Lenape Chamber Ensemble to open 45th season
The Lenape Chamber Ensemble opens its 45th season of chamber music Friday, Oct. 11 at Upper Tinicum Lutheran Church in Upper Black Eddy and Sunday, Oct. 13 at Delaware Valley University’s Life
Sciences Building auditorium in Doylestown. Featured are dramatically contrasting works by Beethoven, Ives, and Saint-Saëns.
Opening the program is Beethoven’s String Quartet in C Minor, Opus 18 No. 4. Beethoven waited until his thirties before composing any string quartets at all. His first works in this genre follow techniques he learned from studying the string quartet of Mozart and Haydn, and several elements in the C Minor quartet are reminiscent of the style of these two composers. It is the only one of its group of six that is written in a minor key, and as such, presents many interesting mood changes.
Performing the work are violinists Cyrus Beroukhim, a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, Emily Daggett Smith, founding first violinist of the Tessera Quartet; violist Catherine Beeson, assistant principal violist with the Colorado Symphony; and Alberto Parrini, principal cellist of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.
Charles Ives, born in 1874 and often called the original Yankee maverick of American classical music, wrote his Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano in 1917, revising it in 1919. Like much of his music, this sonata is nostalgic, containing themes from Ives’ New
England childhood, ragtime dances, and snippets of old popular tunes. Emily Daggett Smith and world-renowned pianist Marcantonio Barone perform this vivid and popular piece.
Camille Saint-Saëns’ music was roundly criticized in 1892 as ultra-conservative and out of style. But to spite his critics, the composer announced his newest “atrocity” by producing his Piano Trio No. 2 in E
Minor, which later became known as “the greatest French piano trio of the 19th century.” Marcantonio Barone is joined by Cyrus Beroukhim and Alberto Parrini in this work of so many surprising moods, from its dark and ominous Allegro non troppo opening to it lyrical, romantic Andante con moto.
Lenape Chamber Ensemble, 8:15 p.m. Friday,
Oct. 11, Upper Tinicum Lutheran Church, Upper Black Eddy; 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, Delaware Valley University, 700 E. Butler Ave., Doylestown. Tickets: $18 adults, $15 seniors and students, $5 children under 12. 610-294-9361, www.lenape chamberensemble.org
Singer/songwriter Justin Solonyhka at UUCC in Bethlehem
Now in its 10th season, the Second Sunday Concert Series at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem has been a showcase for local and regional musicians, in addition to bringing in worldwide talent. Its opening concert of the 2019-2020 season on Sunday, Oct. 13 brings to us singer/songwriter Justin Solonynka, a Bucks County native who will present a virtuosic piano blend of folk, rock, and jazz.
For over 20 years, Solonynka has performed his eclectic musical blend for audiences up and down the East Coast. He combines original songs and beautiful instrumentals with his gift for storytelling to create shows that are enjoyed by audiences of all ages. He’s a frequent performer at Godfrey Daniels, and has collaborated with other musicians familiar to Lehigh Valley audiences, including jazz saxophonist Neil Wetzel, and cellist Debbie Davis.
Solonynka is truly a multi-talented artist who has been known to play trombone, pennywhistle, mallet percussion, guitar, melodica and drums, though he admits to not playing them all at once. His list of musical collaborations is a long one, ranging from an alternative folk quartet to a jazz-funk-rock combo, two contra folk dance groups, and a jazz quartet.
A mathematics teacher at Abington Friends School, Solonynka lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife and daughter, lots of books, a few plants and a collection of musical instruments from all over the world.
Concert guests are invited to meet the artist at a post-concert reception.
Singer/songwriter Justin Solonynka, 3 p.m. Sunday,
Oct. 13, the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, 424 Center St., Bethlehem. Tickets: $17 general admission, free for students. 610-866-7652, www.concertseries.uuclvpa.org
Central Moravian Church to present major choral works
On Friday, Oct. 11, the Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem will present a program featuring Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy in C minor, Op. 80, and Dan Forrest’s “Requiem for the Living.” Conducted by Donald Spieth, the concert will bring together the 60-voice Johnston Festival Choir of Central Moravian Church, Festival Orchestra, and Becky Lepore, piano soloist on Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and minister of music of Central Moravian
The Choral Fantasy has a most curious origin.
Beethoven hurriedly composed the work in December of 1808 to conclude a marathon-length concert given which included the premiere of three movements from the Mass in C, the scene and aria” Ah! Perfido,” the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, and a freely improvised fantasy for piano, performed by the composer.
The piece, which included all the performers in that concert, provides a foretaste of the “Ode to Joy” finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. “The Fantasy begins as a piano concert, several instrumental sections, and then ends with six soloists and a full chorus singing bits of his yet-to-be-written Ninth Symphony,” says Lepore.
Following the Choral Fantasy the choir will sing the well-known hymn “Joyful, We Adore Thee” as the concert transitions to a more solemn and confessional tone, preparing for Forrest’s powerful “Requiem for the Living.”
“I discovered the music of Dan Forrest two years ago, when the choir first performed his Festival Nowell for the Christmas Eve Vigils at Central Moravian,” Lepore says. “An American composer born in 1978, he has this ability to write musical lines that make sense for the singer, a keen understanding of orchestration, but even more than that, a powerful gift of being able to transport the listener to a place that is absolutely and divinely spirit-filled.”
Forrest’s Requiem incorporates the traditional liturgical text for the Requiem, a mass for the dead, but also includes scriptures from both the Old Testament and the
New Testament. “It’s a statement that life is difficult, but the music becomes a profound prayer for the peace that only God can provide,” Lepore adds.
The Estelle Borhek Johnston Memorial Concert was established in memory of Estelle Borhek Johnston (1867-1952) by her daughter, the late Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston Jost, and her son, Archibald B. Johnston.
Johnston Memorial Festival Concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, Central
Moravian Church, 73 W. Church St., Bethlehem. Admission: free. 610-866-5661
Violinist Emily Daggett-Smith is one of the featured soloists in the opening program of the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s 45th season Friday evening, Oct. 11, in Upper Black Eddy and Sunday afternoon in Doylestown.
Cellist Alberto Parrini is one of the featured soloists in the opening program of the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s 45th season Friday evening, Oct. 11, in Upper Black Eddy and Sunday afternoon in Doylestown.
Singer/songwriter Justin Solonynka will present a program blending folk, rock, and jazz at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethlehem on Sunday, Oct. 13.