CMC concerts feature rediscovered sonata
RIFLE – Colorado Mountain College is celebrating a partnership with Shell Exploration and Production Co., with music never before heard in this part of the world.A concert on March 16 honors the company’s support of CMC’s process technology program at the new West Garfield Campus in Rifle.The concert also offers the opportunity to hear an extremely rare sonata.Travel back in time to Vienna, around 1894. Possibly in fading light or by candlelight, a few of Alexander von Zemlinsky’s contemporaries leaned up close to take in a cello sonata composed by the budding new artist. The music was lyrical and beautiful – in part reflecting the influence of Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler – both of whom Zemlinsky worked with and knew.Generations came and went, but Zemlinsky’s “Sonata in A minor for cello and piano” went unperformed, even when Zemlinsky became a well-known composer of his time (1871-1942). And even when his wife donated her husband’s collection of music to the Library of Congress.
Scholars knew the piece existed, but no one knew where it was for more than 100 years. Several years ago, it was discovered at an estate in south Wales, and found its way to a delighted publisher last year.The sonata was first performed in public in October 2006 at the Library of Congress – where Zemlinsky’s other compositions reside – by the Boston-based ensemble Montage Music Society. The group’s cellist, Marc Moskovitz, avidly researched the life of Zemlinsky – who was born in Vienna and also lived in Prague and Berlin – spending his final years in America. When someone from the Library of Congress called to tell Moskovitz the piece was discovered, he clamored to be the first to play it, even before it was formally published.Moskovitz has performed it only once since then, and will play the piece in the first performances west of the Mississippi in CMC concerts throughout mountain communities March 14-17. Locally, the group performs at 7 p.m. Friday, March 16, in the New Space Theater at CMC’s Spring Valley Center.”Zemlinsky is no longer a forgotten entity, he is going through a renaissance,” Moskovitz said. “He slowly began climbing out of obscurity in the ’70s, but with the arrival of the compact disc industry, he became something of a cult figure.”He explains that the renewed interest in music and art that were not deemed acceptable in Hitler’s Third Reich is translating into rediscovery for his contemporaries, taking Zemlinsky’s popularity to a new level.Zemlinsky inspired Moskovitz so much he has finished a manuscript for a book being revised for a potential publisher.”I became enamored with the zeitgeist – the whole spirit of the time,” Moskovitz said. “It was a period of time that musically, politically and artistically is fascinating to me, and Zemlinsky was right in the middle of it. The public’s interest in Zemlinsky has not peaked yet, but has definitely blossomed.”
The program for the CMC concerts begins with a piece by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who studied under Zemlinsky, and includes the composer’s long-lost cello sonata in three movements and ends with a piece by Brahms.Performing with Moskovitz is violinist Sarita Uranovsky, a native of South Africa, who has made Boston her home. She teaches music at MIT and Boston University, and loves that nearly as much as performing.”I get to do what I love every day and get paid for it. It’s a never-ending vocation. No two performances are the same, everyone has a different creative aspect and it’s very spontaneous art form. There is nothing better than to enjoy yourself while doing it,” she said. “It is pressure, but the rewards are greater than the obstacles, in my opinion.”Accompanying Moskovitz and Uranovsky is accomplished pianist Debra Ayers, who directed the CMC Center for Excellence in the Arts prior to current director, Alice Beauchamp.Tickets for this last Roaring Fork Valley concert in the Jim Calaway Honor Series seventh season are $20 for adults and $15 for students, and are available by calling 947-8367. For more information, visit http://www.cmccearts.org.
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