Rembrandt Chamber Musicians European Mosaic Review – Beautiful Music of Eastern Europe

My experience with the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians began with their season opener, which was a delight.  The program was varied and exciting, the playing was perfection and the music beautiful.  The afternoon was a journey into the expressive and melodic folk music of Eastern Europe, which was an ongoing source of inspiration for composers.

 

I was delighted to learn about the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, which was founded in 1990.  This group features seven of the most highly accomplished musicians in the Chicago area, including principal members of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and the Chicago Philharmonic. The ensemble’s repertoire is expansive, ranging from historically informed performances of baroque classics to contemporary works by local composers.  It has consistently garnered high praise and recognition.

  

The Rembrandt Chamber Musicians

Rembrandt‘s deep commitment to fostering chamber music education and appreciation is reflected in its highly acclaimed Annual High School Chamber Music Competition founded in 1995. This is an event that continues to draw participants from the Music Institute of Chicago, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Midwest Young Artists, Merit School of Music, and a variety of public and private schools throughout the state.

 

It is nice to know that Rembrandt’s concerts are regularly selected as the Chicago Tribune’s top classical music pick of the week and are rebroadcast on WFMT classical radio throughout the year.

 

The program that my husband and I enjoyed so much included the following:

 

STRAVINSKY: Four Songs for voice, flute, harp, and guitar
KODÁLY: Duo for violin and cello, Op. 7
FARKAS: Népdalszonatina for piano and double bass
BRAHMS: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25

GUEST ARTISTS
​Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano
Catherine Yom Litaker, harp
Steven Roberts, guitar

  

Four Songs, Sandra Morgan, Josefien Stoppelenburg, Catherine Yom Litaker, and Steven Roberts

The program opened with Igor Stravinsky’s Four Songs for voice, flute, harp, and guitar.  The songs were “The Drake”, “A Russian Spiritual”,  “Geese and Swans” and my favorite, “Tilim-bom”.  Guests, Josefien Stoppelenburg, Soprano, and Steven Roberts, guitar, and Catherine Yom Litaker, harp joined Sandra Morgan, flute for a performance that was unusual and charming.

  

Nepdalszonatina,Jeannie Yu and Collins Trier

Each of the numbers in the first half of the program featured an unusual use of instruments. The second work was Népdalszonatina for piano and double bass by Ferenc Farkas, the most modern of the composers on the program. This work was performed by Jeannie Yu, piano and Collins Trier, double bass.  My husband and I commented to one another and to friends how unusual it was to have the double bass as the featured instrument.  The work was lovely and especially interesting.

  

Duo for violin and cello, op. 7, John Macfarlane and Calum Cook

Preceding intermission, the newest members of the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, John Macfarlane, violin and Calum Cook, cello, wanted to prove they are worthy members of this group, according to John Macfarlane.  He also explained that this was a very unusual work, which was Duo for violin and cello, Op. 7 by Zoltán Kodály.  This number not only a treat to listen to but it was beautiful to watch the two players in black against a white background moving almost as though they were choreographed.

 

 

Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor, op. 25 John Macfarlane, Carol Cook, Calum Cook and Jeannie Yu

 

Following intermission, the Brahms’ monumental first piano quartet, with homage to Hungarian folk tunes, a sweeping romantic work of symphonic proportions scaled for four virtuoso players brought the audience to their feet in great appreciation of this work.  Johnannes  Brahm’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 was performed by John Macfarlane, violin; Carol Cook, viola; Calum Cook, cello; and Jeannie Yu, piano.  This piece was lively and pleasant and as my husband pointed out, the audience left in a good mood.

 

And the mood was sustained with a lovely wine reception nearby, a feature of all of the performances in Evanston.

 

This program was repeated in Chicago at the Driehaus Museum

 

 

 

The Rembrandt Chamber Musicians Gala 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunset Ridge Country Club

2100 Sunset Ridge Road

Northbrook

 

An evening of music and fine dining and a Live Auction with WFMT’s  Steve Robinson.  For tickets and further information Contact-Darron at 872-395-1754 or visit the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians website for upcoming events.

 

 

Photos: Courtesy of the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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