Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Spirit of a Viennese Salon Comes to Charleston

Chamber music has always been a form of classical music best enjoyed in an intimate setting amongst a gathering of friends.  As the Romantic style of composition blossomed in the early 19th century, musical salons - gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host - became the format of choice to enjoy music.    Franz Schubert enjoyed tremendous success with such gatherings, inspiring the formation of “Schubertiades” as information gathering held in private homes to celebrate his music.  Such evenings could also include poetry readings, dancing and other social activities.   As the home to such great composers as Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Strauss, Vienna became the epicenter of such musical occasions.

On Saturday, November 9 Chamber Music Charleston will bring this spirit of a Viennese Salon to Memminger Auditorium through a program of exquisite Romantic music.   The evening opens with an ode to the “Schubertiad” through a performance of Franz Schubert’s “Shepherd on the Rock.”   Schubert wrote this work for the unusual instrumentation of Soprano, Clarinet and Piano upon the request of legendary soprano Anna Milder-Hauptmann (the creator of the role of Leonora in Beethoven's opera Fidelio).  Considered one of the composers most popular songs, Schubert never had the opportunity to hear the piece performed, as he died only weeks after completing the work.

Chamber Music Charleston’s soprano Suzanne Atwood will be joined by CMC clarinetist Charles Messersmith and guest pianist Andrew Armstrong for the performance.

Following the Schubert, we welcome guest violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti to perform two selections for violin and piano solo.  Ms. Moretti is an accomplished, award-winning chamber musician, solo artist and teacher who is currently Director of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Georgia.  She selected a Romance by Amy Beach and another Romance by Laura Netzel to perform for audiences on November 9.  Laura Netzel was a Swedish composer, pianist and conductor who lived from 1839 to 1927 and Amy Beach was an American composer and pianist who lived from 1867-1944.   Ms. Moretti has become a champion of the frequently under-appreciated female composers of the Romantic period, and the beauty of these two Romances will be a perfect compliment to the other works on the program.
Amy Beach (left) and Laura Netzel (right)

The evening concludes with Robert Schuman’s Piano Quartet in E Flat Major.  The work was written in 1942, his “Year of Chamber Music” – a period of time in which he composed three string quartets, a piano trio, piano quartet and piano quintet.  A beautiful work of unabashed romanticism, the piano quartet is full of virtuosic passages, soaring melodies and passionate climaxes.  
Robert Schumann
 These concerts at Memminger have become a yearly highlight in Charleston, pairing exceptional music with food, wine, and decor. You can choose table seating in front of the stage (with the option to purchase a Bistro Box filled with culinary delicacies) or raised theater seating, all with excellent views. Wine is complimentary with table seating but available for purchase by everyone.
Doors open at 6:30 and the performance begins at 7:30.
Get tickets at or call (843) 763-4941.