DaPonte opens season at St. John
Thomaston — The DaPonte String Quartet launches its 22nd season in Maine with a couple of firsts —Beethoven’s and Prokofiev’s first quartets —and an overlooked gem by William Walton. The four-venue concert series will open Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, 200 Main St./Route 1
Beethoven wrote his exuberant D Major quartet (Op. 18, No. 3) when he was still in his twenties. Bright, lyrical and humorous, it is heavily influenced by Haydn and Mozart and features a blazingly fast, witty and ingenious finale.
Prokofiev, in turn, was heavily influenced by Beethoven — though writing 130 years later — hen he composed the String Quartet No. 1 in B Minor, Op. 50. The Russian was commissioned by the American Library of Congress to write the quartet, and he immersed himself in Beethoven to do it. Later he would be criticized by the Communist Party for producing music polluted by Western influences. This unusually melodic quartet has several remarkable features including a finale that is the slow movement; and the fact that it is written in a key that is actually a half tone below the range of the cello and viola.
Walton’s String Quartet No. 2 in A has been described as an unjustly neglected masterpiece. The British composer wrote only three pieces of chamber music, and these works may have been overlooked because Walton is best known for his orchestral work and film scores. Yet his biographers agree that this quartet, a post-Romantic and post-War work of languid beauty, is one of his very best.
The DaPonte moved to Maine in 1992 on a rural arts grant from Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts. The musicians perform more 40 concerts a year from Presque Isle to Ogunquit. The quartet features Ferdinand "Dino" Liva and Lydia Forbes, violin; Myles Jordan, cello; and Kirsten Monke, viola.
Tickets are $20, available in advance by calling 529-4555 or visiting DaPonte.org. The concert also will be performed Friday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater; and Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Portland Public Library; and Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. at Topsham’s Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or email@example.com.