Final Issue 25 May 2020
Well, music lovers, North Carolina is slowly getting back to normal, whatever that means. And the end of May is the “official” end of the aborted 2019-2020 concert season, although we all know that it really ended in March.
And so our “Chambered Music” series will come to a close with this issue. We hope that our weekly musical offerings have provided some comfort and inspiration during these trying times.
Many great chamber music resources remain on the internet for the prudent ones who choose to stay sequestered until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, or whenever the pandemic peters out by itself, as it eventually must.
Notably, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (David Finckel and Wu Han, artistic directors) has celebrated its 50th Anniversary this season, with a wonderful webpage that includes archival recordings:
and Music@Menlo (whose artistic directors are also David Finckel and Wu Han – how do these people find the time?) has made several of its archival recordings available on the internet here.
And of course, there’ s Southeastern North Carolina’s premier 24/7 classical music resource, Classical WHQR (92.7fm in Wilmington, 96.7fm in Southport, 91.3fm HD Channel 2 throughout the area). We look forward to seeing you there too!
Now here are our concluding selections for you this week, wrapping up with a wonderfully timely twist on “Nessun Dorma.” Thank you for letting us into your homes through these sad, often stressful times. Author Nina LaCour cogently said, “Music can make you hurt and feel so good all at once.”
Music Director, WHQR Public Media
Past President, Chamber Music Wilmington
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), String Quartet in F, Op. 59 No. 1, performed by the Alban Berg Quartett
The first of three quartets commissioned by the violinist and Russian Ambassador to Vienna, Count Andreas Rasumovsky, this enormous piece explodes free of the Classical constraints of Beethoven’s “early” period. In honor of its patron, it is full of the long-legged melodies so beloved by Russians. Beethoven, in this quartet, reached his full technical, emotional and inventive maturity. Its size, its emotional range, and technical demands were entirely new to the quartet repertory, creating the same stir as the Eroica symphony three years earlier. With this piece, the already nearly deaf 36-year-old Beethoven became the pacesetter for 19th-Century quartet writing. Remarkably, this popular quartet has never been performed on the CMW stage – so let’s raise a quarantini to many future seasons!
CMW Founder Barbara McKenzie’s Carolina Piano Trio brought many standing ovations to the Wilmington stage. The first Trio by the nearly forgotten Anton Arensky is a Romantic masterpiece, and its performance by the Carolina Piano Trio was the highlight of the 2004-2005 season, its next-to-last in the Wilmington City Council chambers.
Puccini’s devastatingly optimistic aria perfectly illustrates Nina LaCour’s aphorism. And this poignant, hopeful and hilarious sendup by popular young singer Daniel Emmet, “Nessun Dorma alla Corona” will certainly remind us of 2020 long after the pandemic is past. “We'll celebrate the things we took for granted, all over the planet. Get lost, Corona!”