Yellow Barn wraps up its summer season

PUTNEY — Yellow Barn's 49th anniversary season culminates in a full weekend of concerts, including a Saturday matinee, plus a final pre-concert discussion.

Featuring major works of the chamber music repertoire, listeners will have the opportunity to take a sonic journey around the world and explore stories woven between the pieces.

In a news release, Artistic Director Seth Knopp said, “In the stories we tell, truths and fictions dance in delicate and changing balance, sometimes so closely they become one, indistinguishable but for our desire to find connection, or to seek separation. This is music's unique ability: to make more important the truths that are not so easily defined, drawing us close to those moments that transcend them.”

The season finale takes place on Saturday, Aug. 4, at 8 p.m., in the Big Barn. The program features the North American premiere of Jörg Widmann's Es war einmal... “Once Upon A Time,” a heartbreakingly beautiful piece that includes references and quotations from two of Widmann's major influences, Beethoven and Schumann.

Large sections of Widmann's work were composed while he was composer in residence at Yellow Barn in 2015. Es war einmal... will be performed by pianist Seth Knopp, Juilliard String Quartet violist Roger Tapping, and clarinetist Yasmina Spiegelberg.

Also featured on the program are Dvorák's A Major Piano Quintet, one of the great masterpieces of Romantic-era chamber music, George Crumb's Yesteryear, Cathy Berberian's Stripsody, and Schumann's Fantasiestücke. The concert concludes with Schoenberg's Notturno (led by violinist Anthony Marwood).

Before the finale, audiences are invited to a pre-concert discussion at 7 p.m. at the Putney Public Library. Knopp, Tapping, and Spiegelberg will give an inside look at Widmann's Es war einmal... and discuss the music to be heard on the evening's concert. (All of Yellow Barn's pre-concert discussions are free and open to the public.)

Earlier on Saturday, the Big Barn opens at 12:30 p.m. for a matinee concert. The afternoon's concert features two large works that comment on both the divine and the human. With no intermission, the hour-long program begins with Giacinto Scelsi's Okanagon for harp, double bass, and percussion.

The composer said of his piece, “Okanagon is to be understood as a rite, or, if you choose, as the heartbeat of the Earth.”

Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ follows, which constitutes an introduction, seven slow movements corresponding to the seven words, and a musical depiction of the earthquake following the crucifixion. Text by former U.S. Poet Laureate Mark Strand will be read by Eric Bass of Putney's Sandglass Theater before each of the slow movements.

On Friday's concert, the first half concludes with Bartók's The Miraculous Mandarin, arranged for two pianos.

Also on the program are Frank Bridge's Lament for Two Violas, Viktor Suslin's Grenzübertritt (Crossing Beyond), and Dieter Ammann's A(tenir)tension. The program closes with Brahms' G Minor Piano Quartet with violinist Anthony Marwood.

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