May 22, 2016
The Chicago Ensemble’s last program of its 39th season holds the mix of old and new, familiar and unfamiliar music which has earned the Ensemble the designation “virtuosos of variety” (Chicago Tribune). Opening the program is a trio in F Major for flute, cello and piano by Haydn, whose symphonies and string quartets are often performed while his outstanding trios with piano are neglected.
Two French pieces continue the Ensemble’s exploration of this repertoire. Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses from 1926 are songs for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and piano, one of which is a vitriolic denunciation of French imperialism in Africa. These songs are musically much more sparse than his pre-war impressionistic works. Gabriel Pierné’s graceful Sonata da Camera for flute, cello and piano, in neo-classical style, was also written in 1926.
The American composer Ned Rorem has built his reputation on excellent songs for voice and piano. However, it is an instrumental work which is heard on this program: his Trio for flute, cello and piano, a virtuosic work written in 1960.
Jesus Guridi’s six Canciones Castellanos (1941) are beautifully arranged Spanish folk songs for mezzo-soprano and piano, on a par with the more often-performed settings by DeFalla.
The Chicago Ensemble has been presenting winning works selected from 350 submissions to its recent “Discover America” competition for new American chamber music. Patrick Castillo’s Incident (2010) is an intense short piece for cello and piano. Mr. Castillo, active as a composer and lecturer and artistic adviser to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, has just released a recording of his vocal chamber music.
Members of The Chicago Ensemble appearing in the May program are mezzo-soprano Stacy Eckert, flutist Susan Levitin, cellist Steven Sigurdson and the group’s artistic director, pianist Gerald Rizzer.
Open to the public. General $25, students $10, International House residents free. Buy tickets here.
Sponsored by the Global Voices Performing Arts Series and The Chicago Ensemble.