DaPonte marks Verdi’s 200th

Nov 23, 2012
DaPonte String Quartet

Thomaston — “Happy Birthday, Guiseppe,” the DaPonte String Quartet’s December concert series, will honor Italian Romantic composer Guiseppe Verdi’s upcoming bicentennial with performances of his String Quartet in E Minor. The series will open Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, 200 Main St./Route 1.

The String Quartet in E Minor is the one and only piece of chamber music written by Verdi, who is best known for his operas. In fact, Verdi wrote the quartet during a break in the production of “Aida” and said he did not “know whether it is beautiful or ugly.” History has judged it one of the finest pieces of chamber music of the 19th century.

Also on the program are works by Haydn and John Adams. Unlike Verdi, Haydn wrote a huge number of string quartets — more than 80. DaPonte will be performing his Quartet in F Minor, known as “The Razor” because of a rumor Haydn traded his original manuscript for a pair of razors. Adams’ “Book of Alleged Dances” was written in 1994 for string quartet and a pre-recorded piano. It contains 10 dances with such humorous titles as “Toot Nipple” and “Alligator Escalator.”

“Happy Birthday, Guiseppe!” is a bit ahead of the game as Verdi was actually born in 1813. The concert series will continue Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at Damariscotta’s downtown Lincoln Theater; Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at Portland Public Library; and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. at Topsham’s Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $20, available at DaPonte.org or by calling 529-4555.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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