The Intermezzo Chamber Music Series kicks off its new season Monday with a set of five concerts that feature both crowd pleasers and unduly neglected works. The series, which spans two months during the summer, will have something for every taste, musician David Porter promised.
"People will get the chance to hear something new that will stretch their musical boundaries," he told the Deseret News. "And they're also going to get the chance to get reacquainted with well known pieces."
Porter, a violinist with the Utah Symphony who founded and runs the festival with his wife, pianist Vedrana Subotic, likes to have a musical connection running through the series. Last year, it was the Brahms sonatas. This year, it's a little bit broader in scope.
"Each program has a great masterwork as its last piece," he said.
At the first concert, which takes place Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Vieve Gore Concert Hall at Westminster College, Ravel's neglected Piano Trio in A minor is the closing masterwork.
"It's a great piece, but the reason it's not played more often is because it's very challenging," Porter said. "It's very rich for the instruments, and there are a lot of difficulties in tackling it and playing it so each voice can be heard."
Monday's concert will open with one of Piazzolla's last works, the Grand Tango for Cello and Piano, and include a new work, Anthony DiLorenzo's "Street Musicians."
"We commissioned Tony to write a piece for us this year," Porter said. "Tony is a very, very talented guy. He's an Emmy Award-winning composer and an incredible trumpet player."
"Street Musicians" is scored for trumpet, trombone, violin, cello and accordion. When the Deseret News spoke with Porter, he had yet to see the score or get an overview from the composer. "Tony is keeping it very close to his chest," Porter said.
Contrary to what Porter might think, DiLorenzo isn't being purposefully secretive about his piece. "It's a work in progress, and there are still some kinks to work out," he said in a phone interview from Seattle, where he was subbing as principal trumpet for the Seattle Symphony.
DiLorenzo's piece is a musical fantasy. "It's about a boy who sees a painting of some street musicians at an art gallery. He imagines them coming to life and entertaining people in the streets of Paris."
"Tony's piece really ties in with the entire program," Porter said. "The Piazzolla and the Ravel go well together. There is Basque dance music in Ravel's trio that goes with Piazzolla's Argentinean music. And Tony has these same influences. I think it is a great combination."
One of Porter's goals for Intermezzo is to have at least one work from the Second Viennese School (personified in the music of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern) each year. The second concert, on July 14, ties into this perfectly and spotlights one of the great string quartets of the early 20th century: Schoenberg's Quartet No. 2 in F sharp minor.
The quartet is an early work and predates Schoenberg's 12-tone technique by more than a decade.
"It's much more accessible than people think," Porter said. "It spans from the late romanticism of Mahler to the atonality of the early 20th century. It's an amazing piece that just isn't played nearly enough, mainly because of its length."
One of the more unusual concerts takes place Aug. 4. "Each piece features the double bass. You don't hear it much as a solo instrument, but it's really an expressive instrument." On the program is J.S. Bach's Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 2 in D major; Hindemith's Sonata for Bass and Piano; and Beethoven's Septet in E flat major, with the Utah Symphony's concertmaster Ralph Matson leading the ensemble and with symphony bassist Thomas Zera.
Intermezzo has always been a showcase for members of the Utah Symphony. "We have some great colleagues, all of whom are great chamber music players," Porter said.
• Below is a rundown of the concert schedule. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and take place in Vieve Gore Concert Hall on the Westminster College campus:
Monday: "Range You Can Believe In" Piazzolla, Grand Tango for Cello and Piano; DiLorenzo, "Street Musicians;" Ravel, Piano Trio in A minor.
July 14: "All the Way with LPJ" Mendelssohn, Piano Trio in C minor; Schoenberg, Quartet No. 2 in F sharp minor.
July 28: "I Like Tchaik" Tchaikovsky, Quartet No. 1 in D major; Mozart, String Quintet in C major, K. 515.
Aug. 4: "The Bach Stops Here" J.S. Bach, Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 2 in D major; Hindemith, Sonata for Bass and Piano; Beethoven, Septet in E flat major.Aug. 11: "Stay Liven with Livengood" Poulenc, Sonata for Oboe and Piano; Dohnanyi, Sextet for Clarinet, Horn, Piano and String Trio in C major; Brahms, Clarinet Quintet in B minor.
If you go ...
What: Intermezzo Chamber Music Series
Where: Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Westminster College, 1840 S. 1300 East
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
How much: $15 general admission, $12 senior citizens, free for students with ID; season tickets $60 general admission, $48 senior citizens
Phone: 832-2457 (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.); 230-2817 (after hours)Web: intermezzoconcerts.org