Colin Carr, cello; Lee Luvisi, piano
Cellist Colin Carr and pianist Lee Luvisi first met in Mr. Carr's 20s and have in one way or another been making music together ever since. This week, the acclaimed duo brings cello music of three German composers whose lives and art often intertwined. Robert Schumann's moving "Adagio and Allegro" opens the program, followed by a supreme work of the solo cello repertoire, the Sarabande from J.S. Bach's sixth cello suite. As if to tie the whole together, the performers finish with the first cello sonata of Johannes Brahms, a composer whom Schumann mentored and who drew heavily on Bach's "Art of the Fugue" in the sonata's concluding movement.
Robert Schumann: Adagio and Allegro, Opus 70
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello suite No. 6 in D major
Johannes Brahms: Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Piano in e minor, Opus 38
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The music in this program, though, is like a snapshot of the composers at a particular time in their life. We have an uncharacteristically joyful piece from Schumann and an early work from Brahms that is missing the hint of melancholy that we usually hear in his later work. All of this makes me think of my changing relationship to particular pieces of music. At some points, one particular song will resonate quite strongly and later the connection will disappear a bit, while I suddenly appreciate much more a song I've known (and not thought about) for a long time. Do you have a piece of music that has circulated in and out of your life, or is there one song that has remained a constant?
August 14, 2005
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Pepe is the first to acknowledge his debt to the tradition he's devoted his life to realizing, particularly as it was embodied by his own father, Celedonio Romero. And at one point during his last session with us, he said, "You know, I have this family…"
We did know, of course, and this week's program is how we got to meet three of them: another of Celedonio's sons, Celin, and two of his grandsons, Lito and Celino—all of whom play the guitar masterfully.
Traditions are often referred to as "living," but it was amazing to experience, close up, what that actually means as these four fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, and sons passed Celedonio's "Zapateado" and "Noche en Malaga" back and forth among themselves in the close circle of a quartet.
Please let us know of any family music making of your own...
For information about Romero String Quartet recordings visit Public Radio MusicSource
Dodecaphunphrolic—a work composed by Stephan Freund for the unusual combination of clarinet, violin, cello, and piano—aptly describes Antares, the ensemble that performs it this week on Saint Paul Sunday. The "dodeca" of the title refers to the twelve-note scale around which the piece is written. Antares makes the "phunphrolic" part obvious. These brilliant young performers also bring us romantic music by Walter Rabl, a movement from Messiaen's ecstatic "Quartet for the End of Time," and a recent commission from John Mackey called "Breakdown Tango."
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When the quartet sat down to play, their intensity and concentration were amazing. The musicians were keenly perceptive of one another's smallest gestures, an eyebrow raise or slight rubato over one note. It was as though they were the only four in the studio.
That turned out to be the actual case, not just figurative. Saint Paul Sunday had just gotten a new digital camera. While Antares was rehearsing I was going around the studio taking pictures and experimenting with different focuses, flashes and all the other gadgets on the camera. At one point, they had stopped at a dramatic pause and the camera flashed and clicked, completely ruining the moment. I apologized and I believe it was Rebecca who said, "Don’t worry. I didn't notice that you were here taking pictures."
In that way, the contrasts of this group are stunning. They play with fierce concentration, but their repertoire is fresh, engaging and charismatic which makes me believe that they are also great observers of the world around them. What did you enjoy in Antares's performance?
For information about Antares recordings visit Public Radio MusicSource
The nine exceptionally gifted young artists of Concertante perform as various ensembles, from familiar combinations of five and six to the rarer mélange of the nonet. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Concertante visits the studio as a sextet to play two seldom-heard jewels of the chamber repertoire: Johannes Brahms's Opus 18 String Sextet, a serene and sunny work that nonetheless reflects hard-won transcendence of loss, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky's suggestively beautiful Souvenir de Florence. In whatever form it happens to take, Concertante performs with great insight and dash.
Johannes Brahms: Sextet in B flat Major, Op. 18
A long and happy tradition here is to keep the studio door open for artists and ensembles who embody chamber music in its original and perhaps truest sense-who carve themselves out of a larger pool into groups of three, six, nine, or whatever the music at hand calls for. It keeps alive the familial bonhomie small music had before it entered the concert hall, when it was performed on command in homes (albeit aristocratic homes) or as the spirit moved. It's one of my own favorite kinds of performance, sparking the chemistry festivals like Marlboro and Menlo are beloved for.
Concertante radiates that same chemistry, and its approach shines in the performances of the two works it brings this week-especially Johannes Brahms's B-flat Major sextet, a work shot through with anguish outlived and serenity reclaimed. Brahms apparently composed it at a remote castle in the northern Teutoburger forest. Sure enough (nature lover that I am), its opening movement never fails to calm me into something like a mystical state.
Concertante doesn't over-complicate the direct simplicity of its leading melody yet remains responsive at every point to the deep wells of world-wisdom Brahms draws from throughout.
Audio from previous shows is archived in the program catalog. Go to the catalog to listen to previous shows.