“Presences” in NYC

This is a belated note on last Monday’s Weekend of Chamber Music program in New York at the Bathhouse Studios. Yet another fine young string quartet (there seem to be so many these days) – this one called the Verona – opened the program with Haydn’s Op. 50, Nr. 1, transparent and articulate. This was followed by the NYC premiere of John Harbison’s Presences. The piece is a chamber concerto for cello and five additional strings, in this case the Verona joined by Jeremy McCoy, double bass. Caroline Stinson of the Lark Quartet was the cello soloist. Commissioned as a memorial work for a cellist, it was the passionate moments of the piece that struck me the most, which is not to overlook the playful aspects. The inclusion of the double bass gives the music a three-dimensional quality, a certain heft and weight. I must admit Verklarte Nacht crossed my mind during the performance; not the vocabulary, but the richly ardent character of the discourse. The second half of the program was the Schubert Quintet in an eloquent performance notable for some tempi that were a bit more brisk than usual.

I plan to be back in New York on May 1 when the Lark plays the NYC premiere of Harbison’s Quartet Nr. 6 and a premiere by Andrew Waggoner at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall – tickets here.

Here’s a shot from last Wednesday. Left to right: Abigail Rojansky, Dorothy Ro, John Harbison, Caroline Stinson, Warren Hagerty (obscured), Jonathan Ong, and Jeremy McCoy.

Three Performances in New York

By some happy coincidence, I have three performances in New York this week. In addition to the Prism Quartet and pianist Marilyn Nonken giving the second performance of my Stratigraphy earlier today, soprano Liv Redpath and pianist J. J. Penna will do Holy the Firm in Juilliard’s Paul Hall this coming Tuesday, March 22 at 8 PM. This will be the first performance of the complete cycle in New York City. Go here for an earlier post about Liv. And on Friday, Weekend of Chamber Music will offer my Oboe Quartet, with Peggy Pearson, oboe; Ari Streisfeld (of the JACK Quartet) violin; Kathryn Lockwood, viola; and Caroline Stinson, cello (both Kathryn and Caroline are members of the Lark Quartet) – quite an all-star group. The performance will be at the Tenri Cultural Institute on Friday, March 25 at 7:30 PM, with an encore performance at The Cooperage in Honesdale, PA on Saturday, March 26, also at 7:30. Go here for ticket information and a video from W of CM’s artistic co-directors, Andrew Waggoner and Caroline Stinson.