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The Martha's Vineyard Times

The Martha's Vineyard Times is a weekly publication.
July 14 - July 20, 2005 Edition
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Music: Ives Quartet offers diverse program
July 14, 2005

Ives Quartet.

The Ives Quartet, a celebrated string ensemble based in California, will present the second concerts in the 2005 summer series of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society. The quartet will be joined by pianist Delores Stevens, artistic director of the music society, in 8 pm programs on Monday, July 18, at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown and on Tuesday, July 19, at the Chilmark Community Center.

The Ives Quartet combines the talent and experience of the international, solo, orchestral, chamber music and recording careers of its artist members — violinists Robin Sharp and Susan Freier, violist Scott Woolweaver, and cellist Stephen Harrison. Each player is an acclaimed performer in his or her own right, earning distinction with other renowned chamber music ensembles including the Chester Quartet, the Boston Composers’ String Quartet, the New England Piano Quartette, the San Francisco Symphony, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.

The Ives Quartet has captivated audiences from San Francisco to New York, Taiwan to London. Committed to presenting the full scope of the string quartet literature, the ensemble continues to earn critical and popular acclaim for the depth and diversity of its programming. The group was in residence at Stanford University as the Stanford University Quartet from 1983 until 1998.

The quartet currently offers fall and spring concert series in the San Francisco area and tours widely the rest of the year.

Next week’s concerts will open with Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue for String Quartet. Written as a tribute to Bach, the piece was originally composed for piano four hands, then rewritten for string quartet with the addition of the introductory adagio.

The program continues with Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major, written in the winter and spring of 1902 and 1903, the composer’s final year of study at the Paris Conservatoire. Although Ravel was just 28 at the time, this quartet is considered part of the artist’s early maturity rather than his student work, because of its fluency and its consummate command of form.

Ms. Stevens joins the quartet for the Piano Quintet, opus 57, by Dmitri Shostakovich. Written in 1940 and given its premiere performance with the composer himself at the piano, it promptly won the Stalin Prize. This melodic and lyrical work, widely recorded and a staple of the modern repertoire, is an emotional powerhouse, its five movements built around a central Scherzo.

The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society, Ives Quartet, Old Whaling Church, Main Street, Edgartown, July 18, 8 pm; and Chilmark Community Center, July 19, 8 pm, South Rd. Tickets $25, children are free. 508-696-8055.

McCluskey on "Trust" and the waterfront

By Julian Wise

Berklee College of Music instructors Kevin McCluskey and Eric Johnson have accepted the task of raising spirits in a sober, spirit-free setting. At this year’s Water Tasting by the Sea, a fundraiser for Vineyard House to be held at the Boch Estate in Edgartown Friday, the two will provide guitar and vocal entertainment with other musicians. Vineyard House provides safe, sober housing for those in the early stages of recovery from substance abuse. The event aims to raise both funds and awareness about the program.

Mr. McCluskey is a longtime seasonal resident and avid kayaker who teaches music theory, entrepreneurship, and career planning at Berklee. He recently released “Trust,” a CD that Ken Capobianco of Billboard Magazine hailed for its “keenly observed, intelligently crafted songwriting.” From the existential ruminations of “Down the Line” (sample lyric: “What’s a man? What’s he worth? Is it money? Or his birth?”) to “Julie,” a fly-on-the-wall narrative of marital infidelity, Mr. McCluskey engages in musical storytelling reminiscent of Warren Zevon and Tom Waits. The standout track, “Nerve Damage,” is a jangly take on substance abuse that warns of the hazards of excess. The disc features accompaniment from former Del Fuegos drummer Woody Giessmann, bassist Michael Rivard (Jonatha Brooke), and guitarist Kevin Barry (Paula Cole).

Those who wish to partake of Mr. McCluskey’s talents but are unable to attend the water tasting event can catch him at the Wharf in August, where he will perform for a series of Monday nights. u

Kevin McCluskey at Water Tasting by the Sea, Friday, July 15, Boch Estate, Edgartown, 5 to 7 pm, Suggested donation $25.

Julian Wise is a frequent contributor to The Times, specializing in music, film, and the performing arts.
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