Sister Bay, Wis. (July 19, 2022) – As much as today, during the Romantic period from approximately 1800 to 1850, music and poetry went hand-in-hand. Music often inspires poets, and poetry often inspires composers. It is this symbiotic relationship that Midsummer’s Music explores in its Lush & Thrilling Romantic Poetry program, with concerts running from July 20 to July 24 in various Door County venues. Featured musicians are flautist Heather Yarmel, clarinetist JJ Koh, violinists David Perry and Ann Palen, violist Allyson Fleck, cellist James Waldo, and bassist David Scholl.
Carl Maria von Weber is today primarily known as the founder of the German Romantic School in opera. He held music positions in opera houses in Breslau, Prague, and finally in Dresden, where he singlehandedly turned the city’s penchant for Italian opera into a love for German opera, with music and subject matter that spoke directly to the German heart. A very accomplished pianist, he wrote his Grand Quintetto in B-flat Major, Op. 34, for clarinet and strings for his friend, clarinet virtuoso Heinrich Bärmann. The clarinet was a relatively new instrument, and its sound was a favorite, along with the horn, in creating the romantic aura of Weber’s style.
Quartettsatz in C Minor, D. 703, is Franz Schubert’s 12th string quartet and his great, unfinished string quartet, and it is the first of his works in which he reached full maturity as an instrumental composer. With only a single movement – Allegro assai – he attained a poetry and an emotion unknown before 1820, as it represents a sudden break with the previous limitations of a string quartet. Not until after his death in 1828 did the manuscript score end up in Johannes Brahms’ possession, and it premiered on March 1, 1867, in Vienna.
Friedrich Gernsheim was a Jewish composer born in Worms, Germany, to a physician and a mother of considerable musical talent, who was his first teacher. Although he studied piano from age seven, he chose to pursue a career in composing and conducting. Having lived in Paris in the 1850s, it is said that his music charmingly possesses both French and German influences. He wrote songs and choral music, symphonies, and concertos for piano, violin, and cello. His Divertimento in E Major, Op. 53, for flute and strings was a concert favorite in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century. With the rise of Nazi influence after his death, his music – and the music of other Jewish composers – was deemed “degenerate,” and was “disappeared” until being rediscovered in recent years.
The Lush & Thrilling Romantic Poetry program is performed four times: July 20 at 7:00pm at Sister Bay Moravian Church in Sister Bay; July 22 at 7:00pm at First Baptist Church in Sister Bay; July 23 at 7:00pm at Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay; and July 24 at 5:00pm at Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor.
The eighth program of the season, Homeland Sentiments, features three Eastern European composers: Ukrainian Mykola Lysenko’s Adagio from String Quartet in D Minor (1869); Polish Philipp Sharwenka’s Trio in C-sharp Major, Op. 100; and Czech Antonín Dvořák’s Quintet in A Major, Op. 81. Concerts are at 7:00pm, July 29, at the Donald & Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor; 7:00pm, July 30, at Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay; and 3:00pm, July 31, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Sister Bay. Featured musicians in this program are violinists David Perry and Ann Palen, violist Allyson Fleck, cellist James Waldo, and pianist Jeannie Yu.
Heather Yarmel will lead an educational Coffee Talk entitled “Taoism and Alexander Technique in Music: A beginner’s journey to finding greater freedom in music-making” on July 23 at 11:00am at the Margaret Lockwood Gallery in Sturgeon Bay. Coffee Talk programs are free, informal presentations on music topics by ensemble members. staff, and friends.
A complete 2022 summer brochure can be downloaded at www.midsummersmusic.com. Programs are subject to change.
Tickets are $35 for adults, $15 for students, and children 12 and under are free. Premium prices apply for salon/home concerts, dinner concerts and other special events. Flex-packs of six tickets for the price of five tickets are also available. Tickets can be ordered at www.midsummersmusic.com or by phone at 920-854-7088.
Midsummer’s Music was co-founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, long-time Door County summer residents and principal orchestral players with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. What began as two concerts among friends has become one of the Midwest’s most anticipated chamber music series, bringing thousands of chamber music enthusiasts from around the globe to the magical Door County Peninsula.