Marlboro Music focuses on 20th century works for its fourth week

MARLBORO — From the 97 works being explored at Vermont's storied Marlboro Music retreat, the participating artists have chosen works by three of the most important and expressive voices of the 20th century - Alban Berg, Benjamin Britten, and Aaron Copland - and one of the most acclaimed of the current century - Caroline Shaw.

The Beethoven Quintet in E-flat for Piano and Winds, Op. 16, and Dvorák's String Quintet in E-flat, Op. 97, also feature on the next-to-last weekend of concerts on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m., and Sunday. Aug. 4, at 2:30 p.m., in Persons Auditorium on the campus of Marlboro College.

Twenty-nine of Marlboro's participating artists will be heard on the fourth weekend of concerts of this, the music center's 69th season.

The Saturday program will open with Berg's Seven Early Songs with soprano Kristina Bachrach and Co-Artistic Director Jonathan Biss, followed by Britten's String Quartet No. 2 in C Major, Op. 36 , which had six weeks of rehearsal (20 rehearsals for 39 hours) for violinists Stephanie Zyzak and Scott St. John (the latter formerly of the St. Lawrence Quartet), violist Jing Peng, and cellist Sayaka Selina.

Dolce Cantavi , a setting of a 17th-century poem by Caroline Shaw, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013, will open Saturday's second half. It was written for the vocal ensemble Tenet and will be performed on Saturday by Ms. Bachrach, mezzo-soprano Rebecca Printz, and contralto Sara Couden.

It will be followed by the original chamber version of Copland's Appalachian Spring . One of the composer's most popular and frequently performed works, it was commissioned by choreographer Martha Graham, who was the lead dancer at the premiere performance at the Library of Congress in 1944. Copland received the Pulitzer Prize for it the following year.

The performing artists will be Anna Polonsky, piano; flutist Marina Piccinini; Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet; Catherine Chen, bassoon; violinists St. John, Alina Kobialka, Carmit Zori, and Rose Hsien; violists Peng and Rebecca Albers; cellists Yi Qun Xu and Brannon Cho; and double bassist William Langlie-Miletich.

Sunday's concert also offers a varied program with the Beethoven Quintet in E-flat, Op. 16 for Piano and Winds with pianist Eric Lu; Mitchell Kuhn, oboe; Fiterstein, clarinet; Marlène Ngalissamy, bassoon; and Yevhen Churikov, french horn; and Britten's Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac with mezzo-soprano Printz; tenor Daniel McGrew; and pianist Lydia Brown.

The program closes with a Marlboro favorite - Dvorák's String Quintet in E-flat, Op. 97 with Kobialka and Abigail Fayette, violins; Tanner Menees and Kim Kashkashian, violas; and Christine J. Lee, cello.

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