July ushers in the 33rd season of Summer Gala concerts by the Lenape Chamber Ensemble as top-flight musicians from around the country come to Doylestown for three consecutive Saturday nights: July 13, 20 and 27.
The season as a whole is a blend of musical periods, styles and moods, with Beethoven and Cherubini sharing the stage with Dvorak and Milhaud.
The first concert, July 13, begins with Mendelssohn’s “String Quartet in E minor,” a romantic fanciful work, one of several written when the composer was newly married.
Returning to Lenape’s summer stage are violinists Emily Daggett-Smith and Cyrus Beroukhim, violist Catherine Beeson of the Colorado Symphony and Alberto Parrini, cellist with the American Symphony.
Alan R Kay, clarinetist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and pianist Marcantonio Barone perform “The Sonata for Clarinet and Piano,” written in 1921 by an 85-year-old Camille Saint-Saens during his visit to Algeria. The sonata is typical of the composer, a perfectionist, whose musical style emphasizes elegant craftsmanship.
When hearing the “Beethoven Piano Trio, Op. 36,” one may instantly recognize themes from his “Second Symphony,” and no wonder – it’s a transcription of that same symphony by the composer himself.
Barone joins Beroukhim and Parrini in this final energetic work, dotted with familiar melodies.
The following week’s concert, July 20, will feature works by Haydn, Dvorak and Darius Milhaud, member of the rebellious group of French composers, “Les Six,” who reacted against the heavy German romanticism of Wagner and Strauss.
The final concert July 27, is a study in contrasts. Luigi Cherubini, born in Florence in 1760, was known for his sacred and dramatic music and was made famous by his opera “Medee” based on the tragic tale of Medea.
His “Sonata No. 2 for Horn and String Quartet” is a dramatic piece, technically demanding for the horn player who, on July 27, will be David Jolley, hornist for the Windscape Quartet.
The program will also feature Ravel’s “String Quartet in F Major” and a “Piano Quintet” written in 1911 by the Russian composer Sergei Taneyev, considered one of Russia’s greatest composers, pianists and teachers.
Audiences can meet and chat with the musicians at a champagne reception following each concert.
Lenape’s programs are enhanced by the acoustics and visibility of the Life Sciences Building auditorium at Delaware Valley University, on Route 202, off the 611 bypass at the State Street exit. There is free parking at the entrance to the college campus, and train service on the R5 from Philadelphia stops at the college parking area.
Tickets at $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, are available at the door and online at lenapechamberensemble.org. Call 610-294-9361.