School of Music

Violinist Robert Lehmann and Friends to Perform Schubert’s “Trout Quintet” and Others at USM School of Music

Robert Lehmann, violin

March 31, 2014


GORHAM, Maine –Violinist Robert Lehmann will present “Schubert’s Trout Quintet and Other Gems” at the University of Southern Maine (USM) School of Music next week, along with several local acclaimed musicians.

Lehmann, USM director of strings and orchestral activities, will be joined by George Lopez, piano; Kimberly Lehmann, viola; Eliza Meyer, cello; and George Calvert, bass. 

As the final presentation of the 2013-2014 Faculty Concert Series, Lehmann’s concert offers a vibrant program, opening with Beethoven’s “Spring” and closing with Schubert’s “Trout Quintet,” a piece known for its vitality and lightness. 

The details of the concert are:

  • Schubert’s Trout Quintet and Other Gems,” 8 p.m., Friday, April 11, Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham campus, 37 College Ave., Gorham; tickets: $15, general public, $10, seniors, USM employees and alumni, $5, students; call (207) 780-5555 or go to http://usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice; sponsored by the USM School of Music Advisory Board.

Lehmann and Lopez will perform Beethoven’s Sonata for piano and violin in F Major, Opus 24, also known as “Spring.”

Lehmann noted that the sonata parallels Beethoven’s development in his symphonic output and was written during the time that the composer stopped basing his writing on models of the previous generation. Whereas earlier compositions feature the piano as the predominant voice, “Spring” is among the first sonatas in which the violin and piano are equal partners.

“F Major is Beethoven’s pastoral key,” Lehmann said. “The piece is very lyrical and approachable, like springtime. It opens, lyrically enough, leading to a contemplative and meditative second movement. The third movement -- a ‘joke’ -- lasts less than one minute and the piece ends with a rollicking, sprightly rondo -- here’s spring!”

Bohuslav Martinů’s “Three Madrigals” for violin and viola will feature the Lehmann duo -- Robert and his wife, Kimberly Lehmann, on viola. Kimberly Lehmann is a member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra and performs frequently in concert with her husband. 

The challenging Martinů piece, composed in 1947, was dedicated to Joseph and Lillian Fuchs, a brother-sister violin-viola duo who “had technique to burn,” according to Robert Lehmann.

“This piece is full of double- and triple-stops, in which each instrument must play more than one note at a time,” the violinist said. “This allowed Martinů the opportunity to create the illusion of a larger ensemble with a fuller spectrum of harmonies and colors.”

Following intermission, the entire group will join Lehmann to perform Schubert’s Quintet in A Major, Opus 114, popularly known as “Trout Quintet,” because the fourth movement is a set of variations on Schubert’s well-known song, “The Trout.”

As Schubert’s career was rising at age 22, he spent a summer in the Austrian Alps, where a music supporter sponsored the composer’s series of weekly concerts. Schubert wrote the quintet as a thank-you for the concert sponsor. The summer concerts garnered much attention for Schubert and evolved into what were known as “Schubertiades” -- informal gatherings of friends in private homes to enjoy Schubert’s music.

“This truly is a piece to be played for and among friends,” Lehmann said. “It suggests the leisurely atmosphere of a room full of Schubert’s friends sitting and enjoying the genius of his endless variation techniques.”

In addition to his position as artist faculty in violin and viola at USM, Lehmann is the conductor of USM’s Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is the music director of the Portland Chamber Orchestra, the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra and the White Mountain Bach Festival of New Hampshire. 

The violinist’s new CD, “Chamber Music for String by Manuel M. Ponce,” was recently issued by Centaur Records.