The Albuquerque Chamber Soloists opens its 2018-19 season with a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1100 Indian School NE. Music of W.A. Mozart, Franz Schubert and Christopher Theofanidis.

Tickets are $15 general public, $12 seniors, $5 students. Advance tickets are available online at, at, and at PianoWerkes, 4640 Menaul NE, (cash or check only) or at the door.

There’s a pre-concert reception and chat at 2:15 p.m.

By David Steinberg

The Albuquerque Chamber Soloists start their 2018-19 season on Sunday, Sept. 9 at St. Paul Lutheran Church with a couple of upbeat pieces.

The first is W.A. Mozart’s Quartet for Piano and String Trio in E-flat major.

“It’s incredibly genial, warm and lyrical. It’s endlessly flowing with uncomplicated melodies,” said James Holland, the ACS artistic director.

The role of the piano is prominent in it but the strings are integrated as equal partners, Holland added.

“Mozart’s piano quartets are the first great piano quartets. He wrote them in the mid-1780s. … The piano as an instrument was first invented in 1700,” he said.

Performing the E-flat major quartet are Tzu Feng Liu on piano, Joel Becktell on cello, David Felberg on violin, and Kimberly Fredenburgh on viola.

Following the Mozart on the program is Christopher Theofanidis’ jaunty Summer Verses for Violin and Cello.

Particularly fun is the movement called “Robert,” which Holland said is “kind of slapstick for the cello.  I’m the cellist so I get to be silly. The violinist (wife Megan Holland) gets to be exasperated with the cellist.”

The movement is named for cellist Robert DeMaine. 

Theofanidis and DeMaine were schoolmates and buddies of his at the Eastman School of Music.

“I’m excited to play that piece. I think it will be a real hoot for the audience,” Holland said.

“Chris has become successful as a composer. He’s on the faculty at Yale. He has an orchestra piece called ‘Rainbow Body” that’s become so popular. It’s by far of his best known piece,” he added.

Closing the concert is Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, known as “Death and the Maiden.”

The reason for the nickname is that Schubert wrote a song called “Death and the Maiden,” and the second movement of the quartet borrows from that song as a theme and variations, Holland said.

“When he wrote the quartet it was a low time in his life. He was in poor health, in considerable pain. He knew he was dying,” he said.

“So there’s this desperate energy throughout the quartet. At least three of the four movements give you the (sense) that the composer is feeling a kind of foreboding, trying to escape the inevitable.”

The final movement has a galloping rhythm, “as if you’re riding a horse as fast as you can to get away from. It could be death. …Every now and then there are a few moments of rays of hope, of reflection, but largely it’s a very driven piece.”