- Wednesday, August 8, 2007, 8 p.m.
- Strings Music Festival, 900 Strings Road, (Corner of Mt. Werner Rd & Pine Grove Rd), Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs To chamber musicians, the word "romantic" is heart-wrenching. It's an expression of the deepest human suffering and the most intense joy, tidal-wave dynamics and rich harmonies.
In the second to last chamber concert of its 20th anniversary season, Strings in the Mountains will get "Romantic Spirit" in a program starring the award-winning Miami String Quartet and festival founder John Sant'Ambrogio. The concert will be Sant'Ambrogio's first performance with the festival in almost 15 years.
Featured works from across the early 19th century's Romantic period are Schubert's "Trout Quintet," a Mendelssohn string quartet and an Ernest Bloch duo.
Since winning the Cleveland Quartet Award in 2000, the Miami String Quartet has toured extensively, and is in residence at Kent State University in Ohio. The group will stay on for Strings in the Mountains' finale, a combination of classical and jazz with clarinetist Eddie Daniels on Aug. 11.
"They're an important part of the festival," said Betse Grassby, executive director of Strings in the Mountains. "These are the finest players in the country that get an opportunity to play their favorite form of classical music, which is chamber music.
"We don't have a lot of ensembles coming to the festival, so this concert highlights a performance of the Miami String Quartet."
The quartet will play Felix Mendelssohn's "Sonata in F minor," the last piece the composer completed before his death. An expression of grief for his sister's death, the work packs a sort of instrumental emotional power, even when played with only four instruments.
The program falls in line with other themed nights in Strings in the Mountains' varied chamber music series, which has focused on specific guests or moods. "Romantic Spirit" centers the selections on Sant'Ambrogio's cello, Collier's piano and Miami's strings.
"Every concert has a theme, and this one just happens to be music from the Romantic period," Grassby said.
Sant'Ambrogio will join music director and accomplished pianist Katherine Collier for Ernest Bloch's "Prayer for Cello and Piano" from his work "Jewish Life No. 1." Bloch - an early 20th century composer who writes into glorious cello lines a feeling of age-old strife - is Romantic in spirit, if not chronology.
"It's not in the Romantic period, but it's very Romantic in nature," Sant'Ambrogio said. "I just love the piece. It's short, very beautiful."