Beethoven Festival tuning up for its spring season finale
Works by Bach, Fauré and Poulenc on the program
Beethoven Festival Founder Leslie Harlow is looking forward to showcasing the works of Bach, Teleman, Poulenc and Fauré during the last Chamber Music at the Eccles Center of the spring season.
The concert, which will start at 3 p.m. on Sunday, will open with keyboardist Pamela Palmer Jones performing a prelude and fugue by Bach, Harlow said.
Palmer Jones, a professor of music at the University of Utah, performs regularly as pianist and harpsichordist with several of Utah’s finest performing ensembles, including the Vivaldi Virtuosi, Ensemble Iris, Salt Lake Symphony, and Utah’s newest professional chamber orchestra, Sinfonia Salt Lake, she said.
“For Sunday’s concert, Pamela will play the prelude on the piano, and then she’ll turn around and play the fugue on the harpsichord,” she said. “She’s bringing a really nice harpsichord for the concert, and the change of color in the music will be very striking.”
In addition to Jones’ performances, cellist Richard Jones will also play some additional Bach solos, Harlow said.
Jones is a Jacobs School of Music Premier Young Artist Award winner and a finalist in the Kuttner String Quartet Competition, she said.
The two solos will set the stage for the rest of Sunday’s concert that will continue with Georg Philipp Teleman’s Trio Sonata for Clarinet, Viola, Keyboard and Cello, according to Harlow, who, along with her husband Russell, will join Palmer Jones and Jones, respectively on viola and clarinet.
“This piece is usually written for two violins and a keyboard, but we do our own versions,” Harlow said. “I like the combination, because there’s contrast between the piano and viola voices. It’s really lovely.”
Wrapping up the first half of the afternoon will be Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano.
Poulenc wrote the work in memory of Arthur Honneger, who played with him in the chamber ensemble Group Les Six, active between 1916 and 1923.
Sunday’s concert will feature three movements — Allegro Tristamente, Romanza and Allegro Con Fuoco, performed by Russell Harlow and Palmer Jones.
“This is one of my favorite sonatas for clarinet and piano,” Leslie Harlow said. “Pam and Russ have played it a number of times, and I get to sit back and enjoy it. It’s so gorgeous.”
After intermission, the concert will conclude with Gabriel Fauré’s Trio Opus 120 for Clarinet, Viola and Piano.
The three movements — Allegro ma non troppo, Andantino and Allegro vivo, will be performed with clarinet, viola and piano, Harlow said.
“This was one of the last works that Fauré wrote, and he wrote it in a very interesting key,” she said. “It’s modal and includes the locrian mode, so it sounds very contemporary, but at the same time it’s incredibly lyrical and romantic. The combination of piano clarinet and viola provide a unique tambor, and I think people will enjoy that.”
The musicians have recorded this work at the University of Utah’s Libby Gardner Concert Hall prior to COVID-19, Harlow said.
“It’s in our editing cue, along with some other recordings,” she said.
The recordings were engineered by Michael Carnes, who developed the reverb algorithms for Harman Kardon, a company that specializes in home and vehicle audio sound systems, Harlow said.
“We recorded the music and then the pandemic happened,” she said. “So we still have to do the edits and mixes with him.”
While the Harlows wait for a good time to work with Carnes again, they have other pieces of music ready for release.
“These will soon come out on CDs because most of the classical world still listens to CDs,” she said. “We’re also looking at vinyl because there is a resurgence of vinyl, and we will also release the music online.”
In the meantime, the Park City Beethoven Festival is working on its summer schedule.
“We will perform our first Chamber Music in the Park concert with Mountain Town Music on July 18, and we are waiting to see which dates are available to us through the Park City Institute,” she said. “Once we hear, we will be able to schedule the different musicians who are waiting to perform with us.”
Ballet West Academy Peggy Bergmann Park City Campus will present “The Nutcracker Suite” twice on Dec. 9.
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