Jul 31, 2013
01:24 PM
Arts & Entertainment

Romantic Chamber Classics at The Kate in Old Saybrook

Romantic Chamber Classics at The Kate in Old Saybrook

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Violinist Jennifer Frautschi.

By the time a chamber musician has finished a music education and compiled an international performance resume with the best ensembles and orchestras around the world, there aren’t too many composers with whom they aren’t familiar.

That’s why this year’s edition of the Chestnut Hill Concerts, which opens Friday at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook for the first of its four Friday evening performances, is so much fun, at least for one of its veteran musicians, the pianist Mihae Lee.

Because it’s been an unexpected learning experience, her preparation for the 44th season of the series, whose theme is The Romantic Masters and Those They Inspired is inspiring Lee, who has performed with the series for more than 25 years.

Lee took a month off recently to recharge, but says that this repertoire is definitely playing a big role in her wanting to get back on stage.

“I’m learning so much preparing for this program. ... Even Franz Lachner, who was really famous, I didn’t know that he and Schubert were such good friends. I think he was one of the last two people who performed with him, too,” she says.

“Besides his great cello playing, Ron (Thomas) has a reputation as a really gifted artistic director, who’s always getting this interesting programming, connecting these pieces together and then finding the best musicians to play those pieces. That’s been his niche,” says Lee. (Right, Lee and Thomas.)

“Last year, the audiences not only loved the music, but also loved the idea of learning something from the concerts (which was Debussy and his world). So I think he really tried to connect with last year. And who doesn’t like romantic music, right?”

The series is all about connections, relationships between “names” and those they mentored or influenced in 19th-century romance music. Its opener Friday at 8 p.m. features works by the husband-wife “power couple of German romantic music,” Clara and Robert Schumann, and their good friend, the violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim.

The series continues Aug. 9, works by Felix Mendelssohn and two British Isles composers he influenced, William Sterndale Bennett and John Thompson; Aug. 16, Johannes Brahms and those he inspired, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry and Antonin Dvorak; Aug. 23, Schubert and works by two dear friends, Jan Vaclav Vorisek and Lachner.

Lee joins a group of returning musicians, which includes violinists Erin Keefe, Jennifer Frautschi, Arnaud Sussman and Steven Copes; violist Dimitri Murrath; and clarinetist Romie deGuise-Langlois. (Shown here is Erin Keefe; photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.)

Joining them in their Chestnut Hill debuts are violist Beth Guterman, pianist Anna Polonsky and soprano Hyunah Yu.

The concerts are Fridays in August at 8 p.m. at The Kate, 300 Main St. Tickets are $35 and $30, available at 860-510-0453 or www.thekate.org. For a complete program list, visit chestnuthillconcerts.org.

Those devoted to chamber music should see our story Butterfly Effect of Yale's Norfolk Chamber Music Festival; Auction of Artists' Chairs, and also connect with the summer season of Music Mountain in Falls Village, Conn.

 

Romantic Chamber Classics at The Kate in Old Saybrook

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