Brightmusic festival begins tomorrow evening

Brightmusic’s exciting four-concert Festival – “The Music of France” – begins tomorrowevening, Thursday, June 12. All four concerts of this third Spring Festival will be performed in the historic, acoustically rich St. Paul’s Cathedral, located at 127 NW 7th Street (at Robinson) in downtown OKC.

7:30 pm, Thursday evening, June 12

“The French Clarinet”

7:30 pm, Saturday evening, June 14
“Ravel and Fauré”

4:00 pm, Sunday afternoon, June 15
“French Winds and Strings”

7:30 pm, Tuesday evening, June 17
“La Fin du Temps” (“The End of Time”)
Mae Ruth Swanson Memorial Concert

All concerts at St. Paul’s Cathedral
127 NW 7th Street (at Robinson)

Brightmusic’s exciting four-concert Festival – “The Music of France” – begins tomorrowevening, Thursday, June 12.  All four concerts of this third Spring Festival will be performed in the historic, acoustically rich St. Paul’s Cathedral, located at 127 NW 7th Street (at Robinson) in downtown OKC.

Concert 1 – “The French Clarinet”

Thursday evening, June 12, 7:30 pm

Brightmusic’s Artistic Directors – clarinetist Chad Burrow and pianist Amy I-Lin Cheng – will kick off the Festival with a smorgasbord of nine French works for clarinet and piano (some are “miniatures” of only 2-3 minutes in length).  This program gives a wonderful overview of the development of French chamber music from the earliest work on the program, composed in the 1780’s, to the latest work, composed in 1973.  The composers featured will be François Devienne, Maurice Ravel, Gabriel Pierné, Germaine Tailleferre, Ernest Chausson, Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns and Louis Cahuzac.  The estimated play time of Concert 1 is 69 minutes.

Copies of Chad and Amy’s recent CD, “Clarinet Romance: Brahms and Schumann,” will be available for sale and autographing after the concert.  The March issue of “The Clarinet” gave rave reviews to our Artistic Directors’ CD, praising the “utter clarity and total unanimity of their ensemble” and “their perfect balance,” which “make these performances unique and of the very highest level.”

Concert 2 – “Ravel and Fauré”

Saturday evening, June 14, 7:30 pm
This concert will feature three works by Maurice Ravel and one by Ravel’s teacher, Gabriel Fauré.  Hal Grossman and guest pianist Wen Shen will perform Ravel’s virtuosic Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano.  Violinist Katrin Stamatis and cellist Jonathan Ruck will perform Ravel’s melodic Sonata for Violin and Cello, which Ravel dedicated to Claude Debussy.  Ravel’s third work will be his concert rhapsody, “Tzigane” (“Gypsy”), performed by violinist Gregory Lee and pianist Wen Shen.  After intermission, Wen Shen, Hal Grossman and cellist Meredith Blecha-Wells will play Gabriel Fauré’s autumnal Trio in D Minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, op. 120, one of Fauré’s last compositions.  The estimated play time of Concert 2 is 68 minutes.

Concert 3 – “French Winds and Strings”

Sunday afternoon, June 15, 4:00 pm

This special Fathers’ Day celebration concert showcases four Brightmusic musicians.  Flutist Parthena Owens and pianist Amy Cheng will play Francis Poulenc’s suave three-movement Sonata for Flute and Piano, composed in 1956-57.  Next will come an early, virtuosic work of Camille Saint-Saëns, Tarantella for Flute, Clarinet and Piano, op. 6, featuring Parthena Owens, Chad Burrow and Amy Cheng.  Concluding the first half of the concert will be a trio by a little-known French composer, Edouard Destenay, whose “day job” was a French Army officer (distinguished enough to be an officer in the French Legion of Honor).  His three-movement Trio in B Minor for Clarinet, Oboe and Piano, op. 27, will be performed by Chad Burrow, oboist Lisa Harvey-Reed and Amy Cheng.  Parthena Owens will open the second half of the concert with Claude Debussy’s delicate, amorous tale, “Syrinx for Solo Flute, L.129.”  The concert will conclude with Maurice Ravel’s brilliant Trio in A Minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, which he composed in 1914, contemporaneously with the outbreak of World War I.  Amy Cheng will be the pianist, Gregory Lee the violinist and Jonathan Ruck the cellist for the performance of this work, whose four movements were inspired by sources as diverse as Basque dance, French and Malaysian poetry, and French Impressionist painting.  The estimated play time of Concert 3 is 72 minutes.

Concert 4 – “La Fin du Temps” (“The End of Time”)

Mae Ruth Swanson Memorial Concert
Tuesday evening, June 17, 7:30 pm

The Festival will conclude with two gangbuster works, one by Hector Berlioz and the other by Oliver Messiaen.  Brightmusic fans will welcome the return of tenor Andrew Ranson (who performed Schubert Lieder with us at last year’s Festival), who will sing Poulenc’s 1840-41 song cycle, “Les Nuits d’éte” (“Summer Nights”).  The poems of Berlioz’s friend Théophile Gautier, which Berlioz memorialized in this work, “consider love from different angles, but loss of love permeates them all” [John Magnum].  Amy Cheng will be at the keyboard to accompany Andrew in this lovely anthology of songs.  The Festival will end with Messiaen’s transcendent composition, “Quatuor pour la fin du temps” (“Quartet for the End of Time”).  He wrote this quartet in 1940-41 while a prisoner in a POW camp in Germany.  It has since been heralded as “one of the most significant and famous chamber music compositions of the twentieth century” [Joseph Stevenson].  Gregory Lee will be the violinist, Jonathan Ruck the cellist, Chad Burrow the clarinetist, and Amy Cheng the pianist for this hauntingly beautiful, deeply moving work.  The estimated play time of Concert 4 is 80 minutes.

Individual concert admission is $15 per person for each concert.  Season 11 Membership Pass holders will be admitted to all Festival concerts without charge, as will students with ID.  If you’re not a Season 11 Member, you can save money by purchasing a four-concert Festival pass at Concert 1 for $45 per person. 
A complete program listing, including program notes, are available on our websiteHERE.  If you have any questions, please call (405) 216-5595 for further information.

“The Music of France” is made possible by special grants to Brightmusic from the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the Ad Astra Foundation and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Civic Music Association Account.

The Gayly – June 11, 2014 @ 7:55pm