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Valentine’s Day with Lantz and Kargul: Images of Love
Violinist Ronald Lantz and pianist Laura Kargul will explore “images of love” with their popular Valentine’s Day concert on Sunday, February 12 at 2 p.m. at Woodfords Church at 202 Woodford St. in Portland. The concert is co-presented with the Portland String Quartet Society, and sponsored by Dr. Newell and Tenney ’79 Augur.
The duo will open the concert with arrangements of two of Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words.” Typically, these works are charming little character pieces intended to be played by amateur pianists in the comfort of home. But these two examples portray more passionate emotions. Op. 62 No. 1, with its opening sigh motive, seems to express ardent longing, while Op. 38 No. 6, the “Duetto,” a duet between soprano and baritone voices, could not be mistaken for anything other than a swoon-worthy love scene.
Next on the program is Beethoven’s “Sonata No. 8 for Violin and Piano in G Major, Op. 30 No. 3.” Beethoven wrote this work while he was summering in the rural town of Heiligenstadt outside Vienna in 1801 and 1802. Similar in spirit to his sixth symphony, the “Pastoral,” the piece is replete with the sounds and colors of country life, from the churning waters of a brook and the twittering of birds to the clogging of peasant dances. It was also around this time Beethoven wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament (October 1802), an anguished letter about his increasing deafness and resulting isolation. Yet this sonata is among the sunniest works he ever composed. Somehow Beethoven was able to transcend his inner turmoil and express his profound love of nature with playful energy and a raucous sense of humor and fun.
Ralph Vaughan Williams also created a poetic nature-scape in his eloquent “The Lark Ascending, a Romance.” Here the violin is transformed into a singing, soaring lark as the piano provides an atmospheric background with folk tune-like melodies. The piece paints an intimate and rhapsodic picture of the English countryside.
The folksongs “Liza (water come a me eye)” and “Fi Mi Love (Have Lion Heart),” arranged by Peter Ashbourne, are well known love songs in Jamaica. The second is a particularly touching declaration of romantic love “strong and everlasting.” Florence Price’s “Adoration,” originally written for organ, expresses religious devotion, but its sweetly arching melody could just as easily have been used in a love song.
The program closes with the second movement of William Grant Still’s “Suite for Violin,” suggested by Sargent Johnson’s painting, “Mother and Child.” The painting, which depicts a mother tenderly enfolding a child in her arms, inspired Grant Still to create this gorgeous portrait of maternal love. Dedicated to all mothers on Valentine’s Day!
Tickets are $20. To receive a student discount code that can be applied before checkout, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (select either “General” or “Senior”, click “Attend”, then click on “Add a coupon code” under the total to apply the code you received.
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