I believe that I now understand “balance” as the word applies to musical groups as well as to the music they chose to play. I heard an exquisite balance of piano, cello and violin and I enjoyed the perfect – if unlikely – balance of three compositions from three centuries and sensibilities.
First, the performers. David Finckel, an amazing cellist (and, believe me, as a cellophile I know my celloists) provided the warm, rich music that supported the ensemble. Philip Setzer, master of the violin, gave each composition the soaring songs required by each composer – even Mendelssohn’s notoriously impossible Scherzo movement. And Wu Han, hair and fingers flying, demonstrated her deep mastery and understanding of the music she performed. And this trio worked. They blended, they were precisely contrapuntal and they obviously enjoyed the performance. Their music laughed and cried, was joyous and profoundly tragic – all in perfect balance.
Their music laughed and cried, was joyous and profoundly tragic – all in perfect balance.
The music performed by these masters should never have been blended into a single program, but again there was such beautiful balance. Beethoven, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn: three gifted composers from three entirely different sensibilities. Beethoven writing fashionable court music, earning his always precarious living by pleasing and surprising his audiences with intricacies and novelties; Shostakovich, literally taking his life in his hands by composing music that warily thumbed its nose at Stalin while contributing to the great artistic tradition of Russia; and Mendelssohn, the Romantic, who wove together threads of Judaism and Christianity to produce a golden fabric of pathos and compelling religiosity. These three great composers should never have appeared on the same program, but they did and the program was perfectly balanced by their respective geniuses.
And this is exactly what the San Antonio Chamber Music Society aims to do and has done for 76 years now. We strive always to provide a balanced season of international performers and superb music. We hope you have enjoyed the season and, with us, you look forward to the 77th season of artistry and our special brand of Sunday afternoon escapism. Our next star-studded season will begin October 6, 2019, with Apollo’s Fire, a Grammy-winning Baroque ensemble you don’t want to miss. The season continues November 10 with the dynamic Ariel String Quart with Ilya Shterenberg, who just happens to be the Principal Clarinet of our very own San Antonio Symphony. Then, on January 26, 2020, we will present the incomparable Akropolis Reed Quintet, described as “pure gold” by the San Francisco Chronicle. On March 1, 2020, the impeccable and wildly popular British vocal ensemble VOCES8 will cross the pond to inspire us with their eight beautifully integrated voices. Our 77th Season will end on April 26, 2020, with the exceptional Parker String Quartet, another Grammy award winner which the New York Times called “something extraordinary”. As you can see, there will be something for everyone, all fabulous performances to be enjoyed – do come share this enjoyment with us!
– E Doyle