Music : Chamber music performance
The Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society continues a holiday tradition this weekend, presenting a concert on Saturday, Nov. 29, that gives Vineyard music lovers a little bit extra to be thankful for.
At 7:30 pm at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, pianist and artistic director Delores Stevens will be joined by singer Krista River and violist Scott Woolweaver for a concert of music by Brahms, Bach, Hummel, Loeffler, Chausson and Noel Coward.
Ms. River, a celebrated young mezzo-soprano in the early years of a promising career, is performing for the first time on a Vineyard stage. Word has it she is very good. When she gave her debut recital at Weill Recital Hall in 2004, The New York Times described her as "a shimmering voice... with the virtuosity of a violinist and the expressivity of an actress." When she appeared recently with Opera Boston, the Herald declared, "River offered perhaps the most purely delightful singing of the evening."
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Ms. River appeared with the Boston Cecelia last weekend as a soloist in its performance of the Bach B Minor Mass. In her Island debut this Saturday evening, she will reprise the Laudamus Te from that work.
To round out this concert, Ms. Stevens has invited Mr. Woolweaver, a distinguished musical colleague of long standing and an artist well known to Vineyard audiences. "I first met Scott in the early 1990s," she recalls, "when he was playing with the Ives String Quartet. We just hit it off, and he's played in our summer season every year since then."
At the core of this concert program are compositions by Loeffler and Brahms that are scored specifically for piano, viola and voice. "This is chamber music, after all," says Ms. Stevens. "The reason we have such wonderful music for mezzo and viola, I think, is that the range of the two is so similar.
"The Loeffler songs are beautiful - French, turn-of-the-century, very impressionistic, settings of poems by Beaudelaire and other French poets. We'll also be doing two famous songs by Brahms that are very much in the Christmas spirit - this is really our introduction of the holiday season."
Alone with the piano, Mr. Woolweaver will get his moment in the spotlight, performing a piece by Hummel, which Ms. Stevens describes as "a virtuoso piece, really a technical tour-de-force for Scott." The concert will close with Ms. River singing the music of Noel Coward.
Chamber Music Concert, Sat., Nov. 29, 7:30 pm, Old Whaling Church, Edgartown. Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society's Thanksgiving concert. Krista River joins Scott Woolweaver and Delores Stevens; music of Bach, Hummel, Brahms and more. $20; free for students.
Nis Kildegaard of Edgartown, a Times contributing writer, serves on the the society's board.