The Music of the Spheres Society presents The Bohemian Spirit, a program of string chamber music by Bohemian and Moravian composers, on Friday, April 19 at 8:15 PM at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, 120 West 69th Street in New York City.  This is the final concert of the Society’s 2012/2013 season.

Maria Larionoff

Guest violinist Maria Larionoff

The concert will feature violinists Stephanie Chase and Maria Larionoff, violist Dov Scheindlin, cellist Bion Tsang, and double bassist Barry Lieberman, who will perform  Johann Kalliwoda’s Duo Op. 70. No. 2 for two violins, Bohuslav Martinu’s Three Madrigals for violin and viola, Gideon Klein’s String Trio (composed in 1944), and Antonin Dvorak’s String Quintet in G Major, Op. 77.Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda (b. Prague as Jan Kalivoda, lived 1801-1866) was an extremely prolific composer whose music is a stylistic link between Beethoven and Schumann. The duo for two violins, opus 70 are sonically rich and reveal his background as an excellent violinist.

At various times in his life, the music of Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) has revealed the influences of jazz and surrealism, but the Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola (1947) were composed while Martinu was especially interested in Neo-Classical style. These brief pieces are alternately exuberant, lyrical and atmospheric, and are a virtuoso vehicle for each instrumentalist.

Although a name little known to many of today’s concertgoers, Gideon Klein (1919-1944) was an enormously gifted man whose studies in piano and composition were interrupted when the Nazis closed higher institutions of learning in 1939 during their occupation of Czechoslavakia. He was also banned from performing concerts but managed to do so under aliases. In late 1941 Klein was deported to the Terezin camp, where he became one of the principal music composers amongst the musicians interned there. His String Trio was completed but two weeks before he was removed to other camps that included Auschwitz, and he died less than three months later, in January 1945. Despite the difficult circumstances surrounding its composition, the String Trio features euphoric, virtuosic music that is characterized by strong emotional content, Moravian folk traditions and mid-20th century innovations.

The String Quintet in G Major – for string quartet plus double bass – was composed in 1875 (and slightly revised in 1888) by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904). Sonically orchestral and rich in the musical traditions of his native land, it bears the dedication “To My Nation” and a contagious exuberance!

Artist biographies are available at www.musicofthespheres.org/artistbios2012_2013.htm.

Nancy Rhodes, a co-founder of Encompass New Opera, will give a pre-concert talk at 7:30 that is included in the concert admission.

Tickets for the this concert are $30 and $20 (student/senior) at the door (cash or check only).  Advance tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/250582. For more information, call 212-877-4402 or visit www.musicofthespheres.org.

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