Da pacem Domine”
Brahms: “Schicksalslied,” Op. 54

UVa University Singers
Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major
$10-$45
(434) 924-3376
http://cvillesymphony.org

Nov. 11 (7:30 p.m.)
The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna
Paul Huang, violin
Anne-Marie McDermott, piano

Arvo Pärt: “Spiegel im Spiegel”
Prokofiev: Violin Sonata in F minor, Op. 80
Mozart: Violin Sonata in F major, K. 376
John Corigliano: Violin Sonata

$37
(703) 255-1868
http://wolftrap.org

Nov. 12 (5 p.m.)
Nov. 13 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Opera
Melanie Kohn Day & Kenneth Wood directing

opera scenes TBA
free
(804) 828-1166
http://arts.vcu.edu/events

Nov. 12 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 13 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
Valentina Peleggi conducting

Puccini: “Preludio Sinfonico”
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor

Alexandra Dariescu, piano
Prokofiev: “Romeo and Juliet” (selections)
$15-$85
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://richmondsymphony.com

Nov. 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 13 (3 p.m.)
Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 541 Luck Ave. SW, Roanoke
Roanoke Symphony Orchestra
Sarah Ioannides conducting

J.S. Bach: “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
Jessie Montgomery: “Strum”
George Walker: “Lyric for Strings”
Elgar: Serenade in E minor
Barber: Adagio for strings
Vaughan Williams: Oboe Concerto

William P. Parrish Jr., oboe
Bartók: “Romanian Dances”
$34-$56
(540) 343-9127
http://rso.com

Nov. 12 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 13 (2 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Virginia Opera
Adam Turner conducting

Gilbert & Sullivan: “The Pirates of Penzance”
Troy Cook (Major-General Stanley)
Aubrey Allicock (The Pirate King)
Martin Bakari (Frederic)
Amy Owens (Mabel)
Lucy Schaufer (Ruth)
Jeremy Harr (Sergeant of Police)
Kyle White (Samuel)
Katherine Sanford (Edith)
Taylor-Alexis DuPont (Kate)
Kaileigh Riess (Isabel)
Kyle Lang, stage director

in English, English captions
$45-$115
(866) 673-7282
http://vaopera.org

Nov. 13 (3:30 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Second Sunday South of the James:
Ayush Pal, piano
J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 847
Debussy: Préludes, Book 1 – “La fille aux cheveux de lin” (“The Girl WIth Flaxen Hair”)
Satie: “Gymnopédie” No. 1
Debussy: Arabesque No. 1
Satie: “Gnossiennes” Nos. 1, 3, 4
Rachmaninoff: Elegie in E flat minor, Op. 3, No. 1
Rachmaninoff: Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2
Chopin: 3 waltzes, op. 64
Gustav Lange: “Blumenlied”

donation requested
(804) 272-7514
http://bonairpc.org/wp/ministries-block/music-ministry-2/concert-series/

Nov. 13 (4 p.m.)
Ryan Recital Hall, St. Christopher’s School, 711 St. Christopher Road, Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Peter Wilson conducting

Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B minor (“Unfinished”)
Franck: “Le Chasseur maudit” (“The Accursed Huntsman”)
Joachim Raff: Symphony No. 10 in F minor (“In Autumn”)

free
(804) 556-1039
http://richmondphilharmonic.org

Nov. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Kaufman Theater, Chrysler Museum of Art, 1 Memorial Place, Norfolk
Feldman Chamber Music Society:
Manhattan Chamber Players
Mozart: Piano Quartet in E flat major, K. 493
Brahms: Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60
Fauré: Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 45

$30
(757) 552-1630
http://feldmanchambermusic.org

Nov. 14 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First and East Capitol streets, Washington
Emmanuel Pahud, flute
Alessio Bax, piano

Beethoven: Violin Sonata in G major, Op. 30, No. 3 (Pahud arrangement for flute)
J.S. Bach: Flute Sonata in B minor, BWV 1030
Nicolas Bacri: Flute Sonata No. 3
Prokofiev: Flute Sonata in D major, Op. 94

free; reservations required via http://blackbaud.com
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

Nov. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St.
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Manhattan Chamber Players
Mozart: Piano Quartet in E flat major, K. 493
Brahms: Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60
Fauré: Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 45

$30
(757) 741-3300
http://chambermusicwilliamsburg.org

Nov. 16 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
University Band
VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Terry Austin directing

program TBA
free
(804) 828-1166
http://arts.vcu.edu/events

Nov. 17 (6:30 p.m.)
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Overbrook Road at Ownby Lane, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting

program TBA
$30
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://richmondsymphony.com

Nov. 17 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Nov. 19 (2:30 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Eric Jacobsen conducting

Jessie Montgomery: Viola Concerto
Masumi Per Rostad, viola
Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major
$25-$79
(757) 892-6366
http://virginiasymphony.org

Nov. 17 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 19 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Karina Canellakkis conducting

Brett Dean: “Three Memorials”
Ravel: Piano Concerto for the left hand

Cédric Tiberghien, piano
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
$15-$109
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 18 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 20 (2:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Virginia Opera
Brandon Eldredge conducting

Gilbert & Sullivan: “The Pirates of Penzance”
Troy Cook (Major-General Stanley)
Aubrey Allicock (The Pirate King)
Martin Bakari (Frederic)
Amy Owens (Mabel)
Lucy Schaufer (Ruth)
Jeremy Harr (Sergeant of Police)
Kyle White (Samuel)
Katherine Sanford (Edith)
Taylor-Alexis DuPont (Kate)
Kaileigh Riess (Isabel)
Kyle Lang, stage director

in English, English captions
$19.50-$130
(866) 673-7282
http://vaopera.org

Nov. 18 (7:30 p.m.)
St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg
Virginia Arts Festival:
International Bach Academy of Stuttgart
Hans-Christoph Rademann conducting

J.S. Bach: “St. John Passion”
Magdalene Harer, soprano
Marie Henriette Reinhold, alto
Benedikt Kristjánsson, tenor
Tobias Berndt & Peter Harvey, basses
Gaechinger Cantorey

$28-$68
(757) 282-2822
http://vafest.org/bach

Nov. 18 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Baroque Orchestra
David Sariti, leader

program TBA
$10
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Nov. 18 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Matthias Pintscher conducting

“Off the Cuff”
Berlioz: “Symphonie fantastique”

$35-$90
(877) 276-1444
http://strathmore.org

Nov. 19 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
RVA Baroque
“Hail, Bright Cecilia!”
vocal & instrumental works by Purcell, others

free
(804) 646-7223
http://rvalibrary.org/events/gellman-concerts/

Nov. 19 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Vikingur Ólafsson, piano
Baldassare Galuppi: Sonata No. 9 in F minor – I: Andante spiritoso
Mozart: Rondo in F major, K. 494
C.P.E. Bach: Rondo in D minor, Wq 61/4
Domenico Cimarosa: Sonata No. 42 in D minor
(Ólafsson arrangement)
Mozart: Fantasie in D minor, K. 397
Mozart: Rondo in D major
Cimarosa: Sonata No. 55 in A minor
(Ólafsson arrangement)
Haydn: Sonata in B minor, Hob XVI:32
Mozart: “Kleine Gigue” in G major, K. 574
Mozart: Sonata in C major, K. 545
Mozart: String Quintet in G minor, K. 516 – III: Adagio
(Ólafsson arrangement)
Galuppi: Sonata No. 34 in C minor – I. Larghetto
Mozart: Sonata in C minor, K. 457
Mozart: Adagio in B minor, K. 540
Mozart: “Ave verum corpus,” K. 618
(Franz Liszt transcription)
$40-$90
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 19 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First and East Capitol streets, Washington
Margaret Leng Tan, piano
Christopher Hopkins: “Arched Interiors II”
Henry Cowell: “Changing Woman”
George Crumb: “Metamorphoses,” Book 2

free; reservations required via http://blackbaud.com
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

Nov. 20 (7 p.m.)
River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads, Richmond
Vox Humana
William Bradley Roberts directing

program TBA
free; reservations required via http://eventbrite.com
(804) 288-1131
http://rrcb.org

Nov. 20 (7 p.m.)
Gallery5, 200 W. Marshall St., Richmond
Classical Revolution RVA:
artists TBA
program TBA
donation requested
(804) 678-8863 (Gallery5)
http://classicalrevolutionrva.com/events

Nov. 20 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Chamber Music Series:
Cody Halquist, French horn
program TBA
$15
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Nov. 20 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Chamber Singers
Michael Slon directing

program TBA
$10
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Nov. 20 (7 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Jeffrey Siegel, piano & speaker
“Keyboard Conversations: Immortal Impromptus”
works TBA by Chopin, Schubert, Fauré

$29-$50
(703) 993-2787
http://cfa.gmu.edu

Nov. 20 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Kennedy Center Chamber Players:
Ricardo Cyncynates, violin
Daniel Foster, viola
David Hardy, cello
Lin Ma, clarinet
Lambert Orkis, piano

Clara Wieck Schumann: Three Romances,” Op. 22, for violin & piano
Mozart: Clarinet Trio in E flat major, Op. 498
Beethoven: Clarinet Trio in B flat major, Op. 11
Martinů: Cello Sonata No. 3

$36
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 20 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Matthias Pintscher conducting

Jonathan Harvey: “. . . towards a pure land”
Ravel: Piano Concerto in D major for the left hand

Stewart Goodyear, piano
Berlioz: “Symphonie fantastique”
$35-$90
(877) 276-1444
http://strathmore.org

Nov. 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
UR Wind Ensemble
Steven Barton directing

works TBA by Holst, Malcom Arnold, Percy Grainger, Philip Sparke, Derek Bourgeois
free
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 25 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 26 (2 & 7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Steven Reineke conducting

“Disney’s ‘Frozen,’ ” film with live orchestral accompaniment
$39-$99
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Nov. 26 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 27 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Sixth and Grace streets, Richmond
Richmond Symphony Pops
Richmond Symphony Chorus
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting

“Let It Snow!”
$15-$85
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://richmondsymphony.com

Nov. 26 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
The 5 Browns
Christmas program TBA
$30-$50
(703) 993-2787
http://cfa.gmu.edu

Nov. 27 (4 p.m.)
Hylton Arts Center, George Mason University, Manassas
Chanticleer
“A Chanticleer Christmas”
$33-$55
(703) 993-7759
http://hyltoncenter.org

Nov. 28 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
UR Chamber Ensembles
program TBA
free
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 28 (7 p.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
conductor TBA
other artists TBA
“Holiday Festival of Music”
$55-$70; proceeds benefit Commonwealth Catholic Charities
(804) 285-5900
http://richmondcathedral.org

Nov. 29 (3 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Pops
conductor TBA
“The Polar Express in Concert,” film with live orchestral accompaniment
$25-$114
(757) 892-6366
http://virginiasymphony.org

Nov. 29 (7:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Yevgeny Kutik, violin
Anna Polonsky, piano

Brahms: Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 100
Milhaud: “Le boeuf sur le toit”
Richard Strauss: Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 18
Ravel: “Tzigane”

$12-$39
(434) 924-3376
http://tecs.org

Nov. 29 (8 p.m.)
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW, Washington
Tenthing
Tine Thing Helseth, trumpet & director

holiday and brass ensemble works TBA
$35
(202) 785-9727 (Washington Performing Arts)
http://washingtonperformingarts.org

Nov. 30 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU choruses
director TBA
program TBA
free
(804) 828-1166
http://arts.vcu.edu/events

Dec. 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Zeiders American Dream Theater, 4509 Commerce St., Virginia Beach
Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Perkinson Arts & Education Center, 11810 Centre St., Chester
Will Liverman, baritone
Adam Turner, piano

songs TBA by Florence Price, Damien Geter, H. Leslie Adams, Harry T. Burleigh, Damien Sneed
$30
(866) 673-7282
http://vaopera.org

Dec. 1 (noon)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First and East Capitol streets, Washington
Benjamin Alard, clavichord
Heinrich Scheidemann: “Lachrymae Pavan” (after John Dowland)
Johan Jakob Froberger: Toccata II in D minor
J.S. Bach: Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828
C.P.E. Bach: “12 Variations on ‘Folies d’Espagne’ ”

free; reservations required via http://blackbaud.com
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

Dec. 1 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 2 (11:30 a.m.)
Dec. 3 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
David Robertson conducting

Steven Mackey: “Mnemosyne’s Pool”
Barber: “Knoxville, Summer of 1915”

Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, soprano
Bernstein: “West Side Story” Symphonic Dances
$19-$109
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Dec. 1 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Pops
Sarah Hicks conducting

“The Godfather in Concert”
film with live orchestral accompaniment
$35-$90
(877) 276-1444
http://strathmore.org

Dec. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads, Richmond
Richmond Symphony
Anthony Blake Clark conducting

Handel: “Messiah”
Keely Bosworth Borland, soprano
Brenda Patterson, mezzo-soprano
William Ferguson, tenor
James McClure, baritone
Richmond Symphony Chorus

sold out (waiting list)
(804) 788-1212
http://richmondsymphony.com

Dec. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 301 Sheppard Court, Waynesboro
Dec. 3 (4 p.m.)
Grace Episcopal Church, 5607 Gordonsville Road, Keswick
Three Notch’d Road: the Virginia Baroque Ensemble:
Sheila Dietrich, soprano
Fiona Hughes, baroque violin
Jeremy Ward, baroque cello
Anne Timberlake, recorders
Cameron Welke, lute/theorbo
Jennifer Streeter, harpsichord

“Western Noël”
folks songs, dance suites TBA
works TBA by Purcell, Robert de Visée, Joachim van den Hove

$25
(844) 376-6061 (Ticketbud)
http://tnrbaroque.org/concerts

Dec. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Salem Civic Center, 1001 Roanoke Boulevard
Roanoke Symphony Orchestra
Roanoke Symphony Chorus
Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir
David Stewart Wiley conducting

“Holiday Pops Spectacular”
$32-$65
(540) 343-9127
http://rso.com

Dec. 2 (3 & 8 p.m.)
Dec. 3 (3 & 8 p.m.)
Hylton Arts Center, George Mason University, Manassas
Mason Opera
Joseph Walsh conducting

Menotti: “Amahl and the Night Visitors”
cast TBA
Gene Galvin stage director
in English
$24
(703) 993-7550
http://hylton.calendar.gmu.edu

Dec. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Opera Lafayette
Jacob Ashworth directing
Emmanuelle de Negri, soprano
Justin Taylor, harpsichord

works TBA by Mozart, Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, others
$30-$95
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Ryan Recital Hall, St. Christopher’s School, 711 St. Christopher Road, Richmond
Dec. 4 (3 p.m.)
Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, 205 Henry St., Ashland
Richmond Symphony Brass Ensemble
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting

“Holiday Brass”
$25
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
http://richmondsymphony.com

Dec. 3 (2:30 & 4 p.m.)
Dec. 4 (2:30 & 4 p.m.)
Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Road
Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra
Michael Butterman conducting
Sarah Jane McMahon, guest star

“Holiday Pops”
$30
(757) 229-9857
http://williamsburgsymphony.org

Dec. 3 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 4 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia
UVa University Singers
Michael Slon conducting

“Family Holiday Concerts”
$11-$47
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Academy Center for the Arts, 600 Main St., Lynchburg
Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra
David Glover conducting

“Happy Holidays with the LSO”
$30-$100
(434) 846-8499
http://lynchburgsymphony.org

Dec. 3 (4 p.m.)
Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg
Roanoke Symphony Orchestra
Roanoke Symphony Chorus
Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir
David Stewart Wiley conducting

“Holiday Pops Spectacular”
$40-$75
(540) 231-5300
http://artscenter.vt.edu

Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Hylton Arts Center, George Mason University, Manassas
Manassas Chorale
Rebecca Verner directing

“Everywhere, Christmas Tonight”
$23-$25
(703) 993-7759
http://hyltoncenter.org

Dec. 3 (2 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First and East Capitol streets, Washington
Thomas Dunford, lute
works by John Dowland, Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger, Joan Ambrosio Dalza, J.S. Bach
free; reservations required via http://blackbaud.com
(202) 707-5502
http://loc.gov/concerts

Dec. 4 (4 p.m.)
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road, Richmond
Richmond Choral Society
Markus Compton directing
Keith Tan, piano
Christopher Martin, organ

“Christmas with the Richmond Choral Society”
$15 in advance, $18 at door
(804) 353-9582
http://richmondchoralsociety.org

Dec. 4 (5 & 8 p.m.)
Cannon Memorial Chapel, University of Richmond
UR Schola Cantorum & Women’s Chorale
Jeffrey Riehl directing

Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols
free
(804) 289-8980
http://modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 4 (7 p.m.)
St. Benedict Catholic Church, 300 N. Sheppard St., Richmond
Dec. 5 (11 a.m.)
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Laurel Street at Floyd Avenue, Richmond
Three Notch’d Road: the Virginia Baroque Ensemble:
Sheila Dietrich, soprano
Fiona Hughes, baroque violin
Jeremy Ward, baroque cello
Anne Timberlake, recorders
Cameron Welke, lute/theorbo
Jennifer Streeter, harpsichord

“Western Noël”
folks songs, dance suites TBA
works TBA by Purcell, Robert de Visée, Joachim van den Hove

free; reservations required via http://ticketbud.com (St. Benedict), http://eventbrite.com (Cathedral)
(434) 409-3424
http://tnrbaroque.org/concerts

Dec. 5 (7 p.m.)
Virginia Museum of History and Biography, Arthur Ashe Boulevard at Kensington Avenue, Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Peter Wilson conducting

“Holiday Pops”
free
(804) 556-1039
http://richmondphilharmonic.org

Dec. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Young Concert Artists:
Daniel McGrew, tenor
pianist TBA
songs TBA by Brahms, Debussy, Britten, Sally Beamish, others
$20-$45
(800) 444-1324
http://kennedy-center.org

Damien Geter launches symphony residency

Singer and composer Damien Geter has embarked on a three-year residency with the Richmond Symphony, to include premieres of two works, concert program curation and community outreach.

“Many of my earliest musical memories and my love for classical music came from sitting in the Richmond Symphony concert hall as a young person,” the 42-year-old Chesterfield County native said in a statement announcing his residency. “This was the place that set the foundation for me as an artist – it feels like a homecoming.”

In addition to working with the orchestra, Richmond Symphony Chorus and Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, Geter plans to interact with the area’s young composers and members of the community in varied settings.

Geter’s compositions blend classical forms with musical styles of Black Americans and others in the African Diaspora. Among his recent works are “Cantata for a Hopeful Tomorrow,” introduced by the Washington Chorus; “An African American Requiem,” premiered by the Resonance Ensemble and Oregon Symphony; “The Justice Symphony,” written for the University of Michigan; and his Quartet No. 1 (“Neo Soul”), which Richmond Symphony members played in last summer’s Chamberfest and will reprise on Nov. 5 at the Sipe Center in Bridgewater.

In 2025, Virginia Opera will stage the premiere of Geter’s and librettist Jessica Murphy Moo’s “Loving v. Virginia,” based on the couple whose 1967 case led the US Supreme Court to overturn laws against interracial marriage.

A graduate of Indiana State University and alumnus of the Austrian American Mozart Festival and Aspen Opera Center, Geter has been serving as interim music director and artistic advisor of Oregon’s Portland Opera and artistic advisor of the city’s Resonance Ensemble.

A bass-baritone, he has performed with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Portland Opera and other companies, and has been a vocal soloist in a number of orchestral concerts, including performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Richmond Symphony last season.

Geter also has a string of acting credits, including roles in NBC’s “Grimm,” Netflix’s “Trinkets,” and stage productions of the musicals “In the Heights” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Valentina Peleggi, the Richmond Symphony’s music director, said that Geter’s residency offers “the possibility to a new generation of composers to grow and develop through a solid and long-lasting relationship with the symphony that they can call home, coupled with sharing the excitement of the process of musical creation, bringing a deeper understanding of the composition process to a wider audience.”

The ‘joyously seditious’ Gilbert & Sullivan

Writing for The Guardian, the British actor Michael Simkins credits his addiction to the comic operettas of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan for “my love of classical music in general and grand opera in particular.”

“Gilbert’s barbed satire and Sullivan’s glorious pastiches have always been joyously seditious,” Simkins writes. “The blinkered certainties of the class system are deftly lampooned . . . the absurdities of cultural and political trends are revealed in all their transient folly . . . the aspirations of Great Britain as a global superpower [have] never been more deftly skewered . . . . If the operas illuminate how we still like to see ourselves, it’s in a distinctly bilious yellow.”

As to their influence on songwriting and musical theater, “No less a lyricist than the great Johnny Mercer once wrote ‘We all come from Gilbert,’ while Sullivan’s influence has been acknowledged by composers from Noël Coward and Ivor Novello through to Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.”

For all that, Simkins writes, “I still find myself occasionally having to defend their reputation. ‘All that tiddle-om-pom-pom stuff,’ say sneering detractors of this very English art form; a classical music professional – and choral specialist – admitted to me recently that he’d ‘never really considered them.’ That’s his loss.”

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/oct/27/modern-and-major-how-gilbert-and-sullivan-still-skewer-englands-absurdities

Virginia Opera is staging “The Pirates of Penzance,” one of the best-loved Gilbert & Sullivan shows, Nov. 4-6 at Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, Nov. 12-13 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax and Nov. 18 and 20 at the Carpenter Theatre of Dominion Energy Center in Richmond. Details: http://vaopera.org/the-pirates-of-penzance/

Stradivari’s good chemistry

Writing for the online magazine Ludwig van Toronto, Anya Wassenberg summarizes research by an Italian team into the coating and varnish applied to the classic violins made by Antonio Stradivari. The treatment of wood that produces the remarkable sound of these instruments has been one of music’s enduring mysteries.

Chemically analyzing samples from two Stradivari instruments, the Toscano of 1690 and the San Lorenzo of 1718, the researchers identified a layer of protein coating, perhaps an animal-based glue, between the wood and an exterior layer of varnish. The coating and varnish mixed with each other and with the wood after application.

“The system of applying the coatings was complex, and involved extremely thin layers of a few micrometers each,” Wassenberg writes.

Her article, with a link to the study, published by the American Chemical Society:

THE SCOOP | Italian Researchers May Have Solved Stradivarius’ Secret To Exemplary Sound

(via http://www.artsjournal.com)

Classical Revolution RVA revisits Mozart

The performing cooperative Classical Revolution RVA will stage its annual Mozart Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at various locations in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood.

Among the performers are the Rosette String Quartet, the jazz/pop/classical band Sweet Potatoes Music, Ninja Strings and TJVikings Marching Band. Members of the cooperative and guests, conducted by Naima Burns, will perform in an evening concert of Mozart concertos, and singers will join the troupe for an afternoon coffee concert with a scene from the comic opera “Così fan tutte.”

Coinciding with Halloween weekend, the festival also will feature a costume contest and concert in the graveyard of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Events for children and families, food and beverages, and panel discussions also are scheduled.

Most events are free, donations accepted.

For the complete festival lineup, visit: http://www.classicalrevolutionrva.com/events

An artist in exile

Mikhail Voskresensky, an 87-year-old pianist, longtime chair of the piano department at the Moscow Conservatory, is one of hundreds of thousands of Russians who have fled the country since Vladimir Putin launched his war on Ukraine.

Given Voskresensky’s prominence as an artist and teacher, he ought to be one of the more publicized musical refugees – on a par with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich after his emigration from the Soviet Union in 1974, or, more recently, Valentyn Sylvestrov, the 85-year-old Ukrainian composer now sheltering in Berlin.

Voskresensky, however, is not well-known outside of Russia, and rarely was allowed to perform abroad. The authorities soured on him after he refused to pass messages to Soviet intelligence officers while on tour in the US in the early 1960s, Franklin Foer writes in The Atlantic. “It took 13 years for the state to forgive his reticence and permit him a tour of the West.”

After the invasion began, Voskresensky was shocked at associates’ support of Putin’s war. “Since we started it, we have no choice but to win it,” a friend told him. He decided that “I’m guilty if I live in this society,” the pianist told Foer. “I had this feeling that was ethically hard to live with.”

Foer recounts the pianist’s lengthy and bureaucratically fraught escape from Russia, first to Turkey, then to Italy, on the way to a teaching engagement at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. As the festival’s president, Alan Fletcher, “tracked Voskresensky’s progress from afar, he distracted himself by watching ‘The Third Man,’ because he felt as if he had been transported into a Cold War noir,” Foer writes.

Voskresensky and his family now live in an apartment in New York’s Bronx borough. Opportunities to teach await paperwork from immigration authorities. Steinway offered him a piano, but movers couldn’t get it up a narrow staircase. He makes do with a Yamaha electric on loan.

“I never wanted to be a political person,” he tells Foer. “I’m a man of the arts.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/defection-mikhail-voskresensky/671866/

Review: Emerson String Quartet

Oct. 23, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University

In August 2021, the Emerson String Quartet announced its coming retirement, which will mark a generational turning of the page.

The Emerson, founded in 1976 at New York’s Juilliard School, soon set a standard for US quartets, producing a collective sound that is room-filling, even in fairly large spaces, and adopting a straightfoward interpretive stance that can accommodate most of the quartet literature, with especially rewarding results in the works of moderns such as Bartók and Shostakovich.

The group’s impact on audiences and fellow musicians has been substantial and consistent, thanks to a heavy touring schedule over the decades, plenty of teaching and coaching, also to good timing: The foursome hit their musical stride just as the introduction of digital sound and compact discs led to a boom in classical recordings. The Emerson made many, and quite a few have been reference versions since they were released.

The quartet – violinists Philip Setzer and Eugene Drucker, violist Lawrence Dutton and cellist Paul Watkins – is spending this season on an extensive, international farewell tour. The group’s performance in the Rennolds Chamber Concerts at Virginia Commonwealth University, its fifth appearance in the series, was an early stop on the tour.

Its Richmond program – Mendelssohn’s Quartet in E flat major, Op. 12; Ravel’s Quartet in F major, George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings” and Dvořák’s Quartet in A flat major, Op. 105 – is one of the more conservative prepared for the tour, but proved varied enough in expression and sound texture to make lasting last impressions. Chief among them, well-integrated, enveloping string tone, at times almost orchestral in scale when heard in a space the size of VCU’s 500-seat Vlahcevic Concert Hall.

The rewards of the group’s unmannered approach to music-making were most gratifying in the Mendelssohn and Dvořák quartets, early and late products of the romantic era and, in a way, opposite sides of the romantic coin.

The Mendelssohn quartet, his first, written when he was 20, is an unrequited-love letter, a smolderingly passionate, yearning work that stretches without quite breaking away from classical form. The Dvořák, the last quartet he completed, may be his most classical, not without soulful melodies and folksy dance rhythms, but mainly focused on building musical structures from declarative motifs, as Beethoven did. In the Mendelssohn, the heart moves the mind; in the Dvořák, the mind rules the heart.

The Emerson’s treatment of the two works made that contrast clear, but not italicized or overplayed. The ensemble, with Drucker playing first violin, brought out the sweet lyricism of Mendelssohn’s tunes with rich but never cloying string sonority. In the Dvořák, with Setzer as the leader, the group’s tone was more assertive, at times almost angular, but still attuned to romantic expressiveness and the composer’s evocation of Czech folk song and dance.

The foursome turned to the comfortably lyrical Dvořák in an encore, “I Wander Often Past Yonder House,” the seventh in his “Cypresses” set of songs arranged for string quartet.

The French school of string tone production, texture and coloration – of which the Ravel quartet is exhibit A in the chamber literature – is not the easiest of fits for musicians who come out of most US schooling and mainstream performing tradition. They generally play with warmer, more rounded tone and richer ensemble sound than the French, whose tone is leaner, more focused with tighter vibrato, more differentiated among instruments in an ensemble, altogether more sinewy.

In this performance of the Ravel, the Emerson met the French style a bit more than halfway, bolder and brawnier than a French quartet typically would sound, as impulsive in attack but less fleet in pacing, suitably sensitized to the score’s intricate weave of sound textures and wide palette of tone colors.

Walker, longest-lived of the first great generation of Black American composers (he died at 96 in 2018), is most widely known for his “Lyric for Strings,” dating from 1946. Like Samuel Barber’s more familiar Adagio, written about 10 years earlier, it was originally the slow movement of a string quartet, later expanded to a string orchestration. Both are elegiac in tone, Walker’s more biographically, in remembrance of his grandmother.

Playing Walker’s original version, the Emerson inevitably sounded starker and more expressively pointed than one would hear in the orchestration, but no less emotionally impactful.