A weekly dose of great music!

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HAPPY 4th of  JULY!
As we celebrate Independence Day this weekend, I thought it would be fun to add some music from the Age of Enlightenment to the abundance of traditional repertoire ranging from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture to Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet. After all, the music of Italian and German baroque composers was an integral part of the 18th century seismic cultural shift toward ideals on which the United States was founded. The award-winning early music ensemble Rebel performed these rarely heard baroque gems for us at the opening of our 2016-17 season. Enjoy!


If you are interested in learning more about the background of this program, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser’s blog post - “Music from the Age of Enlightenment: Rebel's Journey into the Baroque” - https://marketsquareconcerts.blogspot.com/2020/07/music-from-age-of-enlightenment-rebels.html 
 

Best regards,
Peter Sirotin
Market Square Concerts Director

July 3, 2020

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For this week’s dose of great music I chose a brilliant and perhaps somewhat challenging String Quartet No. 1 by Gyorgy Ligeti. This richly nuanced score offers a vast range of sonorities, far beyond typical string quartet repertoire. It was jokingly called “Bartok’s 7th quartet” because of its stylistic connection to Bartók’s masterpieces. That said, it is a deeply authentic work from a musical giant in his own right. The Rolston String Quartet, winner of the 2018 Cleveland Quartet Award, gave us an extraordinary performance of this incredibly virtuosic work. Enjoy!


If you are interested in learning more about the background of this work, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser’s blog post - “A 30-Something Composer Looks at his Roots: Ligéti & his 1st String Quartet”


Best regards,
Peter Sirotin
Market Square Concerts Director
June 26, 2020

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This week’s dose of great music features a charming Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, a last composition created by then 85-year old Camille Saint-Saens in 1921. In this performance, bassoonist Peter Kolkay, winner of the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant, is joined by MSC Director, pianist Ya-Ting Chang.

 

Enjoy!

 

If you are interested in learning more about the background of this work, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser’s blog post - "Saint-Saëns' Final Word: A Bassoon Sonata at 85"

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

June 19, 2020

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This week’s dose of great music offers Dvorak’s grand and poetic String Quartet in G Major Op. 106 in a memorable performance by the Escher String Quartet, former BBC New Generation Artists and winners of the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant. 

 

Enjoy!

 

If you are interested in learning more about the background of this work, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser’s blog post - "Dvořák's Not-Quite-the-Last-Word on the String Quartet"

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

June 12, 2020

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For this week's dose of great music, I chose Mozart's String Quintet in G Minor, K.V. 516, one of my absolute favorite works of chamber music. From the sublime to the ridiculous, its emotional range and eloquence exemplify Mozart's singular genius. 

 

Enjoy!

 

If you are interested in learning more about the background of this piece, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser's blog post - "From Quarantine to Cautious Optimism: Five Play Mozart." 

 

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

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This week's dose of great music focuses on the richly nuanced narrative of two masterpieces for solo instruments written two centuries apart. I hope that the two audio recordings will reintroduce the joy of pure listening into our quarantined lives currently dominated by screens.

 

The first link is featuring Bach's intimately reflective Suite No.1 for Cello Solo, performed by the Romanian cellist Andrei Ioniță as part of his recital at the Temple Ohev Sholom on February 12.

 

The second link offers a look back at the 2015 performance of Ysaye's Second Sonata for Violin Solo by Hungarian violinist Kristof Barati on the eve of his Carnegie Hall debut in 2015.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the background of these pieces, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser's blog post "Before Quarantine, Music for Isolation: Solo Works by Bach & Ysaÿe." -

 

Enjoy!

 

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

May 15, 2020

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This week's dose of great music aims to inject exuberant energy into our currently subdued quarantined existence. I hope that Schumann's uplifting piano quintet featuring Stuart Malina at the piano will brighten your weekend.

 

Robert Schumann Piano Quintet in E-flat Major performed by pianist Stuart Malina, violinists Peter Sirotin and Leonid Ferents, violist Michael Stepniak and cellist Cheng-Hou Lee

     I. Allegro brillante

     II. In modo d'una marcia. Un poco largamente

     III. Scherzo: Molto vivace

     IV. Finale: Allegro ma non troppo

 

If you are interested in learning more about the background of this piano quintet, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser's blog post: "Uplifting Music from Troubled Times: Schumann's Piano Quintet."

 

Enjoy!

 

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

May 1, 2020

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This week's dose of great music offers two charming and whimsical oboe quartets featuring soulful playing by Gerard Reuter, who performed for our audience on many occasions. While Josef Rheinberger and Bohuslav Martinu are not composers familiar to everyone, their light-hearted pieces are full of ear-teasing surprises.

 

Allegro molto from the Josef Rheinberger Quartet for Oboe, Viola, Cello and Piano

 

Bohuslav Martin Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Cello and Piano, H. 315

If you are interested in learning more about the background of these pieces, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser's blog post: "Different Quartets for a Time of Discovery: Rheinberger & Martinů."

Enjoy!

 

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

April 24, 2020

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This week’s dose of great music includes two masterpieces which radiate warmth and generosity of spirit. Beethoven created his “Harp” Quartet during final stages of his hearing loss, and Schumann composed his String Quartet in A Major during a bout of severe depression. Remarkably, these miraculous works continue to inspire and lift our spirits after almost two centuries. 

     

We are grateful and delighted to share with you extraordinary performances of this music by the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin and the award-winning Avalon Quartet.

          

If you are interested in learning more about the background of these pieces, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser's blog post: "Quartets in Quarantime."

 

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

April 17, 2020

 

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This week's dose of great music aims to connect all of us, currently quarantined at home, to the beauty of far away places like Brazil and France. The evocative performance by the award-winning Brazil Guitar Duo offers a taste of unique Brazilian musical culture, while harpist Abigail Kent creates a vivid picture of sunny Mediterranean through music by French and Spanish composers performed in a perfect setting of Picasso Prints exhibition at Susquehanna Art Museum.

 

The Brazil Guitar Duo performing

Music by Gismonti, Pereira, Bandolim & Bellinati 

         

Harpist Abigail Kent performing 

Germaine Tailleferre Sonata for Harp 

       

Gabriel Fauré Une Châtelaine en sa Tour 

    

Lili Boulanger Prelude in D flat, Trans. by Abigail Kent

         

Carlos Salzedo Ballade, Op. 28 

          

If you are interested in learning more about the background of these pieces, here is the link to Dr. Dick Strawser's blog post: "Music, Less Anxious, For a Time of Isolation." 

 

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

April 10, 2020

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Our final concert of the 2019-20 season was going to celebrate Stuart Malina's 20th anniversary as music director of the Harrisburg Symphony. Stuart's role in the cultural and musical life of our community has been extraordinarily multifaceted. Beyond making HSO's classical and pops programming the best it has ever been, Stuart has energized community support for great music, and has performed as a pianist in many chamber music collaborations often playing repertoire rarely performed live in Central PA.

 

This week's dose of great music is a tribute to Stuart, offering two of his collaborations and featuring music which can offer a powerfully cathartic emotional experience in these times of stress and uncertainty.

 

The unique Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion by Bela Bartok was presented at Messiah College's Parmer Hall as part of a memorial concert, which I put together in 2016 to commemorate 15th anniversary of 9/11 attacks. Stuart was joined by Ya-Ting; Chris Rose, HSO's principal percussionist; and Erik Forst, percussion professor at Messiah College; for that performance.

 

The Shostakovich's Piano Quintet, perhaps the greatest work of chamber music created in Russia during the last century, was performed in MSC's 2013-14 season. In that performance, Stuart collaborated with the Philadelphia-based Jasper Quartet, winner of the Chamber Music America's Cleveland Quartet Award.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the background of these pieces, here are links to Dr. Dick Strawser's blog posts - Music in a Time of Anxiety: "BartÓk's Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion" and "Shostakovich's Piano Quintet."

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For this week's dose of great chamber music, I chose highlights from a program celebrating 300th anniversary of Bach's magnificent Brandenburg concertos performed by harpsichordist Arthur Haas and members of the Harrisburg Symphony back in October of 2018. Because of recent cancellations of both HSO and MSC performances due to the pandemic, I thought this is a particularly good time to showcase the wonderful HSO players in one of the most memorable collaborations between our organizations.

Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046 - First Movement

Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046 - Fourth Movement

 

Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047 II. Andante

 

Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050

If you are interested in learning more about the background of this music, here is a link to Dr. Dick Strawser's October 6, 2018 blog - "The Brandenberg Concertos, Together Again"

 

Enjoy!

 

Best regards,

Peter Sirotin

Market Square Concerts Director

March 27, 2020

 

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 As promised, here is a weekly dose of great chamber music for your mind and heart. These three uplifting works from Market Square Concerts’ archive add up to a nicely varied concert program which would be impossible to present live because of individual musicians’ schedules. If you care to share, I’d love to learn about your experience of hearing this program.

 

Mozart String Quartet K.V. 499
Philharmonia Quartett Berlin
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vc6ZzTPCk7s

Poulenc Trio
Gerard Reuter, oboe, Peter Kolkay, bassoon, Ya-Ting Chang, piano
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GKC2S8xHvZw

Dvorak Piano Quintet Op. 81, No. 2
Stuart Malina, piano, Peter Sirotin & Leonid Ferents violins,
Michael Stepniak, viola, and Cheng-Hou Lee, cello
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PDX6y3YRR3U

If you are interested in learning more about the background of this music, here is a link to Dr. Dick Strawser’s blog: A "Virtual Concert" You Can Enjoy In the Safety of Your Home: Poulenc, Mozart, and Dvořák. https://marketsquareconcerts.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!

Best regards,
Peter Sirotin 
Market Square Concerts Director

March 20, 2020

Market Square Concerts
Post Office Box 1292  Harrisburg, PA 17108   717-221-9599 
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