Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Le Salon de Musiques Season: The Russians Are Coming




By Rodney Punt
You don’t have to speak French to appreciate the chamber music series “Le Salon de Musiques”, but the language does suggest the elegance surrounding you in its home on the Fifth Floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, overlooking the Music Center. The gold and green, velvet-draped space was once named, appropriately enough, The Impresario Room.
Le Salon’s classy, sometimes quirky format is reminiscent of the Parisian salons of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, where new works were presented and discussed by cognoscenti over thick tobacco and milky absinthe. In a less toxic homage to those storied encounters, this latter-day salon provides an appealing package of sunset to starlit music, scintillating conversation, a champagne and buffet dinner, and company ranging from chic to funky.
If its first two seasons were closely identified with the greatest hits of the Classical-Romantic era, Le Salon’s third season mixes into the format an intriguing number of virtually unknown chamber works from that era and later, all under the season's graceful banner of “Les Nouveaux Romantiques.”
The foray into new repertoire represents a growing confidence by Le Salon’s entrepreneurial Artistic Director Francois Chouchan and Co-Artistic Director John Walz in the enterprise’s plucky, loyal and ever curious audiences, who appear ready this year to explore new musical horizons.
Two Russians Launch a Season of Les Nouveaux Romantiques
The season opens on Sunday, October 14, with two works few are likely to have heard before: Mikhail Glinka’s Serenade for Piano Sextet on Theme from Bellini and Sergei Lyapunov’s Piano Sextet, Op. 63, the latter a U.S. premiere.
Glinka and Lyapunov were bookends of the Russian nationalist school, known for its fiery musical rhetoric, soulful melodies and colorful orchestrations. Glinka (1804-1857) came at the beginning of the era, incorporating such disparate influences as Italy’s bel canto operas and Hector Berlioz’s instrumentations, added to his own Russian folk tunes. He would later on earn the sobriquet “Father of Russian Music.” Lyapunov (1859-1924) blended two Russian styles, the internationalist of Tchaikovsky and the nationalist of Rimsky-Korsakov, that would make him one of the last proponents of the tsarist musical tradition. But he would flee his homeland for France in the aftermath of the 1917 Revolution. An entire era of Russian music is thus encapsulated in these two works.
The concert will be introduced by musicologist Julius Reder Carlson and performed by violinists Roger Wilkie and Sarah Thornblade, violist Rob Brophy, cellist Ron Leonard, contrabassist Nico Abondolo and pianist Gavin Martin.
Informal conversations between the musicians and the audience will follow the performance. To break the ice stylishly, the champagne will be FrenchTo cap the evening’s camaraderie, the gourmet buffet will be prepared by Patina.
Third Season Overview
Le Salon de Musiques’ third season will present eight concerts between October 2012 and May 2013. Five United States premieres and a retinue of rediscovered composers, deftly mixed with more familiar ones, should make for a season attractive to both regular and new concertgoers.
Chouchan has invited prestigious international artists to join in the series, many of whom have performed with the LA Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and occasionally recorded scores for nearby Hollywood film and television productions. By removing the stage and enveloping these artists within the audience, Le Salon de Musiques offers more personal and intimate experiences for listeners eager to familiarize themselves with chamber music and how it is performed.
Among the season’s composers, in addition to the above, will be Brahms, Caplet, Chopin, Ravel, Zarebsky, Widor, Bach, Debussy, Robert Schumann but also Camillo Schumann, Scharwenka, Delius and Bridge. (Full listing provided below.)

As Chouchan explains: “So many beautiful, melodic, lyrical and romantic pieces are still rarely performed. My idea was first to find and choose some of the most inspired lesser known and great German, Russian, Polish, and French composers and bring them out to combine an expressive, touching and moving program, which makes this season unique.”
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2012 Season of Le Salon de Musiques: Les Nouveaux Romantiques
NOTE: All concerts at Fifth Floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (overlooking the Music Center) on the second Sunday of every month, October 2012 through May 19, 2013, between 4:00pm - 6:00pm.
October 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm:
 GLINKA: Serenade for Piano Sextet on Theme from Bellini, LYAPUNOV: Piano Sextet Op. 63 (USA PREMIERE).
 ROGER WILKIE (Violin), SARAH THORNBLADE (Violin), ROB BROPHY (Viola), RON LEONARD (Cello), NICO ABONDOLO (Bass), GAVIN MARTIN (Piano)
November 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm
: CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Suite for Flute and Piano Op. 34
, ANDRE CAPLET: Quintet for Piano and Winds (USA PREMIERE).STEVEN VANHAUWAERT (Piano), PAMELA VLIEK (Flute), VALENTIN MARTCHEV (Bassoon), JOSHUA RANZ (Clarinet), JOSEPH STONE (Oboe)
December 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm:
 SCHUBERT: Sonatensatz, Piano Trio D 28,
 SCHUBERT: Piano Trio Op 100 No. 2 in E flat Major D 929. 
SEARMI PARK (Violin), JOHN WALZ (Cello), FRANCOIS CHOUCHAN (Piano)
January 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm:
 J.S BACH: Gamba Sonata No. 2,
 SCHUMANN: Fantasy for Cello & PianoOp 73, SCHARWENKA PHILIPP: Piano Quintet Op. 118 (USA PREMIERE).GUILLAUME SUTRE (Violin), SEARMI PARK (Violin), HELEN S.CALLUS (Viola), ANTONIO LYSY (Cello), STEVEN VANHAUWAERT (Piano)
February 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm: 
FRANK BRIDGE: Fantasy Piano Quartet, ZAREBSKY: Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 34 (USA PREMIERE
). TEREZA STANISLAV (Violin), SARAH THORBLADE (Violin), ROB BROPHY (Viola), CECILIA TSAN (Cello), STEVEN VANHAUWAERT (Piano)
March 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm
: RAVEL: Piano Trio in A minor,
 DEBUSSY: Cello Sonata in D minor
, DEBUSSY: Violin Sonata in G minor
. PHILLIP LEVY (Violin), ANDREW SHULMAN (Cello), RINA DOKSHISTKY (Piano)
April 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm: 
CHOPIN: Cello Sonata op 65 in G minor
 CAMILLO SCHUMANN: Cello Sonata in C minor Op. 99 (USA PREMIERE), F.DELIUS: Romance for Cello and Piano
. ANDREW SHULMAN (Cello), STEVEN VANHAUWAERT (Piano)
May 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm
: BRAHMS: Lieder for Soprano, Piano and Viola Op. 91, 
BRAHMS: Piano Quartet No.3 in C minor
 MAHLER: Piano Quartet in A minor
. ROGER WILKIE (Violin), HELEN S.CALLUS (Viola), JOHN WALZ (Cello), EDITH ORLOFF (Piano), ELISSA JOHNSTON (Soprano)
Single Ticket and Subscription Purchases
Single tickets: $65.00 per person.
$45.00 for students.
Subscription Discounts: 10% discount off single ticket price for a bundle of three or more concerts. 20% discount for the full season.
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Photo by Carole Sternicha is used by permission of Le Salon de Musiques.
Rodney Punt can be contacted at Rodney@artspacifica.net

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