Arts Council to offer a remedy for the radio blues

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By Kirsten Laskey

Ever, in frustration, punched at the radio dials to find music that doesn’t sound so similar that the songs blur together?

There is a remedy.

Turn off the radio and tune into the Los Alamos Arts Council’s Brown Bag series.

At 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fuller Lodge, two different music groups will perform two distinctively different works.

First up will be a quintet comprised of Cindy Little, piano; Gerry Fried, oboe; Joseph Fasel, clarinet; James Prues, bassoonist; and John Hargreaves, French horn.

The quintet will perform Mozart piano and wind quintet in E Flat Major K-452.

This is a very popular piece, Hargreaves said, and a real show piece for the piano.

Mozart himself really valued what he had composed. Hargreaves said in a letter to his father, Mozart had stated that this work, at the time, was the best thing he had created.

Hargreaves added, “Mozart basically invented this ensemble of four winds and piano with this piece. It more or less set the standard for what followed in the genre … He pretty much wrote the greatest piece for (this ensemble). The beauty of the music is part and parcel to how great Mozart was as a composer.”

His work rubbed off on other composers, too. The next composer who wrote something similar was Beethoven.

Mozart’s influence was still strong; in fact, Hargreaves said the person who commissioned the work asked Beethoven to write the piece in the same spirit as Mozart.

While Mozart’s work is well known, the other piece on the program is rarely performed.

An amateur musician Max Bruch wrote Quintet for Piano and String Quartet in G minor.

Wednesday, it will unveiled to the Los Alamos audience by Little, Brian Newman, violin; Lee Harvey, violin; Kathy Gursky, viola; and James Knudson, cello.

Newman said Bruch was commissioned to write the work for the Liverpool Philharmonic Society.

The manuscript remained at the patron’s estate before going up for auction and moving to  a library in Germany. Finally, Edition Gravis in Bad Schwalbach, Germany published the work in 1988, 100 years after it was composed.

Newman discovered the work on a CD he bought 10 years ago.

“I thought it was wonderful,” he said.

As a result, Newman sent a request to Germany to get the music and suggested to the other members of the quintet that they perform the work.

Just as Mozart believed in the value of his composition, Newman supports Bruch’s work.

“I think the work is really going to become a major part of repertoire for piano quintets,” he said. “It’s joyful; it’s energetic and it arouses people. It’s very arousing.”

For instance, at past performances during other music engagements, the piece received two standing ovations, Newman said.

Everyone is invited to come to the Brown Bag event, which is free.