Welcome 2015From the Artistic Director
Dear Audience –
I offer you all a most enthusiastic welcome to the 14th annual Michigan City Chamber Music Festival!
This season is a very special one for me. First of all, it is a programming challenge to which I’ve given quite a bit of thought. I think we have an idea of what a “beloved treasure” is, but what of this enigmatic “hidden gem”? Well, a definition here would have to be somewhat subjective and autonomous, but we will dare to call these works pieces that are not performed a great deal, but should be.
With this definition in play, I’m sure you can see the challenge ahead of a concert programmer. After all, we’ve heard countless times before, “if a piece isn’t played much, it probably shouldn’t be.” Well, there is a conventional wisdom to that which is undeniable, but I’m afraid that I must take issue with this chestnut …
As musicians, we ALL have a personal favorite I our repertoire that just doesn’t seem to get the attention we think it deserves. With this thinking, I set about to pick one or two of my favorites, ask our illustrious musicians for theirs, do a bit of research on my own, and “voila” … Instant festival!
Well, that “research on my own” proved to be problematic … You see, once I delved into the chamber repertoire that was “unknown”, or “underplayed”, I discovered scores of “hidden gems”!
Not just academic, modern pieces that hold a type of intellectual interest. Not just ancient, somewhat pleasant sounding early instrument prototypical experimentation. I’m talking about grand, romantic, passionate works that somehow escaped the public’s ear! A trio by Clara Schumann that is every bit as heart felt as her far more famous hub and, Robert’s works. A trio by Cecile Chaminade so passionate it reminds me of similar works of Mendelssohn. A Faure piano quartet every bit as melodic as the most beautiful of Schubert’s songs. A volcanic quintet by Anton Arensky that almost anyone would mistake for a masterwork by Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff! I am talking about true masterworks, immediately accessible to the ear, that deserved to be heard!
In addition to this, we look forward to the future of great music with TWO world premieres! Our own Rudolf Haken’s “Michigan City Mashup”, an exciting and intense offering that will end our first ever “crossover” night; and the highest honor ever bestowed upon our humble festival… The world premiere of Libby Larsen’s “Ferlinghetti”. Ms. Larsen is a Grammy winning composer whose works have been performed by every major symphony orchestra, chorus, and chamber group world-wide. I had the pleasure of working with her about 20 years ago in a premiere of some oratorios of hers. She was a lovely, personable woman, whom I found to be historically brilliant. I felt honored as I witnessed her composing on the spot, quickly re-writing a gorgeous melismatic canon for female voices. Remarkable. Now, we offer a new masterwork by this world-class composer. This will be one of our most memorable festivals ever. What a righteous, artistic paradox; “unknown” works will provide lifetime musical memories!
VIVA LA MUSICA