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2017-2018 Season

Join us! Bring a friend or make a new one. We can’t wait to see you there!

We are already looking forward to our 2017 – 2018 chamber music season. Starting in September we will return to the exquisite Hamilton Hall in Salem and  St. Paul’s Church in Brookline — two warm, intimate venues that get our audiences right into the musical action. These programs explore the depth, passion, and diversity of chamber music — pieces from different countries and continents, from the 1700s to a world premiere.

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Our first concert, September 22 and 24, From Russia With Love, starts in the psychological depths of Alfred Schnittke’s 1985 String Trio, a piece that travels through deeply romantic and mournful landscapes of deterioration and decay. Shostakovich’s 8th string quartet, dedicated to the victims of fascism and war, continues this program’s journey to the outer edges of musical expression. We’ll close with Tchaikovsky’s masterful string sextet Souvenir de Florence.

Founding Fathers, presented November 17 and 19, will bring audiences deep into the inner workings of the format of the string quartet. Two works by Franz Joseph Haydn, in some ways the inventor of the string quartet, show him breaking from earlier models to elevate all four instruments as equal musical partners. After intermission, soprano Tony Arnold will bring “wind from another planet” (and glints of Mahler) with Arnold Schoenberg’s expressionist masterpiece, his second string quartet featuring poetry by Stefan George, breaking new formal and tonal ground.

On January 5 and 7, The Art of the String Quintet we’ll find out out what happens when you add an extra viola! Masterworks by Mozart and Brahms illustrate the evolution of these “symphonies for the living room,” works of explosive power and profound refinement. Mozart’s K.174 was his first viola quintet, written when he was just 17, and the K.515 inspired Schubert to write his own quintet in the same key. Brahms intended his quintet in G to be his last composition, though fortunately, it is not, as we will see in Program 4.

“Sheer reveling in strangeness,” wrote theorist and composer Moritz Hauptmann of Schumann’s Opus 41 no 1 Quartet in A Minor that opens our March 9 and 11 program, Giants of Romanticism.  Some listeners have heard Bach, others late Beethoven in the work’s mystical opening passages. Clarinet maestro Thomas Martin of the BSO needs no introduction to our audiences. He’ll be joining the group for Brahms’ meltingly beautiful Clarinet Quintet — a piece the composer came out of retirement to write.

The final concert of our season, Finale & Premiere, is our season’s most diverse. On April 20 and 22 we begin with the jewel-like precision of Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello — dedicated to Debussy, it is a veritable symphony of counterpoint. We’ll also present an exciting world premiere, Songs Without Words, by Boston-based composer Scott Wheeler for cello and piano commissioned by artistic director Jonathan Miller. We close with Dvořák’s rich and romantic Piano Trio in F Minor.