Albuquerque Chamber Soloists are in concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1100 Indian School NE. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors and students and are available at PianoWerkes, 4640 Menaul NE, through Jan. 6, at http://www.abqcs.com or at the door. Ticket payment is by cash or check.
By David Steinberg
The Albuquerque Chamber Soloists present music by a Latin American and two European composers in its Sunday, Jan. 8 concert.
The Latin American is Alberto Ginastera. The program features two of Ginastera’s works – his First String Quartet and his Pampeana No. 2 for Cello and Piano.
“Ginastera is probably the greatest Argentinian classic composer of the 20th century,” said James Holland, the ACS’ artistic director and the cellist in both pieces.
“The string quartet is one of my favorite pieces. It has an incredible amount of energy. … He tried to evoke the open spaces, the gaucho spirit in his music and that comes through in his incredible rhythms. He based a lot of rhythms on Argentine folk music.”
Holland finds Ginastera’s music enormously entertaining and, he added, it never fails to excite audiences.
Holland and pianist Pamela Pyle will play the composer’s Pampeana No. 2.
“It’s meant to evoke the singing competitions that the gauchos had. The piano wants to dance and the cello wants to sing. The piano keeps trying to get the cello to dance,” Holland said.
“In the end they do a dance together for a little bit. It’s a malambo, a fevered dance. But the cello decides to sing on its own again.”
The year 2016 is the 100th anniversary of Ginastera’s birth.
The Europeans are Richard Strauss and Gustave Mahler.
Though known for his symphonies, Mahler wrote his Piano Quartet when he was a teenager studying at a conservatory in Vienna.
“It’s a one-movement work and not published in his lifetime. His widow discovered the manuscript in the mid-1960s. It was used in the film ‘Shutter Island,’” Holland said.
Pyle is also the pianist in the Mahler.
Strauss wrote his “Metamorphosen” for 23 solo strings, each instrument with its own part. The Jan. 8 concert will play an arrangement of it for string septet – two violins, two violas, two cellos and one bass.
Holland said Strauss composed it in his native Germany during World War II.
“It has a very mournful, tragic feeling to it but it is ravishingly beautiful, very lush,” he said.
“Strauss never said what the meaning of the piece was. But some feel it’s a meditation on the destruction of German culture by the Nazis and the allied bombing of Germany.”
The concert is billed as “Guillermo and Friends.” That’s a reference to Guillermo Figueroa, who is pulling double duty on violin and viola. He’s also the former musical director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchesra.
The title also harkens back to past ACS concerts that were named for two musical families that were friends – Figueroa, his wife, violinist Valerie Turner and the wife-and-husband musicians, pianist Arlette Felberg and violinist Leonard Felberg.
The Felbergs’ son, David Felberg, is also playing violin and viola in the concert.
Pyle. a music professor at UNM, said this of Figueroa: “Getting to know and work with Guillermo has been a highlight of my time here in Albuquerque. (We were in New York at the same time but never met). He is extremely thoughtful and passionate about music making and I always enjoy our musical excursions.