Mid-July Gets Marlboro Music Festival Up and Running

Marlboro Musicians at Play Photo by Clemens Kalischer2:30 pm • Sunday, July 23rd 2017
Marlboro Music • Marlboro, VT

On January 18th, 1950, The Brattleboro Daily Reformer published an article with the headline: “Hendricks Brings Moyse Trio for Music Program and Summer Festival.” The article relates how pianist Rudolf Serkin was working with Dr. Walter Hendricks, then President of the newly formed Marlboro College, to add music to the curriculum, set up a “Summer School of Music and a Bach Festival.” As plans got underway Serkin was not only joined by flutist Marcel Moyse, violinist Blanche Honegger Moyse, and pianist Louis Moyse (Moyse Trio), but also the brothers violinist Adolf and ‘cellist Herman Busch of the Busch Quartet (and Busch-Serkin trio)—who had settled in nearby Guilford Vermont—to found what is now become the Marlboro Music Festival in 1951.

Since then, Marlaboro Music Festival has become what Alex Ross in his 2009 in-depth  feature for The New Yorker calls “the music world’s most coveted retreat.” And numerous chamber ensembles have formed here such as the Guarneri String Quartet’s founding in 1964 or evolved with new members including the Brentano, Cleveland, Emerson, Johannes, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, Orion, St. Lawrence, Takács, Tokyo, Vermeer, and Ying Quartets; the Beaux Arts, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson and Mannes Trios; TASHI; the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

While the greater musical world most certainly benefits from all of this summer comradeship, the local audiences and tourists are really the winners. Just think of the musical programs over the years that have been played in “our backyard.” Awesome. Just awesome.

Today, the Marlboro Music Festival continues to thrive under Artistic Director Mitsuko Uchida who remains true to the festival’s core ideals while incorporating fresh ideas and inspiration. After several weeks of daily rehearsals, the artists at the Marlboro Music Festival (the well-known and the emerging professionals) who have been studying and playing together share with audiences the results of their in-depth collaborations.

We are now in the second weekend of performances, and this Sunday afternoon’s concert is to include and be performed by:

  • Benjamin BrittenCanticle III: Still falls the rain, Op. 55
    • Miles Mykkanen, tenor; Nicolee Kuester, horn; Lydia Brown, piano
  • Béla Bartók — String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17
    • Sirena Huang and Scott St. John, violins; Pei-Ling Lin, viola; Matthew Zalkind, ‘cello
  • Franz Schubert — Piano Trio in B-Flat Major, D. 898
    • Mitsuko Uchida, piano; Alexi Kenney, violin; Efe Baltacigil, ‘cello

The Britten Still falls the rain is of particular interest. Based on an Edith Sitwell poem written after the raids on London in 1940, its darkness and disillusionment of man’s actions yet hopeful tinge brings out the canticle’s seemingly timeliness. If you can, hope you can go. Regardless of what you choose, happy musicking this weekend!

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