Olympic Music Festival again promises to enchant ears, eyes
The Olympic Music Festival beckons music lovers across the recently reopened Hood Canal Bridge. Among this year's performers: Festival founder Alan Iglitzin, plus Paul Hersh, Elisa Barston and Teddy Abrams.
Special to The Seattle Times
Olympic Music FestivalAll concerts begin at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 7360 Center Rd., Quilcene; $12-$27 (360-732-4800 or www.olympicmusicfestival.org).
June 27-28: Bach/Brahms Chaconne; Bruch Four Pieces for viola, clarinet, and piano operatic aria arrangements; Dvorák Piano Duet; Bohemian Forest.
July 4-5: Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Trios; Beethoven A-major Cello Sonata.
July 11-12: Beethoven String Quartets, Op. 127 and Op. 132.
July 18-19: Mozart String Quartets, K. 589 and K. 428, and String Quintet, K. 593.
July 25-26: Chopin Cello Sonata; Schubert Fantasy in C major, D. 934; Brahms G-minor Piano Quartet.
Aug. 1-2: Brahms C-minor Piano Trio, G-major String Quintet; and Piano Quintet.
Aug. 8-9: Mendelssohn E-flat-major String Quartet, Op. 12; Dvorák E-flat-major String Quartet, Op. 51; Schubert C-major String Quintet.
Aug. 15-16: Fauré Violin Sonata; Beethoven E-flat-major Piano Trio, Op. 70 No. 2; Dvorák A-major Piano Quintet.
Aug. 22-23: Mozart String Quartet, K. 421, and String Quintets, K. 174 and 515.
Aug. 29-30: Haydn C-major Piano Trio, Hob. XV: 27; Shostakovich E-minor Piano Trio, Op. 67; Beethoven B-flat-major Piano Trio, "Archduke."
Sept. 5-6: Schubert A-major Violin Sonata, D. 572; Beethoven E-flat-major Piano Quartet, Op. 16; Fauré C-minor Piano Quartet, Op. 15.
Question: Where can you feed your soul with great chamber music, beautifully played, and also feed donkeys with carrots in an idyllic Pacific Northwest location?
Answer: At the Olympic Music Festival, which opens its 26th season of "Concerts in the Barn" in Quilcene next Saturday.
Drawn from a wide area, listeners are attracted by both the sheer quality of the music and the informality of the setting.
You can enjoy the concerts either seated on church pews and hay bales in the barn or, in good weather, on the lawn outside. Jeans and T-shirts are the preferred wear among both audience members and performers.
There are picnic tables (with box lunches available for $13). Seats in the barn are priced at $27 (seniors $25, student/youth $18), and lawn tickets at $18 (student/youth $12).
For the true chamber-music addict, a $250 Flex Pass provides 12 admissions and can be used in many combinations.
Formerly the assistant principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Alan Iglitzin started the festival in 1984 and still directs it, plays in many of the concerts and provides unpretentious spoken introductions to the music.
Performed Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the programs this year cover a wide range of classical repertoire along with one 20th-century masterpiece, Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor (Aug. 29-30).
The opening weekend (June 27-28) adds an intriguing group of novelties to the mix: clarinet arrangements of operatic arias by Gounod, Puccini, Bizet and Gershwin featuring a return appearance by Teddy Abrams, a young pianist, clarinetist, composer and conductor who is reportedly one of the festival audience's perennial favorites.
Iglitzin was a founder-member of the erstwhile Philadelphia String Quartet, which periodically mounted a Beethoven cycle when it was in residence at the University of Washington starting in 1966.
This season, he plans a Beethoven Festival (July 11-12) that couples two of the composer's greatest late string quartets, Op. 127 in E-flat major and Op. 132 in A minor performed by the Festival Quartet — violinists Charles Wetherbee and Korine Fujiwara, violist Iglitzin and cellist Clancy Newman.
Correspondingly, the weekend of Aug. 1-2 will be a Brahms Festival, featuring the C-minor Piano Trio, the G-major String Quintet and the great Piano Quintet.
Mozart gets two weekends to himself, reflecting Iglitzin's view that his "attempts to master the Mozart quartets" constitute his "most important life's work": July 18-19 offers two of those quartets (K. 589 and K. 428) and the D-major Quintet, K. 593; the proportion is reversed on August 22-23, with the dramatic D-minor Quartet followed by the early B-flat-major Quintet and the great C-major Quintet, K. 515.
One festival regular, Paul Hersh, opens the season with Brahms' fascinating left-hand arrangement of the celebrated Chaconne from Bach's D-minor Violin Partita. Cellist-composer Clancy Newman and Seattle Symphony principal second violinist Elisa Barston are two among several other returning regulars.
At the other end of the experience scale, Schubert's breathtakingly lyrical C-major String Quintet (Aug. 8-9) will feature a festival debut by Iglitzin's granddaughter, Ariana Nelson, whom Seattle Symphony music director Gerard Schwarz has hailed as "a remarkable cellist and a superb chamber music player."
And the Shostakovich Trio, paired on Aug. 29-30 with Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio, will offer a welcome return visit from three other young performers who, as the N-E-W Trio (Gal Nyska, Julio Elizalde and Andrew Wan), made a spectacular festival debut last year.
What with the recent reopening of the Hood Canal floating bridge, making life easier for the many festival fans who come from as far away as Bellingham, and the no-less-welcome reappearance of the sun, all portents point to another summer of great music in a delightfully relaxed setting.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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