David Korevaar featured in Mini-Chamber Series

Three performances planned with members of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra 

By Peter Alexander Sept. 22 at 2:25 p.m.

David Korevaar. Photo by Matthew Dine.

Pianist David Korevaar, distinguished professor of piano at the CU College of Music, will team up with members of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra (BCO) for a series of three concerts of chamber music with piano.

The first of the three concerts, featuring piano quintets with strings, will be Saturday, Sept. 24. Other concerts in the series will feature music for piano and winds, and will be Jan. 14 and April 8. All three concerts will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Boulder Adventist Church, 345 Mapleton Ave. in Boulder. (See full program llistings and ticket information below.)

Each of the concerts pairs a work that is fairly well known with one that notably more obscure. For Saturday’s concert, that pairing brings Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major with Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A minor. For Jan. 14 the program features Poulenc’s popular Sextet for pianos and winds with a Sextet for piano and wind quintet by Austrian composer Ludwig Thuille. And the concert April 8 combines Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat for piano and winds with Rimsky Korsakov’s rarely heard Quintet for piano and winds.

For the first concert (Sept. 24), Korevaar with appear with leaders of the BCO’s string sections—violinist Annamária Karacson, violist Aniel Cabán and cellist Joseph Howe—along with Karoly Schranz, the former second violinist of the Takács Quartet. Although the Elgar Quintet was recorded recently by the Takács Quartet and pianist Garrick Ohlsson, Korevaar has never played it before.

“It’s a piece that isn’t well known at all,” he says. “The fact that Takács has recorded it recently has given a little more visibility in our community. It was written at the same time as the Cello Concerto and the Violin Sonata, by the post-World War I, very mature Elgar. And it’s a beautiful piece.”

In contrast, Korevaar knows the Schumann Quintet very well, having learned it as a teenager and played it just recently with the Takács Quartet. “It’s the quintet that I first learned. I actually learned the first and last movement of the Schumann when I was 15 years old, in a summer camp.

“I don’t want to think what that sounded like—I think I play it a lot better now—but it’s been part of my life for a long, long time.”

Apparently the quintet caused a rift between the composer’s widow, Clara, and Franz Liszt, who thought it was rather pedantic. Liszt’s opinion aside, it has remained a popular piece in the chamber repertoire for pianists, and Korevaar says “it’s always a pleasure to play.

“For me, the piece feels like a (Baroque-era) concerto grosso, in the way (Schumann) treats the instruments. There’s opposition between the full forces and those areas where there might be two or three players. He works with the ensemble as if it were an orchestra, and then when he breaks out for solos it feels very much like the lightening of texture you get in a concerto grosso.”

Ludwig Thuille

Ludwig Thuille, who is featured on the January 14 concert, “is even more obscure than (his teacher) Rheinberger, which is saying something,” Korevaar says. Apart from the Sextet, his music is very rarely performed.

“The piece is wonderful, but it sounds very much of its time and place. (It represents) a nice late-Romantic idiom, with some occasional adventurous harmonies, (but) it doesn’t push boundaries in any way.

Poulenc’s Sextet is very popular with players and audiences alike. “It’s a classic,” Korevaar says. “If you think of one piece for piano and wind quintet, this is the piece you’ll think of. it’s very popular for good reason, filled with good infectious Poulenc-ey tunes, and the writing is brilliant for all the instruments. It’s just a marvelous, successful piece.”

The Rimsky-Korsakov Quintet for piano and winds that opens the April 8 concert is another piece that is rarely played. Korevaar has played it, but many years ago. “I don’t know what to say about the Rimsky-Korsakov, because I haven’t looked at it in so many years,” he says. “It’s Russian with good tunes, but in a rather old-fashioned style.”

Ending the concert series will be Mozart’s much-loved Quintet in E-flat for piano and winds, K452. Possibly the first piece for this combination of instruments—piano, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon—it is certainly the first that is familiar, and it inspired Beethoven to write a quintet for the same instruments and in the same key.

Mozart’s Quintet, Korevaar says, “reflects a chamber music aesthetic, because Mozart in Vienna had the professional (wind) players to work with. He writes this at the same time that he’s expanding his orchestration, particular in the piano concertos, to include much more important wind parts.

“There is a famous letter to his father in which he says he’s written this piece and it’s the best thing he’s ever composed. It’s one of his great works.”

Tickets for the BCO Mini-Chamber Concerts with David Korevaar can be purchased as season tickets, together with four concerts by the full orchestra under the direction of Bahman Saless Oct. 29, Dec, 17, Feb. 1 and April 1; or they can be purchased individually for each concert. More information and tickets are available on the BCO Web page.

# # # # #

Boulder Chamber Orchestra Mini-Chamber Series
In collaboration with pianist David Korevaar

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24

David Korevaar, piano, with members of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra

  • Elgar: Piano Quintet in A minor, op. 84
  • Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, op. 44

7:30 pm. Saturday, Jan. 14

David Korevaar, piano, with members of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra

  • Ludwig Thuille: Sextet in B-flat major for piano and wind quintet, op 6 
  • Francis Poulenc: Sextet for piano and wind quintet

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8

David Korevaar, piano, with members of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra

  • Rimsky-Korsakov: Quintet in B-flat for piano and winds
  • Mozart: Quintet in E-flat major for piano and winds, K452

All concerts at the Boulder Adventist Church, 345 Mapleton Avenue

Tickets available from the BCO Web page.

GRACE NOTES

Sept. 22 at 10:30 a.m.

CU Music grad featured in Opera News

Patrick Bessenbacher (r) as Tony with Christine Honein as Maria in CU production of West Side Story. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa)

Tenor Patrick Bessenbacher, a 2020 graduate of the CU-Boulder College of Music who went on to graduate studies at Juilliard, is featured in the “Sound Bites” column in the October 2022 issue of Opera News.

Bessenbacher, who studied voice with assoc. prof. Matthew Chellis at CU, appeared in several productions of the CU Eklund Opera. He was Lurcanio in Handel’s Ariodante in the spring of 2018, Tony in West Side Story in Macky Auditorium in the fall of 2018,  George Bailey in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life in Macky in 2019, and Benedict in a COVID-influenced online production of Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict in 2020. 

Opera News reports that Bessenbacher performed this past summer with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and will join Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Wisc., as a Baumgartner Studio Artist for the current season.

The October 2022 issue of Opera News has only just arrived in mailboxes this week, and is available online to subscribers only.

# # # # #

Cliburn Competition gold medalist will play solo recital Monday at Macky

Yunchan Lim

Pianist Yunchan Lim, who at 18 became the youngest gold medalist in the history of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June of this year, will play a solo recital featuring the music of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Liszt at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, in Macky Auditorium.

Lim’s recital is part of the CU Presents Artist Series at Macky. 

In addition to the Gold Medal, Lim won the Audience Award and the Best Performance of a New Work at the 2022 Cliburn Competition. A native of Korea, he was accepted at age 13 into the Korea National Instituted for the Gifted in Arts, where he began studies with Minsoo Sohn. He is currently in his second year at the Korea National University of Arts, where he continues to study with Sohn.

Lim’s complete program will be:

  • Brahms: Four Ballades, op. 10
  • Mendelssohn: Fantasy in F-sharp Minor, op. 28 (“Scottish Sonata”)
  • Liszt: Deux légendes
    —Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata

TICKETS