Since its inception the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series has sought to bring imaginative variety to its programming. It’s always succeeded in this endeavor and this summer’s offerings are no exception. Under the guidance of music director Vedrana Subotic, the five concerts that make up the series this year run the gamut from well known to neglected works.
Among the latter is a chamber ensemble version of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which will ostensibly receive its Utah premiere on the July 10 program. This version, from 1921, was made by Erwin Stein, who was a student of Arnold Schoenberg. It reduces the orchestra down to 13 instruments.
“This concert is a big extravaganza,” Subotic said. “The music is dense, but in this condensed version you get to hear everybody.” The musicians, mostly taken from the Utah Symphony, “are thrilled to do the piece because it highlights each player.”
Conducting will be the Utah Symphony’s outgoing associate conductor Rei Hotoda, who is “super excited at this opportunity,” according to Subotic. Soprano soloist in the last movement is Aubrey McMillan.
Offsetting the Mahler are the Sonata for Solo Cello by Eugène Ysaÿe and the Sonata for Cello and Piano, op. 4, by Zoltán Kodály. There is a common thread between these two sonatas and the Mahler, Subotic said. “All of the music is intense and all three works focus on tone color.”
The initial concert, on June 26, features works by three disparate composers: Ludwig van Beethoven, Béla Bartók and Astor Piazzolla.
Opening the program is an early Beethoven piece, the so-called Gassenhauer Trio, op. 11, for clarinet, cello and piano. “This is a happy Beethoven who’s sitting on the top of the world,” Subotic said. “It’s a wonderful hors d’oeuvre for the rest of the concert.”
On the other hand, the Bartók Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, is a peculiar work,
Subotic said. “Bartók writes in Gypsy/Hungarian idioms for the violin, but there is no such melodic content for the piano. Instead, the piano is very percussive and rhythmic.” The work overall is bold and dramatic. “It’s reminiscent of Ives.”
Rounding out the concert is Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, in an arrangement for piano trio.
Performing Monday are Utah Symphony colleagues Lee Livengood, clarinet; Lun Jiang, violin; and Pegsoon Whang, cello; with Subotic at the piano.
All concerts take place in Vieve Gore Concert Hall on the Westminster College campus. Start time is 7:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $20 for general, $18 for seniors and free for students with ID. Season tickets are also available. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by logging on to www.intermezzoconcerts.org.
Below is the Intermezzo concert schedule:
June 26: Beethoven, Gassenhauer Trio; Bartók, Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1; Piazzolla, Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.
July 10: Ysaÿe, Sonata for Solo Cello; Kodály, Sonata for Cello and Piano, op. 4; Mahler/Stein, Symphony No. 4.
July 17: Ravel, String Quartet; Webern, Langsamer Satz; Szymanowski, String Quartet No. 2.
July 31: Beethoven, Piano Trio op. 70, no. 2, Ghost; Mendelssohn, Piano Trio No. 1.
Aug. 7: Roens: Three Existential Songs (world premiere); Debussy, Piano Etudes, Books 1 and 2; Ravel, Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Clarinet, Flute and String Quartet.