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Chamber Music Concert Program to Feature Romantic Works

SOCORRO, N.M. March 21, 2012 – Presidential Chamber Music Concert-goers are in for a romantic and passionate program with the fourth and final installment of the series, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 26, at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center.

Willy-Sucre
 Willy Sucre

Admission to the Performing Arts Series (PAS) event is free to all.

Once again, master violist Willy Sucre will bring his magic to the Macey Stage in performing piano quartets with James Holland, cello, Krzysztof Zimowski, violin, and Deborah Wagner, piano.

On the first half of the program are Wolfgang Mozart’s (1756-1791) Piano Quartet in G Minor, K 478; and “Fantasy” for violin, viola, cello and piano – F# minor, written by English composer and violist, Frank Bridge (1879-1941).

After intermission, the musicians will perform Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 47. The German composer (1810-1856) wrote the piece for piano in 1842.

“We have a really, really wonderful program,” Sucre said. “All of the pieces are very romantic.”

The evening opens with Mozart’s piano concerto, completed in Vienna in 1785 at the same time as Pierre Beaumarchais’s famous opera, The Marriage of Figaro, which is why the concerto was not as popular at the time as it is now, Sucre explained.

The work is in three movements: I. Allegro in G minor; II. Andante, in B-flat major; and III. Rondo (allegro) in G major.

Mozart needs no introduction, but it might be mentioned that this particular work by the Saltzburg-born composer was, in his time, thought to be too difficult to be interpreted.

This viewpoint was shared by others for many of Mozart’s works, which only underscores the composer’s gift of genius.

“The concerto is very complicated and interwoven with voices that move in and out all the time – it’s a very advanced piece,” Sucre said.

Today, he continued, the composition is one of the most important pieces in the repertoire of piano concertos.

Bridge, the youngest of the evening’s composers, was born in Brighton and studied at the Royal College of Music in London from the ages of 20 to 24. He played the viola with several string quartets and also worked as a private music tutor.

Sucre described Bridge as an extremely accomplished composer, who won a competition with this piece of music, written in 1909.

Structurally, the composition is very symmetrical and cohesive; in short, said Sucre, looking for just the right word, “It’s very English.”

One of the things he most loves about the music is the fact that Bridge was a violist (as is Sucre) and wrote pieces “where the viola has a lot to say.”

Schumann’s piano quartet is comprised of four movements: I. Sostenuto Assai; Allegro Ma Non Troppo; II. Scherzo: Molto Vivace; III. Andante Cantabile; and IV. Finale: Vivace.

“This is a very 19th Century piece, an extremely romantic and passionate piece,” Sucre said. “Schumann really expresses his most intimate feelings in it.”

According to the violist, Schumann had the piece so finely detailed in his mind before he wrote a single note, that it took the composer only two weeks to complete.

“It’s an extremely cohesive piece, and demanding for everyone – because it was written as a piano concerto, the piano has a lot to do,” Sucre said. “It is an extraordinary piece of music, part of the literature of piano quartets.”

Sucre suggested that Schumann’s story would make for good Hollywood fare.

Schumann became enchanted with a pianist named Clara, first meeting her when she was 15, and later marrying her, over her father’s objections. Sucre said Clara played piano in a number of her husband’s works, including as part of a trio with Schumann’s best friend, Johannes Brahms.

“The audience in Socorro is really going to enjoy this program, with its energy, beauty and romanticism,” Sucre said. “They are in for a lovely evening.”

PAS Director Ronna Kalish agrees.

“We are delighted to close out the Presidential Chamber Music Series on such a high note, so to speak,” Kalish said. “The Performing Arts Series is particularly indebted to the evening’s two sponsors – New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López, and the wonderful people at Socorro Springs Restaurant and Brewery.”

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech