by Mike Telin
There will be an explosion of world-class chamber music when ChamberFest Cleveland kicks off its fifth season beginning on Wednesday, June 15. In their directors’ message, Diana and Franklin Cohen say, “With Season 5, ‘Tales & Legends,’ we are offering more concerts and special events at some very cool venues that will delight and surprise you at every turn…not to mention a spectacular cast of musicians, vocalists, actors, and composers like none to date. The pieces that comprise ‘Tales & Legends’ spin tales from the profane to the divine…and in at least one instance, the controversial. Hold onto your hats as ChamberFest Cleveland takes you on one fantastical ride!”
In the first of a series of articles highlighting this year’s ChamberFest activities, Franklin Cohen talks about some new additions to the Festival.
“I can’t believe this is our fifth season,” Franklin Cohen said during a recent conversation. “I’m very excited because we have a lot of great people returning this year and a number of first-timers, including the accordionist and composer Merima Ključo, who performed her Sarajevo Haggadah at the Cleveland Museum of Art last fall.” Ključo performs three movements from Stephen Coxe’s A Book of Dreams for accordion, percussion, and piano (June 16), her own works Miriam the Prophetess for clarinet and accordion (June 18) and Ihtimanska Kopanica (June 20), and Sofia Gubaidulina’s Sieben Worte for cello, bayan, and strings (June 27).
Vocal music will be heard for the first time at this year’s concerts, featuring Canadian mezzo-soprano Lauren Eberwein, a recent Curtis graduate and Junior Fellow at the Marlboro Music Festival, and tenor Karim Sulayman, who is known to area audiences for his performances with Apollo’s Fire. Works for voice include Beethoven’s legendary song cycle An Die Ferne Geliebte (To My Distant Beloved) and Frank Bridge’s Three Songs for Voice, Viola and Piano (June 17), Benjamin Britten’s Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac for mezzo-soprano, tenor, and piano (June 18), Erwin Schulhoff’s Sonata Erotica for Solo Female Vocalist (June 24), and Erich Korngold’s Four Shakespeare Songs for mezzo-soprano and piano (June 28).
Cohen pointed out that another ChamberFest first will be music for harp. “Sivan Magen is the only Israeli to have ever won the International Harp Contest in Israel. He’s also won the Pro Musicis International Award.” Works for harp include André Caplet’s Conte Fantastique (after Poe’s The Mask of the Red Death) for harp and strings (June 25), Yoshihisa Taïra’s Sublimation for harp (June 27), and Sebastian Currier’s Night Time for violins and harp (June 28).
The trumpet and trombone will make their debuts at the Festival, as well. “We’re closing on July 2 with a new production of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale, which includes those two instruments,” Cohen said. “We thought about just doing the piece on its own, but it works better as a theatrical piece. When we visited Talespinner Children’s Theatre I was blown away by their life-sized puppets, and I’m so happy they wanted to be involved. It’s also great to have Dorothy Silver doing the narration, and Paul Lowery has created some wonderful digital video imagery.”
When asked about this year’s theme, Cohen said that he hopes “Tales & Legends” will leave room for the audience to fantasize a little bit. “I don’t want to box people in, so my wish is that they’ll look at the titles of each concert and create their own stories through the music.”
For subscriptions and ticket information, visit the ChamberFest website.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com May 17, 2016.
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