Yellow Barn concerts explore the sacred and the macabre

PUTNEY — The Yellow Barn season continues with the third week of Big Barn concerts on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Yellow Barn's popular free pre-concert discussion series continues at 7 p.m. on Saturday and, earlier on Saturday, daytime attendees have the opportunity to hear Donald Weilerstein's violin masterclass.

The weekend marks the return of faculty members William Sharp, Lucy Shelton, and Eduardo Leandro, who will reprise his June performance of Vinko Globokar's Toucher for speaking percussionist, according to a news release.

Baritone William Sharp, a longtime soloist with Blanche Moyse's New England Bach Festival, will bring Bach arias to the Big Barn, and Lucy Shelton will give her stunning performance of Berio's Sequenza III for solo female voice.

On Thursday, July 20, at 8 p.m., in the Big Barn, Yellow Barn opens the weekend with André Caplet's Conte fantastique, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's harrowing short story The Masque of the Red Death. The first half concludes with Charles Ives' Piano Trio, in which the first movement depicts a philosophical argument between a student and his professor, the second a night of debauchery, and the third a church service.

After intermission comes Berio's Sequenza III, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Dissonance String Quartet in C Major.

On Friday, July 21, at 8 p.m., in the Big Barn, there will be a program of music both mystical and beautiful. The night begins with Eric Nathan's Quartet for Oboe and Strings.

The pre-concert discussion on Saturday, with William Sharp, Donald Weilerstein, and Seth Knopp, explores what it means to call some music sacred. “Inherent to music is its power to sanctify the moment,” says Artistic Director Seth Knopp. “Whether 'sacred' or 'secular' by definition, music affects us without distinction.”

After the discussion, audiences will move to the Big Barn to explore these themes through their own listening starting at 8 p.m. Included on the program is Philippe Hurel's Tombeau in memoriam Gérard Grisey, written after French composer Gérard Grisey's death in 1998.

Maurice Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello follows the Hurel as another homage to Grisey, as the composer greatly admired Ravel. Also on the program is Yellow Barn's annual performance of a late-Beethoven String Quartet, in this case Ludwig van Beethoven's Op.127 String Quartet, with Donald Weilerstein.

The weekend comes to a close with four glorious arias for soprano and baritone from Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantatas BWV 197, 88, 47, and 42.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates