For more than 16 years, nationally-recognized chamber groups have performed at a charming rustic log theater just north of Wichita. Situated on a tree farm and surrounded by imported, century-old stone bridges, Chamber Music at the Barn once again offers classic hits, jazz favorites and a sprinkling of mandolin music.
“We’re a kind of golden jewel,” said Bob Scott, Prairie Pines owner. “People get a chance to be out in the country with friends and listen to wonderful music in a very relaxed atmosphere.”
The Harrington String Quartet will play works by Haydn, Schumann and Schoenberg from June 20 through June 22. Catherine Consiglio, the Barn’s artistic director and principal violist for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, arranged this interesting evening featuring German-speaking composers.
“I think it’s really going to entrance people,” said Consiglio, who also will perform with former Wichita Symphony cellist Andrew Kolb as part of a sextet during the Schoenberg piece. “It’s an amazing evening.”
Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklarte Nacht” or “Transfigured Night” is the evening’s featured work. Schoenberg (1874-1951) composed this piece in Austria in 1899.
“Transfigured Night” is based on a poem by German-born Richard Dehmel. The poem, of the same name, tells of an evening stroll that changes a couple’s destiny. As a young woman walks under a moonlit sky, she confesses that she is carrying an illegitimate child in her womb. The young man that she walks with listens intently and eventually informs her that he will help her with the child.
“It’s a very difficult piece in the sextet repertoire,” Consiglio said. “It’s very rare that you get to hear it in live performance because it is so challenging.”
Consiglio, also a professor of viola at Wichita State University, calls this work magical.
“The music parallels almost exactly the poem, and that’s what is so fascinating about it,” she said.
Former Wichita Symphony violinist and member of the Harrington String Quartet, Keith Redpath, said he is excited about Schoenberg’s work.
“He pulls out all the stops as far as musically depicting the core of the feelings in that poem,” Redpath said. “It’s almost hyper-romantic.”
Redpath will perform works with fellow Harrington String Quartet members Rossitza Jekova-Goza, violin; Emmanuel Lopez, cello; and Vesselin Todorov, viola. All Harrington Quartet musicians are on the faculty of West Texas A & M University and members of the Amarillo Symphony.
The Chamber concert opens with Haydn’s String Quartet No. 2 in E-flat major, also known as “The Joke.”
“Haydn is well-known for having a lot of humor,” Redpath said. “Haydn plays a joke on his audience in a cute and humorous way.”
The next work performed by the quartet is Schumann’s String Quartet in A major. Schumann wrote this piece for his wife, Clara.
“It has a very rich, lush, warm, fuzzy feeling throughout,” Redpath said. “There’s a lot of tenderness.”
“Transfigured Night” will feature a short talk by Wichita State University music professor Walter Mays. Dinner is available for purchase before the concert.
Redpath said he is thrilled to be back at The Barn. He played during the 1997 inaugural season.
“It’s a beautiful place to perform,” Redpath said. “It’s the ideal setting for chamber music.”