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Macondo Chamber Players, Piano Quintet, Return for Pro Musica

Pro Musica welcomes back the exceptionally talented piano quintet, the Macondo Chamber Players. Regarded as one of the most exceptional small ensembles in Latin America, the reputation of these young and talented musicians keeps them in high demand. There is “…something extraordinary, capable of setting new precedents in the musical panoramic of Latin-America,” about them (El Comercio). They will perform two different concerts for Pro Musica on Friday and Sunday, January 12 & 14 at 5 pm at St. Paul’s Church on Calle Cardo.

Four of the group hail from the Americas and one is from Russia. First violinist, St. Petersburg-born Daniel Austrich, integrates seamlessly with the youthful, eclectic group of Latin and North Americans, including Colombian violinists Jose Romero and Raúl García; Dominican pianist, Carlos Vargas; and from New York, cellist Thomas Mesa. Described as having “impeccable technique”, their comparatively young age seems “contrary to the quality of sounds, the precise gestures, the poetic sounds” of their playing (El Pais).


The classical quintet was established in its most familiar form following the phenomenal success of Schumann's Piano Quintet in 1842, which combined the piano with a string quartet, changing the typical instrumentation of the time. His Quintet, which concert goers will hear on Friday, was created during a happy and prolific time, and dedicated to his muse, Clara.  Love treated Schumann so well he wrote three string quartets, a piano quintet, quartet, and trio in quick succession at this time. The Piano Quintet is an iconic composition which defines the quintet’s role in classical music.

Also on Friday, the Quintet will play works by Fauré, Shostakovich and Golijov. Fauré’s quest for innovation led him through breathtaking and heart-wrenching creations, including our piece, his Piano Quintet No. 1, that haunt listeners’ imaginations even to this day. Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No.1, written while he was still a teen, was inspired by a girl he met in the Crimea, and is a paean to young love. Golijov's Tenebrae, a multi-faceted work of many dimensions, provides contrasts between the macro and micro views of reality.

On Sunday, Franck's Piano Quintet, dedicated to his good friend Camille Saint-Saëns, will be featured. Heavily influenced by his time as an organist, Franck’s work is vivid and dynamic. Bartók's Piano Quintet will be another highlight of the concert in which the composer speaks of the creation of the piano quintet, finding inspiration after a period of stagnation, feeling drawn toward Hungarian folk music and his cultural roots. This is a virtuoso piece that Franck was told would be too difficult to be learned, but today it is part of the mainstream repertoire.

Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are $150, $300 and $400 pesos donation each, and are on sale at La Tienda in the Biblioteca Pública; La Conexión; only at Aldama 3; and at the concert 45 minutes before performance time.