It’s a little musicians’ inside joke: Delores Stevens, pianist and artistic director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society, has dubbed this weekend’s performance The Phantom Violin Concert.
A quartet of acclaimed musicians will gather on the stage of the Old Whaling Church at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, April 5, for the society’s annual spring concert. There will be music by Telemann, Beethoven, and Poulenc and Schumann, and for the finale, a performance of Cesar Franck’s Violin Sonata in A Major — without the violin.
“The Franck sonata is an absolutely outstanding piece of the violin literature,” explains Mrs. Stevens. “It’s become so popular that it has been arranged for many solo instruments. Saturday night, we’ll let the Phantom Violinist watch from the back of the room while our guest artists take their turns presenting movements from this piece.”
The music will be from the heart of the classical tradition, even if the instrumentation is a bit unorthodox. Performing with Mrs. Stevens will be cellist Matthias Naegele, oboist Gerard Reuter and violist Scott Woolweaver. In addition to joining in the ensemble performances of sonatas by Franck and Telemann, each of the guest musicians will have his own moment in the spotlight Saturday evening.
Accompanied by Mrs. Stevens, Mr. Matthias will perform Beethoven’s seven variations from Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute. Mr. Woolweaver will perform the Marchenbilder, or Fairytale Pictures, a set of pieces by Robert Schumann. And Mr. Reuter will perform Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano.
The chamber music society will launch its 38th summer season, a calendar of 10 concerts on Mondays at the Old Whaling Church and Tuesdays at the Chilmark Community Center, on July 7 and 8, when the celebrated St. Petersburg Quartet visits the Island. This Saturday’s spring concert is part of the society’s commitment to bringing world-class music to Vineyard audiences also in the off-season months.
“Our off-season concerts are very special to me,” says Mrs. Stevens, who spends her winters in California with her husband, Jim, and flies back to the Island for the society’s Thanksgiving and spring concerts each year. “It’s about making music for the year-round Island community, and I’m excited about the program we’ve put together for this concert.”
Mrs. Stevens expressed her thanks to the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council, a local agency of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, for its grant in support of Saturday’s concert. Admission is $15, and students are always welcomed free at concerts of the chamber music society.