Chamber Players: Concerts span two centuries of music

Chamber Players at rehearsal for their April concerts. Up front, from left, Diane Lesser and Susan Rotholz. In back, from left, Peter Reit, Philip Bashor and Mark Davies. — J. Host photo

Chamber Players at rehearsal for their April concerts. Up front, from left, Diane Lesser and Susan Rotholz. In back, from left, Peter Reit, Philip Bashor and Mark Davies.
— J. Host photo

The upcoming April 7 and 8 concerts of the Chamber Players, entitled Winds of Change — from Beethoven to Gilbert, will showcase the winds principals of the Greenwich Symphony, all of whom are familiar to Greenwich audiences.

They will be joined by GSO principal keyboardist Andrew Gordon and the program material will span more than two centuries, from a quintet for winds and piano composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1792 to a serenade completed by David Gilbert in 2010. Twentieth century French and Danish composers Francis Poulenc and Carl Nielsen are programmed as well.

For these concerts, Mr. Gilbert, who will attend both performances, will be wearing his composer’s hat instead of his Greenwich Symphony Conductor’s hat. Mr. Gilbert described his Mythic Serenade for Flute, Clarinet and Piano as “an imaginary journey into the world of legend. There are six short movements: Perpetual Motion I, Romance, Scherzo, Volante, Chorale, Reverie, and Perpetual Motion II. Perpetual Motion I is akin to rapid travel via time machine, whereby one arrives in a world of romance, fantasy, wonder and reverie. Perpetual Motion II returns us to the present world, hopefully, enriched.”

Susan Rotholz, flutist, said, “We are very excited to be playing this beautiful piece, not only for the audience, but for David. It has long lyrical sections, solos dovetailing from the piano to the clarinet to the flute, wild, sweeping wave-like runs and an overall theme of deep compassion.”

Andrew Gordon, pianist, spoke of Beethoven’s quintet saying, “This piece always strikes me as a not so miniature piano concerto. I’m not sure whether the wind players would agree, but the nature of the piano writing always makes me think of the composer’s Third Piano Concerto, with lots of impossible fast chromatic scales and long trills in awkward spots. One hopes to make it look effortless, and it’s anything but.”

Plenty of chamber performers are happy to talk about Carl Nielsen, whose Wind Quintet is the fourth work on the program.

Susan Rotholz, flute said, “In the variations, Nielsen featured each instrument. As he composed, he had in mind his friends — the very musicians who played each instrument — so that he was writing personally for each one. It is a beautifully written and crafted piece with a wonderful rhythmic spirit that utilizes the rich resonances of the five wind instruments all together or in smaller combinations.”

The concerts take place on Sunday, April 7 at 4 p.m. at the Round Hill Community Church and on Monday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bruce Museum. Tickets are $25 for adults, and $5 for students. Audiences are invited to a wine and cheese reception at each concert. For more information call 203-622-6611.

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