Night and Day: Wednesday, July 09, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
All for Mimir

Most people think of chamber music as less ambitious than symphonic music or opera, a place for small-scale excellence. This yearís installment of the Mimir Chamber Music Festival is out to prove them wrong. There are a few entries that could be considered miniatures, such as a piano-and-cello arrangement of Rachmaninovís Vocalise, and Prokofievís here-and-theyíre-gone Five Melodies for Violin and Piano. Most of the musical selections in the festivalís six concerts, though, are epic in scope. Brahmsí Piano Trio No. 1 is a gigantic work (running in some performances to 40 minutes) that explores the sonic capabilities of its three instruments. Perhaps more impressive is Bohuslav Martinuís Three Madrigals, a brilliant work of approximately 15 minutes that uses only two instruments (violin and viola) but has them chasing each other, trading phrases, and vying for supremacy.

Shostakovichís Piano Quintet, with a vaguely Spanish third movement thatís pure slapstick comedy, finds the composer at his most accessible. (Why doesnít the Van Cliburn Competition let contestants play this piece in the chamber music round?) Ravelís great orchestral pastiche La Valse gets played in a seldom-heard two-piano arrangement. We even get a singer, as tenor Alan Glassman performs with the ensembles for Vaughan Williamsí problematic setting of A.E. Housmanís On Wenlock Edge and Barberís angst-ridden version of Matthew Arnoldís Dover Beach. With string players from the Cleveland Orchestra and Chicago Symphony performing all this unfamiliar music, the Mimir is once again the place to be this midsummer.

The Mimir Chamber Music Festival runs thru Jul 18 at TCU, PepsiCo Recital Hall, 2800 S University Dr, FW. Tickets are $10-15. Call 817-257-7602.


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