Chamber music -
intimate, convivial, experimental
Professionals and amateurs performing together. Crossing genres for solo voice, chorus, piano, and instrumental ensemble. With refreshments, dancing, 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 seek to recreate in our concerts. The Germans have a word for it: gemütlichkeit, or a cozy conviviality.
Chamber music, the name we now give to music for small ensembles and voice performed in intimate spaces (often written for the performers enjoyment alone, or in company with their friends), was and still is a format in which many composers did their most original work–later to be fleshed out in the larger formats for orchestra and chorus. There is a lot of wonderful chamber music that never makes it to the “top 100″ radio lists.
Now in its ninth season, Wistaria is a group of accomplished musicians who are dedicated to performing the great chamber music written since 1800 and to presenting it in fresh and creative combinations and formats.
Each season, we put on three to five programs at a variety of venues, including the Arts Block Cafe in Greenfield, the Unitarian Society of Northampton, and Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke. We also make visits to Brattleboro, VT., Cambridge and Boston. In August, we are the resident ensemble of the Concerts at 7 series at Plainfield Congregational Church in Plainfield, MA.
Our programs are carefully researched and planned to explore a cultural movement or period, a school, a friendship, or the life of a great composer. We visit Schubert every year with a “Schubertiad,” often sung and performed in period costumes. We have paid tribute to the intimate circle of Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms in a series of programs. We have explored South America, and the composers who were patronized by the Princesse de Polignac. We have explored the American lineage of Virgil Thomson and his followers/friends/students John Cage, Lou Harrison and Scott Wheeler. (You can review our past programs here.)
We’re not afraid to have fun while we make music. We’ve performed Latin American music with Tango dancers in a jazz club, 19th-century French music against a backdrop slideshow of Impressionist paintings, and American music in a large New England barn built before the Civil War.
Next year… I hope you will join us and find out!
DAVID PERKINS, Artistic Director