St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble

St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 7:30pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Orchestra of St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble - a lively group!

The Berkshire Bach Society is delighted and honored to present

St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble’s
Debut Performance in the Berkshires.

Grammy award-winning, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble
performs a concert of works that epitomize classical elegance and Baroque influence: it showcases the clarinet in Mozart’s popular Clarinet Quintet; Beethoven’s elegant and lyrical Septet reveals the influence of Mozart; movements from Partita #3 and Orchestral Suite #3 by J.S. Bach – an inspiration for both Mozart and Beethoven – complete the program.

THE PROGRAM:  (click here for Program Notes by Steven Ledbetter)
“Air” from Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068
Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581
“Gavotte en Rondeau” from Partita No. 3 in E Major for solo violin, BWV 1006
 Septet in E-flat Major, Op. 20

Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, written for clarinetist Anton Stadler, is one of the earliest and best-known pieces written especially for this instrument. Mozart had a lifelong fascination with the clarinet’s mellow sound and wide range, and showcases both with ever-shifting moods and rich melodic lines in his quintet.

The Beethoven Septet, composed just a decade later, is an elegant, six-movement divertimento featuring colorful dialogues that beautifully highlight each of the seven instruments: clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Beethoven’s virtuosic writing gives each instrument a chance to shine.

Mozart and Beethoven were both great admirers of J.S. Bach, and his “Air” from the Orchestral Suite in D Major and “Gavotte en Rondeau” from the Partita No. 3 are majestic examples of late Baroque music at its best. The “Air” is a tranquil, soulful aria for strings that unfolds slowly while revealing subtle, intricately woven harmonies. “Gavotte in Rondeau” displays both vigor and poise, as the solo violin contrasts lively dance music with a cheery refrain.

St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble consists of 22 virtuoso artists dedicated to the mastery of a diverse repertoire spanning Baroque to contemporary. The ensemble forms the artistic core of Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL), one of America’s foremost and most versatile orchestras. OSL was formed at the Caramoor International Music Festival in the summer of 1979, after evolving from St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, which was established at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1974.

OSL regularly collaborates with the world’s greatest artists and performs approximately 70 concerts each year—including its Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series, Chamber Music Series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and performances at the Caramoor Music Festival, where OSL is the official Orchestra-in-Residence. OSL’s discography of more than 90 recordings includes four Grammy Award-winning albums and seven releases on its own label, St. Luke’s Collection. Pablo Heras-Casado is OSL’s Principal Conductor.

Message from Berkshire Bach Society board member, Richard Collens:
I first met Marianne Lockwood, Executive Director, and Michael Feldman, Music Director, founders of the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, in the early 80’s when, even as an emerging young ensemble, they were already being recognized for their excellence in New York City and beyond.

Since then, I have had a long personal relationship with them – first as a board member, then as a physician to many members of the ensemble, and have enjoyed watching them over the years reach stellar heights in the classical music world. The Ensemble members were the core of the group when it evolved into the Orchestra of St Luke’s at the Caramoor International Music Festival in 1979. Their performances in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Morgan Library, the Brooklyn Museum, Caramoor, and Tanglewood under world class Music Directors such as Roger Norrington, Sir Charles Mackerras, Donald Runnicles, and now Pablo Heras-Casado, have earned them the highest acclaim.

Recently, I was thrilled to attend their great performance of Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 4 with Yefim Bronfman, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 at Caramoor, conducted by Peter Oundjian, Music Director of the Toronto Symphony.

The St Luke’s Chamber Ensemble is one of America’s foremost and most versatile ensembles, and I am delighted they have responded to Berkshire Bach’s invitation for their debut in the Berkshires. Having a mature and diversely talented musical group of this caliber respond to our call is the ultimate compliment to the Berkshire Bach Society, and it sets the bar for excellence here in the Berkshires.

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
413 528-0100
Tickets: $25-$75; Berkshire Bach membership discount $5
Students free with ID