In recognition of the city’s centennial, Saratoga Chamber Players, bringing together musicians from Europe, Asia, Canada and the U.S. since 1987, presents “What’s Next”, a chamber concert with strings and bassoon to honor the traditions of the past and to look to the future. Under the Artistic Direction of Jill Levy, concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the concert on June 13 at 7:30 PM in North Creek at Tannery Pond will be repeated in Saratoga Springs on June 14 at 3:00 PM at the United Methodist Church, 5th Avenue & Henning Road.
The program features 3 generations of a music-making family. Great-grandfather Adolf Busch, composer of String Quartet in One Movement, Op. 29, co-founded the Marlboro Music School and Festival with his son-in-law, Rudolf Serkin. His granddaughter, cellist Judith Serkin, and great-granddaughter, bassoonist Rose Vrbsky, will perform with violinists Jill Levy and Lucy Chapman and violist Kathy Andrew. Also on the program are works that reflect both past tradition and innovations that influence the future of music.
Giacomo Puccini wrote I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums), Elegy for String Quartet in memory of the recently deceased Duke Amadeo of Savoy. It is one of the few non-operatic works he wrote. Two of its melodic themes reappeared 2 years later in his opera of 1892, Manon Lescaut. This Elegy is rarely performed in its original form as a string quartet, most often played as an orchestral arrangement.
François Devienne, overshadowed by his contemporaries Mozart and Haydn, wrote for wind instruments which his fellow composers rarely did. As a bassoonist for the Opéra de Paris and later flute teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, he composed scores of works for these instruments, among them the String Quartet in C Major, Op.73, no. 1. The success of his style led to his appellation as the “French Mozart.”
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier became one of the most popular and prolific composers of the 18th century because, in a break with tradition and as a composer without a patron, he wrote to please his audiences in order to make a living. He became wealthy from publishing his own works and was one of the first to write a concerto for the bassoon using a new form developed in Italy, Sonata in D minor, Op. 14, no.3.
Ludwig Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135 is a distillation of his earlier works in form and style. It was the last complete piece Beethoven composed before his death a few months later in 1827. It is unlike his other late quartets in that it has many “teasing” moments with reminiscences of Haydn’s playfulness.