Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 6, 2014

Love songs, Vienna style

Mistral presents annual Valentine Concert


The Andover Townsman

---- — It’s February and hearts are all aflutter. Mistral, formerly Andover Chamber Music, keeps beat with the theme with its annual Valentine Concert on Sunday at West Parish Church in Andover.

Titled “Postcards from Around the World: Viennoisseries,” the program is built around classical instrumental masterpieces from Vienna by Mozart, Schubert and Schoenberg.

“When the calendar page turns to February, Mistral audiences have come to anticipate the annual Valentine concert that has always taken its inspiration from the broad notion of romance. This one is no exception,” Mistral artistic director and flutist Julie Scolnik, who recently moved from Andover, said in a release.

The program includes Mozart’s Horn Quintet, Schubert’s “Rosamunde” String Quartet and culminates with Schoenberg’s early tonal work, the string sextet “Verklarte Nacht” (Transfigured Night).

Based on a poem of the same title by the German poet Richard Dehmel, “Verklarte Nacht” describes an intense conversation between two lovers who are taking a walk under the moon.

“The music is lush and melodic and gives no hint of the 12-tone music with which its composer was later to become identified. Different musical motifs represent different parts of the lovers’ exchanges, and in the end, it is the miracles of nature which have changed the night of tragedy into a transfigured night,” Scolnik said.

The program will be performed by an ensemble featuring horn player Eric Ruske, who was named associate principal horn of The Cleveland Orchestra at age 20; Israeli cellist Mickey Katz of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; New York/Israeli violinist Nurit Pacht, violinist Stephanie Fong and newcomer violist Jessica Bodner.

Scolnik describes the ensemble’s performances as “always a little eccentric, stubbornly personal, impassioned and committed to invigorating old traditions with an ever-youthful perspective.”

The Valentine concert is typically a popular one for the newly renamed Mistral, which is now in its 17th season. A post-concert reception with Valentine treats and refreshments will follow the performance.

In addition to the concert in Andover, Mistral will also perform the program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookline this Friday night.

IF YOU GO

What: Mistral, formerly Andover Chamber Music, 17th annual Valentine Concert

When: Sunday, Feb. 9, 3 p.m.

Where: West Parish Church, 129 Reservation Road, Andover

How: Tickets $30 adults, $25 seniors, free for students with ID. Visit www.MistralMusic.org or call 978-474-6222.