National Symphony Orchestra comes to Strings

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Who: Lambert Orkis, Nurit Bar-Josef and David Hardy What: "A 19th Century Love Triangle" When: 8 p.m. Saturday Where: Strings in the Mountains Music Festival Park Cost:$22 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 18 Call: 879-5056

The theme for Saturday night's chamber music concert at Strings in the Mountains Music Festival is absolute passion, said Grammy Award-winning pianist Lambert Orkis.

Orkis will be joined by two of his fellow musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra to play three compositions by Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

In deference to the three composers' entangling amorous alliances, the name of the program is "A 19th Century Love Triangle."

"Johannes (Brahms) wrote Clara (Schumann) some very powerful love notes in these compositions," Orkis said, noting that Clara Schumann was married to Robert Schumann at the time. In the very proper era of the mid-1800s, their fondness for one another was communicated through the subtle powers of music, Orkis said.

Adding to the evening's mystique, National Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef will play her 1908 Italian violin and the orchestra's principal cellist, David Hardy, will play a cello made by Carlo Giuseppe Testore in 1694.

Orkis, Bar-Josef and Hardy, who also are members of a new group, the Kennedy Center Chamber Players, came up with the love triangle program theme after several discussions after rehearsals throughout the year, Orkis said.

Clara Schumann was one of the greatest pianists of her age and a great teacher, as well, Orkis said. But when she married Robert Schumann against her father's wishes, her career came to a standstill.

Saturday's concert includes Clara Schumann's composition called "Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22," This piece gives the audience a sense of the mid-19th century "Biedermeier" style that represented middle-class values of hominess, small scenes and things that are nice, peaceful and beautiful, Orkis said.

The program continues with Robert Schumann's "Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 63," in which the composer acts out a heroic and brooding role, Orkis said. As the composition takes the form of a conversation Robert Schumann is having with his wife, Robert Schumann's approach becomes ardent and assertive of his masculinity, Orkis said.

The evening closes with Brahms' "Piano Trio No.1 in B, Op.8," a composition he wrote in 1854 when Robert Schumann was deathly ill in the hospital. Brahms rewrote the piece in 1888, Orkis said.

This composition starts where Robert left off, Orkis said. It is full of amorous references, including "quotes" from other pieces that had to do with love, he said. When Brahms finished the piece, Clara was so embarrassed that she asked him not to publish it.

But Brahms published it.

Orkis, Bar-Josef and Hardy will play the 1888 version, which Orkis called "an absolute masterpiece."

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