Sommarfest Continues with Return of Artaria String Quartet Posted on July 18th, 2006 by

Minnesota Valley Sommarfest’s 17th and final season continues this week with the return of the Artaria String Quartet to the Sommarfest stage. The quartet, based in Minneapolis, will be joined by Mankato pianist David Viscoli to perform works by Mendelssohn, Janacek and Robert Schumann at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 20 in Jussi Bjorling Recital Hall on the Gustavus campus.

The Artaria String Quartet, the resident string quartet at Minnesota Valley Sommarfest since 2002, will open Thursday’s concert with the String Quartet in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn. This work is widely held to be the finest quartet written by Mendelssohn. Although it appears to be written in the classical form, the quartet is a very lyrical work and exemplifies the essential Mendelssohn trademark: the light, fast, whirling music similar to his incidental music written for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The quartet continues with Leos Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1, known as “The Kreutzer Sonata,” as it was based on Leo Tolstoy’s novella with that title. Janacek may be best known for his operas, but this quartet, and the unhappy love story that it tells, demonstrates his wonderful talent for portraying character in his music.

Following intermission, the Artaria String Quartet will be joined on stage by pianist David Viscoli to present Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat Major, op. 44. Written in 1842, just two years after his marriage to Clara and his resurgence as a composer, the piano quintet is considered to be Schumann’s most popular chamber work and one of the most beloved piano quintets ever written.

Tickets for Thursday’s performance by the Artaria String Quartet may be reserved by calling the Minnesota Valley Sommarfest office at (507) 933-7363. Tickets will also be available in the recital hall lobby prior to the concert.


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