Sweet sounds of Chilmark

Posted July 20, 2006

The Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society will perform "Chilmark" - a composition by Maria Newman for soprano, narrator, and ensemble - on July 24 and 25 as the society joins in celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of its concert homes, the Chilmark Community Center. The piece, originally composed for the town's tricentennial in 1994, has not been heard on the Island for a dozen years.

Together with compositions by Gabriel Fauré and Robert Plane, Ms. Newman's "Chilmark" will be performed Monday evening at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown and Tuesday at the Chilmark Community Center.

Ms. Newman, a violinist, is the daughter of composer and conductor Alfred Newman, winner of nine Academy Awards for his film music work. Her composition, originally commissioned by the chamber music society, draws upon the poems of Chilmark native John Maloney. The piece has been described as a musical bit of Americana, evoking the town's past and present daily life, the network of stone walls across its countryside, and the exuberance of fishermen taking in a big catch.

Mr. Maloney will be the narrator, reading from his own poems in this reprise of Chilmark. Ms. Newman will also be on stage for this week's performances, together with soprano Maria Jette, Scott Hosfeld on viola, Sebastian Toettcher on cello, Paul Stevens on horn, Robert Couture on trombone, and Delores Stevens, artistic director of the chamber music society, at the piano.

This week's concerts mark the midpoint of the music society's summer season. After a week off, the series resumes August 7 and 8 with a pair of concerts featuring jazz artist Bill Mays and his trio.

Concerts of the chamber society are at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 and students are always admitted free.