The Fauré Quartet, one of the world’s leading piano quartets, will make its Sedona debut and bring Chamber Music Sedona’s 35th anniversary to a close Sunday, April 8, 2:30 p.m., at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.
The concert is made possible with support from Dottie Webster. The matinee concert will include Toshio Hosokawa’s Piano Quartet The Water of Lethe commissioned by and for the Fauré Quartet; Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Opus 47, and the Piano Quartet in C minor, Opus 15 by Gabriele Fauré.
“This year has been a particularly vibrant season,” said CMS artistic director Bert Harclerode. “The European influences from repertoire of the masters to the featured ensembles and their respective interpretations have been refreshing. The esoteric sounds of the Dublin Guitar Quartet and now the Fauré Quartet have added significantly to our 35th season.
The Fauré Quartet, violinist Erika Geldsetzer, violist Sascha Frömbling, cellist Konstantin Heidrich, and pianist Dirk Mommertz, was formed in 1995 in Karlsruhe to mark the sesquicentenary of the great French composer Gabriele Fauré’s birth and soon adopted Fauré’s name, out of appreciation for the composer’s two piano quartet compositions. Today the Fauré Piano Quartet is the leading European ensemble in the configuration of violin, viola, cello and piano. Ten years after its founding, the Fauré has climbed to the top in its field as the only German chamber ensemble of its kind. This led to a recording contract with Deutsche Gramophone in 2006 for the Mozart Anniversary with the two Mozart piano quartets as its debut DG album, followed by a Brahms CD release two years later featuring op.25 and op.60. The Daily Telegraph of London said the Fauré Piano Quartet is “Emotionally explosive…plenty of dynamism, musical style and a lithe animation of texture.”
The Quartet brings fresh interpretations to mainstream repertoire and offers new insights into undiscovered repertoire.
Among the many international festivals at which the Fauré Quartet has appeared are the Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein, Ludwigsburg, Schwetzingen, Montpellier, Sceaux and Kuhmo Festivals. The ensemble has won distinguished national and international awards, including the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb and London’s Parkhouse Award. Among their teachers are the Alban Berg Quartet and Misha Katz. The Karlsruhe Musikhochschule appointed the group its quartet-in-residence, an appointment that had not been made in Karlsruhe for 30 years and that was a new departure for a piano quartet.
“We’re delighted to have these illustrious artists with us for four days as we celebrate our 35th season,” said Harclerode. The Spring Music Festival begins Wednesday, April 4 at 4 p.m. with the screening of ‘The Buena Vista Social Club’ in partnership with the Sedona International Film Festival at the Mary Fisher Theater. The film is a celebration of the power of music and the human spirit. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1999. Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro’s takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who traveled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians’ careers.
Thursday and Friday the Quartet will perform four ‘Concerts for Youth’ in Sedona schools. “These programs open up the eyes of our youth,” said Harclerode. The repertoire for the youth concerts will include excerpts from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, German folk songs as well as contemporary music and more. The programs are supported in part by the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona and the City of Sedona.
Thursday evening music aficionados will have the irreplaceable opportunity to engage one-on-one with Quartet members at a Salon Musicale in a private Soldiers Pass home, enjoying a 40-minute performance preceded by Arizona wines and appetizers, and concluding with a Q&A period, chocolates and mingling with friends and artists.
Sunday’s concert will provide engaging musical contrasts. Toshio Hosokawa is the foremost living Japanese composer of classical music born 1955 in Hiroshima. Hosokawa composed The Water of Lethe in 2015 for the Fauré Quartet who gave the world premiere in the Old Hall of Heidelberg University on April 19, 2016. The Water of Lethe continues a series of recent works centered on “rivers of sound.” In Greek mythology, Lethe is one of the five rivers in the underworld—the “river of forgetfulness”—as well as the goddess associated with forgetfulness, oblivion, and sleep.
Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47, (preceded by the iconic Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44) received its premiere with Clara Schumann as a pianist on December 8, 1844, at a Gewandhaus recital. Schumann dedicated the piano quartet to Russian cellist, former military officer and arts patron Count Matvei Wielhorski.
The concert closes with Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 15. Large portions of the quartet had been written in the summer and autumn of 1876, during Fauré’s visit with his parents in Tarbes. Completion, however, took three more years of labor. Fauré played piano in the first performance on February 11, 1880, at a concert of the Société Nationale de Musique. Readers can learn more about the Fauré Quartet at www.faurequartett.com.
For tickets and up to the minute details, readers are encouraged to go online and visit www.chambermusicsedona.org where concert and Salon Musicale tickets may be purchased. Tickets to “The Buena Vista Social Club” may be purchased at www.SedonaFilmFestival.com