Tonal vi­sion The Santa Fe Cham­ber Mu­sic Fes­ti­val

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

The Santa Fe Cham­ber Mu­sic Fes­ti­val gets un­der­way this week with two go-rounds of its open­ing pro­gram on Sun­day, July 16, and Mon­day, July 17. For this 45th sea­son, which runs through Aug. 21, the en­ter­prise will be fol­low­ing for­mu­las fa­mil­iar from past years. Most of its pro­grams will ad­here to a va­ri­ety-show for­mat in which var­i­ously con­structed stand­ing en­sem­bles or ad hoc groups (with a few soloists mixed in) of­fer a mélange of pieces that are wor­thy of pro­gram­ming even if they may not have much to do with one an­other in tan­dem. As in past sea­sons, there will be an artist-in-res­i­dence whose pres­ence is slight. There will be a hand­ful of piano recitals. There will be ap­pear­ances by es­tab­lished string quar­tets who ap­pear most sea­sons on the fes­ti­val’s ros­ter. There will be some new works co­com­mis­sioned by the fes­ti­val. There will be a cou­ple of Baroque pro­grams. And there will be a few bigdeal con­certs that ought to com­mand spe­cial no­tice.

The big-deal con­cert that will prob­a­bly prove most pop­u­lar with the au­di­ence takes place on Aug. 17: Stravin­sky’s the­ater piece The Sol­dier’s Tale, per­formed at the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter (where most of the fes­ti­val’s events un­roll in the lat­ter half of the sea­son, fol­low­ing open­ing weeks at St. Fran­cis Au­di­to­rium). Stravin­sky and his lit­er­ary col­lab­o­ra­tor wrote this odd but ap­peal­ing work in Switzer­land just as World War I wound down, crafting it as a por­ta­ble dra­matic pre­sen­ta­tion that could be carted about sim­ply and mounted with min­i­mal ex­pense. (An in­fluenza epi­demic pre­vented the in­tended tour from tak­ing place, but the work did catch on later.) It tells the story of a sol­dier who trades his vi­o­lin to the devil, gains it back, and loses it again, with cu­ri­ous ad­ven­tures be­falling him along the way. The fes­ti­val has as­sem­bled the req­ui­site seven-piece mu­si­cal ensem­ble, which will be led by John Storgårds, who will also serve as the fea­tured vi­o­lin­ist. The Fin­nish mu­si­cian cur­rently serves as prin­ci­pal guest con­duc­tor of the BBC Phil­har­monic and of the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre Or­ches­tra in Ot­tawa. The work’s nar­ra­tor will be the well-known char­ac­ter ac­tor Wal­lace Shawn, and the piece will be pre­sented in a the­atri­cal ver­sion de­signed and di­rected by Doug Fitch. Fill­ing out the pro­gram are duo-piano pieces by Rach­mani­noff and Pi­az­zolla, played by the team of An­der­son & Roe.

Storgårds also ap­pears as a con­duct­ing vi­o­lin­ist ear­lier the same week in a work rarely en­coun­tered on the con­cert stage, Kurt Weill’s Con­certo for Vi­o­lin and Wind Or­ches­tra. Weill is most widely re­mem­bered for the acer­bic scores he wrote for the “al­ter­na­tive the­atre” of the 1920s and ’30s, and par­tic­u­larly his Brecht col­lab­o­ra­tions like The Three­penny Opera and Happy End, but as a bril­liant pupil of the com­poser Fer­ruc­cio Bu­soni, he started out as a mod­ernist with more main­stream as­pi­ra­tions. (He wanted to take lessons from Schoen­berg but couldn’t af­ford it.) The Vi­o­lin Con­certo, from 1924, is a rest­less work that takes a loose ap­proach to tonal struc­ture, a piece we might as well call Ex­pres­sion­ist, one that sounds very much of the 1920s yet of­fers some pre­mo­ni­tions of the some­how kinky sound for which Weill would be­come fa­mous. You can hear it at the Len­sic on Aug. 14, sur­rounded by a work that is its ex­act con­tem­po­rary — Poulenc’s Sonata for Horn, Trum­pet, and Trom­bone, also from 1924 — and one of cham­ber mu­sic’s en­dur­ing clas­sics, Men­delssohn’s C-mi­nor Piano Trio.

The other con­cert of un­usual in­ter­est takes place on July 28 at St. Fran­cis Au­di­to­rium — a rare per­for­mance of Mor­ton Feld­man’s String Quar­tet No. 2, played by the FLUX Quar­tet. Let’s cut to the chase: The piece lasts six hours in a sin­gle span with­out any

FLUX Quar­tet

David Daniels

Mark Neikrug

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