Gold Coast Chamber Players kicks off the new season Saturday, September 26, 7:30pm at the Lafayette Library Community Hall with ‘Gypsy.’ Led by Artistic Director Pamela Freund and featuring violinist Geoff Nuttall, cellist Robert Howard, and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur, the program includes works by Ravel, Bartok, Brahms, and Haydn, and spans several centuries of music inspired by Gypsy exoticism.
Co-founder and violinist in the award-winning St. Lawrence String Quartet, Nuttall has performed in more than 1,500 concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The St. Lawrence String Quartet has been ensemble-in-residence at Stanford University since 1999, where Nutall is on faculty.
Nuttall, who directs the chamber music series at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, is described by the New York Times as ‘The Jon Stewart of Chamber Music’ for his fun and inventive approach to performing: ‘Like that television comedian, Mr. Nuttall is a creatively daring, physically talented performer who can go goofball in a nanosecond, maintaining a veneer of entertainment while educating his base about serious matters.’
Jeffrey LaDeur is an active soloist, chamber musician, and educator. He has been hailed by Derek Bermel of the American Composer’s Orchestra as ‘a pianist with extraordinary sensitivity, intelligence, and breadth of dramatic expression.’ Local engagements include concerto performances with Oakland East Bay Symphony and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra; in addition, LaDeur is an artist-in-residence at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Musicologist Peter Laki explains, ‘Bartok’s objective was to transplant the entire style of Eastern-European fiddle playing into the Western concert context.’ Franz Joseph Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 39, ‘Gypsy,’ is one of the most popular of his many chamber works. Its dramatic, exciting third movement finale contains a sprightly folk-like melody complete with syncopations and off-beat accents.
The First Piano Quartet by Johannes Brahms bears the Hungarian and Gypsy influences that unite this program. The quartet is widely performed, and was so well regarded by Arnold Schoenberg that he arranged its third movement, ‘Gypsy Rondo’ for full orchestra. Pianist William Murdoch states that the quartet owes its popularity to the ‘boldness of the themes in the first movement, the charm and delicacy of the Intermezzo and trio, the majestic grandeur of the Andante with its powerful climax, and the Hungarian dash of the Finale.’
Ticket price ($37.50 General, $32.50 Senior, $10 Student) includes complimentary champagne, a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., and a reception with the musicians following the performance. Tickets are available here and by phone at (925) 283-3728. Limited seating, please reserve early.
Haydn: Piano Trio No. 39 in G major, ‘Gypsy’
Brahms: Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor, Pp. 25
Ravel: ‘Tzigane’ (Gypsy) for Violin
Bartok: Rhapsody No. 1 for Cello and Piano