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Classical music festival continues June 22

Chamber Music - Kim, Kruger, Ransom
(Left to right): violinist Helen Kim, cellist Charae Kruger, and pianist William Ransom will join together for the June 22 concert on UNG's Gainesville Campus.

The North Georgia Chamber Music Festival, hosted by the University of North Georgia, will continue with its final two concerts on June 22 and 23.

The concerts feature world-class musicians, including performances by several members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO).

"The first two concerts of this year's festival were truly world-class. These musicians bring such passion and virtuosity to their performances," said Andy David, head of the Department of Music. "The chance to see and hear this music in such an intimate setting is an opportunity not to be missed."

On June 22, renowned pianist William Ransom and cellist Charae Kruger will be joined by violinist Helen Kim for a performance at the Ed Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus. The trio will perform Antonin Dvořák's Piano Trio "Dumky" in E minor, op. 90, and Felix Mendelssohn's Piano Trio no. 1 in D minor, op. 49.

  • Influenced by folk music, the "Dumky" piano trio remains a prime example of Dvořák's Slavic-influenced works. Dvořák evokes the dumka, a Ukrainian genre of song usually lamenting in character, within the work. In Piano Trio, op. 90, the Czech composer eschewed the conventional four-movement scheme, choosing instead to assemble six dumky, each in a different key, exploring differences in tempo and mode.
  • In his Piano Trio no. 1 in D minor, op. 49, Mendelssohn remained dutiful in involving all instrumentalists. The first movement opens conventionally in sonata form, highlighting the cello. The piano serves to introduce the slow second movement. Light in character, the scherzo is in a modified sonata form. The last movement highlights the piano and near the end the work explores the major mode.

The festival wraps up on June 23 at the Cumming First United Methodist Church with a duo recital from ASO violinist David Coucheron and his sister, pianist Julie Coucheron. The pair will perform Christian Sinding's Suite in A minor, op. 10; Edvard Grieg's Sonata no. 2 in G major, op. 13; Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Sonata in C minor, op. 30, no. 2; and Franz Waxman's "Carmen Fantasy."

  • According to Sinding, Suite in A minor, op. 10 was composed in "the old style," combining elements of baroque and romantic music. Sinding blends extended harmonies associated with the romantic period with elements that evoke the past, such as the use of perpetuum moblie, the continuous reiteration of steady notes.
  • Sonata no. 2 in G major, op. 13 employs elements from Norwegian folk music, such as rhythms borrowed from the springdans (traditional Norwegian dance), drones encountered in the music of the hardingfele (a traditional Norwegian Hardanger fiddle), and moments of modal ambiguity (a vestige of traditional European music).
  • The four-movement Sonata in C minor, op. 30, no. 2, opens with the first movement in sonata form. As convention, Beethoven employed a lyrical and slow second movement, followed with a brief and playful scherzo. The violin and piano work concludes with a hybrid sonata-rondo form.
  • Waxman adapted Carmen Fantasy from George Bizet's Carmen for the Warner Brothers film "Humoresque" (1947). Legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz requested Waxman to revise the work for a performance on the radio program "The Bell Telephone Hour," and the violinist continued to perform the virtuosic Carmen Fantasy on many of his tours.

Cecylia Arzewski, violinist and former ASO concertmaster, had a vision to begin a chamber music festival in northeast Georgia and is the event's artistic director.

"The solitude in chamber music shapes its visions over the hall," Arzewski said. "Everyone is alone, yet together at the same time. Listeners are pulled into the quiet, sometimes painful, sometimes blissful space created within us."

Tickets are $20 for each concert and may be purchased by calling 706-867-2873 or at the door. Each performance is general seating; the performance hall will open 45 minutes prior to the beginning of each concert. The June 22 concert in Gainesville begins at 8 p.m., and the June 23 concert in Cumming begins at 3 p.m.

For more information about the festival, including directions and accommodations, visit www.ung.edu/chambermusic.

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