Violinist Ronald Lantz and pianist Laura Kargul will present another of their popular Valentine’s Day concerts at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland on Sunday, February 17, at 2:00 p.m. This event will mark the seventh time the Lantz/Kargul Duo has celebrated the holiday of romance with a concert in the Portland area.
The concert, titled "Baroque Pearls and Romantic Gems," will feature a selection of "romantic" music drawn from a span of nearly three hundred years, ranging from the Baroque era through the twentieth century. The program will include the Albinoni Adagio in G Minor, the Chaconne by Vitali, Beethoven's Romance in F Major, Mendelssohn's Sonata in F Minor, Op. 4, the Vocalise by Rachmaninoff, Lili Boulanger's Nocturne, and Café -1930 by Piazzolla.
“We always try to introduce some lesser-known works to the public in our Valentine's concerts," says Kargul. "This time the 'new' work is the rarely performed Sonata in F Minor by Felix Mendelssohn, written when he was only 14. The first time we played through it we wondered where this remarkable piece had been hiding!"
"The sonata is particularly notable for its mature expression of romantic feeling," says Lantz. "Mendelssohn wrote it in 1823, when the 19th century's Romantic movement was still in its infancy, but the second movement is one of the most poetic and tender works composed in his short lifetime. At the age of 14 he was clearly already at the forefront of what was to come for the rest of the century. Once you hear this work it is easy to see how Mendelssohn's reputation for being a great musical prodigy rivalled even Mozart's."
"When we put this program together we looked for works that were representative of their time, but still embodied the elements of 'romance' that we typically hear in 19th century literature," adds Kargul. "This wasn't difficult to do. You can think of it in cinematic terms: whether the setting is a Baroque palace for the Vitali Chaconne, or the sensuous, smoky atmosphere of a café in the 1930's, as depicted by Piazzolla, the characteristics of 'romantic' music appear to be universal. No matter the century, there they are, once again: soaring lyricism and high drama juxtaposed with moments of tenderness and intimacy."
Lantz and Kargul first performed as a duo on the Portland String Quartet concert series in 2010 and have continued to delight audiences near and far with their impassioned performances of romantic music, combined with thoughtful and lively remarks from the stage. Recent tours include concerts in Arizona, Florida and Jamaica, as well as appearances throughout Maine and northern New England.
Ronald Lantz has taught and concertized in over 30 countries as a founding member of the Portland String Quartet. He has also performed with numerous symphony orchestras both as soloist and as principal player, and has served on the faculties of the University of New Hampshire, Bates College, the University of Southern Maine, Bowdoin College and Colby College, where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree. Mr. Lantz performs with a violin and bow made in Paris in the 1850's by the renowned instrument and bow maker, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.
Laura Kargul is the Director of Keyboard Studies at the University of Southern Maine School of Music. She has appeared as a soloist and collaborative artist throughout Europe and the USA, as well as in Canada and the West Indies, in venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Liszt-Haus in Weimar, the Aspen Music Festival, the Evian Festival of Chamber Music and the Chamber Music Festival of Lucca in Italy. She holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Michigan, where she studied with pianists Leon Fleisher and Theodore Lettvin and conductor Gustav Meier.
Tickets are available online from USM at http://usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice or by phone at (207)780-5555, or by phone from the Portland String Quartet Society at (207) 761-1522. Tickets are $22 general public; $20 seniors; free for students and/or 21 and under. Subsidized tickets are available from the PSQ Society. The concert will be held at Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodford Street, Portland.
Sponsored by Dr. Newell and Tenney Augur and Piper Shores
Co-presented by the Portland String Quartet Society and the University of Southern Maine School of Music.
Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, email@example.com. Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.