The Eighth Annual Wistariahurst

Schubertiad    The Religion of Nature


November 4, 2012, 3 p.m., Belle Skinner Music Room, Wistariahurst

The Wistaria Chamber Music Society returns to Wistariahurst for its eighth annual “Schubertiad,” an afternoon devoted exclusively to the heart-rending music of Franz Schubert. The concert involves several of the Pioneer Valley’s most noted chamber musicians and the Schubertians chorus, performing in period costume, and pursues a special theme: “The Religion of Nature.”

Among the highlights are the Psalm 23 for women’s chorus, and the rarely heard masterpiece, “Gesang der Geister über dem Wassern” (“Song of the Spirits over the Waters”), for male chorus and string ensemble. Both choruses will be directed by E. Wayne Abercrombie, the distinguished choral conductor and former director of choral activities at UMASS-Amherst.

In addition, Monica Jakuc Leverett, piano, and Sarah Briggs, violin, will perform the Sonatina in G-minor; and the piano duo team of Gary Steigerwalt and Dana Muller will perform “Lebensstürme.” Several of Schubert’s great songs will be sung by Eileen Ruby, mezzo-soprano, Peter W. Shea, tenor, and David Perkins, baritone, in an afternoon modeled on the gatherings of Schubert’s friends in early 19th-century Vienna.

“Schubert was of a Romantic generation that saw nature as the handwriting of God,” said David Perkins, Wistaria’s artistic director. “And his musical descriptions of natural scenes often have the atmosphere of awe–and transcendence–that was once contained in church music. There is a strong political subtext as well. The view of Nature as spontaneous and wild was a representation of freedom in the politically oppressive time after the French revolution. The great song, ‘Prometheus,’ for example, is clearly a young man’s fist shaken at Metternich’s Vienna. However, even in that case, Schubert’s music resolves in his special, uniquely beautiful tranquility.”

Tickets, at $20, can be reserved online at, under Events. Students are admitted free with valid ID. For more information about Wistaria (formerly Chamber Music at Wistariahurst), visit our website at, or contact David Perkins, at

Wistariahurst Museum, 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA. 413-322-5660


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