We folks 'round these parts can get pretty uppity about our classical music scene. And darn it, we deserve to, what with Tanglewood, Marlboro, the fine local orchestras, the colleges and all. But you know what really brings out my classical chamber of commerce side? It's the little programs, the ones that draw not hundreds, or thousands, but maybe several dozen musical pilgrims to some lovely, easily overlooked corner of the region. And not for music that storms the heavens, but for smaller-scale, more casual enjoyment. Especially on a Sunday afternoon. I l-o-v-e Sunday afternoon concerts! A wonderful example of such programs will happen this Sunday afternoon (when else?), and will be previewed in today's WFCR classical music.
Now in its sixth season, The Chamber Music Society at Wistariahurst is the invention of David Perkins, a writer, editor, teacher and baritone singer. Its venue, the intimate but resonant Belle Skinner Music Room at Holyoke's Wistariahurst Museum, is worth the trip by itself. As for what the concerts are about, let David do the describing:
"Professionals and amateurs performing together. Crossing genres for solo voice, chorus, piano, and instrumental ensemble. With refreshments and laughter. That is how music used to be made in 19th- and early 20th-century Europe and parts of the Americas. And that is the atmosphere we recreate in our series."
Sounds nice already, doesn't it? Well, let me add another word that makes it even more enticing: Schubertiad. That's the name (sometimes spelled en français, with a final "e") for the informal gatherings to enjoy the songs, piano pieces, choruses, chamber works and other melodic gems by Franz Schubert that have taken place continually since the composer's lifetime. The Wistariahurst series got its start with such a program, and now, their seventh annual Schubertiad takes place this Sunday afternoon at 3:00. Check out the program: Solo songs, a rare vocal quartet, piano solos and duets, and to top it off, the "Trout" Quintet. I can vouch for the excellence of the performers, too. See you there, music lovers?