Given the continued uncertainty of the COVID pandemic, we have decided to close the Saint John’s On The Lake concert the afternoon of July 13 to registration by the general public. Although COVID is in more of an “endemic” phase now, the virus is still spreading at a high rate throughout Milwaukee County. 13% of tests reported are positive. (5% has been considered a meaningful threshold.) Symptoms are increasingly unlikely to predict whether someone, even vaccinated, is carrying the virus.
A senior community such as Saint John’s needs to be able to carefully monitor COVID incidents because of the high vulnerability of some residents, even though vaccines and other precautions have helped to manage that threat.
The Fine Arts Quartet offers its 2nd community-sponsored Summer Festival this July in Milwaukee. The Festival will feature chamber versions of W.A. Mozart’s piano concertos.
Late in the 19th century, Ignaz Lachner wrote a chamber ensemble reduction of most of the Mozart piano concertos. Leaving the original piano part intact, Lachner transcribed the orchestra part for a quintet – two violins, viola, cello, and double bass. The addition of the double bass to the standard quartet offers a wider pitch and dynamic range. The string accompaniment creates a more transparent texture, offering fresh insights into Mozart’s works.
Milwaukee Symphony bassist Andrew Raciti will join the Quartet.
The Lachner chamber versions had been rarely performed until gifted Israeli pianist Goldstein worked with the Fine Arts Quartet to revisit the works. Naxos has recorded their performance of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 20, 21, 23 and 24. They performed them for Milwaukee audiences in 2014 and 2016.
Continuing this project, Alon Goldstein will join the Fine Arts Quartet at Saint John’s On The Lake to perform Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 17. They too will be released by Naxos.
As Lachner had not transcribed Mozart’s concerto for two pianos, No. 20, K.365. Cliff Colnot, a composer on the faculty of Roosevelt University in Chicago has now addressed that gap. A friend of the Fine Arts Quartet, he has dedicated the work to them. The Quartet will offer a world premiere performance on July 18 at the Zelazo Center. Duo-pianists, Giselle and Fabio Witkowski, will perform. They appeared individually at last year’s Milwaukee Festival.
On July 11, the Prometheus Trio pianist Stefanie Jacob will provide an overview of Mozart’s Piano Concertos in a discussion and listening session as a guest of the on-going Listening Together series offered at Saint John’s On The Lake.
The first Festival concert, on July 12, features a rarely played String Sextet by Dvořák. Milwaukee Symphony violist Alejandro Duquee and cellist Scott Tisdel join the Quartet for this performance.
To lower costs, the concert will not use the Zelazo box office for Zelazo concerts. The audience will be offered general seating as the doors open at about 2:40 p.m.
The Steering Committee of the Friends of the Fine Arts Quartet and members of the Fine Arts Quartet have strongly supported offering concerts at no charge. The participation of 140 community members in the 2018 campaign seemed to demonstrate broad support and yet cover all 2018 Festival costs. The process is being extended to 2019 concerts.
You are invited to attend the Quartet’s open rehearsals at the Zelazo Center on the Saturday just before each of their Sunday concerts. The next open rehearsal starts at 12 noon, January 30th.
Saint-Saens Quartet No.2, Op.153
Schumann Quartet Op.41-1
SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014
Haydn Quartet Op.77-2
Shostakovich Quartet No.7 (1960)
Schumann Quartet Op.41-1
SUNDAY, JUNE 8, 2014
Arriaga Quartet No.3
Mendelssohn Quartet Op.44-1
SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2014
With guest pianist Alon Goldstein and bassist Rachel Calin
Haydn Quartet Op.103
Mozart Piano Concerto KV 467
Tchaikovsky Quartet No.2
SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 2014
With guest cellist Alexander Hülshoff and violist Gil Sharon
Mozart Quintet KV 406
Tchaikovsky Sextet “Souvenir de Florence”
Programs subject to change
See details about reserving tickets at the Peck School of the Arts site
Planning the February concert – The Inside Story:
The excellent South African piano duo, Luis Magalhaes and Nina Schumann, were to be on tour in Wisconsin in late January and that presented an unusual and exciting opportunity: why not invite them to play in Milwaukee with the FAQ while they are in Wisconsin so close by? But that created a huge programming challenge: though we had just performed the only quintet ever written for bayan-accordion and string quartet, had any composer ever written a piece for two pianos and string quartet? During my 32 years in the Fine Arts Quartet, I certainly had never heard of any such composition.
I love to do research, so it didn’t take me long to head to various libraries (and the internet, of course) to see what I could find. As it turned out, I found virtually nothing at first for 2 pianos and quartet except for a piece by the American composer Jerome Moss. But my delight at that discovery waned after I listened to a recording of it and found it sounding too commercial. Now, what?
Then, by accident, I stumbled upon an article written about a forgotten composer I had only a vague knowledge of: Jan Ladislav Dussek. He had a fascinating, dramatic life, and though he was acquainted with the celebrities of his time (e.g. Marie Antoinette and a young Napoleon), he, like Caravaggio, had to flee one perilous situation after another. Dussek seems to have been a close friend and musical confidant of his patron, the Royal Highness Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and therefore, on Oct 9, 1806, the 34 year old Prince was one of the pianists who performed the world premiere of Dussek’s new piano concerto for 2 pianos and orchestra (probably Dussek was the other pianist). The next day, the Prince died in the Battle of Saalfeld fighting against Napoleon’s army. That beautiful concerto is rarely performed nowadays, yet Felix Mendelssohn made his second public performance performing it in 1822 at the age of 13 (perhaps with his pianist sister Fanny), and it has been recorded a few times, notably by the great conductor Sir John Barbirolli in 1960.
In reading about the world premiere performance of the concerto, what especially caught my attention, however, was the revelation that the Prince and presumably Dussek performed with string quartet instead of orchestra. Indeed, the work was first published by Pleyel around 1807 with the title, “Grande Simphonie Concertante pour Deux Forté Piano avec Accompagnement de deux Violons, Alto, Basse”. Here’s a link to a photo of the sheet music cover.
That intrigued me, of course, but I was sure I’d never find the ancient sheet music parts for that original chamber version. But I was wrong! The Biblioteca Nacional de Espana had preserved all but one of those original Pleyel parts in manuscript form, but there was no extant score of the chamber version. Still, we’ve been able to piece together everything we need for our concert Feb 1 – which may, indeed, be the first public performance of the chamber version since the early 19th Century!
Here’s an interesting article on Dussek’s crazy life.
The other works on the program are special, too, although better known. Mozart’s String Quartet K464 in A Major is gorgeous and is one of my favorites. However, it also happens to be one of Mozart’s most sophisticated, complex, and intellectual quartets and therefore, may not be easy for the audience to understand on first hearing. Beethoven, who loved the work and used it as a model for his own A Major quartet Op.18, No.5, apparently told his pupil Czerny that Mozart was saying to the world, “Look what I could produce – if only you were ready for it.”
Finally, I wanted to give the fine duo-piano team a chance to perform one piece without us. Among the choices they offered, I picked John Adams’s minimalist piece for 2 pianos written in 1996 called “Hallelujah Junction”. It should be loud, lively, and a lot of fun to listen to.
Opportunities to help the Friends:
As we expand the role of the Friends to help the Quartet remain in Milwaukee, we need assistance in several capacities as we plan forthcoming projects. If you have experience with planning events, writing newsletter notes, assisting with publicity, coordinating volunteers, or other skills, we would like to hear from you. Please chat with us at the next concert, or call or write to let us know of your interests.
You may leave a public or private comment on this site. (fofaq.org) or the Friends E-Mail – (email@example.com) Please tell us about others who should receive this Friends of FAQ newsletter.
You may write to us at the e-mail above or 1800 N. Prospect Ave. 7E Milwaukee, WI 53202