“An aged man is a paltry thing …”
Then what of a woman most mature, Sir William?
The coming of this year’s Michigan City Chamber Music Festival is colliding with me on numerous emotional fronts. First, but not primarily, its perhaps, smugly, titled theme, “Hidden Gems and Treasured Favorites”, does grant me, the principal programmer, the role of expert. Who doesn’t relish this delicious bequeathment? Surely, I take on a wizardly role, flying our audience through a magic carpet ride of new aural delights, right?
Well, not so fast. There is a rather high responsibility here, too. For instance, the “hidden gems” must be just that … Unknown and of deserved quality. Haven’t we been told that if music isn’t heard often, there’s probably a good reason? Well, I can only partially agree. Sometimes, if music is not heard, it is for a BAD reason.
Take for instance, our opening night on August 8, playfully penned, “You GO Girl”! It is our first concert dedicated solely to the repertoire of female composers, and a healthy amount of shame upon my head for waiting 14 years to program such.
The flagship work of this special night is, of course, the world premiere of Libby Larsen’s “Ferlinghetti”, a new masterwork for viola, clarinet, and strings. I am continuously pinching myself, trying to awaken from this decadent dream, but, thankfully, ’tis no dream, lad! The MCCMF IS premiering the finest new chamber work I’ve heard in 25 years by one of the world’s major composers! Please, DO spread the word. 🙂
You might think that this fact alone would have my head spinning, but my psyche is overcome by even more profound matters …
The closing work on the program is rarely heard. The trio for piano and strings in a minor by Cecile Chaminade. Chaminade was a French romantic composer of the late 19th, early 20th century, whose music is perhaps most relatable to that of Gabriel Faure. She was hailed as a great composer by such high minds as Georges Bizet, and had a flair for sacred choral music. Sadly, today, she is known for a single work, a short, but pleasant, “Concertino” for flute. But back to this trio. And back to a woman’s heart.
This trio is fast becoming one of my favorites in the trio repertoire. The slow (second) movement is especially moving. Here, her enormous talents as a composer are put to full use. A subtle, dark, slow moving scale in 6/4 slowly gives birth to a musical blossom that is both hopeful and heartbreaking. An ingenious, repeated appogiatura milks our tears of understanding to a point of unbearability, until it plateaus into an almost Beethovian spirituality.
This dull male, for the briefest of moments, feels a woman’s heartbreak … The complete self-acceptance of your own beauty and brilliance, while viewing completely, the frustrating and heartbreaking inevitable social denial of your gifts. And why, this denial from society, while inferior monuments live on, simply because they were sculpted by male hands? I can’t give any satisfying answer, nor can I claim to understand what this burden must feel like. Through the greatest gift of music, however, we get just a glimpse, and an opportunity for hope.
Viva la musica
Sent from my iPad, Nic Orbovich, www.nicorbovich.org
Artistic Director/Violin, Michigan City Chamber Music Festival, www.mccmf.org Director of Music Ministries, 1st Presbyterian Church, Michigan City, IN Principal 2nd Violin, South Bend Symphony (IN)