The Vega String Quartet, Quartet in Residence at Emory University, is the talk of the chamber music community and internationally renowned. After wowing Pro Musica audiences several seasons ago, they return to join pianist William Ransom to perform some of the great piano quintets. You won’t want to miss their dazzling playing which the New York Times described as having "a kind of clean intoxication to it, pulling the listener along.” The concert are on Friday, March 17th at 5pm and Sunday, March 19th at 4pm at St Paul’s Church on Calle Cardo, and are a must-hear as this year’s only string based quintet.
The Vega Quartet has toured throughout Asia, Europe and North America and performed in major venues including Carnegie Hall and the Royal Academy of Music, London. The Quartet has appeared at a myriad of music festivals and additionally held the title of Quartet in Residence at the Van Cliburn Institute, appeared on the artist roster of Carnegie Hall's New York City Neighborhood Concert series, and the Woodruff Arts Center's Art for Learning program. As music-lovers, we are inspired by the few composers who excelled in piano quintets - Schumann, Brahms, Dvořák, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Dohnányi, and Shostakovich. These Pro Musica concerts feature nearly half of them.
Friday’s concert will include works by Handel-Halvorsen, Glière, Mozart, and Dohnányi. The quintessential romantic Piano Quintet by Hungarian Dohnányi shows his incredible talent, recognized from a young age by Brahms. Handel-Halvorsen’s popular Passacaglia for violin and viola, written in 1893, was based on the final movement of Handel's harpsichord Suite No. 7 in G minor. The key of G minor was an infrequent and particular choice for Mozart, making his Piano Quartet an especially interesting piece. His major works in that key share qualities of solemnity, restlessness, and melancholy.
Sunday’s concert will include works by Saint-Saëns Dvořák, and Moszkowski. Saint-Saëns was truly a prodigy, as he started composing when aged three. Saint-Saëns Piano Quintet in A minor Op 14, his earliest composition, was dedicated to his great-aunt who gave him his first piano lessons. The piano plays a dominant virtuoso role, often in opposition to the string quartet, but also engaging in dialogue, ensemble, contrapuntal, and unison passages. Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A Major is rife with energetic virtuosity and spiced with contrapuntal variety; it’s said to be as much fun to play as to hear! While many argue that Romantic finales end on softer movements, this spirited finale is quite the opposite.
Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are $150, $250 and $350 pesos donation each, and are on sale at La Tienda in the Biblioteca Pública; La Conexión; only at Aldama 3, the School of Arts at the Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 22, and at the concert half an hour before performance time.